Friday, March 30, 2012

Random Acts of Sewing and Arts and Crafts

Do you remember this post from a while back where I totally dissed my Catholic school education by turning my old school uniform into a trash bag? Well, the other day as the family was sitting around reminiscing, somehow the topic of nuns and uniforms and my misguided youth came up. We were talking about someone rebelling and the topic of my old uniform came up and Snickers chimed in with "Way to rebel, Mom!"

And we giggled and chuckled and chortled for several minutes picturing me furiously cutting and sewing the maroon and gray plaid fabric, swearing and cursing the nuns with each prick of the needle. Hah! Take that Sister Daria! In your face Sister Mary Magdalene!

Sure beats getting pregnant at 16, or dropping out of school to become a drummer, or getting heavily pierced and tattooed. I can only hope my own ducklings take after me and rebel with random acts of sewing, arts and crafts and baking.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You!

So, there I was, sitting at my desk, listening to my iPod. (Danielia Cotton, if you must know. A recently discovered gem who at times reminds me of Beth Hart and at times, of Joan Osborne). I decided I was hot. So I stood and took off my furry black sweater. It crackled and popped, full of static.

And then it brushed against my iPod cord.

There was a strange electric sizzle and sparks raced up the iPod cord, straight toward my head! I screamed! People raced to my aid. I jittered with the excess static and iPod battery power coursing through me. It was terrifying!

Alright. OK. Slight exaggeration. Everything except the sound was in my mind. But there was a strange electric sizzle and static-y rattle, like a gazillion Rice Krispies being set off with icy milk all at the same time. It was strange, disturbing and somehow intriguing. And slightly mind-rattling. But I think that was just in my mind too. I don't think I was actually rattled. Just my ear drums.

Remember this the next time you are listening to your iPod while removing fuzzy blankets from the dryer. Do so at your own risk. Don't say I didn't warn you!


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Quagmire of Stinking, Oozing, Slimy Swamp Water - Let's Eat It!

I've been making my own yogurt lately. And thoroughly enjoying it. Remember when I posted about making lemon and lime curd? Well, some homemade plain yogurt, a bit of lemon curd for sweetness and flavor, and some granola makes a mighty fine breakfast (or lunch.)

But sometimes I run out of yogurt, so I buy some. I usually get lemon Chobani Greek yogurt or Yoplait key lime. Both are very yummy! Last week I picked up a lime Oikos. It was yummy too, but I had a slight issue with the color. Let me explain:

First, I'm getting used to the homemade stuff which is white. White is nice. Nothing artificially colored there which makes me feel healthy. Then there's the Chobani lemon - a very light yellow with little yellow flecks. Very festive and tasty. The Yoplait lime is a soft, cheerful yellowish-green. A nice eating color. Nothing wrong there although the added color is unnecessary.

But the Oikos lime? A strange, flat, institutional-paint green.

Now, both lime yogurts are colored with Turmeric extract - a natural, plant-derived coloring. Turmeric powder is yellow to orange. How on earth they get it to make yogurt green is something I don't want to think too much about. But while the Yoplait is a pleasant, light, yellowish-green, I thought the Oikos was distinctly unappetizing - a dead shade of green that pulled me down into a quagmire of stinking, oozing, slimy swamp water. As long as my eyes were closed, the flavor was fine. But immediately upon setting my gaze on the stagnant, backwater swamp that was my breakfast, my lip began to curl in 'should-I-really-be-eating-something-that-color?' disgust.

So, I stopped eating it, and slapped some on the wall. Yes, definitely an institutional green. No, OK, I didn't do that. I finished eating it. But what on earth would possess them to take something that seems so healthy - all natural, Greek yogurt - and make it that god-awful, unappetizing, barf-inducing, bottom-of-the-swamp, ick-what-did-I-step-in, ogre booger, moldy-bread color?

I may never know, but hopefully, they will do something about it. If I decide to try it again in the future (like - 7 or 8 years from now) I can only hope that the color will be a little more palatable.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's For Breakfast Today? Donkey Flakes!

  Sometimes (like once a day) I come up with a crazy idea. Now, not crazy as in driving 150 miles an hour along the edge of a rocky precipice, or crazy involving weapons and explosives. Not even crazy as in running naked down the street. A more boring kind of crazy. More along the lines of 'why in the world would she waste her time doing that?' kind of crazy. Case in point:

Now, what on earth would make me want to spend hours making this? I have no idea! It seemed like a good idea. Fun. You know, just one of those things. You do things like this too, don't you?

And the ducklings and the hubster keep asking me what gave me the idea. I can't remember. All I remember is that Snickers and I were talking. I don't remember if we were discussing tomorrow's breakfast, or if we were discussing donkeys. Either is equally likely. For all I know we were discussing things that have multiple words associated with them - like donkeys and asses. In any case, somehow I ended up suggesting that he have Donkey Flakes for breakfast. With milk. The conversation undoubtedly involved giggling and eye-rolling. And it planted the seeds.

On a related note, I firmly believe that time you enjoy wasting, is not time wasted*.

* unless, of course, it involves TV, or Facebook. then it may well be wasted.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Let the Seductive Aroma of Vanilla Drown Your Common Sense and Chocolate Intentions.

Vanilla is one of those sneaky flavors that usually goes unnoticed. It's not a coincidence that 'vanilla' is synonymous with 'plain' or 'boring'. That's exactly what vanilla wants you to think. But in reality (in my reality anyway - your mileage may vary), vanilla is very sneaky and underhanded. It likes to slip in unnoticed, then slowly spread it's vanilla tendrils out, burrowing it's way in under the radar unnoticed until it's entwined so deeply that it's too late to extricate it, like some strange taste-snatching alien. It will often also rely on devious tactics to win out over other stronger flavors. Let me try to explain.

The other day at the grocery store they were having a special where if you bought a certain cut of (outrageously overpriced) meat, you could get all sorts of free stuff - like potatoes, carrots, rolls, soda and cake. We thought it was a good enough deal (or maybe we were just sucked in by the slick advertising) that we went to that store and participated.

For the sake of this post I will be discussing the cake options. Said cake came in several varieties - 
1. Vanilla with vanilla frosting and sprinkles
2. 'Golden' with chocolate frosting
3. Alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla with chocolate frosting
4. Chocolate with chocolate frosting.

Now, normally I would be all over the chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. It's just my nature. Or so I thought. But much to my surprise, astonishment and utter disgust, the vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles looked delicious! Ugh! I know. Vanilla! Sacrilege! An insult to the food of the gods!

Even the thought of choosing vanilla over chocolate is inconceivable! That's going too far! Way too far! But I blame it entirely on vanilla itself. The vanilla cake was the ONLY ONE with sprinkles. Do you think that's a coincidence? No! No it is not! The sprinkles were designed to dazzle with color and sparkle - a pretty array of pastel circles dotting the top. They were so pretty. Like a party on top of the cake. Who can resist? It's the only way the vanilla had any chance of coming out ahead of the chocolate.

Doesn't this look deceptively delicious?

Thank the chocolate gods that Sweet Pea knocked some sense into me and we came home with the second-most chocolatey variety. I don't regret the decision. I only regret that I momentarily considered the vanilla. It's a step in the wrong direction I tell you! A slippery slope! Had I succumbed it would only be a matter of time before I was repeatedly overwhelmed by the seductive aroma of vanilla, drowning out my common sense and chocolate intentions. Vanilla is sneaky that way. It slides in almost unnoticed, wafting into your nostrils before shooting straight up into your brain and covering your chocolate receptors like marshmallow covers Rice Krispies - a thick, impenetrable coating that can never be properly separated again. It was a close call. A very close call.

Next thing you know I'll be eating vanilla Oreos! Wait. Vanilla Oreos? Oh no! Noooooooo!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

  Spring has sprung:

The daffodils are thinking about doing something spectacular pretty soon:

And the yard bunnies are out in full force:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Whatever You Call It, It's Disturbing

I love Oreos - regular Oreos - the chocolate ones with the white cream. It's the cookie part I like the best. I've been known to scrape out that disgusting cream and chuck it right away so I could enjoy the cookie untainted by that strange, sugary, lard-like substance in the middle. Don't even try to give me a double stuffed - Ick! And this works out well because the hubby prefers the cream and can do without the cookie part. We're a good match.

I've tried some of the other varieties - chocolate with chocolate cream, mint, vanilla with chocolate cream, etc. I decided that I shouldn't mess with Oreos. The 'regular' variety can't be beat and any variation on the original is inferior.

Well, the other day Oreos were on sale. So I came home with a box of Oreos. Now there's nothing unusual about that, right? Well, there is if you consider that I came home with vanilla Oreos!

Vanilla Oreos? What the heck!?!? But yes, I was having an irresistible urge for vanilla Oreos. It's really weird. I just love them! They are so so so so good. Better than the chocolate? Heck no! But a close second. If I had to choose one variety of Oreos to eat for the rest of my life it would have to be the regular chocolate ones, but oh the vanilla.

I feel like I'm turning to the dark side. Or would that be the light side. The vanilla side? Whatever you call it, it's disturbing.


Friday, March 16, 2012

You Can't Blog About That!

You may not want to read this. This is one those things that happened to me recently where I blurted out "I should blog about that!" and the kids said, "Mom! You can't blog about that!"

Oh, can't I?

There is a fine line between 'Should I?' and "Will I?'

For the purposes of this post, what I'm wearing matters. I was wearing jeans and a tank top. One of those kind-of tight, low tank tops with spaghetti straps. I was planning on wearing a sweater over it, but hadn't put it on yet. Deal with it!

So, I was at the breakfast table, taking my vitamins. I take a multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin D every day. Not because I have to, but because it seems like a good idea. I won't go into the details - it's not important.

What is important is that as I was bringing the vitamin D to my mouth, it slipped and I dropped it. My hand instinctively tried to catch it. I was pretty quick I must say and caught it at chest level. Or so I thought. When I opened my hand, it was empty. Damn, where did that darn thing go?

And, lo and behold, where did I find it? That's right. In my cleavage. Yes, I said it. I found my vitamin IN MY CLEAVAGE! I can honestly say that what passes for cleavage on my chest is a very loose definition of cleavage. In fact, most of the time I don't think it would pass as cleavage, but since my vitamin somehow managed to cram itself into the very tiny space left open by my (not so) heaving bosoms and the tank top. I decided in this particular instance it was OK to call it cleavage!

Some things happen once in a lifetime and we need to learn to appreciate those rare occurrences when they present themselves.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Holding the Cat Down for Some Petting

So, even thought I hate to admit it, I sometimes dip into that strange and murky world of
'girliness'. And by that I mean, I paint my nails. I actually paint my nails pretty frequently. It's one of those things that, for some crazy reason, I've been doing a lot of over the last several months. (Come to think of it, I've been painting my nails more since I started BJJ. I think it's a subconscious need to balance the testosterone-fueled BJJ practice with something a little more feminine. I often eat tea and biscuits as I polish my nails too.)

But anyway, the other day I painted them a shiny, purplish-bluish color. It's a nice color, but there were a few problems with it:
  1. Sweet Pea said, "I'm not used to you being so " - and I can't remember the word she used, but it was something along the lines of 'cool', or 'youthful', or 'fun'. "You're Mom. You're supposed to wear pinks and reds."
  2. This wasn't a subtle purplish-bluish. It was in-your-face purplish-bluish. And despite what you think you know about me, I am anything but in-your-face.
  3. My nails are the most crooked, uneven, short, funny little nails you've ever seen. Drawing attention to them with a screaming purplish-bluish polish seemed somehow wrong.
  4. While the hubster is all into Zombies and Walking Dead, I'm really not, so having dead-blue nails just looked a little creepy.
So, what did I do? That's right. I put a couple of coats of sparkly gold on top to try to tone it down. Yes, you read that right. I tried to tone it down with sparkly gold. But really, it was a subtle sparkly gold. So subtle it did nothing except add a little sparkle to already dazzling purple.

So, why didn't I just take it off, you ask? Well, that would be too easy.

So, instead, I then decided a nice opal pink would tone it down. So I added three (yes three) coats of pink opal polish to the top. Now, at this point we have two coats of purple, two gold and three pink. That's a total of 7 coats. Seven being a lucky number of course. But lucky in the sense that the color was now perfect? The ideal hue to compliment my winter-washed-out complexion? Not really. The color was now a strange light grayish. Not a bad gray for these wintery months, but definitely gray. Rather, it was lucky in the sense that now since I have 7 coats of polish, my fingernails are about an inch thick and weigh about 2 pounds each. That makes things like kneading bread and holding the cat down for petting much easier. And my shoulders and biceps are getting an awesome workout.

I think I may use 10 coats next time.


Friday, March 9, 2012

The Telltale Toothbrush

I would have said that it was impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. So, the other day in the grocery store Sweet Pea, Doodlebug and I stopped by the electric toothbrushes for a visit.

Hearken! and observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

Sweet Pea found a toothbrush that she liked, so while looking it over we pressed the on switch. It was still in its package, but the plastic compressed just enough we could press it down. Sweet Pea wanted to see if it twirled in place like a pirouetting ballerina, or if it swished back and forth like a willow branch in the wind (poetic, isn't it?)

Turns out, it twirled like a ballerina. It was a beautiful thing to see. However, as soon as we turned it on, of course it began to hum loudly like electric toothbrushes are wont to do. We glanced around to see if we were being watched and calmly pressed the button to turn it off again.

You should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what caution - with what foresight - with what dissimulation I went to work!

I pressed.

     I pressed again.

          I pressed again, pushing that little button for all I was worth.

No luck. It continued to whir madly. A man walked by and glanced at us curiously. We decided it must be on a timer. One of those two minute timed things. It will turn off when it's done. So I put it down. Doodlebug pushed it gently to the back of the shelf where it continued to whir softly - like a jackhammer. We slowly backed away and, whistling softly, continued down the aisle.

We finished up our shopping and before leaving decided to stop back to make sure the poor thing had stopped it's mad brushing. As we approached it became apparent that it hadn't stopped. We could feel the vibrations under our feet and the shelves all up and down the aisle were vibrating as if under the assault of a very mild, but prolonged earthquake. We walked past, looking around curiously as if we had no idea what that sound was, as it jack-hammered and whirred and spun on the shelf like a wind-up top. Eventually the battery will die, I thought, feeling the guilt build up - the guilt that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. It was a powerful toothbrush. And years of teaching by nuns has enhanced my guilt-ability.

Later that night, as I lay in bed listening to the wind and thinking about the poor toothbrush, destined to wear itself down to nothing in the dark solitude of the hbc aisle I heard a noise. It is nothing but the wind in the eaves, I thought. It is only a mouse crossing the floor. It is merely a guinea pig which has made a single squeak. But it was more than that. It was a low, whirring, buzzing sound - such a sound as an electric toothbrush makes when shoved to the farthest reaches of a shelf.

The sound continued. A whir. A buzz. Finally a jackhammer roar in my ears!

Electric toothbrushes! I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - tear up the planks! here, here! - It is the whirring of its hideous motor!" I admit it! I left it running!

And so, haunted by the whir of electric toothbrushes, I finally dropped off to sleep.

(This strange, yet true, and slightly borrowed tale is brought to you courtesy of Ginormous Duck and Edgar Allan Poe.)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sweet Vindication!

  So, the other day I went up to the break room at work to get some coffee. And you may recall  my history with the sugar canister. Not once, but twice, the sugar canister and I got into an argument when it was time to open a fresh new container.

Open, damn you!
Open now!
Open before I crush your plastic top like a wookie in a trash compactor!  !!! HULK SMASH !!!

And the cover imploded and plastic shards flew through the air like shrapnel and sharp plastic edges sliced into my thumb and women shrieked and children dove for cover. It was quite an experience.

And yes, to reiterate, this happened on two separate occasions.

But the other day, when I reached for the sugar canister, to my delight, I saw that the cover of this one was shattered beyond recognition. So, it isn't only me who struggles with these darn things! I'm not the only one with a dark past full of plastic shards and cut thumbs? Not the only one who has scurried out of the break room, face like a smoldering ember, mumbling under my breath, 'It wasn't me. I'm fine. It was that way already. Who, me? What sugar?'

And whoever the culprit was this time did a splendid job! Almost the entire cover was gone. Almost - there was just enough to see that it wasn't simply removed - it had been smashed and crushed like a car at the impound lot. Now that's a lot of thumb muscle! If I see anyone walking through the halls with thumbs the size of Arnold Schwartzenegger's bicep, I will know who the culprit is. And I just may challenge them to a thumb wrestling match.


Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Pat and That's That

So the other day the hubby told me someone's name. It's a guy I've seen around - don't really know him, didn't know his name, I'm just vaguely aware that he exists. Well, the hubby told me his name was Pat.

Pat? Pat?? He can't be a Pat! He doesn't look like a Pat! What?!?! No! Pat? Really??

And just what does a Pat look like? Well, I've known three. One was a fair skinned red-head, one was a small dark-haired kid and one was a swarthy italian dude. So really, anyone can be a Pat, right? You'd think so, But this guy just didn't look like a Pat to me. He looked like a Mark. Or a Mike. Or a John maybe. Possibly a Dave. But not Pat.

Sweet Pea concurred. He wasn't a Pat. He was definately a Ryan. A Ryan?!?! No. He is not a Ryan. Definately not a Ryan. But Sweet Pea insisted.

But I guess it doesn't matter what we think. His name is Pat and that's that.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Do Something Dastardly

The other day in BJJ class (yes, I'm still going. I know, I haven't blogged about it lately, but you're OK
with that, right? I thought so.) as I was doing some drills with Sweet Pea I reminded her to hold my arm tight so I couldn't get it free and 'do something dastardly'.

Well, she thought was great! Dastardly! An awesome word. She giggled for the next 15 minutes.

Hee hee hee dastardly. Dastardly! Ha ha ha hee hee hee.

It is quite a word, isn't it? Brings to mind images of villians with black hats, long curly moustaches and evil eye twinkles.

Indeed - hold onto that arm. Let's not let anyone get up to anything dastardly.