Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today I am one day older than yesterday

Today is also my birthday. Today I have deemed it such that I turn inscrutably old. Which means, of course, that there shall be NO SCRUTING of me from this point forward. Seriously, you should be done with the scruting of me by now, that's how old I am.

While the number of years is not a 'landmark' this year, it's so close as to be merely a prep for the landmark to come, as it shall take me almost a year to adjust to the notion that next year, it'll be LANDMARK AHOY!

Also, today is about the shouting, in honor of Tracy Kaply. And my youth. Which involved a lot of random shouting. Shouting used to be fun, and sometimes involved no real reason, as in 'drive around with Jeannie and scream' outings when I was 17. If she reads this, she'll get it. Frank Langella, baby, and DIRTY PILLOWS!

God, can I really be as old as I am? Also, as my Mom never made it past 39 (admittedly, she's bound to be older (yes, she's alive and kicking) than that now but won't cop to it), which would make me the product of her womb when she wasn't even born yet, which is really really creepy in a sideshow-I'd-like-to-go-to way. Seriously, next year, when I have one of those landmark years, she's totally going to have to up the burn on her own chronology, or people are going to talk.

So yep. Birthday. I'm going to go stare at the CAKE DOME a while and plan out how to find whoever invented the "Happy Napper," which I just heard an ad for on the teevee and now want to invite to a slap fight with "Princess Unicorn and Love Bug." Good grief...people BUY this crap? What has this world come to, when special TOYS are needed to entice children to sleep? Are dogs mating with goats? Has fire started falling from the sky? Did I miss the Rapture (again) and am left with the dregs of humanity, the sniffers of glues, the pantywaist milquetoasts of creation who wallow in their own fear and sweat when faced with a Double Jeopardy question about 'Governments of the World'? Because that would suck, as it's my birthday, and the RAPTURE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN ON MY BIRTHDAY.

Also, get off my lawn. It's gestating.



Oh, and just so you know? 14 years ago on my birthday I was in the emergency room. For 8 HOURS. With a newborn perma-sucking away while I waited for someone to maybe come take a look at the possible BLOOD CLOT that had planted itself inside my left knee. Good times, baby, dang good times. Because nothing hollers party like a room full of wounded people. ROCK ON!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


After yesterday's sog-fest of an afternoon (rain.all.day.), today is bright and shiny and ready for anything. So, in honor of the promise, it has been deemed that today is date day!

OK, that's how I'M thinking of it. Haven't cleared the moniker with the Mister yet.

First, coffee. Then, he zips around in an airplane while I do my walkies. There's a perfect 3-mile loop that takes me a little under an hour to do, so by the time he's down I'm sitting pretty out front of the terminal, cooling off.

Then, after getting prettied up, we're off to make good on a couple of Groupon/Living Social deals. First, we're doing some pottery painting at Bisque Art in Raleigh (20 bucks off! Sweet!), then we're taking a factory/tasting tour at Roth Brewery. Check out the deal I got on the brewery thing - it was 19 bucks for the tour, a pint free, the pint GLASS, and a deposit on a growler (and I think that's it). If we could somehow work in a baseball game, it would be the perfect day.

Oh! And I got tickets to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones next week at the NC Art Museum! Art musuem? Yep - they have a huge outdoor theater there, some under canopy and some general admission lawn seating. At 22 bucks a tickets you can bet I went with the lawn seating. Should have bought the Groupon for a museum membership last fall when it was offered - I bet I would have saved a bundle on those tix.

So, that's my day. I hope yours is a satisfying as a warm doughnut or a 2-hour nap.

Tiff out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the one you might not want to read

I will be quite honest with you. You might not want to read this post. It will not be funny, or amusing in any way. This post, though, is nagging on my heart, a thing of darkness and necessity. I feel like someone out there needs to read these words, today, and hear them as if they were talking with themselves. If you are that person, read this and know you are not alone, that you are capable of being more than a scared soul locked in a dreadful spiral of hurt and shame. I know how you feel - I've been that girl.


The first time someone imposed themselves physically on me I was 12. It was innocent, as far as he knew, but he'd raided his folks' liquor cabinet on New Year's Eve and was itching for a good time. Somehow, he'd found out where I was babysitting, and called me up. "Hey, can I come over?" No. "Aw, come on" No. "I'm coming over." I won't let you in. Knock knock. "It's raining, at least let me in to dry off" No. "Please?" Oh OK. As soon as he was halfway through the door he grabbed me and kissed me, slobbery, on the mouth. I shoved him back out that door, into he cold rain, without his umbrella, and ran to the bathroom to scrub at my face until it was raw. I should have been happy a boy wanted to kiss me, but I was ashamed.

The nest time, I was 13. The Dad of the kids I was sitting for offered to drive me home. He'd had a few drinks while out which had aroused his inner Lolita complex. He locked the car doors and wouldn't let me out, pawing at my breasts and grabbing at my head to kiss him. I clocked him in the jaw good one, spat at him, and when he sensed defeat, he let me out, hissing 'that's the last time you'll sit for us, bitch.' Good, I thought. I went upstairs and scrubbed at my face until it was raw. Maybe I should have felt grateful an older man was attracted to me, but I was ashamed.

I avoided dating in high school, though I was desperate to be loved. I didn't know how to act around boys, and made myself so aloof and awkward that nobody asked me out. Except for one semi-disastrous date Freshman year, I didn't go out with any boys.

In college and grad school I had many adventures, some of which were with boyfriends who taught me many things, mostly fun and good and so I felt grand and forgot those early shameful experiences.

Later in life, when I was in a new place and lonely, I was asked out by a guy I met at a bar. He was going take me to dinner, I said yes. Then he offered to cook me dinner, and I said yes. Then, after dinner, he wanted to go up to his room to 'play backgammon and talk" to get away from his roommates. I, stupidly, said yes. This was all he needed to assume I wanted to do far more than play backgammon, and once the door was shut and locked (I said no to that, but he didn't listen), I was taken advantage of in the most awful way. Being physically overpowered while my accoster whispered "I bet you like this, huh?" as my clothes were torn away with his one hand (because his other was over my mouth) was horrifying, demeaning, and embarrassing. When he was done, I shoved him off me, spit in his face, grabbed my clothes and ran. Thank God I'd driven my own car there. I should have been thankful a big strong handsome man wanted to sleep with me, but I was ashamed, and a tankful of hot water couldn't wash that off of me.

I avoided guys after that for a while. Then I met someone, again while I was in a new place and lonely, in a bar, and he offered to take me out to dinner. I said yes. At dinner he acted like a total tool, and I decided I hated him. He was driving though, so I had to live through the ride home. He locked the doors, leaned across the seat, and said 'I'll let you go if you kiss me.' With gritted teeth I did so, and kissed him so angrily I hurt him. He did not like that, one bit, and twisted my right breast so hard I thought he'd torn it off. I punched him in the crotch. He unlocked the door, shoved me out, and cussed me a blue streak while tearing out of my yard. I never went back to that bar. I should have been thrilled someone wanted to date me, and wanted to kiss me, but I was ashamed.

I've been awakened with someone's hands around my throat. I've had the shirt ripped off of me. I've had dishes broken because 'I wasn't paying attention.' I've been cussed out, called names, threatened, and berated for hours on end for things real and imagined. I've had hate poured out on me in such heavy bucketloads I thought I would break. I've given up so many bits of my soul that I thought I'd lost myself forever. I should have been happy to have a home and job and health, but I was ashamed at how I let myself be treated. Ashamed, and angry.

Anger is key.

Anger helped me to, one day, stop being the victim. One day, when I was being told again how useless I was because of something utterly stupid, trivial, untrue, and spiteful, I got so furious that quit taking it. Funny how being attacked while you're folding laundry puts a fresh new perspective on the abuse you've been willing to take. Funny how the coping you've done for years all of a sudden falls apart like a ragged old shirt that just yesterday you wore out in public but would never dare put on again. Funny how once the fog of shame lifts, there's abundant harsh clarity to inform the next steps you have to take.

I quit being a victim just about 30 years after the first man pushed himself on me, making me his prize to be taken, his treasure to be tarnished. I quit believing so little of myself that I believed this is what life was about, that I had to take the abuse.

On that day, anger something cracked open inside me fierce and raw. On that same da, unfortunately, I quickly sealed up the crack, afraid of the knife-sharp edges of ferocious sadness, and pretended that what was bubbling up out of it was better sealed inside. On that day, I thought I could make a new me through grit and a knack for forgetting bad things, but I was wrong.

You see, denying those experiences does me a disservice. Who I was then is part of who I am now. Her actions then inform my actions now. That woman IS me. That life WAS mine. Those experiences, brewed together over 30 years of negative experiences, drugged my sensibilities to the point where forgetting, sweeping away, seemed the wisest course to take. It was, most certainly, NOT.

Forgetting, denying, belittling of those experiences takes some of the depth of my experiences away, fills in the crags of who I am with complicit agreement with how I was treated. I thought I could soften their impact with a thorough coating of "I choose to not think about this right now,' but that's like filling a boxing glove with broken glass and goose feathers - as much padding as you put in, those sharp parts are still there and will, eventually, hurt you, bad.

Acknowledgement of those dreadful experiences, and moving BEYOND them, is the key.

First though, you have to acknowledge.

If you are in this situation now, do not be like me. Do not let that second dish be broken because 'you made me do it.' Realize that you are worthy of real love, of nourishing and acceptance, that you are not the broken thing. You can be whole, can be beautiful for someone just as you are, for who you are and not who they think you should be or how they think you should act. Do NOT let 30 years, or 3 MONTHS, go by, thinking 'this is how it is.' It's NOT how it is. Not at all, and even if you live alone for the rest of your life, there's far more peace in that than in waiting for the next attack, the next bad thing to happen at the hands of someone else.

There's never an acceptable amount of predation in a relationship. There's never an acceptable amount of violence. If you've been attacked once, seek out what it is that allowed that to happen, and don't do that again if it's within your power. If you're in a nasty relationship, walk away. You deserve far more than a life of dreading the sound of a car coming up the driveway or dating 'that guy/girl' because s(he)'s the only one who has shown interest.

Please, learn from my lessons. It took me long enough, and once I turned around and walked out my life changed for so much more good that I'm stunned, daily, how liberating it is to just BE. Not perfect, not even close, but by just being me it's enough for some people.

Me included.

Whoever you are that made me write this - I love you, and hope you get the help you need to make a new life, for YOU. You deserve so much more than you have right now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Funny-looking kid strikes gold

Driving to Thing 2's middle school this morning, we were intercepted by a glittering string of light brown floss, floating on the wind, impossibly thin and supple, without weight or form, as though freed from a coffin...

Fascinated by its movement, I stupidly drove straight into the writhing mass. For a moment I was cofused by its form as it resembled what might be near-historic impossibility, a gutted cassette tape, which went extinct in 1988!

A TAPE? A real TAPE? Nonsense!

And yet, there it was, caught on Jiminy's (the new van has a name!), antenna and flapping dangerously close to other cars' netherbits with their spinny things and the so-and-so and the pudding pops and what have you.

Something in my head stupidly thought 'oh no! We have to haul in the relic before it gets caught in the catalytic converter of the car(s) behind us and twists up in a knot of improbable strength and proportion, sucking us and the cars behind us into a daisy chain of twisted metal that, somehow, has snagged the tape in such a way as to send it reeling through the radiator grills of all involved vehicles with just enough traction to play 'Take My Breath Away' over and over again until the last cylinder stops spinning the only functioning timing belt and we all die!'

Because y'all, it could happen.

And thus it was that Thing 2, at his mother's insistence, spent a good 5 minutes hauling in through the passenger window a VAST amount of shiny brown tape, a complete archeological find as far as he's concerned as he is not familiar with 'the tape' except the there's a slot for it in Jiminy's dashboard and so the concept needed to be explained a while ago. He has never played a cassette in his LIFE, people, and CDs are almost as quaint as antimacassars!

Nevertheless, in it came, a source of small amazement and a full smack upside the head to this older mama that what she used to think was too cool is now viewed by my kids through the same filter as I looked at the 1950's of MY parents' generation.

And so it goes, y'all. We are born to be replaced, and that's becoming more and more fine with me. I'm comfy down here in this ol rut, anyhow.


Being that I'm seemingly all about the reveal lately, let me tell you something about my lovely Thing 1's band concert tonight.

It was enjoyable. It would have been MORE enjoyable if the band director didn't bury my baby in the last row of the back row of the kind-of-small band, but such is the way for all trombone players, and thus it was with him tonight.

Nevertheless, the selections chosen by the director were perfect for the band, challenging, and ended with a real bang ('Abram's Pursuit,' Holsinger 1945, but not quite as fast as in that vid). Even if I could only HEAR my kiddo, I knew he was there, and that's enough. From my days as a 'buried in the back' horn player, I know that some of us aren't as flashy as a flute player, but as necessary to getting the job done as the glitz holding down the front row.

So proud of him for sticking with the trombone. It's 'his thing,' and long my it be so. And thing 2 as well! In a couple of years they'll be able to sit in the same GROUP and play together, and then I will be that lady in the corner with the tissues and the bawling and the proud and, if lo, they only still made them, the pudding pops.

Well, maybe not the pudding pops, but certainly the puffed-upedness and the joy of seeing my kids being taken where nothing but music can take them, together. RAPTURE!

Oh dear, have I just predicted something?

Tiff out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to break my heart

I had to take off from work a little (2 hours!) early this afternoon to get home to pick up Thing 1 to go to his Dad's house so he could root through his bedroom over there to find his tux for the band concert he's playing in tonight so we could get home at a decent hour so I could check back in with work before stopping at 5:30 or so to get ready for a meeting at the TinyHouse tonight.

That's right, by 2:30 in the afternoon I already knew what I was going to be doing at 9 p.m. Mostly involving running around, with a certain dearth of lollygagging and slothfulness. Shameful, really, the lack of laziness.

While en route, Thing 1 was unusually talkative, even for a young man as talkative as he normally is. He filled the transit with tales of what he's done at school, how he's learning commands in Spanish 2, what his grades are, and how he likes being a happy person. Being happy is much better than being an old grump, says he, and he's found out that by just smiling at someone you can almost always make them smile back, which he said was a good thing because...

get ready for this....

and I quote: "well, I'm a pretty funny-looking kid Mom. I'm tall and skinny and have big feet, wear glasses, have a big nose, am paler than Florida sand, and I'm covered in freckles."



SHATTER, there went my heart.

My beautiful boy, my tow-haired toddler turned into a fine young man, thinks he's funny-looking.

He thinks he's funny-looking.

My baby.

*Crack* There goes another piece.

This parenting thing, it doesn't ever get any easier, does it?


On a totally different note, and well prior to the above heartwrenching scene (you're wiping a tastefully shed tear from the corner of your eyes, aren't you?) I had to tell some coworkers today the terrible truth about me. It was so very difficult to tell them, but I did come forth with the potentially embarrassing truth that I did not, in fact, have a family of rabid badgers (once again!) living in my cubicle, but instead was experiencing a terrifically pronounced case of borbyrigmi, and for the near future would be bringing them the dulcet tones of the LaBrea Tar Pits. Straight from my alimentary canal.

Don't know what I ate to make it so, but whatever it was was colossally distracting, if not to them, then to me. I'd never heard such cacaphony coming my my gut before, not even on those other 5 occasions I've talked about this very thing on this very blog - nope, today's gastrointestinal concert was the loudest, longest show ever put on - a veritable Wagnerian scope of output by a normally more Bach-like tract.

And I told my cubemates all about it, so, you know, in case they hadn't noticed before they'd certainly be listening for it now.

Maybe that wasn't the best idea, huh?

Tiff out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

with just moments to go

So, tomorrow should be interesting what with the end times coming nigh and all.

Therefore, I'd better make this post interesting, as it may, quite possibly, be my last (if all goes well for me, that is. If it doesn't, I'll just keep on keeping on, looting the closets of the stylishly-dressed chubby ladies like myself who will have been enraptured and therefore in no need of their wardrobes. Hey, it'd be a sin to waste all that good stuff, right?).

I've taken lately to scanning through the Wake County mugshot roundup on WRAL.com, checking if I know any of the naughty girls and boys, and taking particular note of those folks who are committing crimes in my neighborhood. Just yesterday, a dude was arrested in YOWF (Ye Olde Wake Forest) or 'fleeing the scene' or somesuch, and I think I now have put 2 and 2 together to explain why there were at least 5 cop cars zooming through our neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Who wants to bet that none of them obeyed the many stop signs that are posted? When in pursuit of a bad guy, the specific particulars of road rules are quickly forgotten, no doubt. It was all very exciting for a moment.

The mugs are good for some amusement as well as being a source of information regarding 'who should I not say hi to in the grocery store.' There are many many variations on how to be human, is what I'm saying, but one thing appears to be semi-constant - felons like diamond stud earrings. Preferably 2. And I'm talking the men here! The females don't seems constrained by the studliness (perhaps coincidence?), but the guys, wow! Oh, and neck tats are popular as well. And nicked eyebrows. What is up with the nicked eyebrows? I am very sheltered, apparently, and need some schooling on those of y'all with a little more street smarts than me. That would be approximately all of you, so pipe up about the eyebrows and earrings!

It is my sincere hope that neither of our boys ever appears in the mug shot round-up. There are tons of young folks represented who are hauled in for pot possession, for instance, and their faces are plastered up there with the be-diamonded strong-armed robbers and surly thieves. Most of the kids with the pot charges look scared out of their minds, and I hope they learn a lesson about how they're choosing to live their lives. It's still a crime to possess dope in NC, kids. While I don't believe 100% that it SHOULD be a crime, nevertheless it is one. ALWAYS have your friends hold your stash! Sheesh! And if the Things are reading, remember that Mommy knows what reefer smells like - you will not convince me that you're carrying around dried tomato leaves or that Kevin from the Bus (or Jane, or whoever) was nice enough to give you some of the oregano from her Mom's garden 'to try out'. Just....don't even try. Mom has been around the block a few dozen times, and hasn't lost so many brain cells as to believe absolutely EVERYTHING you say. Takes one to know one, and babies, I got what it takes to know.

Ten years ago I didn't have to worry about dope fiends in my family. Now, I do. Will the testing never cease?!?

So, Happy Friday, Day-Before-the-Great-Uptake, Day-Before-Thing-2's-Birthday, and the last freaking work day of the week. Enjoy your afternoons and the weekend, what little there will be of it. Let me know if I can root through your wardrobe on Sunday, OK?

Thanks. Tiff out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If There's No Laundry, Is a Horse Really Flying?

OK, first off, still celebrating the fact that Katalina Miks has been found as is, according to reports, well and cared for.


Second off, it's after 10, it's raining, and I'm thinking of baking. Um, what?

Third off, that access road the new giant conglomerate of car dealerships put in a few months ago next to Route 1, in the process of which they ripped out a FOREST and paved paradise? Um, thanks. For now. You totally saved us from sitting in traffic on ol' #1 waiting to 'eench' by an accident at 1 and Durant tonight. So, OK, you do have your uses. But did they have to take down ALL those trees, really?

Fourthly, did I mention the baking? That I've been planning to do since about noon? It might be too late for that right now, I'm thinking, but banana bread! Chocolate swirl banana bread! Seriously, is it ever too late for that? EVER?

Also, and quintupally, I folded a metric assload of laundry last night. It did not really help all that much, as apparently there's still an equivalent amount left to do. Some of which involves a very funky-smelling comforter that sat in the machine too long after the first go-round, and smells a little like cheese n' feet. Mostly, laundry around here is done by Biff, but as he's getting ready to start taking a test to see if he knows the bookwork to fly solo, I'm thinking funkylicious quilts are not on the top of his mind right now. Where flying is concerned, there is no higher calling. At least not now, this minute. Not for laundry, anyhow. But hey! If I don't do it, then it doesn't need to get folded and put away! HEY! Cha-ching! And thus an idea of continued slothliness is conceived, gestated, and borne.

Also, I want chickens. People I know, TWO OF THEM, now have chickens. I want me some chickens. Live ones, with pretty feets and curly feathers on their heads and keen lil' eyes and glossy backs. THOSE chickens. My friends have them, why not me? GIMME CHICKENS!

And that, as they say in showbiz, is that. Other people probably say that too, but I'm pretty sure Ethel Barrymore said it first. Maybe Ethel Merman, but if it was EM you can be sure just about everyone knew about it and would be, therefore, easily attributable. Further research is needed on that point.

With that, Tiff out. Perhaps, as they say in show-jumping circles, to 'bake.'

Sunday, May 15, 2011

tempered idiotcy is the best kind

What had this past week brought?

For one, a lost child. She might be 21, but lost still she is, and a community is hoping and praying that she will be found. When someone more fragile than the average bear goes missing, the hearts of a village break in synchrony, and mine is among them. For Katalina then, a moment from all of us to think of her. Not necessarily pray (but if you do pray, go at it like the game is depending on your next swing), but just THINK.

She's out there. Think of her, for a minute. Maybe that's what it takes to bring a young woman to the realization the she needs to, like ET, just phone home.


In other, perhaps completely no-sequitur news

Sunday was good. I was just issued a proclamation that I am loved, so things are even better than good, so Yay! While it seems a bit out-of-whack to have a good day while those you know are having a very bad one indeed, things do march along.

Thus, Biff spent a fair chunk of the day flying airplanes, and I spent a fair chunk of day doing....nothing.

Like, serious nothing.

As in, I feel rested. And full of the f*ckit attitude that defined my middle 20's.

  • Dishes? Eff no
  • Laundry? Eff no.
  • Shower? Eff NO!
  • Exercise? Eff NONO.
  • Cook? Hahahahahahahaha!! NO! who is here to eat the cooking? NOBODY, and so eff no again.

For hours and hours is went. The nothing. Doing NOTHING, and loving it.


There is a problem. The problem is that I am not truly and really capable of doing nothing for a whole day. By about 9 hours into the effort I get itchy and wibbly about the not-doing, and....

Thus, at 10 pm on Sunday, I have gobs and GOBS of pent-up Momnergy and feel like cooking, baking, folding clothes, and cleaning the kitchen sink, all at the same time. I am fighting the need to cook something wholesome and put fresh sheets on the bed, right his instant.

Clearly, it's time for a drink and some "How It's Made." That pretty much cures the urge to do anything productive, right?

Oh yes, that's right.

Tiff out.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bite me!

So, hi. It's me again. This time with a learny thing that you may or may not want to stick around for, depending on your current level of domesticity.

Grant, you can leave now. This will not appeal to you, I'm pretty sure.

Yes, I have a recipe again today. It's like I'm freaking Betty Cracker or something, right? Six or more recipes a year makes me practically a food blogger!

Anyhow, this is a dish I kind of made up with the help of a dozen different ideas gleaned from the internet that seemed 1) too hard. 2) too time-intensive, 3) too recipe-rich, or 4) too not-what-I-want-to-bite-right-now.

Clearly, dinner is a time fraught with choice-making at the Tiny House. FRAUGHT, I say, and with the FRAUGHT comes the desperations, from which this recipe was born.

Forthwith - - -

Chicken/Spinach bake, Tiny House style

This recipe serves 4 people generously. And, according to the calorie-converter site I just used, has the following properties:

Kind of fuzzy and awful, I know, but the bottom line is that a serving (generous, remember?), has lots of good stuff mixed in with probably too much fat (cut the half and half if you want to ameliorate the impact) and salt (I overestimated the Parm cheese to be on the safe side), but also has the following awesome things:

only 442 calories (not freaking bad at all!)
44 g protein (whoa!)
15% of the RDA of fiber (can I get a woot woot?)
High in niacin, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin C (icing on the cake, babes!).

The good > the bad, IMHO, so here we go.
You will need:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small finger-size pieces (that's right. 2. No more! It's plenty!)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 16-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP half and half
1/2 c skim milk
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
herbs to taste

  • Brown the chicken pieces in 1 TBSP of olive oil, season with pepper while browning, set on paper towel to drain
  • Saute the onion in the remaining oil until golden, add spinach.
  • Add half and half and milk, top with herbs of choice and tomatoes, heat through. Add 1 TBSP grated Parm and herbs as desired (Basil? Oregano? I'm calling your names, darlings). Let bubble for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  • Mix bread crumbs, remaining Parm, and remaining 1 TBSP olive oil in a medium bowl into moist crumbs, adding other herbs as desired (fresh oregano, dried basil, and dried parsley worked today).
  • Place spinach mixture in baking dish (11X17 works great), top with chicken, then spoon bread crumb mix on top, coating evenly.
  • Bake, uncovered, in 375F oven for 20 minutes or until coating is nicely browned.
  • Let set for 10 minutes, serve with rice (adds calories) or alone (my choice).

NOTE: From start to finish this took about 40 minutes, which is like fast food at our house. ALSO NOTE: We sometimes cook dinner for 2 or more hours a night, which makes us weird, but it's our time to just revolve around each other and 'be' without having to plan an activity, so hush with the 40 minutes. When the kitchen window is serving up gushes of honey-colored sunbeams, and the birds are chirping as merrily as the day Mary Poppins jumped through a chalk painting, and the kids aren't arguing, why then 40 minutes of THAT is a bit of heaven on this earth, amiright?

Honestly, this could serve 6 modestly-eating people, but it took 4 of us (recall - 2 teenage boys among us) to almost finish off the dish, so I'm going with 4 servings in an attempt to be calorie-honest. Be aware, there is a significant amount of fat and sodium in this dish, but it's not all THAT bad, right?

If you try it, let me know. The Things said to save the recipe, so I'm encouraged that others might also like it.

With that, Tiff out. In the immortal words of Mama Celeste - ABBONDANZA!


Image courtesy of this Zazzle site. I think I want me one.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


(ED note: thanks to LL, I stand corrected on the Kentucky Derby thing...it was Saturday. D'OH!)

Reason to have a party #1
- the Kentucky Derby is today! Break out the big hats and the bourbon, we gonna get wild for 2 minutes and then eat things that are bad for us.

There is a family in our neighborhood (well, OK, on the edge of our Mill Village neighborhood - they live in the house that used to be the mill supervisor's, so it's a touch more grand than the mill houses, but like 4 times.) who throws a Kentucky Derby party every year. Convenient, really, as the event is always on a Sunday in May, so the weather is generally nice and pretty much everybody has the day off. They do it up big, with hats and porch festivities and lots and lots of people, and it looks really fun, but nobody has ever invited us so I can't vouch for the quality of the offerings or company.

Reason #2 to have a party - it's Mother's Day, and my Mom deserves a party. Seriously, the woman taught me to drive, and with my terrible depth perception that could NOT have been an easy task. Also, she's my Mom, which makes her awesome, because if I'm awesome then I had to get it from someplace, and let's face it, I'm probably twice as awesome as most people so at least one full dose must have come from her (unless, of course, she's 4X awesome and my Dad didn't contribute any awesome at all, but I don't think that was the case as my Dad was pretty dang awesome too). So, at least one full dose of awesome from om, which is pretty awesome.

I love my Mom, and though we have our differences, I always will love my Mom. Because, as just mentioned, my Mom is awesome. Probably more awesome than your Mom, so I'm sorry about that, but that's how it goes sometimes. My Mom was on the field hockey team, for goodness sake, can your Mom say that?

Case closed.

Reason #3 to have a party, and the real reason why I'm about to make homemade chocolate cake: It's Biff's birthday.

May I just share a little secret with you about that man? I think his parents were both 2X awesome, and it's a dominant trait, because he is the most awesome guy ever ever on the face of this or any other planet, and lo I would argue with you until I'm blue in the face if you were to try to promote some other man ahead of him in the awesome derby. You would not win that argument, because not only do I have a large stock of awesome things he is and does to fall back on for opening, rebuttal, and closings, I am devious and sneaky and would try to make you AGREE with me, and pretty soon you'd be Daffy Ducking your way to 'Duck Theathon!' and I'd still win, so don't even start with me.

For he is awesome. Just today at church he was featured in an intro video piece about 'being an influencer,' and I about swooned when his do-ragged, carpenter-pencil-totin' noggin appeared on screen. Lordy, that man is good-looking, but even if he wasn't my opinion of him wouldn't change, as he is, as mentioned, awesome. Well-stocked in skills, intelligence, empathy, humor, insight, energy, and love, the man is fully enough reason to celebrate this day.

So, even though homemade chocolate cake isn't really enough of a tribute to just how much I think of him, and the few presents I bought are mere tokens of my affection, a party in his honor we shall have, and I don't even CARE that it's Mother's Day and I should be hanging out in my PJs with a glass of wine, a good book, and my teen boys at my beck and call! For in a few weeks it is my birthday, and that's what I'll ask for. :)

Devious, remember?

  • To all the moms out there - I appreciate all of you for the hard work it is to raise children to become useful citizens.
  • To my Mom - thanks for not drowning me when I deserved it (see 1974-1980, or maybe 1990).
  • To the horses about to run in the Derby - don't break a leg!
  • To Biff - happy birthday to the very best LOML that ever was made. You do, in fact, rock.
Tiff out.