Tag Archives: Jr

More Muffins.

I don’t bake.

That is, I don’t bake anymore.

When I left culinary school, it was largely because my pastry chef assured me that I could indeed, NOT, bake. Like, AT ALL.

So I left school, and I went to work for a coffee shop, where I went in each morning at 3:30 a.m. to work. And what did I do, you ask?

I f*cking baked. And that chef was WRONG because I was good at it.

But I never liked it one bit. The recipes and rules and precision of it all.

Keri. No. Likey.

I love to cook. To riff. To toss things in a pot and see what happens.   My roast chicken coping method is the closest I come to a rule book, and that my friends, is an ART.

Baking is math. I hate math. (Sorry boss…  I know you don’t like me to admit that.)

It’s just not me.

Except that now it is.

March 15th I had to do something.  I looked across the room, at my son sitting on his tablet, content for the moment but concerned about what was then his “extended spring break,” and I needed action.

In the kitchen I had bananas. I had ancient flour in a good airtight container in the depths of the pantry.  I had baking soda.  I had mayo. (yep. Mayo. Google it.) And I had these dudes in my house who were just going to BE THERE like, for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG (ok… they are my family, and they live here, technically – but still…. WTF!?)

So I took out some stuff, and I took out my big ass mixing bowl that gets like, NO action, and I started baking.

I kind of haven’t stopped since those first banana muffins.

muffins

those first banana muffins

Because right now, in the face of absolute chaos, the rules of baking feel good.

I can follow a recipe and if I do it just as they say, it comes out just as it should.

We can’t say that about anything right now. You can follow everything they say and still end up sick, or jobless, or mourning or whatever other shitty thing might randomly dump on you.

Baking is control. In a time when we have no control.

Judging by the amount of #breadporn pics blowing up every time I open Instagram now, I am far from alone in this.

Incidentally, I have mad respect for the bread effort – it was very specifically what I think of as “the French bread incident” that finally drove me out the door of culinary school forever. So if you have bread skills, I salute you.

So I stick with what works. Goodness knows these boys can put away some muffins, and so there is a constant demand from the (albeit fairly captive) audience around The Casa.

Outside of my kitchen, the world, and sometimes even other parts of my house, are saturated in unpredictability. (Seriously, what the hell kind of art project/Tasmanian Devil impersonation is going on in my living room right now!?)

But back in the kitchen the warmth from the oven is making me feel toasty and safe, and the well-loved big ass mixing bowl now has a place of honor in the front of a convenient cabinet, ready to help me restore the order in my mind and in my soul – at 375 degrees, 18-20 minutes at a time.

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overwhelmed.

I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.

This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.

But it is true.  It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools.   The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.

We are a nation always in mourning, it seems.  And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.

Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.

The deluge is crushing.  It overwhelms.

That is the truest word I have.  It overwhelms me.

Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)

Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.

Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time  I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.

It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.

It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….

Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed  – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?

So yeah.  I am overwhelmed.

Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…

Overwhelmed.

But fighting.  For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.

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The most wonderful (TV) time of the year?

Old faithful, spending retirement in the corner of my home office.

So  here we are sliding down the back side of Fall, with the season of holidays picking up steam.

Or as I always thought of it when I was little “the season of the holiday TV cartoon special.”

I freaking LOVE ME some holiday cartoons.   If you animate it, Keri is HERE. FOR. IT.

And don’t get me wrong – Jr is totes here for it too…

But it’s just… well…  Different.

This year when I fired up It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,  (onDemand, natch,) he was at least one foot in the “meh” zone about the whole thing.

I taped TONS of Halloween/fall episodes of some of his absolute fave cartoons, and I was more excited than he was for the most part.

That last sentence?   Therein lies the rub if you really look at it – I said “taped”….  People don’t “tape” shit anymore Keri, ffs.  You record it.  Because it’s NOT on tape.  But really, you don’t even do that.

You pull it up on Netflix, or Amazon or onDemand (like my Charlie Brown example,) or WHATEVER platform you dig, and you do it any damn time you want.

It’s not special.  It’s just normal.  And it’s bummin’ me out a little bit.

When Dr. Sissy and I were tiny twins, holiday cartoon specials were a big deal.  Like CAPITAL “B” CAPITAL “D” Big Deal, yo.

If The Great Pumpkin was coming, or The Grinch was going to steal Christmas on TV that night, preparations were made in advance at our house.  Sometimes it meant we got to pick something special to eat for dinner  – like my high holy culinary grail of kiddo- Keri-coveted treat dinners: The Swanson’s  Fried Chicken TV Dinner (dear God Keri, stop talking and delete this embarrassment…  but NO, I push on.)

Even if it was just hot dogs and blue box mac and cheese, it ALWAYS meant we got to eat in front of the TV that evening, which was rare.  We had two TVs in the house, in a VERY technical sense of that count. One normal “modern” television, and one that was O.L.D.

Holiday special nights usually meant that we fired up the O.L.D. set at least a half hour before said special started, so THE TUBE HAD TIME TO WARM UP (I shit you not, kids, this was a thing back then.)

Did I mention it was a black and white set?

See, now this is making Keri sound older than she actually is –  we were well out of the B/W TV set era by the time all of this was going down, but the set was in the room right off of our kitchen, and chances are daddy was down stairs watching football on the TV in the family room (or anything other than cartoons, because he was not the adult fan that his daughter is today,) so we fired up old faithful,  carefully set our metal chicken dinner containers onto our TV trays,  and waited for the picture to fade in.

Sure, as we got a bit older and a VCR that we could set to record (which was a bitch, BTW,) came into our lives, we could’ve taped the shows (and I mean actually taped here, folks,) but we didn’t.

We checked the TV Guide (that was an insert in the newspaper each week that listed what was on – before we had 9 billion channels and an interactive guide,) we adjusted the foil on the bunny ear antenna, and we got excited.

And if we missed it, then it was just too bad.  Life lesson learned.

If we missed the Great Pumpkin, we were that much more careful to make sure that we were in front of that TV when Snoopy started popping popcorn and flinging pretzels around that ping pong table at Thanksgiving.

It. Was. Special.  If you missed it, it was gone for a year.

Now?

Now it’s meh.  Because chances are mom can find it on her phone if you are getting rambunctious in the car or something.

Now your biggest fear isn’t that the old black and white console set will finally blow a tube and not warm up – it is the horror of the Grandparents’ inferior WiFi that might force you onto your mom’s work hotspot.

Sigh.

But I am NOT sinking into modern-day holiday special ennui without a fight, people.  Oh no no NO.

I am going to throw the picnic blanket on the floor, lay out a spread of kid friendly food that would make any tiny tummy growl in anticipation,  and fire up all the specials in the coming months.

ALL. THE. SPECIALS.

And this season, when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes,  I am going to do my level best to make sure that Jr’s does too.

I may even get myself a TV Dinner.

(yes I know they don’t call them that anymore, shut up you are ruining it.)

Happy viewing, everyone.

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Careful what you wish for.

yes we are, SnapKeri… we really really are

Be careful what you wish for.

That’s what “they” say, right?

Whatever.  I always scoffed at that statement.  Like HELLO, we get it, life happens… but I am a grown-ass woman, and I know what I want, damnit.  Right?

Right.

Someone recently pointed out that my Instagram account has been (relatively)  quiet of late….
TBH all of Keri’s social media has been uber slow compared to my usual constant stream of overshare.

Here’s the thing –  how many pics of “my Bae Caesar” (salad) can one person possibly Insta?  At what point do even the most loyal of the Snap fam heavy sigh at yet ANOTHER salute to a Friday night charcuterie board with some (I think) clever caption about how fast I will be asleep on the floor in front of Twin Peaks after eating it? When does watching Dr Sissy and me exchange Mary Kate and Ashley GIFs on Twitter AGAIN drive a kind-hearted but still over it follower to mute because JUST ENOUGH ALREADY @todds_wife!?

What. A. Rut.

Long story short (too late) it was straight up Groundhog Day in Keri-land, yo.  And one more Snap featuring Jr’s rainforest animals soother glowing on the ceiling while his favorite obscure Paul Simon song plays in the soothing  half-light just suddenly felt like I was highlighting the horrifically mundane.

Can a girl get some variety in life, or what, universe!?

Here comes that “careful what you wish for” shit.

Labor Day weekend rolled around….  It was typical – there was pool time and BBQing and showing our fave brewery some consumer love and all of that….

And then Jr started to cough.  By Monday evening when I put him into bed (and he coughed himself to sleep to “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War,” natch,) I was ready for a shower and some sleep….

But when I emerged, wet haired and jammie-clad, down the stairs, I found The Mr folded up at a weird angle on the sofa, grimacing.

He’d stepped wrong off the bottom step in the garage and the top of his foot hurt.  I grabbed a heating pad, chalked it up to our aging ligaments, and figured it would be fine by the morning,

12 hours later I had a son with a nasty viral lung funk and a husband with a foot that was broken in two places.  I also had a slew of in-person meetings at the office with a visiting- from-out-of-town coworker,  and no grandparents in town to help out with poor sicky Jr for at least the first day or two…

Groundhog day was over, y’all.

Careful. What. You. Wish. For.

The next week was a surreal blur of doctor’s appointments,  barf buckets, conference calls, air-casts, dog walking, temperature-taking, co-worker bonding, frustrated-husband comforting, rushing back-and-forth CRAZIENESS.

And as the days passed, and I marched on through the chaos, it dawned on me – you asked for different, Keri.  You poked the universal bear.

Jr returned to school and all of his activities after a week of down time; twice a day I run Potter around the path by the reservoir so he can do his doggie business;  I haul ass to the office every morning later than I’d like, hoping to NOT get the shittiest parking spot in the lot….

Things certainly did get a shake up , I guess.

You’re welcome, Snap Fam, for the eleventy billion additions to my story of me walking the dog and comparing The Mr’s air cast to an 80s ski boot.

Turns out variety doesn’t = exciting content after all.  BUT, no more over-curating from Keri.  After all, what breaks up the day better than a good social media over-share?

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41 vs 21.

41.  Today I (and my super awesome twin, Dr. Sissy,) turn 41.

Wait…..  Whut?

Forty FREAKING one.

One of my asshole acquaintances  younger friends said I am just celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday.

Oh my damn.

It’s  been 20 years since my 21st birthday.

And hey!  Ya know what – when I think about it like that, maybe I should feel pretty damn good about things…  I have figured a thing or two out (ok, maybe just the one,) in the 20 years that have passed since Dr Sissy and I sampled every sketchy-ass “birthday shot” that the fine establishments of Boulder had to offer before taking turns holding each other’s hair back at different times over the next two days. (#wondertwinpowers)

That got me to thinking, how IS 21 different than 41?  Sometimes I feel EXACTLY like the girl who stood on the bar to kiss the buffalo with her sister on her 21st birthday, and not a day older…. and sometimes I am possessed by a cranky old lady barking at my husband to plug in my heating pad because I slept wrong the night before and “OY! MY BACK!”

What gives!?

Even at 41, I still hear the call of the Taco Bell drive thru when I have a shitty day at work… “Come Keri… get in line Keri… Nachos Bell Grande are the answer Keri.  And a GIANT Mountain Dew.”

But they aren’t the answer…  unless the question is “what is going to give you heartburn and make your damn pants not fit over your ass?”  And people – let’s acknowledge that is NEVER the question.  (I love you Taco Bell…. 4eva.  But you do me so, SO wrong.)

41 year old Keri WANTS to slam endless quantities of coffee drinks, all day and night, like her 21 year old self did.  21 year old Keri practically lived at THE BEST coffee shop EVER (I also love you 4eva, Paris on the Platte, RIP,) working there in the early mornings, and then camping out on a stool at the bar all evening long while Dr Sissy worked her shifts. Then heading back to the single gal condo and sleeping peacefully, NBD.  41 year old Keri just told her coworker today that she has to “watch her caffeine  any time after noon because otherwise I will be up all night.”  What, the actual F**k, universe?  How does that happen?  Now that I am a wife and a mom and have more on my plate than ever – NOW I have to limit my intake of the sweet nectar of energy and decency that is coffee, or risk being up watching Copper Skillet infomercials during the few hours my schedule actually allows me to sleep?  Damn you, 41.

21 year old Keri was ensconced in her perfect, walkable urban ‘hood, living on delicious (horrible) Big Bites and Hostess cupcakes, going to shows and  showing off fresh ink while downing house shots at PS lounge….

Remembering all of that is amazing.  But not the whole story. Nope… not at all.

21 year old Keri was  freshly mugged, flat broke, back and forth dating two guys- neither of whom was right for her,  and couldn’t get the air pockets in her bread to even out in culinary school (which is “rustic” now, but was “wrong” back then.) She was angry and lost and a little lonely.

I was 21 when I was diagnosed with MS.   (Talk about angry and lost… whoa nelly.)

21 year old Keri had some shit going on.    21 year old Keri walked through fire.

21 was actually a major pivot for me – and it had nothing to do with the ability to order  a drink.

And the things that happened that year set me on the path toward where I sit writing this now,  in my dimly lit kitchen,  about to get up and replace the blankets my son has no doubt kicked off, and fill the dog’s water, and kiss The Mr goodnight as he sleeps…  it was 21 that set it all in motion, really.

Andplusalso,  if you look hard enough, the best parts of that young woman are still right here, along with 20 years of hard fought understanding that have come along since then.  21 year old Keri buzzed around in her Jeep with the windows down and the music up. 41 year old Keri does the same. 21 year old Keri loved lingering and laughing over long tex-mex meals with her family,  and that is exactly how 41 year old Keri is celebrating her birthday this evening.

21 year old Keri made bad jokes when she was nervous (and when she was not,) enjoyed looking at the mountains way more than spending time in them, cried whenever she heard Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Colorado Christmas,” missed her twin sister living(part time) in Indy like crazy,  and was so damn grateful for every step she took, every sight she saw… every awful, wonderful perfect moment she got….

And you know what?  Ditto all of that for 41 year old Keri.

So maybe my not-so-jerky friend was right – happy 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday indeed.

(And to you too, Dr Sissy –  without you I am only half an egg.  muah.)

 

 

 

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