Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Bit of Royal Whining

The Queen takes her own picture with trepidation.

The Princess and others of the Royal Family

This camera thing could be big trouble. You can't just put people's pictures up there without permission as I now know. I'm a little nervous about the one I have here now, but hopefully everyone will be fine with it. And I don't think one can put one's own picture up repeatedly without looking like a dork (not that this has ever stopped me before).

Maybe I could lay out every pair of socks I have on the floor and take pictures of them. No, no. I could photograph all of my outdated kitchen utensils and bowls, etc. Would this be worse than old pictures of the Grand Canyon?

Don't worry, I've never been to the Grand Canyon.

I may start posting pictures of the track where I walk. Maybe the camera could be hoisted to my forehead--a BeckyCam--and viewers could see everything I see.


I could take candid pictures at Hannaford's and post them and then get sued. That might be fun. Or what about snapping the bad grapes that I sometimes see there? HAH!! Or, and this would be fantastic, JUST as the cashier hands me the receipt and doesn't say the magic word (and we all know what that is), I TAKE HER PICTURE AND BOLT!!! Flash and Dash!!!

I just love doing this. It's taking my mind off my troubles and especially off my writing troubles. See, now is when I actually have TIME to write, when I can actually DO it. So naturally my brain is empty. Every direction I turn in leads to a blind alley. It's like postpartum depression, which I had three times. One time the obstetrician gave me a bottle of purple liquid which he told me to take for the "blues." I remember looking at it and thinking, "it won't help." I was too depressed to take it. That's kind of the way I feel now except I haven't given birth, unless you count the chocolate mousse pie. I did give birth to that and with great labor. I haven't been given any purple liquid and don't want any either and in truth, what am I complaining about?

I get the Christmas "blues" every year.

Part of it is knowing that all the decorations that just went up have to come down. And it all looks so nice. Why can't it just stay up year round, that's what I'd like to know. Why can't life be like a lucid dream where I can tell people what to say and know what's going to happen and it would all be good? Yeah? That's what I thought.

I am Enjoying My Vacation no matter what.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Year in Review

Hey. Sit up. Lean in. Don't fall asleep. The dessert is still out there, you know, and it could be witheld. I'm just saying.

Okay, so the year started as it always does with the Super Bowl. I forget who won, but I know it wasn't the Patriots. What? Oh yes, it was Pittsburgh and I was glad for Roger Bettis or perhaps it was Richard Bettis, that Bettis fellow, who retired after the game. The Bus they called him. John Bettis?

All right, all right, Jerome Bettis. I knew that.

I remember another player called the Refrigerator, William Perry? He was on the Bears and they KILLED the Patriots a number of years ago. We kicked ass after that, though.

Don't try to distract me.

What's the dessert? None of your business. You'll see it when it gets here.

So the Super Bowl commercials this year were lousy, I think. I do remember one where young women were dressed as sliced pickles and onions and jumping into "buns" to make Whoppers or hamburgers or some such. I can picture the ad team that came up with it.

"This is going to make history!"

"It will be better and funnier than the Budweiser lizards!!"

"We are awesome."

Oh my, weren't they sadly wrong.

So moving on from the Super Bowl, we had the Winter Olympics and it was held in a sort of wintry country. Was it Italy? Yes, the games were in Turin, and no one wore a shroud, though perhaps they should have. I didn't actually watch.

Anyway, I do remember that Michelle Kwan didn't make the team, but the authorities huddled together and came up with a preposterous reason why she SHOULD make the team and she kicked somebody else off and went. Then she got hurt and had to leave and the next person had to come. How much do those transatlantic flights cost anyway? I would love to know all about those bitchy little groups of figure skaters. We can only imagine the drama. They should have their own TV network--Thin Ice.

I think most entrants in the Olympics fell on their keisters. I think you could tune in each night and see video of entrants falling on their keisters. There was an American female skier who had her race won and so decided to do a loop-de-loop or scissor split or something else very strange, and fell on HER keister and came second or third in the race. She said it was no big and she couldn't wait to get home and have decent food or something like that. See? All our marketing efforts are coming to fruition. There was another skier, a young man, a surfer dude kid, who more or less did the same thing, didn't he? Brag about how much he was partying and then bomb every race? Bode Miller, that's the boy.

Yeah, dude. Bode. I wonder how many headline writers wrote "bodes well" or "bodes ill."

I think Dick Cheney shot somebody and the person who was shot apologized profusely for what the vice president and his family had to go through. There were many jokes about this on the internet, but I always delete jokes and so I don't know any. It's rather like feudal times, though, isn't it? Oh squire, hit me again, will you? Which sounds homoerotic and makes me think maybe feudal times were homoerotic in their way.

There was a rape case at Duke University and it couldn't have been timed better for the release of Tom Wolfe's I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS (good book). That's all I could think of and I'm not that different from other people. That's what my friend Chris and I always say. If we find someone annoying, we know that other people do too, because we aren't that different. It's comforting.

Then that really weird guy in Thailand, who was clearly over there for the sex, confessed to the JonBenet murder and was brought to the U.S. on a plane where nearly everyone including the stews, took his picture with their cell phones. You could tell he wasn't guilty by the way he kept trying to see himself on everybody's monitor. I wonder how much we spent for that. He definitely wore eye makeup.

Then we came into the spring time and my book was released. I was totally out of it for several months. I had the best time of my life, although I think other things may have been going on in the world. Oh gosh, I wish I could live it all over again.

The Red Sox were not even in the playoffs. It was a hateful fall for that reason. The only good thing was that the Yankees were eliminated in--HAHAHAHAHA--the first round. Very sweet.

I have gone through the celebrity obituaries and choose to name only two. Steve Irwin lived with gusto. Do we know anyone else, I mean anyone, who would jump into a brown river in the middle of the night to grapple with a creature of any kind, let alone a two-ton alligator? Ed Bradley, and I know nothing of his life, must have gone through hell to get his first job. He was elegant. I saw his interview with Bob Dylan and it was riveting. Dylan was so on edge, he was practically biting his nails. Bradley got Dylan to say that he could never write anything really good again, which was certainly wrong, but Bradley gets the credit for pulling such a thing out of his subject.

After reading the obits, I do feel that we all need to live to 80. At 80 people nod their heads and say yes, s/he lived. S/he had a chance for a life and took it. I intend to live well past that. I am going to be the world's crotchetiest old lady that ever was. I think I am already.

Oh yes and Theo Epstein, the young cute GM of the Red Sox, got engaged. I did want him for my daughter or at least for my editor Leah. Damn. [note to daughter's boyfriend: only kidding, I think you are awesome]

Doug Flutie retired. It doesn't seem possible.

Jerome Bettis.

Now you may have cake. Or whatever you would like. But I'm not having any. Five pounds to go.

A bientot

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Boxing Day

One dead cheesecake

One dead chocolate mousse pie

AAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the relief.

Mummy (Grandma to beautiful little Maeve) got a new digital camera and would have included a self-portrait but didn't want to frighten viewers. Note: blender technique worked perfectly on cookies--on behalf of dumbass cooks everywhere who have done it the same wrong way for decades----YES!!!!! BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dishes Prepared at Great Length and Then Left Forgotten in Fridge:
Guacamole (worked over an hour on it)
Pimento Cheese Spread (not that good anyway)

Unfortunate and Regrettable Incidents From Party:

Wraps Left Behind:
One woman's black wool coat
One woman's blue ski parka
One child's navy blue sweatshirt

Aches, Pains, Ailments:
General malaise and heartache
Sore toes from red shoes

Off to work on my book,

Christmas Surprises

This boy has found a Christmas surprise in his parents' bureau: his father is Santa. I suppose we should be relieved that's the only surprise he found in there. Get back in your room, kid, and be grateful you're still in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Meanwhile, I've been surprised myself by being tagged for another blog meme. I'm it!!!

My good friend Martha O'Connor , who got tagged herself to fill in the 25 statements below(though somehow there are only 24), has passed the baton to moi. I told her if I answered them all honestly, I would have to leave town. She said go for it.

1. I've come to realize that my ex......knew a lot about avocadoes.

2. I am listening to.....rain on my new roof.

3. I talk....until they beg for mercy.

4. I love.....quiet.

5. My best friends...give me good advice which I don't always follow but I should.

6. I lost ..... enough pounds this year to almost get to High School Weight. It's coming!!!

7. I hate it when people...assume I have a cell phone. I don't. I don't want one. But no one will remember.

8. Love is....feeling like the back of your head might blow off from joy. John Steinbeck calls it "the glory."

9. Marriage is.....different for men and women. Men need marriage. They don't do well alone. Not that women don't thrive in marriage too, but they know how to survive by themselves. I think in the end they are made of sterner stuff.

10. Somewhere, someone is thinking.......nothing about me whatsoever.

11. I'll always be.....true to my school --HAH! Just wanted to see if you were still reading. No, "hoping" is my answer.

12. I have a crush on.....Dick Cheney (HAR, just checking again) Bill Paxton on Big Love. Except I wouldn't want to share him with those other wives. They are sluts but I am not.

13. The last time I cried was because....I banged my head on the car door. That sounds plausible, doesn't it? Some things I just can't answer.

14. My cell phone....[See? This is what I'm talking about.]

15. When I wake up in the morning.....I get immediately on the computer.

16. Before I go to sleep at night.....I do a puzzle.

17. Right now I am thinking much I can get written on my book before Jan. 16. Also I'm thinking about my refrigerator and how there was a big spill in it last night which I left to contemplate itself.

18. Babies are.....the ones who will be writing about all of us in another few decades. We'll be the old people in their books.

19. Today I.....will appreciate the blessings of my life. Or I'll try to if nothing has been broken.

20. I get on myspace and.....leave immediately. It's too hard to figure out.

21. Tonight I will.....collapse.

22. Tomorrow I will......continue the collapsement.

23. I really want.....the back of my head to blow off.

24. The person most likely to repost this is.....
Eliza Graham,
who is eight times wittier and classier than I am. She's a Brit. She can't help it.

Anyway, the happiest of holidays from CFE to you, dear reader. I hope you find joy on this day and all days.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Bring it, Santa!!!!

Once again, you might think this was the national Christmas tree in Washington D.C., but you would be wrong. We decided to go all out on our tree this year. I took every penny from my teaching stipends and invested in this baby. Whaddya think? I admit it's a little overwhelming for my street, but you know, sometimes you have to go with your gut.

I also borrowed from my retirement fund and bought a ten thousand dollar black dress. It is killer in every sense of the word. Now if only my roof doesn't collapse and/or my windows blow out.

[ed. note: you can't be buying this. You don't think she has a retirement fund, do you?]

Was I rash? I do act rashly sometimes. But I finally have respect from the neighbors, or I think I do. They don't usually talk to me anyway. They're probably worried which way that thing is going to fall when it comes down.


Brie pastry
Chicken Wings
Guacamole dip
Various chips and dips

followed by desserts:
chocolate mousse pie
cheesecake (new recipe--pray for no failure!!)

[BREAKING NEWS: sad oven accident with cheesecake involving breach in spring form pan integrity, but cc salvaged. Big split down the middle but will cover with cherry pie filling, same thing I do with old lingerie items]

layer cake
candy and nuts
additional dessert made by my daughter, god bless her forever

God, that doesn't sound like enough, does it? I won't be happy until people are staggering in gastric distress, though some stagger anyway for other reasons. I am always standing at the door begging guests to take stuff home. (TAKE THE COUCH!! PLEASE!!) Every year it's the same. That's what we like about the holidays, isn't it? The sameness? Or as my students would say, the same but different.

There was no soot in the wood stove. And here I've been stressing over it for weeks. See? Things take care of themselves.

The big question is will I be able to stay awake? My sleeping habits are so peculiar. I fall asleep heavily at 8pm and then wake up at 11:30. Can I do this at the party? I suffer from a messiah complex sometimes and feel I have to guide the events or they will fail. This might be a Virgo trait or just plain extreme egotism.

Of course we will have to go through the tiresome recitation of why I don't have cable TV and/or a DVD player. "Put a VCR tape in," I say. "They play fine. Remember when you loved Benjie?"

My kids never seem to remember their joy at seeing Benjie on the VCR and they give me that silent superior shake of the head. Then I get to give my favorite line of the year as I sweep out the door imperiously: "Get a life." A couple of years I tripped during the exit move, but I still think the line went over well.

So that's it from control center. All systems go and awaiting final touches. Maybe I'll buy one of those big blow-up Santa Claus On a Motorcycle balloons and put it on my roof, assuming of course that the roof holds.

Additionally, I don't have enough poinsettias.

I feel aneurysms forming.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas With Rats

Huh? Again with the rats?

This was the title of a story my son wrote in the second grade. Oh good, I thought, now everyone will think we live in a tenement. But in truth it was a very sweet story and we don't/didn't live in a tenement and I didn't care what they thought anyway. So rats it was. And rats it is again today, boys and girls.

A shopper in a grocery comes very close to the rat in a maze, doesn't s/he? The aisles (or as my students would say, "isles") stretch endlessly, one can't remember where anything is, other rats are bunched up in front of the items one wants, such as silver polish, extract of almond, and margarita mix, which come to think of it, might make an acceptable cocktail at the last minute.

I am going to share a grocery list tip, not that I ever follow my own advice.

Arrange the items on your list in the approximate order of the grocery "isles." So for instance my own list for Hannaford's (at present they have won the Battle for Becky, but THAT COULD CHANGE) starts with the produce section. One lemon, right here. Got it. One orange. Ditto. Lettuce, green pepper, tomatoes, got 'em all in one grab. I am awesome Oops, don't forget the grapes. See? This way I can scurry about in that one section, get everything, and not have to traipse back later when I'm already near the end of the maze.

Incidentally, what's with these enormous shopping carts that I guess are supposed to look like bumper cars for the kiddies to ride in? Anything to keep them quiet, I guess, but even so, they take up more than their share of space and I'm ready to ram one. Don't mess with me right now, I'm full of truth and righteousness. You might not know it but I'm wearing a Wonder Woman logo.

At least it isn't cold. My friend just returned from visiting North Carolina and said it was in the seventies every day. Yikes.

Meanwhile, back in the maze, there's always that one shopper who somehow is going against the flow. Didn't she start in the same aisle as you did? What made her jump out, like a bowling ball out of one gutter and into another? You smile at her each time you meet, which happens to be every freaking aisle. DIE, PEASANT!

Then occasionally you meet the chatters, those who have run into their next door neighbors and CAN'T BELIEVE IT!! OH MY GOD IT'S BEEN SO LONG!!!

Wonder Woman smites them too.

Most people have the same glazed expression that you do. And that's the way it should be. You can see the ones who have allowed panic to swell in their hearts. MAYBE I SHOULDN'T MAKE THE CHEESE BALL. MAYBE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF IT. MAYBE I SHOULD TURN AROUND AND GO BACK TO PRODUCE AND RETHINK THIS.

Do it and regret it the rest of your life.

The "medical" aisle is usually free of carts and shoppers. I try not to look at the poor individual scanning the shelves for some embarrassing item. What is it with men anyway? They always want to tell you about their hemorrhoids/bowels/defecatory problems. I always say the same thing. "I don't want to know you that well."

The dairy aisle is the last one at H's. A lot of bunching up occurs here, a lot of competitive grabbing for cream cheese and eggs. This is where you start balancing items precariously on top of each other in your cart. Those grapes and tomatoes you selected way back twenty years ago in produce? They are at the bottom. You gotta give credit to the Hannaford design team, huh?

So you eventually make your way to a register, where you are evaluated by the rat psychologists and given a coupon for your next trip to the maze. Then it's across the street to the liquor store and their version of the same thing. More about that another day.


Time to play the Messiah. Loud.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rat Anxiety

Okay, so I know the picture doesn't seem to match the heading. But think about it. Rats become anxious in the maze under certain conditions. I'm not sure what all those conditions are, but hunger is probably one. Fear of someone stabbing them with a screwdriver is probably another. Existential questions such as why am I, a rat, in this maze in the first place might weigh heavily on the rat's emotional psyche, not to mention all the homely concerns such as rat mothers-in-law being lowered into the maze for Christmas, rat love disappointments, rat teenagers getting picked up for DUIs, and every sort of made-for-television drama.

But if a rat had to do Christmas shopping, were put under the stress of what this lovely artwork truly represents, that's when you'd see real anxiety. (It was a long way to get here, I know it)

And so here is my shopping update:

Most presents acquired but not wrapped.

Computer room festooned with gift items. You know, I just love festooning. Everything about it is fun.

In case you didn't know this, buying a treat for oneself helps the misery of shopping. You should try it, especially if you have languished in the quagmire of unselfish giving. Screw that.

Treats I have purchased recently:

red shoes (fab)

new pillow (don't like it, too firm--feels like I'm trying to lay my head down on a footstool)

necklace (don't want to describe in case I decide to give as gift)

3 pairs of pants that fit (desperately needed), including black DKNY dress jeans which look great with red shoes [Fashion decision: Abandon black dress quest, go with black pants/red shoes, though presented with new quandary of what to wear on top. New quest]

CD of Handel's Water Music, a piece I adored as a young violist in the eighth grade

new red candle,scarlet really and not red, with a great scent--may it burn in happy rooms

red tablecloth

cake cutter (now I have two!!!!!)

One sad fashion note: I am returning a beautiful white wool coat. It is truly stunning and I love it, but I have owned it for one month and never been tempted to wear it. I don't go anywhere that I COULD wear it. Grocery shopping? Double coupon day at Hannaford's? School? The 99 pub? I went to two parties last week and if I didn't wear it to them, when would I ever? It's time to see reality. Plus I can use the money for gifts and/or more treats for myself.

Could I be this shallow and self-centered? Is it possible?

Will more treats make me feel better?


Saturday, December 16, 2006

What did you say my grade was?

You earned your grade.

You earned it when you spent time or didn't spend time on the research paper.

You earned it when you came to class or stayed away.

You earned it when you handed in all the essays or did not, and when you rewrote some of them or chose not to.

I did not earn your grade.

I am not this person:

Nor am I this person:

Here is where you should look for answers to this conundrum:

Goodbye and good luck to all of my students. You have enriched my life and I am better for knowing you.

Inexorably, tumultuously, egotistically, ecclesiastically, calamitously and with undulating waves of pretentious ostracism,

A bientot

Mary R. Motew
[you can call me Becky now]

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday Traditions

You might think this looks like the White House getting their Christmas tree delivered, but it's actually the back entrance to my house. Well, it's the back entrance to my house if you've started on the holiday cheer, which I'm considering soon. See all the neighbors? Quite a few showed up this year to help out and I had to give them all cookies. And don't think I baked them either--Chips Ahoy all around. That woman who looks like Laura Bush? Ate a whole bag by herself.

Some traditions are cute. We always use the same tinfoil angel on the top of our tree, the one I made (with assistance) when I was eight or ten. In fact, I must have had tremendous assistance on it since the face has little sequins pinned for the eyes and nose and the hair is teeny-tiny strips of tinfoil, demonstrating fine motor skills I have never possessed and tasks I probably could not complete right now.

Another cute tradition is not cleaning the oven from year to year. The Ghost of Casseroles Past wafts out on Christmas Eve with the scent of lasagne, sweet potatoes, taco shells and other items that have dripped onto the oven floor over the years. I'm vowing to clean the beast in 2007 or at least do my best to wheedle and manipulate someone else into doing it.

It's tradition that the computer room upstairs becomes the gift wrap center for all citizens. As soon as I have it cleaned up from one wrapper, another one comes along to tear it apart. I keep it supplied with rolls of gift wrap, scissors, tape, nametags, ribbons and bows from other years. I have one gold mesh (mesh?) string of ribbon that I love. I only use it on gifts that will be opened here in the house, so I can get the ribbon back. Some people are starting to get wise to this so I hope I can continue with my subterfuge.

I'm not letting that gold ribbon out of here.

We say a small prayer before eating Christmas Eve dinner and that has become tradition. It is the only time a prayer is uttered here, well, aside from the earnest pleading that goes on when the power goes off and I'm trying to get somebody to go into the basement for me. Or clean the oven.

I may be running out of the cute traditions. Now I will mention one or two of the annoying ones, including the vacuum cleaner's tradition of aspirating a long plastic piece of matter and shutting down Christmas Eve afternoon. There's also the tradition of forgetting to make ice for the party and also forgetting to buy extra light bulbs. A business management course could be taught here in my house concerning the art of prioritizing: the bathroom gets a light no matter what; the
kitchen too. After that, no guarantees. I'm hard and cold when I have to be.

I'm forging ahead on Dalliance Woman, though I'm making myself hyperventilate with how risque it is. Coupon Girl Enters Sluthood.

Can you tell I'm wasting time? I still have to crunch numbers for grades to my students and do all my shopping and clean and cook. I may put my head in the oven if I can stand it.

Feliz Navidad (I hate that song)


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shopping Update

Here's how many gifts I have wrapped:

Here's how many gifts I have acquired but not wrapped:

Here's how many I still have to get:
All of them.

So you can see my progress has been slow. I do, however, have a list. And this is important.

A good shopping experience totally depends on attitude.

If you're not in the right frame of mind, you will be indecisive.

BUY ME!! [Oh, that would be nice a nice gift for Ludwig.]

I WOULD BE BETTER!! [But maybe he would prefer this.]

I'M CHEAPER! [This is true. Ludwig will not care and will never know what I spent.]

BUT I'M NICER! [Maybe I'll stand here for fifteen minutes and stare at both items. Maybe I'll talk to myself. Maybe I'll turn around in a circle or click my heels together like Dorothy. There's no place like home and I wish I was there.]

The gifts will talk to you. Pay attention and you will hear them.

If you're not in the right frame of mind, you will make bad choices. This is true in life too, but never mind that now. Who cares about life when you have to shop? What you want to avoid is that heavy sense as you walk out the door that you should have bought the other thing.

Learn to pay and not look back.

I am still seeking the Killer Cheesecake recipe. I have tried a different one every year and haven't been blown away by any. I suppose I could switch menu items, but my guests depend on me for this. Or maybe I'm fooling myself. NEVER DOUBT!!! NO FEAR!!

I am also seeking the Killer Black Dress. I am having no luck. They are all either far too dumb, far too expensive, or far too preposterous. Let me add another category: far too trashy. Don't get me wrong. I do trash sometimes. But this

might be a bit over the top, especially since I bear zero resemblance to the model pictured. Besides, anything sleeveless would give you serious hypothermia after wearing it for ten minutes here in New England, particularly in my house, where it's always bracingly cold. Although we do get the stove cranked up on Christmas Eve and it's pretty warm.

I think I'll wear a Killer Black Dress from a previous year.

Hope everyone is ascending the shopping Everest and can see the summit.

I have no idea what that means.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Becky's Moaning in Pleasure Chocolate Mousse Pie

I have never given a recipe on CFE and indeed am not a recipe maven of any sort. But this delicacy will have your guests signing over their firstborn to you, I guarantee it. Not that you would want that exactly.

3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Okay this is the part I've been complaining about. Someone just told me to put the wafers into a blender and THAT will crush them uniformly. I have tried everything else, including rolling pin, potato masher, and meat mallet. I have stopped short of running them over in the driveway with my Honda. I personally believe that would work, but I am going to try the blender thing. I'll report back next week.

Anyway, combine the crumbs and the butter and press on the bottom and sides of a spring form pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

I love those spring form pans. Well, primarily I love them when you get to release the spring on the night of the party. There's always a bit of suspense, hoping that the whole mushy guts of it won't break your heart by doing something undignified. Although come to think of it, I'd rather have my heart broken by a pie than a person. Everything's relative.

So anyways--here are the ingredients for the filling. Low-cal this ain't.

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
4 egg whites

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Add the whole eggs and mix thoroughly, then add the egg yolks to the mixture and continue to blend. Whip the heavy cream and add confectioner's sugar. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir the chocolate mixture, the whipped cream, and the egg whites together and pour on top of the crust in the spring form pan. Refrigerate for six hours or more. Drink wine for the entire six and screw the mousse, opting instead for M&Ms.

Haha. No way.

I really hate separating egg yolks from egg whites. My mother has a little plastic thingie that does it easily but I never remember to buy anything like that, so I am stuck with a regular spoon. Sometimes it works, sometimes it spills everywhere. Also, any recipe that requires more than one bowl is complicated to me. I feel like I'm on an assembly line and can't keep up. Like Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory.

Also, I do not own a double boiler. I fill up one large saucepan with water and then use a smaller one balanced precariously on top of the first. I do not recommend this technique. If it all spills, it's quite expensive. And don't try to use the chocolate mixture if it's filled with water.

This whole thing is one Big Possible Debacle for me.

But I'm telling you, it's unbelievably good.

Let me know if your guests don't moan.

A bientot


Saturday, December 09, 2006

There are many people

"There are" is the most common beginning to any student essay. Let me amend that. "There are" is the most common beginning to any thought, any paragraph, or any portion whatsoever of a student essay. The second most popular phrase is "many people."

Do not doubt me on this.

There are many reasons many people think this. There are many reasons many people think that. There are many more words in my word count now than there were before I caught on to this trick and many people will rejoice at this, most particularly my professor. I have her totally bamboozled. She is friendly and likes me. Are you really reading this, Professor? [yes I am] Many of the things many people think are some of the things my teacher told me are some of the many things that people think there are. And there are many people who think that.

Yeah, baby! Bring it!

There are some people who don't think what the other many people think. They are the ones who many people think are having a lot of thoughts about what some other people think on the opposite side. The arguments on the other side of what many people think are caught up from the wrong point of view. You can't just say it isn't true unless you read about what many people think.

I'm ready to mash the chocolate wafers, boys and girls.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Holiday Danger

At first we are strong, aren't we? No, no thank you.

I'll pass for now.

No, I don't think I will.

Thanks anyway.

Then you sneak in a bite of something. Just a lick really. It doesn't taste like it would be harmful.

Little bites aren't bad.

The next time it's a whole slice/serving of cake or pie. Not a big one, but a slice on a plate with a fork.

And the one after that is regular size. You're entitled. It's Christmas.

Forks, plates, napkins.

Why yes, thank you, I will.

Before you know it, you're popping those little chocolate balls, those Swiss things that I can't spell, into your mouth with impunity. They don't count. They're too small.

NO piece of candy really counts. Candy is tiny.

Candy is beneath the radar.

If you're cooking things at home, you start licking the beaters and the bowls and pretty soon the spoons. It's a short slide down, dare I say it's a mudslide down with thick double whipped cream. Plates of cookies that the neighbors bring. Lemon squares [though inferior to chocolate, they can be pretty good]. Sugared nuts.


Well. Let's not go that far.

And finally, of course, dear god help us all, fudge.

Where does it all end?

I'll tell you where.

You. Passed out on the kitchen floor with chocolate covered cherries drizzling out of your mouth. Reaching for the telephone to call 911. Or 411 to get the number of that really excellent candy store where they make the chocolate pizzas.

That's where.

Fa la la


I'm still saying no thank you. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jingle Jingle

Here's how many gifts I have wrapped for the upcoming Christmas holiday.


Here's how many I have acquired and not wrapped.


Here's how many I still have to get.

All of them.

One of my kids goes out every year at 4pm on Christmas Eve and does all his holiday shopping. Maybe I'll try that some year, but not while I'm still hosting the gala at my house, which I am again in 2006. I try to accomplish three gifts at a time whenever I can. If I'm picking up something for one of my kids, hey, maybe somebody else would like that thing too.

I can bludgeon my way through a store with great efficiency when I have to.

I just don't feel like it.

[whine alert]

I have too many papers to grade, too many Works Cited pages to pore over, and too many ticklish situations to handle. The end of the semester is much less pleasant than the beginning, when all is hope and joy. THAT phrase makes me think of Dalliance Woman, which features two sisters with those names. I have written a few chapters on it but have some decisions to make.

Like what is the plot?

I mean I know what the book is about, but I need an actual story line, or at least I think I do.

So far I guess that makes everything I've written merely a musing. There's a title, and I do love titles.


This is much more fun than shopping. Stay tuned for the actual date I'll be mashing the chocolate wafers. My chocolate mousse pie is to DIE for. I plan to play the Messiah really loud and start on the Bailey's while I do it.

Fa la la,


Monday, December 04, 2006

Why Christmas Does NOT Suck

Primarily it doesn't suck because of great choral music. Am I right? Doesn't Handel's Messiah, particularly "Unto Us a Son Is Given," inspire joy? I like to blast it through the house and conduct some of the triumphant moments myself with a spatula or a peeler. One of the sections near the end--it goes something like "all honor [deep bass drum action] and glory [more drum] and something-or-other [tremendous drum]"--gets me really worked up. My kids laugh at me of course, but that has never bothered me. I think they secretly like it.

The Hallelujah Chorus is good too, but frankly, I've moved past it. I still like the final trumpet solo very much, but I'm more into the final "Amen" afterwards. I love that really high "AH" that the sopranos hit. MAN, does that feel satisfying. I always feel if humans can write music like that, all is not wrong with the world.

I do like seeing the presents under the tree before they are opened. My mother and I used to survey the room with all the children's gifts arrayed on the floor and the couch and wherever they would fit before we would go to bed. My mother would always say the same thing.

"It's a disgrace."

And I guess it was, although the real disgrace was 10am the next morning when the place was littered with ripped gift wrap and boxes.

I like the way people are nice to each other in the liquor store.

I like the way everyone comes home for the holidays. People who haven't been around all year round are right down the street and available for fun.

I like the way the house looks right before our big Christmas Eve party gets underway. I try to buy a new interesting candle every year.

Especially this year I look forward to holding little Maeve, my beautiful genius granddaughter, in my arms. And may I say that she prefers my rendition of "B-I-N-G-O" to any other lullaby. The kid conks totally when I sing it to her and waltz with her around the room. It's a good workout and maybe I will put it on tape and people can follow along with me and lose weight. Order today folks! The Becky Motew BINGO Fitness Tape!

For those of you keeping score at home, incidentally, I hit a new low yesterday. Only five more to go for High School Weight. (Sorry to intrude on the Christmas Doesn't Suck post, but I'm just so happy)

I'm going to Be Here Now for the next three weeks. I'm going to ENJOY preparing the holiday treats, even the tasks I hate, such as crushing chocolate wafers with a potato masher. Man, do I hate that. But I am going to really get the most out of it this year.

Anybody buying this?


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why Christmas Sucks

Let's be really analytical about this. It sucks mostly because of the shopping, doesn't it? Circling a parking lot like a rat in one of my father's traps, hoping for a small strip of asphalt so I can leave my car eight miles from nowhere and then wander through the mall on a vague quest.

People start talking to themselves after a while, or at least I do.

"Nah. He wouldn't like that."


"Oh, for heaven's sake."


No one really notices this behavior, because anything goes inside the mall during this season. I saw a woman standing in front of expensive kitchenware. All she kept saying was, "Oh, I don't know. Oh, I don't know." I felt solidarity with her.

Even after you decide you're going to buy something, you have the excruciating agony of standing in line to pay for it, all the while contemplating gruesome crimes against sullen clerks and shoppers who cut in front of you. "I want to stab that person in the heart with this pencil" sums up my own Christmas shopping spirit. Then after the triumph of paying and groveling for gift boxes, you get the excitement of doing it again at another store. Add to that the 80-degree temperatures inside most stores and the heavy winter jacket you foolishly wore and the day is sucking big time. I generally feel nauseous by now and my feet hurt and my knees too. I'm pretty sure I have a terminal illness.

But it could be argued that shopping is the least of the suckiness. Don't forget the two weeks of hard manual labor that precede Christmas. Now if you're willing to coast through and not clean the house, that's cool. But most women aren't and that even includes me. I will polish the silver (groan) and cook and bake and wrap the gifts and try to find the holiday tablecloth (praying there is no unconcealable gravy or wax stain on it)and dig out the ornaments and eight hundred other things. As I often say, women bring you the holidays, ladies and gentlemen. We are the ones who chop, dice, grate, slice, peel, devein, boil, parboil, sautee, fry, simmer, sear, flour, grease, sift, puree, mash, crush, and pound the freaking meal into submission. We are the ones who polish, mop, vacuum, Windex, scrub, wipe down, and dust. We rake. We move furniture. Sometimes we even paint and wallpaper if special guests are coming.

Not that I would ever complain.

Admission: I have never parboiled anything and don't know what it is.

I go into poinsettia trauma. I start by buying two of the cheapest ones at Hannaford's/Victory. Then they look so nice on either side of my fireplace that I buy two more. Then pretty soon I splurge and buy a really nice expensive one at the garden center, which makes the Hannaford's ones look puny and terrible. Then I have to return to the garden center and get at least one more big one and probably two, because you can't not buy them in pairs. So I end up standing there with wide eyes, swallowing, turning one way and then turning back, much like the woman in front of the kitchenware.

"Are you okay?" the clerk asks.

"Oh yes," I say. "Just wondering if I should buy all the poinsettias."

The whole thing is a money hemorrhage. Who can afford it? And by Christmas Eve, you are spending profligately. YEAH, OKAY, PUT IT IN THE CAR.

I'm getting out of breath.

Tune in next time for why Christmas does NOT suck.

It could be a blank post.


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