Feet, pie crust and silverware, in that order

My feet hurt.  I stood most of the day in my kitchen, twirling in confusion (what to do first, what to do next?) and then marching with conviction (pie crust . . . I will make pie crust).

Can we just discuss pie crust?  I find it very frustrating to make.  Even when I follow directions perfectly, I never seem to have quite enough dough and then my edges are less than perfect.  What am I doing wrong?  I want my pie crust to look perfect and taste perfect.  Mostly, I want it to look perfect.

I guess I don’t really love pie or I would have already perfected making crust.

I cannot believe how long it takes to prepare for Thanksgiving.  And why does my family insist on eating food–including dinner–the day before Thanksgiving?  It’s so annoying to create food today when I have so much to create for tomorrow.  And let’s not even talk about dirty dishes.

True story:  I bought new silverware.  My wedding silverware had dwindled to so few pieces (literally, three forks!) that I bought some utilitarian forks and spoons from Costco–the stuff that you’d see on a buffet line, I suppose.  It’s serviceable but that’s it.  And now with Thanksgiving company . . . I just needed some decent silverware. I am going to squirrel that stuff away so my kids don’t nick spoons in the garbage disposal and toss forks into the trash.  (Where are the forks?  I know the dish ran away with the spoon, but did the fork run away with the socks?)

Yesterday, I took my daughter to Disneyland and we had the most fantastic time.  We really have perfected our technique for seeing and doing as much as possible, even on crowded days.  It’s all about fast passes, riding fast-loading rides early in the day and single-rider lines.  But by the end of the day, my feet hurt.  Mostly, my baby toe hurt because the day before I bashed it into a piece of furniture.  My poor baby toe.


A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on

Today my 17-year old son was playing Christmas music on his phone while playing Super Smash Bros. on a Nintendo Wii.  My 13-year old daughter is dreaming about what she wants for Christmas.

I have no Christmas spirit.  (Probably because my feet hurt.)   My Christmas tradition is to dread dragging the Christmas decorations into the house.

Lest you think I am a Thanksgiving whiner, I’d like to say . . . well, yes.  I am feeling fairly whiny.  This is the voice of exhaustion and a painful baby toe.

Also, it’s 1:28 AM and I need to be up wrestling two 12-pound turkeys into the oven by 10 AM.

I am ever so thankful for my blessings, for my readers, for my friends, for my family, for this blog . . . and for so much more.

Feet, pie crust and silverware, in that order

Just a quick little update on the status of my house, brain and weather

My mom’s trip was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances.  “Her” bed is still in my dining room, though the mattress was dragged upstairs for a sleepover and then back downstairs into the garage.  I need to unassemble the frame and put it back into the garage.

The kids had a day off today due to Veteran’s Day, but one kid had to go into school anyway for play rehearsal and one had a friend over.  My husband and I both ended up working as usual, as did one of our kids.

The weather has finally cooled.  In fact, it’s downright cold in our bedroom at night with the windows open–which I prefer.  I like it as cold as possible but my husband disagrees, so the windows actually remain closed.  We’ve even had a bit of rain here and there which has been a pure delight.  Our “cool” weather is between 65 and 70 degrees during the day, so I recognize that it’s not really cool at all, but it’s so much better than summer.  Now starts the season when we all realize with gratitude why we live here and with resignation why our housing costs are so unreasonable.

Last night I went to hear Diana Nyad speak about her record-setting swim from Cuba to Florida two years ago.  She was a captivating and inspiring speaker, better than I expected, even.  The event took place in a library, which was kind of fun because my seat was right next to a row of library books so i just plucked one from the shelf and read for thirty minutes while waiting.


I love reading so much.  In fact, just because you care (ha ha), here’s what I’m reading and watching.

Currently reading:  The Great Santini by Pat Conroy.  I’m reading it in preparation for reading his memoir, The Death of Santini. I’m also thinking I should watch the movie sometime.

Last movie watched:  Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks.  Excellent movie.  Is there anything Tom Hanks can’t do?

Last music purchased:  Chris Stapleton’s The Traveller.  I heard him sing with Justin Timberlake at the Country Music Awards.  Such a performer!  And country music is not my favorite, but now I own this music, including (at least) two songs about whiskey.

What are you reading and listening to?

Just a quick little update on the status of my house, brain and weather

Candy thief confessions

Last Monday, I drove to Hemet to pick up my mom.  She’d hitched a ride with relatives from Washington to the desert almost a week earlier (detouring to scenic Utah before arriving in California).

We set up a bed for her in the dining room, which sounds super weird, except that our dining room is rather secluded and we never, ever dine in it.  A pocket door separates the kitchen from the dining room, making her space fairly private.

Anyway, so my mom is here for a few weeks.

In other news, Halloween is coming but we haven’t carved any jack-o-lanterns.  No one in  my household seems to care but I might buy a big pumpkin just to be sure.

I am nostalgic for the days gone by when I’d sew or create a handmade Halloween costume.  (Those days didn’t even extend to the two younger kids, but ended the year my boys insisted they wanted those horrible cheap polyester costumes from Target.)

Regardless, the kids would be so cute!  We’d hope for a rainless Halloween and circle our neighborhood. (These costumes probably came from Target.)


They would always fight over who got to ring the doorbell.

Afterward, we’d return home tired and sometimes damp, and they’d dump their candy haul on the floor.  Some kids would sort it while others just rolled around in it.

Then they’d go to bed and I’d steal all the Snickers because none of my kids liked nuts.  I’d also steal Paydays, but there usually weren’t many of those.  This was a public service, a display of mom-love.  When a sacrifice must be made, I’m first in line (to get the Snickers).

This year, my 13-year old is planning to trick-or-treat with her friend.  She’s wearing a costume I got tricked into buying (that matches her friend’s costume).  My  17-year old is working on Halloween (at Pizza Hut).  Afterward, he plans to hang out with his friends.  My other kids will just be ignoring Halloween as they usually do.

I personally will be answering the door and passing out full-sized Snickers and trying to calm the barking dog after each ding-dong of the doorbell.

Then I will sing a chorus of “The Cat’s in the Cradle” and call it a night.

Candy thief confessions

When you know better

Years ago, at 11 PM on Thanksgiving Eve as I finished washing the prep dishes I’d used for the next day’s feast, water began to gush onto my feet.  A little investigation revealed a blocked pipe under my sink.  The water overflowed from the dishwasher because it could not drain.

The culprit was the potato peels I’d shoved down the disposal after peeling about ten pounds of potatoes.

The next day, my sink was still out of commission, which made for an inconvenient day of kitchen preparation and clean-up.  (I washed dishes in the laundry room sink feeling like a pioneer woman or like the kids who lived in a boxcar in the books I read as a kid.)

The day after Thanksgiving, I bought some Liquid Plumr and that did the trick.  The water drained from the sink and we all lived happily ever after.

Ever since then, I’ve dutifully dumped my potato peels into the trash can instead of the garbage disposal.  For some reason, though, the other night, I was peeling six potatoes and decided to push the peels into the garbage disposal, one potato’s worth of peels at a time.


So, that clogged my pipes.  I have a sink with three sections–the left, the middle (with the disposal) and the right.  Every section was filled with murky, disgusting water with bits of gunky stuff.

The next day, I bought some Liquid Plumr.  Just a small bottle because I was so confident I could solve this little problem.

It didn’t work.

The next day, I bought a big bottle of Liquid Plumr.  I still had full confidence in my chemical solution. Now I had a sink full of chemicals and gunky stuff and stagnant water.  And it still didn’t work.

The next day, the plumber came and unclogged the sink and charged me $85.00 and told me to stop using caustic chemicals and to stop putting potato peels in my disposal.

I noticed that the Liquid Plumr bottles said “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and included a 1-800 number, so I called the number and explained how not satisfied I was.  The helpful customer service lady asked me a few questions (including the UPC code and another code on each bottle and the price I paid) and said they’d refund my money.

Today, the check arrived, less than two weeks after my phone call.

I was super impressed by the customer service at the Clorox Company (the parent company).  So thanks, Clorox!  You rock!

The moral of this story:  Do not put potato peels into your garbage disposal.  Do not try to solve your subsequent clog with chemicals.  Just called the plumber.  However, if you do use chemicals and find them unsatisfying, call the company and see what happens.

You’re welcome.


When you know better

Mayday! Mayday!

#Oceanside sunset

A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on

You might notice some changes around here.  The host server that I’ve used for nine years has closed up shop, so I had to figure out a solution.  Everything is still here–some images need to be fixed–but the blog goes on!  I started blogging twelve years ago, if you can believe that.


I keep forgetting what season it is.  The hot weather feels like summer.  For some reason, my brain thinks it’s spring.  I have some fall decor around my house but I can’t even accept the idea that next month is Thanksgiving.  It’s hard to think about pumpkin pie when you’re sweating and wearing capri pants.

I’m going to blame the spate of flies in my house on the weather.  Ever since my daughter and I returned from Washington in August, I’ve noticed more black houseflies than we’ve ever had before.  I don’t know where they are coming from but I have resorted to killing them with my bare hands when necessary.  The summer fruit flies have given way to these stupid big houseflies.  We need a good hard freeze to kill all these pests–though that will never happen here.

The kids are already in the middle of their first semesters, taking mid-terms and preparing for parent-teacher conferences.  I’m starting to dread my son’s high school graduation in May because that means he is one step closer to leaving home.  His plan at this point is to move to Texas.  (He wants to attend Texas A & M.)  I keep thinking, “Next year at this time . . . ” and then I have to change the subject in my head because I can’t even finish that thought.

Do you even fully understand how quickly May will arrive?  May will be here in approximately seventeen minutes.  May will swoop in like an owl snatching a field mouse.  May will sprint toward the finish line without looking over its shoulder.  May will be the Express Bus, the quick-rise yeast, the 15-items or less check-out lane.

I know it’s the right thing.  Kids are meant to shrug off their homes and stride into the big wide world without looking back, but oh, the space isn’t even empty yet and all I can hear is the echo of the silence in his room.

And possibly the irritating buzz of a housefly I have yet to smash.

Mayday! Mayday!

The facts, nothing but the facts and more

Not quite a sunset but it will do.

A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on

Mom’s taxi service.

Then, in between a drop-off and a pick-up, I stopped by Target to pick up essentials:  hand soap, kitty litter, toilet paper (and more) . . . all the dumb stuff you have to spend money on to maintain a certain standard of living.

More Mom’s taxi service.

Then I dropped off my passenger and went straight to Costco, along with a thousand of my closest friends.  I have been trying to cook regularly which means you have to buy food, including packages of meat that cost $30.  I try to remind myself that even a ridiculous fast food meal for seven people costs more than $30, but there’s a frugal girl living inside who hates to spend money on meat that costs $30.  Anyway, enough about me.

(Ha ha.  That’s funny because this blog is all about me.  Whatever.)

So, then back home to  unload and put away the groceries and toiletries (except for the 35-pounds of kitty litter that I left in the trunk of the car because why isn’t anyone helping me unload the car?).

Then:  Mom’s taxi service.  Dinner for the half of the family that was home.

Then:  A quick trip to the beach to take a chance on seeing the sunset.  (A storm is moving in . . . you never know if the clouds will make the sunset better or worse.  Tonight the clouds won.)

Back home and I cooked dinner for the other half of the family who was returning home.

I ate dinner myself and had (literally) thirteen minutes for a quick snooze before work.  And now I’ve worked for four hours and I need to get to bed.  It’s so late that it’s early, you know?

Now, the plot I just recited doesn’t tell you these things:

1)  Yesterday I broke a lightbulb when it slipped from my hand while I stood on a ladder in my closet.  I watched it bounce onto a mirror leaning against a shoe rack and then I saw the light bulb shatter.  I was just relieved that the mirror didn’t break.  (Seven years bad luck, right?)

2)  A child in my family lost a phone charger somehow on the walk from the car to the house.  This person called me up and asked me to stop by an Apple store to buy a new charger.  As if.  Later, this person responded to my questions (so I could retrace steps and find the charger) with annoyance and snottiness and exasperation.

So I did what any self-respecting 50-year old mother of four would do.  I slammed the door at this kid.

And then for good measure, I slammed my own bedroom door, too.  (I apologized later not because I was really sorry but because I wanted to model apologizing for this kid.  Truth.)

3)  Lola the Dog hates watching reality television and sports with me.  I can’t help it.  Occasionally, I exclaim, “OH NO!” and Lola looks at me with reproach and fear and walks around to the other side of the bed behind my husband’s recliner and stares at me.  She does not approve of outbursts.

4)  A different “child” in my family has quit an activity.  I can’t really share details but I am including this here for my future self to read so that my future self can look back and laugh at how my  current self worried and despaired and thought that perhaps this “child” would never leave home, would never find his path, would never learn to persevere.  My future self will say, “Oh, why did you waste so much time freaking out and being upset and concerned?  Things worked out!  Look!  Everything’s fine!”

My current self is doubtful.

5)  Tonight, a jar of sliced green olives tumbled off a pantry shelf and broke on the tile floor.

My goals for tomorrow:

No door slamming.
No breaking glass items.

The facts, nothing but the facts and more

Sunset, moonrise

A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on

Sunday night I hurried to the beach to see the sunset. We’ve had extremely hot weather and occasional clouds lately. The clouds can turn a ho-hum sunset into a breathtaking one or they can blot it out entirely.

I live just far enough from the beach that there’s really no way to know how the sunset will be without driving the fifteen minutes.

So I drove to the beach with the hopes of capturing a brilliant sunset and it was okay. Not exciting at all. It was still nice to be at the beach, to hear the waves breaking. A bride and groom were getting photos taken just after the sun went down.

Then I turned around and caught a glimpse of a low-hanging sliver of the moon and realized I was seeing the lunar eclipse of the Supermoon. I only have an iPhone, so trying to take photos was pointless, but I did stand with other moonstruck beachgoers and watch the moon hanging in the fading sky.

And now we won’t see that phenomenon for decades. Maybe by then I’ll have a decent camera that can photograph the moon. And if not, I’ll just have to “memorize it with my eyes” as my daughter has so often recommended.

Sunset, moonrise