details of a domestic goddess

part-time SAHM to four kids: Bear (96), Schmoo (99), Hercules (01), and Princess (02). I wear many hats, including that of the chef, maid, nanny, chauffeur, accountant, triage nurse, laundress, educator, admin assistant, maintenance, gardener, weekend warrior, and just mom too. when i'm not busy momming, i get up at 2am to go to work as an international spy.

25 August 2010


the ink, it boils black inside my heart.
bubbles rising from the deep.
turn my face and thoughts to no avail;
steady burns the hole you've placed.

the slow and creeping tendrils
press my screams into my lungs,
slice my tears into my skin,
draw the dark across my eyes,
numb the sound of my own sobs.

so twist my heart and bury deeper,
deeper still than words can pierce.
let the ink dissolve your face, your voice
and your every poisoned lie.

28 February 2010

Stoney River

So, there's this thing that people do, I think it's called "going out on dates." We did that. I know, right? We got all gussied up with neckties and high heels, left the kiddies at home with another adult and everything. The planets aligned just so and out we went to a restaurant rather new to our area; newer than us anyway. Being from Nebraska, I was raised on good steak. Not just any steak. The word "steak" itself on the menu does not guarantee its quality. It's the high quality, grain-fed beef that I miss, and where we went hit "fabulous" right on target. Enter Stoney River Steakhouse of Towson Town Center.

We walked in from the mall entrance and it felt like we walked into a fairytale ski lodge. The mall cacophony was unbelievably hushed. The decor was warm and inviting, with large stone fireplaces, mountainside greenery and candle-like lighting from sconces and chandeliers. Seating was arranged around the dining room at different heights, with seating in the center of the room on soft patterned sofas at low tables. Rising to the edge of the room, cozy semi-circle booths were set on pedestals, overlooking the quiet bustle of patrons. We were seated toward the back of the restaurant in one of those elevated booths, which suited us just fine. The mall was forgotten, but for a split-second view of the escalator through the large front window.

Our server, whose name I have forgotten only because I took so long to sit down and write, was awesome. Our young Tom Cruise look-alike was charming, knowledgeable and didn't bat an eye when I purposefully asked for a Pinot Grigio instead of a proper red wine to accompany steak. He was attentive enough to our table, without dropping by every five minutes. He answered our questions about the menu without hesitation and his enticing descriptions convinced us to order an appetizer.

Our Whiskey Shrimp arrived at the table perched on thick slices of lightly toasted garlic bread, the creamy Jack Daniel's grainy mustard sauce drizzled lightly across the platter. The sauce had a nice tart bite to it and the jumbo shrimp perfectly matched the crispy toast. I have never been a seafood fan, but I swore that night, this very dish would be served at our daughters' weddings; it was that good.

Perfectly timed at the finish of our appetizer, our steaks arrived. My 7 oz Cabin Filet was done to a turn; medium well all the way through and slightly more well done on the outside, just the way I like it. It was moist and juicy, which is difficult to achieve sometimes because I like my steak so well done. I selected the baked potato, due to my issues with dairy, and as potatoes go, it was certainly a potato. The Coffee-Cured Filet was divine. Marinated in coffee and then grilled to a medium perfection, this fork-tender steak had the texture of pot roast. It had a dark and nutty flavor that fared surprisingly well with the beef. Absolutely, no-holds-barred, the best steak I have ever tasted in my life. The string beans were light and crisp, and I'm told that the au gratin potatoes were tender, creamy, and flavorful.

We were too full for dessert, but the Triple-Layer Chocolate Ganache Cake covered in chocolate shavings almost won me over. Stoney River will be seeing me again. Count on it.

07 February 2010

the long and the snow of it

so the forecast was big.

thursday afternoon, there was a rainbow ring around the sun at about 4pm. it's actually called the 22 degree halo and it occurs when there are ice crystals in the atmosphere. right before a blizzard is a great time to see one.

i packed a suitcase. i packed the crockpot. i packed 6 camp cots, courtesy of members of cub scout pack 475. i packed snacketies, boots, a shovel, four uniforms, and more. i forgot the camera and the swimsuit. not bad.

friday is my day off, usually. because of the enormous storm on the horizon and the fact that it would begin on my "monday, " i volunteered to come in a day early to ride the storm out like i had in december. i anticipated that a hotel would not be available or accessible (thus, the camp beds) and was pleasantly surprised to find one offered to me before 6 am. a total of six of us from my shift were staying in the hotel. we clocked out at 12:30, like usual, and went our separate ways for the time being. after all, the gentle flurries were not sticking to anything, let alone looking much like the snowpocalypse predicted. our co-workers mocked us, saying they would see us in the morning.

by check-in time, we saw how wrong they were. by dinnertime, there was already more than 3 inches on the ground.

we all caught up, miraculously on the same floor, changed into swim gear, threw my spaghetti in the crockpot and headed to the pool. i was chased around by a mob of children, whose mother explained to me three different times, that they did not make their flight to florida due to the snow. after my long day of work, which wasn't actually longer than normal but busier than normal because of everyone trying to beat the storm out of dodge, all i wanted was some quiet time to relax in the hot tub. so i left the pool and crashed for the night. sort of.

the evening shift arrived, drunk and banging doors and proceeded to carry on until well past midnight. then, at 0140, our third roommate arrived. five minutes before my alarm went off, of course. so we got up and got ready for the day while she got ready for bed. the roads were bad... it took her over 30 minutes to make the five minute trip from the airport on the hotel shuttle. there was over a foot on the ground already, and visibility was a few blocks at most. i was afraid of that. fortunately, one of our six had a 4x4 truck that could seat all six of us. i say that because when we all reported to the lobby to catch the shuttle, we were informed by the hotel staff that the last shuttle was about to leave until 5am, possibly for a very long while. she also courteously informed the 30 workers waiting on the promised transport that we "should have thought about that before checking in."

backing up.... this is the same mouth that said the same thing in december. we were told the shuttle would run 24 hours for us so we could get to work. i double-double checked that at 3pm the previous day, and so did my manager. needless to say, her snotty attitude did not start the day off well. needless to say, the shuttle driver got stuck in the snow twice. i feel for the guy, really, but that chick pissed me off. we trundled through the snow in the truck, passing the shuttle and getting to the timeclock only 9 minutes "late." late is a relative term in a blizzard, by the way.

with no flights going out and a state of emergency declared by the governor, we settled in for a long day of not letting anyone in. the most fun thing ever, let me tell you. we watched the snow fall, roamed around, took turns doing computer training, watched the snow removal (which is a lot more interesting than it sounds), took pictures and secured the homeland. no one came into work that wasn't in the hotel friday. our menu choices were subway and starbucks. hoooray for pre-planning!!! at least they didn't run out of food like last time! midway through our day we were told we'd get to work 12-hour shifts instead of eights. oookay. not a huge deal i guess. then they didn't know if we were supposed to work the same shift the next day or not. gotta love management. we adjusted plans and met at chili's for dinner. i turned in earlier, hoping for more sleep.

i got it, but was still awoken by the evening shift. the loud guys downstairs and our roomie again. this time she flipped on lights and talked on her cell phone while we tried to sleep. um, yeah. thanks, babe. i got a text from the boys' room at 3am.... apparently after i went to sleep, management made up their minds. we were supposed to arrive at 4am after all. shit. we found out that management was calling people and telling them not to come in to work... even some of those staying in the hotel. they then had to re-call them back to tell them that they did actually have to go to work. really, i have to ask, does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? does the left hand know that there is, in fact, another hand at all? because that is how sunday went.

another 12-hour shift of not letting anyone in.... almost. we heard they were letting flights out.

wait a minute, did the governor not shut down the airport until noon on monday? i swear those were the words used.... "closed" "noon" "monday". so, how is it that the airlines up and decide that the airport is open? and who in their right minds would want to get on a plane and drive it over 200 mph on a solid sheet of ice? really? is your destination more important than your life? perspective, people!!!!

since the airport was closed, there were no vendors. well, except one newsstand, starbucks and subway. no, really. i'm not kidding. so passengers are showing up at the airport wanting to go down the pier to eat. well, it's um closed. closed. yes, i said closed. no you can't go in. nothing is open. becuz it all closded. lady. don't make me smack you with this stanchion. you don't even have a ticket. no, you can't get in without a ticket. no i can't print you a ticket. because i don't work for any airlines and i don't book reservations and i don't have a computer and there aren't any flights scheduled for 5 hours anyway and NOTHING IS OPEN BECAUSE OF THREE FEET OF SNOW. did you drive here today? so you know it snowed outside? sohelpmegodsomeoneelsetalktothisbitchiamsofinished.

my sunday ended with a bag check and a definition of water being a liquid.

flights are scheduled for monday before noon. how, i don't know. those of us scheduled to work our regular hours on monday morning are dreading the dawn. we will be slammed and overwhelmed by nine million people wanting to get out of baltimore days ago. my patience is thinner than the ice i just scraped off my windshield. but at least my car is dug out. i spent some serious effort and cursed a nice blue streak in the employee lot. and at this point, i think i shall turn in... less than 4 hours until the evening shift arrives and wakes me up for my shift.

18 December 2009

more TSA Muzak

inspired by nikya one busy knife-ful monday morning. to the tune of "jingle bells"... you know you want to sing it aloud.

Dashing down the pier
with a suitcase full of knives.
I have to catch this plane
which leaves at half-past five.

I've flown with this before.
I don't have time for this.
Why do you people pick on me;
do I look like a terrorist?

Oh, TSA, TSA: all you people suck!
Thousands Stand Around all day just to make a buck.

TSA, TSA: all you people suck!
You only Throw our Stuff Away just to make a buck.

I wrapped my cash in foil
and shoved it down my pants.
You made me take it out;
what the hell is wrong with that?

You stripped me of my watch,
my cell phone and my shoes.
What else should I take off today?
Do my shirt and pants go too?!


12 December 2009

TSA Holiday muzak

many people comment about how cheery i am at work. little do they know that it is a grand facade, designed to get me through the trying times, so i can go home and make fun of the stupidity in song. what i'm really thinking....

'The Christmas Song'
adapted for the workplace by kate

Laptops rolling down the x-ray belt,
crashing right onto the floor.
Gallon jugs of expensive shampoo
and strollers wedged in x-ray four.

Everybody's brought some kind of present wrapped up tight;
we can't see what is packed inside:
knives with keys next to wires on block cheese
with vibrating slippers aside.

They know it's time to board their plane.
Their bags are stuffed and loaded 'way beyond what's sane.
We know that every child is gonna cry
'cause mom packed Play-Doh & pudding (those can't fly).

And so I'm offering an Excedrin
Cause headaches shortly will ensue
May your lunches be long enough and your patience run thick:
Merry-happy-Christma-Channu-Kwanzi-kah, to you!

Twelve Pains of the Holidays
adapted for the workplace by kate

twelve things at christmas that are such a pain to me:

12 unwashed patdowns
11 pocket knives
10 zippered pockets
9 children screaming
8 folding strollers
7 foreign tongues
6 ladies corsets
5 No ID's!
4 ounce bottles
3 chainsaws
2 live rounds
1 cat in the x-ray machine

12 November 2009

a two-way street

I've been mulling over my first week on full-time status and a few incidents and passenger statements have really just wedged in my craw. Everyone thinks that they, themselves, are infinitely special and should be allowed to skip the screening process just on their say-so. Really? A terrorist would completely agree with you on that one. Right. Self-screening on the honor system. Go ahead, pat yourself down and just tell the police you have an IED strapped to your thigh. I'd give terrorists about 32.7 minutes to jump on that one and then everyone would blame the government for not protecting them again.

According to the Transportation Security Administration's Civil Rights Policy Statement, "the public we serve are to be treated in a fair, lawful, and nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, or protected genetic information." What a mouthful. I have interpreted that statement to mean, "everyone," which expands back out to mean, "I am screening all of you to the same degree. None of you are exempt."

You have the right to be treated respectfully. While I cannot vouch for every one of the other 42,999 officers, everyone I work with treats passengers respectfully while maintaining the standards we are required to uphold. That little blue statement goes both ways.

* When you roll your eyes at me after I've suggested three times to put your cell phone through the x-ray machine and then you call me a bitch, you are the one out of line. Dude, I even said "please."
* When you slam your luggage on my hand and yell at me for "making you miss your flight" while I am trying to help you, you'll be unloading your belongings by yourself at the other end. I got up at 2am; I was here on time. I am not to blame for your initial tardiness.
* When you say to me, with your condescending smile, that I am ineffective and that making you disrobe completely before boarding your flight is a waste of your taxpayer dollars, I am more likely to remind you that There's Still Avis. And if you didn't wear 19 layers of clothing and boots that lace all the way up to your neck, accompanied by a collection of no less than 29 bracelets, necklaces, and earrings that could be used as paperweights, you would have far less to divest. Try one layer of clothes, a sweater, slip-on shoes, and pack the bling.
* If you can read your boarding pass and navigate the internet well enough to book a flight, you can read regulations on what to bring and what not to bring from TSA's website. Most airlines have links to that page from their websites as well. If you "haven't flown in years" and haven't educated yourself, then your bag check is your education.
* When you mis-read the website and decide that you can bring anything you like as long as it is in a plastic baggie, you will be given your options: go to the ticket counter and check your bag under the plane; mail each item to yourself at a ridiculous cost of $20 per item (the checkpoint mailers company is not in any way affiliated with TSA or any individual airport); take it out to your car if you can, or give it to someone who may have dropped you off; or voluntarily surrender it. That's right, I said surrender. No one is forcing you to throw it away. You can always just miss the flight, if your shampoo is really that important. Once you scream at me and throw that shampoo, you have just stepped into the bounds of "assault." Keep that in mind. Because if I'm not allowed to swear at you and throw things, I certainly will not stand by and wear my BarbieTM smile and let you. I can pretty much guarantee that my swearing will trump yours. Don't test me.
* Go read this. Then go watch that. Please step back and get your liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols out of my face. Even if it didn't happen here in America, it is still a legitimate threat. A terrorist can just as easily declare, "It's just hand lotion. What's so dangerous about hand lotion??? You people are so stupid."
* I am treating your grandmother with the utmost respect, but she is not exempt either. She may not want to harm a fly, but the truth is, other people in the world could care less about their elders, or family members who cannot protest or fight back. It's old news, but still relevant every day.
* When I tell you what is involved in the additional screening I am about to perform and ask you if you'd like a private screening in a provate room BEFORE we start, that is the best time to say yes. While you are still encouraged to tell me when and if you are uncomfortable, when we pick up all your belongings, haul them into a private (yes windowless) room and begin the process all over again, you can just hold on to all the complaining about how inconvenient it is to start over. You requested it.
* When you wrap wads of money in aluminum foil and tuck it into your underwear, I'm not going to ask you to drop your drawers to see it. I'm going to deny you entrance to the aircraft until you leave, with all your belongings, and remove it. Yuck. (And yes, I use hand sanitizer after handling money ALL THE TIME now.)
* When you deliberately wrap your box cutter or cologne in your dirty underwear to deter me from searching your bag, guess what? Your dirty underwear will be on display for everyone on the checkpoint to see. I will fan that bad boy out and run it through the x-ray so everyone can see what a pig you are. Then I will change my gloves, sanitize my arms and hands AND the bin AND the table befouled by you and move on with my day.
* Please do not attempt to interpret my x-ray images of your bag. You can't even see the screen. Crossing your arms over your chest, checking your watch, sighing dramatically and telling me that I am "a waste of time" does nothing more than distract me from clearing your bag. Most of the time I'm not even looking at the bag of the person making the loudest noise and insisting that "it's just a cell phone; my god, do you need better glasses or something??" So, um, yeah. It's not actually a cell phone and you wouldn't know, since it isn't your bag. I especially love to tell that passenger when it was a training bag and I actually caught a simulated IED. Eat that, buddy.

You have the right to be treated respectfully. And so do I.

08 November 2009

caramel apple cake

from Easy Cooking the Costco Way, 2009

this cake was quite literally the perfect end to a fabulous fall day in our house. the sweet-tart of the apple combined with the creamy sweet caramel glaze had my i-don't-like-apples-boy begging for a second piece. the recipe calls for 5 apples, but i don't think i could have squeezed more than four into the pan without making it "apples with cake stuck to the sides." also, i baked mine in a bundt pan for look-at-me points. made the glaze look prettier than on a standard rectangle too.

1 C packed light brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
1-1/2 C vegetable oil (we use sunflower)
3 eggs
3 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/4 tsp vanilla
4-5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts

1) preheat oven to 325* (300* for a dark pan). butter & flour a 9x13 pan.
2) beat sugars and oil until well blended and creamy. add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. stir together flour, and spices. gradually add to wet ingredients, mixing until just blended. stir in vanilla, apples & nuts.
3) bake for 50-75 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. a darker pan or bundt may take a bit longer with a lower temperature; check frequently. let cool in the pan (for 15 minutes and invert bundt cake onto serving platter.)

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 C heavy cream

4) melt butter in saucepan over med-low heat. stir in sugars and salt; cook for 2 minutes. add cream and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5) poke holes in the cake with a wooden skewer. pour glaze over top. serve warm (divine!!) or at room temperature.