Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It Was a Nightmare

So last night I had a nightmare. I'll share that in a moment. First, thanks to everyone who responded (via comments and e-mail) about my homeschooling blahs. You all definitely straightened me out and put me back on the right track! Yesterday, Ellie was curled up reading Homer's Iliad, Joel was reading a non-fiction book called Captured, Jules was collecting earthworms in a jar with help from 2 small assistants and all was right with the Sardine School. I don't doubt that other people who homeschool with more structure or rigor end up with educated kids - but I don't doubt that I will (and have), too.

NOW. Onto the Nightmare.

Oh, wait. First, let me address the man from New Braunfels, TX (lovely little town, by the way) who called into the Diane Rehm show today.....Dude, why did you have to say, "You wine-sipping Liberals?" You would have sounded less ummmm....RIDICULOUS.....if you hadn't name-called with such a really and truly and absolutely unoffensive term. I know you were implying eliteness with it, but it just didn't work. I mean, if you want to come up with a truly offensive term to use in your name-calling - how about....ummm....I don't know....Tea Bagging? Oh, wait. You already came up with that. Never mind, then.

Seriously. Your points are better made without name-calling. There are some serious issues to discuss - and you and I might even agree on a few things - but it is hard for me to hear what you're saying if you're calling me a name.

Now for The Nightmare. I woke up so dang upset! Like I couldn't believe how upset. And it was a dream about broccoli theft. Broccoli theft! Doesn't sound terrifying, I know. But what is it they say about dreams? It was SO REAL. I'm thinking this dream is all about my current insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. Or it was just a screwy dream.

In the dream we were at the bowling alley (we had a homeschool bowling fieldtrip today - another terribly un-elitist activity) and I noticed that none of my kids had on socks. I was so mad!! You can't bowl in those nasty shoes without socks. But mostly, I was mad at myself. Because socks are a Big Stupid Issue in this house. Because the kids can never find any. They're either all dirty (they take their shoes off a zillion times a day and then....I don't know....put on CLEAN socks every time they put them back on) or they're clean but haven't been paired or put away and everyone is digging through baskets. This is the cause of us running late about 99% of the time. And whenever I hear, "Mom, do I have any socks?" I REALLY hear, "Mom - you are so lame we don't have any effing socks!! Why can't you just get the dang socks washed and put away? Is it rocket science or what?" I have a sock hangup.

Back to the dream. So I leave the kids and head over to Target to pick up some socks. I'm in a massive hurry because I left my kids standing there barefoot in the bowling alley. Now then, before I'd left the house I had planned on fixing broccoli stuffed shells for dinner....and my broccoli was frozen. (This represents more lameness on my part - my lack of preparedness and being able to plan ahead.) So, of course, I took it out of the freezer and threw it in MY PURSE to thaw. Because people do weird sh*t in dreams. So into Target I go with my frozen broccoli in my purse and I finally find socks and I'm on my way out when a team of employees confronts me. I immediately feel guilty. They check my purse. Inside is the thawing broccoli, several wrapper-free tampons (some jr. high dreams never die), and some other stuff. "Aha!" the store employees say. "You're stealing broccoli! You are a Broccoli Thief!" Now, I knew I wasn't a broccoli thief, but I secretly felt I'd been found out. I felt guilty as hell.

I was taken into an interrogation room with people who were very condescending and accusational and I couldn't convince them that the broccoli was, in fact, my broccoli. "Why is it in your purse?" they asked. And you know what, people? That was a good question. "To thaw," I answered. They didn't believe me.

I became very angry and started making stuff up about how I was the head of this and that and in charge of this organization and that organization and didn't they know who they were dealing with and I look over at the chair and there sits Jules. In the dream this didn't strike me as odd, even though I'd left him back at the bowling alley. And Jules is eating chicken nuggets from McDonald's and people know that we try to eat fairly healthy and don't do McDonald's but there he sat with a freaking Happy Meal on his lap. As if to say, "Things aren't what they seem with us. In secret, she buys us Happy Meals." Anyway, so I'm lying through my teeth about how important I am and Jules raises his finger. Jules doesn't speak unless he is holding his finger up. The finger doesn't go up without the speaking and the speaking doesn't happen without the finger. It is one of his endearing little quirks. So the finger goes up, Jules clears the chicken nugget grease from his throat and says, "Actually, Mom......blah blah blah." Jules starts most sentences with the word "actually". Then he refutes something someone has said. That is pretty much what he calls a normal conversation. And of course, he was refuting all my claims to glory and saying that he didn't, in fact, see me with broccoli in my purse before we had arrived at Target.

"Aha! Your own son won't defend you! You are, indeed, a broccoli thief and a liar!!"

When they finally let me go, there is a huge crowd trying to get out of Target and onto the sidewalk outside where there is some sort of Red Carpet event that has something to do with Latin Boxing. Is there even such a thing as Latin Boxing?

And so all these people were in my way and I was terrified that the bowling alley would close and I wouldn't be able to get my babies out. Also? I had forgotten to pay for the socks. So I had stolen socks resting against the thawing broccoli in my purse.
*Would you believe that this morning we honest-to-God couldn't find any socks for Jasper and I had to stop and buy some on the way to the bowling alley? It was terrifying.

What does this MEAN people? Let me hear it. Also? While I'm asking you guys questions? What would cause this?

What on earth do our apples get brushed with or sprayed with? We usually get organic fujis but I couldn't get any this week and got home with a striped apple. We ate it. Nervously, though.

Finally - how about a recipe? I haven't done that in awhile, have I? After bowling tonight I didn't feel like the broccoli-stuffed shells what with all the emotional and psychological trauma I sustained the previous night. Jules put up his finger and suggested King Ranch Casserole. Sounded good to me.

King Ranch Casserole is a favorite among south Texans. The King Ranch is bigger than Rhode Island. My husband's car once broke down in the middle of it (a major highway runs through it) and he had to walk miles in a storm before being picked up by the Border Patrol (no cell phone coverage). Anyway - according to Homesick Texan, there is no link between the casserole and the King Ranch that anyone can find. Whatever. It is good comfort food. My version, of course, contains no meat - however, the original is made with chicken. Also? I did say comfort food but I also should have said convenience food. We're talking cans, baby. This is not as healthy a dish as I usually cook up around here - using processed soups and such - but it is both convenient and comforting. A person need comforting after a horrifying broccoli dream. If you want a healthier (but not vegetarian) version, it is easy to do and Homesick Texan did it here.

So here is Sardine Mama's Version of Vegetarian King Ranch Casserole

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of black beans
1 can of chick peas
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of RoTel chilis and tomatoes
1 can of corn
2 cans of (gulp) Cream of Mushroom soup
18 corn tortillas
3 Tbl of chili powder
3 tsp of cumin
1 tsp salt
A handful of shredded cheddar

First of all, rev up your can opener. I know. I said it was a recipe of convenience. Next, put a very light layer of soup on the bottom of a casserole dish. Next, saute onions and garlic in olive oil or butter, adding the chili powder, cumin, beans, and corn after the onions begin to get translucent. Stir it up until the mixture is warm and the corn is starting to brown a bit, then add it to the rest of the soup. Stir in the RoTel and salt. Spread 6 corn tortillas in the bottom of the casserole dish and spoon 1/3 of the bean/soup mixture on top. Repeat, ending the last layer with the bean/soup mixture. Cover with a liberal amount of cheese and bake in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. Yum!

Signing off as the non-Broccoli thief Mama


  1. Since I am a huge King Ranch chicken lover myself (and don't get me started on the chicken-Minute-rice 3-cansa-soup casserole), I checked out Homesick Texan's versions. The non-soup one? I'm thinking WHOA! Sour cream, half-and-half...I think my Healthy-Requested version has a lot less fat. But I'll bet it tastes good. I'll have to try the veg version of yours; sounds good. And I've had plenty of broccoli dreams of my own.

  2. I always heard Broccoli was an evil vegetable and your dream proves it! I suppose especially the frozen kind.
    It does sound a bit upsetting tho...lots of struggle in it and fighting. I would get those kinds of dreams during the worst of my struggles trying to get better. The King Ranch Casserole sounds good, but I never ran into it when I was down there.
    And your statement about the King ranch, so true, but people in this neck f the woods have no clue...
    It is interesting how people earmark "Liberals" with some sort of odd slang, but I have to admit that i do the same to most conservatives who spout what Fox news tells them to.
    Enjoy your casserole!

  3. Ok this one is kinda your brain was mashing up several issues into one combined plot line. I always start my analysis the same way...I break apart each piece and if I am confused about it I ask myself "How did I feel about that? What was I thinking in that moment?"

    From your descriptions I'm not sure if the main theme is your role as a mother and/or anxieties you feel about homeschooling or if this is a reflection of a more personal repressed fear or as I mentioned before some weird hybrid of both.

    Either way I think the main theme was that you feel inadequate or unprepared and/or you fear others are judging you as lacking in some area. Perhaps you are feeling that your integrity is being questioned by others. That they believe or will believe you are hiding something or are an imposter(i.e. all the "claims to glory") It sounds like you might even fear your children are your "weakest link" when it comes to whatever is making you feel overly exposed.... Or if not your own kids maybe something to do with kids in Jules's age range..? since he was the one to have "outed" you so to speak.

    I don't know like I said there are simply too many possible meanings. I'd probe a bit more & ask myself what the broccoli represents...?? I mean besides healthy green veggie goodness :)

  4. Cynthia - yes - I guess that isn't very healthy, is it? Ha. I guess I should have said "less can-ish".

    Whitemist - I, too, am occasionally guilty of coming up with names for conservatives - but I try really hard not to. 'Cause my BCF is more of a wine-sipper than a tea-bagger :).

    And Ash - whoa girl! You're diggin' the dream analysis! OK - well - here's my take. I do this thing I learned from an author I saw on (throat-clearning here) Oprah and well, it works pretty well. You basically pretend you're like an alien or something and have no vocabulary - so everything has to be explained to you. So I would say to myself, "What is broccoli?" and then I would say to myself, "Well, it is a green vegetable that is very very good for you but a lot of people don't like it." And THEN I would say to myself (lots of self-talk here) "Who do you know or what is going on in your life that you don't really like all that much but that is good for you? And why would you freeze it and then be all concerned with unfreezing it? And why would you carry it around with you (baggage) and not want anyone to find it?" I haven't actually done all of that with this dream but I imagine that you probably hit the nail on the head with your analysis - I figure I'm probably feeling guilty for avoiding taking care of things that are good for us - (like my inability to organize, prioritize, and step up to the plate in order to get things done rather than say, sit here BLOGGING) - while feeling like most people think I have it together (which I don't). That would be the tip of the iceberg, of course. Maybe I will just analyze my dream all day instead of....washing socks?

  5. Cool...I like that idea...well both actually...the analysis technique and the inspired choice to analyze over sock washing which I personally whole heartedly relate to as I have a mountain of socks threatening mutiny as I type this ;)

  6. It definitely sounds like an anxiety dream to me! Nightmares are no fun, as my daughter would say.

    Sometimes convenience/comfort food is the best. It sounds yummy, though, all full of beans and good stuff. :)

  7. Yikes! We just ate broccoli for dinner! (Fresh though. Cheeky broccoli!)

    I also have a little person in my house who begins almost every sentence with "Actually,..." People give him all sorts of strange looks. I can only assume for some reason this form of conversation seems odd to them coming from such a tiny person. But I adore it!

  8. Bwa ha ha! This post had me cracking up. In fact, just a couple days ago, I discovered that something (someone?) had eaten the heads off of my developing broccoli plants. Every single one. I was pissed! It wasn't you, was it? ;-)

  9. Ahh that was hilarious! I can see how it would be scary while happening...dreams always are...but I've been laughing and laughing. XD I should be more sympathetic. Oh well...