friday morning

I sit on the sofa eating fried kimchi dumplings for breakfast because a kid abandoned a bag of frozen kimchi dumplings on the counter overnight.  Sometimes life is like this; offers of kimchi dumplings when really, the only thing you ever, ever want for breakfast is a giant mug of strong coffee with a splash of heavy cream.

You make do, and you move on.

When I’m finished writing and pinching dumplings with my chopsticks, and have enjoyed my daily mug, I’m going to pack. Sometimes life is like this; offers of incredible opportunities for growth and learning and change, and all of those things are good and right and natural and amazing. And sometimes you arrive at a place on the journey where you realize that for all the flourishing that is happening, there are some things that just can’t continue.

For the record, it’s way more pleasant to find a bag of unfrozen dumplings than to realize your marriage is over. Today I make do with fried dumplings, boxes, and a second cup of coffee. Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.

we are going camping

Some of my pals take their short people on a humongo group camping trip every summer.  I think they’re insane.  There’s something like nine BILLION children and 5 parents.  Who does that?
Nine billion is an estimate.  Also estimated is the number of parents.  
But still.
Every year, they say, “Oh, you should go! It’s SO! MUCH! FUN!”  And every year, I look at them with the “you’re on crack” face and say no.  Except this year?  I succumbed to the peer pressure.  And the short people pressure, too, because most of them are old enough to promise me shiny baubles and unlimited vats of hot coffee.
You should understand something before I go any further:  Nothing about camping appeals to me.  Not a thing.  Sleeping on the ground?   NO.  Hiking?  NO.  Bugs?  Not so much.  S’mores?  I can make s’mores at home, thankyouverymuch.  Add to that, the Other People’s Children Element.  Yes, I like my friends, and I mostly like their kids. (And don’t look like that. You know you mostly like other people’s kids, too.)  Also?  I turn into an evil, murderous crabbyface when I pack the minicoopervan for a trip.  It is NOT PRETTY.  
I called my girl Heather, who is The Boss of Things for the trip, and she told me ninety-eleven thousand things to pack.  I must have sounded a little bit hesitant, because she said, “Don’t worry.  It’s so fun.”  I started to stammer something, and without missing a beat, she finished, “Everybody cries at least twice when we’re camping.”
Thank you for that RINGING ENDORSEMENT.  I feel so much better.
Because I didn’t actually feel much better, I turned to the effbooks.  going camping for the first time. what should i pack? and don’t let me down, people, i’m counting on you.  They are some helpful people, those effbook types.  Here’s the recommended packing list from the effbooks. 

  • bug spray. extra socks, shoes
  • an RV
  • wipes
  • toilet paper, binoculars (so I can watch the short people hike?)
  • a broom, blankets, anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds (check and check)
  • first aid kit, tylenol, soap and shampoo
  • the phone number of a hotel (it’s in my phone)
  • air mattress, battery powered fan
  • flashlights, lanterns, benadryl, burn cream
  • a crisco can so that we can go potty during the night
  • bug spray, towels and twizzlers
  • tabasco sauce, matches, ziplock bags
  • camera, sketchbook, hatchet, spade, extra-medium sense of adventure, extra-large helping of patience, a dash of silence
So this is what I’m packing.  Plus some food, and a big cooler and bathing suits, and a clothes line, and the short people.  Oh, and knitting, and a chair, and my pillow, and…

some items for your consideration

1. New Sewing Machine. I love her. A whole freaking lot. Her name is Nina Bernina.

2. Another Busted Disc. This time, it’s mine. Same one The Mister had surgery on. Some people wear matching shirts or share a hobby, but not us! We get matching boo-boos.

3. Narcotics. See item #2.

4. There is a super nice New York State Park near our house, and we got a season pass, so we go to the beach a whole lot. Last week, one of the lifeguards had to rescue a little boy. I was frightening and awesome at the same time, and I have never seen anybody move as fast as that guard did. Major thumbs up to the New York State Parks for hiring good people, training them well, and for keeping the parks open when many other states are not.

5. Fowl. We own ducks. And I’m sure this statement is going to result in more effbook mockery from that one guy who mocks us for having chickens and thinking about other unconventional pets, but whatever.

6. New Babies And Pregnancies. Four darling babies were born this month, and in the past two days I have learned that two of my friends will be having babies next spring. And before you get all crazy and start suggesting that we make us another wee Dayton, let me remind you that the likelihood that I even get to have a practice run at baby making is… Well… Dude just had surgery and My back is messed and there ain’t gonna be no getting some ’round these parts.

7. Swimming Lessons. My town has a wonderful summer rec program with sports and crafty things and swimming lessons for the short people. On Wednesday, the woman who runs the pool approached me and said that more thN six people had complained to her the previous day because I had breastfed Elliott while the other kids were having their lesson. She handled the situation beautifully, and told the complainers that in NY, women have the right to breastfeed their children anywhere they want, and that she wasn’t going to ask me to stop or to leave. How awesome is that? It’s so rare to hear a story about breastfeeding in public where people know the law and do the right thing. And as an added bonus, I met a lovely mama who is just finishing her Lactation Consultant training. Super cool.

whatever, stormcaster.

We made a trip to town today to pick up some vital items, should we find ourselves snowed in for a time.
Here’s my list:

  1. new library books, including books 1-3 of the How To Train Your Dragon series.
  2. movies, also from the library.
  3. coffee beans
  4. heavy cream
  5. doritos
I’m clearly well prepared for any sort of weather event we may face. Bring it, Mother Nature.

And congrats to Carol… chose lucky number 13 and she gets the $40 gift card to CSN Stores.

the precise science of forgetting to eat

Here’s how it happens, and I’m only going to tell you this one time.  I will use the elusive cup of hot coffee as my example.
Get out of bed.  Get other people out of bed.  Wipe bottoms.  Use the bathroom, wipe own bottom.  Wash hands brush teeth possibly wash face.  Get dressed.  Get other people dressed.  Shag crabby non-morning-person-offspring out of bed.  Go downstairs.  Put water on for coffee.
I have a French Press.  You must heat the water with an actual water-heating device in order for there to be coffee.  Moving on.
Empty French Press.  Make oatmeal for the short people.  Milk oatmeal butter raisins brown sugar wait no raisins for me! I want raisins. I didn’t want raisins I HATE RAISINS YOU FORGOT BUTTER.  Beatings.
Grind coffee put grounds in French Press. Kettle screams.
 Baby drops spoon.  Bigger short people drop spoons to encourage teh stupids. Oprah moment: NEW SPOONS FOR EVERYBODY!!!!! Put dirty spoons on counter. 
Pour hot water on coffee grounds.  Empty dishwasher so short people can put dirty dishes in dishwasher. Remove baby from dishwasher.  Help short people clean up breakfast. Walk 4 year old to preschool. Start school with 5 & 7 year old. Remove baby from kitchen counter.  
Pour cup of cold coffee.  Put coffee in microwave.  Remove baby from dryer.  Continue with schooling oldest two children.  Fetch 4 year old from preschool.  Continue schooling oldest 2 children.  Remove baby from kitchen table.
Remember pouring cup of coffee, walk around the house searching for mug. Remove baby from microwave.  Thank baby for finding coffee.  Close microwave door, actually heat up cup of coffee.
Make ninety-eleven peanut butter sandwiches but not with the homemade peanut butter for the girlchild because EEEEWWWWW!!!! NO SHORTENING IN THE KIND MAMA MAKES!!!!!  And also apple boats but not for Wee Man because dude inhales those things whole.  Re-start microwave.
Help short people clean up lunch dishes. Remove baby from counter.  Change baby’s diaper.  Pre-nap nursing.  Put baby in bed.  Notice overflowing baskets of laundry.  Grab one, take it downstairs.  Start a load of laundry.  Quiet time for big boys.  Finish schooling slower-than-molasses girlchild.  
Notice lights blinking on microwave, indicating that the coffee has, in fact, been reheated.  And is, once again, cold.  Re-reheat coffee.  Stand next to microwave despite all medical evidence.  Watch the clock tick backwards.  Immediately retrieve horrible, over-re-heated coffee.  Add half and half, some brown sugar. 
Take a big gulp.  Burn tongue.  Set coffee on kitchen table.  Move laundry to dryer.  Start another load of laundry.  Reading time.  Cuddle on couch to read to the short people.  Play a game.  Pass out.

did you leave a comment to get yourself a $40 gift card to CSN stores?

list for a wednesday

  1. brush teeth
  2. make coffee
  3. rub Henry B’s back
  4. clean Elliott’s backside
  5. feed the short people
  6. warm coffee
  7. put clean diapers and wipes in bag
  8. get the heck out of dodge
and maybe a few other things between #7 and #8.  like DRINK COFFEE.  naturally.
but the van is packed with peaches and rhubarb and bread and things and stuff, and we are flying toward #8.

so here’s the scoop.

I know you all have been just DYING TO KNOW why I haven’t actually written a real, live post in like a hundred years.  And here’s why:
I had a migraine.
It didn’t start off as a migraine, well, maybe it did, ON FATHER’S DAY, when I had a Random Spontaneous Outbreak of Migraine that caused me to pretty much pass out at the kitchen table.  Well, not PASS OUT, pass out, just the sort of PUTTING MY HEAD DOWN ON THE TABLE AND INSTANTLY FALLING ASLEEP variety of passing out.  It was awesome.
Heh. Or not.
Eventually the migraine portion of the headache went away, and just the annoying headache portion of the headache remained.  And I am TOTALLY used to that nonsense, because I have a headache pretty much 29 out of 30 days a month, except February, and then I’m 28 for 28.  Unless it’s a Leap Year and then I’m 29 for 29.
A statistical oddity. (name that flick)
Never mind.  The one I was thinking of was “geographical oddity”.  So name *that* flick.
And then I got sick.  I’m not sure what sort of sick it was, but it involved a fever for days, and lots of gross boogers, and coughing and sneezing and sinus pressure and allergies.  And ear pain.  Lots of ear pain.  So after three weeks of that I went to the doctor, because it OBVIOUSLY wasn’t one of those Standard Ten-Day Viruses That Could Be Waited Out.  And the doctor told me I didn’t have strep (right, sore throat, too, and lost voice) and that I should go home.  So I did, but later in the weekend when I was feeling WORSE YET, I called her back to get The Drugs.
Which, for the first time in the history of EVER did not give me a yeast infection.  You’re welcome.  I know you were dying to know that.  

Oh, and the boogers?  Were so bad that the buildup of crusties on the inside part of my nose piercing pulled the piercing INTO MY NOSE.  Because there was CLEARLY NOT ENOUGH CRAP IN MY NOSE.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
And then I had another migraine that lasted about 3-5 days, and was completely debilitating for at least 3 of those days.   I just can’t even make fun of that.  I’m sorry.  I’ve tried and tried to find some sort of smart-assed thing to say about it and I just can’t.  You’ll have to be satisfied with the sarcastic remarks about boogers and yeast infections, because that’s all I have, people.
So I got the migraine prescription medicine, and I took it because I seriously thought my brain was going to implode and I was going to leave my short people motherless.  I am not too worried about The Mister in that scenario, because he’s lovely and charming and women are always falling all over him (although he will probably deny that because his momma done raised him right), and you can totally replace a wife, but a mama? Not so much replaceable.
Oh. My. Word.  I astound even myself sometimes.
I took the migraine meds even though they are contraindicated for both breastfeeding and my crazy pills.  And I did not go to the hospital when the doctor told me I should go to the hospital because I’m stupid stubborn, or because it’s just too much work to find someone to come mind mah babehs at 10 p.m.
Anyway.  My head still hurts.  I need it to stop hurting.  Suggestions? Ideas? Cheap narcotics? 
What are you up to?

once again it is monday

Good Morning, friends. I like to think about you, even the many yous that are hiding out there in West Wherever, whose faces are like little secrets of mine. Sometimes, well, usually when I write, I think of you sitting with me, on my red and flowery sofa, drinking coffee, and that we chat like the oldest and dearest of friends.
Usually we talk about the weather, or the guy in my neighborhood who mows his lawn in a Speedo from April to November, about the chickens or the gardens and what we will eat for dinner. Sometimes I listen to you tell me about the myriad things going on in your neck of West Wherever.
We laugh, we chatter, we sit in the quiet.
Today I am sad and overwhelmed and unmotivated. There are dishes to do, and laundry to move along and fold. There are orders I need to cut and sew for pretties people have ordered from Revel Baby. There are pictures to edit and delete, and I desperately need a shower. DESPERATELY. I am painting scenery for the play I’m directing, props to gather. Miss O’s flower girl dress for next weekend’s wedding sits as a pile of chopped up material. My dress for next weekend’s wedding sits folded up, one uncut piece of material hidden by a thousand tissue paper pattern pieces. The piano music sits in a folder in the bottom of my blue birdy bag, waiting to be practiced for next weekend’s wedding. Because I’m the pianist, naturally. Or insanely. Either way.
Next weekend’s wedding unites my younger brother and his love. It will also put my entire family in a room together for the first time in nine years. Mother, father, two brothers, their wives, me, The Mister, our children, my nephews.
Nine years. It weighs heavily on my spirit today, as is has for the past however many thousands of days.
I don’t know if I’m up for the Happy Family Game. Do you know the one I mean, friends? Equal parts denial, pretending, and choking? People play this game all of the time, but I just don’t know how, and I don’t think that I want to learn.
We will make cupcakes, from a box because we have no butter, and we will frost them with frosting from a can, also because we have no butter. We will pick up sticks from the windy weekend, and paint scenery. The laundry will wash, and dry, and sit folded on the green sofa until a date to be determined by the direction the wind blows in combination with the availability of willing labourers and also the price of tea in China. We will eat Swedish Fish and have pasta for dinner.

more happiness today…

Just not really for me.  I was rudely awakened 45 minutes earlier than normal (and normal is difficult for me, people), and found myself out of bed, downstairs, coffee in hand, sitting on the floor playing flipping CANDYLAND before 7 am.  I love my children, but this is really pushing it.  And the only reason I did this is because I am a saint, and the poster-mama for being awesome because Wee Man asked so.ridiculously.sweetly. I had to do it.
I tried to make Alton Brown’s Chocolate Syrup recipe today because I tasted it this weekend and it is FREAKING AMAZING.  And the recipe?  Wicked easy, unless you have a three year-old who throws a temper tantrum just as the sugar syrup comes to a boil and you are so distracted that you walk away from the stove and then you pretty much light the world on fire with burning sugar syrup.  
(I’ve been warned to add the corn syrup in the recipe to the sugar and water before boiling it or else the whole thing crystallizes and goes to crap.)
Also?  The allergies.  
And of course I have a blistering case of allergies on Earth Day.  Makes me kind of want to cancel Earth Day all together, and you might think that as The Boss of Things I wield that sort of power.  And that’s okay if you want to think that. I won’t discourage you.
But I can’t cancel Earth Day, mostly because my Sleepy Wrap peeps and their Boba Carrier buddies are doing some serious giving away.  The Sleepy Wrap peeps are giving away two Sleepy Wraps and five Organic Sleepy Bears.  Team Boba is giving away a brand spanking new Organic Boba 2G Baby Carrier.  
To enter, click the link and share one thing you’ve done to become more earth-friendly.  For and extra entry, you can also follow SleepyWrap and Boba Carrier on Twitter, and fan each product on Facebook, which is super-awesome because not only are you entered to win, but for each new fan and follower, NAP, Inc. (the parent company) is planting a tree.  Pretty sweet.
I have to go now, people.  I need some happiness in my life, and I’m heading over to win me a Boba.

a little coffee tutorial

I know, I’m a photoshop genius.  Head over to Equal Exchange and buy their coffee.  I suggest the ten pound box of beans, because it’s a fantastic deal and also because I’m an addict.

And not that there’s anything to disclose, but the Dunkin’ Donuts quote-unquote coffee beans were a gift from my father-in-law.  I bought the nomnomnommy Equal Exchange coffee with my veryown money.