Archive for the ‘Strudel’ Category

No I will not wear the cone of shame

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

This week we are focusing on things like multiplying binomials and solving inequalities in systems of equations. Have you flashed back to tenth grade yet? FOILing?? I woke up in the middle of the night last night a few times and I was kept awake by the idea that maybe I should be reviewing volume. WHAT IF THERE IS A VOLUME QUESTION? I think I was supposed to go through this 20+ years ago with the SATs but I never bothered paying for them. Too busy buying Boone’s Farm (sangria flavor, because that’s the classy one).

Post apple picking in August

I don’t think I felt this way ramping up to the GREs either. If you have seen the melodramatic, snot-silently-running-into-your-mouth fest that is Les Miz! then you know there is a super maudlin scene where a bunch of children in pirate shirts are all Morrisseying about how they need to pour one last one out for their homies, etc, before the next morning’s last stand, where they will be bayonetted into curly frites. That was my run-up to the math portion of the GRE in 2002; the freedom fighters were unprofessional and doomed, but had to make a good showing so historians wouldn’t call them little bitches later.

Stepping stones I made at the cement masons union way back in July

Now, I actually have a shot, because stuff is staying in my head now. I get what everyone meant about math building on itself. I have that crazy hoover-it-all-up cokehead feeling like the more I cram in the better because it’s only 30 questions! If I miss just one or two I actually know how to calculate that percent now! AGGH.

On the positive side of things I am getting a lot of rest right now. I think I had a successful in-person yesterday for a temp holiday gig, after a good phone interview with them. I have a better feeling about going back to tech now for a short time. Mostly because I feel like it’s going to be A SHORT TIME. And a paycheck to boot. They told me they want someone “yesterday” but I am hoping that means Tuesday (the day after my exam) so I can take full advantage of this time to obsess and lick my hot spots.

Dinner Doge would like more gravy plz

Of course I am focused on other things right now, also, like making sure the girls are transitioning back into school smoothly. Franny has an analytical writing class that’s based on the films of Hitchcock and Kurosowa. She is also taking bio and geometry, as well as her usual Japanese and art. She is about to turn 15 in less than two weeks and very shyly asked if Boyfriend, Neo, could come over for dinner and cake. Hell yes, as long as he takes the bus home later. It’s a Friday and what is happening is yoga pants.

Strudel is having a VERY good fifth grade year so far and is over the moon in her advanced program. She can now also hoover in and retain all the information now, like me, but better, because her brain is new and spongy. Her teacher is very organized and enthusiastic, and apparently has the whole class enraptured. We hear that her terrible teacher from the third grade, who told the dead bunny story and screamed at people most of the time, now has a classroom monitor. There is justice, albeit slow justice. I hope the angry emails I wrote from when I was sick in bed are stuck to her file like glue, along with the other parent complaints.

A turkey sleeping in my armpit who is much larger now:

Say Goodbye to Your Old Friends

Friday, August 14th, 2015

WELL. Yesterday I went to my awesome dentist of a dozen years for the old semi-annual cleaning. I expected someone new because my hygienist of many years got promoted to more of a management position at the office and is now doing advanced dental work. She filled some of my teeth a few months ago. She was THE best and dealt with years of my sad bloody-as-a-stuck-pig mouth, which has since toughened up post-proper nutrition. She promised she would hand me off to someone who was a good fit.

So I showed up yesterday and my appointment started 20 minutes late, which is unusual for this office, but shit happens and I didn’t have anywhere to be. A hygienist emerged who kind of looked like Angela Merkel, but with worse highlight work, and said, “Alexander?” I get that all the time and kind of shrugged it off. Most people apologize once I correct them, but not this lady. “Well that can be a first name, though, right?”

She seemed kind of awkward and out of it at the same time. I had this funny feeling like she was really ill at ease and her sentences would start out kind of quiet and hesitant and increase in volume and certainty by the end, like she was at a terrifying interview and giving herself little pep talks every 10 seconds.

I mentioned my allergies, because I could see some of the products out on the table that I knew had corn in them, like the tooth polish. “Oh, I didn’t see that. I’ll make a note in your chart about those,” she said. I thought this was weird because I knew my old hygienist had taken extensive notes last time I was in.

I’ll skip past the rest of the weirdness, like her way of questioning me about what corn actually does not me (not a weird question–she just phrased it oddly like everything) and then her telling me all about how she went vegan five years ago and all about vegan cheese. I had to tell her like three times that yes, I have made cashew cheese. I felt like she didn’t believe me because she started quizzing me about the ingredients, which I knew and was able to tell her. And did I know about almond and coconut milk? What.

There was some folderol with the water pik thing, which is so painful it makes me twitch involuntarily.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Well, no. I forgot how painful that thing is. It’s not been used on me for at least five years, thank god.” I didn’t want to explain to her that I thought I’d try it, since my teeth are overall less sensitive now. STILL PAINFUL.

She switched to the old school metal picks, which is great with me. My previous lady did a great job with them, even when my mouth looked like the elevator in The Shining. Now I barely bleed. I noticed she was skipping around a bit, and being fairly perfunctory with some teeth when she stopped abruptly and I heard a “ting!”

The pick had hit the ground. She bent over, retrieved it. I did not hear it being placed on the tray or put aside. Did the floor pick…go back in my mouth? It couldn’t be. I felt myself tensing up a little. She was letting the sucky tube hang on the edge of my mouth, like it was a hanger and I was that dry cleaning flippy in the backseat of a car. I started really tensing up.

Okay, this is very pathetic but I got really anxious then. She was reminding me of the dentist who did my first filling when I was six, who had me hold my own Novocaine shot still inserted in my gums when he went out of the room to get something. I was very scared about the shot anyway, but to have to hold the needle in my head and be alone in the room was a bridge too far. I felt like I was right on the verge of being a little teary.

I told myself to GET A FUCKING GRIP; it was just a terrible cleaning. Then the sucky thing fell out of my mouth and landed on the floor. I listened for a sign that she was changing the plastic, or the straw itself…nothing. It went back into my mouth. Something flipped in my head then, weirdly. I began to find the situation humorous somehow. “Just get through this,” I told myself. I think she dropped a pick twice more. When she finished my teeth weren’t clean. I was a tiny bit heartbroken my old hygienist had seen fit to pair me with this person.

I asked myself in the car why I didn’t confront her right then and jump out of the chair. That was an extremely valid question to be asking. I think I still have this habit of shutting down sometimes when shit gets weird or off script. It’s a bad “habit,” and an old one. Shit got weird a lot when I was growing up, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change or control it, so I always got pretty poker face. My sister had the opposite reaction. When she got pushed too far she would scream! I remember thinking to myself, “I did not know that was possible.” Part of me admired it, in a way, even though ideally she wouldn’t have had to repeatedly react to trauma with earshattering screams.

It’s funny how you can step on an old rake, isn’t it?

My dentist was also new, since I had to reschedule my appointment due to Lady Hammer Club. The dentist seemed very young and was wearing red Converse and sitting on a yoga ball. I felt about 90 then. Then he told me my teeth were “cute” and there was marveling over my intact, straight wisdom teeth. WHAT. (Again.)

At the front desk on the way out I was scheduling my next appointment with the office manager, whom I have known from that office for many years.

“Sooo is Angela Merkel new?” I asked.

“Why, what happened,” I got from the manager, deadly serious.

I told her about the dropped tools and she blanched and apologized. I told her my teeth didn’t feel clean. I told her that she was generally clumsy and kind of mashing my nose and face. I skipped the part about veganism because I wouldn’t say she was proselytizing or being mean really.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” I told the office manager. “I eat food off the floor. I’m an animal. But I like to choose what comes off the floor and into my mouth.”

I was given a free reclean for next week. Then something good happened. The office manager said, “Angela Merkel is covering for your new hygienist, who is visiting her family in Europe for a month.” She was just a sub! Whew. Anyway, that is enough about my trip to Spain, my childhood pain.

Lady Hammer Club Update

The apprentice wrangler at the carpenter’s shop was upset we’re spending time in shop class building birdhouses and not cement forms. Also we are not carrying enough plywood or driving enough nails. We’re being timed on 3 at various angles and I came in under a minute and was proud of myself. HA. Apparently the test at the carpenters’ is 21 nails in two minutes. NO FUCKING WAY. I do not want to be a carpenter. My sad hand got bruised just doing a total of 21 over the course of an afternoon.

We have also been to see the glaziers’ (glass splinters, horrifying) and have had mock interviews. I showed up after being in bed for two days with my coffee glutening, thinking I was rolling into a math class. NOPE. Schedule change. I sat in front of a panel consisting of a cement mason (who I already knew), a machine operator, and a brick mason, and got highest marks. I wore my Adblock hoodie zipped up all the way since I was also wearing a shirt with a swear on it, genius. I think I brushed my hair.

Then I got dinged for my absence. ARGH. “We want to see you at 90% attendance, or we won’t be able to give you letters of recommendation.” They also don’t release any of your certifications until and if you finish the program in September. They really have me by the short and curlies here, but the good news is I think they will be able to stuff me into an apprenticeship pretty quickly as long as I do the cha cha with them. Ironworkers is on Monday–very excited.

It’s pouring today and Goethe is hiding under the eave. Stretching, not being furce. Horace is medicated due to thunder today.

Let me take a page out of Pop Culture Happy Hour and say what is making me happy this week.

1. Todd

I’ve been buying 17-cent feeder goldfish to keep in my wee ceramic pond, which is a thing by itself I really enjoy, and waters my bees and wasps, but draws mosquito larvae. Drop some goldfish in there, and BOOM, no more larva in about half a day. The first batch croaked, and I went back for three more. Two of those croaked, and then Todd was The Fish Who Lived. I started feeding him, and the pond was looking like murky nitrogen city, so I brought him indoors to live in a pickle crock with the world’s ugliest mug that I got contracting at Amazon six years ago (we were near Kitchen). He can go back outside when the larvae come back.

I forgot how much I like keeping a goldfish! I used to keep one for Franny when she was going through an intense Elmo thing at two.

2. Vacation week

P. took the week off last week and I wanted to hang with him, but I was sick for part of it and in class. But he had a nice time, and finished the electrical and did some insulating in the basement. When I had days off we did things, like renting a canoe.

Look, he’s even happy trapped in some bitchass lilypads.

We went downtown to the piers and ordered NOTHING BUT HAPPY HOUR OYSTERS and some neat vodka (me) with a lime and scotch for him and did not get ill. I had a feeling about going to a place with a dedicated oyster bar and I was right! We haven’t been out to eat anything since May.

3. Camp

During that week, Strudel had a MARVELOUS time at Celiac camp and did not get ill once! They were so good. She made a bunch of friends and I got her a photo album to put her pictures in. One of the first things she said when we picked her up was, “CAN I GO AGAIN?” Hell yes. Next year we might even go out of town during, but stay close enough in case she breaks a leg or something.

How’s your summer??

I am the thumbmaster

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

This is a good one. I’ve been sleeping and in bed for most of the day after “poisoning” myself this weekend. I was in South Seattle this morning getting ready to cut aluminum cubes on a big machine–living the dream, eh? We were getting the safety talk and I was only half-listening, rudely, because after feeling better this morning on waking, I felt worse again. I was making a list of everything I’d eaten since Saturday, since that was when I started feeling funny. Homemade everything, scratch mayo and ketchup, scratch spice blends that hadn’t bothered me before…. I took another pull of my coffee, still trying to wake up at 10 a.m. after over nine hours of sleep.

I zoned in and the teacher was telling a story about being 19 and in a hurry to go water skiing and spitting his finger right down the middle. That got my attention again.

“And in a second, there went water skiing,” he said. I saw the shiny scar that bisected his fingernail and finger, 30 years later.

That was it for me. Fuck machine cutting, I was going water skiing right then. I pulled my case manager aside.

“I’m not feeling well,” I said. “I have really bad food allergies and I ate something contaminated this weekend. I don’t trust myself to operate heavy machinery right now.”

“Oh,” she said, making a serious face.

“I’ll try to be back tomorrow, but I’ll stay in touch.”

I walked over to my personal piece of heavy machinery, the Elco. P. used the Honda to take the kid to drop her off at camp this morning, so I was in my magic carpet of highway gas-guzzling. Not the best choice for my site visits, which were often many miles away and required stop-and-go highway traffic. I calculated if there was any way I could get P. to pick me up, since I felt kind of drunk, like I’d taken sleepy meds. I knew it would take him hours to get down to where I was by bus, a fortune to cab it, and a hassle besides.

I knew I could drive glutened, I’d been doing it for years. My only concern was that I thought I might vomit once I got back on I-5. I looked at the empty vessel that is my hard hat forlornly as my mouth watered in the bad way.

Anyway, it was a hard weekend. I had half a pot’s worth of coffee beans Saturday morning, and got some more at the store and then made another pot after I got home. I started feeling a little loopy by Saturday night, but chalked it up to waking up too early on Saturday morning. I woke up on Sunday, made coffee, checked in with the bees, ate, and was useless by noon. I kept napping and tried to play the Wii and didn’t have the patience for that. I barely broke 100 in Scrabble Sunday night.

I came to bed Sunday night, determined to get lots of rest for this morning. I was really dreading going on the site visit or even leaving the house. I found myself asking what the point of any of this was. Why was I being so negative? I wondered.

“I feel like I’ve been drugged,” I told P., getting under the sheet. “I reached for the cat food just now and I could barely lift my arm.”

“Hmm,” he said. “Maybe you’re getting sick.” I didn’t like that. No one around me was sick, it was summer, and I just don’t get colds anymore.

So I got back this morning after a loooong drive without a radio (scream-singing “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans and “Corcovado” to stay alert), the garage door grinding and the big blue beast announcing my presence.

“What’s up?” P. asked. He’s home on vacation this week.

“I’m sick.”

We did our usual detective work. He’d been super tired all weekend too, but the kid was fine, and she mostly ate the same things we did. I thought it was something I’d put in a frittata, because I had that reheated for breakfast, while she dined on leftover meatza from last night. My mood and alertness started tanking again after I’d eaten breakfast and showed up at at the site.

We’d gotten a couple of new things, but I didn’t think it was the dried figs…finally, I realized I started feeling bad when we’d gotten home on Saturday and I made a pot with the new coffee. Bringo. I felt worse Sunday morning (and for the rest of the day) when I made a pot, and again this morning. Something gluteny was in it, I didn’t know what. It doesn’t matter.

It is weird to drink coffee and have it make you feel more tired! P. cycled some vinegar water through the pot, and cleaned the grinder. I don’t really know what to do now. I love coffee. I normally drink Stumptown but we got a Costco membership recently to save money, and they don’t carry regional boutiquey brands, only big bags of Kirkland brand Good Luck with This. The first bag I bought was fine, though I did have a tiny twinge of worry as I do whenever I try anything new, even if it’s “100% Your Mom,” because that is often not quite true. This second bag was not okay. Last weekend in Twin Peaks I drank Starbucks at the meetups and even hotel room Keurig bilge water and did fine. It’s like red wine–I just can’t tell by looking at it when it’s going to have corn additives.

The bummer part is that I was all jazzed to sit for a math test with a union tomorrow. I think that would be a terrible idea now, like showing up for the SATs drunk. Really self-sabotaging. So I’m going to give it a couple/few days and then decide when to go. My test will be when I can spin up 4-plus letter words in Scrabble again, I suppose.

I have been wondering if I should give up coffee, since I am afraid of anything that will interfere with the work I need to do for the next couple of months/years. Inside I am screaming because I don’t want to give up one more thing. I really love it. When it’s good, I’m at Gilmorian levels of abuse. But being wiped out for the next few days isn’t worth it. I hate the confusion, the tiredness, the blunted affect. I hate being even more nervous about one more food.

I mentioned my worries about my future with coffee out loud after we’d figured out what was fucking us up this weekend. I had given it up in the past and had done fine.

“I’M NOT QUITTING COFFEE,” P. informed me. He’s out of good vices, too.

“Okay, okay, no one’s asking you to,” I said.

The good news is that Strudel is booted off to Celiac camp for a week. One of the directors emailed and asked me what she eats, like what brands of things, since the kids will be eating chips, pizza, and cookies. SHARP intake of breath from Strudel at this revelation, since we don’t usually go that processed anymore. I was thinking “HA! HA! Brands! How droll.” I did give her a list of things that have worked in the past, but I said you could probably feed her chicken/rice/veg all week and she’d be fine, she was used to eating differently, and could I send extra food or a food fee because PLEASE TAKE MY KID I REALLY NEED HER TO HAVE A NORMAL CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE AGAIN.

P. and I were worried they were going to write back and say she couldn’t come. My novel-length thesis on “what can your child actually eat” was sent on to one of the chefs, who has Celiac disease, as does her daughter who was diagnosed at birth. She knew about that and things like food dye allergies, the difference between xanthan gum and guar gum, and corn allergy flipouts. She’s convinced she can feed Strudel safely. I actually wept when I read it.

I hope she’ll be okay. I think she’ll have a good time. As many wise people have remarked over time, it’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Five Weeks in Prison

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

I made no friends. But I did make some dope cash, which made up for Goethe’s Hulk-out face smashery and when the water heater popped this winter. Tomorrow’s my last day here. They wanted to kick my contract out to August, which is nice I suppose. But I have to get on with my life.

Plus my online math class is going to “expire” in June, so I need to finish that as well. I really need to do something (for money) that I give some fucks about at this point, now that my girls are so big, and not just collect a paycheck. I give many fucks about my 4 million hobbies, but they fall into the expense column.

Separated at birth???

Franny was gone this weekend being miserable at her dad’s house, sadly, and we went off and ran a local 5K run by a doughnut company. I have no pictures, because my sister and I got our timing off kilter and she actually wasn’t at the finish line. I thought she might have been ill or caught in traffic so we waited for a bit and then went back to the car to grab my phone…and there she was at the finish line wondering where we were. I was so fast I finished in record time! Just kidding, I was slow like a turtle.

I have yet to meet a database that won’t mongle my name. One of my diplomas came misspelled like this even. Ha.

Strudel took off like a shot at the beginning to find her friends and finished before we did, and was waiting for us at the finish line, alone.

“How’s it going,” I said, when I picked her face out of the crowd.

“Bad. I’ve been here for like 15 minutes and I can’t find Auntie Morgan,” she complained. We checked her time later and she finished only five minutes before we did. Each minute is multiplied by three when you’re ten I guess.

P. is asking me when we are going to run our next 5K, and I say, “I’m not sure.” There were things I liked about it and things I didn’t.

  • Greenlake is REALLY flat, so there was a sense of ease
  • I got a cool shirt
    1. Did not like:
  • The 11-year-old who kept dashing ahead of us and then would stop to walk right in front of us
  • I did my duty and brought a cool story about a woman whose dog punched her in the stomach after anal sex and she shit herself, which effectively rendered him speechless and unable to think of anything to talk about, which made the first mile slow. I thought it would help to have conversational topics!
  • Strollers, and people who think four-year-olds will run a 5K. You can barely cajole those beasts into dressing themselves
  • Paying for something I can do in my own neighborhood for free felt dumb and the doughnuts smelled disgusting when we came around the last bend
  • I had a good time, though. And then Morgan and I caught up and she came to my house for brunch.

    The day before, we worked the bees and then P. took off to the local tool rental place and got a tiller.

    “You’re going to till up the backyard the day before we have this race?” I asked.

    “Yep,” he said. I watched him crank it up and his arms start shaking and I was like, “That guy is going to be sore tomorrow,” and he was!

    Taking a wee break.

    He got as close as he dared to the beehives. They did not care for a gas-powered tiller narming up the dirt around their house. So I get the little spit of land in front of their houses. I forgot to snap a finished picture, but I put in foxglove, bee balm, shasta daisy, alyssum, lupin, black-eyed susans, and something I’m probably forgetting. He put six tomato plants in the larger chunk of land. We pretty much used up the original garden, between the kiwis, medlar, fig, hives, and where the tomatoes were last year is full of a rotation of crimson clover (which is about to bloom, squee).

    I let the chickens out to scratch it all up, figuring it couldn’t hurt. They were really into actual grass so I had to lure them to the dirt using some flung pepitas.

    I am excited to get rid of my jank, broken decaying ye olde patio crap. I finally pulled the trigger on a new table that will hold guests and some chairs that were not free ten years ago and are now falling apart and have been spraypainted in a hail mary attempt to not make my backyard look like West Virginia (as P. says, who lived there). All the furniture came yesterday and Strudel and I were unpacking it as the afternoon rain started.

    I opened the table box and realized it was already open and the table’s corner was munged. It was packed very poorly.

    I have such a thrift store/vintage/freecycle mentality that sometimes it is hard for me to decide to buy something new, and I fret over purchases for weeks. So long that the first table I wanted sold out for the year, ha. I had a little tear to see this and I felt foolish for not just finding some old, pre-scratched, less-broken-than-the-previous-stuff crap somewhere.

    Of course since I had all the furniture and it was raining, I realized the cover hadn’t shipped yet. I put the cushions indoors and before an actual human who worked to pay for them could enjoy them, BEHOLD, A WILD NIGHTMERE APPEARS. BOOOOO. She colonizes eveything.

    And then there’s the shopping cart issue still, speaking of jank…I need to take this back to the store it came from a couple of neighborhoods over. I was going to turn it into a shopping cart made of succulents, but I have no idea where I’d put it.

    “Weh! Mom, I’m a baby!” Oh god no. That performance probably caused the final death knell of my ovaries.

    Hello to Sring*

    Monday, April 13th, 2015

    * The infamous “sring” cake in all its glory.

    Busy weekend, and busy past couple of weeks. I guess I should start with Easter. What happened? Not much. I decided to see what would happen if I followed the recommended advice and set aside eggs in the back of the fridge for a couple of weeks. I was very surprised I was coordinated enough to remember to do this! As expected, the air bubble was bigger and they were easier to peel. Whoopie. Cross another one off the bucket list, I suppose.

    Sometimes I like to show off my eggs because they turn out cool, but this year they were kind of a hash. I bought discounted egg dye kits a couple of years ago after the holiday (tie dye, marble, and glitter) and they were kind of lame! Next I think we will go back to feats with ordinary dye. These eggs were quickly ushered into an egg salad made with spicy chipotle mayo.

    Other than dyeing eggs with the girls, and making some nicer dinner since lamb’s on sale and it’s a Sunday, I am wildly inconsistent about Easter. I don’t do a lot of candy because I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere–Easter really isn’t our holiday. But it’s nice to say hello to spring. And baths! Have some bath loot, girls.

    I made Franny an Easter basket plate.

    And also Strudel.

    And then I roasted a lamb leg that I stuffed in part with minced preserved lemons I made in February. I got down to my last one-and-a-half and I sliced some more and added more salt to the jar while I watched part of Going Clear. I know Japanese pickles can be done in an “endless” way like this so we’ll see if the same is true of lemons. Between the acid in the salt I doubt I’m breeding new life forms in there. And it is FUN to dig around in a salty lemon-oily jar. It’s like beach mad scientist as a kid.

    I was a Bisy Backson yesterday in the sense that I did all those things you put off in the week, because enough is enough in one day sometimes. I took Strudel out for a refurbed taller bike, which she named Dr. Krieger.

    This will be her last bike before she gets a full-sized one, unless the frame explodes or something. Am I winding down on child ranching or what? There’s a lot of parenting left to do, but I cannot even pretend I have little kids anymore.

    I also finished a mini-project last weekend: tagging the trees.

    I used 18 tags, and only one of the trees came with the house (the Italian prune). We’ve been busy. To be fair, four tags went on the frankencherry alone.

    I wasn’t as helpful with the beehives this weekend as I would have liked. We decided to divide and conquer. I helped where I could (caulk, moral support) and P. just hit it really hard. It was forecasted to rain today (and has) so we tucked them onto the porch for now. Franny is on deck to paint when it clears up a little later this week.

    I ran out of caulk so I’ve not quite finished the roofs.

    Hello have you heard the good news about beehives

    This Saturday we’re going to pick up two packages of Italians and then bring them home and dump them into the boxes. I know people have done this thousands of times, but it still sounds bizarre. I will bring my camera so I can capture the site of a truck full of bees (I hope).

    Franny has been in fine form lately. She was in a great mood on Sunday and decided to dawdle some before cleaning out the chicken coop by giving the dogs rides. Poor Edith was tiny terrified until Horace joined her.

    Horace joins the fun.

    Bonus party trick.

    Her hair is full of Sucrets

    Saturday, April 4th, 2015

    Okay so. Come closer. LEMMIE SHOW YOU SOMETHING.* I remember when I was a wee blogging lass and I would actually write my face off on Saturday night, and then wait to post it until Monday. I wanted you to believe I had a life when I was 24. I actually did not. I was home writing most nights while my preschooler snoozed, which is really nothing to be ashamed of. I had this idea that I should be Having My Twenties but I was kind of born 57 so it worked out really. Last night P. and I went out to one of them drinking theaters to see Cry-Baby when the children left, which was fun. I HAVE CHILDREN WHO TEMPORARILY AND SIMULTANEOUSLY LEAVE NOW.

    Tonight Franny went out to a potluck at her boyfriend’s house. P. gave her a talk that was funny but like the opposite of last weekend’s traumarama dad sex talk. “Aw that is so grownup that you’re going to a potluck,’ he said,” she told me in the car. We were on our way to upsize Strudel’s violin from a three-fourths to a full sized one and Franny was riding along. She thought it was very funny but I think she likes it. I sent her with flowers since her boyfriend’s mother insisted she did not need to bring a dish.

    So Strudel and I stayed here alone. “What’s for dinner?” she said.

    “PMS. I mean, cinnamon loaf.”

    We were responsible and had some proteiny leftovers while it was cooling. Then I iced it. Hur hur. The icing was too thick and the hole was too big.**

    “What is that pattern, Mother?”

    “Uh…just going for coverage, I guess.”

    “They’re chevrons,” Strudel declared, generously.

    As soon as I cut it, she noted that it was underbaked. We’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off like WHOA and suddenly she’s an expert in these matters.

    She pronounced her final verdict: “Paul Hollywood would say ‘two more minutes.”

    This is what I get from a ten-year-old.

    You might have noticed in the first loaf picture there was something in the corner…that something is…a shopping cart.

    After date night on Thursday night I got a ride home in this from the bus stop. It was amazing. I laughed until I cried, which has not happened in a while. And now I have a cart in my yard. What to do? Return it in the Elco tomorrow when I run to the hardware store for more beehive parts? Turn it into a mobile planter??

    On Friday morning Franny left the house and didn’t notice it until she came back after school. She promptly called P. and I, who had fled our jobs and were waiting for the bus. He answered and acted as if he had never heard of such a thing, and when we came home we had the fun of accusing her and her boyfriend of stealing it and leaving it there. I love an indignant Franny.

    So, currently, Strudel is in the tub. She went to her first ever sleepover last night. We were nervous but they have allergies at their house too and we were super serious and we emailed and I thought we were cool. But they xanthan gummed her and she got covered with hives that started on her right arm and spread to everywhere.

    I thought maybe taking the doges out for a walk and being distracted would help but she started to lose it and scratch and scratch. I understood–I am the person who could not shake poison ivy without steroids. I put her in the tub with, I shit you not, a coffee filter full of oatmeal rubber banded shut, some tea bags, some baking soda, Epsom salts, and apple cider vinegar, because fuck the inflammation police. She was eager to take a bath and I hear her splashing around in there.

    So that is my hot Saturday night. In other news, there were parcels yesterday. My new running shoes came and I bounced around the neighborhood and then walked around Greenlake. There is a woman at Greenlake who is bodychecking people on purpose. I am not kidding. She is actually walking around the lake running into people’s shoulders. She did it to my walking buddy and now I have seen her do it to others. I kind of want to STOP her. What would you do?

    * I, Asshole: The Motel 6 of the Lileks Experience
    ** That’s what she said

    Fangs for the memories

    Thursday, November 27th, 2014

    Here it is FAAAANGSGIVING again and I have decided to let myself off the hook some this year. I was plotting and planning how to make an exact replica of Thanksgiving, but gluten- and dairy- and corn-free and I said you know what? I am just going to do what I’ve been doing here and play to my strengths. I bought a nice rib roast and it has been sitting in the refrigerator for almost 24 hours coated in salt.

    I was that asshole at the store last night who was going “Sooo do you have any more oxtails or what?” No, they have TURKEY. I’m basically doing a very nice Sunday dinner, and I did a half-assed clean, and I feel very good about that. I enjoyed doing the big ten person thing last year, and this year I like the idea of having Morgan and her boyfriend and that’s it! It’s noon and I’m basically done.

    This gives me time to recount the horror that was parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday. I am VERY VERY excited about Strudel’s teacher this year. She’s really pushing Strudel to do well. We were expecting to hear that there were behavior issues–the usual thing, talking, not finishing homework, but what we got was pretty over the top.

    First there were the coffee cups. I’ve been enjoying a cup or two in the morning before I jump on the bus, or I even take some with me. I even program it to be ready by the time I wake up–such luxury! I can smell it in my dreams. Every day is a fucking coffee commercial. We have three travel mugs and a thermos, but generally the thermos gets used for soup. Two of the travel mugs are kind of crap, but we keep them because one is from a contract agency that P. was indentured to some time ago when we had a tiny baby and barely had two sticks to rub together. The other one has the name of the student org I was VP for in grad school. Memories.

    My go-to, non-crap mug was dirty, so I opened the cabinet for a backup mug. There was nothing–the two old crap cups were gone.

    “Why did you take the travel mugs to school?” I asked Strudel.

    There is no “did you” or “what happened to” needed. I know what happened, and that yes, she did, and I don’t even want to know why. She started making mouth noises about what she was doing with them and that she knew where they both were–probably–and…I cut her off.

    We are pretty fatigued by her elaborate stories lately. We had another talk about asking to borrow things, and even if objects appear to be sitting around for years the adults probably still want them. I so did not get that when I was a kid. My sense of time was so short and impatient. I didn’t understand that tools, etc, that sat around collecting dust were still wanted by their owners. So I kind of get where she’s coming from on this. I borrowed things if I thought I could get away with it. After about a week of nagging, both mugs came back home again, were cleaned, and went back to residing in the cupboard, waiting for a road trip or to be called upon as backup.

    The mug issue reared its head again in our conference.

    “She came in one morning,” her teacher said, “and she had a coffee mug, and was drinking out of it. Of course all of the other kids were shocked that she would be drinking coffee. I figured it was water.” (I knew it was coffee.) “I decided to just ignore it.”

    “A sound plan,” I said. I spend a lot of time ignoring small stuff as well.

    “Then the next day she brought in another mug. She left it on a table and went out to recess and I smelled it. It was coffee!”

    I was completely unsurprised by this one, and to be honest, the biggest issue I had with it was borrowing things without permission, and causing a disruption in the classroom, because it’s a bunch of ten-year olds, not a tech start up. She drinks coffee at home sometimes–it’s not a big deal.

    But her teacher wasn’t done.

    “And then there was the day she came in with a ring in her nose.”

    That one got me. “WHAT?”

    “Yes, she had this ring attached to her nose somehow.” Her teacher pointed to one nostril. “Everyone was talking about it, of course. There was a rumor that people were saying: ‘Her mom MADE her pierce her nose.” My jaw dropped. “The other teachers were all talking about it, asking me about it. I just ignored it.”

    “Oh jesus. Well that’s good,” I managed. P. was turning crimson and looked like he wanted to die. So basically he looked exactly how I felt.

    “By lunchtime it was gone,” her teacher said.

    The teacher had some nice things to say that were pretty much in line with what we already knew. She’s a good reader and a good writer and mather…but also has this unfortunate tendency to spontaneously fall out of her chair, which I’m sure is a big hit with her peers. She says she wants to be an engineer, but I am worried she’s going to grow up to be Amy Sedaris.

    He and I were pretty subdued on the way home. “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” P. said. I thought someone was really enjoying having the watchful eyes of her older sister at another school across town.

    As we parked the car, we decided not to bring up the nose ring, and the coffee cups had been dealt with to our satisfaction. I made dinner and the three of us and Franny sat down. I couldn’t resist–I had to tease her a little.

    “Your teacher told us EVERYTHING you’ve been up to, you know,” I said, shaking some hot sauce onto my food.

    “Everything?” Strudel said in a small voice. “Like what?”

    “I don’t want to embarrass you in front of your sister, but let’s say it had the RING of truth. Some of her observations were RIGHT ON THE NOSE.”

    Strudel turned a crimson shade and grimaced like her father had been doing hour or so before.

    “PLEASE don’t tell Franny what you’re talking about!” she begged.

    “I won’t,” I promised. “If you can be good for the REST OF THE YEAR.” She agreed eagerly.

    “I have no idea what’s going on here,” Franny said.

    Amen, sister.

    Diane I am holding in my hand a giant pillowcase full of candy

    Friday, October 31st, 2014

    She was so happy.

    Solving crimes with her best friend Mario?

    The big one is off with her dad and I am told I will see pics on Monday!!

    Disgusting dinners

    Monday, October 13th, 2014

    Strudel hath attended another recital. She survived, though it was a close thing. I guess the other parents are nicer (natch) because she was probably one of the most together kids.

    She did very well. I am sure it’s going to be her turn at some point to majorly fuck up, but it did not happen Saturday!

    $15.99, the Price of a Regular Cat Planet

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    No, I am still not over Cat Planet.

    Last week was rough. I spent a couple of days in bed, including a workday. I worked from bed, which was distracting. Sometimes I spend all day feeling like my heart is going to burst out of my chest. This lasts for about a week and then I get really tired and sore at the end. My body is exercising by itself sometimes.

    In the middle of this I took the girls to their doctor for a check up and some shots. It did not go well. I feel like I should chronicle it, so I can remember why I was mad later in case I think about going back there.

    I admit I was a little keyed up since I have been spending a lot of time in many doctor’s offices this year, being told various things that sound like guesses or just wrong a lot of the time. I kind of hate everyone, worse than usual, which is making it challenging to go into a medical place and try to wring something out of it. I fall back on my auto-didactic training in manners I fetched up after fleeing Being Raised by Wolves. The lizard part of my brain is going, “Punch them, punch them all, and then steal exam gloves and run out.”

    Our serious nurse in Scooby Doo scrubs that I always liked was not in evidence. It was strange to have someone else come out and fetch us. They lumped the girls up in one room and I suggested that they have separate appointments as I requested on the phone, since they are not four. I said “for privacy” and was not snotty about it as I was in my previous statement. The substitute nurse seemed taken aback by this, as much as she could be by anything, I suppose, since she hardly seemed to have a pulse. Her tone was annoyed with every request I made and response I gave. I couldn’t quite figure it out.

    She left the room and we all three kind of sighed.

    “I wish the regular nurse was here,” Franny said. “She’s good at shots.” Franny hates needles.

    Strudel’s exam was fine. The doctor told her to go back on wheat for two weeks to be tested for Celiac properly, and Strudel nodded solemnly. The doctor left the room to go to Franny’s exam room, and we were told that they were out of Strudel’s vaccination, and there was no point in testing her blood, so she got off scot-free for now. Fine, good. I had her go back to the waiting room and I joined Franny.

    “So,” I said. “Franny and I have made a list of what’s going on with her so we don’t forget anything.” I handed it to the doctor. “I have hyper- and hypothyroid in my family, and Grave’s disease. This looks like Celiac right now, but I am worried that her thyroid could be involved as well with her energy levels and whatnot.”

    She scanned the list of ~30 symptoms and zeroed in on infrequent periods. “Let’s start with female-specific symptoms. You think she has PCOS?” she asked.

    “Well. I don’t know. I’m not an expert and I can’t see into her body. I am just giving you everything that’s going on symptoms-wise. Maybe it’s PCOS.”

    “It doesn’t really matter if she has PCOS or not, because that’s an issue that affects fertility and she won’t have to deal with that for a long time.” She turned to Franny: “How about birth control? Do you want to be on birth control? It can regulate your periods.”

    “I’m not sure,” Franny said. “I’d need to know more about it.”

    “Sooo do you think birth control will fix things like her brittle nails and her hair loss, and the fact that she can sleep twelve hours and still be tired?”

    “What do you suggest then?” the doctor snapped.

    “I was hoping you would test her thyroid, and do the blood test for Celiac disease.”

    “Fine, I guess I could rule things out,” she began writing.

    “Yeaaah so are you going to just test TSH? Or reverse T3 and T4 and free T3 and T4 and…”


    “…And I thought maybe testing for Hashimoto’s since there seems to be some relation between Celiac and Hashimoto’s…”

    “It doesn’t matter if she has Hashimoto’s because we can’t do anything about it!”

    “Like PCOS,” I said. “You don’t believe there’s any value in knowing what’s going on with her?”

    “Like I said, we can rule these things out.” She changed tack then, back to birth control, which I am not opposed to, really. I just don’t believe that’s the panacea here. “Well, are you missing school due to your period? Is it interfering with your life and school?”

    “It’s not really regular,” she said.

    “That’s normal for your age,” the doctor said.

    “It’s not really interfering with her life because she’s only having about two a year,” I interjected.

    “Oh,” the doctor said. “I didn’t realize.” It was spelled out there on the sheet, and was part of the only section she appeared to have read, but I get it. It was a long sheet.

    “I will get the nurse in here to draw your blood, and to give your two vaccinations,” the doctor said, and left.

    “So that went well,” I said. Franny started laughing.

    Eventually the nurse came back and gave her quite a jab, and walked out again.

    “Thanks,” Franny said, to the nurse’s silent retreating back. The door slammed. “Ouch, FUCK,” she said. “The other nurse wouldn’t have done it like that.”

    “I know,” I said. “You know, you don’t have to thank people who are hurting you. It’s okay.”

    “Alright,” she said. “You okay, Mom?”

    “That whole interaction with your doctor made me feel a little crazy and upset. I’m fine. We’re going to keep trying to figure out what’s going on with you.”

    The nurse brought back some testing vials and laid everything out for a blood draw. She attempted to find Franny’s vein three or four times and then gave up when Franny started crying. Wretched.

    “I’ll get the other nurse,” she sighed. “Even though she doesn’t like to take blood from young people.”

    The other nurse, who has been around for years and is a very nice lady, managed to get the blood out just fine, and into the vials that the first nurse had supplied.

    “I know you are not our nurse today,” I said, “but Franny has only gotten one vaccination, and her doctor said she was supposed to have two. Would you please ask about that so we don’t leave without it?” She did, and returned, and gave the second vaccination.

    “I know you’re a little old, but do you want a lollipop?” she asked Franny.

    “YES.” Happy tears followed sad ones. BOOM, bedside manner’d.

    We left and everyone was in a pretty bad mood. Except maybe for Strudel, who had escaped a shot and received a lollipop as well, which was the most serious hardcore sugar she’s had all month. I am amazed at this kid who is taking a break from her 7-11 candy binges.

    “I don’t want to go back on wheat, Mom,” Strudel said.

    “Okay,” I said.

    Of course Franny went off wheat after this, and called me from her dad’s house this weekend, reporting that she was feeling much better…until her stepmother pulled some fried herbs off some pasta and told her to eat them and that they were wheat-free. Franny got to show off her giant bloated stomach to them as a result and slept for over eleven hours. It will be a learning process for everyone. I was relieved her dad took it in stride, since this isn’t the first time she’s gone off wheat. He bought her some grits, rice crackers, nuts.

    I know I should be grateful for these concessions, and I am, but I read my post about talking to him about trying her off wheat in 2008 (which I linked to in my last post) where he blamed me for her stress and stomachaches. This is why I write things down, even though they make me mad later. It’s important to remember some things.

    She says they live on wheat over there–pancakes for breakfast, Cup Noodle for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner. It’s no wonder she reports having a good weekend over there with her dad, but comes home in a terrible mood and is tired and irritable. She usually smooths out by Wednesday or so, and then it starts over again when she visits and comes back.

    The doctor’s office called me on Friday, and I did not get back to them in time, so I had to wait until today. I expected a TSH result that would probably tell me nothing, and either a yes or a no on the Celiac. What I got dismayed me. The nurse pulled the wrong vials and drew her blood into them, and so they couldn’t be processed.

    “So you’ll have to take her somewhere for a redraw. Where do you want the order sent?”

    “Wait, you can’t use the blood that was drawn? So she has to have it completely redone?”


    I chose Children’s Hospital. It is going to suck to break this news to Franny tonight, but at least I will take her to a place that has been nice to us in the past and draws blood from younguns all day long. Fuck.

    Pictures, I have so many pictures. My fucking photo editing tool is not letting me resize or crop photos. Also I am supposed to be downtown right now doing research in Gourmet Magazine but I actually wiped myself out from being mad. I am exhausted now. I will drag to the grocery store and try again later this week when I have time.

    I could sleep forever but I am afraid of missing my life. As it is right now it feels like it’s down to a little pinpoint. And I do feel a little crazy, because the medical stuff is just expanding. It’s not just me, but I have to take care of my girls’ issues that they inherited partly from me. Some days it is hard to get up, get dressed, and now I am looking at schlepping them to doctors, poor things. Better now than later.

    I think about SeaFed and his childhood nosebleeds and daily stomachaches, and the fact that his mother went down with dementia after years of brain fog, and I wonder. As I’ve mentioned P. is doing much better as well and has a mother who has not eaten wheat in years due to her many, many health issues.

    As ever I am trying to break the cycle.

    I actually kind of miss a year or so ago when my heart would race for a week at a time and I’d be like, eh, fuck it, I am just going to get a lot done since I only need to sleep five hours right now. I’m sorry, body.