Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hello Again!

Well. This is awkward.

How long's it been? 6 months or so?


Well. I do apologize for my absence. And you see, I can't even promise how long I'll stick around this time. I'm very hard to pin down you know. Elusive. Mysterious.

Mysterious Wallpaper 1920x1200 Mysterious 

In the grand scheme of life I am like that umbrella in the picture. Did you really expect me to say the figure of the person in the picture? How mysterious would I be if I were that predictable. 

Anyways, let's not spend time discussing our past year. Let's just say life has happened and is happening and will continue to happen. Let's just stick with the present. 


Like I'm not going to gush about the most perfect baby that has ever been. 

 GUISE. She's not even a baby anymore. She's a rambunctious toddler. The time, it does fly. I am constantly amazed and awed by Noelle. She's SO SMART, so sweet, so funny, so sneaky, so caring, and so damn cute. I am a little more in love with her every day. Tom and I, we got hella lucky with her.

As for myself, I'm now officially going to school full time, working full time, and being a full time wife/mother. So I am busy. Really busy. 

That whole school thing, I'm finally doing at nearly 32 what I should have done at 18, and I'm in the Middle Grades Education program. Hopefully I'll be a middle school history teacher in not too many years. 

The work thing, I'm not loving, but I am loving the fact that it's work. And I'm getting paid. I am very very happy, with all the crap I've been through, to have a job at all. Especially one that allows so much flexibility. However, it's not all sunshine and roses, but when is it ever. 

I lost my grandfather in August and I've been doing an excellent job of pushing that thought to the back of my head. So I'm not quite ready to think about that and come to terms with it. Possibly because I'm afraid of all the tears and perhaps not being able to stop. It's not helping that my grandmother is having a lot of medical issues and is in and out of the hospital these recent months. So. Real shit is happening and I'm not cool with thinking about it. 

To summarize the past year: LIFE. IT HAPPENED. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving. Again.

Tomorrow is the big day. Thanksgiving. Love the food, hate the awkward. And with my family, there is always a lot of awkward to be had. I'm sure that I'm not alone in that, I'm sure you guys also have your share of awkward family time. 

I think that's just family though. Cram a bunch of people that are only connected by blood or marriage together into a house once a year when you spend the rest of the year actively avoiding each other and it's sure to be awkward. It's hard to avoid everyone all at once unless you lock yourself into a far removed closet. Which actually, my cousin Gary did that every year while I was growing up, he'd hide in a bedroom.

Now though, since I'm married, we've had to incorporate the husband's family and mine together. Both of our families are weird, but in totally different ways. His parents are in their 60s, upper middle class, straight up Leave It To Beaver types. My parents are in their 50s, they came of age in the very stoned 70s and are pretty spacey and boozy.

Husband's family
My famly

For years growing up Thanksgiving was always at my great-aunts house with everyone piling up there. Now she has passed away, her daughter and my grandmother still live there, and we still carried on with the family gatherings for a bit after my aunt passed away. Then a few things happened pretty much all at once (well, it was over the span of a year, but since we never see each other.... you got me) my cousin that owned the traditional gathering home started feuding passively with my mother's brother (fuck him, I don't call him my uncle), I got separated from my husband and my mother's brother started harassing me about being separated and not sticking with my marriage just because I was "bored" as he said and I jumped all over his ass, my mother's brother's wife refused to come to any more family functions. Then the husband and I got back together and my mother's brother tried to start more shit the next year, my cousin was still feuding with him, suddenly my cousin couldn't get off work for the holiday anymore, blah blah life happened.

Long story short now we're gathering with my husbands family minus my mother's brother and his family.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Smoosh Cake Disaster 2013. Then a catch up.

Noelle just turned one on November 6th! To celebrate her going from this tiny helpless little creature:

To this adorable little girl who is an absolute ham for attention:

we threw her a birthday bash! Complete with a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, ham, stuffing, all the works) with all of her most adoring of fans crowded around her to celebrate!

Seriously, she loves being the center of attention.

The decorations were fall festive and a strung up and sitting about, it was perfect. The food was all ready and hot and delicious. The company was all great. The mingling was good, the chatter was happy. Bellies were full, guests were eagerly awaiting dessert. No one was more eager for cake than Noelle. 

You see, during the past year I have severely limited Noelle's intake of sugar. She has only had nibble of cake and cookies. This was hard to maintain since I bake tons of treats all the time. I wanted to make her first birthday special for her. I wanted to make sure her smoosh cake, that all kids get on their first birthday, was her first in-depth foray into cake.

So I planned for weeks her cake. I wanted to make sure it wasn't just a chocolate or vanilla cake. Let other kids have that simple confection. My little girl has a mother that bakes delicious treats. I was determined she would have something unique and delicious. Something she could look back on decades from now and think "Hell yes mom. Hell yes".

I decided on a pumpkin cake with a cinnamon Swiss buttercream frosting. Yeah, take a second and let it sink in. Pumpkin. Cinnamon. Swiss. Buttercream. Amazing. Yeah, I know.

So I had her little cake and the matching larger cake for the rest of the guests. I had baked the cake layers on Thursday so that I could make the frosting and frost it Friday in a relaxed time and not be rushed. It so never works out. I was running all around on Friday and didn't get around to making the frosting until late Friday night. I frosted the cakes, was unhappy, scraped it off, frosted it again, was unhappy, scraped it off, frosted it again and this went on and on.

Finally I was exhausted and decided they looked as good as they would get. I went to take my friend who had been keeping me company home and when I got home I saw that my husband had tried some of the sampler cake (I had extra batter and frosting so made a tiny cake on the side for him). I value his opinion so this conversation happened:

Me: What did you think of the cake?
Tom:....*pause* was... buttery.
Me: Fuck. Now I have to redo it all in the morning.

You see, I am my biggest critic. Tom is my biggest fan and he always loves everything I make, so for him to PAUSE and then say it was buttery I knew it was all fucked up. I had tried a new frosting recipe. I'd never made it before and it did call for 3 pounds of butter. I knew it was buttery, but I figured with the cake it would tone it down and compliment each other. So I went to bed positive that I had to rebake the cake the next morning. 

I was hell bent on remaking them. I woke up with a mission. My aunt, who was in from Georgia and staying with me refused to allow it. She convinced me, along with my husband that the cake was delicious and it was all going to be amazing, and I was being crazy. My husband said it was his fault, he shouldn't have paused, and blah blah blah I didn't rebake the cakes.

Cut to the party that night. Know that I have been working on the cakes since Thursday and didn't sleep any the night before because of the cakes. Now read this:

As Tom and I posed for pictures behind Noelle, who was adorable in her highchair waiting eagerly for the cake, I held the cake in front of her, just out of her reach. Then I felt the cake board begin to bend. Then this happened:

The cake fell off the cake board. Noelle instantly started screaming. 
If you need it from another angle:

Soak that in guys. The most important thing that happens at a first birthday party...went smoosh.

So then we picked it up off the floor and I tried real hard not to cry or cuss. 
Noelle got a smoosh slice of cake instead of her adorable little cake.

I just wasn't the same.

Smoosh cake, take two! *Please note Noelle wiping tears from her eyes and feel your heart melt a little.

Noelle seemed to enjoy the cake anyways. I almost had a total melt down, but Noelle handled it all in stride.

Apple Pies in a Jar- these were the favors I gave out at the party.

And now the catch up:

Man. I am terrible at posting this year. I'm going to try and be better from here on out, but I can't make any promises. The last thing I posted I was whining about being fired and whatnot. So to briefly touch on that, I'm still unemployed and have started saying I'm a stay at home mom, because it makes me feel better than just saying, "yeah, no one finds me employable and hasn't for the past 5 months". 

Saying I'm a stay at home mom sounds nurturing and stable. Brings to mind home grown veggies and hand made dresses, when actually it's a lot of building block towers and having Noelle knock them down and a lot of Gerber mashed foods for her and a lot of showering at 3:30 in the afternoon for me. Not really a Thomas Kinkade portrait.

I will say this though, I have loved watching Noelle go from crawling around to standing to walking and now to running around. I've been able to witness so many amazing achievements she has made and I wouldn't trade that for anything. These are things that I would have missed for the most part. Memories that I never would have made. So all the financial struggles and the emotional turmoil aside, this has been the best year of my life. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's been a while

Well hello there. It's been a while. Something like 2 months I think? I guess it's just that I found that I had no words. You see, I got fired. That Huge Financial Institution That Did Not Require a Bailout can well and truly go and fuck themselves. Fuck it. Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo Dealer Services can go and fuck themselves. I made a mistake, caused litigation, and now I'm a stay at home mother, which is what I always said I wanted except my unemployment was denied and the husband doesn't make enough for us to, you know, LIVE. 

I was doing ok. I cashed in my 401K and I knew that eventually my unemployment would start to roll in and it would buy me some time while I looked for another job. Well the 401K is pretty much gone and this morning I got the letter from the unemployment office saying my unemployment claim was denied because I was at fault. Well no fucking shit I was at fault, employers have to have a good goddamn reason to fire a person. Isn't everyone that files an unemployment claim because they were fired at fault? I know a company that had to close an entire branch of it's office and fire everyone because of mass embezzling AND THEY WERE ALL GRANTED UNEMPLOYMENT. 


I'm pretty liberal. I've always been for social programs to help those people out there that really need it. I just never thought that I would be one of those people that needed it. It's crushing me. I have to go sign up for medicaid today because we can't afford $250 a month to add Noelle onto my husband's insurance and she's got to be covered. I don't even know what else I'm going to need to sign up for. 

I've applied for over 20 jobs. Nothing is panning out for me. Oh, except for Aflac. They emailed me wanting me to come in for an interview and then when I didn't respond they called me the next week. I never even applied with them then I got to the interview and they were like "why do you feel like you'd be a good fit for our sales position?" I just blinked at the guy. I don't. You called and emailed me. You tell me why you think I'd be a good fit. 

So, to paraphrase Banksy, I am a morose motherfucker. 

I'm going to go and cry some more now. Then I'm going to get myself together and go out and fucking use the government services that are available to me. Then I'm going to come home, put on my happy face for the hubby and my friends, and apply for more jobs that want nothing to do with me. Yay.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cats for Sale: Price? I'll pay you.

I have 3 cats and a pug. My pug is fabulous and is never an issue (except for how much she loves to gnaw on my friend Lesley's elbow and hump her arm), but my cats are a damn nuisance. Seriously. The husband and I have been talking and we really need to get rid of 2 of the 3. I'm not doing Craigslist List, I'm not taking them to the pound, I'm not dropping them at the Humane Society. I really want a good home for them.  

Rosalie used to be a big problem for us. She was great when I first rescued her from the sidewalk in the rain in the middle of December a few years ago. Then she moved in with my original 2 cats and my oldest cat made her miserable. Rosalie refused to go out into public spaces and she spent about 10 months living in my closet. She lost weight, she was always alone. When she'd venture into public space, Grace would spot her and corner her. Rosalie lost a lot of fur. During this time, due to her trauma she would also pee all over the place. For the past year, she's stopped doing that. She's gained weight, she's calmed down, she's not food aggressive, she uses the litter box like a champ. Not to mention she's so sweet and so loving. She cuddles really well. 

Grace is the other that needs to go. Grace is my oldest kitty. She's 6 now- she is large and in charge. She's very territorial, but actually very sweet. One on one, she's probably my favorite cat to spend time with. Recently, in the past month or so, she's isolated herself into the office and hasn't really left except to go to the bathroom. Rosalie, she started pushing back when Grace would try to intimidate her. As a result of Rose pushing back, Grace has retreated and she's miserable. She's lost weight, she's depressed, she's spazy. She loves to be petted, she loves attention and loving, she just doesn't want anyone (human or animal) to see her being loved on and liking it. She will roll over and let you blow on her belly, she'll nuzzle you while you pet her. However, she'll never approach you for the attention and petting she wants. You have to go to her. 

Bella, well other than throwing up her food all the time from eating too much, she's pretty great and she's not an option. She stays with us for the long haul. She'll even lay and let Noelle pet her and grab her tail and not swat at her. 
I hate the idea of getting rid of any of my animals. They really are like family to me, but we've got too much going on. A baby, a pug, and 3 cats is too much in a 3 bedroom apartment. I refuse to just let them go to any random person, so I suspect it'll take a while before they do go to a new home. 

In the mean time I'm taking applications- WHO WANTS A KITTY??

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Overly concerned mother.

I always said I wasn't going to push my child too hard when it came to school. Obviously, I am going to insist she do well and I'm going to make her go to college, no choice in that, but where she wants to go, what she wants to do I am going to leave open to her to decide. I figured I'd be that laid back mom. The one that wants the best for her child and trusts her to make her own decisions. 

I always said that public schools were the way to go. I turn my nose up at private schools. My husband was a product of a tiny private school. He is STILL shell-shocked by the world sometimes. My BFF's husband was 1 of 4 people in his graduating class and he is afraid to leave the county, I kid you not. I want Noelle to know the world. To know and interact with different races, groups, cultures. 

That being said, I am hell bent on getting Noelle into a charter school. My husband's nephew and niece are in one and they started learning Spanish and Chinese in kindergarten. I mean, hell yes. It's like a public private school and I'm all over it. I've always heard that they are extremely hard to get into and competitive. I heard tales of lotteries and drawings and wait lists. 

So I just called a local charter school and had this conversation:

Me: Hi, I was just wondering how soon you needed to fill out the application to enroll your child.

Office administrator: As soon as possible. 

Me: Oh! Ok then, how do I go about sending in the application to you? I got one on your website.

Office administrator: *rattles off fax number* What grade will your child be entering this fall?

Me: Um, this fall? None. 

Office administrator: Excuse me? 

Me: None??

Office administrator: I don't understand ma'am. How old is your child?

Me: 7 months

Office administrator: *silence* 7 months?

Me: Yes....


Me: **dies a little**

Office administrator: *In between laughter*- Call back in 5 years.

Me: But I heard it was really difficult to get in! I heard there was a lottery and waiting lists!

Office administrator: No wait list is that long.

So. I did that today. Guys, I just want my kid to be well educated. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Self Promotion

Right now, my stomach is making these crazy growling sounds. It's been going on all day and is very disconcerting for me. What is happening in there?!

Anyways, it's because of my stomach growling that I got the inspiration for this post. It made me wonder if I was hungry, I'm not. If I WAS hungry though, what would I want? So I started thinking about my dinner plans, which since tonight is my usual trivia night, but has morphed into my stay at home and be completely alone for a few blessed hours night, will probably just be sauteed squash and zucchini with corn on the cobb. Simple, easy, delicious. Then I started thinking about what I'd want for dessert if that were an option (it's not) and then I started thinking that I needed to plan my menu for next weeks Uptown Umbrella Market.

I know you guys aren't really in my area, but I'd sure like it if you'd take a minute to maybe "like" my Facebook page- Tasty Treats by Jess. I can't link to it, I'm at work and Facebook is blocked here. Too distracting they say, to which I say BAH. I crack out all day on the news sites and they're worried about social networking. Imbeciles. 

Anyways, here's an adorable picture of my nugget, Noelle at last weeks Umbrella Market. She was riding a high of pink lemonade and then she crashed:

I have a baking muse. It's Our Greene Acre. I get my farm fresh eggs from them and the most delicious jams ever. Their jams inspire me. Peach Habanero jam? Makes a delicious peach habanero pound-cupcake with peach habanero buttercream. Peach Vanilla jam? The greatest Peach Danish cookies you can imagine. Spiced Blueberry jam? That makes this:

An amazing lemon cupcake with spiced blueberry buttercream. Ah-mah-zing.

Strawberry Danish cookies with a chocolate ganache drizzle. Seriously though, the peach vanilla version of these that I made are my favorite thing I've ever made. It's absolutely perfect. Probably because the dough is half cream cheese. Can't go wrong with cream cheese. 

And completely unaffiliated with Our Greene Acre is my birthday cake krispy treats. My bff4eva sent me the recipe and kids go bananas over it. Also, I'm a big kid and enjoyed the hell out of it. 

I'm also obsessed with Mr. Butters peanut butter- it's all natural and home made. No added sugars or anything. It's perfect for baking. I keep hoping they make a Facebook page or website so I can promote them, because they are good people. 

So, if you're feeling frisky (and I know you are) like my page. If you're feeling friskier, check out my website Tasty Treats by Jess.