I have been blogging about Levi a lot lately. I haven't been sharing about Madigan so much.

This is not because I've stopped loving her and have decided to express this to her through my lack of blog posts in her name.

For starters - she's not even allowed to read my blog. She's my kid. I cuss and joke and write disparaging things about people that she may know.

Secondly - she is not 6. She is not in that funny, sweet, do goofy things that make me grab for a pen to jot down those sweet words place. She is 10. Her words are not as silly and her life is not as simple. She is changing and growing and becoming a pre-teen.

And I am cautiously watching.

I want to honor her with discretion and respect. So I am being a little more selective in the tales that I tell. (Maybe I should just issue her a Blog code name, so I can detail every awkward and uncomfortable detail of her life in full view of anyone who happens upon this little blog of mine! Or, maybe not.)

So stay tuned and bear with me while I bear with her.

I'll write the funny stuff, though. I promise.



My husband came home tonight and asked us if we wanted to go out to dinner. And you know what? WE DID!

So we went out. On a school night. And still everyone got their homework done. And everyone got a shower. And we laughed our heads off while reading books tonight. In part because of the angel butt (long story) and in part because Levi is learning to read and he often just makes stuff up. Sometimes the book will read "Blue cup, blue cup" and he'll say "Long car, long car" just because that is what he does.

Holy crap it makes us laugh.

I will be the tiniest bit sad when he reads so well that it is not a total surprise every time he opens his mouth to try.



The fall season is beginning! I really love new shows. That said, here are a few new ones I'm looking forward to:

The Big Bang Theory The only sit-com on my list. I adore Johnny Galecki (Sarah Gilbert's boyfriend from Rosanne). Sweet and geeky - and we all know that geek is the new stud! Premieres Monday, September 24, 8:30pm

Another pick from the "Geek is Fabulous!" file, Chuck looks fun. Nerds in dangerous situations. How bad can it be? On NBC. Premieres Monday, September 24, 8:00pm. Conflicts with Big Bang, but I'll Tivo or catch one of them online.

dirty sexy money is about an attorney (Nick) for the ridiculously wealthy Darling family from the Upper East Side of NYC with troubles ranging from the oldest son's transgendered girlfriend, to the minister with a secret love child to hide. And that's just the beginning. I'm checking it out. Also, the title is salacious and I look for that in a useless distraction! Premieres Wednesday, September 26, 10:00pm. On ABC.

Life - I CANNOT WAIT. I adore Damian Lewis. Did you see Steven King's Dream Catcher? Probably not, cause nobody did. But if you did you'd know why Damian Lewis is so great. And Duddits was great as well, but I digress... This is Zen and the Art of the Falsely Convicted Cop Returning to the Outside World While Searching for the Person Who Framed Him. With a sexy young partner. And craploads of money won in a lawsuit. And a rapier wit. I"M DYING OVER HERE! Premieres Wednesday, September 26, 10:00pm. On NBC. Conflicts with the one above, but I'm all over this one.

Pushing Daisies - When Ned touches dead things they come back to life. But only until the next time he touches them. Because they die again. Which turns into a lucrative career for him. He wakes up murder victims with a touch, asks hem who killed them, puts them "back to sleep" with another touch and solves the crime. Perfect! Until he brings the love of his life back and wants her to stay alive. Which, simply put, means he can never touch her. Looks cute. ABC Wednesdays at 8:00. Premieres October 3rd.

And My Returning Favorites:

Dexter - Sundays at 9:00 but also check the schedule. It is playing all the time! Yeah!

Grey's Anatomy - Thursday, September 27th at 9:00. On ABC.

Heroes - Starts again on Monday, September 24th at 9:00. On NBC.

Ugly Betty - Thursday, September 27th at 8:00. On ABC. Just before Grey's.

If I don't pick up the phone when you call it's not because I don't love you. It's just that I don't love you enough to interrupt the AWESOME show that I'm watching.

You see the difference, right?



Today was a long week.

I am bone tired and my head is hurting.

I have a normal busy life. I am terrifically blessed to have it. I don't want it to change. But I want there to be more rest in here somewhere.

Seriously, my ears ache. My day:

Up at 7:00.

Reading in bed with my daughter until 8:00

Coffee, laundry, cleaning, shower, make-up, get dressed until 9:00

Driving to my folks until 10:00

Shopping with my mother and my daughter for a baby shower gift until 11:30

Photo uploading, lunch and visiting with my brother until 12:45

Baby shower for my cousin's unborn baby boy until 2:30

Reprimanding my parent's neighbor girl for hurting my son, asking her to leave, telling everyone in the family that Levi can't be unsupervised when she is around, loading up the new television into the back of my car, reprimanding my tantrum throwing son who would rather stay at my folks than do anything else in the world because he loves my brother so much and in particular loves to follow him around in his old wheelchair until 3:00

Driving to the kids school until 4:00

Parents meeting and cast list posting until 5:30

Driving home and consoling my daughter about her 2 roles (butterfly and official) until 5:45

Straightening house, making dinner, doing laundry, sending fussy children to their rooms, setting up new TV, removing and storing leaf from dining room table and setting with new plates and place mats, serving dinner to my peeps until 7:30

Sitting my ass and my throbbing headache on the sofa to blog and coming up with NOTHING AT ALL until 10:24.

I know that this is totally normal. I just wanted to share.



Levi: Mom, I can't find my homework!

Me: OK, buddy, we'll find it. Don't worry. Is it still in your backpack?

Levi: No, I took it out and was going to bring it to the table.

Me: OK, so is it on the table?

Levi: No, 'cause when I was walking to the table I was looking down and I found the chocolate covered sunflower seed that I lost yesterday when I was carrying it around between my toes. So I picked it up with my toes again and I was walking around with it and now I can't find my homework!

Seems reasonable.

PS - It was upstairs in my room.



"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
Tenneva Jordan

Oh, please!

We have a lovely apple tree. I made a French apple pie with some of our bounty. French apple because I didn't want to deal with a top crust.

I always do a rustic edge on the crust. Those perfect edges just look to me like they are trying too hard and in the event that the apples need to cook a little longer and the crust gets a little overdone I hate to resent the apples for ruining all of my hard work. Anyway, that's how I see it.

Here are the recipes I used:

Single Crust

1 3/8 cups all-purpose flour
3/8 cups oil (6 Tablespoons)
3 Tablespoons cold milk
3/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients with a fork or spoon until the mixture becomes thick and forms a ball. Divide in half for a double crust. Pat into a thick pancake shape. Sprinkle some water on a board and place a piece of wax paper large enough for the pie crust on the board. (The sprinkle of water keeps the wax paper from slipping.) Place the dough in the center of the wax paper and then place a second piece of wax paper over the dough. Roll the dough into a circle large enough for the pie pan. Without removing the wax paper, drape, centering, the dough over the rolling pin. Carefully peel off the top piece of wax paper. Carefully place (roll) the dough into the pie pan, centering it (exposed dough side is down, wax paper side is up). The dough is fragile so be careful. Shape the dough to the pan. Carefully remove the remaining wax paper. If the dough is torn, simply press it together with your fingers.

7 c. sliced, peeled McIntosh or good cooking apples (about 7)
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1 tbsp. lemon juice or 1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. cornstarch or flour
4 vanilla wafers, crushed, or 3 tbsp. finely ground nuts (optional)
1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell

1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch (or flour). Mix together with apples, brown sugar, spices, and lemon juice. Sprinkle wafers or nuts on bottom of pie shell. (This keeps crust from becoming soggy.) Spoon apple mixture into pie shell.

Make French Crumb Topping by mixing 1/3 cup butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar together. Cut in 3/4 cup flour. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle topping over apples in pie plate. Bake for 50 minutes or until topping is golden and apples are tender.

TIP: For a lovely taste thrill, mix 3 or 4 teaspoons of cinnamon into 1 quart softened vanilla ice cream. Refreeze. Serve a scoop of the cinnamon ice cream on warm apple-pie slices.




You know how it is waking
from a dream certain you can fly
and that someone, long gone, returned

and you are filled with longing,
for a brief moment, to drive off
the road and feel nothing

or to see the loved one and feel
everything. Perhaps one morning,
taking brush to hair you'll wonder

how much of your life you've spent
at this task or signing your name
or rising in fog in near darkness

to ready for work. Day begins
with other people's needs first
and your thoughts disperse like breath.

In the in-between hour, the solitary hour,
before day begins all the world
gradually reappears car by car.

A poem by Deborah Ager



So, I was at the dentist's yesterday. I don't know about you, but I loathe dentistry and I am not super fond of the masochists working in this field. So I am high strung (to say the least) when I arrive. I'm getting some very old fillings replaced. Which is super sucky because this is clearly OPTIONAL. I don't have new cavities, these are the same cavities that I had to suffer through having filled as a child. Which is clearly the root of all of my unreasonable hatred for dentistry. I guarantee you that bastard dentist of my childhood didn't mention that I would have to REDO the fillings he was putting into my head. Fucking asshole.

So, I want nitrous oxide. That way, I won't want to die and take others with me in a blaze of semi-automatic glory. Not that I brought the semi, I'm just saying. Anyway, I request the pig nose. So the assistant fidgets around (obviously irritated) and gets it strapped to my head. Only after I have been breathing this joyous cocktail of loveliness for about 5 minutes does the receptionist come in and let me know that my insurance does not cover the nitrous, so I'll have to pay $35 dollars for the first hour, but the doctor assures her that it won't take longer than an hour.

Did you notice what I noticed? That she asked me while I was high. Like I could give legal consent at that point. WTF?

So, I inform her that the insurance won't be paying one red cent if I haul my ass out of the chair that very minute and go to my car. We agree to continue the conversation later.

Shortly thereafter the doctor leans me back in the chair pumps me full of novocain and he and the assistant come at me with the dental dam. Now, I've never seen a dental dam at the dentist's office. I've seen it at health fairs in SF and on websites for adult toys. And the suggested use had nothing to do with what I was about to experience. And strangely, I am not excited by either use.

While attaching this bright purple dental dam to my head, the assistant decides to chat me up. Luckily she wasn't starting a conversation about my favorite author or the celebrity sighting she had with that gorgeous actor that will be starring in the new show on NBC this season.

Nope, nothing like that.

Here is how our chat went:

Her: You have a lot of saliva.

Me: Uhhh.

Her: Boy do you have a lot of saliva.

Me: Uhh rhh.

Her: You sure do have a lot of saliva.

Me: Ohh ruhh.

Her: I'll have to leave the suction in your mouth because you have so much saliva.

Me: Uhhh!

Her: Wow. You're still drooling a lot. I don't think I've ever seen this much.

This is the cliff notes version. Cause that lady can talk a blue streak when she finds a subject that interests her, let me tell you. I heard more about my own slobber and my hyperactive saliva glands in that hour than I will hear about ALL OTHER SPIT ON THE PLANET for the entirety of the rest of my life. Including every mention of dribble before this day. I surpassed my lifetime maximum for spittle chatting. So there's that.

During all of this she was shoving her hands in and out of the accessible half of my mouth (remember the dam?). At one point she came at me with a gun kind of thingie and pointed it at my teeth and pulled the trigger.

Me: Uhhs haa?

Her: What?


Her: Oh, this? This is the UV light gun.

Me: Uhh hho?

Her: What for? Oh, to set the composite. So your teeth will be pretty. Wow, listen to that suction. That is so loud. You sure have a lot of saliva.

Composite? What is that? Um, OK. Whatever. I'm still high and I want to go back to breathing in my champagne.

FINALLY they finish. Actually I figured it out a few minutes before that cause she had reached over me to turn down the nitrous. Bitch.

So, after she pulls out the dam, wipes off my face ("My goodness, you have a lot-" "YES, I know. I understand. I have more spit than anyone you have ever seen before, lady. I get it." Except I don't say it that clearly because only 1/4 of my muscles in my mouth work so my droopy lips attempt to put her in her place, but do not succeed) she says to me, "So, you new filling is composite and this may make your teeth really sensitive so you should avoid hot and cold foods."

"For how long? Today? A week?" again, not very clearly. Novocain and drool mopping and all.

"Oh, no. Forever. Some peoples' teeth are very sensitive forever after getting composite fillings. Hot and cold foods can cause them a great deal of pain."

Oh no. She did not. Did she just say that I can't eat hot OR cold food forever? Because of this stupid fucking OPTIONAL filling? Cause if that really is what she said, I'm officially going to lose my shit. All those fantasies about choking the crap out of some useless human being are going to be realised in this exam room, here and now.

I suspect my dentist saw the massacre unfolding in my eyes because Dr. Quiet finally spoke up.

"Actually, you shouldn't have any problems. Your fillings are very shallow. The dentist who filled them the first time did a great job of not drilling too deep and there was minimal decay so the composite isn't anywhere near the nerve. I think you'll be very happy with the look of the composite rather than the metal and you needn't worry about sensitivity to temperature unless you already have that issue."

Thank god for the voice of reason in the midst of buckets of my drool and my murderous intentions.

And really, the teeth look and feel great now. And my lips are moving where I want them to. And my drooling has returned to a manageable level.



I don't eat while I cook. Not at all. Nothing.

Funny. Quirky. But no big deal, right?

I would say so, too. Except that I know what that means on a different level. I don't eat means that I don't taste. I shamelessly serve food that might be horrible.

In fact, I have served horrible food. Soups and beans that are too salty (I suspect that forgot that I had already salted them). I once made a fruit salad with a yogurt "dressing" with what must have been The Great Lost Yogurt From the Back of the Fridge. It tasted like Pine Sol. Gag!

Then there is a nectarine crisp in my culinary history that will long be remembered. I made it while (very) pregnant with my first (eleven pound) child. I think I was so swollen and sweaty and pathetic that the group of gentlemen eating this crisp were struck dumb. And possibly they were concerned that if they told me there was NO SUGAR in the crisp that I had made with my own two puffy pregnant hands, I might just impale them on the tomato stakes in the back yard and bury their lifeless ungrateful bodies in the vegetable patch. Or something like that. So they silently choked it down. And they didn't make eye contact. And still, I didn't learn.

It is unreasonable, I know. To be touching and smelling and mixing and preparing foods; to be thinking about flavor combinations and complimentary flavors and sweet/salty and creamy/crunchy balance and food groups and nutrition; to be mentally enveloped in the experience of making foods - why the fuck wouldn't I want to taste any of it? Wouldn't you think I'd get hungry? I would! But I don't.

I think I can trace it back to my sophomore year microbiology class. I did a report on salmonella. As I'm sure you already know, salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped Gram-negative enterobacteria that causes typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and foodborne illness. Lots and lots of foodborne illness.

While these infections would normally only require a treatment of antibiotics, if not resolved naturally, the long-term usage of antibiotics in both the poultry and beef industries may have created a strain of salmonella which is potentially resistant to antibiotics (Thank you wikipedia).

I think of this every time I prepare food. And it is surprisingly not appetizing. Hence, the not eating. At least I think that's what it is. Whatever.

Most of the time my food is untasted. These dishes, of which I could only guess the flavor*, have never killed anyone. Least of all the cook. Thank you obsessive hand washing and 75 kitchen towels.

But I really, really love sushi.

Is that so wrong?

On another note:

I am religious in my belief that seasons and the weather dictate the food that should be served. Tonight, a chilly but sunny, "Hey! It's fall. Really, fall feels exactly like this!" kind of night, we are having... dun, dun, duhhhhh......

Baked Potatoes. With butter and sour cream and lots of salt and pepper. MMmmmm...

* It would be an educated guess, but a guess none the less.



WE'LL SLEEP WHEN WE'RE DEAD posted over at Kiddos on a Mountain. Check it out if you are so inclined.

I'm going to sleep now.



It's only 11:15 right now. The night of Maddy's slumber party. So far so good, but I'm ready for sleep. I may have a long night ahead of me.

I made each child agree that 11:30 was quiet time. I made the parents leave contact info on a form I provided so I don't have to search to hell and back to come up with the nighttime number if should need to reach them. One of the moms from the new school asked me if I was a teacher. (No, just a former tech writer. Oy vey.)

Here is a shot of my kid. She's happy. Imagine 8 happy girls having fun with her. Got that picture? Now imagine them doing warm up games, big art projects, dinner, presents, cupcakes and ice cream, dancing to HSM2, nail painting, board games and puzzles, truth or dare, spin the bottle (what? I have no idea - but no kissing), and movie watching. We didn't get to the bunko. Or the karaoke. But the night is still young.

Our neighbors stopped by. OK, I had called them with a false die emergency (I didn't think we had enough dice for bunko - not that we ended up playing the game, but the situation was remedied with ransacking all of our board games, so emergency averted). Anyway, after my call I think they wanted to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. Here is Bob with his beautiful son and daughter. Not officially checking up on me. But kinda, maybe.

More importantly, here are Nicholas and Cambria up close. They woke up shortly after this and we got to hold them and kiss them. Yeah! That is the very best kind of visit. I love them and feel so lucky to have them nearby every day but especially on slumber party night.

Here is the art project we had them do. Each girl decorated 2 wooden blocks with cut paper, known as paper piecing. One block needed to be monkey - that one goes to Madigan. The other is to take home. We have a bear, a sea cucumber, an afro dog, and a LOT of monkeys. The project was a huge hit and Maddy will have these works of art to remember her 10th birthday for years to come. Awesome.

And since I am the Crummy Cupcake - here are the rolled fondant monkey cupcakes I made. Kinda crummy, dontcha think. Just what I was going for.

I will post more on Kiddos when I get the express written permission from all of the parents involved. Stay tuned. I have some lovely pics of the girls on their adventures. What a delightful thing that I get to help my kid celebrate her birth with this amazing group of girls. I am feeling very grateful and a little guilty that I was so nervous.

I say that now, but the night is not over yet...



So, I really want to watch the PBS special on the Mormons. I have no explanation. Whatever with me.

Also, I've been thinking of ways to spend some time with my son's first grade class. Some project or activity. I fall back on the cooking thing, cause I like it (though not as much with 20 six year-olds). So I'm thinking pickles. Making pickles is fun, right? And sour is different than sweet. Obviously. Whadda ya think? Am I a nutjob? Maybe so...

One not lame thing! My friend (and former roommate) Tammy is coming into town with her oldest daughter this weekend from Arizona and is making plans to wear jeans and a sweatshirt for no reason. Just cause she can. I'll be seeing her on Sunday. That is super cool. Also, she is famous in huge circles for being the first EVER girlfriend to turn into a fiance at the Diamondbacks Stadium live on the jumbo tron. And there happens to be a Bud Light Real Men of Genius about her (now) husband. Ever heard of "Mr. Stadium Scoreboard Proposal Guy?" Check it. Love it.

Maddy's slumber party is this weekend. I assumed that some of the girls would not be able to make it so I let her invite a big bunch. Looks like they are all coming. I bet they are gonna fight with one another. I'll give odds that one of them wants to go home before the night is out and that at least 3 (including my own) will cry before dawn. Shit. What the hell is wrong with me? My mother would never have let me do this crap and I turned out great. Nearly perfect in every way.

And I'm done with Rape Crisis Counseling Training. Now I get to start. And I'm scared.

OK, that is it for today.




No, you're wrong.

Everyone is as beautiful
as they can possibly be

Particularly at lunch
in a laughing restaurant

Everyone is as beautiful
as they can possibly be

And they are moved
by their own beauty

And they shed tears for it
in the back of the taxi home


Jill. Fred phoned.
He can't make tonight.
He said he'd call again, as soon as poss.
I said (on your behalf) OK, no sweat.
He said to tell you he was fine,
Only the crap, he said, you know, it sticks,
The crap you have to fight.
You're sometimes nothing but a walking shithouse.

I was well acquainted with the pong myself,
I told him, and I counselled calm.
Don't let the fuckers get you down,
Take the lid off the kettle a couple of minutes,
Go on the town, burn someone to death,
Find another tart, giver her some hammer,
Live while you're young, until it palls,
Kick the first blind man you meet in the balls.

Anyway he'll call again.

I'll be back in time for tea.

Your loving mother.