Monday, April 30, 2012

African Skies (Are Bigger Than Ours)

First I find out that Australia has states, and now the Internet tells me that Africa's landmass has the rest of the world whupped.  What the heck did I learn during my 4 years at an Ivy League institution, anyway?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Zamboni Drivers Are People, Too

This may or may not be an actual picture of Homemaker Man.
 Homemaker Man, who writes better posts about zambonis than anyone else I know, sent me a list of questions as part of a meme.  I have a lot in common with Homemaker Man, seeing as how we both married goyim.  So, even though I usually don't do memes, I am taking time out of my busy blogging life to answer the following questions he sent me:

1. Have you ever stolen anything in your life? (don't answer this if it's a felony still under the statute of limitations. Disclaimer)

I've stolen men's hearts with gleeful abandon.

2. Can you read my mind?

Yes, and I'm telling your wife.

3. Coopon or Q-pon (there is a correct answer here)?

There is always a correct answer.  But I'm not giving it to you.

This is NOT ME.
4. Medium rare or vegetarian?

Medium-rare vegetarians are delicious!

5. How many angels fit on the head of a pin?

Damn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a seamstress.

6. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Don't call me Kenneth.  Or Shirley.

7. What does it have in it's pockets?

It has extra apostrophes that it sprinkles wrongly over possessive pronouns.

 8. If you were ever sent to prison, and you couldn't get your hands on a spoon or a toothbrush, out of what would you fashion your shiv?

I had to look up "shiv."  The real question is, how did Martha Stewart make hers?

Not my real number...
 9. If you could 100% ensure your children have one specific quality when they grow up, what would it be?

The ability to call me on Mother's Day and my birthday.

 10. In order to save the world, you have to do seven minutes in heaven in a broom closet with either Vladimir Putin, Newt Gingrich, or the corpse of Elizabeth Taylor. Who do you choose?

I don't get this.  We're in heaven.  Either everyone's an angel or everyone's a corpse.  Why is only Elizabeth Taylor a corpse?  Whence this simmering hostility you harbor against beautiful women?

11. What is your desert island ice cream brand and flavor?

Breyer's strawberry.  Yum. 

I'm not tagging anyone.  And you can't make me.  

[Photo credit: LockerNerd]
[phone image: life-hacker]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gotcha! Questions

You know, I pride myself on being relatively well-informed on what is going on in the world around me.  And yet, I managed to fail this week's news quiz at the New Yorker.  I blame East Coast liberal bias.

What do those New York intellectuals know, anyway?

Anyone else want to take a shot at it?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Brinkmanship, Suburban Style

I just want to let you know that we are down to our last roll of toilet paper in this house.  ONE MORE ROLL.  And I don't go to the commissary until Sunday.  I know! It's like bungee jumping, only more scary.

Oh, yeah, I could panic and go to the local grocery store and get toilet paper there.  More expensive toilet paper.  After I examine every single brand and determine the relative square footage and prices. With the aid of a calculator and maybe a slide rule or two...

Or I could just wait 2 days and go to the commissary, where I already know which toilet paper is the best buy (and where I don't seem to mind sharing that knowledge with attractive fellow customers, comparison shopping hussy that I am).

Fun fact:  A double roll?  Isn't.

I just noticed that our regular toilet paper is "100% premium recycled."  I don't really want to think about that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Et Tu, Hairbrush?

I managed to whack myself on the nose with my own hairbrush while blow-drying my hair today.

Have I mentioned that, growing up, my best friend and I were always the last ones picked for teams during gym class?  Picture the humiliation of having to stand there while the two team captains argue over who has to get stuck with each of us.  What's amazing is that I didn't really care much.  I didn't have a competitive bone in my body, and I never could figure out why anyone cared who caught the ball, who got more runs, etc.  It just didn't register with me.

Anyway, while I am no longer faced with the humiliation of kickball (and let me tell you, I have etched permanently on my brain the image of my best friend willing her foot to make contact with that slow-moving ball and yet missing it completely), it seems that my own beauty accessories insist on bearing witness to my complete lack of hand-eye coordination.

Henri the Despairing Cat was right - there is no escaping ourselves.

[Hairbrush image: SalonHive]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

There are a lot of people from the University of Virginia looking at this post the past couple of days.  Why college students would be interested in reading about a middle-aged woman's humiliation at the hands of Harris Teeter personnel, I cannot imagine.  And would it kill any of them to comment on it?  I feel so used.

Let's not talk about my day, as it did not go very smoothly.  My children didn't even eat breakfast until 10 AM.  And I'm not proud of the fact that the number of people who showed up for homeschool tennis was twice what I had told the nice gentleman who runs that program to expect. 

Apparently, tennis can kill.  Who knew?

Also?  I had to pay 1800 dollars in order to make sure our 2004 Odyssey would pass the state inspection and also not lose its timing belt on a local highway. 

1800 dollars is a lot of money, people.  In case you didn't know...

To top it all off, Blogger seems to have rolled out a new version of itself.  So if the comments don't work, or something else looks weird, it's NOT MY FAULT.  You can't expect to teach an old blogger new tricks.

[Tennis image: Super Coloring]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wherein I Call Yeats "Awesome"

Today, I will follow Amy's example and post a poem in honor of April's being poetry month.  Long ago, when I was young and in college, I went through a phase of posting poems on the walls of my bedroom.  Please remember, young' uns, that this endeavor actually required some effort on my part: there were no poems on the Internet to copy and paste and print out.  There was no sharing of inspirational quotes on Pinterest or Tumblr.  I wrote these out myself from a book that I had gotten from a library.  I stopped short of using calligraphy, but still...


Anywhoo, I no longer recognize that young lady who - in addition to being able to thrive on 6 hours sleep and bike up and down the steep hills of Ithaca, NY -  posted poems on her bedroom wall.  I don't remember why she did that.  I don't even recall what criteria she used in their selection.  But one of those poems, by Yeats, has always stuck with me; and here I share it with you (just imagine Garrison Keillor reading it aloud - it sounds better that way):

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
      And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,         5
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
      And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;  10
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
      I hear it in the deep heart's core.

A bee-loud glade...where peace comes dropping slow...and midnight's all a-glimmer...even to a poetry idiot like me, those phrases sound awesome.

Awesome -- I bet Yeats would have come up with a better descriptor than that.

[And that painting up there, by Kate McPhee, was inspired by the poem.  I like it.]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Staff of Life, Made Easy

I can't even remember what I did this weekend, and it isn't even over yet.  Hello, early-onset dementia!

Let's see, I did cook some.  I know!  It was shocking.  But Larry was home and I felt guilty.  Also, I had recently found an awesome no-knead bread dough recipe on Pinterest for crusty bakery-type bread that normally costs more than 4 dollars a loaf at the grocery store.  

This is the other blogger's picture.  But it could have been mine.

You know, I'm used to succumbing to the siren song of whatever recipe fad is out there, only to be disappointed with the results.  But this time? I am churning out crusty loaves of bread with little to no effort on my part.  And no one cries!  My not-so-little tykes actually sit there waiting for the bread to come out of the oven so that they can slather it with butter and devour it.

Of course, that may be more a function of how hungry they are than of how good it is.  I don't know.

Impulse purchase that actually paid off

 The secret to the crust is to bake the bread in an enameled cast iron pot.  I bought one online at Target for 53 dollars (free shipping).   Much cheaper than anywhere else, by the way.  We figured out that it pays for itself after 12 loaves.  I think we're there already.

Did I mention that this is a no-knead bread dough?  10 minutes, people - that's all it takes.  No one fighting over who gets to "help" knead, no mess in the kitchen.  Check it out!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

They Paved Paradise...

Those of you who didn't watch yesterday's video are missing out on the fun.  Just saying...

Fat free!
Today?  I woke up worrying about how I was going to get myself back on track with Weight Watchers (there was an unfortunate, uh, incident with the jelly beans on Sunday...and Monday...and maybe Tuesday); but my weight loss problem was solved by the appearance of a rogue stomach virus post-lunch today. 

So I've been lying on the couch like a Victorian lady with the vapors, in between staggering to the kitchen to sip on flat ginger ale.   I assume the children managed okay for dinner, judging by the fact that the leftover ice cream in the freezer seems to have disappeared.

Foraging for food is an important life skill.  Also?  Foraging for cheap pizza coupons...

Did I ever mention that I was very excited about cooking when Larry and I first got married?  You see, we were both in the Navy at the time and ate at the chow hall.  In fact, that's where we met.  (I know!  Romantic!)  But I couldn't wait to get our own place and prepare home-cooked meals.  Neither of us could understand why some military folk actually brought their families to the chow hall for the special Thanksgiving dinner.  Why would anyone do that when they could be carrying on the Thanksgiving tradition of turkey-and-stuffing in their own home?  Who would settle for mess hall cooking on a day like that? 

Such were the ruminations of our 20-years-younger starry-eyed selves.  But now?  I would totally be down with holiday meals at the chow hall.  No dishes, no food shopping, and great prices - what's not to like?  Alas, we no longer qualify to dine there. 

I'm telling you, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

[jelly beans image: candy addict]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Birthdays and French Cats

Another birthday yesterday (Brian's), and our first one of the calendar year - thus starts what we call our birthday season, which runs from April through November.  That means it is time for me to start turning the numbers over in the sidebar there, where I list the kids and their ages.  I swear, nothing has made the passage of time more apparent to me than seeing those numbers change.  5 years ago, when I started this blog, I had an amusing toddler in the house, and Rachel was still wreaking her particular brand of 4-year-old havoc, and little 9-year-old David didn't even know how to cook.  I was still changing diapers, navigating naps, and reading nursery rhymes.  Now, everywhere I turn, I see teens and tweens, people as tall as me or taller, and there is nary a diaper in sight.  5 short years, and our entire family has changed...

And, yes, I AM wanting to sing "The Circle Game" just about now - if I could just stop weeping long enough to remember the darn words.

Auntie Kate, before her 2-week ordeal
So it's been a pensive day for me.  And Auntie Kate left this morning, leaving behind her blessing of new window treatments; and I pretty much collapsed on the couch, because having even an easy house guest for 2 weeks is a bit of a challenge for any introvert.  I glanced around the house after her departure and, realizing that we had descended into our typical slovenliness over the past week, suffered sharp pangs of retroactive embarrassment. 

Believe me, the retroactive kind?  Is the most painful.  

To give myself time to recover, I gave the kids a bag of jelly beans and the leftover plastic eggs -- they played Easter Egg Hunt for hours.  I wonder why I never thought of that before?

Larry left me for another  (say it all together now) management retreat.  Yeah, we've been here before. But that's okay - I still have the Internet to keep me company, and tonight it did not disappoint.  May I share with you the existentialist antidote to Can I Haz Cheezburger?  Herewith, a French cat articulates the pain of existence...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

For Better Or Worse, But Not For Curtains

Careful! These melt.
My Easter was very nice, thank you.  Well, except for the part this morning where I caught my skin in the zipper of my dress-up pants.  Apparently, there is only so much fat that one can suck in.  Also, I absentmindedly slipped a Reese's Easter egg into my (warm) front pants pocket right before church.  Do not try this at home, kids.

Auntie Kate is still here.  She has been sewing window treatments for our living/dining room.  It's the third part of our 3-year redecorating plan: the first year, she recovered the seats of my IKEA dining room chairs and made matching throw pillows; the second year, she created a bench cushion out of the same material; and this year we picked out coordinating fabric for the valances.

Yes, she's nice, and no, you CANNOT have her.  She's mine.  Or Larry's, really...

There is a slight issue with the new valances that might end up requiring the services of a mediator.  Apparently, Larry never got the memo that, while he has final say on landscaping, I possess veto power on the interior decorating front.  I have heard that there exist married couples who can actually cooperate on endeavors such as these; but we, alas, exist on a lower matrimonial plane, where toothpaste tube disposal methods can provoke unfriendly feelings and choosing a paint color becomes an exercise that makes the American Civil War look like a friendly spat.

Look, YOU get along with someone for over 2 decades.  This marriage gig isn't for lightweights, you know.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Hunger Games

I'm back!  Whew, last week was not a fun one.  And now we have a houseguest (Auntie Kate), which means that this week involves tourist-y activities, plus visits to JoAnn's and my having to cook honest-to-goodness meals.  Somehow, Auntie Kate does not get excited about cheap pizza.

What?  That thing at the top of my post?  Some nice lady from BlogHer gave it to me.  But now I'm confused - I could have sworn Twinkies went out of business a few months ago.  Didn't they?

My mother never bought Twinkies.  I always thought it was because we were Jewish, because all my goyische friends had Hostess products galore in their kitchens - Ringdings, Twinkies, Yodels...

Oh, wait, I think we had Devil Dogs once.  But I didn't like them.  Mostly, we had Stella Dora and Entenmanns.  We lived 4 miles from an Entenmanns outlet store.  I know!  It was almost a fairy tale childhood.

I think I'm rambling here.  In short, it's a good thing that I'm not being paid to endorse Hostess, considering my limited life experience with their products.  I'm just being paid to slap some code up there.

I sort of like the picture, though.  It's cute.  And now I'm hungry.  Free samples would be nice...

[Entenmann's image: DrJays]