March 2014 Archive

Today started pleasantly enough. I wake before everyone else and managed to meet my own needs.

Ideally this would be exercise and a shower.

Today it is a hasty coffee before removing Lego from my foot.

A Lego Mini-figure helmet if I am correct. Layers of skin have closed over the offending object. I pry it loose.

Then, all hell breaks loose. The children wake.

Rush hour commences. I organize lunches and sign off homework for all here in our Training Ground for Life.

Discipline is meted out as required:

“Stop Throwing Knives at each other”, I call to the twins as I pass by what I fondly call “The Nursery”.

It more accurately resembles  a Menagerie.

A pen so filthy, all the animals have long since deserted in protest; leaving behind only the remnants of their last week’s meals.

A cheese knife whistles past my ear. I pluck it from the wall.
Then, unfazed, I retrieve a toddler’s shoes from the Lego Pit in the living roon.

Jabba the Hutt could live here and I wouldn’t know until I was trapdoored into the lair of the Rankor.

250px-Rancor-SWE

Removing a layer off filth from the living room floor, I continue to direct the proceedings:

“Put your shoes on”, I shout into the void.

I ready the lunch bags. Just three. My oldest two children have an account at the school cafeteria. The Cafeteria provides a hot lunch for less than $4.00 daily.

My three year old twins rattle past me while I am preoccupied and grab swords.
They fight enemies outdoors whilst I bundle  my other three children into the car.

DSC_0007 1

 

Morphing into OctoMommy I buckle children into our Chevy with one hand and wield a hairbrush with the other.

Mom! “Oh ****that hurt”, says the ten year old.

“Language”, I holler!

Quick to oblige, my ten year old turns and gives a language lesson to his younger siblings. This, complete with relevant gestures for the benefit of all present.

Mildly exasperated I disarm my Jedi twins and grab rain jackets.

We’re about to get three of the fifteen inches of rain we will receive all year.

I will shortly drop all my children to school by 8.am and call past Starbucks for the first of six inches of coffee I will receive all day.

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This morning I start on the back foot. Something awful has happened in the kitchen overnight. The remains of two well picked over chicken carcasses and random crockery and pots are strewn everywhere.

Could a raccoon have gotten in again in the middle of the night with ill gotten gains from a neighboring chicken coop and chased the cats around the house before all settling to enjoy some kind of feral midnight dinner party?

I think back. No. Last night I picked up two organic chickens for dinner. Hubby steamed vegetables and grilled cheese on an artisan breadstick.

The kids formed a bloc and refused to come to the dinner table.

“I’m Not Hungry”, they call back as they retreat with a packet of pretzels and a roll of frozen cookie dough. We adults are temporarily gutted at not being able to convince our children to eat a nutritious dinner. We sit in an obtuse silence with our I phones and watch two bottles of wine mysteriously drain themselves of the contents before we polish off the rest of Hubby’s birthday cake from The Cheesecake Factory.

cheesecake-factory-cake
After dinner we get distracted by a documentary on American rebel States in the Civil War.
It may not have been the Civil War (I am hazy on the history of New Zealand let alone that of the USA).
Checking the Housewife’s Fountain of Knowledge clears up the confusion:
The documentary was about the beginning of the Civil war following Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860. Seven Slave States set up their own government and war broke out in April 1861¬† : From Wikipedia:

“The Confederate States of America was created by secessionists in Southern slave states who refused to remain in a nation that they believed was turning them into second‚Äďclass citizens. They judged the agent of change to be abolitionists and anti-slavery elements in the Republican Party whom they believed used repeated insult and injury to subject them to intolerable “humiliation and degradation”.The “Black Republicans” (as the Southerners called them) and their allies would soon become a majority in the United States House, Senate, and Presidency.”

Whoda thunk? Way back in the day, The Republicans were the good guys. Mitt Romney, you missed your time.

Long story short:

The Confederacy got their pants kicked and told to pull their heads out of the dark ages and stop enslaving people.

Interestingly there is still resistance to acknowledging equal rights in the Deep South. From the New York Times:

Two Remaining Rebel States

The state of the kitchen explained, I set to putting things to rights. Fortunately most of the chicken has been set aside for our lunch today and I can make Matzo Ball Soup with the carcasses tonight.

In the meantime I have to turn this:

Our kitchen in the morning.

Our kitchen in the morning.

Into this:

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Clear surfaces and vases of Spring flowers restore calm.

For them:

DSC_0091

Ozy Axel and Cosmo sing The Star Spangled Banner beneath a New Zealand themed wall hanging,

 

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I’ve been dreaming food recently. The following is a recipe for a very simple and delicious dip perfect for hosting at the¬† last minute . Pair with corn chips and match with a Napa Chardonnay or NZ Sauvignon blanc:

Simple Artichoke Dip:

Ingredients:

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 small can Green Chilies, (well drained)

1 can of Artichoke Hearts (well drained on paper towels and chopped)

Mix all together. You can play around with the consistency by using shredded Parmesan vs grated parmesan. The trick to a good chunky dip is to drained the can of chilies well. I was cavalier the first time I attempted this dip and the result was a more liquid albeit tasty paste.

If you like the sound of this recipe, please check back for photos and suggested brands.

 

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Today started  pleasantly enough. I was with a friend of mine in our newly remodeled home.  We were discussing the possibility of buying in some more wine. I was knocking back a bowl of artichoke dip with my gorgeous redhead friend.

Prior conversation had been no more in-depth other than canvassing the health of our extended families and making plans to get our nails done together.
Our discussion was rudely interrupted by the, “Rurp Rurp Rurp”, of my husbands Iphone.

The tempting victuals disappear. I roll over.

“Turn that ******* alarm off”, is the first phrase my husband hears upon waking.

He calmly acquiesces to my unwitting command.

I pull the duvet up to my chin and attempt to reenter the dreamland that had been so rudely ripped away.

I succeed. This time I have a guilt dream about a massive box of cereal knocking me over in the our local Safeway.
The payback no doubt for stuffing down a stackload of grilled cheese last night.
In these politically correct days, the technical term is “bingeing”. I don’t know what my Housewifely counterparts in other households are doing at midnight, but I’m inclined to snarf back a highly calorific supper and fall into bed unrepentant and exhausted.

“Rurp Rurp Rurp”, goes the back-up alarm at 7.30am.
In our house, sleeping in is a disaster of immense proportions.
To have any chance of delivering our children to school in a timely fashion relies on me rising no later than 5.30am.
On top of a two hour shift in the middle of the night where I wake and stack dishes and fold linen.
Last night I was awake from 2am to 4am changing  wet beds. Emerging from a soggy slumber; sleepy children and inquisitive cats all wound their way round each other and me before  succumbing to somnolence before dawn.
To meet the needs of a large family and the expectations of aspirational California I live my life in shifts.

I am properly awake now. “Happy Birthday”, I say to my husband.

This, in slightly more dulcet tones than my earlier edict.

It’s a Significant Birthday.

We are Significantly Older than when we met half a lifetime ago.

We have Significantly More Chaos in our lives than we did a quarter of our lives ago.

I tumble out of bed and fall on a three year old. She stands and starts waving her brother’s hand in the air vigorously. His head wobbles in time with his hand but he stoically puts up with his sister’s tender ministrations.

“Time to Get Up”, Mommy, she says to me. “Get up now Mommy”. Her brother nods.

“Bad Mommy”, says her brother to me with the eyes of an angel and unsettling perspicacity.

And:
“I got Bad Poopys Mommy”.
Sighing, I retrieve my  mommy uniform from the floor.

I don black leggings and a top I may or may not have worn previously. My top is black and I finish the outfit off with a black cardigan and black boots. It’s a cultural thing. I’m from New Zealand and we wear a lot of black. We’re intrinsically Gothic.

Acclaimed music artist Lorde is a great showcase for NZ fashion trends and our gothic tendencies.

Lorde at the 27th Annual ARIA Music Awards, December 2013. Wikipedia commons

Lorde at the 27th Annual ARIA Music Awards, December 2013. Wikipedia commons

After emigrating to Calfornia, I had to train myself to wear color when the weather is warmer.

After 30 plus years in NZ, I love the novelty of LA. It’s the fashionista’s polar opposite to the NZ fashion scene.

Soothing pastels and jumpsuits have their own unique charm.

In time, I awkwardly try to adapt to the Californian fashion scene. The first attempt at buying a jumpsuit ends in disaster. I gravitate to a black version. It looks awful on me.

Unfortunately so does pastel.

It could take me some time to find my signature jumpsuit look.

The morning unfolds. I ready school lunches and brush teeth.

I drop the twins off at their preschool and a Dad gives me a big smile. I smile back.

I vaguely wonder if he is giving me the glad eye.

Another cultural adjustment. American folk are open and friendly in everyday dealings but tend to be more reserved in deeper discussions.  NZers are reserved in the first instance but are open to overtures.

Upon establishing an initial connection; we’re best mates with all and sundry and comfortable¬† discussing anything.
It probably wasn’t the glad eye but it’s made my day a little brighter anyhows.
I return home after the school run.

I attempt to straighten the house before retiring defeated.

Social Media is so much more rewarding than housework,

I hang out and play a song suitable for the occasion to mark my husband’s birthday:

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