blackbird

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There should be some sort of manual......

I knew getting ready for graduation would be somewhat stressful, I mean, I had already muddled through Aaron's so I was kind of up for what to expect with Brett's. I did not, however, remember that the whole invitation thing was such a big deal. Maybe to the average bear it's just another piece of the puzzle but to me, this was very definitely the single biggest brain drain of the process.

I mentioned earlier the stress of the "perfect" invitation but I think we've all agreed that is just a personal problem I have and it does not affect others across the grad planning board. Another part of the invitation thing that totally messed me up and caused WAY more worrying and fretting than it probably should have was the guest list or not. I personally hate getting invites from people I don't know or barely know or I know the parents but wouldn't know the kids if they were selling magazines on my doorstep. With this type of thinking, I tried to be selective on the guest list. If the person in question had never had at least 2 meaningful conversations with my son or if I had not forced them to hear about him on a daily basis, see pictures until they would be able to successfully pick him out of a line up or if I hadn't told of his accolades and/or cried over his mis-steps, they were nixed from the list. I tried not to send them to every relative near and far I could think of and keep it only to those that were immediate in location or bloodline. I thought I was being very considerate for others. I did tell Brett to invite any of his friends he wanted to the party - I really didn't want anyone to feel pressured to bring a gift or send one, and I hoped by him just inviting them they might alleviate some of that, and I think it did to some degree.

Well, you know when you get a Christmas card from someone that was not on your list and you quickly get one sent back to them? That kind of starts to happen with party invitations. I didn't do that though, I guess some might call it bull-headed (NO, MOI?, no way) but I drew a line in the sand and did not reciprocate. We go ahead and attend a couple of parties that we didn't invite them to ours, but we took a gift- oh, let's call it like it is - a card with money- to those parties. It became somewhat awkward when they asked about our party and I hope no one got offended but if I had a third child I think I would do the party thing a little differently.

I would include the phrase- no gift necessary the we would simply like you to share in the happiness and celebration of this occasion. Then send it to anyone and everyone we know. Those that want to give a gift can, but no one would feel obligated. But I don't have a third child and I don't have the opportunity to try something different so I hope any persons that felt slighted by no invitation let that pass quickly and understand we did leave people out intentionally but because we didn't want to include them, but that we didn't want to put any additional pressure on anyone.

If you were given as much paperwork with a child as you are when you purchase a toaster, this would be included in the manual they give you when you bring a baby home from the hospital.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

OK, OK, several people have asked about the cake balls/truffles and I know most of them could look it up on this newfangled thing they call the “internet” but just for kicks and giggles I’ll share the whole process here. First, the recipe:
Cake Truffles
* 1 (18.25 ounce) boxed cake mix
* 1 (16 ounce) can prepared frosting
* Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating or the melted chocolate of your choice.

Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package instructions.
While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl to a fine texture- I just rubbed it gently between my hands. I took the “skin” or outer layer that didn’t crumble quite so nicely and chopped it with my chopper or you could put it in the blender. For me, the chopper was WAY easier to get to and I am all about easy. Mix in frosting to make a paste.Using a melon baller, your hands, or a 1 inch scooper, form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place the balls on wax paper; freeze at least 6 hours. (I used 4 different cake mixes and got 50 balls out of every cake.)











Almond Bark Coating is a funny thing. It almost has to have the goldilocks test and be “just right” to work properly. I tried several different methods and what I like best was 3 squares of bark melted in a small bowl for about 2 minutes. After that I stirred it until smooth and added with a bit of vegetable oil. Working in small batches remove the balls from the freezer and roll the balls into warm, melted almond bark coating or confectionery wafer coating, using toothpicks or forks or a dipping tool to manipulate and completely cover the balls.

Remove the balls.
Place balls on wax paper to harden. I used a rack the first round and decided that was a dopey idea, the cakes stuck and pulled off the coating. After spending that much time putting the coating on, I sure didn't want it to come back off! Idea rejected - new plan - plain old wax paper.


Although this recipe was fairly simple, it was pretty time consuming. I was not very happy with the way the first few rounds of finished product looked but my son assured me they tasted fine and I could say he was the one who put the coating on them if I was ashamed. You can tell he’s really growing up, willing take the blame to protect ole mom's ego. I decided that it didn’t matter any way - I was doing all of this for him anyway - that’s the ony approving nod I need. Bon App├ętite.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free at Last, Free at Last or adventures in frogland

Free at last, free at last, thank frog almighty, he's free at last.

This morning I had an adventure, I wasn't planning on an adventure but....... anyway, I normally do not take my son, Brett to school. He is 18 almost 19 and has a car of his own. He will graduate in 4 days and generally does not require my assistance in this area. However, his car is in the shop getting the air conditioner fixed so I was going to drop him off on my way to work. I was excited because I haven't gotten to work this early since I stopped taking him to school. Everyone was going to be shocked.

On the way to school, Brett informed me that he thought there might be some sort of animal in his basement window well. He had heard thumping noises in the night and wondered if it was a toad. I asked if he thought it could be a bunny or larger animal and he said the noise was pretty loud and could be. He did mention he got up and making sure to brandish his ceremonial machete he got on a missions trip to Mexico, he made sure it wasn't a person and after deciding it wasn't, went back to sleep.

Now, I had a decision to make, - go ahead and go to work and worry about it later or go back home and see what's up or in this case, down. I did the usual internal discussion that went something like this,
Me: What if it's a bunny and you go on to work he might die, then when you get around to cleaning out the window well of the leaves, you will find his bones, very sad.
Me2: No, you won't because it will start to smell long before you get the leaves cleaned out, you will find a bloated carcass.
Me: Hmmm, that is only about 10 feet from the outdoor grill, not a very appetizing thought. I should go and see.
Me2: or you could wait until after work and maybe he's still alive.
Me: but what if he is very weak and so near death, you have to watch him take his last breaths in a towel lined cardboard box.
Me2: Yes, I should go check.
Me: But what if it's something you don't want to find, like a rabid skunk or opossum?
Me2: If I can escape the spray, I call animal control - but then I have to wait and instead of early - I'd be really late. Still, I should go check.
Me: But what if it's something slithery - some sort of venomous asp or long-fanged viper? What if it is hidden beneath the leaves and when disturbed leaps out of the 5 foot deep hole and attacks? Then I'd be really late for work and it would probably mess up Brett's graduation festivities. But..... I should go check.
Me2: Yes, you should.

So, I go home, pull the cover off and find a frog. A very scared-looking frog. As the dogs and I peer into the hole, I try to figure out how to get him out, because I'm NOT going into that hole, no way. I get a broom, however when one touches a bull frog with a broom, he jumps - he does not sit patiently on the broom waiting for you to wisk him to safety. So, plan B. I go to the garage and look around - no, no frog rescue equipment here - but wait! I think I can McGyver something, I'm a resourceful type of person. And besides I hate to lose a battle - so let this frog die?- Not today - not on my watch.

I decide to fashion a frog rescue bucket from a plastic basket, a swiffer dustmop, and some leather cord. After I figured out that getting the frog in the basket was only half the solution, I learned I had to cover the basket with the broom and raise him out of the hole.After a few tries, operation wild animal out of the window well, was a success.


And I made it to work by 8:30.
Frogs WELL that ends WELL.
Hope you find victory today as well.