Chili Peppers

I’ve been staring at this bowl of peppers for months now. I mean it. Months. And like some ridiculous Willy Wonka invention, they won’t go away.

I’ve blogged about my husband’s obsession with his garden. However, unlike most obsessed people, his garden is less about specific anticipated needs and concise planting styles and a whole lot more about filling up every square inch of that soil with every kind of plant he could find. Regardless of their purpose or relativity.

Enter chili peppers and spaghetti squash.

Each in its own capacity serves a very lovely purpose. Admittedly, at first, I was extremely excited about Jeremy growing peppers. I’ve always loved hot and spicy food and in the past have rarely had fresh peppers around to add to my meals. I was chopping those things up on the daily and definitely channeling my inner Rachael Ray. There is something so “cooking channel” about scraping out the inner ribs of a jalapeno, finely mincing it and adding it to already sauteeing garlic and onion. Folks, I even broke out my herb-themed apron to don while cooking. It was getting serious.

The spaghetti squash followed the same pattern. Jer would bring it in, I would marvel at its natural beauty, I’d don my apron and we’d eat it. And eat it. And eat it.

Here’s the problem: I’ve grown extremely tired of capsaicin-induced tongue burns and faux spaghetti noodles. But the peppers and squash will not go away. Every single time I think I’ve finally conquered the bounty Jeremy enters through the back door with more. I don’t understand how it’s even happening. It’s like some fertile curse.

Jeremy swears he will scale back on the harvest for next season and will also work on his genetically predisposed need to plant over-abundantly. He promises he will feel okay with leaving some soil space free and by doing so he understands he is not compromising his manliness. More peppers does not equal more machismo.

For now, I trudge ahead in my quest to work through the bounty. We’ll be having baked spaghetti squash with hot and spicy marinara for dinner. Big surprise.

Mindy

Frozen LadyBits

I was dreaming of icebergs and eskimos. I had polar bears and penguins nipping at my toes, blankets of snow piling up around me. Longing thoughts of toasty warm fireplaces and sherpa-lined blankets began dancing in my head.

I woke up from my frozen tundra of a dreamscape and immediately reached down to pull my blankets up around me to snuggle in and warm up my quickly forming goosebumps. Much to my dismay my searching fingers came up empty. I looked down at my toes and realized…I could see my toes. Which was very wrong. I shouldn’t be able to actually see my toes. It was becoming increasingly obvious that there were no blankets within a twelve-mile radius of my frozen body.

What the hell.

I stole a glance at my snoring husband and noticed he was in absolute blissful slumber. He had that I’m at peace cast to his face which, at first, made me smile. Until I realized why he was in such a Zen state.

He had all of the blankets wrapped around his body. I could see beads of perspiration forming on the bridge of his nose where I had tiny little icicles forming on parts of my person I’m too much of a lady to discuss in detail. Needless to say, I was extremely uncomfortable and that dude was basking in warmth. Unfortunately for me, this is a daily occurrence in our bedroom which lends a little bit of justification to the following scenario.

Given my tendency towards subtlety, I tapped my hubby on the shoulder and gently said, “WAKE UP JEREMY!”

His eyes flew open, panic registering immediately on his face. “Wh-What’s going on?” he fumbled.

“If you take my friggin’ blankets in the middle of the friggin’ night one more time you will probably find yourself missing some very valuable appendages. Capisce?” He nodded furiously, sensing how serious I actually was in the moment. He unfolded himself from his fifteen blankets and passed a couple my way, my body immediately relaxing from the once impending frostbite.

“Sorry, Mindy,” Jer said. “I’ll quit doing that.”

“Oh, you’ll be sorry dude. Trust that,” I answer, as gracious as always.

He pulled me towards him and snuggled in to warm me up. “You’re funny, Mindy,” he said lightly.

I snorted. “I’m pretty sure John Bobbitt thought Lorena was a real card at one point too, Jer.”

He loosened up a bit on his hold and laughed, albeit nervously. I burrowed in next to him and dozed back to sleep. I have a feeling he laid awake for awhile in fear his sleeping self would betray his promise to keep me covered up.

Yep. He’s real lucky to have me.

Mindy

Robert the Cat

While perusing The Pioneer Woman this morning and reading her beautiful post detailing the close relationship between her and her Kitty Kitty I couldn’t help but be reminded of my non-existant relationshp with my own cat, Robert. For those who may need a recap, I have explained our decline in this post. The long and short of it is this: Robert’s a real jerk and hates us. The turncoat used our sympathy to bust him out of kitty jail and then proceeded to move out of our house, straightaway. He now lives with my next door neighbors and pretends we have no connection.

Soaking in the sun...outside. Away from us.

I had gotten quite used to his distance and reticence and until a couple of days ago managed to completely ignore his existence. Which is, after all, exactly what he wants.

But the other day something very, very strange happened. Something that has rocked my small world a bit. Something that I was not emotionally prepared for.

Sleeping on the lawn furniture...outside. Again, away from us.

I came home from grocery shopping and was in the process of attempting to unlock my car doors (another story for another post) when I looked up and saw Robert perched on my front porch, staring at me. Peering through my soul would more aptly describe his gaze. It was as if he was trying to convey a message that his status as a feline wouldn’t allow him to verbally express. It was as if he was trying to tell me “Thank you.”

Thank you for caring for animal-kind. Thank you for making the decision to adopt an older cat in a frisky kitty kind-of-world. Thank you for making the effort to break through my encumbered soul to form a relationship. Thank you for bringing me into your home and further, into your family. Thank you for loving me.

A very rare moment...cuddling with Lewis the dog...I think Robert was taking drugs.

I saw an opportunity which I hadn’t ever been allowed before. Robert and I were going to connect. And even more than that, he wanted to.

I set my groceries down and approached my wayward cat, reaching my hand out with loving care. Robert looked at my proffered hand and my excitement was electric. I had my cat back, for that I was sure.

He lowered his ears, closed his eyes and then proceeded to…hiss at me and manage a jump of epic proportions from my porch. I flipped around to see where Robert landed only to find him nose-deep in my rhododendron bush, in hunting mode.

It was then that I realized my cat wasn’t trying to connect with me at all. There was no gratitude pouring out of his soul. There was no desire for a relationship with his savior. There was no attempt at reconciling an unrequited love.

He was stalking his prey. And I had been in the line of fire.

I noticed this morning that Robert is back in his place of choice, the neighbor’s wicker porch furniture, snuggled deeply in his wool blanket. I attempted eye contact with him only to be shot down with a slight glance. It was over.

Jerk.

Mindy

Halloween 2010

Okay, so I readily admit that Halloween is over. Completely over. In fact, Halloween is so over that we are now fully able to obsess over a new holiday. Thanksgiving. Ahem. Yeah, right. We all know that according to retail standards “Turkey Day” is practically non-existent, and Christmas, if you’ve visited any Target or Walmart stores or caught a glimpse of any home shopping networks lately, is where it’s at. But I digress (and will undoubtedly blog about more later because it makes me angry).

An appropriate costume for my little "angel."

In my excitement of tearing down giant spiders from my drapery rod, skull and crossbones gel clings from my windows and collecting various skeleton parts from my house plants I completely forgot to post Halloween night pictures, therefore not finishing the series I unwittingly began. SinceI have blogged about our trip to the pumpkin patch and then the requisite carving of the pumpkins, to not end the Halloween blogfest with trick-or-treating pictures would be like not watching the third Star Wars movie. And I certainly wouldn’t want to do that. (Full disclosure: Okay, I haven’t actually watched all the Star Wars movies. But I hear they are good and to not finish the trilogy is a travesty of epic proportions.)

An equally appropriate costume for this little munchkin...

Halloween in our neighborhood has been what some might consider “mayhem” in past years. At times, we’ve counted up to almost 600 trick-or-treaters darkening our doorstep, forcing us to dig into our “good candy” stash when the Dots and Smartees are all taken. To take the kids out is like navigating through a war zone and I usually prefer hanging back at home sipping on cider and eating barbecue wienies.

Good embracing evil...a daily occurrence around here.

However, this year I decided to embrace the holiday and endure the chaos of soliciting for candy. And I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t been present I would never have known my son has a particular distaste for waiting in line and using sidewalks and has a special affinity for the “I’ll pull down my underwear” line from the classic “Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet” anthem.

Our Motley Crew...

I also wouldn’t have experienced the endearing high-fives my children shared after each candy score and Avery’s protective older-sister instincts at each street crossing. A tug at any mother’s heart string, for sure.

All in all, it was yet another successful holiday and my kid’s are already looking forward to next year. Apparently, Avery’s pretty sure she will be needing red lipstick and Jack will be requiring some sort of power tool. That gives me approximately 345 days to feed them subliminal images of innocent little farm animals and noble superheroes.

Mindy