Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever

So, if you're in the ATL and you're not doing anything tonight and you love cats, maybe you should think about coming to this event. Scott's playing at this benefit to help raise money for this organization that helps feral and homeless cats. It's tonight, but you can buy a ticket at the door. All proceeds will go to Krazy About Kats to help build their new state-of-the-art veterinary and shelter facility.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas in Dixie

We celebrate two Christmases with Scott's family...three if you count the fact that we have our own Christmas Day celebration that's just for us and the kids (our Santa celebration, I suppose). We always celebrate Christmas with his mom and brothers' families on Christmas Eve. And sometime, usually the weekend before Christmas, we celebrate with his dad and stepmom, also with the brothers and their families. Oh yeah...and then sometimes we have a Christmas Day visit and meal at his Aunt Gaynelle's house if we happen to be spending Christmas in Montgomery.

We rotate where the Christmas celebrations with mom and dad are, with each son and daughter-in-law taking a turn. Essentially, once every four years, it's your turn to host. Or something like that. Math has never been my strong suit. This is our year to host the mom Christmas Eve dinner/celebration. Actually, last year was our year, but because we had a two-week old baby, Scott's mom hosted at her house.

So, it's our turn. And this is what I'm planning to serve as the main course: Paula Deen's Soy Rubbed Beef Tenderloin. I'm a little turkey-ed out. The recipe follows and is from Paula Deen's Christmas cookbook:

Soy-Rubbed Tenderloin

Paula Deen
Serves 10 to 12

"This is really so simple. I buy a whole tenderloin when it goes on sale and have it cut in two. I fix one that night and freeze the other for a special occasion." - Paula

(I plan to try this easy recipe for Christmas dinner.)


One 4- to 5-pound beef tenderloin

1/2 cup soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper


Allow the beef to stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the tenderloin in a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and rub all over with the soy sauce. Rub the meat all over with a generous amount of black pepper.

Roast the tenderloin for 45 to 50 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer. (Using a meat thermometer, 125 degrees F is rare; 135 degrees F is medium rare; and 140 degrees F is medium.)

Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes before you slice it.

I'm excited. I look forward to figuring out what to serve with it. And what to suggest my sisters-in-law bring. Oh the desserts! That reminds me. If anyone has a recipe for Kentucky Jam Cake that you love, I'd love to see it. It's my favorite cake, but I've never made it.

Christmas is Coming

It must just be that time of year. I just saw a Publix commercial that made me cry. Then, a bit on the Dr. Phil show promoting a Christmas special that he's hosting with his wife and hearing Christmas music made me teary-eyed.

I also have found myself gettin' crafty. Brendan wanted us all to have new Christmas stockings with our names on them, so I went to Michael's today to buy the stuff to make stockings, but decided to just buy their pre-made felt stockings because they were cuter than anything I could make (and really...Do I have time to find a pattern, cut the felt, and sew 4 Christmas stockings? I didn't think so!). I bought some glitter paint/glue and put our names on them. I also bought some stuff to make a gift or two, but won't say what they are yet so as to not give it away in case the recipients are reading the blog. I'm not usually very good at this sort of thing, but I had such good ideas that I wanted to give it a try. I've completed one of the items and think it turned out really nice!

And it's fun to think that you can give someone something that's not just personal, but that you actually put a little of yourself into. I may make a few more things I hadn't planned on if the next thing I'm working on turns out okay.

I haven't done any major shopping. I've bought a gift certificate for my mother-in-law to have a facial or a massage and I bought some bathy-type stuff for her. She's allergic to a lot of scents, but likes lavender, so that's what I got for her. I've also bought a gift for a friend. Some stocking stuffers for Brendan. No big presents for him or Beckett yet. And what do I get for Scott? It's kind of hard when I'm not working enough to make any real money. I hate spending his money on him. I love being at home with my kids, but I hate not having my own money. It totally sucks. I think about the expensive and indulgent gifts I once was able to give him when I worked and feel worthless knowing I can't do that anymore. Oh well. Someday.

Daddy's Gone to Knoxville

There's a great column by Roland S. Martin over on I don't think he's necessarily breaking any new ground with his statement that dads matter, but I think it's important that he's actually saying it aloud to a national audience because I think too many people are afraid of offending others to be honest about things like this.

Martin's piece focuses solely on the role of fathers in the African-American community. He addresses the fact that 10.4 percent of black men between 25 and 29 were incarcerated in 2002. And while he does acknowledge the role of poverty, he points out that (duh) when there are two parents providing financial support as well as love and guidance, you alleviate the effects of poverty. I mean, this should be obvious, but our nation and culture seems to have such an aversion to holding people accountable and calling individuals to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

Why are we so afraid to call people out when they're acting a fool, as Martin says.

I've made no bones about the fact that I grew up without a dad and in poverty, but somehow, through the grace of God, I got it together, relatively speaking. I focused on school and getting into college. I got lucky.

Anyway, Martin got me thinking (shocking, I know!). It's just not enough for a dad to simply sleep in the same home (when he's not traveling on business), hand out indulgent allowances, and never establish or enforce any kind of discipline or show any real affection or interest in their children.

In Alpharetta, one of Atlanta's countless affluent northern suburbs, six young men, ages 16 to 18, were arrested for breaking into and stealing cars and other items. These brats broke into at least 100 cars since Thanksgiving and police believe they are actually responsible for many more thefts. These aren't kids living in poverty. But I could almost guarantee that they have parents who are so consumed with their own lives and interests that they never take the time to show any meaningful interest in their kids. The homes in North Fulton probably average $400,000. I would wager that almost all of these kids have dads who are so caught up in earning their $250K a year salaries and moms so consumed with their ALTA schedules and Botox regimens that they never even see their kids. Kids, mind you, who probably never wanted for a single material possession in their lives. These are kids who get brand new cars when they turn 16, never hit a lick at a snake, and expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter.

The thing is, now that they've fucked up, Daddy – and his expensive attorney – will be there. Just in time to keep poor baby from going to jail. Too bad they weren't around to teach their children about showing a little respect to their fellow human beings when it mattered.

So, it's not just African-American kids who need their fathers, although clearly the differences are crucial, the paths the lives of poor urban kids will follow vastly different than those followed by a bunch of poor little rich kids.

At least Roland Martin is courageous enough and willing to call for accountability among African-American men; I just wish someone would do the same with their rich white counterparts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Within You, Without You

Yesterday as we were leaving the chiropractor's office, Brendan exclaimed, This is the best day! I got to do all kinds of things I was expecting...go to Chik-fil-A, go to the doctor, then go to the park! Thanks, Mommy!"

Then, he very quickly followed that statement with, This is the funnest life ever!

I have mixed feelings about the idea of reincarnation, but I do believe children, especially the younger they are, are tuned in spiritually in ways that most adults are incapable of. We've lost the innocence or willingness to believe in the things we can't see or comprehend whereas kids just accept those things as they come.

It also made me really happy to think that if we are reincarnated and this is not Brendan's first life that I have somehow contributed to making it a really good one for his soul. I hope we can continue to do so.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pictures of Me

I know I linked to the flickr stream, but I thought I'd just post a couple directly to the blog, too. We had a happy day that was followed by another fun day yesterday when we celebrated Christmas early with Scott's dad and stepmom up at Scott's brother's house. Again, the kids were all well-behaved and played well with one another. The food was tasty and it was a fun kickoff to the Christmas season which seems to be flying by this year.

Celebration Day

On Saturday, we celebrated Beckett's first birthday with a small party at our house. Small, to us, means 3 grandparents, 2 sets of aunts and uncles, 6 cousins, 1 close friend with 2 daughters, plus 2 other friends and a baby. The day started off smoothly, but went down hill fast when my cake wasn't ready at the appointed time.

I asked a fellow MOMS Club member who is trying to start a cake business to do the cake for me. It turned out great. It was a beautiful cake and tasted great, especially considering she had never even heard of the kind of cake I wanted before (white almond). But, I thought I'd have a nervous breakdown waiting for it. My party was at 4 p.m. and the cake arrived at 3:45 after I had already been waiting for her since 2:00 p.m. I was a basket case.

But, it worked out fine. We had a great time, Beckett had fun, the kids were well-behaved and sweet, and everyone played nice.

And so went the last first birthday party I'll ever throw.