Six On Sunday, Version 32 (Monday Version 4)

1. My husband had sinus surgery. As loyal readers know, he had surgery ten days ago. Ten Very Long Days Ago. While he has been a model patient, he is a patient nonetheless.  Today, he has a doctor’s appointment where he will (fingers crossed) be released to do whatever he wants to do.  I feel that he will want to vacuum, stack the dishwasher, and fold laundry.  Just a hunch.

sage Six On Sunday, Version 32 (Monday Version 4)

2. Sage Magazine. I was invited back to write another piece for Sage Magazine. This issue’s topic was Valentine’s Day, and while not my favorite day (see #4), it is one of the most memorable days of high school- Valentine’s Day was our Superbowl (please see page 10).

3. Cruises. I met my husband on a cruise. We have talked about going on another one, possibly for our tenth anniversary of our first date. After the most recent mishap involving a lack of electricity, optional plumbing, and irate passengers; I suspect my cruising days might be behind me… All plans for future cruises have jumped ship, and any lingering thoughts about how wonderful cruising is have been cast overboard. (I know I know terrible, but I could not resist!)

4. Valentine’s Day. As a rule, I do not have fond feelings for any Hallmark generated holiday (see also: Sweetest Day, Office Professionals Day, and Bosses Day). (Check out this list of the 7 Most Ridiculous Holidays, it’s pretty good.) This year was the first year Emma ‘celebrated’ Valentine’s Day at school, which gives me yet another reason to hate this fake holiday: candy.  The amount of candy my child brought home from school rivals any good trick or treating run on Halloween. Policing said candy has enforced Emma’s belief that Mommy And Daddy Are No Fun and has made for an exhausting round of conversation. (Why can’t I just eat candy Mommy? I love candy! I want candy! Yes! Now!)

folding laundry Six On Sunday, Version 32 (Monday Version 4)

5. Modern Appliances. I am a HUGE fan of dishwashers- I have lived in several apartments over the years that did not have one. I also love having a washer and dryer in my house as I do not miss schleping my laundry to my parents. However, due to the increase in dishes (see #1) and laundry (also #1), my life has become emptying the dishwasher and folding sheets. I am so over it I cannot even begin to tell you.

6. Caramel Shortbread Squares. So incredible. I used to make these all the time for my best friend Caroline’s husband.  She has moved far, far away, and without Jacob requesting them, I had forgotten about them. I love to bake, but I have found the whole “a moment on the lips forever on the hips” is too true. However, I maintain that calories don’t count when baking if you are baking for someone else, so I rarely bake for our family. Instead, I bake for friends, neighbors, and even the mailman. Saturday evening they suddenly popped into my head (what an exciting life I lead) and so, as my gift to you, I am sharing. You’re Welcome.

CARAMEL SHORTBREAD SQUARES

INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup butter, white sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into a 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
3. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Pour over baked crust (warm or cool). Cool until it begins to firm.
4. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, then stir and continue to heat and stir at 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly to cover completely. Chill.

I first found this recipe on Allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Caramel-Shortbread-Squares/Detail.aspx?src=etaf)

Happy Hallmark Overpriced Day, or, a Valentine’s Day Wrap up

Ahh Valentine’s Day… What a stupid holiday.  (And before you start judging, I have had a Valentine every year on Valentine’s Day since I was 15- you know, since I have been all grown up and mature and shit.)  Valentine’s Day sucks.  I am not going to give you the standard, PC (I am not so PC, perhaps you have noticed?) of ‘people should love each other every day’ and ‘I don’t want flowers because Hallmarks says I should have them, I should get flowers just because’ or even ‘I don’t need a special day to tell my partner how much I love them because every day is Valentine’s Day at our house’ (I just threw up at this one.) I hate Valentine’s Day because the bar is too high- no matter what, you are going to lose. Someone is going to have a better day than you.  Did you get a dozen roses?  Suzy got two dozen.  Did you go out to dinner at nice restaurant? Katie went to a nicer restaurant and the chef created a special menu just for her and her Valentine.  Did you get engaged?  Jen got a bigger diamond and a more elaborate proposal. I mean, really, why even bother?
I went to Nerinx Hall, an all girls Catholic high school. (Yes, we wore uniform plaid skirts. Yes, all the stereotypes are true- except for the one that we all danced around like Britney Spears in ‘Baby One More Time’. The Nerinx girls were much bigger fans of Mary Katherine Gallagher’s lunge with spirit fingers as a signature move). Valentine’s Day was something out of a Lifetime movie. Seriously, you would have to see it to believe it.  Valentine’s Day became a study in the ‘have’s’ vs. the ‘have not’s’… a political ad could have been shot to graphically demonstrate whatever tax hike/tax cut was the flavor du jour.  To accommodate the impending flower deliveries, several large tables from the cafeteria (the Nerinx girls called it the ‘cafe’) were moved to the front hallway/entrance of the school. The tables made that hallway look like a make shift dead rock star grave- minus the candles- but including the stuffed animals. As flowers were delivered during the day, the lucky recipient was announced over the PA system and told to come to the front office- it was the only time one wanted to go to the front office, and we wanted it oh so badly!  (I had the same boyfriend all four years at Nerinx. And he never got it right.  He was always too cheap to send actual roses from a florist.  The first year, I did get roses.  He hand delivered during his lunch break. Sounds sweet, except that he misspelled my name and so no one knew whose flowers they were for almost the entire day.  On subsequent years, he visited the hospital gift shop next to his house for some lovely carnations -dropped off at the front office; he knew the drill by then-because “they don’t jack up the price on Valentine’s day”.  Can you believe I let him slip away to marry my ex best friend/college roommate?!)  The girls who received flowers (especially those who were surprised and had not expressly ordered their boyfriends to send flowers) were thrilled, and those who didn’t, well, weren’t.  Every year I was there, and every year my youngest sister Laura was there the I Hate Boys Club was established. I was so glad the tradition had continued during her time at Nerinx, and I sincerely hope that it was alive and well this year.  Members were easily spotted by their paper signs (I Hate Boys), had a really bad attitude, and went through the lunch line more than once for ice cream sandwiches and candy bars. Can’t you feel the love?
In college, I also had a boyfriend every year.  And yet, this did not change my attitude about Valentine’s Day (possibly because he was such a jerk).  My bestie at the time (see ex best friend, married ex boyfriend) didn’t have a boyfriend sophomore year.  We decided to launch a full out attack on all the ‘loving happiness’ around us… by making t shirts.  (We were sorority girls. We made t shirts for everything.  We almost made a sheet sign and hung it from the sorority house, but decided that would be overkill.  Such mature examples of self control we were.)  The shirts proclaimed “Happy Fucking V-day” and had a red heart with a large black X through it.  (I searched everywhere for the picture, and sadly, I cannot find it… My words here are not conveying the genius of the shirt.) We thought about licensing, but really, we weren’t in it for the money.  And possibly, (probably) no one would have found them quite as funny as we did.
When I started dating my husband, my feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day were clear:- I-hate-it-it’s-stupid- whatever-and-please-for-goodness-sake-do-not waste-your-money-and-buy-me-some-overpriced-thing-just-because-you-are-supposed-to.  Inevitably, the dreaded day rolls around, and true to my wishes he didn’t get me anything….not even a card.  Around nine o’clock that night, I casually mentioned (loudly demanded) to know where my card was.  He went ashen, then red.  He told me he didn’t have a card for me; that I had said not to get me anything.  He told me that I was changing the rules which was unfair; and how could he have possibly known the rules were going to change SO he wasn’t going to feel badly.  I calmly explained (yeah right) that a card was in fact, NOTHING.  We agreed to disagree… and the following year I got a funny card, a sweet card, and a card from the cat.
This year, Valentine’s Day came and went.  My husband was on a trip on Valentine’s Day, so we couldn’t spend it together. (I’m sure it broke his heart almost as much as it did mine. However, I was able to bravely carry on. I assume he did too as I did not receive any hysterical, sobbing calls from him.) He totally came through for me though, and I had a card under my pillow waiting for me.  So, my Valentine’s Day was great… I am sure yours was better.