Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas to all who read the J Train. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year!


Three Black Things

I'd like to write about three black things in my life today.

1. My bag lady sweater. I'm actually on the third...it seems every two years or so I get a new warm black sweater that I wear constantly in the winter. They begin to look worn and prickly and I wear them long after their life. But it is cold. I cannot remove it. Not even to take a picture of it. And I'm certainly not taking a picture of myself wearing it.

2. Burnt toast. A pan full for the family at dinner. I rarely let this happen. I am still getting used to my radioactive oven. The broiling is even crazier than the baking. Though burnt toast is always a disappointment, it was quite a beautiful black color.

3. This drawing I found when I cleaned out the van today. Done by Libby. Is there anything better than the way you feel when you find a black sharpie? She must have been so excited to find one to use in her sketchbook in the van that she drew this picture. There is nothing more to be said about these wonderful pens and this amazing drawing (by an amazing artist) conveying true love for them.

I love you black sweater. I love you, burnt toast. It's not your fault. I love you, Sharpie. I love you Libby. Thanks for making my day.


Mommy McGyver

One of my many jobs as a wife, mom, and home manager is to keep track of things around here. I wish I could tell you that I'm one of those people that throws every small loose item away. I'm not. I keep things, knowing that if I throw it away, I will surely need it within 24 hours. It is one of the many points in Murphy's Law of Home Economics.

I am often confiscating things or finding things that are too small and thus a choking hazard. Or maybe it's a small item I don't want to lose. It could be something that seems important but I have no idea what it is. Does anyone else have these items? I have a lot of them. And they do have a home, because though my house does not always appear to be neat or tidy, most of the time I know exactly where everything is. (Except shoes. But that is another post.)

Where is my home for small unclaimed, choke-able, or important (so must be kept away from the children) items?

I'll tell you.

It's the kitchen window sill above my sink.

Why there? Because no one can reach them, of course! And also they seem to go unnoticed there somehow.

Behind my sink is a treasure trove of random thing-a-majigs. Sometimes I can't stand it and I have to clean it off. But most of the time I stare at these things every time I wash my hands and as an artist I feel it is an installation piece representing what's gone on around here since the last time I cleaned it off. Also, I am like a savant, using my sky-high IQ to memorize each and every item so if anyone asks where the chain that came off the fan is, I can retrieve it and thus feel as though I did my job as home manager over and above the call of duty.

As I write, some of the things in my window are: two toenail clippers, two candles, blue hair spray, fake vampire blood, infant Tylenol, a light bulb, disinfecting wipes, a paintbrush, two keys (don't know what they open), some loose change, bobby pins, a comb and hairbrush, soda can pop tops, and a flashlight.

I'm sure MacGyver could power a small town with the items found on my kitchen windowsill on any given day. Or at least make a pretty decent bomb.

Just one more way I can do my job. Because you never know when the power might go out and I will have to pretend to be MacGyver and I'll need some stuff to generate a little electricity. Hey, no food's going to spoil here, I'm collecting some junk in my kitchen window.


The Same Thing Happens Every Night

In case you haven't read my blog before, I'm a Bill Cosby fan.

Almost every night after dinner I think about his performance in "Bill Cosby as Himself." The part when he talks about the antics of his five children and wife after dinner every night. I used to play the record and listen to it lying on the living room couch. Little did I know I would one day have five kids of my own and go through the nightly routine myself.

Here are some things that happen (almost) every night at my house.

1. Dinner. This includes me asking everyone repeatedly to stop interrupting each other and "please can one person talk at a time!"

2. Someone spills something. You can set your watch by it.

3. Homework. (Not from home school, only the public school kid has to endure it.)

4. Some sort of performance or musical endeavor. Tonight it was freeze dance.

5. The baby crawls around and gets really dirty.

6. Washing. Dishes, people, laundry...it's always at least one of these or all three.

7. Books.

8. Crying. Someone. Every night. If it's not the kids, it's me. On the inside.

9. Me checking to make sure I have ice cream in the freezer for after bedtime. (I actually never have to check. I always know exactly how much I have.)

10. Phone ringing. Usually multiple times.

11. Yelling. I admit it. It happens. Every night.

12. Rocking the baby. Tucking in and bedtime prayers.

13. Someone fools around instead of lying in bed.

14. The clenched teeth threatening. (If no obedience, as Cosby would say, the beatings begin.)

15. Sleep. This does happen every night. I know. I go in there and look at all five of them every night. They sleep. It is like a deep breath. To begin again.

I am thankful that the same thing happens every night. It is the working gears of a family. In the daily routine you build something. But that fleshed out is pretty ugly much of the time.

Thank you Bill, for going before me. For doing the nightly routine and living to joke about it.

"Think I carried you in my body for nine months so you can roll your little eyes at me? I'll roll that little head of yours down on the floor!" -Bill Cosby

Here is a link to the classic bit The Same Thing Happens Every Night.


"Calgon, take me away!"

A few weeks ago my bathtub was clean. This is not the norm, so I decided to take a bath.

I really enjoyed it. Mostly, the sound of the water slowly dripping from the faucet into the water. There was something soothing about it. But I think the best part about a shower or bath is that unless your house catches fire or someone needs a trip to the ER, whatever the problem is has to wait until you are dry and dressed.

I remembered the Calgon bubble bath commercials from my childhood. The familiar slogan "Calgon, take me away!" that the woman would yell. So I looked up the old commercial on line. It was sort of like that, but not really at all. I do use my time in the shower to escape from it all sometimes, but I don't have my hair bundled at the top of my head 80's style with ringlets cascading down my face. I don't point my toe and slowly lift it out of the bubbles to wash my ankle. I don't have bubbles up to my neck in a bathtub that looks like it belongs in a double wide. I don't "lose myself in luxury" by having soft skin when I get out.

But I understand where they are coming from. Sometimes, when you have so many demands placed on you, being able to close and lock the door in the name of a bath, shower, or even a trip to the toilet is the only escape you have in your day.

Sometimes I have trouble prioritizing. If I have a minute to do something, I look around and feel paralyzed by all there is to do. Do I plan dinner? Do I clean up my room? Do I pick up the 3,468 odds and ends around the house? Do I do laundry? Do I forget it all and rock the baby? Read books? Do I write a blog about the old Calgon commercial?

I think what I'm realizing is that it doesn't matter. It will all get done, then it will all get undone. Then, it will get done again, and then undone. Clothes you wash will be soiled again. Floors you mop will get dirty again. Food you eat will make your toilets dirty and diapers gross. But in the middle of it all you might get to take a bath and come out feeling a little more like you can handle it all. But I don't want to miss much. So Calgon, take me away, but bring me back soon because I have messes to make and clean up. And make again. And clean up. And make again. And clean up...


Eleven Eleven Eleven

I just wanted to post because it is the date that it is. I don't have something specific to say. I tried to do it at 11:11 p.m. but I missed it. I was tucking my children into bed.

They just keep growing and I can't make it stop.

I wonder. Have I kept enough of their sweet notes to me? Did I put them in my special papers file? I don't want to forget that they once were little and would bring me random papers that said I love you mommy.

I wonder. When will I stop tucking them in?

I wonder. Is it possible to forget their soft hair and how it smells after a bath? Oh, I hope not.

I wonder. Am I doing enough to show them I love them? Oh, I hope so.

I wonder. Will we be good friends when they grow up? Oh, I hope so.

It happens so gradually but so quickly at the same time. I have always loved children. I am so blessed to have my own to love. And I do love them.

On 11/11/11, but also on every day of every year at every time of day. Did you hear that kids? Even when I'm asking you to stop touching me, or talking to me, or bothering me, I'm totally in love with you. You are even better than a cool day like 11/11/11.


Haus and Hook

I'd like to tell you about two additions to our family.

1) a dog named Haus (German word for house)

2) a pinball machine named Hook

As if I don't have enough going on in my life. As if I need one more thing to feed and toilet and bathe. As if I need one more thing to break. Or remember to turn off. Or take turns with.

But you know what? I can fight it, and be the wife and mother who complains and whines and lists 100 reasons why we don't need a dog or a pinball machine.

Or I can roll with it and learn to photograph two new things. Pets and pinball machines. I've decided to expand my photographic abilities. And it hasn't been half bad. This is my first attempt at capturing a back glass and I didn't spend much time on it but hey, it's something new. You know...families, kids, babies, weddings, pregnant women, animals, real estate, and pinball machines. There are worse things to take pictures of.

Haus came to us by way of my parent's neighbors...who had other dogs and work during the day and thought Haus would benefit from affection and air conditioning. He is big. A breeding stud with all the right equipment. If he were in high school, he'd be the dumb jock. But who doesn't love the dumb jock? Sometimes the center of the football team can do a little more than throw his weight around. He usually has a gentle heart inside.

Hook came to us for Penelope's birthday this past weekend...not as a gift to her, but on loan for her birthday party, which was a letter P theme. My dad has been collecting pinball machines for about a year now. The kids love to play it of course. Hey, it's good for their reflexes. It is based on the movie Hook, a Steven Spielberg film from 1991. I was a mere 9th grader. Enjoying my year at the top of Junior High. Wearing cheerleading uniforms and taking cello lessons. But I digress.

Just wanted to post what was new around here. Haus and Hook. As the machine says, "What would life be like without Captain Hook?" (...and Haus.) Life would be a little less chaotic but I've never been afraid of chaos. Or Captain Hook. We're not going to grow up around here.


Costumes 2011

It's that time of year again. October 31st is upon us and bringing with it a desire in my children to acquire candy, candy, and candy. I rarely eat candy. I rarely let my kids eat candy. Yet I go to a lot of effort to outfit my children so that they can get some. Something about that doesn't add up.

Yet it does. It's because I love them. And what mother doesn't like dressing up her kids? Although 24 hours ago I had no idea what two of them would be and only a wig for the other, we somehow pulled it together this afternoon.

Thanks to my sister and nephew Jake for the Einstein idea. Jake was Einstein a few years back.

Thanks to the internet for the jellyfish idea. And to Libby for looking really cute as a stinging invertebrate.

And I do not thank you, Weird Al, for your CD ending up at a garage sale and then into my five year old's bedroom, into his night time music play list, and thus into his mind to dress up as you this year. But I have vowed to not squelch their creative sides, so I let him be Weird Al. (After the photos were taken Jimmy made him a name tag that said "Hi my name is Weird Al" to aid him in answering questions.)

And thank you God, for sending a miracle my way and allowing me to capture Penelope smiling naturally. It almost never happens.

Lastly, thank you Juliet, for being on the exterior of my womb this year, for being such a good baby, and for sitting quietly in your high chair while I photographed everyone outside, then smiling at me like this when I came in. I love all of you!


Doing our Thing

We live a crazy life around here. I always say this, but can I really back it up? Yes, I can.

This morning I arose early enough to get ready, nurse the baby, throw some yogurt at a kid, and get Jackson to the Dr. at 8 a.m. He is now out of his cast and has only a brace. Yes!

On the way home I dropped him at school. Came home, made bread, did school, nursed the baby, made lunch, and mentally prepared to take the entire family on two real estate photo shoots later today. I was going to pack dinner we could eat in the car along with things for the kids to do. It was raining. Jimmy and I discussed postponing the shoots due to the fact that they may look, for lack of a better word, drippy. We did.

Since I didn't have to go on the photo shoots anymore, my day was freed up and I did some art with the kids, didn't rush getting the baby down for a nap, and laid down for a short nap on the couch myself. (After reading to the children which always causes me to feel like I've taken enough sleepy medicine for a three hundred pound man.)

I woke up to Jimmy telling me we had to do the shoots anyway. People trying to sell their house prepare for pictures. They don't want to have to do it again. I totally get this. I wouldn't want to have to prepare twice. So now, we have to leave in 15 minutes.

The baby is asleep. Penelope is wearing a yellow flowered shirt with a plaid skort, but the skort is on backwards so it's shorts in the front and a skirt in the back. She puts on crocs that are three sizes too big. I tell her to find something else. She wears shiny pink cowboy boots. Cash is wearing clothes that are too big for him. Libby has on a dress that is really too short. Jackson is wearing a dirty shirt which I noticed in the doctors office but didn't want to bring him home between the doctor's and school to change. I demand that the boys pee outside and the girls go to the bathrooms. I am in the kitchen. Penelope goes a little way down the hall, then turns around and comes back and announces to me that she went potty. I bust her. She goes. We start to get in the van.

I am loaded down with my camera bag, diaper bag, a bag of tricks for the kids to do in the car, my water mug, and some Dixie cups so that when someone got thirsty I could offer them a drink of water from my mug in a Dixie cup. It is wet in the garage and there are multiple bikes and toys and well, crap on the floor. I trip and fall. I drop everything. I land on Cash's bike. I lay there for a minute. Jimmy, loading real estate signs, helps me up. I look down and say, "I think I broke my toe." I limp inside and finish loading up. I have to drive. Jimmy talks on his phone way too much to drive. Plus, he had to jump out at the office before our first stop. I've hurt my driving foot. But I am not a wimp. I just try to ignore it.

We have no gas. The appointment is in approximately 15 minutes and is approximately 19 miles out of town. Somehow we go the office, get gas, and get there only 8 minutes late. I limp around the property and we do our thing. The house is vacant. The kids get out and run around. I take five minutes to nurse the baby.

Off to the next shoot. It's off the beaten path. Wasn't even on Google maps. It involved over a mile of dirt roads. The kids take off their seat belts and enjoy the ride. We arrive only five minutes late. I limp around the property. We do our thing. The children stay in the car. There is crying a little. We take off and announce the mud bog ride will begin again. The 3 oldest kids are in the back on their knees, facing backwards looking out the back window and screaming with every bump. At some point Cash says, "Hit it, Dad!"

We go to show a house for another realtor. We don't really want the buyers to know there are five children in the van. While feeding the baby her jar of pears, I entertain the children with a story that ends with "There's water coming out my poop hole!" and this does the trick to keep them in their seats and at a low decibel level. We hit a few more dirt roads and head to dinner at Wendy's. We sit at a circular table and despite the craziness, I am in love with my family.

Then we go to Target. Jimmy wanted one thing (a movie- "Hook" from the $5 bin because my dad acquired the Hook pinball machine from 1992 and he wants to do his homework before the next time we visit) and he was just going to run in while I waited in the car (it was past bedtime for the littles) but I wanted to shop for a curtain rod. We all went in. I limped through Target. We did our thing.

We made it home and I nursed the baby and put her to bed and chased everyone else in the same direction. I finally arrived at my bed to elevate my swollen and bluish toe. I decided to relay my crazy day in an extremely long blog. I am going to bed and will start again tomorrow. I will limp around the house and do my thing. And hopefully not write a long blog about it.


10 years, 10 pins

For Jackson's birthday this year he wanted to go bowling with the family. Libby didn't get to go because she's staying with my parents for a few days. And Jimmy didn't bowl because of a previous bowling injury. (We bowl all the time. We have our own balls and shoes. I have a competition next week.) Here are some pics and stellar commentary from yours truly.

Cash has his game face on. I was trying to teach them how to get psyched up before a round.

Penelope is a bowling prodigy. We didn't even have to stand around and wonder if it would actually make it down to the pins like you would with a normal three year old. I think she got 6 strikes.

Here is Cash showing off his freestyle form...letting go of the ball from the waist. It's a new technique. I'm trying it out myself. It has increased my average score by 3.7 points in the last three months of practice.

Jackson's face after he got a strike. I am so proud. 10 pins for 10 years. I've been secretly hoping he takes an interest in my favorite past time, but that he actually has is a dream come true. I am so glad he broke his left arm and not his right. That could have seriously damaged his shot at the youth title next year.

A group shot. Penelope has moved up to a 10 pound ball. I've been practicing with her in our new yard.

Here are some shoes someone left out. We of course have our own that we bring. I don't know how anyone can expect to decently bowl with shoes like this.

We do have the best cheerleader in the world. I made sure she sucked her left thumb so as not to damage her right thumb for her future career in bowling.

Here is Justin Beiber demonstrating how he follows through when he bowls. They had instructional videos by multiple pop stars that you could watch while you bowl.

Here's the final score. The machine was broken. My score was 292, not 92. I haven't gotten a 92 since I was a toddler. You can't rely on computers. I keep my score in my head anyway.



this : this : : that : that

I used to write songs. When I had less interruptions, more time, and a chance to use my brain to think about things other than laundry, cooking, and home school.

I always wanted to write a song with la-la's. Or doot-doot's. Or dat's. Or la-de-dah's. I thought I'd really have arrived if I knew when to put something like that in and not have it sound stupid. You know, a song like "Piano Man" by Billy Joel. It's not like he couldn't think of good lyrics so he stuck in some la's. He just knew when to sing without trying to say something. To showcase a melody and not worry about lyrics. It really makes the song.

There is an analogy here.

menial tasks : life : : la-la's : song

The la-la's (or doot's or whoa's) in a song aren't communicating any kind of message. This is how I feel about this stage of life. I spend a lot of time on menial tasks like cleaning, wiping various surfaces (and bottoms, noses, and faces), doing laundry, etc. These every day tasks seem meaningless.

I'm talking about the daily grind. The trenches of family life. Not trips to Disney World or family vacations or big birthday parties. The everyday tasks I do all the time. They are catchy. And they get stuck in your head. With them, life is just better.

The best part of these songs are the skat vocals that seem to be filling up space. But it's in this space that I see some of the best moments. When I'm helping someone get dressed or brush their teeth or cutting their food...and they look at me and melt me with their cuteness. I get to take care of them. I am giving them a sense of security and protection. These menial tasks are not meaningless. They fill the space of my life. They make the song.

Songs I listened to while writing this blog:
Piano Man - Billy Joel (la-dee-dah)
Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi (whoa-whoa)
Dreams - the Cranberries (ah...)

Galaxies - Owl City (dat dat)



*Please excuse the poorly oriented photos in this post...they came from Jimmy's phone and getting them off was approximately forty steps and I'm tired and don't need any more steps.

When you're raising kids, there are certain things that simply have a high probability of happening. Some things are just inevitable. Some of these things are good. Cute girls in ballet outfits. Handsome little boys grabbing your face and calling you precious. Funny words when they're learning to talk. Adorable handmade cards you can't bring yourself to throw away.

Some of these "inevitabilites" aren't so desireable. Ear infections. Poop in various places. Tantrums. Yelling. Tears. Separation anxiety. Bleeding. Drooling. Various bodily fluids. Potty training. Vomit. I'd like to continue with this list because it's kind of fun and I like lists. But I have a story to get to.

Our latest inevitability? Broken bones. This past Wednesday Jackson fell off his skateboard in our driveway and broke both bones in his lower left arm. It was pretty cut and dry, really. When your kid's arm looks a little bit like a half cooked noodle, you take them to the emergency room.

Jimmy took Jackson in, and I came later after my friend and then later my neighbor took over with my other kids. When I got there Jimmy was worried about the others and wanted to go home and let them know Jackson was okay. They were fine and already asking if they could sign his cast. So Jimmy stayed a few more minutes before going home and I stayed with Jackson for the duration.

At this point Jackson was in a lot of pain and just trying to keep still. We had to wait for quite a while and they were unable to get an IV in Jackson so he had no fluids and no pain medication. He was saying all kinds of normal things you say when you're in pain and waiting. Everything from "What's taking so long?!" to "They're so MEAN here!" I really felt for him.

Though I did break my own left arm when I was a kid (so did Jimmy actually) I couldn't remember much except that it did hurt pretty bad. But of course my most recent experience with pain is childbirth. But when you're sitting with your nine year old in the ER you can't say, "Buddy, just get the epidural, you don't have to endure this." Instead you push his wheelchair two feet from the television and try to distract him with "Minute to Win It."

To make a long story even longer, we finally got called back and six needle pricks and four nurses later Jackson finally got an IV into his "tiny veins." Ah, morphine. Then it was the orthopedic surgeon who numbed Jackson's arm with a blood pressure cuff and medication. At this point Jackson was much happier and waving his broken arm saying in a drug induced voice, "I can't feel anything!"

I wouldn't let Jackson watch but I did (though it was slightly disturbing) and the surgeon twisted, turned, squeezed, and pulled on Jackson's arm to set the bones. We heard them crack a little. Which, even when it's happening to you, can be funny if you're full of medication and you can't feel it.

Then one more x ray to make sure it worked and it did. Jackson has been doing great and mastered playing video games with one hand the next day. He went back to school today and did great.

As for me...What's harder than taking care of five kids? Taking care of five kids when your "right arm" has broken his left arm. I'm glad to take care of him though. He's a great kid and we're so happy he's on the mend.


School pics and updates

We started school this week. I feel good to have a week under my belt and to have the ball rolling. Jackson started at public school last week, so he's got two weeks done. His transition has been very smooth. He seems excited about school and his assignments so far. The last two summers, I've done an update on the kids. So here are their "school" pictures and some notes about each...

Age: 3 1/2
Current faves: peanut butter spoon, using the computer, yelling at everyone
Last seen: yelling at someone

Penelope started preschool (two days a week) yesterday. She seemed to do fine and when I picked her up I asked her question after question, even though she seemed annoyed. She finally just said, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!"

Age: 5
Current faves: rubbing up against me and Juliet, peeking out of his bedroom door (he can do this while still technically staying in bed), eating and drinking
Last seen: hiding inside the ottoman and knocking--the first time he did it made me go to the door twice to see who was here

Cash has begun home school and is doing great because he is a very hard worker. He has learned to ride without training wheels since we moved and gets around our neighbor's pool like a fish.

Age: 7
Current faves: writing and drawing, bike riding, taking care of Juliet
Last seen: carrying Juliet around

Libby continues to amaze us with her bright and creative mind. She is a tremendous leader and helper to her younger siblings. She is a lot like me and I love to have someone on my side around here. She recently got her first loose tooth.

Age: 9 1/2
Current faves: music, riding the bus, playing with our neighbor, asking me questions
Last seen: getting me to sign school papers (all of a sudden my autograph is in high demand)

Jackson is a great kid and we're proud of his transition to school. He embodies the phrase "inquiring minds want to know" and I'm sure would read the National Enquirer if we let him. He still loves reading and answering the phone. I miss him as my personal assistant during the day.

Some outtakes:

This is definitely going in her wedding slide show one day.

This was one of many "dude" poses he gave me.

I didn't put Juliet in here since she's not a student yet and doesn't have a school picture. Currently, she's being cute, looking cute, acting cute, and getting kissed by someone approximately every five minutes. We love each other around here. I feel very blessed. I can't believe another year has gone by. I've thought multiple times this summer that if I could freeze the ages of my kids, I think I'd do it now. But the J train continues to clamber down the track, stopping for no one. If you see us passing by, the steam from the train is coming out of my ears.


Duck for Fat Albert

I shouldn't be writing. I should be accomplishing something. But today is the last day of summer for me...I start home school on Monday. So while my husband is in the next room watching Fat Albert with the kids, I'm going to do this.

This is my new oven. My new, forty plus year old oven. It is in my new house. My new, forty plus year old house. This house feels very much like home to me, since it was built in the same decade as the house I grew up in.

And this oven is the very model my mom used to cook with when she first moved into my childhood home.

Now let me tell you a little bit about me and cooking. I like to cook. I think. I can't quite remember what it's like to cook for normal people. People who are not children. And my kids aren't even picky. But they do have the normal restrictions most children would have...nothing that's too mixed up together, nothing extremely spicy, nothing that looks weird.

Not to mention the fact that cooking takes some level of concentration. Whether you're trying to follow a recipe or sort of making it up as you go along, you need to be in the groove. Be devoting your mind to the task.

Now I don't have to tell you how hard it is to do this when you have the chaos around you that I'm dealing with here. I find myself interrupted by everything from scraped knees that need bandaged to "MOM! CAN YOU WIPE ME?" to phone calls to random messes that need attention. How am I expected to cook with all this going on?

This is why pretty much everything I make lately is just okay. Edible, but not excellent. I hate it. I want my kids to remember their mom being an awesome cook. Instead, they beg me for Mac n Cheese.

I'm hoping the G.E. wall oven will turn things around for me. I love this oven.

It gets hot quickly. It doesn't make the kitchen terribly hot. It is vintage and thus stylistically cool. It must have cooked amazing things over the years. It's the same type of oven my mom made our Thanksgiving dinners in. (Until they remodeled the kitchen in the late 80's.) It is mysterious, since it has no window in the door.

And you know what else I like about it? It tells me what temperature to cook things at. Because you know me, always roasting duck. Or lamb. Or veal. I'll have to use the trusty internet to find out how long to cook these things, but at least I have the temp.

So here's to my wall oven from the '60's. May it be my culinary good luck charm. May I look like June Cleaver or Donna Reed with a small waist and fancy apron as I use it, saying to my husband "Hi Dear" and giving him a generous yet conservative peck on the cheek as I pull a double crusted pie out of the oven. May it take my "okay" meals that I put into it and magically change them into savory dishes worthy of a cool vintage wall oven.

Fat Albert's over. Thus, so is my blog. Hey Hey Hey, Julie's cooking up a feast today. Maybe even Fat Albert will love my cooking.