Another One Bites the Dust Cover

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I recently discovered that a local bookstore is being compelled to close its doors because it’s not getting enough business to stay open.  I have walked past this bookstore a bajillionty times, as it is directly across the street from my courthouse, but until last week, I had never once previously gone inside.  And I am deeply ashamed of this fact.  I am the reason that this store is closing.

And yes, while it is not only my fault, as my sole patronage probably would not have prevented the store’s going out of business, it is me and people like me that caused this to happen.  You see, I love books.  Even in the age of all things electronic, whether it be a Kindle, a Nook or an iPad, I still prefer reading actual books to any other mode of viewing literature.  I love the feel of a book, the smell of the pages, the heft of the bound papers in my hand. 

There is a local used book store near my home that I visit every couple of months, perusing their rows and rows of used novels, in the attempt to find an as yet undiscovered gem.  I will also take the books I have finished reading to this shop to trade them in for more books.  But my true transgression is this . . . I buy most of my books from Amazon.  So, you see, I am part of the problem which has developed in this generation of electronic ease and convenience.  Because, even though I still prefer my books the old-fashioned way, I will much more readily click online to order, rather than visit a local brick and mortar shop.  And this is why so many of these little shops are closing down. 

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So, in the spirit of too little, too late, I paid a much delayed visit to this closing book store.  It may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that every book in the store was $3.00 or less.  It was a lovely little store.  Much bigger and deeper than I had imagined from the outside.  On a table to the left of the entrance, there was a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica books for sale.  Huge, dusty tomes that will probably sit there until they are packed up by the owner with the remainder of the undesirable and unsellable books.  What with Google and Wikipedia at the click of a mouse, who needs big, outdated books to tell you what you need to know?  However, it was quite the trip to nostalgiaville seeing that entire set sitting there, since I grew up with a complete set on a bookcase in my own childhood home.  It was where you would find me when research papers came due for grade school projects.

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And speaking of old school . . . there was a shelf labelled “Vintage” filled with numerous Hardy Boys mysteries and even some Bobbsey twins.  I did not see any Nancy Drew, as I imagine someone else probably snatched those up already.

In my search through this soon to be extinct shop, I was able to find a few books to purchase for myself.  But along with those, I discovered another rare gem . . . and this week’s giveaway!!

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When I saw this and started flipping through it in the store, it made me laugh.  I knew that I had to get it and give it to one lucky reader.  Preferably one that is of the appropriate age, per the book’s guidance (see that little print down in the lower left corner . . . go ahead, get your glasses . . . I’ll wait).

I am sure that you are curious as to what this book contains, as I was as well.  Well, feast your eyes on just a sampling of the valuable queries in this book, enabling you to transcribe your own info for future reference.  Basically, when you get too old to remember your name, you can have this handy mid-life guide!

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Very helpful, indeed!

Now, before you go denying that you want this handy little helper of a book, don’t think that I am calling you old.  No way, I would never do such a thing.  What’s calling you old is your grey hairs, saggy boobs and receding hairlines.  Take a gander in the mirror, my friends, before you start throwing the pitch forks around this way, k?  Sheesh!!

So, who wants it?  Anyone, anyone?  Hello?

Hmmm . . . I’ll be curious to see how this goes.  If you do indeed want it, this is what you shall do . . . comment on how you first realized you were old.  Was it a physical thing (grey hair, wrinkles, etc.)?  Was it a failing ability (poor sight, bad hearing, etc.)?  Was it some young punk kid calling you “ma’am?”  (Damn kids these days, grumble grumble).  Or was it something else?  Go ahead, fess up.  It’s happened to all of us!

And just to be fair, I will throw in another little treat as well, so it’s not just the book.  I haven’t decided what it will be yet, but it will be fun.  Probably not Metamucil.  I mean, unless that’s something you’re needing right now, because if so, I’ve got you covered!!

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This is your last reminder . . . if you haven’t already gone over to Noa’s Funny Bitch All-Star page to vote for yours truly (about halfway down the list) . . . what are you waiting for???  I would be ever so grateful if you were to do so.  This will be my last post for a while, as I am leaving for Disney with the fam oh so very early Saturday morning and will not return for a full week.  It would be just delightful to see that I made the All-Stars’ list prior to my departure.  PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN!!  Thanks, all!  See ya on the flip side.

Poppin’ Fresh

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had received a super rad birthday present from my friend Jules . . .

Remember this?

Remember this?

And upon perusing this amazingly fantastic book, I discovered a recipe that I felt I was compelled to try.  One bacon recipe out of the hundreds that called out to me as the first item that must be concocted from the plethora of deliciously tempting options.  But this siren recipe was not for me.  No, it summoned me to create this unique treat for none other than my friend Thoughtsy.

Fig & Bacon Pop Tarts!!

Fig & Bacon Pop Tarts!!

You see, I had plans to meet her for dinner this past week.  And although the date kept getting moved around and rescheduled, we somehow finally got our shit together enough to actually make it happen.  So, having discovered this recipe in the book earlier, and wanting to try to make it for Thoughtsy, I figured this would be the perfect time to try it out.  Not to mention that it looked super easy and only had four ingredients.  Score!!

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I will admit, though, that finding fig jam wasn’t the easiest task.  Luckily, my supermarket actually had some, but it was Fig preserves, so I was going über fancy.  The rest of the stuff was cake.  (Mmmm, cake).

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So, they kinda look like Pop Tarts, no?  I mean, sort of more like pastries, but what do you expect from 4 ingredients.  This is what they looked like inside:

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Well, I guess you are wondering how they tasted now, aren’t you?  Jeesh, you are so demanding!  Well, I will say this.  They weren’t bad.  They weren’t necessarily good, but not horrible.  I wouldn’t particularly say they tasted like Pop Tarts, though.  More of a savory fig tart.  Although, you can really taste the bacon (maybe because I used an approximate fuckton of it).

But, if you are a fan of both figs and bacon, you just might enjoy this.  The recipe is above, so if you are feeling it, go for it!

Oh, and if you want to know if Thoughtsy liked them . . .

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. . . well, she at least pretended to like them.  But even if she didn’t end up enjoying them, I also provided a back up that I know she loves.  You can’t go wrong with Red Velvet Pop Tarts.  And lest you think I escaped gifting, Thoughtsy brought a couple of things for me as well:

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We’ve come to discover that she always brings me some kind of flavored booze, and I always bring her some sort of Pop Tarts.  It’s our thing.  And it works for us, apparently.  We’re totally ok with that.

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Don’t forget to visit Noa’s League of Funny Bitches All-Stars page!!  Vote for me (and any other funny bitch you prefer).  I’m about halfway down the long list of super funny bitches.  Please, please, please, please, please???  I’ll make you Pop Tarts!!  (Just be careful what you wish for, there).

Mustache Winner!!

A couple of weeks ago, you might have noticed this little giveaway post.  It was buried underneath a couple pounds of bacon, so you might have been a wee bit distracted.  Perfectly natural.  Mmmmm ,bacon.  Oh, sorry . . . what were we talking about?  Oh yeah, that’s right.

In case you were too busy attempting to extract yourself from the bacon porn that was dominating that post, and somehow missed the giveaway part of it . . . these were the items being offered up for the chance to win:

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Luckily, some people were able to get past the deliciousness of that post, and actually contributed with a comment about something nice someone had done for them lately.  Those lucky participants’ names were placed in a hat, and a name was chosen by my son.  That chosen individual has won the above items.

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And the lucky winner is:

Sorry about the blur.  The boy would NOT stop moving his hands.

Sorry about the blur. The boy would NOT stop moving his hands.

FRESH GINGER!!!

Congrats, lady.  Just send me your deets at mistyslaws at gmail dot com, and I will send out these fab items to you pronto!!

For those of you who were not lucky enough to be the chosen one, blame my kid.  I had nothing to do with it.  Oh, and also . . . stay tuned for another giveaway soon.  I’m contemplating what to feature, although I just might wait until Disney to see what kind of fab items they might have for me to give to a lucky participant.  Decisions, decisions.  Hmmmm . . .

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Wait!!  Don’t go . . . even though you might not have won any prizes, how about you do something for me??  I’m up for nomination as one of Oh Noa‘s Funny Bitch All-Stars.  I would really appreciate it if you would take a minute to visit and vote for me (and a bunch of other truly funny bitches as well, of course).  I mean really, I don’t ask for much, people.  Just your undying love and affection for all time and eternity!  Is that too much to ask?  Hello?  Where are you going . . . ?

Missing Snowmen

As I was preparing to leave for work a few days ago, my son asked me a question that hit me deep in the cockles of mi corazon.

He said:  Mom, are you going to come to my last karate practice tomorrow to see me get my belt, like last year?

Thwwwwaaaappp!!  That’s the sound of an arrow of guilt striking me right through the heart.

Of course, I had to respond:  “No sweetie, mommy has to work and won’t get home until after karate is over.”

And once again, I had to break my son’s heart just a little bit by telling him that mommy can’t be there for him when he asks me to.

This is not the first time I’ve had to miss one of my sons’ events because of my job.  And it won’t be the last.  It is just the nature of the beast of being a mom who works outside of the home.  There are many things that I can’t be there for.  And it is weighing very heavily on me.  Each time I miss another special event and once again disappoint my kids, I feel more and more like a horrible mother.  And while I know that the whole “super mom” thing is a total fallacy which only sets parents up for failure, not being able to participate in special events with my kids just makes me feel like I’ve failed.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to experience the joy of joining my kids for one of those special events.  It snowed on a weekend, for once, so I was able to go out with them and build snowmen, throw snowballs, make snow angels and then make hot cocoa for them afterwards.  It was a lovely day in which I was able to spend some real quality time with my kids, and just be a fun mom for a change.  Instead of the mom that is always running out of the door, headed to work.  Or the tired mom at the end of the day, home after a long commute and eternal day in court, cranky and snapping at them during dinner.

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Of course, this one snow day set a precedent in my 7 year old’s mind, so that the next time it snowed, on a weekday this time, he asked if I was going to go outside with him to build a snowman.  But it was a Wednesday.  And even though my kids’ school was closed, I still had to go to work.  So, I would be forced to miss the snowman building, which I reluctantly informed my son when he asked.  I was then once again treated to an all too familiar sight . . .  watching his face morph from hopeful anticipation . . . to disappointment.  I abhor that look on my son’s face.  Especially when it’s me who is the cause of it.  It carves a chunk right out of my heart each time I experience that sad puppy dog face of his.

Lately, I really feel as if I am missing so much of my sons’ lives.  Not just the special activities like snow days and karate belts, but the day-to-day minutia.  The everyday little things that a stay at home mom experiences, and gets frustrated with, of course, is something that I never really have to deal with.  And while most of that is just annoying or boring daily activities, and I don’t necessarily miss all of that, I still feel like a huge part of my children’s lives are just passing me by.

I am very fortunate to have an au pair.  Someone who is there to take care of my kids and tend to all their needs.  This way, I am able to work, knowing that at least someone is on hand and available to my kids at all times.  But there is a serious drawback to this, as well.  Like when my youngest calls out to ask me a question, and instead of saying, “mom?” he says, “Maria?”  The au pair’s name.  Because he is so used to calling on her, instead of me.  As far as I know, he doesn’t call her mom, but I assume that can only be the next step.  And it terrifies me.  I am no longer “mom, the caregiver.”  I am “mom, the neverthere.”  And I’m not sure how and when this happened.

I have always worked.  Before my kids were born and throughout their lives, I have always been gainfully employed.  It is part of who I am.  I am a lawyer.  A professional woman.  I have never identified myself as a mommy.  I mean, I am a mommy, but that never seemed to be the role that defined me.  I hear stories from stay at home moms about how they lose their name and become known only as “Junior’s mommy.”  I have never been “Junior’s mommy.”  I’ve always been Misty.  But lately, I have this crazy feeling welling up inside of me that is pushing against that sense of self.  A feeling that I want to be Mommy.  Not just Misty.

Really, for the first time in my children’s lives, I want to be home with them.  I want to be the one doing all of those little annoying daily things for and with them.  I want to be the one they call on instinctually when they need or want something.  I want to be there for them.  Not just for the special moments, but for all of the moments.  I want to be a mom.  Just a mom.

Wait, what?  Holy hell!!  Am I crazy???  Who the hell just wrote all that crap?  Did my blog get hacked?  I’m not even sure what is going on any more . . .

I may be having some sort of mid-life nervous crisis breakdown or something.  Somebody, please send some help.  Or some drugs.  I may be having an out-of-body experience right now.  I don’t even know who I am any more!

And how friggin’ bass ackwards am I?  Whereas, most stay at home moms quit their jobs to stay home with their newborn babies, and if they return to work, it is usually when the kids go to school.  Me?  Yeah, I work throughout my kids’ babydom, then decide I want to be home with them when the youngest is just about to start kindergarten.  I am the most appropriate, ever!

As you can see by the disjointed and schizophrenic nature of this post, I don’t really know what I want right now.  But this feeling of possibly taking on a new and previously undiscovered role in my children’s lives has been steadily and persistently surfacing in my mind as a possible option for what to do with my future.  But also, as much as it has become a real thought, it also scares the hell out of me.  On the one hand, if I were to take the leap and become a stay at home mom (oh my god!), I would never have to miss any more of those little moments.  The snowmen, the karate, the class parties and trips . . .  I could be present for all of that.  No more absent mommy.  No more, “Maria?”  But on the other hand, am I ready to quit my job, ending a much needed source of income, and completely abandoning all sense of professionalism that I have always maintained and strived to obtain?  Not an attorney and a mom.  But just a mom.  It’s a possibility.

Who knows what the future holds.  But the thought persists.  It is pervasive.  And I am considering it . . .

Haaaaaaaave ya met VAL?

My friend Val, who blogs over here at Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi, is completely and totally rad.  She also lives in New Jersey, which is where I found myself a few weeks ago for a birthday trip fiesta.  We had planned on meeting at my hotel, since I was gonna be in her neck of the woods and we had been trying to get our awesome selves into the same place at the same time for months.  At first, she was planning a President’s Day weekend down to the B-more area, but alas, that fell through.  But then, when I realized I was gonna be in Joy-zee at the end of February, I asked if she wanted to try to meet there, and a plan was born.

On the drive up to Atlantic City, I texted her to confirm that we were still on.*  What follows is the epic conversation that ensued as I was on my journey to her home state:

VAL:  Can’t wait!!!  I hope you have a glorious bday weekend!!
ME:  Yay!!  I am so fucking excited for this weekend.  I’m gonna sleep SO HARD.  That’s right, I party like a rock star.
VAL:  I was literally just fantasizing about Sleep.  Sleep is the sexiest thing.  Perhaps ever.
ME:  I want to have Sleep’s babies.
VAL:  I love when I wake up with Sleep in the corner of my eyes.  Cuz I know it was a good night.  😉
ME:  I’m just glad Sleep is man enough for us to share without any jealousy.
VAL:  Yeah.  But . . . now that I think about it . . . Sleep is kind of a whore.
ME:  Total whore.  He really gets around.  And sometimes, when I’m craving him in my bed, he is nowhere to be found.  Probably shacked up with the neighbor.  Bitch.
VAL:  Right?!?  Here I am . . . all ready, willing and able . . .  and he’s off with my dog.
ME:  And then sometimes, sometimes he shows up wanting to hang when I just can’t do it.  Like at work.  INAPPROPRIATE Sleep!!
VAL:  That happened to me today!!  I’m no booty call, Sleep!  I’m a LADY!!!
ME:  Or like when I’m in the car.  I ain’t no car ho!  At least . . . not anymore . . .
VAL:  Exactly!  I’m done with conceiving kids in cars . . .  I’m not in my 20’s anymore.
ME:  Right?  I need a warm bed or hell even a couch, before I feel comfortable being with him.  I’m old.  Not like the college days where I would experiment and do him in the basement of the frat house!
VAL:  Sleep just thinks we will never age.  Well, I did age, Sleep!!  And now my neck gets a kink in it and I can’t turn my head to the right for days!!  So, be respectful and give me a fluffy pillow!!
ME:  I know.  I’m too damn old to do it on the floor anymore!
VAL:  I could totally pull a hammy!!  Gotta stretch it out first!
ME:  None of that legs above my head shit, either.  Damn.
VAL:  Seriously, I’m not a gymnast, Sleep!  Keep it real!
ME:  What really pisses me off is when he visits my husband and refuses to come over on my side of the bed.  I’m open for stuff, Sleep.  You can do us both at the same time!
VAL:  Sleep is such a prude whore!!!
ME:  Tru dat.

Unfortunately, my dreams of a restful, sleep-filled weekend were not to be, as I couldn’t seem to get comfortable in the hotel bed and tossed and turned throughout my restless nights there.  Which is completely adverse to my normal sleep like the dead even if a helicopter lands in your backyard mode of zonking out (yep, totally happened).  I think Sleep heard me talking smack about him and decided he was going to teach me a lesson.  Well played, Sleep.  Well played, indeed.

* Sadly, Val found out the day before our meeting that her beloved dog had a tumor in his leg, so she had to cancel.  I was very disappointed, but obviously understood that she needed to be with her family and handle this unfortunate situation.   
 
Of course, that means we STILL haven’t met yet.  It’s like the universe is fearful of all of our awesomeness being combined in the same atmosphere and that it’s magnitude will cause a shift in the space/time continuum or something.  Pfft.  I’m willing to take that chance.  It will be totally worth it.  Bring it!
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What is YOUR favorite thing about Sleep?

***** Don’t forget to throw your hat in for this awesome giveaway!!  Not many people have entered, so either nobody loves me (most probably), or nobody wants the free stuff I’m trying to give out (who doesn’t love free stuff?).  Don’t make me take my toys and go home, people.  Show the love!!

The Big Reveal

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was planning to take my kids to Disney World for the first time, and I was looking for some advice from some of you more experienced peeps who have been there before.  Well, this past weekend, we finally broke the news to the kiddos that we were going.  And we did it like this:

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That’s right . . . it was a scavenger hunt!!  The boys had to go around to different rooms, collecting gifts (one for each, in 4 different rooms), until they had them all and could go to the final room.  I had also attached 6 little cards to the presents with a letter on each.  Those 6 little letters would eventually spell out the final destination for our trip.

And so it began . . .

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The first stop was THE PLAYROOM!

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In case you couldn’t figure that one out . . . it’s THE BATHROOM.

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Next stop . . . THE OFFICE.

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Pretty obvious that this spot is THE KITCHEN.

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Our last stop was THE LIVING ROOM (where we began our journey).  Then, the boys had to take all the little cards attached to the gifts, each with one letter printed on it, and unscramble it to discover what word those letters spelled out.  I was actually surprised at how long it took my oldest to figure it out, as he is very bright and can do crazy math problems in his head.  I figured those 6 little letters wouldn’t stand a chance.  But he struggled for a while, and my youngest just kept asking, “can we open our presents now?”  So, even though my son doesn’t get my math idiocy (thankfully), he did inherit my inability to see the solution to scrambled words.  It’s one of my very distinct weaknesses.  I just can’t see it.  It is so frustrating.  And apparently, I passed this down to my son.  Sorry, kid.

Finally though, with just a little help from his dad and me, he finally figured it out.

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And that’s when we told them we would be going to Disney World in 3 weeks for their spring break.  And then there was much excitement and cheering.  And present opening, of course.

Now I have to start the overwhelming process of planning all of the details of this whole trip.  Oy vey.

Wish me luck!!

Mustaches and Bacon Make Everything Better!

I’m a giver.  I love sending random cards, gifts and other items to people who I feel might need a little something to brighten their day.  Whether it’s for a birthday, a get well gesture or just an “I’m thinking of you” gift, I just love the feeling of making someone smile because of something I sent to them.  And all except for Jen (stupid Portland P.O.), everyone I send presents to, actually get them.

So, that leads me to the point of this post.  It’s time for another . . .

GIVEAWAY!!

But we’ll get to that in a bit, so bear with me.  First . . . a story.

The other night, I came home from work and found my husband in the kitchen, busy fixing dinner for the boys.  He had gotten a bug up his butt to prepare a meatloaf for them, searched online for a good recipe, and then started whipping up a jam.  When I walked in the door, he was elbow deep in ground beef and eggs.  I then saw that he had even concocted a homemade batch of tomato pepper relish that was to go in and on the meatloaf.  I left him in the morning, a sleeping bear in the bed, and came home to Emeril Lagasse, apparently.  Not that I mind.  I mean as far as the cooking goes . . . I’m not exactly hot for Emeril or anything.  Don’t get it twisted.

Homemade pepper relish.  Yum!

Homemade tomato pepper relish. Yum!

Oh, and did I mention that after the meatloaf was put it the pan, shaped, and topped with relish, it was then topped with . . . wait for it . . . BACON.

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Of course, I asked if there was something I could do to help, and he directed me to the fresh brussels sprouts sitting on the counter, saying he was going to try to whip up a side dish of brussels sprouts with bacon.  When I asked if he had a recipe, he told me he had planned on just “winging it.”  Uh-oh.  So, I offered to handle it, not that I had ever made anything like that before, either.  But off to Google I went!  And found a perfect recipe for the ingredients on hand.

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Everything turned out incredible.  But I will advise you, as to the brussels sprouts, if you make this, you may be tempted to not use much salt, thinking the bacon will take care of the salt quotient, but if you think that as I did, you would be very very wrong.  Salt.  Use salt.  It needs it.

Here are the finished products:

Click picture for recipe.

Click picture for recipe.

Click picture for recipe.

Click picture for recipe.

And I will tell you that both of my boys gave the meatloaf high marks, and my youngest gave the brussels sprouts two thumbs up.  Not only that, but they actually requested the meatloaf again the next night.  I think one of the ingredients in there might be magic.  True story.

Ok, now that you’ve got your bacon fix for the day, even if only tangentially through the pics, it is now time for the promised giveaway.  I saw these items at The House of Blues gift shop in the casino, and just knew that I had to get them . . . for you!

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Awesome, yes?  You want it, right?  Worth playing for?  (Ok, I might be channeling Jeff Probst right now, sorry).  Ok, here’s your objective, should you choose to accept it . . .

Tell me a story.  A story about something unexpected that someone did for you.  Did your husband surprise you by whipping up dinner?  Did someone send you a surprising pick me up?  Something nice and not requested or expected.  Tell me all about it in the comments . . .

I’ll have one of my boys pick a name next week.  Good luck to all.  And let me know if you try the recipes and how they turn out.  They are 4 & 7 approved!

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