Hello to Sring*

* 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.

The dark covers me and I cannot run now

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: this morning I woke up to GRISLY CHICKEN DEATH. Zsa Zsa, JWOWW, and So-and-So the Easter Egger got the axe. I locked them up at dusk last night and it was quiet outside and they were burbling in their house and everything seemed well. There was a lot of noise at 5 a.m. but I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes they get noisy when the sun comes up. I came out at 6:30 to let them out (I surrender, I am a morning person now, yes I hate myself appropriately) and the first thing I saw was feathers under the coop. Too many feathers. There were three broken and gutted little bodies around the backyard. One of the raccoons had eaten the eggs out of Zsa Zsa’s body, which just made me furious, really.

I walked to the corner of the yard and old lady Veronica was hiding behind the shed, standing upright and eying me warily. A feather was stuck to her head and at first I was afraid that her eye had been poked or something, but she was just sticky. I let her be since I figured she’d get it off herself, and also because after what she witnessed she is probably now Chicken Dexter Morgan and I didn’t want to get too close.

Watching her stand there made me feel really sad. I surveyed the little piles where the raccoons had left the girls laying around the yard half eaten and all I could think of was how scared they must have been in the dark and how terrible I was to have shut the door too early and locked them out. It’s like a horror movie when the door closes too soon and you watch your friend get torn apart by zombies/tentacles/LaRouchies through the porthole. I cried–I couldn’t help it.

The thing about chicken deaths is that I don’t really bond with them the way I do with my cats and now the dog, but they are trusting and defenseless and just kind of generally good animals, I believe. I know chickens peck each other and sometimes they eat eggs and they are stupid, but after ten years I feel that most problems can be prevented with proper conditions and control. You can steer them like a waterway and they do good work for you. And I had let them down.

Once the bodies were cleaned up I opened their door to check on the remaining hens. No one came forward, and normally they burst out like they have been shot from an extremely short range cannon.

“Girls?” I stuck my head in. There was an egg open on the coop floor and Silver Belle’s beak was wet. That was weird. They rarely break their own eggs. I walked around back and the back egg hatch was open. Strudel had done her egg duty yesterday and had left it open.

I was still crying when I came into the house and I sat on the couch. Frannie came upstairs and it’s extremely rare but I feel bad when the first thing the girls see in the morning is me bawling like a big soppy muffin. I told Frannie what went down and she hugged me while I sniffled and felt terrible. After a couple of minutes on the couch, we heard Strudel’s door open and Frannie went down to fill her in on the news.

When Strudel came upstairs she looked stunned. Strudel always has strong notions about justice and responsibility, and spent a few months asking me hard questions about things like police justice and morality. I have NO IDEA what she is going to turn into when she grows up. For a long time the people who were most responsible for breaking and taking things in my house were Not Me and Must’ve Have Been My Sister, but lately she has been coming forward more and talking about how she could handle things better the next time. What a fucking relief.

“I’m sad about the chickens,” she said.

“Yeah. Thanks. Me too,” I said. I waited for her wheels to turn to where I knew they would go next.

“Did someone leave the door open?” she asked, gently.

“Yes,” I said. “The egg door was left open on the back of the house.”

I watched her face flicker through several changes before the needle got stuck on, “Oh shit, this is my fault.”

“Sorry, Mom,” she said, almost inaudibly.

“Thanks for saying that.”

I got a note on a sugar packet.

Today is the last day of first and sixth grades. She was a very quiet cricket on Wednesday.

Horace vs. Mere and Goethe

He is SO LUCKY they humor him.

Tart, melon, and guac.

Cherry Cheese Tart for Father's Day

Oh god please may I have some please

Noooo you may not.

Five-and-a-Half Stories About Being Five-and-a-Half


Strudel’s dad was hiccuping strenuously, as he does.

“What are hiccups FOR,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I said, only half-listening, and making a grocery list.

“I think they are the FRIENDS OF COUGHS,” she declared, and then fell over laughing.


I was trying to work and Strudel was in the hallway, parading around front of the full-length mirror that hangs there, just outside the door of my room. I glanced over and saw that she was pulling her pants down and trying to catch a glimpse of herself. Her underwear was bunched up and completely up her butt in the most atomic wedgie that ever detonated.

“MOM is this how you wear your underwear?” she yelled.

“WHAT,” I said.

“This is how you wear your underwear, up your butt!!” she screamed.

“Okay, first of all, they are thongs, and…never mind.”

“This is really uncomfortable, Mom. You are DOING IT WRONG.”

Loose Tooth


Love Letter

“Mom, I am going to write you a note while you are making dinner, okay?”


A few minutes later I was handed a tiny folded piece of paper. Delighted, I opened it and read it aloud:

“Do…you…know…what…CHICKEN BUTT.”

I looked at her and the excited frozen anticipation on her face cracked into hilarity. Strudel was destroyed and fell onto the floor, kicking her feet and screaming with laughter.

Wow, not just an insult comic, but a PROP insult comic. The grandparents would be so proud. Later I got another note that read, “A bird poopd on yor hed.”



Tomorrow Strudel starts kindergarten. She is starting at a completely different school than I thought she was two weeks ago, because this is the year Seattle decided that you should actually, you know, attend the school in your neighborhood, and not choose to bus your kid way the fuck across town. Information on the website lead me to believe that my girls would be grandfathered into Franny’s school for the fourth grade. I was half right.

I got a notice from the transportation department that said Franny’s bus stop would be in front of our old place. She did not need the bus there because it was walkable even in the worst weather, but she would certainly need it from our new house. I called them to see if they could shift it to our new address. I knew they had our new address, which I had diligently sent notice about, because the transportation notice saying the bus stop was 40 blocks south of our new house was sent to the new address.

“Ohh,” said the woman when I finally got her on the line. “Yes, there’s been some kind of mistake. Your older daughter can stay in her old school, but your kindergartener must start school in your new district.”

“Is there no way to keep them together?” I asked.

“Well, you could apply for an exception for your kindergartener for next year,” she said.

“Oh. Well, my older daughter will be on to middle school by then.”

So we learned we had a new school for both girls, and yes, they would send the cheese on over for them to ride. Except I had to drive my kindergartener on the first day, but the older one HAD to be at the bus stop, or it would mess up the bus driver’s headcounts, okay? Okay.

I called the school itself, now that they were placed.

“Can you tell me their teachers’ names?” I asked.

“Oh, let’s see…you have a kindergartener!”

“I do.”

“Can you come to orientation today? It’s at 3:15 to 4.”

So I went to orientation, which completely overflowed the library. There were three kindergartens and three teachers standing in a clump, and one was pregnant. Please please please let her not get the pregnant one, to whom she will get all attached and sad when a harried, indifferent sub comes in in the spring.

The teachers were introduced and Strudel’s teacher looked thin, happy, and well-rested, so not pregnant at all. The librarian and music teachers seem cool as fuck, and there is a heavy emphasis on English Language Learner education, which is good, because Strudel is fluent in Feral Snarl and less so in the art of gentlewomanly behavior and speech. The principal talked at us.

“Wow! We are really excited this year! This is the largest enrollment our school has ever seen!” He said some more things, but what I got out of that was, now that you cannot choose where your child goes, you are stuck here, ha ha!

Tomorrow is it, and I can go back to working from home without having to dump a bucket of ice water over fisticuffs by 10 a.m. Also, there will be running and continued stuffing of animal parts into other animals, etc. Woot!

Stupid Cake Tricks

Taking chances with Frannie’s cake layers:

I was SOOO tired last night I sound like a total crabby bitch. Oh well…if the shoe fits. I cheered up after this and STFU’d and watched the last episode of Battlestar Galactica, which made me crabby again. lool

ETA: It’s a good day. I got submitted for a job which I WAY underbid myself for, so they called me right back, and I just got asked to write the introduction to a friend’s book. I asked her if she wanted someone with more clout, but no. They want me. It’s going to be a good weekend or I am going to start taking hostages.