Quotable Quotes, Uncategorized

Ode to All My Children

Well, it’s really here. The last episode of All My Children will be Friday, September 23. Sure there were the occasional story line problems, ultra politically correct episodes, and unrealistic situations; but it provided a great escape for 60 minutes.  I plan to enjoy it with a Diet Coke, box of Cheese Its, and a box of tissue.

Good-bye my pal, All My Children.

So long laughs, loves, and all that sin.

Good-bye Erica, Dixie, Crystal and Tad.

Jake, Jackson – it’s makes me so sad.

Adios Opal, Ryan and selfish Greenlee,

Kendall, Zack, Jessie, and blind Angie.

You saw me through pregnancies and two babies-

I felt so normal next to all your crazies.

Running on the treadmill wasn’t a chore.

With you in the video player, I just wanted more.

I’ve watched you some 30 of your 41 years.

You made me laugh and even shed some tears.

I still remember Uncle Palmer and Aunt Phoebe.

I hope you find Babe and Angie will see.

The affairs, evil twins, dead come back to life-

Will Erica ever again be Jackson’s wife?

I heard we might soon become online friends-

But I’m hoping All My Children will rise once again!

You might like this Crankshaft comic tribute to AMC.


It’s always better to leave too early than stay too late. ~ Kathryn Joosten, actress (said when her character, Mrs. Landingham, was killed on The West Wing. From Rob Lowe’s book, Stores I Only Tell My Friends)

Quotable Quotes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Thank You For Being A Friend

I just returned from a beach weekend trip with four friends. This year marked the 20th year of us going to Panama City together. Typically, there are six of us who go each year with only one or two of us rarely missing due to a family or work conflict.

Each year we get better at a couple of things. We used to plan elaborate meals – ones low in fat, but high in taste – hoping to impress each other. We used to bring our rackets, tennis shoes, and workout clothes. Twenty years later, we’re proud of the fact that we are completely satisfied with a staple of nachos, Raisinettes, and cereal and engage in no activities which involve sweating.

The other thing that we’ve gotten better at is judging each other less. We’ve declared a Judge-Free Zone when we get together. This means that there is no judging one another’s parenting, marriage, children, eating habits, cellulite, chin whiskers, or hair color (or lack thereof).

We’ve all learned that in spite of singing lullabies’ and reading endless bedtime stories, attending teacher conferences and PTA meetings, and all of our other best efforts, we screw up. We’ve each come to realize that life is hard and parenting is not for wimps.

I’m blessed to have several friends, my beach friends and others, who accept me warts and all. They are willing to overlook, forgive, and/or accept my many shortcomings and uncanny ability to forget birthdays, butt text, and lose at every card game.

These are the types of friends with whom I can share my fears, dreams, and life secrets without concern that they will laugh or use this information against me (or put a really ugly picture of me on their facebook page).

It’s important to have good friends to go through life’s rough patches such as    challenges with spouses and children, family illnesses, parent deaths, job losses and changes, and empty nests.

I hope you have friends like this.  If you don’t, get some. Life calls for give and take and it is much too short to surround yourself with “friends” who only take.

If you happen to be a friend who only takes, change. A piece of simple, yet profound, advice I used to give my elementary students was:  To have the kind of friend you want, you have to be the kind of friend you want.

So the next time you are together with your friend(s), declare it a judge-free zone and enjoy life and each other more.

If you ever lose your mind, I’ll be kind. If you ever are so happy and land in jail, I’m your bail. If you ever lose our teeth and you’re out to dine, use mine. It’s friendship, friendship. Just a perfect blendship. When other friendships are up the crick, ours will still be slick. “Friendship” by Cole Porter

In addition to eating nachos and Raisinettes, we  dined out and had some great Florida seafood; but it was Flamingo Joe’s red beans and rice that got my attention. It was perfect! Jennifer, the owner and chef, Joseph Black, graciously shared the ingredients: Schreiber’s beef base, garlic salt, Caribbean spices, white pepper, beans and rice. Finding the right combination should keep me busy for a while. If you happen to know a good combination, please share it!


Flamingo Joe's Red Beans & Rice



Chef Joseph Black (pics courtesy of Gail )
Middle School Mishaps, Quotable Quotes

Strategic Seating on Bus #3

Today was the first day of middle school. I could tell my son was a little anxious about the whole thing so when I was talking with him about where he should sit on the bus, I wanted to be careful not to cause him any more worry. While I was licking down his hair, I said, “You know, you should probably sit in the one of the seats in the first three rows.”

His reply? “I’m gonna sit in row six.”

“Row six? That’s too far back.”

“But it’s not even past the center line!”

“The center line can’t protect you! Only the bus driver can protect you!” Opps. So much for not making him feel more anxious. I’m sure he’s heard that the bullies sit in the back of the bus. He’s seen Diary of a Wimpy Kid – twice.)

I could tell he was thinking and he said, “Okay, row five.”

“Row four – and that’s my final offer!”

When we walked out the door with my camera in hand, I could hear my husband saying something like,”Don’t take pictures at the bus stop.” But maybe it was more like, “Make pictures at the bus stop.” Well, of course – that’s exactly what I was planning on doing.

“You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down. Up, down. Oh what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together. Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.” ~ Grandma (in Parenthood, the movie)

If I were a really good Mom, I’d make my son’s favorite dinner – chicken pot pie. But…it’s too hot to turn on the oven, so I’m going to make one of my favorites – rotisserie chicken salad.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Ingredients: one rotisserie chicken (herb or savory flavored) pulled and diced, 1/4 diced onion (I like red, but any will do), 1/4 cup diced sweet pickles, 2 hard-boiled eggs diced, 1 cup of mayonnaise (give or take according to taste and exercise schedule), and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Mix all the above ingredients and add salt and  pepper to taste.  Chill. Serve with crackers or croissants.

Parenting Pearl, Quotable Quotes

The Summer of Would You Like to Pawn or Sell It?

I LOVE summer! Working in a school definitely has its perks
– touching young minds … And then there’s those eight weeks off. It is truly
one of the gifts of education. I think my husband has become envious of my time off.  He’s already taken two weeks off from his job this summer and seems to be coming home earlier and earlier each day.

His “time off” has allowed him and our son to spend more time than usual bonding while watching an inordinate amount of TV.  The show of choice this summer is Pawn Stars. (Note: Just because it comes on the History channel doesn’t mean it has any historical significance.) This has had the unfortunate result of my soon to be 6th grader wanting to be a pawn broker when
he grows up. He scoffs when I suggest going somewhere like Six Flags or the
water park, saying he’d rather spend the day at the pawn shop across from

My husband has tried to convince him that the majority of pawn shops
are not like the one they see on TV. He’s told him they are the type of place he’d rather not go given his germ phobia, which borders on dysfunction; but he
is not deterred.

I’ve been thinking that maybe he needs to get this out of his
system – not unlike the parenting gem of an idea to prevent your kids from
smoking. You know, give your kid a puff of a cigarette. Once they hack up a
lung,  they will never want to smoke again. (This is a smoking prevention strategy I do not endorse, by the way.)

I’ve reminded him that he’s been to the second-hand sports and
fitness equipment shop and that is just like the pawn shop. He said that buying
used baseball gloves and bar bells is nothing like watching a sucker get $25 for
his baseball card collection worth $250.

Don’t even get me started on Storage Wars! Yep!

Parenting Pearl: The old parenting advice: it’s Quality not Quantity time, isn’t exactly true. Kids really want lots of quality time. Even if it is time spent discussing if Bryan got a good price for his newspapers with the Elvis articles or if Roger should have taken the deal offered for his little piece of the space shuttle or does Old Man ever smile.

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”~ Alfred Adler

Below is one of the best gifts I ever got from my husband’s family. I believe it came courtesy of Cousin Donna. Thanks, Donna!

Luscious Banana Pudding (so simple and SO good!)

Ingredients: 1 large package of vanilla (or banana) instant pudding, 2 cups of whole milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 box of vanilla wafers,                  4 bananas, and one large container of whipped topping.

Mix pudding and milk until firm. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and whipped topping and mix well. In a large container, alternate vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat 2 more times.

Luscious Banana Pudding
Lessons Learned, Quotable Quotes

A Year of Change: Taking Risks and Eating Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Welcome to Mom’s Life Ponderings!

This year will forever go down in my personal history as The Year of Change – a year of firsts and a year of experiencing new adventures. This year, I changed jobs, my youngest child will be starting middle school soon, my oldest will be starting (drum roll please) college, and I finished writing a novel based on the stories my father told me about his growing up years (no literary agent yet, but I figure there’s no cause for discouragement until rejection # 65 – I’m only on #12).

And then there’s this other new adventure – writing this blog. I am hoping that other moms out there are also experiencing new challenges and might like to share in these adventures and the learning that comes from them.

Of course, all of these “firsts” involve some amount of risk – something I am not naturally drawn to; but they do provide some amount of excitement. Which reminds me of the time….

I had been watching several seasons of the Food Network channel’s The Next Food Network Star. The show involves 12 contestants from around the US facing all kinds of difficult cooking challenges with one final contestant getting his or her own show on the network. I loved the show and I thought it would be really cool to audition for it. The only problem is that I have very little courage. Enter my friend, Gail. She’ll try anything.

I thought we could audition as a team. This had been done the first season and the pair, Dan & Steve, actually won. Honestly, I didn’t really care about winning and getting our own show – I just thought the whole competition looked like fun, the free room and board in NYC would be neat, and we’d have a great story to tell our friends.

There was a casting call in Atlanta and we were convinced that once they saw the chemistry between the two of us we’d be a shoe in. We tried to think of a way to have an edge over the competition so the night before the audition, we made my yummy Triple Chocolate Cupcakes (see Recipes) and pita chips and Gail’s tasty salsa and put them in 3 gift bags. We also put together a little cookbook that contained 15 of your own recipes.

The audition started at 9 am. When we got there at 1:30, it was clear that we’d be there awhile. The room was packed! The girl giving out the numbers looked at us kind of weird when we said we wanted the same number as we were going in as a team. (Had she not seen Season 1?) We were number 783. We figured there were over 1,000 contestants.

We didn’t mind the wait. We rarely get the opportunity to just sit and people watch. There were all kinds of folks there. Several wore their chef coats. Someone was in military fatigues. And there were some women highlighting some of their more physical assets (if you know what I mean).

A real chef was sitting a row behind us and, I guess out of pure boredom, he decided to engage the “home cooks” in conversation. (That’s what he actually called us and by the way he said it we couldn’t decide if that was a good thing.) It was obvious that he was a real  chef because “Chef” was embroidered on his gray chef’s coat and because he listed off all the restaurants he had worked in from California to Atlanta. He also causally mentioned that he had trained at Le Cordon Bleu – the real one in France. He told us about the dishes he had created and the famous people for whom he had cooked.

Talking with Pierre was okay for a while but he was starting to get on my nerves. We wondered if he was trying to distract us – get us riled and off our game. He started asking us questions like, “What kind of white sauce do you make with pork?” I looked at Gail. She looked at me. And then I said I had to use the restroom.

Finally, at 7:30 pm, our number was called. When a new girl told Gail to move to a seat in front of the audition room, I pointed at my number and said, “we’re together.” She had a puzzled look on her face. (Seriously! Who were these people and were Dan & Steve really that forgettable?) When we went in, there was only one chair. Not a problem. We shared it – one cheek each. This would demonstrate our teamwork from the get go. The casting agent asked us what kind of experience we had. I answered that we both had been married over 20 years, so that was at least 40 years of cooking experience. She looked about  20 and I don’t think that was the answer she was looking for. Gail told her that we had been tennis partners for over 15 years and in Atlanta the food eaten at these matches was just as important as the tennis. (Gail was right about this. The problem was we never really contributed to the great eats at our matches. Sure, we had great plans, high ambition, but when it came down to it we’d just show up with brownies from a box and chips and salsa.) Then she asked us about our culinary point of view. We had practiced this. Together, in perfect rhythm, we explained that we knew busy moms needed recipes and cooking strategies to feed their hungry families quickly and economically.  She smiled at this. We gave her our goodies in the gift bags and our recipes. She said she was starving. We were soooooo in. The whole audition lasted about 3 minutes. We left on a high knowing for sure we’d get a callback.

However, no call came. We couldn’t believe it. Had they not seen our obvious charisma and talent? (Okay, we did wonder if the cupcakes had held up for 24 hours in the gift bags and if the salsa really should have been kept refrigerated.) Oh well, we knew we were good and we didn’t need some stinking show for validation.

A few months later, we watched the opening episode of  The Next Food Network Star. Some guy named Herb was there from Atlanta. (Perhaps we should have auditioned under the names Salt and Pepper.) Gail finally came clean and admitted that she had never watched the show. After the first competition where the contestants had to make a meal out of a few odd ingredients, Gail said, “Thank goodness we didn’t get on that show!” What? Who was this person? The Gail I knew would never back down from a challenge. I told her we would have figured it out and come out smelling like a rose – make that rosemary. She finally agreed and said we should try it again next year. Sure. But first we might need to start actually making homemade dishes for our tennis matches. Maybe something that requires a white sauce.

Lesson Learned: Refusing to take risks is possibly the biggest risk you’ll ever take. By not taking a chance on that different, scary adventure you run the risk of not becoming the person you are fully meant to be. And…disappointment is ALWAYS more palatable when it’s served with a side of chocolate cupcakes.

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the  fear of failure. ~ Jack Lemmon (in Katie Couric’s The Best Advice I Ever Got)

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes