Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comfort and Boys



Last Tuesday, when I walked into Dolly's room to deliver her 5pm meds, I found her sitting in her cozy chair with a tissue over her face.  She was crying.

I sat down on the ottoman in front of her, and between choking sobs she explained that her daughter was very ill.  She'd  been unwell for some time, and was on her way to the hospital.

Dolly felt utterly helpless, 97 years old and in a nursing home, unable to take care of her daughter.

I didn't know how to comfort her.  I just put my head in her lap and let her pat my hair.

"I should be with her.  She's my baby.  She needs me."

"How old is she?"

"Oh, I don't know, late 70's I guess?  77.  Yes.  She's 77."

Dolly's baby is an old lady.  And she was just as distraught as any Mommy of a seriously ill child ought to be.

There was nothing I could do, but I had to try to make her feel better somehow.

So I brought her a shot and a half of brandy.


This past weekend, we brought the kids to their uncle's 40th birthday party.

Owen's cousin Ned is almost 5.  They are absolutely in love with each other; playing cars, superheros, hiking in the woods.

Their favorite activity?  Wrestling.  Despite their age and size difference, they are pretty evenly matched.  They rolled around the floor, a tangle of arms and legs.  Dramatic sound effects coming from both.

At one point, mid scuffle, Owen's hearing aid came dislodged from behind his ear.  Ned noticed, released his hold on Owen's arm,  reached over, and returned the aid to its rightful spot behind his cousin's ear.

And the wrestling match resumed right where it left off.


When I agreed to participate in Sherri's Fall Swap, I knew I'd never meet the deadline.  Which was this past Friday.  My package is done and waiting to go to the post office.

After I sealed it up, I realized I'd left something out. 

It happens to be something I can share here. 

Since the cold weather makes me crave all my favorite comfort foods, I will now share my famous Macaroni and Cheese recipe.  I claim to be a terrible cook, I really am.  But this is the one thing that I kick ass at.  Nothing fancy here, just cheesy carbtastic perfection.


You will need:

2 cups Barilla Plus elbows, or penne, or those fun twisty things.  Your choice.  But I always use Barilla Plus, that way I can delude myself that this is a healthy meal.

Almost 2 cups skim milk.  Just under the two cup line on the big Pyrex measuring cup.  I only ever have skim in the house.  My kids don't drink milk.

One brick Cabot Colby/Jack cheese.  HAS to be Cabot.

One brick Cabot Sharp Cheddar cheese.  Again, Cabot or you suck.

Twoish tablespoons butter.  The real stuff.

Twoish tablespoons flour.  Whole wheat is all I use for flour.  Ever.

Crackers or bread crumbs.

Big bottle of wine. I prefer Pinot Grigio, but this can be chef's choice.

Got all that?

Ok. This is me, a couple Thursdays or Fridays a month during the Fall and Winter:

1. Pour glass of wine.  Sip.

2. Fill pot with water and turn to HI. You know, shit's gotta boil.

3. While water is heating up, shred the cheese.  I hope you have a food processor, 'cause doing it by hand is a pain in the arse.

4. Water probably not boiling yet, so grab a saucepan and put the butter and flour in, let butter melt while stirring with fork.  This is called a roux.  I only know this because Al makes me watch cooking shows.

5. Drain wine glass and refill.

6. Water might be boiling, if so, throw pasta in.

7. Pour milk into roux slowly, stirring all the while with fork.  You're doing it slowly so no lumps form in the roux.

8. Pasta cooking yet?  It should be by now.

9. All the milk should be in the roux now.  Turn the heat up and throw the cheese in there.  All at once.  Go for it.

10. Just keep stirring.  Just keep stirring.  Just keep stirring.

11. How's that wine glass doing?

12. Pasta should be done. Drain it and throw it in a casserole dish. A biggish one.

13. Cheese should be melted into a creamy sauce.  Have a taste.  Yummy no?

14.  Pour cheese sauce over noodles, stir a bit.

15.  For extra white trashiness, throw in some cut up hot dogs.

16.  Cover the whole thing with crushed crackers (Cheezits are ridiculous), or bread crumbs.

17.  Bake in 350 degree oven for around 45 minutes or until middle is bubbly.  You can let it go longer if you like the edges nice and crispy.

18. You should be done with your third glass of wine by the time it is done.  You will be buzzed enough to not care about all the fat and calories you are about to ingest.


I finally got a laptop a couple weeks ago.   Yes, I wanted a fun new toy, but I also wanted the kids to have more access to the computer.  We brought the old desktop down and set it up in the play room.

We found all sorts of educational sites for the kids.  It is cool to see Owen's computer skills get better every day.  This morning he had the thing fired up all by himself.  I never told him the password; he must have been watching closely while I typed it in. Sneaky fucker.

Anyway.  Sunday night, I heard screams of laughter coming from the playroom.  Al was in front of the monitor and the kids were rolling around the floor.

I'm glad Al has found some worthwhile content to share with the children.

Which reminds me.

Gotta check this thing for porn before Owen gets home.


More Random at UnMom


  1. On a day I swore I wouldn't so much as smile,
    Like a 6 year old boy, I laughed my ass off.

  2. I knew it. That pig is evil.

    The mac and cheese sounds familiar. Like the one I make (when I'm not as lazy as I've been recently).

  3. Had to skip the mac and cheese recipe...too nauseous. I know I'm sick when even mac and cheese doesn't sound good. I can however relate to the pig fart.

  4. Any recipe that calls for 3 glasses of wine sells me immediately. The whole "real cheese and real butter" thing, well, that doesn't hurt either. Printing that out. Yum.

    This Dolly - and her baby - how sweet are you? You don't usually share that, you know. Careful ;)

    I wanna hug Owen's cousin. Think he'd mind?

  5. You had me 'Awwwwwwwww'-ing with Dolly's story and Owen's cousin's thoughtfulness.

    Then you had me laughing like a 12 year old boy at the video. I'm totally going to have to share that with Princess Nagger - not only will she appreciate the farting animals, but the fact that two of them are dinosaurs, she'll be watching it over and over. And laughing hysterically.

    And that mac'n'cheese with glasses of wine recipe? YUM! You're right - after the third (or fourth) glass of wine during preparation, you won't care about the calories. ;)

    RTT: Costume Decision, Ship's Bell and HDTV

  6. "shit's got to boil."

    Hahaha! Best line of the day.

  7. Awww, poor Dolly and sweet Ned!

    I like the way you cook! I went to Napa once, and while most of the trip is a little fuzzy, in a good way, I do remember cute little cocktail napkins that said "I love to cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food." I have taken that as my motto ever since! I might make that mac and cheese the inaugural recipe on my new stove. Yum.

  8. Dolly and her baby... our children are always our babies... regardless of how old we are or how old we get...

    What a sweet story...

    Hmmm... pass that wine please... :oD


  9. Dolly ~ hugs

    Ned ~ precious

    Mac 'n Cheese ~ screw Weight Watchers for tonight, this is what I will be serving ~ off to the store to buy the required items

    Video ~ posting to my FB page

  10. poor dolly. how sweet of you to put your head in her lap. and so sweet of owen's cousin to be so nonchalant and thoughtful. i totally janked that video! omg. hysterical.

  11. I feel for Dolly. Your baby is your baby. Same way with grandparents. Mine was 91 last year when she died, and it still hurt a lot.

    Sooo going to try the mac and cheese, sounds fantastic. Mine is just velveeta and a little milk melted on the same noodles in a pan on the stove. Takes less time.

    Ok, sooo going to show the kids the fart video. They will be laughing like crazy, at least as much as I was.

  12. I worked in a nursing home for years. I wish there had been more caring nurses like you around.

    Love the recipe.

    PS I just spent an hour lost in all the pages at the top of your blog. I love the way your share Owen's (and your) story. I can't even imagine what you have gone through.

    PPS A Prayer For Owen Meany IS my favorite book. :)

  13. My nephew showed my daughter all sorts of fun things on YouTube. Luckily, all were harmless (but annoying) videos. Nevertheless, it's annoying to hear my daughter go around singing, "peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter with a baseball bat!"

  14. First, can you put the dang subscribe by email so I know when you post? Thanks.

    Second, love your random thoughts...especially the one about Owen and the hearing aid.

    Third, I WILL make the mac and cheese ONLY because it involves drinking wine.

  15. Methane gas IS evil. I knew it.

    Poor Dolly. I hope her daughter is okay, 77 is "old", but it's not THAT old.

  16. OMG that mac and cheese sounds delish! I will have to make it but if u don't mind I won't be able to use Cabot cheese I have a shit load of Kraft in my freezer.

    Hey look into Kidzui.com it is a internet browser for kids and is awesome, it's what we use for Wyatt's computer. It has tons of kid safe websites, pictures, videos and games

  17. You left the Velveeta out of the recipe... :)

    The Dolly story is super smooshy. Give her a smoosh for me.


  18. I have been lurking since I discovered you via Everyday Goddess. But today, I must delurk simply to tell you that nobody's blog makes me laugh as hard as yours. And that Mac&Cheese recipe? I have a very similar one for Shepherd's Pie. Well, actually the only thing they have in common is the wine. Whatever. :)

  19. Dolly's story breaks my heart.. And just proves that once you have the heart of a mother (in your chest. Not like, sitting in a jar somewhere) it's there forever. Your role as mom never, ever ends.

  20. love that you included a recipe in your swap. that is a great idea. if only i knew how to cook i could do the same.

  21. Oh, that Dolly, she broke my heart. I can't imagine not being able to be with a sick child, no matter how old we get. Ugh. Good for you for giving her a little extra of the good stuff.

    Boys and wrestling, always reminds me of lion cubs, like their next meal depends upon it. Though I doubt a cub we be as sweet as Ned.

    And girl, you need to write a cook book. I think "Shit's Gotta Boil" is the perfect title. You know Julia would have wished she'd thought of it.

  22. Yep...44 years old and I still laughed out loud. Kinda proud of that.

    The mac & cheese recipe sounds wonderful. Especially the wine part...thanks!

  23. It's nice to have a caring cousin that will help with your hearing aid before resuming his choke hold on your neck.

  24. I usually don't like to be told what to do, but for some reason I trust you. I'm going to track down some of that Cabot cheese for a drunken Mack attack.

    I'm pretty low maintenance really, but if I am in a position in which I can't care for myself I hope I have someone with half the compassion you do or at least an alcoholic that can give me a good contact buzz.

  25. You are hilarious, following you now. Needed a new mac and cheese recipe too.

  26. My mac n' cheese recipe is very similar. Only I (a) either buy the bags of pre-shredded shit, or (b) I grate it myself and invariably grate my knuckles as well.

    I came over from Blogging Goddess's site and had to say hello. Going to follow you now. ANd yeah, put a subscible thingie up, mmm'kay?

    erin @ the mother load

  27. Ha ha so funny I love that clip my monkeys are sure going to get a kick out of that! great recipe too is this the first recipe you've posted? I guess white or red would not matter for this recipe!

  28. Oh, the thought of Dolly worrying about her daughter and her daughter being 77 BUT STILL being her daughter!!

    That is a post right there.

    Loved the wine, stir the noodles, more wine, stir the noodles, wine again, still stir the noodles, recipe, too..

    Oh, but, Dolly. Dolly. She just broke my heart.

    You are all kinds of coolness, Tulpen. Just all the way around.

  29. Love your mac & cheese recipe. I have one called Cheating Husband Brownies that involves kahlua but is quite similar in other ways.

    I found you through Life in the Pitts, and I'm so glad I did. What with all your bad words, you're my kind of people!

  30. Love this entire post. It includes all kinds of magic.

    The story about Dolly and her daughter is touching, endearing, and heartbreaking. Good for you giving her a shot and a half.

    Awesome mac and cheese recipe. Real butter, real cheese, and whole wheat flour kick ass.

    Laughed aloud at the dino movie. Gotta show that to the kids later.

  31. Poor Dolly probably could've used a good laugh from that video clip. Because, really, aren't all crazy fart clouds green like that?

  32. Ned is the best 5 year old ever.

    Also, is there any other cheese but Cabot? A 2lb brick of their white cheddar lasted less than a week in this house.


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