Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Busted: DWP (Driving While Photographing)***

I'm posting these now, because I'm not sure I'll still have these particular pictures or be able to retrieve them when we do all the stand on your head while wearing underwear and legwarmers stuff we have to do to the computer.

I took these a few weeks ago when we had freezing fog. Have you ever had freezing fog? It's one of my favorite tricks of Mother Nature's. When it clears, it leaves every branch, twig, and blade of grass (assuming all of your grass isn't covered with snow) covered with fine crystals. And when the sunlight hits it? Yowza. A couple of these pictures I actually snapped while driving. (Sorry mom. Stop hyperventilating. I don't do things like that very often. Or at least I don't tell you about it. Heh.) The rest I took while not moving. Or at least not moving in a car. That I was driving. Ahem.

***Please do not do this. I shouldn't have and I would feel really terrible if something happened to one of my dear readers. I am infantile. I know that all of you readers are infinitely smarter than I and would never drive and take pictures at the same time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'll Be Sure To Wash My Hands After This

As I write this I am in a well lit room with six other people. There is the clickclick of mouses and the random rapid-fire tapa-tapa-tapa of the keyboards. I am in the local library making use of their computers because my computer has decided to take a dive. It has been coming for a while. I've been right in the middle of important things--checking email, consulting with heads of state, updating my Facebook status, figuring out complex economic equations to stimulate the economy, writing posts, playing Bejeweled, cruising Craigslist for furniture I can fix up, and just generally saving the world--when suddenly and without warning (is that redundant?) my computer blinks off and I am facing a blank screen. Then, when I try to boot back up, I can't even get Windows to open, I'm just left with a black screen with white print asking me which mode I'd like to start up in because there has been some sort of abnormal shutdown and just what the hell did I do to the computer anyway?

I am not computer savvy. I know how to do some things, but somethings, I just have to scratch my head, say "huh!" and tell the computer it has won. My husband is more knowledgeable about these things, but he rarely uses our home computer. He has a laptop for work that he uses so the wonkiness of our home computer hasn't affected him much. Our conversations about it have been a bit like this:

Me: (frustrated) This stupid computer keeps booting me.
Him: Huh.
Me: It's been doing it a lot lately.
Him: Huh.
Me: Then, sometimes when I try to boot up I get a screen asking me just what the hell I did to the computer.
Him: Huh.
Me: And sometimes when I try to reboot it that way, it doesn't do anything. Anything at all! It just gives me a blank screen and sits there!
Him: Huh.
Me: It's been acting a lot like you are right now.
Him: Hmmm.
Me: And sometimes, it says things to me in an eerily calm voice. It says things like 'Don't do that Sara. I don't like it when you do that.'
Him: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

But this is sort of how things go around here. Particularly when things break down that don't directly affect my husband. Now I'm not knocking my husband. I love him. He's a good man. But let's just say that there have been times when I've complained mentioned how something is acting wonky and he hasn't been, shall we say, an "active listener." Until it affects him. For instance, I might mention that the van is making a funny noise. I get a lot of "hmms," and the sound of crickets. I keep mentioning it, because if the van breaks, I don't want to get blamed. I keep getting the sound of crickets because my husband drives the van about once a week. And do you know what happens when he finally gets behind the wheel? That's right! He says, "Hey! The van is making a funny noise. When did this start?" And then my head explodes into a million tiny pieces.

So over the weekend we had a conversation that went like this:
Him: (sitting at the home computer cruising eBay motors) Hey! The computer just booted me!
Me: What? You're kidding me!
Him: No! It just went to black!
Me: Crazy!
Him: (trying to reboot) Now look! It won't even start Windows!
Me: Of all the....
Him: Has this been happening to you?
Me: I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you!
Him: Why are you so cranky?
Me: ......................

Yeah. So he called some tech people at work who are going to try today to do something long distance. I'm thinking that it may involve chanting "I'm a techno loser" while standing on your head, clothed only in legwarmers and underwear. Also I'm fully expecting them to tell us that the problem can only be fixed in a month containing no vowels on a day that ends with 's' while Mercury is in retrograde. I'm also expecting that my computer will either be sent to the computer fixers (that's the lingo, you know) or it will expire. Either way, I'm guessing I won't have use of my home computer for awhile.

Hence my willingness to vacate my nest and use germy computers with the hoards of unwashed masses at our local library. Okay, I might be exaggerating. I think everybody in here has washed. Except possibly that one guy over there that is watching Olympic ice dancing on YouTube.

Also, I don't just get in underwear and legwarmers for anyone. You have to actively not listen to me to get that privilege.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Thank You And A No Thank You

First of all, let me say a deep and heartfelt thank you to all of you who spoke to me or commented about my last post. Your words of compassion and your hugs and most of all your prayers truly made a difference. But really, the best thing about that day was that I got to spend it on a field trip with my daughter Mary. It was good to be out, busy, and focused on one who brings me so much joy.

Secondly I must say a deep and heartfelt NO THANK YOU to the stomach bug that somehow has found its way into our house despite the numerous times I have knocked on wood, thrown salt over my shoulder, or just denied its existence whenever someone mentioned that it was going around. It managed to hit Mary and I fully expect it to have its way with the rest of my offspring. Probably when it is the least convenient--like when Patrick is out of town. You see, we have a deal regarding vomit that not only has served us well, but I daresay has made our marriage prosper. It goes something like this: I will manage and clean up all things poo related and he will take care of the vomit. I think, even though it is vomit, which just thinking of it makes me want to well, vomit, he got the better deal. Now I wouldn't say cleaning it up is the better deal, because obviously it is something with which I do not deal well. But given the number of times that a vomit clean up versus a poo clean up has occurred in our home, he has definitely received the longer stick. It's simple math really: x=occasions when vomit occurs and y=occasions when poo occurs.

x(4 children)= occasionally when the stomach bug goes around or someone consumes
too much junk

OR

y(4 children)= several times daily for the first several years of each child's life

And the y equation doesn't even make mention of the incidences of exploding diapers and potty training (or in the case of one of my children, the refusal to potty train until well past the breaking point of my sanity). Then my total increases exponentially.

I discovered several years ago two things: children NEVER get the stomach flu during the day, and Vick's Vaoporub is indispensable when cleaning up vomit.

Because my husband travels frequently for his work, many times I have been left to clean up the, erm, mess. I don't do well with anything that has to do with barf. The look of it, the smell, the warmth. Ack. I just gave myself an involuntary shiver. Quite a while back, I was forced to clean up the upper bunk of my boys' bunk bed in the middle of the night and then clean up the child that was sleeping in that bunk because my husband had the nerve to be working out of town. In a desperate moment, I discovered that a healthy swab of Vick's under my nose and dim lighting allowed me to manage the situation with nothing resembling aplomb, but at least with a minimum of heaving and shaking on my part. I'm not saying it's a perfect solution, because in a perfect world, there would be no vomiting. EVER. But it has worked for me.

I mention all of this so that if posting is light, you'll understand why.

It's because I'm out buying up all the Vick's I can get my hands on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dancing With Hope

Ten years ago I discovered that grief is not linear. It does not haul you smoothly from one stage to the next. It drags you in fits and starts. It drops you roughly and lets you linger until you are comfortable, only to grab you up by your heart and push you into the next stage. And then, before you have a chance to breathe, it yanks you right back again. Grief is a bitch. And I have also discovered, after ten years, that she never leaves you entirely.

She likes to lurk in the shadows. She makes you think that you are safe and well and fine. And then, she comes out and forces you to dance with her. And she is a master dancer. She doesn't step on your toes. She leads you silently, smoothly along and you have no choice but to follow.

Sometimes, Grief chooses only to briefly dance. You just get a hint of her dark hand on your shoulder and then she is gone. But sometimes. Sometimes she clasps you like a lover and she clings. She beckons you to grab her back. She tempts with her darkness. Like I said, Grief is a bitch.

Ten years ago, I sat waiting in a bed in a hospital delivery room. It wasn't the joyful kind of anticipation that I had previously known with the births of my daughter and son. It was quiet and uncomfortable and deeply sorrowful and surreal. We were waiting for our baby, whose soul had already flown to Jesus, to be born.

Joseph would be born late at night in a bright room filled with quiet voices. There were no cheering cries of "Push!" and "Your baby's almost here!" and "Congratulations! It's a boy!" Instead there were only consoling hands and quiet words of sympathy. Instead of tears of joy, there were only tears of pain and sadness and disbelief. When my baby slipped from my body, Grief slipped into the room.

Grief was my companion when I walked empty armed out of that hospital room and down the long hallway where other mommies had babies to hold. Grief made me hang my head in embarrassment and shame. She made me think that I had done something to deserve my loss. Then, Grief followed me home.

She was an unwelcome visitor that refused to leave. She was there with each delivered casserole, each card of sympathy, each shared hug. Sure, she had companions--Sympathy, Love, Empathy, Compassion--but she made sure that she was the one right by my side.

She was there when my body, fooled by a delivery with no baby to hold, caused milk to flow that would never be consumed. She was there, whispering. She was there in those long, sleepless nights when I cried so much that I ran out of tears. She was clasping my hand. She was there when I screamed in rage at God that He had messed up. She held me in her lap when I went to the funeral home to make arrangements for my son. Grief even had the nerve to slap my small children who were too young to really understand why she had even come to our home.

Over the days and weeks and months that followed, Grief would leave for periods of time. Her absence allowed me to mother my children and laugh again and feel like life could be normal. But she always came back. She would return just as I saw a baby that was the same age as mine would be. She would come back in time to accompany me to baby showers and birthday parties. She made sure that she was there when I prayed. I always knew when she was coming. I could feel her impending arrival. My heart would darken as if shutters had been thrown over it. Grief scared me. I didn't like having to share my life with her. I tried to ignore her. I wanted her to go away. But Grief is persistent and didn't really care what I wanted. She had a job to do and she was determined to get it done.

Over the years, Grief has visited less often than she did in the beginning, but she still remembers where I live. She was by my side when I tried to minister to friends that suffered a loss like mine. She is in the background during holidays when I feel a Joseph-shaped hole. She was pacing the room when I explained to my younger children about their older brother. And every now and again, she taps me on the shoulder and points out a boy who is the age Joseph would be, had he lived. And she always makes certain to visit on Joseph's birthday. I'd love to steal her calendar.

It's a funny thing, because as devastating as she is, Grief has also been a good teacher. Grief taught me to lean on my family and my friends. Grief allowed me to see that no matter how big my anger, no matter how deep my sorrow, God is bigger; God is deeper. Grief helped me to cherish my children and see them with different eyes. Grief toughened me up. Like the world's meanest personal trainer, she prepared me and stretched me and infused me with strength. She made me see that I can withstand so much more than I ever thought I was capable of withstanding. Grief pushed me to my husband. I know that she tried really hard to force us away from each other, but thankfully, her attempts backfired. And most importantly, Grief also introduced me--without intending to, I'm sure-- to her relative: Hope.

Even now, ten years later, Grief still stops by for a dance. But now when she leaves, I'm never left stranded in the middle of the dance floor alone. I know that Hope will be there to take me by the hand and finish the dance.

Happy 10th Birthday, my sweet Joseph Ryan. Hope says that I will see you in heaven and dance with you someday. I trust Hope.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras, Martes Gordo, Fat Tuesday, Yum!

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? We don't really do too much in the way of celebrating the season leading up to Lent, but we do like our sweets. And so, each year on Fat Tuesday, we have Packi (pronounced "punch-key") for breakfast. You may know them as Berliners or jelly filled doughnuts. But whatever you call them, they are awesome. I don't buy doughnuts often. That is my father's milieu. The kids know that when Papa comes to visit, doughnuts will be on the morning menu. However, I always buy Packi for Fat Tuesday morning. Paired with a Diet Coke (my own version of coffee) it's the breakfast of champions. Heh.

Then, in the evening after dinner, there is King Cake. See?

If you find the bean or the coin or the baby, tradition states that you must buy the King Cake for next year's Mardi Gras. Last year Sean found the baby. Guess who bought the cake? If your answer was "not Sean" you win! This year, the kids were anxious to dig in and find the baby. This year's cake was decorated with a nifty mask and the kids were already fighting discussing who would get the mask. We decided that the person to the right of whoever found the baby would be the lucky owner of the mask.

Everyone gripped their forks and waited to be served their piece of King cake. They dug in. Sean jokingly said, "I think I ate the bean!" which led to much giggling and expanding to great exaggerations like "I think I ate the coin!"or "I think I ate the baby!" or "I think I ate the elephant!" or "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!" After we had all eaten our piece, we discovered that no one had the sought after baby. The kids begged for a little more to just finish up the cake and find the baby. I relented, thinking that I really didn't want to mess with all of it tomorrow. So we each had a smidge more to finish off the cake. We were all certain that the baby would be found.

Guess what??! NO BABY!

So I suppose that buying the King Cake will once again fall to me, by default, of course. And after two pieces of cake for each of us, Fat Tuesday might just lead to Stomach Ache Wednesday. Or Fat Bootyday.

I'm not sure who was responsible for the oversight. Maybe the pretty mask was meant to make up for the lack of a Mardi Gras baby. And really, when you wind up with a picture like this, you can't be too upset.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heaven (Or A Heart Attack) In A Bowl

Seems like I've been on a soup kick lately. But when it looks like this outside, something deep in my primordial brain screams for soup. I don't know for certain that cavemen took a mastodon shank and boiled it down and added roots and goodnessonlyknowswhatelse, but I'm thinking that in some cave somewhere, a harried cave woman took a break from hunting and gathering and minding her offspring to do such a thing and in the process she invented soup. Or something like that.

Anyway, my point is, that soup is awesome. In caveman speak that would be "Soup. Good!" And because it is oh-so-delicious and comforting, it finds its way frequently onto my winter menu. I love all the varieties of soups out there. I love that soup is forgiving when you mess up. I love that it doesn't take too long to make most of them. I love that they are easy. I love how soup makes me feel all cozy. The most recent soup that has felt the love here at Chez Sara was Baked Potato Soup. My friends, if Willie Wonka were a soup man, he would have invented a machine to take a loaded baked potato and liquefy it. And that liquid? It would have tasted exactly like Baked Potato Soup. It is awesomeness in a bowl.

Would you like to see it? Here. Take a gander at that loveliness.

Don't you wish you had smell-o-vision? Mmmmm....

Because, as I may have mentioned before, I am a giver, I will share my recipe for Baked Potato Soup with you. Be warned. This soup is not for the faint-hearted. It is rich and it is calorie-laden. This is a Make It Once A Winter Soup. But y'all. You must make this soup! Here goes:

Ingredients:
6 potatoes, baked
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups whole milk
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup bacon, diced and crisp
4 green onions, chopped
10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 (16oz.) container sour cream

**I double everything but the potatoes, green onion, and sour cream because I am serving 6 and always like to have leftovers.

Cook potatoes in microwave three or four at a time. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Split the potatoes and let them cool a bit and then peel them and chop, but not fine. Stir the potatoes in the milk. Add salt and pepper, bacon bits, green onions, and cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Garnish with extra green onion and bacon if you wish. (Or if you, like me, have a death wish. Mmmm...bacon....)

Now sit down at your table, grab your spoon, and taste a liquid loaded baked potato--also known as heaven in a bowl. Or Heart Attack Soup.

What a way to go!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Photo Friday: Snow!

I got out with the camera after the recent snow. It's always good to spend some time looking through the lens.

I always come back with a clearer head and a better outlook. Even if the weatherman does hate me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Comfort In A (Bread) Bowl

It is cold and blustery out. After all, there was a WINTER STORM. And what could be better on those bone-chilling days than a bowl of soup? Nothing, that's what. And if that soup is creamy and has wild rice and chicken and noodles? Well then I say, "Hand over that ladle, my friend!"

When I posted a few days ago about a dearth of topics with which to entertain you, I mentioned in passing that I had thought of posting a recipe for soup. I really was joking, thinking that nobody would be interested. But, take note, because for the first time ever, I was wrong. I have had several people request the recipe. And, as I am easy eager to help, I decided that I would share.

Before I share, I should tell you a few things about this soup. First, it is not my own creation. I found the recipe on a Reames noodle coupon several years ago. Second, while you can use any kind of chicken (boiled chicken breasts, rotisserie, even--yikes!--chicken that has been nuked) I've found that the soup is best when you purchase a chicken and boil it and make most of the broth yourself. It's just richer and tastes better. But I have, in a pinch, used chicken breasts that I've boiled and cut up and canned broth. Third, you might want to have a little extra broth on hand, because the noodles act like tasty little sponges and soak that broth right up. So if you want your soup on the um, soupier side, then be sure to add a little extra broth. Lastly, (fourthly?) my family loves to eat this soup in a bread bowl. I'll tell you how I make these after the recipe.

Whew! Caveats complete. On to the recipe!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes* Makes: 8-10 servings

10 cups (80-oz.) chicken broth, reserve 1 cup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (12-oz.) package Reames Home Style Frozen Egg Noodles
1 (6.2-0z) box of 5 minute long grain and wild rice**
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I almost always add more than this)
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (I almost never add this, lest my children revolt)
I also usually add garlic in some form, just because I love it.

In a large pan or Dutch oven, combine 9 cups of the chicken broth and chopped onion. Bring to boiling. Add the noodles, return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes (or until noodles are desired tenderness). Add rice and seasoning packet, cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the 1 cup of reserved chicken broth, flour, salt, pepper, and seasoning; stir until smooth. Slowly add flour and broth mixture to cooked noodle and rice mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling; cook 1 minute or until thickened and bubbly. Slowly add half-and-half to cooked noodle mixture; stirring constantly. Add chicken; heat gently, stirring frequently until heated through. Stir in green onions before serving. **I have used the Uncle Ben's 90 second wild rice pouches in place of the 5 minute box with great success. *Add time if you are planning on cooking your chicken and making broth. I usually do this part a day ahead.

Everyone in my family loves this soup. Well, with the exception of the ketchup and breadcrumb eater. But she loves the bread bowl. Although for her it's not a bread bowl, just bread. And those bread bowls? So. Simple.

Just buy some frozen bread loaves. Each loaf makes 2 bowls. The packages I buy at Kroger have 5 loaves in a bag. Thaw the loaves according to package directions. So, for you math phobics, here's a for instance: for my family of six, I need to thaw three loaves to make 6 bowls. When the loaves have thawed and risen, cut each loaf in half and gently shape into a circle. Bake according to package directions. Then when they've cooled, cut the top off and hollow out the inside. Viola! Bread bowls all ready for your yummy soup!

I hope that if you try this you get the praise from your family that I always get from mine when I make it. Sometimes, when I am having a rough time or if I haven't heard nice words from my family in a while, I plan to make this soup just so I'll get some praise.

Hmmm....now that I think about it, this may go on the menu for the weekend.

Enjoy! If you try this, I'd love to know how it turns out for you and what you or your family think of it. Bon Appetit! (Oh how I wish you could hear me channelling Julia right now.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Weatherman Hates Me

I live in Indiana. It snows here in winter. Sometimes we get more than a few inches of snow. Sometimes there might even be a--gasp!-- WINTER STORM. Is this news to anyone?

No, it's not news to me either. In fact, having lived in Minnesota for almost a decade, I sort of laugh at the WINTER STORMS here in Indiana. But here, in the Crossroads of America, the snow, well, it is NEWS. When there is even a hint of snow on the radar, the weather people get their undies in a bunch at the idea of getting more than a slice of air time between whatever the top political story of the day is and the forty bajillion sports stories that mostly consist of Colts news and every type of basketball coverage under the sun. (This is Indiana after all.) Perhaps someday I will regale you all with my Minnesota Winter Tales. I know that you can hardly wait for that riveting post.

The weather people have been talking for three days about this WINTER STORM. They only stopped briefly to talk about the Game That Shall Not Be Named. They warned us. They pontificated. They predicted. Schools were on alert. Children were hopeful. Parents were scrambling. There will be lots of snow! There will be great wind! This is going to affect the entire state and go on for 36 hours!

Bah.

I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing at 5:32 a.m. After restarting my heart and nudging my husband to answer the phone the news was handed down and it wasn't the 2 hour delay I was expecting; my three eldest children would have no school today. I clambered out of bed and stumbled down the dark hallway, tripping over the rolled up carpet and construction debris to alert Maggie. After I gave her the news and shut off her alarm clock for her (why would she want to climb down from her warm and cozy loft?) I headed back to bed and reset my alarm so that I could wake up in time to get Mary ready for carpool. Her school (the same school at which I work) is in a different town and it follows that town's school district calendar and closing procedures--which, natch, is different from my other kids'.

I pulled the covers back up to my chin and closed my eyes. The phone rang again. (By the way, you can program our house phones with different rings. Currently they all play "Jingle Bells." That might get changed by sometime this summer.) This time it was Mary's school informing us that they were closed as well. Beautiful. Really, the extra sleep was nice.

Until I woke up and realized that we had about three inches of snow. THREE. INCHES. I kept my eye on the windows thinking that at anytime things were going to crank up. Nothing. I drove to the grocery store. The roads were perfectly clear. This was at about 10 in the morning. I was scratching my head thinking "We needed a snow day for this? This couldn't have been a 2 hour delay day? Now, when my kids are driving me crazy in June I'll have to remind them about how they got this day off. For THREE INCHES OF SNOW."

It has made me grumpy all day. I've been going around saying things like, "Be careful when you go out to get the mail from the mailbox. You might want to tie a rope to the front door so that you can find your way back in the BLINDING SNOW!" And, "Put your snowshoes on when you take the dog out. You don't want to sink into all that DEEP SNOW!"

So for the second time this school year, my children have had a snow day on my day off from work. I have to work tomorrow. And I can pretty much guarantee that we'll have school. It could be the blizzard of the century and I know that I will have to work. You know why? Because I have door duty! Door duty involves my standing at a door for 20 minutes and holding it open for parents to walk through. Normally, a very nice part of the day. But tomorrow? I'm guessing that I won't be enjoying it all that much. I'll be thinking about how nice it would have been to have the snow day on Wednesday. You know, an actual work day for me.

I'll also be pondering what exactly I have done to the weather people to cause them to hate me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Odds'n'Ends: I Have Nothing To Write About--Lucky You!

I am in a bit of a writing slump, hence the light posting. I figure that if I posted my grocery list or wrote about my laundry one more time or filled you in on the cold that has made me cough up my spleen and sound like Barry White in the mornings, you might decide that you have better things to do with your time than visit this little blog. I mean, I know that I'm writing about my life here, but I have not had much good material lately. Experts always say write what you know, but when what you know is groceries, laundry, and snot, it's probably better to just keep mum.

Also, there are now things that we simply just don't talk about. That big game that happened on Sunday? The one with the big, shiny trophy at the end? That's now at the top of the list. There is some full-force nose-to-the-grindstone type of busyness happening around here. All so that we don't have to look at each other and talk about it. Good thing I'm a Cub fan because I am an expert at repeating the mantra "there's always next year."

So you see? Finding a topic that a. won't bore you, b. won't cause you to lose your breakfast with its grossness, or c. is even available for discussion has been a bit of a task. I was going to post a recipe for wild rice chicken noodle soup, but that just seemed lame. I kept talking with my children (OH! The sacrifices I make in the name of blogging!! Talking to my children--what kind of hell do you people expect me to live in?) in hopes that they might say something funny, but to no avail. Their mouths were opening and closing and stuff was coming out but I tuned them out after "I'm hungry" and "Could you take me to _____?"

I guess instead of any sort of cohesive topic I will leave you with random bits of stuff:

My crazy dog has been prescribed regular over the counter Benadryl for allergy symptoms like red eyes, itching, and licking. I've never experienced excessive licking as a symptom of any kind and if I ever do, I'm thinking that allergy won't be the first thing to jump in my head. Anyway! The vet said to give her two tablets. People, if I took two Benadryl tablets, I would be passed out for days. Literally snoring in a pool of my own drool. But Tilly? It didn't even make her sleepy. It didn't phase her at all. I think my dog might be a cyborg. A hyperactive, badly behaved, stinky, shedding cyborg.

****************

Mary doesn't get a knife at her place setting when we have dinner. She is not yet old enough to really use one. And really, ketchup and yogurt don't exactly require a knife, right? But occasionally, the need arises for some type of vehicle for spreading butter. She, after all, cannot be expected to eat her buttery crescent rolls without extra butter can she? So the other night at dinner Mary looked down at her plate and said, "I need a knife. I need to put butter on my roll." Before I could offer the use of my knife for said buttering, she was out of her seat and saying "I'll just get a midget knife." Then she pulled a cheese knife/spreader out of the drawer. Henceforth, all spreaders will now be known in this kingdom as Midget Knives. And so it shall be.

*****************

During The Game That Shall Not Be Named, Sean was so disgusted that he said, "C'mon Colts! Just kick some of those Saints in the crotch and grab the ball and run!" Methinks that perhaps we won't be signing him up for football just yet. And perhaps a discussion (or seven) on sportsmanship might need to occur.

I have to admit, though, that when he said it, my first thought was: "Now THAT'S a plan!"

******************

I'm sorry about this post. At the risk of tempting fate, I'm telling y'all that my life is boring and that my neighbors have been fairly well-behaved and that nothing exciting has been happening around here. Maybe I'm under the curse of the 200th post. I don't know. Hopefully I'll be able to have something of value to post here.

If you see a recipe for Creamy Chicken Noodle and Wild Rice Soup here, you'll know that things have not picked up and you can probably look for the grocery list soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

On The Run

Years ago, at my first teaching job, the staff used a phrase to describe a behavior of the students. The phrase "on the run," was used when a student (and these were kids who were either just out of jail or treatment or on their way in to jail or treatment yet still in public school) would perform some misdeed and then bolt. Usually the student would just run wildly up and down the hallway of the school until they could be contained by the staff. Occasionally the student would dream big and escape into the larger school complex. (Our school was housed in a huge building with two other public schools. The other two schools taught regular ed. kids and the staff and students in those schools were always amazed/horrified when one of our "inmates" would come screaming into their school.) When this happened, it required some coordination amongst staff, as there were about 16,853 places for our creative students to hide and/or wreak havoc.

Even with the elevated adrenaline and sky-rocketing blood pressure that these runs surely caused, they were secretly appreciated by the staff because they broke up the monotony of the day and they allowed us to admire our most hardcore students for something--it could be their speed or their creativity in choosing a hiding place or even (and sometimes especially) their humor in the insults that they would hurl at anyone within range.

Most of the time when a student went on the run it was just the next thing on their menu of misbehavior. Usually they had already verbally assaulted someone, thrown furniture, or physically assaulted someone and going on the run was just the next thing on the list. But sometimes, I truly believe, that a student would go on the run just for the sheer joy of running. They'd run for the freedom. They'd run to break up the monotony. They'd run to try to get someone else to "come out and play" with them. Often they were successful with this last motivation. And nothing was more frustrating and secretly hilarious than chasing two or more students who had gone on the run.

It's been a long time since I worked at that school. It was my first teaching job--although I'm not entirely sure how much time was spent in instruction or exactly how much learning took place--and I am old, so it was a long time ago. Strangely, I am seeing the phenomenon again in my own home. Care to venture a guess as to who is going on the run?

Take a look:
video

This usually happens in the late afternoon after everyone has returned home from work or school. Tilly has had it with being alone. She runs for the sheer joy of it. She wants her freedom to run (which, unfortunately because of her propensity to run and not come back, she cannot have). She wants to break up the monotony of her day, which primarily consists of eating, pooping, barking at random shadows, and snoozing in strategic places so that she might cause tripping. She tries desperately to get someone else to "come out and play." Luckily for her, her wild cases of the zoomies generally stir sympathies and she winds up with a playmate.

It's hilarious to watch but a little unnerving to hear. Especially overhead. When Tilly is going on the run in the upstairs hallway it sounds as if cattle are stampeding. Or perhaps it is the sound of lots of shoes being chucked down the hall. Not that that has ever happened around here. Ahem. Whatever. When you hear it and you aren't prepared, your nervous system takes over and you automatically duck and cover. It's pretty funny really.

Unless you are entertaining guests. Not that that has never happened around here.

Ahem.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let's Take A Look Back, Shall We?

Pssst! Guess what! This is my 200th post. That means that I have written something for this blog 200 times. And I've really liked doing it. There are very few things in my life that I can say I've done 200 times of my own free will and enjoyed--no, looked forward to--doing.

I've done some things over 200 times--things like laundry and diaper changes and cleaning toilets but saying that I enjoy those things is like saying that I enjoy giving myself paper cuts on my fingertips and that I love to then douse them in lemon juice and roll them in salt, like little phalanges margaritas. But this blogging stuff? It's been a very good thing.

Blogging has allowed me to sharpen my writing skills, record pieces of my life, and vent some stuff, thereby allowing me to maintain my tenuous hold on sanity. All good things, no? Blogging has also kept my extended family in touch and introduced me, albeit in a virtual way, to some very kind people who stop by and tell me that they think I'm neat. Who wouldn't love that? It has forced me to think creatively. It has made me manage my time and plan ahead. It has allowed me to simultaneously expand my vision and focus it as well. It has allowed me to step forward on courage and share some things that I'm shy about. Blogging has made me think more deeply about some things, because I figure, if I type them and put them out there in cyberspace, then I really ought to believe it.

I'm grateful to have this space. I still get a silly little grin on my face when I come here. Thanks for sharing this place with me. I'd still come here without you, but, as Winnie-the Pooh says, "It's better with two."