Monthly Archives: April 2012


Today is a Monday.  That simple fact alone could be the reason why my inner She-Hulk has been lurking just beneath the surface all day.

The fact that my house is in a state of utter chaos due to the ongoing floor repairs to the dining room after the water heater incident (see Being a Grownup for more details) is definitely a contributor.  Every piece of whatever that was in my dining room is now stacked in random corners of my living room and has turned my kitchen into either a maze or an Olympics slalom course.  Either way, I am deeply conscious that there may be a minotaur lurking in the kitchen every time I go in to make lunch or to put the laundry in the dryer.

I may also be suffering from chocolate deprivation.

I really am not angry at anyone or anything.  Really.  I’m just having one of those days.  You know the kind.  “I am well in body although considerably rumpled up in spirit, thank you, Ma’am.”  (Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery)  All I really need is a slate to break over my punching bag’s “head,” and I’d be well on my way to feeling better.  However, I can say with absolute certainty that it would (most unfortunately) be less destructive to pull a Pollyanna and to just be grateful that Mondays only happen once a week…and that I have six whole days before I have to have one again.  Throw in some ice cream and I just might be set!


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Going Bananas

Yesterday, I spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time agonizing over what to do with the two (very) ripe bananas hanging out on my kitchen counter.  Banana bread seemed just too obvious of an answer.  So, after much soul and recipe searching, I decided to make…banana bread.  However,  this particular loaf of banana bread counted nonfat plain yogurt and chocolate chips amongst its ingredients, so I deemed it slightly more interesting than the “normal” stuff.”  It was supposed to have orange zest in it, too, but I forgot to put it in after I grated it.  I also decided to bake it in my bread machine because I never seem to be able get the baking time right when I do it in my oven.  (Read: I burn it.  Badly.  Hello, smoke detector…)

Holy potatoes.  I am pretty sure that this was the best the best banana bread I’ve ever had, let alone made.  I’m sure that the calorie count would make me cry if I knew what it was, but I didn’t check, so I don’t think it counts.  My husband gave it two thumbs up, so it’s been added to the list of things to make again.

I mean, we really need to see what it tastes like with the orange zest.

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The inimitable Thomas Edison wrote (regarding his quest to invent the light bulb), “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.”  Keeping that in mind, I did not fail to write my blog post yesterday.  I simply found 11 things to do that did not lead to a completed blog post.

The cream of ogre soup and freshly baked bread made for a fabulous family dinner.  (Note: no ogres were actually harmed in the making of this dinner.  It’s just that split peas are so suggestive of ogre essence.  Plus, it’s so much more fun to tell husband and kid that we’re having ogres for dinner.)

I finished all of the laundry before more was made.

I was able to finish inputting my oldest kid’s grades into the new database program I found so that I can generate his report card on Friday (to close out the first term since we started homeschooling…which is a pretty big deal).  The program is awesome.  Finding it 8 weeks ago would have been more awesome, but I digress.

My baby and I had some more crawling lessons.  ( I know how, but he doesn’t.)  He has managed the launch position about 6 times on his own now, and rolling around on the carpet while the dogs try to figure out what’s going on is always a good time.

My oldest learned how to use a simple balance.  Together, we discovered that a nickel weighs 5 grams and that 12 nickels weigh 60 (science plus math equals awesome), a box of 24 crayons weighs 133 grams and my husband’s watch weighs 158 grams.

My husband and I even got to watch half of “Braveheart” together before giving in to exhaustion.

It was a very successful day, even though my “new post” browser window remained blank.  To paraphrase the Mythbusters, failure of this sort is always an option.

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Killing Time

I woke up this morning pretty sure that either I was being attacked by a killer rabbit with laser eyes or that there was an incoming air raid.  You’d think that I would have been grateful to realize that it was neither a rabbit or a bomber squadron…it was just my alarm clock.  However, I was not.

In fact, I spent the next ten minutes fantasizing about the best way to kill said alarm clock.  Beating it to death with a sledgehammer would be tremendously satisfying, but so would be methods involving explosives and rounds of buckshot.  Poison would be ineffective, and my inner technician shies away from anything to do with water and electronics.  (Shock hazards, you understand.)  I was definitely leaning towards the sledgehammer at this point.  I just felt that the sheer destructive nature of smashing it would make me feel like the hundreds of mornings begun with minor heart failure were all worth it.

And then, the snoozed alarm went off again.  I briefly saw red, then sighed and slunk downstairs to pack my husband’s lunch.  I hope the stupid clock realizes how lucky it is for not being on my side of the bed.  If it was, its reign of terror just might have ended this morning.

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The Case of the Blue Foil Wrappers

I awoke to find my mother standing over me, hands on her hips. Even half-asleep, I could see that she was wearing the face usually reserved for when I’d done something…questionable.

“What?” I said defensively. “I haven’t had time to do anything yet.”

She held up a blue foil wrapper belonging to my favorite rice-crispy treats. “Danny, this is the third one of these that I’ve found left on the couch this week,” she scolded. “How many times have I told you to throw your trash away?” While the honest answer to this question was “too many times to count, Mom,” I figured that silence might serve me better since, this time, I really hadn’t done it. I arranged my face into what I hoped was an innocent expression.

She sighed. “Hurry up and get dressed. Breakfast is on the table. Don’t forget to let Jack out before you leave for school.”

Jack was my lovable, dopey, and rather chubby beagle. “C’mon, Jack!” I called. “Outside!” He grunted. I shook his box of snacks and whistled. Nothing ever motivated Jack quite like food. He jumped off the couch and bounded towards me as I opened the door to let him in the backyard. I looked back over at the couch, and saw a glint of blue against the chocolaty-brown cushions. Stuffing my toast in my mouth, I went over to investigate. “Mom!” I yelled. “I bet it was Jack!”

I could almost hear her rolling her eyes. “You blame that dog for everything,” she called. “He’s not smart enough!”

She had a point…well, two points really, but I’d often wondered whether Jack was really a lot smarter than he looked. I needed to get proof, though. My eyes fell on the small spy camera I’d gotten for my last birthday. Genius, I thought. I whistled for Jack, and he ambled towards me. I knelt next to him, and fastened the camera to his collar. “Dude, eat a breath mint or something,” I muttered as he contentedly panted in my face. I headed off for school, daydreaming about what I might find on the camera when I got home.

Jack was a wriggling mass of excitement when I rushed inside later that day. I pushed him into a sitting position and removed the camera from his collar with some difficulty. As I plugged it into my computer, I looked down at him, and his tail thumped in response. “You’re so busted,” I told him. I began to play the video diary of my dog’s day. I fast-forwarded through some grainy footage of Jack snoring, drinking out of the toilet, and wandering into the kitchen. I saw a chair come into focus, my dog’s feet on the counter, and the box of rice crispy treats. “Mom! I told you,” I exulted. I rewound the video to the chair segment, and together we watched as Jack climbed onto the counter, took a treat from the box, and ate it on the couch, leaving the wrapper behind.

Mom looked down at Jack. He grinned unrepentantly. “Reform school,” she said, but she was laughing.

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“Whoops…when did Saturday happen?”

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

Apparently, today is Sunday.  I know that because we went to church this morning.  This means that Saturday was yesterday and it also means that I missed a day of posting.  In my defense, I honestly didn’t know what day it was.  I thought it was Friday, which means I was covered.  My bad.  I totally planned to write about…something.  I’m sure that I thought it had the potential to be brilliant, but it’s gone forever.  On that note, I hereby solemnly swear to pay more attention to which day of the week I’m on so that hiccups of this sort don’t happen.  Often.

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Reliving “Titanic”

Today is the day before the eve of the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic.

Since I was introduced to the James Cameron version of the Titanic story by my sister, I’ll admit that I’ve had moments of sporting a flippant ‘tude towards the way the movie ended.  I just couldn’t get past the whole Rose-doesn’t-share-the-door-with-Jack thing…plus the moment in time in which she solemnly tells him that she’ll “never let go, Jack” just before consigning him to the briny deep.  Really?  Woman, if you had split up the time spent in the water, he might have survived and you both could have lived happily ever after.  The real tragedy of the Titanic was obscured by my frustration at the fake one.  At some point, however, that all vanished and it took today for me to realize why.

My boys and I spent the day at a museum near us that hosted a Titanic Day event for homeschoolers.  When we checked in, my oldest was handed a passport and a ticket.  The second-class ticket was labeled with a name: Reverend Thomas R. D. Byles.  We were informed that in the Titanic display, there was a roster to check to see whether he survived or not.  My oldest got to participate in a scavenger hunt where he had to ask key characters for information about their experiences onboard the ship…why they were traveling, who they were with and did they survive.  He got to see a working model of the Titanic’s engines and to talk with a fireman about his job shoveling coal for the boilers.  He made a few toys not unlike the ones that the children might have played with as they sailed across the Atlantic on the Titanic.  We got to listen to period music, and he learned how to play a horse race dice game (hello, Vegas?) as well as shuffleboard and skittles.  We heard the Unsinkable Molly Brown (who by the way hated the name Molly and went by Maggie until they decided to turn her story into a Broadway musical) give a presentation on what the Titanic itself would have been like, introducing some of the more well-known passengers, and then describing the iceberg and its aftermath.  This evening, to wrap up the whole experience, we watched a childproofed version of the James Cameron “Titanic” (sans the portrait and “wrestling” scenes).  It was at the moment where a young immigrant woman clutching her tiny baby desperately asked the captain where she should go that I had an epiphany.

It is impossible to be flippant about the Titanic when one is married and a parent.  I can’t imagine the agony of saying goodbye to my husband, knowing that I will probably never see him again.  I can’t imagine the panic of trying to get my boys to a lifeboat, or the unspeakable horror of knowing that I failed.

Actually, I can imagine…all too clearly.  The various scenarios have been playing on repeat in my head all day.  The goal for the field trip was to get past the romanticized Hollywood and Broadway fuzz and the endless forensic analysis and conjecture of books and to really relive the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Mission accomplished.

In case you were wondering, our assigned passenger was supposed to be performing his brother’s wedding ceremony after he got to New York.  He wasn’t able to be there.  By all accounts, Reverend Byles refused at least one offer of a lifeboat space so that he could continue to give comfort and to administer last rites to the terrified passengers that were not able to escape the sinking ship.

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