Tick-tock, tick-tock.

I’ve rejoined the wubbulous world of Facebook.

Over 2 years ago I decided one day that I was sick & tired of people always complaining about the same things, the ridiculous abused children/animals posts, the in-your-face religious memes…just all of it. So I quit. Cold turkey. Which is surprising for me because I have an “addictive” personality & can’t even quit cigarettes cold turkey.

I guess I was just bored & looking for something to do. Usually I’ll play Pet Rescue but when you’re stuck on a level & already in a worried/depressed mood, it isn’t very helpful to take your mind off of things…it’s downright aggravating. It took me a few lots of tries to remember my password but eventually I did. I have to admit, I did miss it somewhat…being connected in some way with people I know & the world in general; I missed seeing the cute/awesome/so true memes; I missed seeing people’s pictures. And I’m already instantaneously re-addicted. It is such a time passer! I feel a little like an idiot liking & commenting on posts & pictures that people probably haven’t thought about it months, but I’m playing catch-up so I guess it’s alright.

Reconnecting with people & extended family has been nice, though. It has made me feel a little less lost, a little less alone (and by alone I mean the 5 of us as a family kind of being on our own, feeling disconnected from family). Of course it sucks when I finally pull myself away & my reality comes back smacking me in the face. And it sucks to see other people’s lives so successful, complete, happy…normal. Not that I begrudge them that, no no no; it just hammers home how upside down my life is right now, which really gets to me if I let it.

I’d like to link my blog to my profile, but lately all I can seem to write about are my troubles (because they’re the main focus right now) & I don’t particularly want all of Facebook knowing all of this. I’m not one of those fakey-fakers who is all “Oh my life is so perfect, I’m so wonderful, ain’t everything great!”; I think there is a difference between purposely portraying something (like an ideal version of your life) & choosing not to actively disclose details. Of the people who have asked “How are you?” I’ve answered them honestly with “Okay” (because technically I am okay…we’re all alive & healthy) & haven’t elaborated with lies or the truth. So, until things work out, I don’t feel comfy linking the two. It’s embarrassing, depressing, unnecessary.

Aside from that, we’re in limbo. Well I don’t guess it’s “we’re” since the kids are unaware of “the housing situation” but all the same…it’s very awkward having an elephant in the room. Despite the fact that all 3 of us are adults & hubs & I are perfectly okay with “adult talks”, it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is…if we should approach him or wait until he approaches us. We have some progress & possible developments in the wings however they require a little time before (hopefully–fingers crossed!) coming full circle. If he’d be willing to work with us & allow us a little more time, I truly feel–with valid reasons–like we’re on the brink of being able to start repairing this mess. Really.

All we need is just a little time.

Meanwhile, take a minute & be grateful for what you do have. If it’s a secure place to lay your head at night…if it’s a best friend to help absorb your troubles…if it’s a fresh taco & glass of homemade lemonade on a hot day…if it’s the ability to go watch fireworks on the 4th…whatever it is, recognize it & be grateful for it.

All of it.

Woes are me.

What a rollercoaster of a week thus far. I feel like I say that in every post but this week it’s truly true. There is so much I don’t know where to begin, what to disclose, how to organize it to be coherent…I just feel the need to write. I want to pour my heart out, but can’t without revealing every..single..last..detail that I don’t particularly want all of creation to know. I also want to just spit out a simple feel-good post, partly because I never do anymore…a majority of my posts are depressing, depressed, whiny, bitchy, negative, etc cetera.

Now that I’ve brought it up I may as well tell you that we’re on the brink of pure homelessness, which is completely terrifying. I’m pretty sure the past year (and moving forward yet) has been the most horrible year we’ve had; well, neck in neck with the year Mom passed. Without rehashing all of the previously disclosed details (haha, gives you a reason to go back & read more of my posts!), our Housemate is anxious to put his house on the market; that means we need to skidaddle & he seems to think that a week’s length is adequate time for a family of 5 (with, ahem, no vehicle–no money–no place to go–no resources–no prospects) to figure it out & make it happen.

Sure, if we had money saved to cover: a rental deposit, first month’s rent, a lights deposit, a water deposit, then it’d be easy peasy.
        Except we don’t.
Because we’ve been living in a vicious cycle of having just enough money to continue existing, yet no where near enough to actually make life worthwhile. Or, for that matter, to save.

Add to that the fact that we have no vehicle. 8 months ago I remember feeling so so lucky to have two...two! But now we have neither. So we can’t even count on that as a temporary shelter, or to get anywhere. I hate this thought & it’s crass…but…is Housemate going to give us a ride to the homeless shelter, dump us in front, then drive merrily into the sunset?
        How could someone feasibly do that? Without feeling like a world class piece-o-shit?
I couldn’t. When we had our house, we made it well known (to my sister, to our friends, to anyone we knew & trusted) that our home was always open to them if they ever needed a place to fall, and for however long they needed it (The way Mom always was to me & would still be today…if only she were here). We don’t have that. I feel like we’re dangling our feet over the edge of a cliff. Hubs has family but I don’t even know if we could stay with them, plus it’s in a different state (which would mess up the life we’re trying to remake here). I would greatly prefer staying with family over staying in a shelter…but who’s to say they’ll even help us? Sometimes they can be great, the ideal family, standing right up shouting “yea, yea y’all can stay with me! I love family & wanna show it! Come on over”…and other times they can be the “oh, you have absolutely no where to go? Well sorry but I don’t have enough room in this big house, sounds like a real problem, good luck, hope something works out, talk to ya later”-kind of family.
        Yes, I’m dead serious.

So, the ever-present feelings of sickness, worry, depression, wistful-ness & anxiety are even stronger than before. I don’t sleep. I can’t eat. My brain feels fried & yet empty from trying to figure out solutions.  I was going to post a quickie post about grilled cheese & how they make a great last-minute meal (especially when you have extra kids, like we most always usually do because we’re suckers); how I love a grilled cheese with “everything”, and how I even had the opportunity to first have one that way. But…alas…I don’t feel like it now. Now that I’ve dredged up all bad news & worries it’s kind of hard to back pedal & talk about cheese & childhood memories.

Oh, how I wish I could.
I wish like hell that was all I had to concentrate on, to worry about.
Instead I’ve got 3 little faces looking up at me, wondering what comes next.

And the only answer I have is terrifying to us all…I don’t know.

Stephen King + beans & franks.

Lately I’ve been on a Stephen King mini-obsession & devouring one book after another. I have read his novels in the past & used to own a ton of hardcovers; my introduction to King began with a tattered copy of Pet Semetary that I was lucky enough to find at a flea market when I was about 13 years old…it literally terrified the crap out of me & still sends shivers up my spine to this day. It is one of my favorite books of all time. King is typically classified as a horror genre author, and yes, most of the novels I’ve read do have that scary/horror/creepy element to them, however they are well-rounded stories & not just horror. I think there is probably a big slice of readers out there who are missing out on an excellent author simply because he is classified as “horror” & those people don’t like scary stories/don’t want to be scared. That’s how I am…I don’t particularly care for out-and-out horror or sci-fi books usually but I discovered that King is so much more when I just gave some of his other novels a chance after Pet Semetary. In other words, more people should try them…they’d probably end up liking them. I personally really enjoy his writing style, language, character creations, plots, etc.

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This is exactly what my much loved, tattered copy looks like, minus the creases & blemishes. This book will send shivers up your spine!

One of the things I like about his writing is how he includes minute, everyday details, such as what a character had for dinner. It makes the story more realistic & also gives me inspiration for the kitchen! I’m currently reading Salem’s Lot, one of his classics. In the chapter I was just in, he tells you that the characters are having traditional “beans and franks” for dinner, and gives you clues about the ingredients and the process (and I quote: “It was Thursday night, and the meal was traditional–beans and franks. Bill Norton grilled the franks on the outdoor grill, and Ann had had her kidney beans simmering in molasses since nine that morning.”, chapter 5), which is uber-helpful when you’re like me & go scouring the internet for some old-timey similar sounding recipe. Many of the recipes I found said to use navy beans but I wanted to do it Stephen King’s way. I also have a great interest in trying “classic” recipes from other areas, and from the way it sounds, this is a traditional New England-area dinner/meal; and King should know since that’s his home territory & also the place setting for a majority of his books.

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This is the version I'm reading via ebook, one of my most favorite inventions ever.

So, after searching and searching I finally found a recipe that I’m going to try. It’s the one I felt was closest to how King described it & the website claims it’s old. I haven’t made it yet so I can’t reveal any results or opinions on the recipe process or outcome, but I figured one more blog/link to this traditional dish couldn’t hurt & possibly would make it easier for others to find…others like myself, who enjoy going off on food whims suggested by horror novels (despite my speech earlier about King being much more than a horror-genre author, Salem’s Lot is a “scary story”). I’m not sure what sides to have with this–and Mr. King provided no suggestions!–but some sort of toast and/or rolls sounds good…that way you can sop up any juices. Of course veggies are always good, or fruit, or even salad.

I found the recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s site…I enjoy her recipes, have made a few before, and I also really like how she explains everything in detail accompanied with photos. The only thing I’d tweak is the fact that she uses navy beans; I’m planning on using kidney beans, simply because that’s what King described & I’m trying to maintain “authenticity”. Personally, I think either bean would be okay & it comes down to your preference as well as what you have on hand (again, for me, kidney beans win because I’ve already got them)…either or. I would retype the recipe & make my blog look all efficient and thorough and nice…but alas, I’m lazy & let’s face it: her blog looks 20x better than mine ever could, so I’ll just link it. You can find a (undoubtedly good) recipe for Traditional New England Beans & Franks here. If you make ‘em, stop back but here & lemme know how they turned out & what you thought! Like all bloggers–well-known or unknown–I love feedback and comments.

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Note: this photo is *not* from the Pioneer Woman's site, I just liked it & decided to use it.

And after you try the recipe, try some Stephen King too…I highly recommend any of these:

*Pet Semetary (!!!)
*The Shining (!!!)
*Carrie
*Misery
*Dolores Claiborne
*Cujo (!!)
*Green Mile series
*IT (!!)
*Needful Things
*Rose Madder

The (!!!) indicate my favorite-favorites; also, many of these have been made into movies or mini-series so if you’re not a big reader there is always that option, just remember that most movies don’t include every last detail from the book & may not be quite as good. Just saying. I can, however, guarantee that The Shining and Pet Semetary are excellent books AND movies. And of course the list of his works is about triple the size of my list above, so you’re bound to find something you like. Just try it.

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The great Stephen King...I've always thought he looks like my Dad, haha...and he does.

Future thinking.

Thinking for the future. Something I’m doing nearly constantly, like a well-oiled machine. I even wake up multiple times a night (every night) with my “future thinking” running on auto-pilot. The hell?!

But, when you think about it–pun intended –future thinking is somewhat useless; at least to the degree that my brain is doing it. Yes, it’s good to have a plan…some idea of where you want to be 2, 5, 20 years from now…what you want to be doing. It’s always a good thing to have goals & direction & determination. I just mean that I think my brain expends way too much energy on the future; a little bit would be good, but in my particular situation it’s counter-productive because I need to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing now. Maybe it’s because my brain is scared that in the future I’ll be in this same situation again, so it’s frantically trying to find the switch that changes the tracks of this destructive train.

I’ve never been so lost…wait, that’s a lie. Two other times in my life I’ve suffered this deep despair.
1) Trying to choose what to go to college for. I didn’t want to be any particular thing (ie: lawyer, nurse, President) so I became scared that I’d end up not having a job, being broke all the time, and my prime college years (as well as funding) would be wasted*. I eventually settled on being a preschool teacher (I know, I need my ass kicked) & went off and on for, oh, about 2 years total; then I dropped out because the child care center I worked for made me a teacher so I figured to hell with school! Ahh…what a non-planning dumbass I was. All of the uncertainty threw me for a loop, all the “Is this the right decision?”‘s bowled me over. I read once that Libra’s are full of indecision & I believe it to be true; I don’t like being told specifically what to do however loose guidelines on the correct thing to do is appreciated.

2) When my Mom was snatched away from me one bright, sunny & snowy morning…when all should’ve been well…and happy…and normal. If I allow those mental gates to open it all comes rushing back & I get caught in the undertow. I’m pretty certain I literally lost a piece of my mental capacity that day. To this day living without her fills me with despair (among other emotions); I was so lost, shocked numb…didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to function. I was just a total blank blackboard. As time passed things began naturally working towards resolutions, whatever the situation called for…you know: the funeral process, her belongings (another rough spot for me), her “affairs” as they say, etc. Everything seemed to have a natural course to follow.

*Ironically (or maybe not) that’s exactly what happened anyway but I guess the upside is that I saved my Dad some tuition money.

I am lacking in many areas, some my own doing, some not. Lacking in guidance. Comfort. Choices. Understanding. Mobility. Financially. Intelligence. Security. Happiness. Emotional support. Options. Friendship. Smiling. Shopping. Fun. How do I rectify these things? How do I reverse the negative & increase the positive?? Without trying to get into a whole other -not written yet- post, I feel like I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with right now. For example, I check the online job site daily, along with Craigslist & “cold” applications (when you pick a place & just apply); I apply for any & every job that I meet the qualifications for (which is not many because I don’t have a degree in anything so STAY IN SCHOOL!); I wait; I receive a decline email…if I receive anything. So I’m left asking myself…what else could I do? What am I doing wrong? What else can I do? Hell, I’ve even walked to some places specifically to apply.

And it’s that same set of questions that plagues me about everything these days. Income is the key to everything, but until it unlocks the door, all these problems keep piling up & are putting so much pressure on the door (aka my brain) that it’s about to splinter apart. And time! Time is running out and then…well, those will be dark times indeed, my friends. Too many eggs in this basket.

Ever have a shit storm hit yourlife? If so, how’d you muddle through it? I need all the advice I can get. Apologies if this post didn’t make much sense…I endured multiple interruptions & my brain is functioning in a lower gear tonight. Plus, almost none of my posts do make sense, so there’s that too.

Post-Mother’s Day post.

Ahh, mother’s day.

Such a weird holiday for me. As a mom I’m the one who pays attention to dates/holidays/birthdays & remembers (or in my case doesn’t remember in time) to send cards…the one who worries about planning the meal…the one who frets about gifts (what kind, how much, for the love of God is everyone even?!). Cruelly, I lost my mom in 2009. So of course ever since then Mother’s Day lost 50% of it’s meaning…the other 50% breaks down like this:
25% is me realizing I’m a mom & I love my kids more than life, so that provides some meaning.
25% is faking like I’m so so happy that day for the kids’ benefit, which in turn makes me feel guilty toward them.

See why I’d rather just skip it? I feel bad saying that, as if I don’t love my kids enough or something. It’s a ridiculous, exhausting circle of emotions. It’s just a tainted day for me.

And then the gift thing…although this year is by far our worst financial year ever, we’ve never been rich…we’ve always been on a budget. My Husband, however, has champagne taste on a beer budget. Every year he asks what I want & I honestly tell him: “I don’t want you to spend money. Period. Seriously. I’d much, much rather have everyone get along & do little favors for me all day & maybe the dishes. I don’t want to have to worry about what we’re going to do without money.”

So of course he completely ignores me, buys a gift anyway (65% of the time he lucks out & gets something I will use or did want), and I worry like crazy about what we’ll do about this or that now that he spent “x” amount of dollars. It’s sweet & his heart is in the right place; I appreciate his determination & thoughtfulness. I just wish people would listen to me once in awhile.

Anyway, back to mother’s day. I know you’ve heard it all before but I’ll reiterate: appreciate your mom if you still have her. Recognize that her annoying habits or questions or whatever won’t always be there to annoy you and I promise you, you’ll miss them when they’re gone (just like high school!). Make time for your mom, do things to help your mom, tell her how important she is to you. Life as you know it could change in the blink of an eye; remember that next time your mom wants you to show her over the telephone how to search the web on her new smartphone.

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My cards from my lil man.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there–old moms or  young; new mom’s or seasoned pros; birth moms or step-moms; everyday you make a difference in the life of your child/children & everyday you survive the hardest job on the planet: motherhood. So pat yourself on the back & do something you want to…you’re doing a great job, keep up the good work!

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Nothing beats fancy like simple...my (chosen) M.D. dinner of chicken sandwiches, prepared by ze Husband. And they were soooo good!

And to all the mom’s in my life (even though 98% of them don’t read my blog…what is with me & percentages today?!): Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it’s wonderful –just like you!–and I love you!

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My cards from my gals & hubs. Super pretty!

(Normally I would insert a photo or two of my mom here but I don’t currently have access to any…boo)

Message in a bottle…

Ahoy!

I’ve been lost but I’ve (momentarily) found my way back…to WordPress anyway.

It’s terribly hard to pay your phone bill when you have no steady income, so I haven’t had the internet access people usually take for granted. On top of that, the internet/Wi-Fi at the house has been acting wonky…if the desktop had internet then the router wouldn’t & vice versa. I was finally able to straighten that out, so it all works together now, but the signal the router gets has been in & out for some reason the past few days.

You can’t win for losing, eh? More like ‘I’.

Hopefully everyone out there is doing well & enjoying nice weather. As for me, my life is still a jumbled, aggravating, lonely, heavy mess. I’ll spare you the details; at least in this post.

My clinical depression has come back swiftly & more intensely than before, when I was first diagnosed as a teen. The only thing(s) that saves me is my kids and I truly mean that. Dark thoughts are no laughing matter and the more you have the easier it seems to pull them off. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. I guess in one respect it’s a hidden blessing that I am broke right now, otherwise I’d have plenty of money to transform thoughts into actions.

Maybe I’m weird or selfish but it makes me so sad–to the point of tearing up–to think of not seeing my babies grow up, to not be there with them. So they really do save me; they’re handy for cheering me up daily & they’re also good at being annoying sometimes to help take my mind off of things (haha).

I feel bad about returning with such a depressing & dreary post but I had to clear my head a little….so, I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming after leaving you with a picture of this….

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This always brings a smile.

You’re welcome. ;)

PS: don’t you just love the Ticket Oak & the retarded faces it makes?!
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PPS: yes, I still use the word retarded to describe ridiculous, silly, funny stuff. So don’t judge me. It’s stupid for some people to make such a big deal out of some words.

What’s in a name?

I’m such a scatter-brain. I’ve been working on a different post off & on all day (a bitch-fest, as per my usual!) but can’t seem to find my way to the end, so I thought I’d take a break, try a totally different (happier) subject, & use the 40 minutes I have before the rugrats get home.

I’ve noticed lately that A–our youngest & only boy–refers to C & I as “my Dad” or “my Mom” when talking with/to his friends. I find it bittersweet…it’s cute that he’s so ‘mature’ now that he’s the big 6 & doesn’t want to say “mommy” & “daddy” anymore……but it also makes me sad, of course. It’s the same feeling as the other firsts: first day of school, first lost tooth, etc. You automatically want the best for your kids, which in turn means you want them to grow up (not much choice anyway–haha) intelligent & beautiful & to be a good person…but sometimes those little signs of growing up can make ya a lil misty-eyed.

Granted, he still calls me “Mommy” when addressing me/another family member and it’s the same for C and “Daddy”, so I’m glad of that at least. The girls dropped the Y’s a while ago, I knew it would only be a matter of time once A went into school too. Understandable; no one wants to be the “loser” Friend who refers to their parents in a baby-ish way. They still do the Y version at home but I can tell they do it for our benefit. The other night D was telling a story & started to say “Dad” but then stretched it into “Daddy”.

So the question becomes…do you just sit back & let nature take it’s course, let them banish the Y’s for good when they decide to?
…or…
Do you put a spotlight on it by telling them it’s okay to drop the Y’s if they want (if you can bring yourself to do it!)?

I’m always fretting over things just like this & it’s partly because I have no one to turn to and ask. My mom is gone & that left a huge hole in my entire life…she was always the one I’d turn to for anything. I don’t talk with my Aunt (Mom’s sister) as much as I used to because I hate being on the phone (can’t hear, too chaotic) & she won’t email with me because she doesn’t like to type (despite the fact that she’s literally on Facebook alllllll day playing games…); anyway…I don’t want to make this post all sad & dreary, I was just clarifying part of why I’m so…indecisive? Unsure of what decision would be best? I like to see as many sides (or opinions) as possible when faced with a decision–no matter how small–because I just like to know the whole of it. You know? I believe some may call that anal….

I don’t remember any sort of conversation with either of my parents about what I called them; I’ve always used “Dad” & “Mom”, and I’m sure probably the Y versions as a baby although I don’t remember it. I also don’t remember my own transition…in ninth grade a passing fad was to call your mom “Mommy” but I didn’t participate long because it felt weird, like I was trying to be something I wasn’t. Sometimes I wish I could’ve used “Mama” off & on (that’s what she called her mom) because I think it’s cutesy & country; and I did occasionally but it never stuck, never became the name.

So…to say something or to not say something…that is the question. I want them to be comfortable, not inadvertently pushed into using a name/names they don’t feel fit anymore simply because they know we like it.

I know, I know………….I’m a basket case. ;)

Gawker: Adam Lanza’s Father Speaks: “You Can’t Get Any More Evil”**MUST Read peeps!!**

Wow…I had heard on the morning shows that this interview was out & I really wanted to read it but figured since it was through The New Yorker it wouldn’t be free online. I was so pleased that the link at Gawker takes you to the free article! I proceeded to devour it & came away very thoughtful about viewpoints never before considered, and a bit haunted because of the tragedy & the “mystery” of the age old question “Why?”

Without getting too far into the situation, I do want to say that maybe his motive for choosing Sandy Hook was due to the fact it was the last real school he attended; from his Dad’s account he was beyond happy there; maybe somehow that got twisted in his ever increasingly sick mind & he didn’t want others to be happy? I don’t know, just a theory, like so many others. His Dad’s words are heartbreaking & his perspective truly leads you to question things beyond the normal realm of a situation like this. I was shocked-but also appreciative-of his candor & painful honesty. You can’t help but pity him as you realize how this has crumbled his life. And, as a side note, I’m bothered by the fact that he wouldn’t reveal Adam’s funeral arrangements, when such a big deal was made by the media about his body laying unclaimed for so long; I think also most of us prefer answered questions as opposed to mysteries.

Now, before I keep spoiling the article by raving about it, GO READ IT! Very informative, very emotional, most definitely worth your time (or else I wouldn’t recommend it). Then, when you’re done, come back & share your thoughts! I wanna know your opinions people! After that please feel free to share; many people may not know it’s available for free & will therefore miss out.

Gawker: Adam Lanza’s Father Speaks: “You Can’t Get Any More Evil” http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw7qTEkgk

Decepti-cookies! I mean…my sugar cookie adventure.

The other day I was in the mood for some sugar cookies which usually equates a long, drawn out ordeal because you have to roll & “powder” everything with flour & bake but wait you’re still not done because now you have to decorate them because we all know icing-less sugar cookies taste like ass. We’re in a period of transition right now, which in turn means most of our useful possessions are packed away & buried, impossible to find on a whim. Therefore my undertaking of sugar cookie baking was made even more difficult because I had no rolling pin. Or, for that matter, a recipe to go by (yes, my trusty recipe files are also packed away); never fear-there’s always the internet. I looked up an easy recipe that had lots of positive reviews, cute lil gold stars, delicious looking photos & didn’t require a lot of ingredients (which is always a clincher for me). My original intent was to pop out some sugar cookies (hereafter known as SC in this post because I’m tired of typing it out), decorate them & post the recipe links & photos, as usual when I make something scrumptious.

Except these cookies didn’t turn out scrumptious. And it’s not my fault (I don’t guess…)! Middle kid & I followed the directions to a T, even storing the dough in the freezer overnight (as the recipe recommended) despite the fact I was in the mood to make them right then. Anyway, the next day, we rolled them out (using a sealed bottle from the pantry…yep, that’s how thrifty we can be; it actually worked quite well) & cut circles (using a Mason jar ring but-you guessed it!-all of my cookie cutters are packed away; the jar ring actually worked quite well too though the cookies were a tad large; it’s awesome being southern & having handy crap like Mason jar lids lying around) in the dough-which we taste tested & it was good!-then baked them. Now, usually I’m a terrible cookie baker…even when I use a timer. It’s almost as if it’s just not in my genetic makeup to produce yummy cookies (which is why every holiday I do the cooking & my sister does the baking-there is a difference, people, between “cooking” & “baking”) so I was completely anal about these, checking on them & pulling them out when they looked their best & were turning a light brown; as the recipe advised, might I add. Cookies cooled, Oldest kid & I mixed up a glaze (using a recipe from the same site) that tasted like doughnut glaze-aka good-then proceeded to decorate these masterpiece SC!

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Meet my rolling pin stand-in, the bottle with brown liquid inside.

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Usung a top layer of plastic wrap helped cut down on the mess.
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Beautiful Mason jar circles & something I'm calling "sugar drops". (Aka: dough rolled into a ball, rolled in sugar.)
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Sugar drop close-up. These lil babies are pretty tasty!

I gotta admit, I was so frigging excited! I mean, my failure as a cookie baker is to the extent that C makes way way better cookies than I ever could. These suckers looked good! The dough had been good, the icing was good, they weren’t burnt. Win, win, win. We finally got to take that victorious “I’ve spent way too much time on this so let’s try one already dammit” bite and…

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These got browned a tad more than I meant to; I wasn't thinking about them being smaller. :/ BUT-the circle cookies were lighter than these, so surely they couldn't be overcooked?!

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You can see the level of brown-ness on the circle cookie & it (deceptively) looks perfecto.

It was like trying to bite pavement.
This cookie wasn’t gonna give; it would not break.
You could chuck one of ‘em at somebody’s head & they’d at least suffer a concussion from it.
My disappointment was overwhelming. All that time, work, hope…I know, I know: it’s just cookies. But it still sucks. So I’ve decided not to share the links; not because I’m being petty & spiteful (“Waahh my cookies are harder than steel so I won’t share your site”), it’s because I’m not going to offer out a recipe that I can’t stand behind. Now, it’s entirely possible that *I* did something to cause this cookie travesty…too much dough kneading? too much flour? Which is why more testing is required; the recipe was easy & doesn’t take everything under the sun, so I’d like to add it to my files; if I can eliminate the problem.

I will however include the glaze icing recipe so that your time here today won’t be a total waste; plus it’s good, extremely easy & versatile.

Glaze Icing
1 c. Powdered sugar
4 tsp. Milk
Mix in small bowl with a fork until sugar is completely dissolved. If you want it thinner add more milk, if you want it thicker add more sugar. Any additions are recommended to be made 1 teaspoonful at a time, to prevent a mad scientist type of situation. My helper & I put some in bags, added some color, mixed it up well then cut the corner of the bag off (just a tiny piece!) to decorate. This icing does not make a lot by the original recipe so feel free to double if you’ve got a lot to ice. One last thing: wait for the icing to dry/set up before you stack & pack your cookies. It doesn’t take long; if you’re anything like me, leaving the cookies exposed to people walking through the kitchen (ie: stirring up dirt & hair, stealing cookies-boy they’ll get a surprise with these!) will drive you batshit but it’s gotta be done, otherwise you’ll have a gooey glued together cookie mound.

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Icing/glaze close-up, still wet.

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We used a knife to cut some shapes pre-baking.
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Oldest child did blue, I did green.
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Random.
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I really like Mr. Mad Face; he happened by accident.

So, not a total loss. Didn’t get a keeper SC recipe (yet) but acquired a new icing one. These cookies totally need to be renamed though…like “Decepti-cookies”…or something. My cleverness has fled the building.

Matchbooks: the economy’s downfall. **UPDATED 3/10/14**

Am I a raving lunatic?
No. I wouldn’t say lunatic exactly…
I just like things the way I like them. Back in high school when I was going through my anorexic-goth-drinking-moving-out-at-17 finding myself phase, one of my counselors diagnosed me with a touch of OCD. (I’m not quite sure how one only acquires a touch & not full blown-I mean, it is OCD you know-but that’s what she said.) So I blame my nit-pickiness on that, my Mom (just because she’s passed doesn’t mean her faults disappeared, I’m slowly discovering) & the anxiety disorder I believe I’ve picked up from the last year (waking up repeatedly night after night, heart racing, filled with worry & dread? And that’s just for starters? Oh yea, that qualifies as something).

Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes…when I have extra time…it can be annoying. Like today, for example. C is notorious for stealing my lighter (or anyone’s, really, that is laying around) so I try to keep some matches handy because unfortunately our finger tips don’t produce fire. Therefore I count on them to work when I go to use them. I prefer the strong, big, box matches (or the mini version) over those suck-ass flimsy paper matches. C came Home with 2 heaping handfuls of the sucky ones the other day, because CVS decided to quit selling cigarettes like douches. So now not only do I have suck-ass matches but I have a lot of ‘em. Ugh.

A funny thing about me is that when I go to use something, I expect it to work. Whether it’s a washing machine, or fish tank, or game controller…or a match. We smoke outside (see-we do love our kids!) & it’s been cold recently, so I don’t particularly enjoy standing around shivering while trying to light a cigarette. (I know, I know: you’re all “Well then quit smoking dumb ass” & I’m all “But I can’t”) What makes this situation even worse is when the match won’t strike. What. The. Hell. Twisting it, turning it, trying different spots on the little runway: nothing. Meanwhile, all lighters in the land have been lighter-napped to C’s pocket & he’s not nearby. So you don’t keel over from boredom I’ll get on with it; suffice it to say I finally managed to get a little  flame but had to hold it on the matchhead so I also got a little burn & then had to fight off the wind so it didn’t blow my little flame out. What a pain in my ass!

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I'm glad they appreciate me & all...

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Probably can't tell from the photo, but barely any scratchy striker strip!
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Match heads appear fine.

Needless to say it got me thinking about products and how much products have gone down in quality & up in expense; it got me thinking about how people could help this situation if they’d take the time to tell the companies. I’m not saying jump on the ‘puter & start sending stalker-ish hate emails to Old Navy or Del Monte…but if enough people have the same issues, the companies would notice & (hopefully) do something to improve. People have no idea how much power they really have, if we banded together.

But I digress. Back to matches. I’m figuring that the company figured out the least amount of striking strip that they could get away with using, and have the matches still work. More cost effective, right? But the thing is…it doesn’t work (I’ve tested this multiple times, I didn’t just have 1 failure, I had a failure every time) so, in my way of thinking, it makes the company look bad to me & I damn sure won’t buy/get their brand in the future.

But what if they don’t know?? So, I take the time to email the companies. Because I want better products. And I’m neurotic like that.

PS…still waiting to hear back from the Wright brand bacon masters. You know, the ones who charge $8 per pack but it was justifiable because it’s so effing delicious but the last few packs I’ve gotten have been FAT & I’m not paying out the wazoo for fat. (Shew…breath.) So, we’ll see what happens with that.

PPS…I tried several times to upload this with pictures but for some reason it kept giving me errors; therefore I am planning on deleting all pictures & attempting to upload yet again. It was just matches & bacon, who hasn’t seen matches & bacon before? (Except I was surprised & impressed at my camera’s rare ability to get some good close ups of the matches! Dammit.) **3/11/14: I’m a persistent brat…finally got them to upload!**

PPPS…I don’t know why but I thought some may want to read my helpful email to the matchbook company, so here it is verbatim (minus my full name & address):

Subject: Constructive criticism from a consumer

Hello,
I’m writing to let you know about a situation I encountered when using your product recently. I’m a firm believer that if people aren’t aware of a problem then they can’t fix it, so I like to give companies a chance to make it right & be aware that there are issues.

My husband recently brought home 2 handfuls of your matches; CVS was apparently off-loading them onto people since they’re going “tobacco free”. When I went to use one it wouldn’t strike/light. It was a brand new book, so the strip wasn’t all used up & full of bare spots. Try after try finally produced a flame & I figured “Meh, shit happens.” But then I tried again a little later (I’m a smoker, not burning down my neighborhood. Just wanted to clarify.) and had the same problem, different results. This time I got burnt because I had to hold the match by the head in order to get it to light. I’ll make it & everything, but it sucks AND if I was an idiot I could probably try to sue you (you know, how people try to sue McDonald’s for *hot* coffee?)!

So not only does this issue affect your product’s quality reputation, but it also opens you up to liability for losers looking for a quick buck. Now, I think we can all agree that the little books of matches are no match (pun intended!) for their big, boxed counterpart. However they should still work 88% of the time. My sense, not being in the match business, is that the striking strip needs more striking power. I don’t know what it’s made out of-glitter, sand, red clay dirt-but the matches seem to have enough “stuff” on their head to produce a sufficient flame, whereas the striking strip looks like someone just took a brown marker & swiped it across there. Hardly any texture, thick is the complete opposite of it…I don’t know if putting as little as possible on there is a cost effective move but as far as being a consumer of them goes…it sucks. And burns.

In closing, please know that I’m not bashing your product…I’m offering constructive criticism. Also, I probably veered off track too many times to warrant being taken seriously so please know that I’m a real person & this is a real issue, not some silly joke. Thank you for your attention!

Sincerely,
Heather

PS…please overlook any misspelled words & general incorrectness-it is not a sign of my incompetence but of my auto-correct’s over-zealousness.

**the end**

3/10/14:
I got an email response! She was very polite & eager to help. I get the feeling that she disregarded the humor in my email but at the same time didn’t take offense (hopefully). As a company should be, she was concerned enough about the problem to suggest sending me a paid envelope in order for me to send them the offending matchbook, along with any others I may have. That way they can look at them & determine what the issue is but she did say that I could be right & it seemed like the strike strip is the culprit. I felt they deserved an update because they’re making an effort to do the right thing, so they should get recognition for it…no matter how small the blog.

In related news, remember when I told the story about the Wright brand bacon? Well apparently they’re owned by Tyson, whom I received a letter from today. The pictures speak for themselves & serve as proof that if you have a legitimate issue, it just might be worth your time to tell ‘em about it. Now that the coupon craze has died down & idiotspeople aren’t trying to just get free stuff all the time, maybe companies will be more willing to give out goodies to make up to consumers.

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I was like "What the whaa?" (Because I wasn't aware Tyson owned Wright)

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Their polite & professional response.
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Woot woot! $8!! Free bacon, bitches!