I haven’t written here for a while, and I know this. The last time was January of 2014. A little over a year.  After Franny got hit by that car, we ended up having to get a lawyer (something I really would have rather not done), and the defendant’s lawyer wanted to see everything, including my blog.  Kind of took the charm out of writing anything here, even if I know it’s public, and I know anyone can read it.  Although, let’s be honest, I doubt may people are shuffling through the dust bunnies here any more.

The internet has changed.  Facebook came to the blogger’s door, tested the lock, and kicked it open.  Blogging is now a “job” and some of the people who I remember blogging alongside back in the day now actually make a living off their blog.

I’m one of those people who longs for the days when things were (a bit), I guess.  I rarely visit blogs, use Facebook multiple times a day, and mean to post a million things (on here) that I never do.

That’s part of Facebook that I don’t like, I guess.  My blog is mine, I do and say as I please – to a rational point.  Facebook is different.  People have expectations and whine about them when they aren’t being lived up to (too many food posts, too many kid pics, pet pics, too many posts, too many quotes, too man WHATEVER).  As if everyone owns a piece of Facebook.

I miss my messy drawer of a blog where I shove recipes, kid stories, links, pet pics, product reviews, and basically everything else –and anything else– I want.  Blogs used to be the place to do that, but now there’s a gazillion other places.

I still write in my off-line journal.  And I want to still write here.  I don’t know if I will keep things here, or move it somewhere else.  But I enjoy looking back at old posts (I often use the recipes for a reference), and wish I had more of them.


No-Show Socks… I Can See ‘Em

Since moccasins and slippers have come back into style the past few years, the no-show socks have been sprouting up everywhere. I guess people started to realize that wearing slippers out and about, with no socks, might end up with some smelly slippers.

I have four pairs of those moccasin/slippers that I wear far too often, and at inappropriate times (like after it snows). But I love being able to slip my feet into something comfy and not have to tie them. I usually wear socks, though (which, apparently is not fashionable). I have issues with going sockless in shoes, though. If I’ve got flip-flops on, that’s another thing, but when my foot is in a shoe I get weird creepy feelings between my toes. Kind of like walking in the basement in the dark, but it’s my feet that are in a dark place that I can’t see where crumbs or spiders might be.

Don’t judge.

I was excited to try the no-show socks.

I was disgusted at how much they cost, considering they are about 1/4 of a sock.

I delayed in purchasing them.

I broke down and bought some from Wal Mart. I brought them home, tried them on, and hated them within five minutes. They should have called them No Stay On Socks instead, because they would either sling-shot off my foot, or nearly immediately creep off when I put my shoes on. It bothers me worse to have a sock slip down in a shoe than to be wearing no socks at all.

I tried the socks every which way, inside out, and with different shoes. I gave up. I put them in a bag to return. I waited. Contemplated this whole no-show sock craze.

One day I was at Kohls and saw some no-show socks there that claimed to be new and improved. I gave them a try.

They feel great, fit well, and they don’t slip off!

However, they also don’t hide very well.

no show socks


I wore them at work anyway, since I knew they wouldn’t get seen and they really are comfortable. They are also obnoxiously there. Not cute. Not fashionable.

I made a stop at Aldi and took them off outside, leaving them in the car. Despite the fact that they made my feet feel much nicer in my shoes, I didn’t want to look like the crazy old lady who wears knee-high nylons with her shorts, thinking nobody can see the tops of them.

A Day Off

It really is nice when I have a day off of work and have an idea of how I am going to spend my time. So much time I waste, honestly. I don’t mean that I need to be running around like a chicken with her head cut off; that’s not good, either. But I feel like many times I go full speed ahead, and then need just as much time to recuperate. I’ve always been more of a short burst, sprinting type of person. But that’s not always good for you. So, on days like this when I have sort of a “map” of what my day looks like, I can breathe a little more.

Today I sprint very little.

The wrestling season (in high school) is at an end. The city banquet was the other day. Lootie won All-City title at 195. He was very pleased with this. We were all proud of his accomplishments this year. I still smile when I think of his phase of not wanting to touch people (how you accomplish this as a wrestler, yet to be determined) for an entire year. It led to him getting beat more than he’d like. He got over that, and has enjoyed the sport ever since.

Here’s the team. A good group of kids.

Lootie, after one of his matches, wearing his new headgear that wasn’t quite adjusted accordingly yet. Thankfully it didn’t cost him the match.

Kinda weird watching my little freaks become men.

Sophia was over yesterday with some boyfriend drama (really wish she didn’t bring it here), but after the initial blowout of emotions, we sat down to some of Lootie’s favorite soup (Italian Sausage Soup, AKA Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup, just her and I, and chatted.

We chatted! I’m sure many people chat with their 21 year old daughters, but it’s been a rocky road for us. Chatting about simple things can even be taken for granted. I didn’t even realize we were chatting about books and friends and soups – and not jobs, boyfriends and other stressful topics. I’m really thankful for that chat. I needed that chat.

I digress, eh?

So Carlito informed me that I will be making Whoopie Pies for the team banquet tonight. I made them this summer for Dante’s graduation  Now I realize I never even posted them here. That’s how often I post. Ahem. Anyway, he requested those, here are the ones I made this past summer. Our school colors are cardinal and gray.


(LATER) The ones above looked better than they tasted, in my opinion, but the kids loved them. This time I made them with less filling and no sprinkles. They were still gobbled up. I couldn’t seem to bring myself to eat one. I tried a bite and that was enough. I haven’t had much as the way of sweets go lately. Mostly chocolates, a McDonald’s cone, or a Skinny Cow sandwich. These weren’t on the top of my list to eat.

The banquet went well and everyone had a nice time. I can’t believe it is another season gone by for Carlito. Since my parents retiring and moving and Dante graduating, I still feel like I’ve been catapulted forward through time on a continual basis. Now the twins will be moving on to high-school in a few short months and what-what?! Even Carlito will joke saying, “You guys are going into 7th grade next year, right?” They ignore him.



Happy New Year 2013

As you can see, I don’t keep up on posting here much. It isn’t that I’m not online. I am. On Facebook, or Twitter, or cruising around my Google Reader looking for recipes. Paying bills, checking online wrestling brackets for my kids. Going to Amazon, eBay (Carlito has become quite the ebay fanatic lately).

Being online isn’t the same as it used to be. There’s so many places to interact with people, get tips, read, ogle food pictures… the list goes on.

I miss blogging/journaling though. I do. This place, though, groovy-mom.com doesn’t quite feel like home to me anymore. So I don’t (blog). I have other domains, and have contemplated just doing some free blogging at blogger, too. We shall see. Just when I say that, I keep things the same and continue to attempt staying here. Eh. Who knows. For the two of you that read this, I’ll keep ya updated.

Life is moving forward, like it tends to do. My kids are getting so old, yo. I look at them and wonder how we got here so quick. After this year, all my kids will be in high-school or beyond. That’s… that’s something for me to ponder on. Adjust to. We went bowling last night with the boys and had a very nice time. It was fun to just DO something together on neutral ground. Not a school function, not a church function, not a sports function – just us doing something together. I wish it could be more often. The times where the boys can hang together (and with us) is slipping by. Soon they will have girlfriends, jobs, school — whatever takes them away from each other. That is the pattern of life, but it is also something you leave behind in your youth, that freedom.

Rare is it that adult siblings can get together – just them – and enjoy time. The older you get, there’s always something waiting. Or you’re tired from your obligations of the day. I hope that they can manage time together as they get older. They enjoy each other. Not all siblings do, and they are blessed that way.

So, yeah, we bowled. I don’t ever seem to hit 100 when I bowl, but maybe if I did it more than once a year. I did get 2 (or 3) strikes during the second game. Go me.

I must be getting old because I set my alarm to get up early (that would be 8am rather than crawl out of bed at 10am) so I could have a couple extra hours. For laundry, for sipping coffee in front of the computer, listening to the space ship sounds of my washer. To make cinnamon bread. To not waste so much time.

Intentional is an over-used word. I guess in the years of accessibility nearly everything is over-used. Nothing is unique anymore – and if it is, millions know about it immediately and, without knowing it, make it common by sharing/liking/instagramming/face chatting it into over-used in a matter of seconds.

Yet, intent is the resolution I would have for 2013. Spending my time with intent. Purpose.

Boys Are Noisy

Teenaged  boys can be just as noisy as girls. Maybe worse. Because when their voices start to drop deep, they carry. Far.

They talk with their mouths and their bodies, scrambling, running, kicking, shoving, wrestling, flopping, throwing, hitting.

When your bedroom is right beneath the living room, and they are sleeping (4 of them) right above you, the ground shakes when they laugh. Because they don’t just laugh. They convulse. The lightbulbs in my ceiling fan shake.

Because they watch a movie with this song in it, play it over and over for hours, then one of them (Sal) has an earworm for three days that he can’t shake.

Because you then, in turn, develop the ear worm. It’s not a good one.

Did I mention boys eat a lot?

I Miss Everybody… Even When They Are Here

Too many changes in too short of a time span. Still adjusting. Letting the dust settle.

Last year, after 20-some years of living in Madison, my parents retired and moved 4 hours away. I knew it was coming. I tried to prepare myself, but did a better job of keeping myself in denial. I mean, really. Could my parents really (really) move hours and hours away from me/us? Me? The kids? The city? Me? It didn’t seem possible.

It was. It is. They are happier than ever and remind me of how much they are enjoying themselves.

The hardest part of them being gone would be the face-to-face conversations. Phones don’t capture a conversation for me. Email.. no, but I do like getting emails from my parents. The lost art of writing. But phones (especially cellphones, which we are both using) lag, stick and delete parts of the conversation making it awkward, messy. My parents don’t know how to Facetime, and if they did it would be similar to those cellphone conversations.

I miss them. Not only were my parents close to us (you could hop on the bus three houses down from us, ride it to their part of town and get off of it three houses down from their house – no transfer), but they were close to the kid’s school. Many times I would stop in for coffee or a quick chat while I waited for the boys to be done with wrestling/soccer/whatever. I’ve driven by their house on occasion, those evenings when I would have normally pulled up and walked right in. It makes my heart ache a bit. Truly ache. That’s a real term.

Then I have my college son. That was a whole new adjustment. Still is. There are people that squeal with glee when their kids reach this age – old enough to send off to the dorms. And then there are those who go through (literally) stages of greif, sadness, depression. I… well, I wasn’t squealing. I am happy for him, I am. But I really had to be honest with myself on how I was feeling. My oldest left the house for different reasons. I went through similar feelings then. It got better. This has gotten better.

But it’s still there.

My parents came for a visit this past week. My dad had a meeting close by, and they extended their time here to hang out with family and visit friends. They stayed in a hotel one night and with us the second night. We don’t have a big house. To stay with us, they have to take over a bedroom, and boot a boy out of it. It’s fine, it works, but it might not work for a week’s stay. I wish I had a bigger house. I’ll just put that out there. At any rate, they stayed here, but I didn’t see them too terribly much. Dinner the first night, ships passing in the night the next day. Talks over coffee the morning they departed. It was good to see them. Really good.

I had just learned that my hours might be getting (probably, inevitably) cut drastically in the new year. I tell you every time things look up for us, in comes some slam from the other side that we weren’t expecting. We will never be financially solvent. Will we ever be financially solvent? We will be financially solvent someday. We will. I have to believe that. Sorry, little mid-paragraph pep talk for meself. So, yeah, I was just a little bit shellshocked  about the whole thing, and I was glad -so glad- that my parents were here. That I could tell them some of this stuff face to face and have a real conversation with them. It’s cathartic to be able to speak with someone in the flesh, not through an electronic.

I’m so very tired of speaking with the people I love through electronic devices. (Yes I am thankful for the ability to do so, it just isn’t my preferred way.)

So, we have coffee with my parents on their departure day, then Frank and I go off to run errands, stop at Costco, the library, blablabla. All’s good, right?


I get home, begin to unload the groceries, walk into the garage, hear my dog waiting for me on the other side of the garage door, open it – and there it is. Coffee. The smell of the coffee pot, lingering in the air.

That’s all. That was it. All I needed.

I crumpled. Sobbed. Needed a hug from my husband – something I probably don’t allow myself often enough. Keeping hard, keeping moving, that’s what works sometimes.

Not that day.

I missed my mom and dad. I miss a lot of things. It’s OK to miss them as long as I don’t envelope myself in it, seal it up and stay wrapped in it forever.


Thankful For Weekends

A lot of people are doing the “Thankful Thirty” this month, and I contemplated doing it, but frankly I don’t blog, tweet or facebook enough to manage. I suppose I could do it online in my paper journal. As I type this out, I realize I probably should simply for discipline’s sake. It is good to be thankful, to pick out the positive, and to massage the optimist within. It’s healthy.

Last weekend Frank had off. We went and watched Dante wrestle (his first ever college matches). It was an exciting, nerve-wracking experience. My heart swelled with pride, but also of longing. I miss my college-aged son. In the same breath that I “miss” each child, moments, segments of life that hang in time– I enjoy the dynamic that new life phases bring. It is exciting to watch my older two young adults take on life, figuring out who they are. A bleeding, swelling heart. Again, I am pushing and pulling each and every day of my life.

Saturday was spent in the car, driving hours away to watch the matches; Sunday we took to the outdoors and explored a local spot that we’ve visited before, but always in winter.

There is a small chapel on the land that was once a farm, now a public park. The owner agreed to donate the land as long as the chapel stayed. We’ve been there many times (almost always after dark), but have never seen the chapel. The hike up brought muscles to warm on a steady incline. On a peaceful day the chapel at the top and the view surrounding would have been the first slice of fresh air on a nice trek through some very manageable paths. But on that day it was laden with Boy Scouts who were on a treasure hunt, and weekenders on the same mission as we were. Inside the chapel, a Scout poked at one of the statue’s heart (a saint) saying, “Ewww. Ugggggggggly. Look at that heart.” He checked off something on his list and they ran screaming to the overlook. Kind of killed the moment.

The chapel is small.

The boys felt our hike should have ended there. They were wrong.

Franny created his own path down the hill while the rest of us took the same route to return to the fork in the path. Sal was overly concerned that we would have search parties to find his twin brother.

We did not.

We found a spider that was definitely not indigenous to the land.

When we came to the bottom of the hill, we took another trail that we figured would take about a half hour and bring us back to the beginning. Half-way through, we came to the warming hut where we have our winter picnics. The boys were spent and wanted to head back using the familiar route. I asked them a few questions to determine that they knew where they were going, and told them to go that way and we would meet them back there. Frank and I wanted to explore new territory.

We didn’t hurry.

After walking to the lake, we were faced with going back to the car through the prairie, or to retrace our steps back through the woods. We chose the woods. I’m not much of a prairie person; I like the hills hidden in the trees.

I posted the picture below on Facebook, too. As we trotted down the hill, I heard a noise that I thought was a branch falling. But it was this man, coming up behind us with his poles. He breathed a chipper greeting when he passed, and continued on his healthy clip right past us, generating more steam as he pushed up the hill. Inspired, I challenged Frank to run up that last hill with me. He shook his head. I started, and the dog (who Frank was leading), took off behind me, forcing him to join in.

We made it.

The kids were waiting, taking in the view, some more patient than others.

I sat with Sal on the bench, and we ate our cheese sticks. I didn’t want it to end. Time is short. Every age and stage in life is different. A Sunday hike with a 13 year old is different than one with a 15 year old, as it is different with one that is over 18, or under 8. I can’t say that any is better or preferred. They are all good. They are all something to cherish.

Today I Made Kale Chips


I made kale chips. I used 1/2 a bag of kale, .5  oz of olive oil, cumin, cayenne, garlic, and salt. I roasted them for about 12 minutes in a 350 oven. I have no pictures. Evidenced only by the remains on the table, some slightly oily fingers and a pleasing heat sensation in my mouth.

I went to the dentist. Every time I think of a million and one ways to cancel my appointment. But I bite the bullet. They cleaned my mouthguard (I grind my teeth), scraped my teeth (they tell me they are excellent), and  got them polished with the whirly circular brush from my nightmares. “Polishing” is THE absolute worst part of the entire process for me. Polishing makes my hands go numb, intertwined in a tense deathgrip across my abdomen. Polishing makes tears come to my eyes, and sometimes spill over. Polishing makes my face dance in ways that bring the hygienist to recall, “Oh my gosh. I’m SO sorry. You hate this part.” Repeated apologies, and movements that are 5x faster than before, getting the job done within seconds.

I need sealants on two of my teeth. Hooray, yay. Oh, that’s an added cost. Naturally. An appointment yet to be scheduled.

I made some cinnamon peanut butter granola to send to Dante.

I did downward facing dog and my silly dog walks over and starts licking my forehead.

I ate blueberries. I sipped tea. I lay still on the ground for 8 minutes, clearing my mind, replenishing my soul.

I reminded myself of what I need to pack for our trip to the cabin — 4-day weekend, hooray.

I promised myself I’d get off the computer at 1pm.

I am fulfilling that promise.


Chili Lime Pepper Salad (One Bowl Prep)

I have no pictures of this salad. I’ll just preface with that. Sometimes I take pictures. Others I keep as a photograph in my memory (key harp solo).

My father-in-law lives in a retirement community. On certain days different stores will bring day-old bread or donate vegetables and the residents get to “shop” the goods, or they get a parcel of goods – I’m not really sure. In any case, my father-in-law (and his mother, who both live there) will relieve the guilt of not using their share (?) by passing on to me the remainder of that parcel. Generally it is delicious and appreciated. Other times it is a parcel of guilt that ends up in my garbage due to my lack of ability to either use immediately or freeze it. Sounds simple enough for a person to do, but not always. My brain is flighty.

Last time it was eggplant. Frank’s grandma had made a wonderful caponatina with as much eggplant as she could use, then handed off the rest to me. I like eggplant. I sliced it, breaded it, and fried it. It was delicious and fully consumed. Well, a few of the eggplants were consumed. There were leftovers. They went to garbage after rotting in my kitchen for well past their prime. I was done frying and couldn’t stand the thought of doing any more. Seems to me no matter what you fry it always smells ends up smelling like fried fish, and it always hangs in the air like bad news for about three days.

Well this time, Joe came over with a bag (Frank’s family has a thing with bags – you can’t visit without leaving with an old plastic grocery bag of something – even if it is an article, one piece of paper – it’s in a plastic grocery bag). So we talk in the driveway for a bit, me leaning over his car, him sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. We talked for a bit, and then he handed me the bag like there were porcelain dolls in it. It was tied at the top. He looked in my eyes. “I think it is eggplants.” My stomach sunk a little at the thought of frying up more eggplants.

Lo and behold, I went inside the house, opened it up and found four jumbo peppers (and tomatoes, but they were immediately ignored for the peppers)! My peppers were green with hints of orangish red, so I knew they were going to turn into beautiful red peppers.

I love red peppers. I love them – have you seen how expensive they are lately? This, my friend, was a bag of delight. I put them in a basket and patiently waited for them to turn. The tomatoes… I made some spaghetti sauce.

Days later and finally my peppers were ready. Almost too ready. Remember my flighty-ness? I wanted to make a pepper salad so they could be the main character, shining in the spotlight. Usually I make an Italian-themed pepper salad, but this time I went for something different:


(one-bowl prep)

2 large red peppers
1 cucumber
1/2 red onion
2 T. olive oil
1 T. sugar
1 lime
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh cilantro (or 1/2 T. dried)

1.) Cut peppers into bite-sized strips (about the size of a pinky, a teensy smaller); place in bowl. Peel cucumbers (I slice the ends off, cut it in half then peel), de-seed, and cut into similar sized strips; place in bowl. Cut onion into same-sized strips. Toss gently in the bowl.
2.) Over your pepper/onion/cuke mix, drizzle olive oil. Cut lime and half and squeeze the juice of both halves into bowl. Toss gently. Sprinkle sugar, cumin, chili powder over; add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in chopped cilantro (I only had dried). Toss gently again. If you can, refrigerate for an hour prior to serving. If not… dig in.

I ate the leftovers with a sprinkle of feta cheese over. Yum. I like a kick, so in the future I might add some cayenne to the mix.

Going Curly Again (Haircut)

I really don’t like to go to the salon. I did, sort of. A long (long) time ago. Generally, though, it’s just a measure of pain.

In the past 10 years I’ve gone from my natural curls to relaxed, and now back to my natural curls. I like both. Having curls is cheaper, though, and easier to manage. I can still, if I want to, flat-iron my hair. As it is when I go to get my hair relaxed it doesn’t attain the amount of “relaxation” that I would like. It is stubborn. Very difficult to get the curl out of. I usually go home with chemical burns up and down my scalp, and sometimes my ears, and a gaping hole in my bank account.

Which leads me to wonder why I buy into the process.

My last relaxer was sometime last year, I think. Maybe longer. My new curly growth is at a place where I feel like I can do a (semi) “big chop” (cutting off all chemically treated hair, leaving the natural, new growth) without having a mini-fro. I’ve taken some off on my own here at home, but I’m starting to feel like I’m wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes on my head and I’m the only one who thinks I look sort of OK. It was time. I was sensitive, though, to the fact that all of my boys twist their face in fear when I’ve threatened to cut my hair really short.

I went to my posts from a few years back to see if I could scrounge up a picture to bring with me to this new salon and found my post, Why I Hate to Get My Hair Cut. That was my first adult curly cut with a “Master Designer” at an expensive salon. This sums it up:

The Master looked like any other stylist. I don’t know if I expected her shears and supplies to be holstered to her belt with a spotlight for a backdrop, or what. But the moment she took my hair in her hands I knew. She ain’t never touched hair like mine before.

Part II shows a picture of the massacre that took place that day. It doesn’t help my salon aversion. Finally, there is the pro bono cut I received and was happy with. Based on my satisfaction with that cut, I continued to see the stylist that fixed my hair for the past 5 years, getting my hair relaxed and cut. But still, I’m not a salon person. The less time (and money) I have to spend there, the better. I have no standing appointment and I generally don’t really look forward to going there. I think it boils down to not feeling like anyone really understands and/or is capable of doing my hair. Once in a blue moon I leave and am happy. The rest of the times I hold my tears back, waiting to get out, go home, and wash my hair.

Sadly, my final appointment with that stylist ended on a bad note. I’ll try to keep it simple. I had an appointment. They called to move it to a different time slot. I said that was fine, as long as there was enough time to do my hair (this is based on past appointments and seeming to “run out of time” quite often). They assured me there was, and I should have known they were mistaken. I went in to get my hair cut and it was entirely rushed. I felt like I was at a cheap-o salon where they treat you like meat. After my trim, my hair was nice and man-handled. Anyone who is curly know you really can’t style half dry, disheveled hair into anything pleasing to look at. So there I sat, waiting for her to re-wet me or blow it out and she asked if I wanted it in a braid before I left. “Uh, no, I want it blowed out.” Duh. I’m paying you up the wazoo to cut and style, so… yeah. Style it. She looked to the waiting room and said, “Honey, my next client is here, I don’t have time for that.”

I left with my hair looking like a child was playing Pretend Salon Day all up in it. It was another instance where I thought I was either going to cry myself, or make someone else cry from my wrath. Neither was appealing. Halfway home I called and complained (cried) to the receptionist, too embarrassed and dumbstruck to have made my feelings known on the spot. Leaving the salon looking gawjuss is a confidence-booster, leaving worse than when you walked in has the opposite effect. Thankfully the receptionist totally understood and said she could understand my misery. In the end, they sent me a gift card for half of the service price, called and left and apologetic email, and told me they hoped I’d return.

I will not return, thankyouverymuch.  I felt decent about my relationship with my stylist, but do not feel valued as a customer. I won’t be back.

Hence my search for a new place to chop my locks. I found a Salon Finder through a site I frequent. The place I chose had good reviews. They got me an appointment within 24 hours.

Wish me well.