Archive for the ‘Strudel’ Category

She Ain’t Heavy she my Strudel

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

I’m lying in bed, not an uncommon occurrence nowadays, though I am cutting myself some slack since it’s early on a Saturday morning. I got up to feed and water the chickens since they were up and making their cranky “WE ARE AWAKE ATTEND TO US RESISTANCE IS FUTILE” noises.

As an aside, it’s been fun being home “with” them. They get so excited the second I appear in the backyard, since I often have treats or scraps for them. I hear their noises change throughout the day and sometimes I call to them and they call back. Or they yell at birds or squirrels. Sometimes I see them seeing me through the window, while I’m working. I am reminded of the first summer I had chickens, before library school started, and I could just kind of hang out with tiny Franny and my teenaged sister and watch them and experiment on them all day long.

I guess I was lying here thinking about how the summer went. We had a big meal last night that seemed very sad and Farewell to Summer since it is both the last holiday weekend and supposed to be cloudy all weekend. We ate tomato salad and ribs and watermelon, and some pretty unsuccessful potato salad with eggplant that I would not recommend at all. The eggplant went right to mush.

Strudel’s been off wheat for the whole summer, with occasional “oops” moments here and there. I think it took her backsliding a few times to realize the immediate results. I packed her lunch for camp all summer, which was challenging, since camp was a “nut free zone.” If you aren’t eating wheat and you can’t bring nuts or do nut butter, and you’re packing a lunch for all day, including two snacks, you’re looking at trying to transport and store some cold things, like cheese, meats, salad, and the little jars of milk kefir I have been making.

I tried sending her with gluten-free, nut-free bars, but of course they came with the CYA labeling business of “may have at one time been driven by a facility that was thinking about processing nuts” and were sent home again. I tracked down one brand (which I will not bother linking since adherents will know it and no one else cares) that made bars in a “DEDICATED NUT FREE FACILITY!” The upside was that the ingredients weren’t awful, kind of like nutless Larabars, but they had names like “chocolate brownie” that made them sound very treat-y.

This year there was a counselor who had a large and firmly lodged stick up his ass, and the skinny was that the kids pretty much hated him, but it was becoming increasingly obvious over the summer that he had a real boner for messing with Strudel. He saw these bars (I actually sent the box in with them so they would have the full NUT FREE literature to peruse) and somehow deemed them unacceptable for a snack. The idea was that a bar and a piece of fruit could be her afternoon snack, since by then the cold things in her bag would need to be eaten earlier due to the fact that her ice packs only remained frozen through noon or so.

He told her she had to eat the bar with lunch as “dessert,” but I knew other kids had granola bars for snacks and things that looked healthier, but I am sure had just as much sugar. Most of the counselors were aware that most kids brought lunch but there were a couple of allergic kids who had to pack in morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack for themselves, since they couldn’t eat things the camp would pass out, like Goldfish crackers.

I sat down and wrote a letter to the director that night, which I felt was necessary but incredibly lame. I always have these conflicting twinges of “HOORAY I AM MY CHILD’S ADVOCATE” mixed with the shame of “ugh I am helicoptering.” I think I get these feelings because I was raised on the “Go play in the street, kid” side of things.

I got jumped on the bus when I was in second grade by three older boys. Black eye, clumps of hair falling out from being pulled out, generally terrified. I got off the bus crying and my mother picked me up.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I got beat up on the bus by some boys.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

FIN.

WHAT THE FUCK. I got in trouble later for biting one of them in self defense. Since my mother didn’t call the school or get involved, and his parents had, it was assumed that I was the perpetrator. He and I made friends later in high school in government class, when I was a junior and he was a senior. We sat in the back together. I was stoned every day because A. it was right after lunch and B. it was HELLA BORING. He used to make fun of me for being a stoner and then…he discovered pot himself.

“I get it now, I’m sorry,” he said. He showed me the faint scar on his forearm that still bore the impression of my dental record at eight years old.

SHIT WHERE WAS I? Okay, so I drafted this sad letter to the camp director, about how Strudel cannot eat wheat, and the challenge of packing one full meal and two light ones without bread products or nuts. I said I respected the nut rule, and I hoped her limitations could be accommodated, including letting her eat a snack bar as a snack and not “dessert.” It was granted. It was all very silly, but whatever it takes to make this work right now.

Friday was swimming day at camp, and on her last Friday she was going to be a late arrival so she asked me if she could just wear her swimsuit under her clothes at camp. I came into her room to ask her something, and was struck by how tall and lean she looked. Then I realized: for the first time ever, she didn’t have a rock-hard, distended belly. I had found myself wondering when she was going to grow out of her belly, since it seemed like that little kid pot belly was sticking with her much later than Franny’s had. I remember my mother prodding mine at Strudel’s age and saying things like, “Wow, you’re getting really chunky!”

A couple of times during the last school year Strudel had even asked me if I thought she was fat (what is that sound? Oh, it’s my heart breaking a little). There were vague references to this stemming from conversations with girls at school who thought they were fat, and it made Strudel think about her own body. We had talks about how athletic she is and how eating and having some fat is critical for your body and brain. We got to the bottom of it, and she was becoming self conscious about her belly. I pointed out that it was firm. I showed her my stomach, and had her poke through my squishy places, down to the muscle underneath. “Here, feel this. This is what fat feels like. You’re not like this. And even if you had some fat like me, it’s really not the end of the world AT ALL. Big deal. Your body works GREAT, right?”

Well, this was true overall, but it seems like her body was not working quite as well as it could. Stomachaches were normal, and daily, just like my childhood. I didn’t know she was having diarrhea regularly, and thought that was normal. And she was a VERY rough customer. She was crabby a lot of the time. I have posted videos of her having ten or twenty minute tantrums years ago. She has turned over furniture–lamps, tables, dressers. Trying to do something simple, like get her into the shower, or put her clean clothes away, would turn into a five minute shouting match (a one-sided match, though, really). I learned to get her motivated faster by being kind of a wall and never letting her bait me. She had her sweet moments and her great moments, but she was a very testy person, and a screamy baby.

It’s like a switch flipped this summer. We’ve tried the wheat-free thing before, most notably a couple of years ago, but I knew she was cheating A LOT, so her stomachaches were lessened, but there was no significant change. Now she is being very diligent about her consumption on her own, because she can see the difference. She is a delight to be around, and unless she is overtired, is in a great mood. She had a breakdown last night over something that happened while we were playing Killer Bunnies, and I realized it was after nine and she was getting non-functional.

“Okay, bedtime,” I said. I braced myself for an explosion and for the air to turn blue but it didn’t come.

“FINE,” she said, and semi-stomped to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Then she went to bed. It was like magic compared to the past, as recently as springtime.

After she dressed for her last day of camp (camp was going on for two more weeks after that, but I was keeping her home with me and her sister through the start of school) I brought her in and said I’d see her at the end of the day. I picked her up and I could see from her eyes that something had gone down and it turns out it was with the counselor who had the stick up his ass.

“You won’t believe this! I was talking to [Favorite Counselor] and I found out she can’t eat wheat either! And [Counselor Asshat] heard us talking and he said ‘Oh, you’re weird like Strudel’ to her. And then…the director walked by and heard him and FIRED HIM!”

I am so glad she got to witness that.

Now I am going to embarrass P. and say that he forgot what time our anniversary dinner was on Sunday, which he had planned. We were going to have a multi-course Medieval meal at a place an hour away. By the time he looked at our tickets we realized we would be late for our seating and would miss a lot of it.

I had to ask him the awkward question, since he’s forgotten about our last few plans/date nights/family dinners together unless I really keep on top of him. We sat in the bathroom, dressed up, and talking about what to do and what had happened. It wasn’t a fight, but I think we wanted to parley quietly, out of earshot of the children. Should we drive anyway and be very late? Should we go somewhere else? Should we bag it and stay home? That sounded depressing.

“Uhh. So. It seems like you enjoy spending time with me at home and like seeing me. But maybe do not want to go out with me places?”

He told me he honestly could not remember, and that was about as deep as it went. He wasn’t trying to send me a message or anything.

I was sad and I said so but I regrouped and made quick reservations at one of my favorite places that is known for being local, organic, seasonal, and very difficult-diet friendly. I had gotten results from some blood tests a few days before that indicated it is likely I am Celiac (yes, I have buried this boring lede. I am still thinking about whether or not to pursue an endoscopy. Probably should to assess the damage, and I am still going to an endocrinologist next month.). I thought this restaurant would be better for me, though would probably contain 100% fewer lute players and people shouting “huzzah!” alas.

I told P. that it seemed like his memory was getting worse. He agreed wholeheartedly that it has been, and he was having trouble at times even tracking conversations due to brain fog, which sounded a lot like me.

“Do you want to maybe try doing what I’m doing and take a break from wheat?”

I told him about the great mental clarity I’d had in May when I did a Whole30. He agreed it was pretty harmless to try it, and went off wheat that night.

Well. I was shocked how much it affected him, since he seems to tolerate wheat well. He had a fever, sweating, gastrointestinal distress, and by Wednesday–a sharper brain and better recall than he’s had in months or years. He’s been eating very well, veggies, meats, salads, nuts, so he is not plugging his empty gluten hole with junk. He woke up this morning and told me he remembered a dream (very rare for him) and it was something about forgetting to write an item we were out of on our chalkboard list.

“It was paper towels,” I said.

“Yes! We ran out of paper towels.”

“You remembered that you forgot something. That is huge,” I said.

“Before I wouldn’t have remembered that I forgot something.”

We are like 90-year-old dementia patients coming out of a haze. A whole house of freaks. FUCK!

“I’ll go to bed when I feel like going to bed. Don’t tell me to go to bed you fuckin’ lyin’ cocksucker!”

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

There was a terrific fight this afternoon in front of my bedroom door. I was trying to get some rest after going in to work for a couple of meetings, which were, somehow, unexpectedly draining. I guess I say “unexpectedly” because that is what I used to do all day, work and go to meetings, and being there for three hours felt just as tiring as being there for eight-plus. I don’t know how I functioned as a zombie for so long. (The answer to that is: “not well.”)

Franny was in my doorway trying to ask me something, when Strudel interrupted her. I saw Franny give her that “NOT NOW, SHUT UP” look, which immediately piqued my interest. I knew something was afoot and decided to watch it play out.

“I just want to know,” Strudel said, “when you are going to finish walking the dogs so I can come with.”

“I finished,” Franny said.

“Uhh. Mom says to walk them for an hour and that was not an hour. I checked the clock before and after we left and that was 30 minutes.”

“I know how to tell time!”

“So do I!”

“Does this fight need to happen in front of my door?” I asked.

“She’s MAKING THIS UP,” Franny said.

“Why would she make this up?” I asked.

“I DON’T KNOW!”

“I just assumed she was splitting the walk into two like she does sometimes,” Strudel said.

This carried on for a couple more minutes until I broke it up.

“You,” I said, pointing at Franny. “I’ve noticed you’ve been cutting corners with the dog walking. I said an hour a day for the rest of the summer. I check the clock when you come back, and it’s usually anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes. Which is not an hour. So I do wonder if either you don’t know how to tell time or are being a lazy corner-cutter. Based on my OWN PERSONAL OBSERVATION I believe that you cut the walk short today.”

Tears. Door slamming. It’s kind of fascinating to see them get into this death match where neither will back down and it’s obvious one of them is lying. If I think I know which one is lying, like if I have some kind of proof or prior experience like with this chore, they get SO PISSED on being called out. I think in the moment they absolutely believe whatever crock of shit they’re trying to peddle to me.

It took Strudel a couple of weeks of her sister being gone visiting her dad to finally grok the idea that she couldn’t knee-jerk blame everything on Franny because SHE WAS NOT HERE. I even saw her start a couple of sentences and them bite them back. “Fran—” No. Nice try.

I wandered into the kitchen after lying down for about 90 minutes and puttered around a little. Made myself a panfake. Futzed with today’s batch of water kefir. (Yes, it is that bad now that I am making water kefir like all those woo woo online hippies I hate. Thanks for the recipes, hippies. No thanks for quoting Joseph Mercola.)

While I was cooking, Strudel hit me up for chores to do so she could earn some money to fuel her current obsession, which is owning a goldfish. I had to decline, because they did chores for me a couple of days ago to earn money, and I tell you what, I did NOT get what I paid for. “No thanks,” I said. I asked her to wash her own mac and cheese lunch pot, which she agreed to. I think she knew how tired I was because she even offered to do the other dishes.

“No, no, it’s okay.” I hated refusing, but I knew she would kind of wave the sponge at them and put them in the dish drain dirty and soapy, which is what happens when she washes more than, like, two things. I am so tired right now I am at “IT’S FINE I WILL DO IT MYSELF” parent because I don’t really have the juice to hardass them about doing jobs right. And they know it. I should have recorded myself giving lectures before I got sick. Man, I gave some good ones.

Strudel scooched out of the kitchen and I saw the lunch dishes, powdered cheese mess on the counter, and two open soy milk containers in the fridge. I opened the older one, to confirm that Franny had indeed opened the new one, and I realized the older one had gone bad. I immediately assumed she had found this out this morning as well, and rather than pour it out, had moved on to the new container. My brain was going seethe seethe “I AM NOT A GODDAM MAID” and “ARE THEIR ARMS BROKEN” and other assortments of things that would be right at home in a Lifetime movie about someone’s nightmare mother from when they grew up in the 60s or whatever.

I thought about writing up a list of rules to post in the kitchen to keep me sane this week and going forward, and it was going to be LONG. And detailed. Then I realized, you know what? These little shitbirds just need to GO BACK TO SCHOOL. And that is about to happen in less than a week.

I love them but between their fighting and their thoughtlessness, they are making me insane.

But panfakes make everything better: whip one egg with one ripe banana, fry like pancake, eat, be less homicidal. Add ins include: cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, nuts, coconut chips. Good with almond butter on top.

Recursive; or, Damn Dirty Grapes

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

DEAR GODDAM DIARY,

Last weekend’s ice cream was chocolate malt. I am starting to think that these recipes have a wee little bit too much salt for me, in general. But it’s still good. I’m buying the nice cream in glass bottles, which I also use for piima yogurt and such.


Egg in sugar and malt powder and chocolates.

It was a really nice weekend in that way that people go crazy about here–upper 70s, overcast. I am worried about the tomatoes. A cold snap now that they are on the vine and green will turn them into mealy pulp.

Franny’s back for two weeks. She was weird for a couple of days, like a little satellite who had ranged too far out on her tether. I am glad she was gone for almost a month. If she was here all the time, we would have moved on, but it seems like kind of a reset. We are still talking some about what happened at the end of the year with her grades and the Japan trip and the mood she was in at the end of the eighth grade. I think she was just way outgrowing that nest.

So she seemed a little aloof and distant at first but seems to have settled in. I feel bad about how hard it’s always been for her to transition from two different lives.

“The floors are so clean here!” she said. They are not super clean, but they are free of toys.

She said she had a marvelous time with her dad and I believe it. She said he seems calm and like he has his shit together now. It takes some people a really long time to grow up. I grew up fast but it took me a long time to realize I was human, too. I happened to come outside when SeaFed was dropping her off and I always feel so irritated when I see him because he looks so old now, which means I do too. This is not about vanity but mortality.

I’m home today. I wanted to work every day this month but I didn’t make it. I woke up with a pain on the back of my head like I’d been hit with something. My lymph nodes are huge back there, like olives, and I’m just off. It’s not like a normal headache that feels like it comes from inside your brain somewhere or like a band squeezing. It’s like my actual head aches.

I’m giving it a little time, because I need a little time, and then I am going to dive back into the world of doctors and testing. People ask me about my health and I say, “It’s fine.” I cannot say how I’m really feeling all the time. They say they’re glad I’m feeling better and I nod. This is how the transaction goes, I think. I cannot pretend I am getting better, though, and no amount of taking care of myself or altering my diet seems to be completely licking it. I’ll make an appointment for after Twin Peaks.

I’m going off of some medication to get myself to flare up again. I know for the next round of testing I will need to have accurate inflammation levels. I’m dreading this. I cannot go back on steroids. I know I was on too high of a dose, but I really don’t want that look into my id again. I have this pattern of some life-changing event and then I get what I am afraid is a look into who I really am. I don’t like what I find there. It’s an asshole who likes to wear fringed leather jackets.

I don’t want my life to be about being ill. Some days I cannot bend over because of my joints and I feel afraid. I need to figure out how to be unafraid again.

Franny was saying the wants to see the new Planet of the Apes movie that’s out now. I think I would rather eat ground glass than sit in a theatre right now, so I offered to show her the original at home. I think Charlton Heston is appropriate for any season, but especially summer. We have now watched the first two and the girls have made me promise to show them ALL FIVE this month.

I always enjoy watching movies with them. I had Strudel convinced that she had misread the title and that it was Planet of the Grapes, and it was all about winemaking.


A thirteen-year-old hath given me a mani-pedi during Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

I am counting down to going out of town, but not too far away. I am really looking forward to taking a trip in the Elco. FDR had mineral springs, I have an El Camino with a couch for a seat. I have a long history of traveling alone and sometimes it’s horrible but usually it’s fine. It’s always transformative, at least, which is what I need right now.

“Meathead.” “Do not call me this.”

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

My sister and I stayed up tooo late last night talking shit about the apocalypse and some other stuff. And drinking rosé and eating rosemary fried chicken.

I forgot how much she remembered about way back in ye olde days when she was like, six. She gave Strudel an earful of how I was in some kind of Harry Potter situation. I was kind of cringing as she was telling her niece about my parents’ plans to lock up the food, so I would go away like some kind of stray cat, and the other plan to spend all the college money. Among other things, but she didn’t mention those.

It was true though. I can’t imagine how this sounded to Strudel. Probably completely fucking absurd. There’s A LOT the girls don’t know, because why?

It’s a weird thing to think about, the fact that my sister was subjected to watching me be treated very poorly. I know my mother had a lot of “survivor’s guilt” over how brutally my grandma would beat her step siblings. And I think about how my mother put my sister through that. Rinse, repeat.

I don’t hurt children; I have always turned the knife on myself.

“You are VERY lucky,” Morgan told Strudel.

It’s not very hard, I said. Step one: don’t be crazy.

Afterwards I went out to lock up the chickens, late, and there was a disgusting slug orgy happening on my porch. They were LITRILLY

fucking in a slimy pile.

I got out one of my work gloves and threw them all VERY FAR over the fence. PROPER. My porch is the perfect storm of chicken pellet crumb, since the bucket is stored there, and moisture from plant pots. There are jizzy slug trails over the sides of my house, on shoes, on window screens, errrwhere. YUCK.

Speaking of stray cats and chickens, Goethe decided to stomp around in the chicken run tonight.

What are you DOOIN?

Last weekend, after months of saving money and waiting for it to get warm, Strudel and I collabo’d on a lemonade stand. She is saving up for a laptop so she can geek out with her creek out. I bought her a bank in April and glued the buttplug in so she could not embezzle from her LLC. She has been counting down to smashing it.

Don ye now our mom’s onion goggles.

HOLY SHITBALLS I MADE MY FIRST DOLLAR

It was successful. I piled the table and such into the Elco and took it to a busy corner in our neighborhood. “You should write on the sign that it’s fresh-squeezed” a guy in a van said. We’re going to do it every weekend until the rains come.

Krumpy was in town and we met at Matt’s, which has to be one of my all-time favorite Seattle restaurants. I hoped she would like it, since she has fancy NY taste. I wore a silk dress and was on the verge of sweating the whole time, but not quite. This is a pretty awesome summer.

The ice cream of the weekend was salted black licorice. I like ouzo and fennel and absinthe but I cannot hang with salted licorice.

JESUS FUCK LICORICE CUSTARD GROSS

It was for Mr. P., who has like only seven taste buds.

Look who got a summer buzzzzzzzz.

FIN

Happy Fourt…zzzz

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Shit shit shit I am sick again. I have lumps on the back of my neck (swollen lymph nodes) and I am dragging ass. I kind of ignored it for a couple of days but it’s not going away quickly, anyhow, and I am just sleep sleep sleeping, and turning to my usual coping mechanism, cooking. With mixed results.

I keep touching my neck bumps and going YEP STILL HURTS like a dog touching its hotspots. Why does human nature compel us to lick chancres and probe burns? I’m sure there’s a reason. Don’t answer that.

I’ve been pondering how much time I’ve spent in the 19th century, not in a just glue some gears on it sense, but just reading and cooking and thinking about that whole cool syphilitic cobblestoney situation. Now I kind of feel like I’m unraveling, slowly, in fits and starts, but I don’t have a lady’s maid and I have a job and children, so I can’t sit around writing gloomy poetry and sucking on a shisha all day, like some kind of plump overeducated caterpillar, which is probably what I would be doing right now if it was 150 years ago. This too shall pass? Don’t answer that either.

This weekend’s ice cream was chosen by Strudel. It’s fruity miso. The cookbook’s authors recommend using whatever ripe fruit that will mix well with the miso and is in season–pear, apple, or peach. I used two smallish nectarines, which is what I had (it called for two “large” peaches), and augmented with a couple of small red plums.

You caramelize sugar, and then mix the fruits in and cook them down, caramelizing them as well.

This was all well and good until it was time to stir the miso in and then blend everything. BLEH! It really called back to some unfortunate times later in high school when payday meant takeout sweet and sour chicken and a couple of bottles of Boone’s sangria. The flavor part of the ice cream base really reminded me of that–fruity but also kind of sour. I made myself taste the custard once it was all blended together before it went into the fridge to cool and steep and it was…okay. A little vomity, though, really.

I’m not going to say anything to the kid. By the time I was her age I was a professional vomiter (allergies, poor parenting, etc) but I think she’s only technicolor yawned three or four times in her life so far.

Oh hey, look over here! Shiny thing.

I was a plus one at a BBQ yesterday. We didn’t stay too long in part because I got really cold and tired. The weather suddenly turned and I had dressed for sun. I brought this cake, which is a Texas sheet cake, and comes together very quickly. The frosting and part of the batter is boiled. Patriotic sprinkles for the win.

I like to experiment on people at parties, so I also tried a cherry slab cake. My pan was too big and I didn’t like the way it looked, with the juice leaking and and slightly burnt at the edges, so we kept it at home.

Strudel declared that we would have to have black coffee and cherry pie for breakfast, like Agent Cooper. She is getting into character to be him for Halloween. She spent the entire meal exclaiming that she was drinking a DAMN FINE CUP OF COFFEE. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning. I told her I would rent her a small FBI agent’s suit for trick or treating.

I am also getting excited to go back to the Twin Peaks festival this year.

Tall Tan Young Strudelly

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

So, dig if you will the picture of time traveling back to Mother’s Day. The girls went spelunking into the chicken coop and there: there be dragons.

They found a demon egg. Seriously, that is an egg. Shell on the left, red yolk on the right. Whisky tango foxtrot!!??!!

Naturally we had to dissect it.

Very auspicious.

So last weekend, since my life is not boring enough as it is already, I decided to re-line the bathroom drawers as part of moving into the basement bathroom. Most of my stuff was in the pink Eisenhower bathroom.

I have approximately 4,000 small bottles of beauty snake oil. FUCK. And they are ALL necessary, because you never know when you’re going to have a day that you specifically need a heat protection cream that works for crimping irons. YOU NEVER KNOW.

So here’s what I think is the original contact paper.

It gave up easily and peeled out dignified-like and without a fuss. I was telling a friend the other day that it was strange to have a bathroom with extremely high-quality, unfinished wooden drawers, as opposed to plastic shelves or lined ones. I think I could sell every drawer on ebay for at least $280 dollars. That is how nice the wood is.

Naturally I felt compelled to recover them. Franny has already spilt makeup in one of the drawers of the mocha bathroom, so I covered all those too with a different pattern that I did not snap for some reason. I am capricious.

A “bonus” was that I found an ad from 1987 behind a drawer (hollerrrr d.o.b. Morgan).

GIRL YOU BETTER LEARN HOW TO TAKE A HARD DICKING FROM THE PATRIARCHY I MEAN NICE PANTYHOSE

God I’m so angry. It’s making me tired.

(reverse)

PROTIP: How to prevent wrinkles: kill yourself. Because wrinkles be happening.

Let’s have some boring jive about my digestion.

Franny made beautiful heart-shaped sugar cookies on Monday and I ate three. Big whoop, right? They hung me over! WHAT. I had a headache and brain fog all day on Tuesday. Crap. I am broken, I think.

She frosted them with pink frosting and brought them to her friends at school, though, and someone innocently asked her what the occasion was. Her snappy, perfect best friend patted Franny’s stomach and said, “There’s another little one on the way!” Cookie fell out of the friend’s mouth. MAD PROPS AND GOOD BFF CHOICE FRANNY.

So I am fermenting the shit out of everything. A couple of weeks ago Franny and I hit a simple cheesemaking class in West Seattle and we came away with piima culture and a bunch of recipes. So I’ve been making kefir (not pictured) and piima butter (l.) and fruit kvass (r.).

Let’s talk about the other one, who writes notes to herself.

I found this on the table on Wednesday. Strudel is very close to the children’s librarian at our neighborhood library. This librarian, I am told, has just gotten pregnant, and is considering naming her baby after Strudel. Then there may be two of them in the U.S. We are very pleased.

Finally, it’s me. I wake up with my hair all crazy and I call it good and head off to work.

My House is Filling with Chicken Grease Smoke and Looks Like Hoarders

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

FRIENDS. Once again we dye the chicken abortions bright colors, and struggle for the next two weeks through a lot of egg salad. First, be warned, my house is totally cattywampus today. I don’t even think the table will be cleared off by the time this chicken comes out of the oven, though that will be good motivation to clear it. I’ll get to the why in a minute.


No tabletop in sight.


Strudel is doing very well; her knee bruises are fading.

I was partly prepared for egg dyeing today. I only had half a box of regular food coloring, and a little more than that in the neon variety.

Like every year, P. suggested we get out the intense dye–the kind you get at the cake decorating store that can legit make frosting black. (Trust me, there are three October birthdays in this house. I know from black frosting.)

I knew there was a reason we shouldn’t use it, but I couldn’t remember why. Since I had no rebuttal, the Jewess and her paterfamilias won and talked me into busting out the fancy colors. I quickly remembered that the reason we don’t use them for this is because they don’t mix with water and vinegar like regular food dye.


We call this egg “Womynist Mooncycle Expressions.” It was supposed to be purple.

Here is a little round up of a couple of things I did during my drug-induced mania.

I’ve been having a love affair with monstera deliciosa, as you do. I got one for the basement bathroom, because it is a low-light tolerant plant, and then I got one for upstairs, so they can race.

Speaking of the basement bathroom, I hear you asking, how did the re-inspection go? WHY, IT FAILED AGAIN. Jackass Plumber put the wrong valve on the hot water heater, in spite of the inspector telling us exactly what was needed.

“The next time I come back, I’m going to have to charge a re-inspection fee,” he said.

Of course my contractor chased up on the plumber very quickly to get him to come out and fix it. Jackass Plumber decided to ignore that email. So my contractor sent the plumber a FUCK YES CAPLOCKS email today, on Easter Sunday.

Because I am A. uncharitable and B. want to use my tub someday, I confess I loled. I have zero confidence in this guy at this point. We just want him to finish.

So here’s new monstera:


It’s terrible on this pillar, though, and I will be getting something so it can be lower. Also, if anyone is actually reading this (this is not a test) have you ever cut back a very leggy rubber plant successfully? I think we need to start over on that guy. [Not pictured.]

Moving the monstera to the pillar meant that I had to move the rain lamp, which I did not like in the dining room, because bronze on bronze weirdness.


I like it in the living room better. Look, it’s like a page out of Dwell magazine, if the room was decorated by a drunk okapi.


Y U SO PRETTY, LADY??? And you smell of melted crayons. It’s like my dream woman, really.

To finish Snake Plant Madness, I got plant stands of differing heights to “add visual interest.” I was talking to a friend yesterday about much I love the word “interest” used in that way, and how you only use it in two contexts: decorating and gardening. And gardening is just decorating outside, so there you go. And then I took that wood thing outside, and rubbed it all over with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and then rubbed teak oil into it. MAN it looks great now. It really does. I am so impressed.

WHO WAS THAT PERSON? WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH A FRINGE JACKET AND A GALLON OF TEAK OIL? Christ, what an asshole. I kind of want her back though, as long as the inside of my head is not going “EEEEEE/KILL ALL HUMANS.”

And look, there are some cords, and there is the ladder, leading up to the attic….

I started a carnivorous garden in a “comically” oversized brandy snifter, because I bought it and it was too big for my marimo to go in. Maybe someday the marimo will graduate into it, like when I am 90.

A carnivorous garden is something I wanted in the back of my head, like when I would be falling asleep at night. I’d say, “And it would be cool to, like, have a bunch of carnivorous plants in a jar and we can reenact scenes from Suddenly, Last Summer in the living room.” And then I would say to myself, “Self, pull the other one, it has bells on,” AND THEN I felt like I had hoovered up Cocaine Mountain 24 hours a day, so boy howdy was I ever doing seven projects an afternoon.


“We will eat all of the fruit flies that will bother you in August.” No you will not you fucking LIARS, there are TOO MANY.

I have a little twinge when I look at it, like it’s a gift from another personality or something, or something you did when you were blackout drunk. I actually did things like this when I was very drunk in college. I was like a very drunk retiree when I was on school holidays. “Mmm, drank two martinis, time to do some gardening.” SIGH, past SJ. You were pathetic. But STI free. EH.

ANYWAY. Am I the type of person who can actually maintain a fussy little window garden? We’ll see, I guess.

Now it’s shameful secret overshare time (a day ending in “Y.”). My poor mocha bathroom, the one with the insano teal walls, has been hideously abused. The guests only see the pink poodle bathroom, but today you get unfettered access.

I asked P. to switch out the exhaust fan because it was ancient and really not cutting the mustard, especially with four people using this bathroom. I’m kind of glad to have a delay on working on the basement, because this bathroom is turning into a 911.

Look at this mildew. There was a little patch when we moved in, and all this has spread this winter. The new fan has a “humidity sensor” and will run as long as it goddam needs to. And will be quieter!


CHEESE AND CRACKERS MAN. It’s IN the paint. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!

So I got some of that Kilz stuff to coat the ceiling in, and I’m going to repaint as soon as he’s done putting the fan in. I figure there’s no point in repainting until there’s so more powerful sucking in this room. I know, why don’t I just stand in the bathroom? HA HA, you’re hilarious.

And then we have to address this poor sad bathtub. Horrifying, innit?

This poor house has experienced A LOT of benign neglect. I guess we’re the ones to turn that around. Anyway, hope your weekend is going swimmingly. Monkeychow out!

For a human animal to call for help/on another animal

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

FUCKING SHIT. Strudel got clipped by a car in a parking lot of a BurgerVille in Vancouver, WA. I heard a BANG which I thought was a fender bender, but it turns out someone was bending their fender on my kid. She went flying some and scraped her knees. Her shoe went blasting off into the bushes far off. I didn’t see it, because she was throwing out a wrapper and I was waiting for her in the Honda with my back to her.

I ran when I saw her sitting on the road in front of the lady’s car. Strudel was weeping and I ran to pick her up (bad idea, I know, but I felt physically incapable of not picking her up). She was feather-light from the adrenaline, of course. I started saying the license plate out loud as I moved her to the sidewalk–it just happened.

“She didn’t even look!” the lady said. I decided that was when I was done talking to her. I looked at her: limp blonde hair, teal scrubs, but not a doctor, 40s. Small. Scarred face. Eyes that kept sliding over us and then off us.

There was a witness nearby who actually saw it. She had kids in her minivan. “She was driving really fast,” she said. “You should call 911 and then file a report. Your kid might be in shock.” She gave me her phone number as a witness.

“Thank you, I’m in shock, too.”

So I called them. I took a picture of the front of the car that hit her while her dad comforted her.

“It always looks like that,” the owner said as I snapped it. Every time I looked at her, her eyes darted away. Her face was a mask, impassive. In a weird way I admired how calm she was.

An ambulance came, but Strudel was pretty okay, thank goodness. Her head was not involved at all. They looked her over and gave us ice for her knees.

We ended up filing a police report, which is a good thing to have. I got a piece of paper that was called an “Exchange of Information” with Strudel as the pedestrian and the name of the driver. I was thinking about how I would feel if someone handed me a piece of paper saying that I had hit a kid.

Strudel has swollen knees now with bandages on him. The officer who took the report gave her a firm, but kind, dressing down about looking both ways.

“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is,” he said. “Little girls never win against cars. You were very, very lucky today.” She nodded.

I know we’re in a litigious culture but I don’t think I could prevent myself from apologizing if I had hit someone’s kid with my car. I don’t think the lady’s evil or anything. Or maybe she is, who knows? But I don’t think I could have stopped myself from apologizing, and I’m sure I would have been bawling while I was doing it. But that’s me.

Okay, I’m going to sit in the hotel bathtub and cry silently for a little while before dinner. I will take all of these near misses from the universe. ALL OF THEM!


Icing knees before dinner.

My Bark is Worse Than My Barf

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Oh a twist–Monkey #10, who successfully traded hats on stage with eleven monkeys for two matinees and an evening performance last week, not to mention all the practicing, has suddenly come down with lice. What a crazy random happenstance. I dropped a dime on her with the school, because I am also hearing that there is a full-on outbreak and girls are “hiding” lice so they won’t need haircuts.

Things kind of festered because Strudel has not really been having me braid her hair at night for the past week or so, and I was just suggesting a Nice Bob to resolve her tangling and pain issues.

“NO!” she said last night, as her dad picked her nits.

Franny, meanwhile, has not had a haircut since September, and her ends and layers were getting a little tired. She asked me to give it a blunt trim across her shoulders, which was easy to do once I had gotten laundry load #4000 in and dishes were done.

“Oh that looks nice, Mom.” She thought for a minute. “Should I have…BANGS?” She started pushing little wispy bits down to preview what it might look like.

“I think you should, but I’m going to tell you what my hair stylist tells me: commit fully. No wimpy little bangs that you will have to style endlessly and they will still kind of look crooked and weird and not behave. You should make it a hairstyle.” I pulled a chunk of her hair forward to show her how it would look full and frame her face.

She went for it.

I like it. It’s very hipster anime Cleopatra. I showed her about a little heat, and a little style product, and BANG (no pun intended, but there you go).

THEN, not to be left out, Strudel clamored for a bob. I JUMPED! This is probably the quickest haircut I have ever given and she said the same thing she ALWAYS says every single time.

“I HATE THIS. Wait. This is actually okay. This is pretty good.” Sigh. “I think I like this. Thanks, Mom!”

And then after I was done, P. swooped and picked even more nits. This was after a round of smothering with tea tree oil and almond oil, too, of course, since I was out of Listerine (note to self). It will probably need a wee bit of clean up when she wakes up.

I tried to take a picture, but she turns into a blur. I get that she doesn’t love the camera, or holding still, and a lot of times I just leave her be and “miss” stuff. It’s okay, some of it stays in my head. I really wanted to snap the bob though and I was a little disappointed in myself for pressing it.

“Can you just…hold still?” I asked.

“Not really!”

“I want to see your hair in this, can you just, like…act normal?”

“I AM ACTING NORMAL!!” Hmm. Touche, there, Calvin.

Lady Lice-a-lot is coming to the rheumatologist with me this morning. Guess what? I “have something” now, I think. Parvovirus B19 came back positive, finally. I will let you know more when I know what the heck this means, overall.

Also I am burning with desire to show you my bathroom, but I am missing VANITY LEGS. OH GOOD GOD. SJ problems. I am going to shoot it later anyway, because there is an inspection today and tomorrow and then it is DONE, vanity legs or not (legs are backordered til next week).

ETA: Okay, it’s NOT parvo. It was just showing that I have had it. Dammit. Still, I’m getting better.

Feral Dwarf Rides Again

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Strudel had lunchtime detention today, I am informed. She had already confessed to the crime last night, though.

Strudel: I put a “pinch me” sign on my friend’s back today!

Me: That’s not very nice at all.

Strudel: Well, no one pinched him very hard.