About Me

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Celoron, NY, United States
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath



Another One
By Laura McCollough Moss

New year
number fifty
how it's changed from those days
of cheap soda and cheese curls
on the braided rug
Three channels to choose from
to watch that ball drop
What a feat
to make it til twelve!
Probably six after that
spent babysitting
pining for the magic date
that didn't happen.
First one with Daddy
robe Giacobazzi and grapes
stashed beneath my register in anticipation
thought I was so grown up.
Have gone out very few of them
reflecting on it now.
With each one that passes
comes a new respect for
the power of time.
How many more will there be?
No way of knowing.
Hope to spend a few tending
grandchildren God willing,
with their parents safely away
fill them up with cheap soda and cheese curls
let them stay up til twelve!
Now there's a good time.



God I hate you
 go ahead
stick one more morsel
into that piehole
God you're ugly
sitting there inert
you haven't done
one fucking thing all day
God you're stupid
thinking you could beat it
You're looking pretty beat down
to me.
Maybe there's a dumber
more wretched bitch in this world than you
but I don't know where.
You make me sick you really do.
Somebody ought to put you out of your misery.



Parental Units
by Laura McCollough Moss

You grew up
grew angry
grew away
Say they messed you up
were hard on you
criticized you
verbally abused you
Robbed your confidence
What's your point?
they want to know
That's what happened to them too
You didn't invent this discovery
That's what happens when
children have children
they do the best they know how
and fall woefully short.
By the time they know what they're doing
you're gone
and they wonder
what your problem is.
Know one thing
they loved you then love you now
dysfunction is no barrier to affection.
Try to get to know them
understand them
Care for the frightened child in them
you'll find it worth your while
to cross that great divide
and meet them
in the middle.



A few weeks ago, my cousin Stan posted pictures of his homemade peanut brittle on facebook that grabbed my attention. When I expressed admiration for his efforts, I was rewarded with his tried-and-true recipe. I was grateful at first but now can only say,
Stan... what the f@#k?
Memory escapes me. Perhaps I once flipped him in a lawn chair or ate the last of his Grandma's rice pudding at a summer picnic. One thing is clear; I did something to piss the guy off and he has chosen this most sacred time of the year to exact revenge.
A cursory review of the recipe read fairly simply; no candy thermometer, totally microwaveable, with concise instructions to exercise caution throughout the process due to extreme heat of the product. I cheerfully gathered my ingredients, silently smug that I possessed the perfect equipment for the job including a large tempered glass measuring bowl with pour spout and handle. Ah, it's moments such as this one that we pause and congratulate ourselves for those wise party purchases. Stan recommended pre-measuring the peanuts, baking soda, vanilla and butter to avoid having to struggle with them at the boiling stage of the sugars. No sweat; I had cute little ramekins and soon had everything laid out a la the Barefoot Contessa.
The brittle sounded (& had looked) so yummy that I decided, wisely, to double the recipe. The calculations were no challenge to my advanced culinary skill.
I followed the directions to the letter and came up with a foamy, pale, sizzling mixture that I quickly dumped onto two cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Sure... it called for parchment paper, but that was waaaay back on the top shelf and not retrievable with a haphazard swipe on tiptoe; wax paper does the same thing, right??
When the result of my labor had thoroughly cooled, while still paler than I would like, it looked something like Stan's picture. My neice Haylie and I began to lift it from the paper and realized, first, that is was not at all brittle but more like a peanut taffy; soft and pliable. It smelled fine and a pinch from the side elicited a very nice, buttery-peanut flavor. Perhaps we had discovered a new delicacy! That's when we realized that the
shit was COMPLETELY BONDED to the ill-conceived choice of surface. File this in your brains, people, waxed paper does NOT equal parchment paper. Just so ya know.
We tried everything to remove the wax paper, to no avail. Once the edges were pulled away, it was impossible to even find the stuff against the taffy. "Just give it to them," Haylie suggested. "They'll never know." As an RN with no knowledge of the digestability of wax paper, I could not in good conscience allow family and friends to innocently scarf it down.
It didn't stop Haylie and I from enjoying it though; and I personally have had no issues. The fact that Haylie spent Sunday morning on the couch with a heating pad to her belly is related to a virus, I maintain.
Not one easily daunted by failure, I bought more corn syrup and was back at it Monday morning. I started by pitching the remaining waxy taffy to liberate my cookie sheets. Next, I pulled a chair up to the counter and climbed up to locate the frigging parchment paper- there it was- unbleached and organic even (from that healthy year). I lined the pans, measured the ingredients for a SINGLE batch, and set to work. So far, so good. Having heated the sugar and corn syrup for five minutes on HIGH, I pulled the bowl out and added my peanuts. I CANNOT RECOMMEND TASTING THE MIXTURE AT THIS STAGE if you have any plans to use the roof of your mouth over the holidays. As my brother Dan says, "I hate stupidity"!
Next was a two-minute cooking phase, followed by another stir and a decision. "Cook for another two to three minutes", it read. Well, hadn't I had taffy the time before? I was taking no chances as I hit the '3:00' and slammed the door. I detected a roasted peanutty aroma at around two minutes, something more pronounced at two-and-a-half, and veritable scorching at three. DONE! I added the butter, baking soda and vanilla (which, I should mention, creates a fun, scientific kind of crackling lava) and hurried to my waiting, properly lined pan.
No question of whether or not it is brittle this time; I could barely get it down fast enough.
Doesn't every magazine article, every tv show at this time of year, caution against consuming those excess holiday calories? There I was, salt still on my brow from my morning spin class, gnawing at a wooden spoon covered in molten, rapidly-hardening deliciousness. My cooling brittle was satisfyingly brown, and, feeling cocky, I made another batch with pecans. I stopped that one at two-and-a-half minutes; being the fast learner that I am.
I'm hoping that the brittle is enjoyed by those who receive it; the peanut may be over-done but at this point they can scrape their windshields with it for all I care; it looks reasonably normal and I am not doing it again.
Stan, let me thank you publicly for this humbling experience. No matter how accomplished we are, it is good to be periodically reminded of our intellectual frailties. I'm proud to say  I've emerged from the Peanut Brittle Battle victorious!
By the way; my fudge turned out fine and will not need to be used as ice cream topping this year.
A Merry Christmas Everyone!



New at This

By Laura McCollough Moss

What to do now,

Left alone with nowhere to put this pain.

“There’s no pill for it,” she said.

He looked at me from atop his wire rims

“What were you hoping I could do for you?”

Like I know.

Somebody do something

This hurts more than I ever imagined.

“Paddle your own canoe” you used to tell me

And so I wipe my face and step out the door

Do my best to fill your place at the table the sink the stove.

I’ve learned to be strong understanding and capable

It came at a price but finding grace is never easy.

The love the good times the memories remain.

Miss you so yet thankful to have had you with me.

You would tell me “it will be alright”, just one more

Reason why I loved you and

I will never forget.