Monday, March 31, 2008

Ham Deeeeeee lites

I made Ham Delights tonight with some leftover Easter ham. My poor sister had about 5 gallon-size Ziploc bags of it to hand out. I think the meat dept at her grocery store misheard her when she said she was having 27 guests - they must have heard 77. We've been eating ham ever since, which would explain my swollen fingers and heartburn. Pork is not the other white meat - it's the greasy pink meat that tastes good only in moderation.

Anyway, I made my Sister-in-Law's recipe for Ham Delights and I've decided to share it with you, because nobody should go even ONE MORE DAY not knowing how to make Ham Delights. They are easy, tasty, freeze well and the kids love them, therefore the perfect food.

My Sister-in-Law is a true Southern Belle from South Carolina. She's a fierce business woman who just completed her Master's Degree who can also come up with the most amazing food. And since her recipes are from the South you just KNOW they're going to be good. If she's bringing something to the potluck you'd better just loosen your pants now and get it over with.

And Ham Delights always makes me think of the group Deee Lite, with their swingin song "Groove is in the Heart", one of my all-time-favorites, but I digress.


1 med onion (I used a small one, did I mention heartburn?)
1 lb ham (I used more)
3/4 lb Swiss cheese (again, I used more and I use preshredded. I'm not lazy, I'm efficient. Actually it won't hurt to alter any ingredient)
2 sticks of butter or margarine, soft (Oh, Nelly! I always use much less)
3T. poppy seeds
1t. Worcestershire sauce
3T. prepared mustard
3 pkgs or more of party rolls = small buns

Preheat the oven to 325.
Using a food processor, chop the onion, ham, and cheese (unless you're using preshredded).
In a large bowl combine the butter, poppy seeds, wor. sauce, and mustard and add the onion, ham, and cheese.
Split the pans of rolls in half horizontally, leaving the sheet of bottom halves in the pan. Spread each bottom with the ham and cheese mix.
Top with the top halves and cut into individual servings by following the outline of the rolls. The rolls can be frozen at this time.
These can be placed in a shallow baking pan or make a "pan" out of foil. Top with more foil and seal.
Heat through: 25-30 minutes if frozen. About 15 minutes if fresh.

Sooooooo-eeeeeeeeee pig pig pig!!

Out like a lion

Welcome to Spring in Minnesota!
This photo isn't from my camera but it might as well be. The snow is coming down in sheets and blowing horizontally, school was let out early, and there is at least 6" predicted before it's over. Looks like we have 6" already.
But the beauty of March snow is that it melts away as quickly as it falls. By Wednesday we'll probably be back to bare brown yards. At this time of year we don't even bother to shovel - it's just not our problem.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SLAP on the forehead

My kids have the uncanny ability to suck me into activities I just KNOW I'll regret in some way.

Today for instance.

I'm returning to the land of the living after a nasty cold, the sun is shining, and the temps are rather pleasant. My older kids and the 8-year-old BEG me to take them hiking at the Carleton College Arboretum. It's one of my all-time-favorites haunts so I'm happy to oblige.

First we drive north of town to my personal favorite Arb entrance. But alas it's still too icy - about 10 feet in we realized we wouldn't be coming out without a broken wrist or twisted ankle. So we drive back to town to the common entrance with it's nicely paved path. During this entire car trip the kids are fighting over literally everything - dog poop, whether or not the neighbor girl can be called "calm", how to pronounce Arboretum, god help me EVERYTHING! Perhaps I should have driven back home, but such was my mania to get outside and breathe air that wasn't tainted with cold germs and other people's recent exhalations.

The older kids walked well ahead - that's fine - I understand their need to distance themselves from a Mom who dares to wear layers and a HAT for god's sake. I also had on mismatched gloves which just enhanced my eccentric appearance and inflated the embarrassing Mom factor.

The 8-year-old bounded up the path with zeal, and of course stopping every five feet to examine something. I know this form of nature observance has it's merits but I just wanted to MOVE. She pleaded to wander up the earthen paths but I stated "no, it's too muddy, it'll tear up the paths and we don't have waterproof boots on and you'll be miserable" and blah blah blah blather blather blather. She threw caution to the wind and headed up the muddy inclines.

Within 10 minutes can you guess what I was hearing in a miserable whiny voice?
"My boots are muddy!"
"These boots are letting the water in!"
"I'm hungry!" (I offered lunch earlier, she refused)
"My legs are sooooooo tired!"
"If Daddy were here, he'd carry me!"

It was a very, very loooooonnngggg walk back to the car. Somethings just can't be thoroughly enjoyed by adults with kids in tow. And somehow I always forget this, and keep taking them on outings that make me want to drink heavily within an hour. Like our train trip to downtown Minneapolis last summer. But this is what good mothers do, right? RIGHT??!??!?!?!

I'm a Celebrity . . . . . . kind of

I'm a guest blogger!! This woman, Sheletta Brundidge, has a great comedy routine on the Twin Cities public television station. I started commenting on her blog a few months ago. She's hysterical and I really enjoy her self-effacing wit. Just another Mom doin the Mom thing and trying to stay sane in a weak economy while dealing with winter, boogers, husbands, and dirty bathrooms.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Bleh! I'm sick again. This time with a monster cold. I sound like I've been smoking Lucky Strikes all my life. Good thing it's Spring Break so I'm not missing any work. I sent off three applications for three fabulous jobs here in town. Send me all the good kharma or prayers or what-have-you that I get one of them.
Everyone together now . . . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . . . .
I'm feeling the good vibes already!

Friday, March 21, 2008

One good paying job

We're having big money trouble here, and my current part time job isn't exactly raking in the dough. But our kids still need a parent around after school and on weekends so they don't start doing heroin like every other kid in Northfield. (read the link, it's good, and no the kids in Northfield aren't on heroin!).

Anyway, I need a lucrative job that will allow me to be around when the kids are home but still cover all the bills. So I'm considering becoming a phone sex operator. I've got a lower register husky voice and I know lots of dirty words. But still I wonder . . . .


Hey, I want some phone sex.

Hmmmm, ok, what are you wearing?

Nothing, I'm just sitting here talking to you.

WHAT? Are you sitting on the good furniture in your all-together? Don't you have any sense? Go get a towel or something!


Never mind, so where were we? Oh yeah, you want to talk dirty to me?

Yeah, baby. Are you a hot b*&%h?

WHAT?? We do NOT use that word in my house!!! That is a woman-hating word and I won't stand for it, am I clear young man???

Hey! I'm not paying to hear my Mom! I just want some phone sex!

Right, sorry, so what do you want to hear?

Some moaning


Oh yeah that's good

No! It's not!! I just stubbed my toe on the vacuum cleaner. I told my husband a thousand times to put it away but NOOOO!

This is NOT going to get me off!

Isn't that just like a man? Everything has to be about YOUR PENIS doesn't it?

That's it! I'm hanging up!

Good! Now go do something useful like the laundry, and pick up your own dirty socks from now on. Moron!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm a slug

I'm having major sleep issues - as in I'm not sleeping at night but can't stay awake for sex, love, or money during the day. It's 11:45pm right now and I'm wide awake. Caffeine you ask? No, I usually abstain.

I personally think it's because just TRYING to sleep has become an exercise in futility. For one thing, I'm 46 and have reached that famous stage of perimenopause that's marked by night sweats. I'll wake up drenched with wrinkly fingers like I've been in the tub. Then I have to swear and change my pjs. Yes swearing is encouraged during night sweats - it chases away the demons of actual menopause.

The other factor is my husband snores like a band saw. He has about 11 different snoring patterns that I've identified and he'll alternate those sequences in random order. Just enough to make me actually consider the advantages of getting a full night's sleep in the big house after I suffocate him with our down comforter. When we first married, all I had to do was lightly touch him with my sweet newlywed hand and he would stop. Now I could drive the minivan into his side of the bed and I doubt he'd even flinch.

The 3rd factor is children. Seems that my husband not only CANNOT SEE clutter around the house, he also CANNOT HEAR the children at night. So if any child is sleep walking, sleep talking, or puking in their toilet which is about 13 feet from our bed, it's Mom to the rescue. You Moms know what I mean - they scream in the night and I'm half way to their room before I've even left REM sleep. It doesn't even interrupt his current snore pattern. And if they have a bad dream, don't you just KNOW who's side of the bed they arrive at. Let me tell you, until you've been awakened from a deep sleep by the sudden appearance of a severely freaked out child in the dead of night, you just haven't lived. For the first few seconds I'm just trying to remember whether I even HAVE kids.

Now don't get me wrong, my hubby is a wonderful man who will gladly do his part to return a wandering child to their bed. But he has to be awake first. This will take so much punching and prodding from me that by the time he's conscious enough to sit up, I've pulled a muscle and have to change my pjs again. I've always said that if we had an intruder he'd be absolutely no help at all. I'd have the criminal tied up with coaxial cable while the kids beat him with kitchen utensils before my husband opened one eye. In a housefire, the firefighters would be dragging him out by the heels and he'd still be snoring.

But the next day I'm a complete slug. As soon as the kids are off the school, if I'm not working that day, I hit the couch and go comatose until 10am. When I come home from work, my bed calls like a siren on the cliffs.

Guess I'll just sleep when I'm dead.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The barrette that rankled my marriage

The following is a true story.

As the Mom in the house, I'm sick and tired of being the only family member that can actually SEE and ACT ON all the crap laying around. What is wrong with the eyesight in my husband and children?? My barrette story is a perfect illustration.

My hubby and I share a bathroom, but our daughters often invade and leave their flotsam behind. And I'm always the one to return it to their bathroom or bedroom. Sometime in February, I noticed a barrette, like the one pictured, on our bathroom floor. As I was reaching for it, something in me just snapped. I thought, "I'm NOT picking up that G.D. barrette. Let HIM notice this stuff for once and deal with it! They are HIS kids too. HE knows where their bathroom is!".

So for many weeks, that barrette just SAT there, in plain sight, just gathering dust and hair and all the other gross stuff on a bathroom floor. Oh, and I might add that since I started working more, he offered to keep our bathroom clean as his sole responsibility. His standard of clean is from another planet, but that's another blog altogether.

Anyway, for weeks I stared at that crusty barrette and fumed. So one day 2 weeks ago I picked it up and put it on his sink. It sat there for another week. Then 4 days ago, you know where I found it?? ON MY SINK!!!!!

What is wrong with you men? I didn't get any specialized training in picking up after the kids! Just use your common sense for cryin out loud! Can anybody explain this to me? My friend Mary says evidently you have to have an old uterus to notice things like piles of your own crap on the stairs, and that the toilet paper needs replacing. And no, replacing the toilet paper doesn't mean perching the new roll on top of the empty roll.

And the girls' hair things go in their bathroom. It's NOT THAT HARD!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day

Eh, Paisano!! La Festa de San Giuseppe!

Never heard of St. Joseph? I hadn't either until I married an Italian. St. Joseph aka Jesus's foster Dad, is the patron saint of Sicily and later Italy. According to legend, during the Middle Ages the Sicilian's prayed to St. Joseph to save them from a famine, and he complied by protecting the fava bean crop. To this day, Italian families and whole communities celebrate St. Joseph's day on March 19th by wearing red, and serving non-meat dishes with of course fava beans, and pasta, seafood, stuffed artichokes, etc.

So this year we gathered all the Italians in Northfield MN, all 12 of them, and had a glorious St. Joseph's Day meal. We did have stuffed artichokes along with stuffed shells, spaghetti, meatballs (we cheated), tossed salad, fresh fruit, pizzelles, Italian love cake,amaretti cookies, and lots of espresso with Sambuca. St. Joseph's Day is also focused on feeding the poor - so everyone brought a contribution for the local food shelf.

Our friend Gina brought her Mom, and what a fabulous store of information! Her name is Carmela, and she's a 94-year-old Sicilian spitfire who dresses like a million bucks and is sharp as a tack. She told us the most amazing stories and had the kids listening wide eyed. She was SO HAPPY to be among Italians eating food with flavor rather than the Norwegian crap at her retirement community.

Saturday was the St. Pat's parade in downtown, and all the paisanos at our house decided we needed a St. Joseph's Day parade. Wouldn't we be a spectacle - 20 of us dressed in red making our own parade. But 20 Italians can sound like 100.

Everyone agreed we had just created a new tradition, and would meet again in August for La Festa De San Gennaro to play bocci and eat even more. Everyone was given the assignment to find ONE MORE Italian in town. That's a tall order.

Arrivederci! Ciao Bella mi amici!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My not-very-scientific research

While driving home from a soccer meeting I decided to conduct a little observatory test. I wanted to see how many drivers were talking on their phones while actually operating their car. I only counted the drivers I could clearly see. I suppose blue tooth technology renders my results suspect.

Anyway, here they are:
24 drivers were NOT on the phone
2 drivers were.

To extrapolate - about 8% of your fellow citizens on Minnesota roads clearly don't care about your safety. Another 75% were probably changing the CD, were holding hot coffee between their thighs, were under the influence of something, or terribly drowsy. Have a nice day

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Tag

I've been tagged by Dr. Monkey to describe myself using the letters of my middle name. Interesting.

J - Jocularity. I love humor. I love to laugh. I love to make others laugh. There are very few times in my life when I couldn't find a chuckle. It will be a great life if that can continue.

E - Ennui. The flip side of the above is that sometimes I'm just plain morose. I'm convinced the neocons have locked up the voting machines. I know I'll just never outgrow my acne. I'll never live in an English manor with a cooking staff. Sigh.

A - Anything and Everything. That's me. I'm the Jack of All Trades and Master of None that you've all read and heard about. I know just enough to be dangerous in many areas. In personality tests, I'm always smack in the middle. My music tastes are all over the board. I'm a traditional Mom who bakes some incredible cookies while being a card-carrying feminist and a convert to conspiracy theories. I'm an agnostic who loves gospel and sacred choral music.

N - Northfield, MN. The beautiful Minnesota village I now proudly call home. I've landed in one of the best towns in America, and I thank my lucky stars for it every single day.

Consider yourself tagged

A new definition of doing jack -sh*t.

From Ness City, Kansas
Deputies say that 35-year-old Pam Babcock spent two years in her boyfriend's bathroom. "I've never seen anything like this," Ness County Sheriff Brian Whipple said. Whipple says his office received a call from the woman's boyfriend Corey McFarren saying his girlfriend wouldn't come out of the bathroom.

When deputies arrived, the woman was sitting on the toilet. Her muscles were severely weakened. Her skin had formed a bond with the toilet seat. "We had to break the toilet seat away from the stool, and take her in with the toilet seat stuck to her," Whipple said. Evidently she'd been there for about two years.

As for the woman, deputies say she is refusing to cooperate with doctors and law enforcement. As for her boyfriend, the sheriff says there is a good possibility he may face charges. The Ness County Sheriff says Pam Babcock will undergo a mental evaluation in hopes of shedding light on why this happened.

Can't sleep

I'm awake at 4:30am. Can't sleep. Must be all the garlic in the salsa. Found this bit on YouTube - nothing like a good laugh.

A Beautiful Spring Day

It was a drop-dead beautiful day here in Minnesota. Temps in the 40s and lots of sunshine. It's weather like this that renews my faith in the Upper Midwest.

The sky was the most incredible blue, with big fluffy cumulus clouds on the eastern horizon about dinner time. We even got a little rain shower, which was downright cute.

The sunlight was streaming in our western facing screened porch, and the girls got the creative idea to pose behind the shades. Twin #2 is determined to be a photographer and I think she's got the eye.

We even made a "summery" meal that just enhanced the mood. We sliced up that big ol turkey and made the most incredible paninis. Mine included provolone cheese, pesto, roasted red peppers, and pepperoncini on plain old whole wheat - grill that sucker up and it was mighty tasty. We were so hungry that they didn't last long enough for a photo.

We also made some incredible salsas. Nothing gets me in the mood for Spring like chopping up a bunch of fresh cilantro. Lots of fresh garlic and green onion in there too, and I paid for it all night but it was well worth it. The salsa on the right is just your usual tomato variety with some chopped pineapple. The concoction on the left is BOOKCLUB BEAN SALSA. If anyone wants the recipe let me know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What do ya do with a big smoked turkey ear-ly in the mornin!

My brother recently gave us a large smoked turkey. I've thawed it out now, but have no idea what to do with it. Tonight will probably be paninis with cheese, tomatoes, pesto, etc. Then I considered a shepards pie.

Any other suggestions?

Al, Al, he's our man!

From local news : Al Franken's main competition for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate dropped out Monday, giving the comedian-turned-candidate a major boost. Franken and lawyer Mike Ciresi were vying for the party's endorsement to take on Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in November. Coleman is seeking a second term. Franken has raised millions more in campaign funds and lined up most of the important union endorsements, but Ciresi's impressive resume as a trial attorney and personal wealth positioned him as a potential spoiler to Franken's ambition. Ciresi's statement that he was dropping out indicated he didn't think he could catch up to Franken's lead in rounding up the support of Democratic delegates, who will confer their endorsement at the state party convention in June. Both Franken and Ciresi vowed not to run in the primary election without the party endorsement.

You know what this means - VOTE FOR AL!!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well, can you blame her?

From Kare 11 news: One of the stars of the old Gilligan's Island has been busted for pot possession. Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the show, is serving six months' unsupervised probation after being caught with marijuana in her car.

Well, can you really blame her? If I had to spend any length of my adult life in the company of Gilligan, The Skipper, and those freaky Howells I'd probably need a little toke now and then too just to help erase the trauma. Loved that show as a kid but what did I know? I didn't have any idea what dreck and drivel was! I listened to the Archies and thought Bobby Sherman was hot. Ginger was my first impression of how a desirable woman was supposed to look and act. Some twisted crap going on there.

Poor Mary Ann, never quite Ginger.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ewwwwww on so many levels.

Big news - Naked Sushi has come to the Twin Cities. The Temple Restaurant is hosting the event where for $75 a pop you can eat your raw fish and seaweed off nekkid models.

I don't get it. I don't want my sushi anywhere near someone else's uncovered skin and hair except the hands of the chef. This time the Emperor REALLY has no clothes. I'd almost pay money to watch bizarre wealthy people eating that sushi and pretending this isn't the most insane, pretentious, and downright weird thing they've ever done. Guess it's all the rage in Japan. Well, they can keep it. I'll stick with a plate, thank you.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Happy List Challenge! Yea!!!!!

From Kirelimel who correctly has turned my thoughts to happier things:

Favorite childhood swimsuit
Mine was also red, white, and blue. One of those one-pieces doing an impression of a two-piece.

Favorite summer thing to do in Elementary school
Swim at the local pool and buy root beer barrels at the concession stand. Also get together with my extended family for picnics. I and some combination of cousins would end up doing weird things that we found wildly entertaining, like fishing using cigarette butts as bait. We never caught a thing - wonder why?

Favorite summer thing to do in high school
Lay around - what a lazy lot we were! Of course I had a job, but my free time was my own. We liked to show up at our friend AA's house right around lunch time because her Mom made the most amazing food. Anything that involved my friends and laying around.

What smell really takes you back to summers gone by?
Sun tan oil.

What's the first thing you'll grill when it warms up?

Chicken breast, pounded thin and marinated with some pineapple slices thrown in - if you haven't grilled pineapple yet what are you waiting for? Or some juicy rib eyes.

What is your level of gardening and what will be first in the ground this spring?
My level of gardening can best be described in one word: mediocre.
I've got some great stuff going, and considering I started with a bare lot, that's not bad. I always choose things you can't kill and that don't need much attention. Therefore I love hostas, lilies, flowering bushes, etc. However I might try my hand at an actual tea rose this summer.
First thing in? That would be tomatoes, basil, peppers, and cilantro into my patio barrels. I make great bruschetta, and that fresh basil makes all the difference.

Friday, March 7, 2008

OK, I'm just plain bored now

Am I bored or really depressed? That's the big question today. I'm sick of this weather - more single digits. I'm sick of being cold. I'm sick of making dinner for kids who complain no matter what I cook. My clothes all bore me stiff. I'm ready to burn my parka. My van is just plain dirty and gross, but it's too cold to clean it out. I've got a small migraine that won't go away. Pinching pennies is starting to hurt my fingers. All I want to do is curl up on our comfy couch and nap until late April.

Addendum: it's a whole 6 degrees right now. It was 7 BELOW when I went to work this morning. Will someone please dial up Minnesota and let it know it's MARCH?

Monday, March 3, 2008

My boring weekend, but I like it that way.

Dr. Monkey posted a blog about his fun weekend traveling, browsing antique shops and scanning old ads. He then made the mistake of asking about everyone else's weekend. You asked Dr. Monkey! Here's a run down of the most boring weekend on record, but I kind of like it that way.

I've had a bit too much drama in my life during the last 5 years, and boring has taken on a whole new meaning. Boring means no one has cancer. Boring means no one is in the hospital. Boring means my entire family is safe and sound. Boring and I have an entirely new relationship.

Saturday I took two daughters to Rochester, Minnesota. There we met my brother-in-law Aunt Mike, cousin #2 (happy birthday), and two of his friends for lunch at Culvers and to exchange a laptop. Culvers is an interesting midwest/southern fast food place. Home of the butter burger. Now those are two boring words I like to see together; butter and burger. They actually have a waiting line for tables.

That afternoon I did laundry while trying to establish a wireless connection with the new laptop. Only one chore was successful. I made boring leftovers for supper. The rest of the night had my youngest and I painting each other's toenails and watching the boring Harry Potter marathon on Disney Family channel. I also sprinkled rock salt on the very boring ice that's continuously forming on our front step.

Sunday morning twin #2 and I headed out for the very boring Volleyball Warehouse for a day-long tournament. Besides volleyball, this institution's main purpose is to separate me from my money. They charge admission and don't allow outside food or drink, so I am forced to purchase their expensive and unhealthy concession stand choices. Lately I've started stuffing my "purse" with my own food and drink. Screw em and their boring greedy ways.

Between daughter's volleyball games, which are not always boring, I read the very un-boring book "Stiff. The Curious Life of Human Cadavers". Our blogging pal MG, who thinks he's boring but isn't, recommended this book. It is a fabulous choice - really interesting in a morbid but very funny way.

Sunday night we were all tired and had the boring Sunday night blahs. We all, yes all 5 of us, sprawled on the couch watching Food Network - we love BBQ contest programs. We ate our usual Sunday night dinner of hubbys frozen pizza or popcorn, than all retired early.

Yes, boring, all weekend long. But I'll take it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

59 Banjoists Play Foggy Mountain Breakdown for Guinness

A little something really happy for a gray winter day.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

John Hartford

Just took a little car trip with my kids, and on the way we listened to John Hartford. He was a major celebrity in my little corner of the world. He was an amazingly talented musician - banjo, vocals, fiddle, dance, you name it. His music was all over the map from classic oldies and gospel to the avant garde lyrics of his own composition. My family adored him. We got close enough to hear that marvelous one-of-a-kind voice in conversation at a performance in Stone City, Iowa in the early 1980's. We were all slack-jawed in awe and respect. Sadly John Hartford died a few years back. I sure miss his music, but at least I have my memories.