Saturday, September 24, 2011

Opening a can....

I often refer to my life experiences as "before meds" and "after meds".  Before meds my poor family never knew what to expect from me.  Never knew if I was going to blow a stack over nothing.  I was crazy about keeping the house spotless.  I had a set schedule for everything.  I was super organized.

Now, I can be relied upon to be even keeled:  not going to blow a stack over much.  In fact I find that blowing a stack takes up waaay too much energy and isn't really worth it.  House is clean but not always orderly.  I have a calendar that I try to stick to but if it doesn't work out I can always do it tomorrow or next week.  Not too organized either.

One thing I do better though is I don't procrastinate as much.  I just get right down to business.

I used to go off on people in public from time to time.  I'd get right in people's faces if I felt an injustice was being carried out.

One day about 10 years ago, my oldest was in 2nd grade and I still had three kids at home during the daytime.  Sometimes I'd get bored especially in the winter and I'd brave a trip to the store.  This particular day we journeyed to the Target which was in a neighboring town about 20 minutes away from our house.

At about 2:00pm I looked at my watch and realized that I had to pick up my oldest from school in 15 minutes.  Luckily, I wasn't buying anything from Target that day, just wasting time.  So I zoomed out of the store to my white Dodge Caravan and started to get the kids into the car.  My oldest daughter who was 5 at the time got herself into her car seat and the baby was in an infant carrier so I clicked him in, easy enough.  My younger daughter at the time was 3 and had and always WILL have a mind of her own.  She decided to start doing the wet noodle:  you put kid in car seat, they go limp and slide out, you put kid in the car seat, they go limp and slide out, etc. etc.  If you've ever had a 3 year old you know what I'm talking about.

During this time I was actually trying to be patient and not yell but saying things like, "Come on, M---, work with me here!"  and "Throw me a bone, kid!"  Stuff like that.  No threats, no swearing, no hitting, just tired mom exasperation.  Finally, I threw an elbow into her crotch to hold her in while I buckled her down.

I backed out of the van, closed the door and turned around to take my cart to the cart corral (which I always do) and I hear to my left, "Reowr..."  You know, like a cat sound.  I stopped the cart, backed up and said to a lady in the car next to me, "Was that noise directed at me?"  Now keep in mind I'm "in a hurry".

She said something like, "Well.  You don't have to be so mean to your kids."  I said, "What are you talking about?"  She said, "You don't have to yell at them.  Maybe if you were a better mother they would obey you better."  And on and on and on like that.  I, of course, kept going right back at her and in so doing became so angry that my milk dropped down (I exclusively breastfed).  So I'm holding my forearms over my boobs to get the milk to stop, having words with this woman who would NOT SHUT UP, with the thought in the back of my mind that I'm late picking up my son and I will never be on time now when I'd finally had it.

I put my face into her car and yelled, "Lady?!  If you don't shut up I'm gonna haul you outta that car and I'm gonna KICK YOUR ASS!!"

She shut up.

I put my cart in the cart corral, got into the van, leaned over the passenger seat, rolled down the window and screamed, "At least I know who my kids' father is!"  And I drove off cackling.  Milk running down my belly.

I was so proud of myself.  I called my husband who had just started a private practice to tell him all about it.  This is what he said, "*sigh* Honey, it does me no good to be in the public eye if I'm hauling you out of the pokey."

Party pooper.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pot Roast-my mother's way

When we had been married about a year I told the hubs that I would be making pot roast for dinner one night.  I had tried several different types of pot roasts over that year and I know I wasn't very excited about how they turned out but it came to light that the hubs was even less excited about them.  He said, "Can you make it the way your mom makes it?"  Now, usually men say something like, "Can you make it the way my mom makes it?"  But I don't know if his mother ever made a pot roast.  I looked at him for a minute then asked, "Don't you like my pot roasts?"  Choosing his words carefully he said, "Well, they are all right but I really like the way your mom does it the best.  Can you call her?"

So I called my mother and told her the conversation we'd just had and she said, "Ooohhh!  Is the bride crying?!"  I kind of laughed then said, "No.  Just tell me how to make it."

This is my mother's pot roast recipe:

1 pot roast
whole red potatoes
10-12 carrots washed, peeled, cut

We make our pot roasts in an electric skillet with a lid. First you liberally salt and pepper both sides and the ends of the roast.  If you think it's enough salt and pepper, I can guarantee it's not.  Put more on. And them more. Turn the skillet on pretty much as high as it will go.  Around 400-425˚.  Put the roast in and let it sit there for a bout 10-15 minutes or until it is browned really well.

Then turn it over and do it on the other side.

See the nice dark crust?  That's how it should look.

While you are waiting for the roast to brown on the other side, prepare your carrots.  We like ours sliced long ways.  My mother makes the most beautifully sliced carrots.  Every slice is exactly the same as the other and they are thin.  Mine?  Not so much.  You can slice them in circles or on the bias if you want. Whatever makes you happy. 

Then you will make the foil packet.  Take two 18 inch or so sheets of
foil and lay them in a cross pattern over each other like this:

Lay the carrots in the middle of the foil packet, dot with 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.

Fold up one foil and seal, then fold the other foil and seal so it looks about like this:

Now for the assembly:

You can either leave the roast in the middle of the skillet or move it to the side.  My carrot packet is fairly large so I moved the roast to the side.  Squish the carrot packet in next to the roast and place the potatoes wherever you find a space  We have six people in our family so I make 6 potatoes.  If I have more people over then the potatoes go into the oven and I make more carrots.


Turn the skillet down to 150˚ to 180˚, put the cover on making sure it is all the way on--you may have to squish some potatoes in, and open the vent.  DO NOT ADD ANY WATER!!  The potatoes lend water to the cooking process.  Let it cook for 3 to 3.5 hours.  When you open the lid it will look like this:

Notice the potatoes are browned and the roast has shrunk.  Num!

Take out the roast and put it on a plate or platter.  Place the potatoes around it and the carrots if you want.  I usually put the carrots in a separate bowl.


The carrots come out caramelized, sweet with a somewhat nutty flavor that I attribute to the butter.

Make gravy in the same skillet.  There should be a lot of pan drippings.  If there are, however, not then add some butter to the skillet then flour.  I can't tell you how much because I don't know how much you have in pan drippings.  Start out with 1/3 to 1/2 cup then you can always add more.  Stir the flour around in the pan until all the drippings have been absorbed by the flour.
Stir it around a bit.

You will then let the flour cook at 300-325˚ with the drippings for a few minutes to make sure you heat the gluten in the flour making it capable of blending easily with the cold water you will add, ie. no lumps. 

 Add 1 cup of cold water at first.  Using a whisk start whisking the water and flour together.  If you have cooked the flour long enough it will smooth out quickly.  It will thicken quickly also.  Add 1/2 cups of water until gravy is the consistency you want.  This particular gravy turned out light.  Sometimes it turns out a rich brown.  Either way it tastes great.  Allow it to bubble for a few minutes.  Taste it for saltiness.  Depending on how well you salted the meat it may or may not need more salt.

Serve it up with some sour cream, biscuits or rolls and enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gettin' a job

Last night my 10 year old received his Webelos award for Cub Scouts.  I love it when the kids get to Webelos age because it means the adult leader pretty much takes over and does everything so I don't have to do much anymore.  Bear and Wolf are a pain because so much of it is "at home assignments".  I love showing up to Pack Meeting, my kid getting his award and I didn't do anything but get him to the meetings on time.

While there I was talking to one of the other moms and the subject of my 17 year old working came up.  She asked, "When did you make him get a job?  We've been struggling to figure out which age is best for getting a job."

I then told her the story of "The Boy Gets a Job".

About the time he turned 16 the hubs and I informed The Boy that he would need to find a job because in essence--the gravy train was running dry around here.

This is how the conversation went with his dad:

Hubs:  Son, you need to find a job.
16:  Why?
Hubs:  Because you need to earn your own money.  We're not paying for your clothes and things anymore.
16:  (looking dejected) Fine.  But I just don't see the point.
Hubs:  You don't see the point?  Your friends all have jobs. 
16:  I've looked around and no one is hiring.
Hubs:  Look again.
16:  (some hemming and hawing)
Hubs:  Is there a problem?  Do you need help with filling out applications?  I will help you if you need help.
16:  No.  Dad.  I don't want to get a job.
Hubs:  What?  Why?
16:  Because it's just not my "thing". (I bolded that because it's just the funniest, stupidest thing ever.)
Hubs:  It's just not your "thing"?  Well, what exactly is your "thing"?
16:  Hanging out in my room with friends, playing the guitar, listening to music......

At this point the Hubs came up and told me what conversation had just transpired.  I laughed pretty hard.

A week later the boy had a job mowing lawns on a lawn crew.  I pretty much scouted it out and got him the job.  He's been doing it now for about a year and a half.

A month after he started he came home telling us how much he liked working and how he felt like it gave him a purpose.  Imagine.  When we tell 15 that she will need to be finding a job he gets all lecture-y on her.  Yesterday when he left for work he said, "Yes!  I'm edging today which means I'm in charge."  Whatever makes you feel important son.

The boy has also become pretty tight.  He will spend money on certain things but things like haircuts are somewhat of a luxury item.  The other night he asked his 15 year old sister to cut his hair because he didn't want to spend the $20 on a haircut. (He likes to go to SportsCuts or SportsClips or whatever it's called.)  They came in to show it to me and I said, "Well, it looks like you're gonna have to spend the money anyhow."  It was pretty bad.

Needless to say, I don't think we'll have to worry about the boy working or having a good work ethic any time in the near future.  Which is good because I've told them all that they are not coming back home to live with me.  Once they're gone, they're gone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Apparently my blog is right up there with being drunk on the job:

As reported on KSL tonight.

 Pleasant Grove preschool teacher resigns after allegedly being impaired in class
by Sandra Yi and Pat Reavy
PLEASANT GROVE — A first year preschool teacher who works in a class with autistic children was cited for being intoxicated at work Tuesday.

The Mount Mahogany Elementary School teacher failed sobriety tests administered by police, according to Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley.

Pleasant Grove police, however, said Wednesday that when given a breathalyzer test, 23-year-old Kaylee Hoffman blew a .043 — or half the legal blood-alcohol limit to drive in Utah.

The district earlier had reported Hoffman was above the legal limit for driving, which is .08.

Hoffman was issued a citation for public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor, and released. The police officer who arrested Hoffman did not notice any visible signs of impairment such as slurred speech or trouble walking, said Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Mike Roberts.

However, she was issued a citation "because she was the primary care provider for those children at the time," Roberts said.

The arresting officer felt because Hoffman was in charge of providing for special needs children she needed to make good decisions. But because she had been drinking, the officer felt she was potentially putting those students at risk, Roberts said.

Bromley said the arrest happened after lunch when the school administration received an anonymous phone call that the teacher in question was drunk. "The principal immediately had her come down to the office," she said. "There was never a time the students were in danger."

Police, however, had a different story.

Roberts said one of the adult aides in Hoffman's class detected an odor of alcohol on her breath in the morning and contacted the principal about 9 a.m. The principal questioned Hoffman, who denied drinking and was sent back to her classroom when no signs of impairment were found, he said.

The Alpine School District, however, said the principal did not talk to Hoffman.

In the afternoon, police received an anonymous call from a person who said Hoffman was intoxicated and sent an officer to the school to investigate, Roberts said. That's when she was called to the office again and given a breathalyzer test.

Bromley said the class Hoffman taught in had three other adults in the room at all times, a master teacher and two aides, because of the special needs children. She said none of the other teachers nor the school administrators detected any red flags.

"Those three adults did not have any indication by the way she was talking or acting or smelled that she was intoxicated," Bromley said.

Hoffman immediately resigned after being cited, Bromley said. She said this was Hoffman's first job out of college. The school had been in session for about 2 ½ weeks.

A mother of one of the 3-year-old students in Hoffman's class said she was "shocked" by the news, noting that Hoffman "seemed like a great teacher."

The Alpine School District said Wednesday the four children who were in Hoffman's class will now be bused to two different schools in Orem and Saratoga Springs.

Written by Sandra Yi and Pat Reavy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Depression

I love Fall.  It is my favorite season of the entire year.  I think it's because I grew up in Phoenix where there is hot and then not as hot and there is no real change of the seasons.  We had grass in our yard that would die off in the winter and I believe the trees we had eventually dropped their leaves around November only to return by February but it wasn't beautiful.  I would read books that would include beautiful descriptions of Fall and I remember asking  my mother why our leaves didn't change pretty colors, just brown.  Then I moved to Utah attending BYU and there experienced my first real Fall, Winter and Spring.  I thought it was heaven.  When it comes to Spring I still wish that it would automatically warm up like it does in Phoenix.  But I am content to let Fall take it's course, changing the leaves, cooling down in increments, the frost, the beautiful colors, etc.  And of course the clothes!  And shoes!  And boots!

I decorated my house today for Fall.  On October 1 I will put up Halloween and then on November 1st, Thanksgiving.  However, the Fall decorations stay up through all of this.

While decorating today and over the past several days I have been noticing the change in my ability to function--sleepiness during the day, insomnia at night, and neck pain are my signals.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which I think is a stupid name and have wondered many times if someone made up the disorder just so they could name a type of depression "SAD".  Stupid.  Anyway, it is a type of depression that fluctuates with the seasons and the amount of sun that is shining.  Around the 2nd week or so of September I start to feel sluggish and start thinking about  what I call "upping my meds".  Which I did today.  I should feel better by tomorrow and even more so the next day.

I take medication year round, though, because it never quite goes away.  You know how there are people who get drunk and they are angry drunks?  Yeah, I'm an angry depressed person.  Apparently, I used to be mean(er).   Now I'm just slightly sarcastic and cynical whereas it used to be quite off putting.  And that's mildly stating the fact.

I think I've been depressed since I was a little kid.  I know now that it runs in the family so I'm pretty sure I was depressed when I was a little kid.  I remember sometimes being barely able to drag myself around, crying fits, being mean to my sister and ornery to my parents.  I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't accept me like I was.  I was a brat!  I've got one now just like me that I often times say to my husband, "How much longer do we have to wait to medicate her?"

When I got was bad.  My poor husband.  I just don't know how he stood it all those years.  I remember one time he said to me during an argument, "You're always yelling!"  Which I took immediate offense to and brought it up time and time again.  Because I was a bitch.  But it was true!  I WAS always yelling. 

One summer was particularly horrible.  I yelled all summer long.  From the time I got up in the morning till the time I went to bed at night I yelled and screamed and was just angry.  I asked if I could go to Girls Camp and the whole time I was there I had so much fun.  But the minute I came home it was back to the norm.  About a week later I called my husband at work, frustrated with my situation, and told him that it was true.  I WAS always yelling and I couldn't stand myself anymore.  He said something that changed my life, "Well, you know, you don't have to yell. "  And right then I realized that I was making the mistake of thinking that yelling was my only recourse.  Changed the rest of the summer for me.  Which was about a week before the kids went back to school.

I can't remember if it was that winter or the next that my SAD started to get really bad.  I was good until about January then I was a mess.  I'd lay in bed for hours every day just staring at the wall.  I'd become totally reclusive until the end of February when I could go out and start working in my yard and soaking up the sun.  Then next year it started in December ending in March.  And the next it went from December until June.  JUNE!  That Fall it started in October and I finally, finally!  said to my husband, "I can't do this anymore.  I'm calling a Psychiatrist to get some meds."  He didn't say anything then other than, "OK."  But I'm sure he was the happiest man in the world.

Since then I've been on Celexa.  It is a miracle.  For me at least.  I adjust it up in the winter, down in the summer and when the need arises.  I do have to take more now than I did when I started but that's fine with me.  I will never not take medication again.  I'm not saying that anti-depressants are a panacea for the masses but my hell, if you need them, take them and stay on them.  In the case of my family it is the greatest gift I can give to my family.  I just wish that I had done it sooner.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What will the ladies think?!

You can tell that my house was designed by a man. It has a teeny tiny kitchen with a crappy layout--the oven and the dishwasher face each other and you can only open one door or the other. However, when do I ever need to open my dishwasher AND the oven at the same time. Maybe, maybe once a year. On Thanksgiving. Or maybe Christmas.

Another thing about this house is the upstairs bathrooms. The kids' bathroom is cavernous. Huge! I'm not joking. My bathroom butts up behind it and it is a closet. What the crap?! I know there are four of them and only 2 of us but come on! I'm the one paying for this house and I should get the big bathroom. So says me.

(No pics of the upstairs bathroom as it is a pit.)

I do have to say that the bedrooms are all a decent size and each kid has their own room each with a decent sized closet. Actually they each have very large closets compared to mine. Which is the real object of this post. The state of our closets.

They are the smallest closets ever. The builder thought he was throwing the homeowner a bone by building two of them in our room. Woo-hoo!

The following are pictures of my closet. Notice how tidy it is:

Now for pictures of the hubs closet:

He doesn't care about his clothes like I do. In fact most of his stuff is downstairs in the laundry room stacked on top of the washer. Washed, dried, folded......

I told him that I was going to do a blog post on this difference between his closet and mine. He opened his closet and looked at it for a second. I said, "Don't clean it." He started throwing his arms about wildly pretending to throw everything out yelling, "Oh no! What WILL the ladies think?!" Then he stopped and looked at me like I'M the idiot and says, "Like that's gonna happen."

So what I'm saying is this: maybe if the builder had used less space for the kids and more space on our room we may actually have decent-sized closets and my husband may have a cleaner closet. Psh! Like that'd make a difference.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I've been accused several times of not being nice. Which if you knew me you would know I am but I see the world in a skewed fashion. However, I just saw a quote that made me really think. What do YOU think?

'Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt, or remain quiet.

Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped.

Charity is refusing to take advantage of anothers weakness, and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.

Charity is expecting the best of each other.'
--------------Marvin J. Ashton

I guess by this definition then to others who are looking at me they would view me as uncharitable. But are they being uncharitable to me? Makes you think.

Monday, September 5, 2011


This is the first day in a month of Tuesdays I haven't had the cooler going in the house and all I can say to that is Halle-freakin'-lujia! It won't last. I'm going glass half empty on that one.

My sister and I took my mom to the movie last week. This blog is turning into stories about my dying mother. Whatever sells. We took her to see The Help. We had all read it and she wanted to see it with us. I was not looking forward to the experience as, well, you see, my mother is somewhat of a reformed bigot.

She grew up in an area that didn't have people of color let alone black people. After my parents married they moved to Phoenix where I did grow up with people of color--black, hispanic, American Indian--Phoenix is a melting pot. My parents would make racial comments here and there thinking that it was okay but I don't think they actually "knew" any persons of color. Really.

My parents went on two missions for our church after they retired. The first was to Zimbabwe and the second to India. My mother came home from the first thinking that she was the black mans' best friend. She would walk up to black people and ask them about their heritage and tell them that she knew what it was like for them, etc. It was so embarrassing. I'm sure they were thinking, "Listen here, Whitey Mc White White......"

So we took her to see The Help.

I was supposed to go to her house and help haul her down to the theatre but when I called my sister at 11:30 (movie started at 12:05) she told me that my mom had just gotten into the shower and to go get seats saved. I figured it would be no big deal as who else is going to sit in the handicap spots on the main floor?

I'm sitting there in a prime spot when what must have been the entire "still semi-lucid" ward of the local old folks home started wheeling and hobbling their way into the theatre. I was surrounded and they were all giving me the stink eye because I "appear capable". Finally, the "cruise director" of the bunch asked if I was saving spots for anyone and I explained that my mother is in a wheelchair and my sister was coming with her. So she switched around a few of them and I ended up sitting next to this lady who sounded like she was breathing a death rattle the entire time--Darth Vader-like.

My sister finally got there and sat next to me with our mother on the other side of her. With her oxygen tank going it sound like Darth Vader also but I've started calling her Darth Mader. So I've got the death rattle on one side of me and the oxygen tank on the other and we were ready to watch the movie.

My mother seems to be losing her hearing a bit. So all through the movie she kept saying, "What did she say?" "Who is that?" "Where's the other black lady?" and this was all done in a normal tone of voice for her. Loud. Then inequity would happen and she'd say, "Oh! Tsk. Tsk!" My sister and I kept telling her to be quiet. "Mom! Stop!" A sweet refrain from the last post.

Some old broad's phone kept going off in the middle of the movie and her phone would sing "Sweet Home Alabama...." 3 times this happened. 3 times!! I finally turned around and yelled, "Turn OFF your ringer!"

Anyway the movie was good. I cried. My sister cried. I'm sure my mother cried. She would whisper loudly to my sister, "Is Kara crying or not? I can't tell."

My sister oft times says, "Thrown them in a wheelchair, slap an oxygen tank on them and they lose their marbles" or " they can say or do anything." And it's true.