July 29, 2009


My kitty Georgie died this afternoon. I don't want to make a huge deal about it, because I realize he was a housepet and that he was elderly, but I'm in the mood to talk about him a little and so I will.

I got Georgie from a shelter in 1994 when I was married to my first husband, which means Georgie predates my current husband and all five of my children.

Kitten Georgie drying in the sun after a bath, in 1994 in the apartment I lived in during my first marriage. That's a sprouted avocado pit acting like a tree nearby. The avocado plant died in a later move, and I haven't successfully sprouted another pit. When my first husband and I decided to divorce, I was worried he would fight me for the cats. I needn't have been: he said, "YOU are taking the cats" and I said "Whew."

In this photo it is 1996, and Paul and I are living together in our first apartment. Georgie is holding a banana bread recipe for me while I bake.

Still in our first apartment, and by now Paul and I are married. Georgie is investigating the stock pot, and evidently I am baking cookies.

Here it's 1999, and Georgie is giving newborn Robert a careful sniffing the day we brought him home from the hospital.

It's 2005 and we've been living in our house for over 4 years. We have 4 children. Tolerant, patient Georgie allows baby Edward to lean on him and examine his collar.

This is his usual spot, in his favorite box on the desk next to my computer monitor. I buried him in it this afternoon, so my desk looks weird and empty.

July 28, 2009


This morning I woke from a dream in which I was tending to an old, fat owl named Charlie, and I must have worked REALLY HARD tending to Charlie because my eyes are crossing with exhaustion. I'm fantasizing about the number 1 combo at Dunkin' Donuts (which doughnuts would I choose? would I get toasted almond coffee again or would I try another flavor?), but instead I made do with my coffee pot, some flavored creamer, and two muffins. Meh. I'm still cross-eyed.

Meanwhile the children are acting as if they have to keep talking at a certain speed or the bus will explode, and the laundry is smelling as if someone wiped up milk and didn't rinse the washcloth, and I just spent $35 on THREE TEASPOONS of antibiotic for a cat who got bitten by another cat, and I think it's the EXACT SAME ANTIBIOTIC the pharmacy sells for less than $10 for a whole bottle even without insurance. And I have a mosquito bite on the inside of my knee. Annnnnnnddddd....I think that's all I can think of to complain about.

Feel free to add your own complaints and/or doughnut preferences.

July 27, 2009

Coffee and Doughnuts

Yesterday I took Rob and William to a craft store at their request. I also took Henry, because at home he's as much work as the other four children combined, but in a store he can be seatbelted into a cart---so if I'm leaving Paul stuck at home, I try to take Henry with me.

I forgot it was Sunday: the craft store wasn't open yet and wouldn't be for another half hour. Well, pooh. Okay, fine, we will go to the Dollar Store.....which also doesn't open for another half hour. Staples? Half-hour.

Rob suggested Dunkin' Donuts, where I have taken them two or three times in their young lives, and he did it in the perfect tone of voice: hopeful but not expectant. Soooooooooooooo...kay.

And we had a great time. I fretted for awhile about maximizing the value of our order, and finally said screw it and went for convenience ordering: I got the number 1 combo, which is a coffee and two doughnuts, and then I had Rob and William each choose two doughnuts. And we got a super-considerate clerk who paused for an almost imperceptible moment and then without drawing attention to it changed our order to maximize the value, which saved us 60 cents. I suppose 60 cents is no big deal, but it is a very pleasing thing to me, and it also pleases me that it is a pleasing thing to the clerk.

Henry ate almost my entire chocolate butternut doughnut while I ate my Boston Cream, and the older boys ate their doughnuts with bravado, ignoring my suggestion that they might want to eat half of each and save the other halves for later. My coffee was delicious: I'd never ordered a flavor there before because I was too shy to ask if it cost extra money, but this time I thought of an easy way to ask and I was rewarded with toasted almond flavor along with my cream and sugar, and MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm.

We went to the craft store, and I'd brought with me some 8.5x11 things I'd thought I'd have to have custom-framed ($$$$$$) because of their size, but it turns out there is such a thing as 8.5x11 document frames ($) so I was all set and couldn't believe I'd put this off for several YEARS.

I wish I could tell you that my children spent their allowances on enriching craft supplies (perhaps something for making an "I Love You" project for their mother?), but instead they both bought Fart Putty, which is like silly putty but also makes realistic gross sounds. On the way home they were both making such sounds, and Rob said cheerfully, "Welcome to Mom Hell!" It was fortunate I was fortified with coffee and doughnuts.

July 25, 2009

Boys in Pink Clothing

Henry wanted to wear Elizabeth's shirt yesterday, and we allowed it for a couple of hours. It was surprisingly shocking to see him in it. Partly, I think, because Elizabeth was Late in the Hair Department, so he doesn't too different than she did.

Henry in Elizabeth's shirt

It reminded me of when we did an April Fool's Day photo of the twins wearing each other's clothing, and I sent it out to a bunch of friends and family, and pretty much nobody noticed the joke.

Edward makes a very pretty girl.

July 24, 2009

Increased-Nutrition Muffin Recipe

You guys were so nice about yesterday's hand-wringing. Such support and reassurance! I am beginning to think I could say I had a bowl of kittens with milk for breakfast, and at least some of you would say, "Awwwwww, CUTE!"

In fact, I started feeling like maybe I COULD go to BlogHer, if I started thinking about it a year in advance, and if I took a bunch of you with me to say "Awwwww, CUTE!" whenever I ran for cover and/or said something lame, and if we had our own slogan, like, "We're scared. We don't do so well with personal interaction. We're going anyway" (catchy, yes? I see t-shirts), and if I roomed with my friend of twenty years (OMG, twenty??) Astarte so I would only be HALF as fretful about sharing/snoring, and if I checked through some luggage so I could bring several large bottles of liquid, and if I just went ahead and hid in the bathroom when I felt like it but put up a sign indicating WHICH bathroom so you could join me if you were so inclined.

But I was telling my mom about it, and my mom has known me for many many years, and she said that if I started talking seriously about this she was calling a psychiatrist. She says she thinks I'm just feeling left out, and that if I were to actually GO I would be wretched, and not in an amusing, endearing, "Awwwww, CUTE!" way either. It is possible she is right. It is a little difficult to separate Social Fantasy from Social Reality.

I am ready to debut the increased-nutrition muffin recipe I've been working on. But first: you will need to go buy some silicone muffin cups liners, because they hugely improved everything about these muffins except the clean-up. I don't recommend a silicone baking PAN: I tried one of those and it kept making the muffins all singed (that looks like "sing"ed, but it's "singe"d) (well now singe doesn't look right either) (SCORCHED, it kept making the muffins all scorched). The silicone LINERS don't, for some reason. In fact, I am now using silicone liners in my silicone muffin pan, as well as in my metal muffin pans.

I bought three sets of the liners at Home Goods. The first set was Trudeau (same as the measuring cups/spoons I like), and I found them on clearance but the usual price is $6 for 6 of them, which is pretty steep. So the next set I bought was some other brand ( <---poor reporting skillz) (I'll see if I can find out which kind the next time I go to H.G.) (edit: okay, they're Chef Select Ergo), and it was $5 for 12 cups, which is better---and to my surprise the CUPS were better, too: the Trudeau ones were good enough that they made me decide to switch to silicone, but the other brand were so great the muffins lifted right out of them instead of needing to be encouraged.
Encouraging a silicone muffin cup: hold the top of the muffin in one hand, and push a ripple of muffin cup all the way around the muffin with your other thumb.

So I bought a second set of the other brand---and they were not as good. Very odd. The first set was bright pink and orange, and those are the best; the second set was light pink and light blue, and they're more like the Trudeau.

Well. Anyway. Start with silicone muffins cups, because greasing the pans did not work out for me and maybe it won't work out for you either: not only was it messy, but the muffins tasted singed scorched. I don't grease the silicone, but maybe I should. I'm not washing them either, but maybe I should. It's all experimental at this point. Here's the recipe:

Swistle's Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Peanut-Butter Chocolate-Chip Flax-Seed-Meal Muffins
1/3 cup flax seed meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
someone's partially-eaten banana, mashed up, OR 1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup peanut butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If your oven is like mine, one back burner gets hot when the oven is on. So I take a small saucepan, I put the butter and the peanut butter in it, and I let it soften/melt on that back burner while I'm getting the other stuff together. I turn the burner on for a minute or two at the end if things aren't melty enough, but the peanut butter scorches super-easily. You could also microwave.

Where were we? Oh yes: just starting out. In a biggish bowl, mix the flax seed meal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, banana/applesauce, and vanilla, and then add the melty butter and peanut butter mixture. When it's all stirred up, add the chocolate chips and stir again.

Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff, and stir just until the dry stuff disappears. Spoon into a silicone-muffin-cup-lined muffin pan. Bake 24 minutes. Wait a few minutes, then remove muffins from silicone muffin cups and perch them on the edges of the pan to cool. (The cups are harder to remove if they cool all the way.)

I get 12-15 muffins from this recipe, depending on how generously I scoop them and how much banana someone didn't eat.

So! Recipe notes:

• I think the muffins are mighty tasty, especially the morning they're baked, but I increased the whole wheat and flax gradually, so perhaps it would be more of a shock going directly. I started with 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/6 cup flax seed meal (rough measurement---just half of the 1/3 cup measure I used for the flour), and and 1 cup white flour.

• I also decreased the chocolate chips from 1 cup, so perhaps starting with 1 cup would be an easier transition.

• I started with 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter. I tried it with all peanut butter and no butter, but I thought even a tablespoon of butter improved the whole recipe.

• Since flour brands can vary tremendously, I'll mention I used King Arthur Traditional 100% Whole Wheat Flour. I chose it for no particular reason other than "that's the one our grocery store carries."

• I tried it with bananas instead of pumpkin and the muffins were too sweet and too sticky. Not a failure, but noticeably too sweet/sticky. I'll bet 1/2 cup of pumpkin, 1 banana, and 1/4 cup applesauce would be good. Or 3/4 cup pumpkin and a whole banana.

• I'll bet it would be good with nuts, but I haven't tried it because the children won't eat nuts, and if I lose the "fling them on the table and let the children scrabble for them" convenience, then what, I ask you, is the point?

• We usually finish off a batch in one day, but if I have leftovers I like to heat them up in the microwave to make the chocolate chips melty again. Ten seconds for a muffin works well in my microwave.

July 23, 2009

My Reason: Too Scared

It feels weird not to be at BlogHer. It has started to seem like "Bloggers go to BlogHer." Like, if we're bloggers, why aren't we there? What are we missing? Are we making a mistake? Too late now.

I don't know if this comes through in Teh Writing, but I am a socially fearful person. I'm SCARED to meet you. I would need to DRINK or MEDICATE, and afterward I would fret about every single thing I said or didn't say, and my face would be burning with embarrassment, and I would be thinking I should never go out in public again. And I do realize that it's pretty common to declare nervousness and/or awkness about social stuff, and so not particularly interesting. But here we are at BlogHer time, and it's on my mind.

The fashion element of BlogHer makes me nervous. All the talk of mani/pedis, diets, new clothes, new shoes, worrying about what to wear, getting new highlights, debuting cute new outfits. I'd been thinking I'd wear what I wear every day, which is Lands' End jeans and an Old Navy t-shirt and, like, sandals, and I'd put my hair back in a clip as usual. But I don't think that would work, not without making a Big Counter-Culture Deal about it.

I worry because people talk about how cliquey it is, and how "the cool bloggers" don't spend enough time talking to everyone else, and it sounds like a minefield of misunderstandings and hurt feelings and unintentional snubs and mental rankings and assorted celebrity issues, and I hate the whole "cool kids' lunch table" concept that gets so overused.

I worry because in person I'm different than I am in writing. In writing, I'm not scared, and I'm social. In person, I hide and cringe. In college I took a one-weekend job where I had to talk to the general public as they entered the store, and I ended up hiding in the bathroom and I am not kidding. Hiding in the bathroom at BlogHer seems like a big waste of money.

And everybody has roommates, right? So I wouldn't be able to hide in my room, and it would be people people people every minute. And how do people split bills and choose a lights-out time and figure out who gets to use the shower first OMG?

Well. I do want to go. I do. Do you? I do want to meet you. I do want to look cute. I don't want BlogHer to be different than it is, even though that's the way I think of it when I'm thinking of why I'm too scared to go. But I'm stuck. I'm too scared to go.

Why aren't you there?

July 22, 2009


Well. It looks like we are going to get a dishwasher. We had one in our first apartment together, but not since then---so, not for nearly 10 years. It's going to be odd changing our whole dish system, which took us...well, nearly 10 years to work out.

What I was wondering is if you'd be willing to offer wise counsel. What have you liked about your dishwasher? What do you wish you could change?

July 20, 2009

On a Quest. May Give Tattoo Party a Shot. Explain Later.

This weekend Paul went to a flea market, and he came home with this basket (hello, '80s Dusty Rose!) of postcards for me, for my own collection and to fuel my Postcrossing hobby. I've been looking through them, and I have NEVER SEEN so many vintage Holiday Inn postcards in my LIFE.

I think Lounge-Chair Girlie is going steady with Standing Guy and wondering why he is talking to Leg-Flirting Girlie. That's a pretty dramatic side-part you've got going on there, Standing Guy.

Look, the Holiday Inn is fun for THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Many of the postcards are NON-motel-based, and so far the earliest one is postmarked 1903. NINETEEN OH THREE! It traveled through the postal systemfor 1 cent, and now here I am holding it 106 years later, while the original sender and recipient are probably---well, "no longer collecting postcards," how's that for tactful?

I've been poring over all the written-on ones, which so far include the early 1900s and also the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s (perhaps it would have been easier to say what I HAVEN'T found yet, which is 1920s and 1930s), and I have learned something important about human beings through the ages: we wrote JUST as boring postcards back then as we do now.

In 1913, Pinky wrote to Margaret on a postcard of a hospital: "Not quite like Burbank -- but then you can never tell from the outside."

In 1948, Sis wrote to Sis on a postcard from Hawaii: "Such a beautiful island wish I might stop over longer. Met Grady's brother wife and baby who live here. Had a nice visit etc with them. Will write later. Was about all in by the time we landed here last night."

In 1954, Louise writes to Angie on a postcard from California: "We are having a swell time. This is where we go swimming. The weather has been swell so far."

In 1966, Elsie wrote to Frank on a postcard from Florida: "We are just beginning to get some good weather, now it is time to go home. But have had a nice time & found plenty to do."

In 1967, Clara wrote to Mrs. Bruce on a postcard of The Golden Gate Hotel: "Arrived here March 3rd in same building as previous years. Weather is just perfect here. 400 apts in this motel, picture is of the hotel on east side."

In 1976, Helen and Sam wrote to Nellie on a postcard from El Paso, Texas: "Have had a good trip & nice visits all the way since we left on the 12th. We'll be leaving here for Phoenix tomorrow and will keep in touch."

Not exactly the peek into the past I was hoping for.

They're not entirely without interest. For example, isn't it weird thinking about Grady's brother's child, who was a baby in 1948 when that postcard was written, and is now at least 60 years old? Freaky. And I do wonder how a "visit etc" differs from a regular visit. But in general the postcards might as well say "I need to fill up this little square so I can send this."

Okay, this one is pretty good. In 1990, Linda & Matt wrote to Mom & Dad on a postcard from Aruba: "Hello. Having a wonderful time. We're going on a quest. Snorkeling. Cave hunting. Shell hunting. May give the Tattoo Party a shot. Explain later."

July 17, 2009

Three Old Posts

Whimsy's Blogdrought Remedy for this week is choosing three of YOUR OWN posts for people to read. If you want to participate, leave a comment on Whimsy's post and she'll put you in the list.

Okay, so here are mine. I went back to fall of 2006, which is when I first sat at my computer thinking, "Swis...ter? Swis...tmas? Swis...ten? Swis...shizzle? Swis...R Us? Swis...tergate?"

Earned Praise; Also, More Bitching About Dishes is, um, certainly NOT a post I've written many, many times with only slight variations to include different chores.

Barely Holding it Together is ALSO not a post I've written many, many times, with only slight variations to include different children and clutter.

Smelly is a post from shortly after I found out I was expecting Henry.

July 15, 2009


For those of you who like posts about deals, I just posted a deals post over at Milk and Cookies.

Treatment Plan

Yesterday I took all five children to the pool, and I will just pause here a moment to receive my medal. No---TWO medals. AND we had a picnic, so that would be another medal please.

When we got home, I'd expected them to be tired out from swimming and also mentally stunned from chlorine fumes, and I'd thought that in ANY case my awesome few hours of medal-winning parenthood would buy me a few hours of peace and consideration. I guess I was imagining the children saying to each other, "Mother was so kind to us this morning and gave us such a lovely treat! Now let's give HER a lovely treat and entertain ourselves quietly!"

Instead, I ended up LAUGHING because their questions and requests and needs were SO! INCREDIBLY! CONSTANT! Seriously, if I made a little timeline and charted the children's needs, the timeline would be three layers deep to include all the overlap. One child would say, "Can we go to the park?" and I would say, "Are you effing kidding me? No, not today, honey," and another child would say, "Can I have a drink?" while the first child said, "Well, can we go to Target?" and I'd say "Sure, go get it" to the second child and "NO, honey, we're home for the day," to the first child, and then a third and fourth child would start fighting and get to the point where I could no longer pretend they could work it out themselves, and then the first child would say, "Do you want to hear a great joke?" and the fourth child would say, "I NEED TO GO POTTY!!" and I would say "Oh, no thank you, honey, not right now" to the first child and "Ooooo-kay, go ahead then" to the fourth child, and then the fifth child would open the baby gate and the third child would shriek "HENRY IS OPENING THE GATE!! HENRY IS OPENING THE GATE!!" and the second child would say, "Can you get it for me?" and and I would say, "Okay, I'll be right there!" to the third child and "No, no, honey, leave the gate closed" to the fifth child and "NO I THINK YOU CAN DO THIS YOURSELF" to the second child, and the third child would say, "Henry sure is a naughty baby, isn't he!" and the first child would launch into a long description of a comic strip he read once, and then the second child would call from the kitchen, "I spilled!" and the fourth child would say "I NEED HELP WITH MY BUTTON" and the fifth child would fall and hurt himself and start crying.

So by the time Paul got home, you can imagine what a frazzled wreck I was. Here is what I self-prescribed: LEAVING EVERYONE IN A CLOUD OF DUST. We put the kids to bed at 7:00, and I was out the door before their bedroom doors had clicked shut. I drove the minivan with ONLY ME in it. I listened to music without input or interruption. I stopped furtively at a den of iniquity and got a fish sandwich, french fries, and diet Coke, and I ate while driving to Target.

At Target I got a cart and I put my PURSE in the baby seat. I browsed without having my concentration constantly interrupted. The only question I answered the entire time I was there was "Can I help you find anything?" I easily stayed out of the way of other customers, without having to hiss "SINGLE FILE you oblivious dimheads!" to children spreading aimlessly across the entire aisle. I spent, like, ten minutes just looking at make-up, and didn't have to park the cart in the center of the aisle to keep grabby/throwy fingers away from the merchandise.

Then I drove home, listening to music and not talking. Very, very pleasant. I was still fretful and frazzled when I got home. But! I was better than before. One cannot expect a full recovery from a single dose of medication.

July 14, 2009

Swistle Mix Tape

I've been looking up Top 40 lists from my formative years and then looking up the songs on YouTube. Fun! And weird! I started with the 1990 Top 40, and then I just kept changing the year in the URL.

Here are the things that stand out to me, as I revisit these old videos:

1. The hair.

2. The guitar solos in the middle of the songs.

3. The way music videos used to be pretty much just the band performing the song on a stage.

One thing that has been surprising me is THE HAIR. And it should NOT be a surprise, considering that the bands of my formative years are called "hair bands." And I was THERE, and I was doing things like that to my OWN hair, so I'd expect all these things together to lead to a pretty firm memory of The Hair. Still: surprising.

Check out Vixen. ZOMG HAIR. "Edge of a Broken Heart" is in the "songs I still like" category, rather than the "oh dear, how embarrassing" category.

Please pardon the weird, wrong-lyrics version of this Skid Row video and just check out how YUMMY Sebastian Bach is. But do you find yourself wondering what he would look like with a haircut?

Ditto for Nelson. Boys, boys. I wanted your hair for myself SO BADLY. But on you? Well. I'm untressing you with my eyes.

Another one that still sounds good to me is Poco's "Call it Love". But what a sad, cynical attitude, Poco!

We Built This City is the song I used to play again and again on the jukebox (you're welcome, other patrons!), and in fact Starship is the first album I ever bought. And do you know what? It was a record. A record, an actual RECORD! My dad put it on our record player and recorded a cassette version for me. And my mother was very upset at what a dangerous Acid Rock album it was, and fretted that I shouldn't be allowed to have it.

How many times did I replay Roxette's "Church of Your Heart"? Let's not investigate.

Anyway, this is the list I've been going through. Feel free to add to it.

We Built This City -- Starship
No One is to Blame -- Howard Jones
Say You, Say Me -- Lionel Richie
Catch Me (I'm Falling) -- Pretty Poison
Stranded -- Heart
Edge of a Broken Heart -- Vixen
Mad About You -- Belinda Carlisle
Don't Worry Be Happy -- Bobby McFerrin
Kiss Him Goodbye -- The Nylons
Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You -- Glenn Medeiros
Make Me Lose Control -- Eric Carmen
Do You Believe in Love -- Huey Lewis and the News
Jump for My Love -- Whitney Houston
Eternal Flame -- Bangles
I Drove All Night -- Cyndi Lauper
Call It Love -- Poco
The Last Worthless Evening -- Don Henley
Because of You -- The Cover Girls
A Little Respect -- Erasure
(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection -- Nelson
When I See You Smile -- Bad English
Time for Me to Fly -- REO Speedwagon
Personal Jesus -- Depeche Mode
A Groovy Kind of Love -- Phil Collins
Little Liar -- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Church of Your Heart -- Roxette
Right Here Waiting -- Richard Marx
Release Me -- Wilson Phillips
I Remember You -- Skid Row
I Want You -- Shana
Hooked on You -- Sweet Sensation
King of Wishful Thinking -- Go West
Close My Eyes Forever -- Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne
Cold Hearted -- Paula Abdul
Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue -- Exposé
In Your Eyes -- Peter Gabriel
You're the Inspiration -- Chicago

July 10, 2009

Three Things to Read

(This is for Whimsy's Blogdrought Remedy.)

1. Notthedaddy's minister daddy would like to hide his porn collection at her house.

2. Identifying and Avoiding Autism Cults was thought-provoking and seemed like it could be applied to all kinds of cults. And that's what I look for in a post: wide cult application.

3. Clueless but Hopeful Mama captures what it's like to bring the second child home. We've got kind of a Clueless but Hopeful Mama THEME going on today, Whimsy and me. Also a THEME theme.

July 9, 2009

Food is the New Morality

I was BOWLED OVER by Kira's comment on the Crisco post. Here's an excerpt:
I think a majority of the reaction to it is because food is the new morality. Trans fats aren't just sort of unhealthy, they are BAD and WRONG. Sugar isn't just simple carbs, it's OMG SUGAR DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE EATING THINK OF TEH CHILDREN. Whatever. I'm a rebel. I think food is food and morals are something different altogether.

Me: *stunned by revelation* As soon as I read this, I could FEEL my brain recalibrating. Files were getting moved around, and some unfiled paperwork was finally getting into the right folders.

FOOD IS THE NEW MORALITY. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I think she should write a book. I would buy ten copies.

My mom and I were talking about it yesterday, and she mentioned denominations: Church of Atkins, Reformed Church of Atkins, Church of Raw Food, Our Holy Mother Jenny Craig, etc.

Because of the spiritual importance of food, people feel a DRIVE to save others via evangelism and condemnation. IT IS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD, is the feeling. SOULS MUST BE SAVED.

There are traveling preachers who come to us with messages of what foods are Good and what foods are Bad, recording their wisdom in books and expensive food systems. Salvation can be yours. Give all you have: your money, your time.

Thinness is the new righteousness. Exercise is the new church attendance. Recent converts test the love and patience of all around them.

Obesity is the new depravity. People must be saved from themselves. They wear their sins like a cloak, and their sins bring them terrible consequences: all bad things are linked to excessive/wrong foods.


July 8, 2009


I just placed a super-fun order. I'd written over at Milk and Cookies about two-piece swimming suits for little girls, and the heartache of that post was that I'd found the PERFECT suit (two-piece for easy peeing, but almost as much coverage as a one-piece, and also very pretty) but it wasn't in Elizabeth's size: she's a 4T and the biggest size was 3T.

Encouraged by a comment from Heather about L.L. Bean sizes running large, I considered ordering the 3T and hoping for the best---especially because Elizabeth is long-torsoed and needs a 4T mostly for the LENGTH, which wouldn't be an issue with a two-piece. So I went back to look at it and consider, and they HAD THE 4T IN STOCK. At $8.99 down from $24.50! So I bought that right the heck up.

Well, but I had a coupon for $10 off any order of $10 or more, and $8.99 is not $10 (see? math medal). So I did a little browsing just to see if there might be anything else I'd like to have. And I found this adorable fox sweater, $10.99 down from $26.50. That's still a little high for a sweater, since it's common to find sweaters post-season for under $5, but we have an interesting-to-us-but-boring-to-everyone-else fox appreciation that makes anything with a fox on it highly desirable.

And while I was browsing, I found these great tights, $6.99 for 2 pairs, down from $14.50. I can't tell from the photo, and the different color names probably mean NO, but it LOOKS like the coral tights might go perfectly with the sweater.

So I feel a little less irritable than yesterday. Now I'm going to write a bunch of postcards for Postcrossing, which always cheers me up too. I haven't yet had a repeat of my Postcrossing fantasy, but it could happen ANY DAY!

July 7, 2009


I'm feeling crabby.

1. I lovvvvvve Jeffery Deaver books, and have been on the hold list for the new one (Roadside Crosses) for a long time. Normally I'm full-on into a Jeffery Deaver book by about page 10, but this one is not grabbing me. I'm getting irritated by the theme, which is "OMG TEH INTERNETS ARE DANGEROUS OMG YOUR PRIVACY OMG SOMEONE COULD KILLLLLL YOUUUUUUUU!!!" but even more by the recurring evidence that the author is not in fact familiar with Teh Internets. He refers to a blog post as a "blog." He refers to comments on a blog post as "blog posts." He says that what makes a blog a blog are the hyperlinks. Wher? It's making me VERY IRRITABLE, because he keeps INTERRUPTING THE PLOT with a character saying something like, "Perhaps it would be useful if I explained the history of 'weblogs'!" and then---if you can believe it---DOING SO. Plus, now I'm all skittish about saying anything about the book on the internet because OMG I COULD BE KILLLLLLLLLLED.

2. I bought a bunch of ice cream on a good sale at Target ($2.50 Breyer's, plus I got a $5 gift card for buying 5, so that's $1.50 a carton), and now it's gone. And now I'm in the habit of eating ice cream every day, so I want want want it.

3. I love tuna. Every time I eat it, I worry about the mercury. I can almost feel the mercury...accumulating. Meanwhile, every famous person on earth is eating nothing but "lean meat and fish!" Oh yes? And what are you doing about the MERCURY POISONING? Or are you TOO THIN TO CARE?

4. I got behind on my celebrity magazines, and I'm trying to catch up. This means I have been reading Jon Kate Jon Kate Jon Kate lean meat Jon Kate fish Jon Kate, and seriously, is NOTHING ELSE of interest happening in the celebrity world? I like a little Jon & Kate as much as anyone (assuming we're taking an average), but it's been, like, eight cover stories so far.

5. The kids are taking swimming lessons. Elizabeth is screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" throughout each lesson. I don't know how much I'm supposed to get involved. Like, are the teachers wishing I would STEP IN AND HELP for heaven's sake, or are they hoping desperately that I'll GO AWAY so they can TEACH?

6. Rob and William have a....rocky relationship. In other words, they are bickering the living spit out of each other EVERY FROG-BANNED DAY. And each of them feels motivated to tell ME about EACH BICKER, and then BICKER about the inaccuracies in what the other one tattled.

7. I'm so sick of making dinner.

8. Every time Georgie coughs, I wonder if it's Time to Call the Vet.

9. I overpaid on a credit card ON PURPOSE, because it's a credit card I use for small occasional purchases and I hate writing teensy checks. But then the credit card company sent me a letter saying they were refunding my extra "as you requested" (which I HAD NOT) and I just found the refund check stuck in the wrong compartment of the bill-paying thingie I use to organize bill-related things, and it has EXPIRED. So hey, THAT was a LOT less trouble than WRITING A TEENSY CHECK.

July 5, 2009


We need to have a talk, and I think it's best to do these things fast, like ripping off a jewelry store. WHAT is the problem with Crisco? Every time I mention Crisco, there is recoiling of the kind I don't get when I mention butter. Some of my brother's friends ate three or four chocolate-chip cookies each, then asked for the recipe and discovered the Crisco. I swear they went pale. You could see their thoughts: "Would it be impolite to barf this up? Is etiquette a reason to risk my very life?"

Here are the nutrition labels from Crisco and from butter:



Crisco has 1 additional gram of fat per tablespoon, and so it also has an additional 10 calories per tablespoon. But only 3 grams of Crisco's fat are saturated, compared to 7 grams of butter's fat. Crisco has no cholesterol; butter has 30 mg per tablespoon (240 mg per stick). Crisco has no salt; butter has 90 mg per tablespoon (720 mg per stick). Crisco has monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats---those are the "good" ones, aren't they? Crisco is made from vegetable fats; butter is made from animal fats. Neither has any trans fat.

So who has a fight to pick with Crisco?---or at least, a fight they don't also have with butter? Is it that vegetable shortening gets confused with lard, since they look similar and are sold in similar-looking containers? Or is it something else?

July 3, 2009

Pulling Over

I LOVE pulling over for emergency vehicles. I do it fast and early and as far over as I can get, and please stop snickering because none of that is funny. I think I like it because I WANT to be someone who is Good In Emergencies, but instead I'm someone who Freezes In Emergencies, and so I love these rare opportunities when my role is absolutely clear to me and I can execute it with ease. It gives me a taste of what it must be like to see a reflection in your martini glass of someone sneaking up behind you, and immediately spin around and knock him unconscious with one swift kick.

One of my Hot Buttons, driving-wise, is people who don't pull over fast enough or early enough or far enough. Worst of all: people who irritably PULL AROUND ME when I pull over, revving off as if, given a choice between two theories: (1) this lady has pulled over for no apparent reason so I should look around to see if I can figure out what the reason IS and (2) this lady has pulled over for no apparent reason so obviously she is a FREAKING MORON, they go right to option 2 because DUH. Someone even HONKED at me once, before revving around. I hate that SO much, it...it...the...flames...flames...flames on the side of my face.

I also get steamed if, after the emergency vehicle goes by, someone uses it as an opportunity to pass all the suckers who pulled over. ERG!! If it were possible to MENTALLY pull out a gun and shoot out someone's tires, I would probably cause additional emergencies because of doing so.

July 2, 2009

N.P.B.W.W.F. Muffins

I'm attempting to modify my muffin recipe to increase the nutritiousosity (including the fiber, Jane!), since we eat those things pretty much every day. Amy suggested using peanut butter instead of butter, which not only improves the Fat Quantity/Quality situation, but also increases the protein and fiber. My Peanut Allergy Consultant Kelsey says she thinks this could also be done with SunButter, a peanut butter alternative made from sunflower seeds.

I'm also experimenting with replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat flour and flax seed meal. This morning I made a double batch, which uses 3 and 1/3 cups of flour. I used 1/3 cup flax seed meal, 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, and 2 and 1/3 cups white flour, and the muffins were way drier and way less yummy. But! Everyone ATE them.

When making such changes, I recommend first depriving the children of muffins for a week. If you have Delicious Buttery White Flour muffins on Monday, and Nutritiouser Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Flax muffins on Tuesday, you may find yourself in the midst of a protest. But if you have D.B.W.F. muffins on Monday, Boring Unappealing Cereals for a week, and then N.P.B.W.W.F. muffins the following Monday, you will (we hope) get more of a "Yay, muffins!" reaction.

Another change I'm making is I'm greasing the muffin cups instead of using papers. Reynold's finally pushed me too far: The papers used to cost 39 cents for 50. Then they were 59 cents for 50, and I was still on board. Now they are 89 cents, and the package only has 35 papers in it. No! I DRAW THE LINE!

So I'm Crisco-ing (I tried pan spray first, but it didn't work well), and then having to wash the pans afterward, and I am split in my opinion of this. On one hand, it is easier than I'd thought it would be (though I did have to get a new muffin pan, since one of mine wasn't coated). On the other hand, I find it makes me less inclined to make muffins, and when a batch DOES stick to the pans for some reason, it makes me LOSE MY BAKIN' MIND. So there's that. But I am absolutely not paying nearly 3 cents EACH for BAKING CUPS.