Crazed In the Kitchen: September 2012   

Friday, September 21, 2012

They're Throwing Snowballs in Hell Right Now...

A few things are about to happen that I have to tell you about. Number 1, my hometown Cubbies are going to win next season’s World Series. Number 2, my 4-year-old son is going to stop screaming “VAGINA!” 18 times a day at random intervals. And, Number 3, my 2-year-old son is going to start sleeping through the night, every single night, for the rest of his life.

All of these things are definitely going to happen…because Hell has officially frozen over.

How do I know this? Well, I’m going off of what has happened to my little ole blog over the past week.

The BIG news, and the event that really sent Satan running to Nordstroms for new Uggs, is this:


Yep, that whole thing I posted a few weeks ago about channeling my Inner Rockstar and reaching for new heights with my writing and making out with Bono…

Wait, what?

Sorry. Bono fantasy distracted me again.

Anyway, all that stuff I wrote for my Blogger Idol audition obviously fooled, I mean impressed, those judges, because they picked me (and 12 others—see below) out of 167 auditions to compete for a MONSTER HUGE basket of chocolate. (Yeah, there are other prizes, too, and some really cool ones, but I can only focus on the chocolate. Check out the Blogger Idol website to see what else there is to win.)

So, as soon as I finish bragging about myself here, I’m off to write my first assignment post of the competition. And come Wednesday, I’ll be all over facebook and twitter begging you to haul ass over to their website to vote for me.

Because I really want that chocolate.

But, believe it or not, THAT’S NOT ALL!

Remember me?
Earlier this week I received an email from my favorite online magazine for moms, BonBon Break. And guess what? They want to feature my RabidRaccoon/Deadly Spider/Chupacabra post in one of their upcoming issues! You should check them out—they’ve always got a ton of great stuff over there and I’m honored that they want to include me. I’ll let you know when my post goes live.

So, all of that is pretty exciting and unbelievable right? BUT THERE’S EVEN MORE!

My friend Andi-Roo at nominated me for the Liebster Award! The Liebster Award is granted to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who deserve some recognition and support to keep on blogging. And she picked me! (Well, she picked 11 people, but I was one of them!)

The Liebster Award comes with a few rules, which I am going to bend. But I can do that, because I am a Blogger Idol 2012 finalist. WE MAKE OUR OWN RULES!


Anyway, when you are nominated, you are then expected to nominate 11 other bloggers who you feel deserve the recognition. Then you have to answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you, and ask 11 new questions of the bloggers you nominated.

But, did I mention that I’m a Blogger Idol 2012 finalist? I have stuff to do, people. There’s a huge-ass basket of chocolate on the line. So with apologies to Andi-Roo, instead of nominating 11 blogs I’m going to point you toward the other 12 Blogger Idol 2012 finalists. There’s some scary-good writing on these blogs, and you should go read them and then NOT tell me about it because I am still working under the delusion that the basket o’ chocolate could be mine. And, because I know the pressure they are now under as Blogger Idol 2012 finalists (oh, yeah, did I mention I’m one too?), I am not going to give them new questions to answer.

So, here are the official 13 Blogger Idol 2012 finalists:

Now for my answers to Andi-Roo’s questions. Keepin’ it short but sweet here. Chocolate, remember?

You can have a half-hour conversation with anyone no longer living. Who do you choose? Why?
Definitely my mom. Because lately I’ve had this awesome latent memory come up of being 4 or 5 and eating graham crackers covered with some incredible peanut butter frosting. I’d really like to get that recipe. (There are other reasons I’d like to talk to her, of course, but that one is really bugging me these days.)

You can have a half-hour conversation with any fictional character. Who do you choose? Why?
Scarlett O’Hara. The end of Gone With the Wind haunts me to this day. I’d ask her what happened next.

Of these four characters, which do you most resemble in your own life?
— The Protagonist (Shit just happens when you’re around.): Dorothy / Harry Potter
— The Brains (You think of ways to avoid / escape the shit.): Scarecrow / Hermione Granger
— The Heart (Everyone loves you when the shit hits the fan.): Tin Woodman / Ron Weasley
The Hero (“Who’s a coward now that shit just got REAL, bitches?”): Cowardly Lion / Neville Longbottom
Definitely The Protagonist. But mostly because I’ve always wanted to be Dorothy.

What made you choose your current Twitter avi?
Um, ‘cause it’s the best picture of me I could find, and I look way cuter in it than I usually do in real life. Duh. 

What’s your blood type? Just kidding. Trick question. Now go pee in a cup. I’M JOKING. Gosh, why so freaking serious? For realz this time: Are you down with True Blood?
Nope. My vampire love begins and ends with Twilight.  

How many pairs of shoes do you have? Don’t lie. It’s good to feel the shame. Let it burn.
It’s more embarrassing to admit that I only have like 6 right now. And 4 of them are sneakers. Pregnancy was not kind to my feet. When I go back to work I’ll have to buy some “normal” shoes, I guess.

Pushpins? Or dry erase markers?

You’re throwing darts at your favorite local pub. Your choice: Are you tossing at a corkboard or one of those plastic mechanical pieces of crap?
HA HA HA HA HA HA “favorite local pub.” I have 2 kids and no life. But if you came to my house and installed a dartboard, I guess I’d have to say corkboard.

How often do you utilize your local library? What materials do you check out? Books, CDs, books on CD, DVDs… some even carry video games…
The kids and I go almost weekly. We mostly check out kids’ books about trucks and space and volcanoes.

Be honest: Did you, or did you not, read and adore “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume? Best book EV.ER, #AmIRight ? Is there a male equivalent, anyone? #AskingForAFriend
I was an over-achiever at reading and read that book when I was in second grade. I had NO IDEA what this period thing was, so I asked my mom and then the whole book made a lot more sense.

Chinese or Mexican? I know, it’s a toss-up. CHOOSE. My dinner might just depend upon your answer.
Chinese. Unless it’s Mexican. Blogger Idol 2012 finalists are allowed to be fickle like that. And it doesn’t really matter, because all I want to eat is CHOCOLATE!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why I Won't Be Doing My Family's Laundry Any More

Not long ago, I informed my family that I would no longer be doing their laundry.

No, this is not one of those Lifetime Movie of the Week things about a disgruntled housewife who goes on strike against her ungrateful family. In fact, I don’t really mind being my family’s Head Washerwoman. It’s fairly easy and has immediate results—my kind of chore.

Nope, nope, nope.
However, I won’t be doing it any more.

You see, our washer and dryer are in the garage. The garage is attached to the house, but to get there you have to walk out of the house and about 10 feet through the backyard to the back door of the garage.

No problem, right?

Well, actually, there have always been two major problems with this set-up: Son 1 and Son 2. During the day, I have to leave them briefly unattended in the house if I want to do laundry. Thanks to Murphy’s Laws of Parenting, I know that even if I am gone for literally ONE FREAKIN’ MINUTE, that will be the time that they either try to fight each other to the death or that one of them will attempt to fly from the couch to the coffee table with disastrous results.

So let’s just say I have learned from experience that daytime laundry isn’t worth it.

That leaves laundry for the evening, after my rambunctious darlings have gone to bed. Until recently, this was no problem. I’d throw clothes in the washer, then settle down to watch The Bachelorette, er, PBS.

But then I realized that my backyard at night is a scary and dangerous place.

And so I can’t go out there after dark. Ever. Again.

I learned this a couple of weeks ago when I blithely headed out to do laundry. I heard a noise at the back of my (fairly small) yard, so I peered through the semi-darkness and saw a shape on the brick wall back there. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw it was a HUGE raccoon—like, the size of a golden retriever, at least. (MAYBE a large German Shepherd, even. He was big. BIG.) Anyway, he looked at me, arched his back, and let out a hiss that said, roughly translated, “I will eat you alive and then poop you out all over your laundry if you so much as look at me again.”

So that was the end of laundry for THAT night.

Contemporary legend? Or TOTALLY REAL??
The next night I stayed up late writing. At about midnight, a round of horrible screeching and screaming erupted right outside our front door. It sounded at first like cats, but as it went on it became clear that it was something else. I peeked out the door, but I couldn’t find the source. Eventually, the screaming evolved into enraged chattering that went on for over an hour.  I knew there was just one thing that could be making such a noise: a chupacabra.

OK, yes, I realize that a more rational answer would have been “a raccoon.” I had just seen one in the neighborhood, after all. But it was past midnight, dark and quiet, and my thoughts turned naturally toward this less-likely probability. As the chattering continued into its second hour, I became more concerned. I called animal control.

NO, I did not tell the nice lady who answered that there was a chupacabra outside my house. I may BE crazy, but I don’t like to APPEAR to be crazy. I explained the noise to her and she said, surprisingly, “Sounds like a raccoon to me.”


“Well,” I said, going with this absurd raccoon theory, “could it be injured? It’s making a lot of noise.”

“Is it in the street? Did it get hit by a car?” she asked.

The face of evil
“No,” I replied. “It’s definitely in a tree.”           

“Then it’s not injured,” she said. “Raccoons don’t get injured. They’re way too aggressive. They win every fight they’re in.”



Raccoons don’t get injured??? Like, ever???” I asked.

“Nope!” she answered cheerfully, before informing me that there was nothing she could do about the devil menacing my neighborhood.

This news about raccoons bothered me. I mean, I knew raccoons were mean garbage-eaters, but now I learn that they are actually INVINCIBLE, evil baby-killers? (<--That part is just me extrapolating from the information I have. Seems reasonable.) Nope. Never leaving the house after dark again.

I woke up my husband to inform him of this turn of events re: his dirty clothes, but I didn’t have to say much because just at that moment the raccoon/chupacabra ran screaming right under our bedroom window and over the fence into our backyard. Where it went from there, I don’t know, because I haven’t been out there since.

OK, that’s not wholly true. I did get desperate for clean clothes last night, so I snuck to the garage with my super-beam, heavy duty, could-beat-a-raccoon-off-of-me-if-not-actually-injure-it flashlight. Out of curiosity, I flashed it around the backyard to see what was out. No raccoons. No chupacabras. But the light did shine momentarily on what turned out to be a spider web in a corner. I went to check it out and what did I find? Not much. Nothing, in fact, except for A BIG BLACK WIDOW SPIDER conveniently hanging belly-side-up as if to say, “That’s right! Check out my red hourglass! Just like you’ve seen on Google late at night when you should be sleeping or doing laundry!” If spiders had fingers, this one would have been flipping me off.
Oh, look! A spider! I'll just go check it--aaaaarrrgggghh!

Well, half a can of Raid Flea and Tick Spray (it’s all we had) followed by a phone book squish-and-smear (you know what I mean), and I had taken care of that cheeky spider. But not before it screamed out in spiderese to all its friends and family about what I was doing. (<--Again, extrapolating.) So I think it’s fair to expect that they will all be out and coming to exact revenge on me each night at sunset, along with the super-raccoons.

Which is why I won’t be doing laundry ever again.

photo credit: nal from miami via photo pin cc photo credit: fingle via photo pin cc photo credit: EJP Photo via photo pin cc

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Channeling My Inner Bono

I have always believed that if life were fair, your talent at something would match your enthusiasm for it. If you loved to knit, you’d be able to make gorgeous sweaters that fit perfectly. If you loved to play tennis, you’d serve aces every time. For me, it’s singing. I LOVE to sing. I sing in the car, I sing around the house, I sing to my boys. But I’m really not that good at it. At times, in fact, I’m pretty bad. And that’s not fair. Because I would love to be one of those people who jumps up on the stage at karaoke night and belts out some ‘80s rock anthem that brings the crowd to their feet. But I’m not. In fact, if I belted out anything at karaoke night, people would indeed be on their feet—to LEAVE.

But, despite my lack of singing talent, I think I may have found a way to be…

Wait for it…


ALMOST as cute as my husband. Almost.
Yep, it’s true. And that’s because there’s an awesome group of really smart people who believe what many of us have know for years—that writers are the new rockstars. To prove it, they’re holding a competition for bloggers called Blogger Idol—and I’ve decided to channel my inner Bono and audition.

(Hmmm….turns out channeling your inner Bono just makes you want to stop what you’re doing and make out with yourself. I may have to pick another, less attractive, rockstar to channel if I want to get anything done around here.)

Anyway. You can check out their website here for more information, but the audition process is pretty simple: Tell about yourself and why you think you’re worthy of the title of Blogger Idol. This was tricky for me, as I’m not generally one to toot my own horn to strangers. But I gave it a go, and here is what I came up with:

My Blogger Idol Audition

I’ve earned a few titles since I temporarily left my teaching career to be a stay-at-home mom. “Nicest Mommy In the Whole Car,” “Best At Almost Always Getting Us to Swim Lessons On Time,” and “Vagina Person” are just a few of the lofty awards that have been bestowed upon me by the adoring masses, um, I mean, my two little boys.

So why would one already so decorated with honors pursue yet another—that of Blogger Idol? I guess I’m like the driver of the cherry red convertible Ferrari I saw the other day at a red light. As I gawked at the beauty that was his car, I noticed that he, too, was staring at something longingly. I followed his gaze to the next lane over and saw the object of his drooly desire—a sleek, gray Lotus. And I realized something: even Ferrari guys want more.

So, while I am obviously driving a Ferrari of Life with my enviable mom titles, my I-swear-these-are-yoga-pants-not-pajamas lifestyle, and my little ole blog (, I’m eyeing the Lotus in the next lane. I’m ready to trade up.

I want to be the next Blogger Idol.

But, you might ask, aren’t you a mommy blogger? Isn’t that a little genre-specific—a bit like being a yodeler trying out for American Idol? I mean, sure, a yodeler can make some awesome yodeling sounds, but can she rock? Can she belt out a power ballad one week, a country-bluesy tune the next, and follow it all up with a kick-ass cover of “Hot Blooded” on Foreigner Night? (Note to Simon Cowell: There is not enough Foreigner on American Idol. Also, wow, I’m old. And not at all hip.)

Well, no, a yodeler probably couldn’t do all that. But I’m not just a yodeler, er, mommy blogger. Sure, I write about my kids sometimes, but I like to think that my strength lies in taking those everyday moments we all have and sharing them in an entertaining way. I make no effort to hide my imperfections as a mom and as a person, and I think that’s part of why people like my blog. And, I’m eager for opportunities to grow as a writer. If power ballads are my specialty, then it’s about time I branch out and try some country, or even, *gasp* yodeling. I’m pretty sure I’ll rock them all.

Thank you for your consideration.

So, there it is. I already sent it off, so if you don’t like it just go ahead and lie to me in the comments. As you know, I already lead a rich fantasy life, so that is no problem at all. The 12 finalists will be announced September 20, and I’ll let you know then if I made it. Meanwhile, stop by the Blogger Idol facebook page and tell them Molly/Bono from Crazed in the Kitchen sent you.

Now I’m off to finish this Google Image search of Bono pics. Yum.