Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Know Thyself

I found this recipe for Baked Butternut Squash & Gouda Tortellini.

It looked so yummy. I immediately thought to myself, "I want to make that."

I don't cook as much as I used to. For one, food is expensive. At least good food is expensive. Also, it takes time to cook. Time is something I don't have. Boys are in bed at 8pm. I get home from work a little after 5pm. Squeeze in to those three hours some karate, homework, baths, and any quality time I spend with the boys that day, and what's left is about five minutes. Not long enough to make a five course meal.

I promise myself one recipe a week. One night a week I can try something new, or make something "fancy" that takes more than fifteen minutes.

This past week it was the butternut squash tortellini.

I started cooking and I had all the optimism in the world.

This brings me to my point... there is a huge difference between wanting to COOK something, and just wanting to EAT it.

I overcooked the squash. I almost missed the vegetable stock entirely. I didn't measure the cheese. I almost forgot the onion. Halfway through the process Nick walked in and crumpled his face up. "You know nobody's going to EAT that, right?"

I made it anyway.

I made huge mess that I needed to clean up. The end result was a completely different color than the picture. I still ate it, mind you. The boys refused, but I didn't really think they would, anyway.

Like I said, a huge different between wanting to COOK it, to actually slice, roast, sautee, puree, etc. and just wanting to order it off of the menu. "That looks good!" I say to myself. "I want to make that!"

But I don't want to make it. I don't want to actually make it at all. I want to eat it. I want to order it. I want to enjoy it, and I want to not slave over it and struggle with it and have it come out with half the ingredients and the wrong color.

I felt like I learned something about myself. It's not that I don't like to cook. Under the right circumstances, I do. When it's not so stressful. When I have adventurous tasters. When I have time and don't feel rushed. THEN I like to cook. Not when I have 40 minutes for a recipe that says it takes 40 minutes (it lies) and the kitchen just got clean.

I will never cook again, I say.

24 hours later I'm flipping through Facebook and run across this: White Beans With Kale. I'm not even 100% sure what polenta is.

And I thought - Wow. I want to make this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's For Lunch

I wasn't going to eat at all.

I wasn't going to eat lunch because the numbers on the scale have been creeping ever upward and today reached a high I haven't been since I was pregnant. Or shortly after I was pregnant. I'm despairing because I haven't stopped working out. I haven't been eating outrageously. And over the past few days I have been making a bit of an effort.

Anyway, I got home from church and realized that, even though I didn't want to eat, there were three small humans in the car I was legally obligated to feed. "What do you want for lunch?" I asked. I thought I could throw something quick their way and then do chores. "I have leftover spaghetti from the other day..."
The boys all stayed silent, their disapproval radiating silently in my direction.
"Or I can make you guys some PBJs"
"I hate those," said Nick.
"Well, I'm not making you three different lunches," I said...

I made three different lunches.
Only Andy wanted a PBJ, and he would have nothing else. Nathan wanted a leftover hamburger, and Nicholas refused to eat anything except for pizza.

I was angry and cranky and hungry and touching a lot of food.

What made it worse was Gunther licking the floor beneath me to catch every molecule of food.

I ended up eating more than half of a frozen pizza.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Screen Time

When I was a kid, I would wake up early in the morning and go down to watch TV. Sometimes I would be so early, the station hadn't come on yet. You remember that? When there would just be a barcode up with maybe a line of odd code on the bottom? Because people back then didn't usually stay up all night watching TV. Not yet.

Screen time was TV. My mother made an effort to control it. We could watch only certain shows (Sesame Street, Electric Company, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rodgers...) And then all heck broke loose. We discovered cable. We watched hours of stupid cartoons on Saturdays, starting with the Smurfs, the Snorks, Spaceghost, the Shirt Tales...  And my mother made a declaration. Only 1 hour of TV a day.
Mind you, we were only allowed to watch during the weekends, anyway, so...

I thought it was horribly unfair. My friends were playing V out on the playground, and knew exactly who the people were in Miami Vice. I was doomed.

Fast Forward to yesterday when a therapist was lecturing me on limiting screen time for the boys. She told me about 9-year-olds addicted to porn. She went on about desensitizing young men to the act of killing. And then she brought up the fact that all 3 of my boys had been terrified of a certain video game a friend of theirs had shown them.

I admit. She is right. I don't know anything about what the boys do on their screens. I mean, it is So BORING. I really don't want to know. But I cant just pretend that none of them had trouble sleeping the night after that stupid game walked into my home. Or that the internet is a safe place for children.

So, I made some changes.

It was hard, because the schools now assign homework Every Night that must be done on a computer.

The thing is, playing one spelling game can then lead to "I was just checking this thing out..." and before you know it they're all watching YouTube.

I made the boys give me everything. DSs, Laptops, tablets. I took the Wii U controllers and the remotes for the TV. And I put them in a basket in my room.

When it is time for screen time, I will let them choose a device. I will set a timer. And when it's over, then it's over.

Homework that involves the computer will wait until I get home to supervise.

I know it seems unfair. I know it seems a bit insane. But I guess it's just my effort to regain a little control over the situation. I'll have to see how it works out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A List

Here's a list of things I forgot to do today, and so will do now, after I write this post:

Sign Nate up for Travel Basketball (Am I crazy? Probably)

Pay Homeowner's Insurance (which is overdue)

Set out Nate's homework for tomorrow night (because if I don't, the only thing he'll do is the bit on the computer.)

do my nails. (OK, who am I kidding. It's just easier to walk around with claws on my fingers and toes than do my nails at this point.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Oh, Laundry

I get you clean, but you sit down on the counter for days.

I hate you, laundry.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Off Schedule

It rained, and heavily, as soon as I got home, about 4:30.

It rained and thundered and the wind blew. The sky became dark.

I headed upstairs to send an email before starting to clean the house.

And then I fell asleep.

I woke at 7pm.

The sky was dark for real, the rain had stopped. And I declared it too late for chores.

Things are so different when I don't have the boys.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

How To Break A Habit

Something was caught on the back of my tongue.

It was something hard and scratchy. It felt kind of like a popcorn kernel skin, only I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten popcorn.

It was so annoying. It scratched every single time I swallowed. I drank a lot of water, ate bread, ate ice cream, even! (oh the sacrifice!) But nothing worked. It moved down my throat a bit, but didn't go away.

This lasted for hours.

It lasted through dinner, dishes, bath time, and stories. It even lasted until I climbed into bed, when finally I told myself there must be something, SOMEthing I could do. Made my way to the bathroom, where I turned on all the lights, held a flashlight on one hand, and a pair of tweezers in the other.

I felt with my finger where it was, and then reached back with the tweezers and began blindly trying to pluck it out.

Now, I realize at this point that I might have appeared slightly insane. No, my actions were not entirely logical, nor even safe. I was stabbing myself in the back of the throat with tweezers. But the little thing caught in my throat was driving me mad!

And then I caught it.

I pulled out the tweezers and looked at what had been driving me crazy.

A fingernail.

It was a fingernail.

And I thought, I really need to stop biting my nails.

The thing is, it felt so good to get it out, I was positively gleeful with relief.

I still haven't stopped biting my nails.

I have more motivation to stop, but this sort of habit isn't something I think about before I dot it. I just find myself with my teeth biting my fingers.