Archive for September, 2011


we’re headed for the apocalypse alright

If you actually vote for this guy.


I don’t know which is scarier: that someone actually thought this ad might be convincing of Rick Perry’s suitability for president, or the fact that I’m quite sure there are many MFA’s watching this, nodding their heads, saying things like “Yeah, son” or “Right on.”

Subtle it’s not — the horses! The waving flags!

I think I’m going to be sick.




Can any of you wordpress bloggers out there explain the left-pointing arrow and little number in the upper right hand corner of the hourly site stats “box” in my menu bar? There’s the WordPress logo, then Just Sayin’, then Follow, and then these lines, each line of which I believe to indicate the relative number of views in any one hour of the past 48. But what’s the number? Or aren’t we supposed to understand?


my day

1. What’s up with needing an invitation to Pinterest? Do they actually do some kind of research or something to make sure you’re not some kind of a rabble rouser or derelict? And how can they tell from my email address? I can just hear the conversation: “She uses comcast; probably a Communist.” Or are they going to evaluate my time-management skills to determine if I can enjoy the site without it destroying my ability to meet the obligations of my employment?

You’ll be relieved to know I’ve been accepted, although it calls to mind Mark Twain’s comment about being reluctant to be a member of a club which would have him as a member.

And this must be done on purpose, right? They aren’t actually that stupid?

Oh, just found out that I can’t join Pinterest without linking it to my facebook account. The Plot Thickens.

And no, thanks. Big Brother watches me enough, thank you. (And just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the world ISN’T out to get you.)

2. Drove an hour to pick up my mom at a meeting place after her last radiation treatment for a brain tumor. Was an hour early because Flaky Me transposed the hour of departure into the hour of arrival. Killed time at a book store that had more gifts than books, but I guess we all do what we have to to survive.

I did seriously consider buying a book of “Good Karma/Bad Karma” checks, but decided that, as entertaining as they were, I probably would never have the nerve to actually use one, although I would have liked to have had something to use on the the gum-chewing, rap-listening teeny-bopper ditz-brain who cut me off (from behind, which is difficult to do) at my last exit. A club might have come in hand. Apparently HER right blinker means she is going into the right lane, but MY right blinker doesn’t. Maybe I should award her a good karma check for her brazen tenacity in getting to that red light one car before me.

Anyway, I bought two promising novels off the remaindered table, for $5.99 apiece. It’s the end of the world as we know it; the fall of the Roman Empire. Combine that with the prospect of Rick Perry as president and I need to either kill myself or move to Canada.

He needs one of those Tshirts

Mom reports that doctor is encouraging re: her desire to donate her body to science, as her prognosis has exceeded the usual prognosis for this type of cancer by about 4 years. Her response is that prayer has made all the difference. Does that mean that the people who died within the first year of their diagnosis weren’t prayed for? Or God didn’t love them? Or the people didn’t pray hard enough? Or God had “some other message,” which, in His infinite wisdom Has Not Yet Been Revealed?

I was a good daughter, and only mentioned the possibility that other people may have been prayed for, too, and then changed the subject to, well, something, I don’t remember. Now I know that her faith gives her a lot of comfort and hope etc., etc., but I just can’t reconcile the whole idea of God healing some people because of prayer and not others. It just doesn’t seem fair to me, and if there is a God, it seems like he ought to be, at the very least, fair.

I then drove 2 hours to meet a friend of hers, who was picking her up to deliver her home. I felt like it was a relay, and she was the baton.

All went well, and only a little behind schedule, and then

3. Waiting for Only Daughter’s choir to finish rehearsing, and this huge storm blows in. Hail, and gale-force winds, and heavy rain and all of the kids are Ooooohing and Aaaaahing and the director is pointing out that there’s no lightning (flash, boom) and no tornado sirens ( Severe Thunderstorm Warning) etc. etc. to try to calm everyone down. Six minutes later it’s over.

I get home, and the power’s off.

4. Ate antelope stew from the slow cooker (I know, right?) and then washed the dishes with water from the dehumidifier. Prairie women got nothin’ on me.

5. Listening to NPR on the way home from O.D.’s choir. How cynical are we, that we report, with great aplomb, that the United States Government has seen fit to fund its activities for the next four days.


The power’s off until just now — 10 p.m.; 3 hours later.

This is typical for our neighborhood.

Only Daughter wonders if maybe we should move.

Now I need to go down and see if I can light the pilot on the water heater without setting my hair on fire. Like I did last time. And no, I wasn’t drunk at the time. They’re long, wussy, matches.


cold season

I encountered 28 students in classes and lessons yesterday. Without actually having kept a tally, I would guess that 23 of them had a cold of some kind.

I know I can’t catch it that quickly, but Only Daughter was “catching” a cold last Friday, and by the end of the day last night it was quite clear that I had been contaminated. I’m sure this was helped along by things like the fact that I’m such a terrible mom I forget to give a sick child their own glass in the bathroom, and by habits of hers like eating Black Forest ham® right out of the bag in between sneezing and coughing all over herself (isn’t that charming).

ANYWAY, I promptly made my cold remedy, and Husband and I both drank some last night, and this morning I barely feel anything at all. I mean in terms of cold symptoms. (I did have a second, enhanced, dose, with a healthy splooch of Southern Comfort in it, so I have improved significantly more than my teetotalling (ha!) husband, but am not, despite previous implications, numb.)

Here’s the recipe:

Put 6-8 c. of water in a large saucepan. (depending on how sick you feel, you might want to make the larger amount)


6-8 thin (butnottoothin) slices of lemon (throw in the slice from the end too; most of the good stuff in a lemon is in the peel* anyway)

a 1″ chunk of fresh ginger, sliced (you want at least 2 T. worth of ginger)

4-6 pieces of stick cinnamon, broken into bits (I beat mine into slivers by balancing the cinnamon stick across the top of a small mortar and poking/pounding it with the pestle; it’s very cathartic, and not too much work to collect the shards from all over your kitchen)

7-10 whole cloves

1 T. whole coriander seeds

(I’ve made this, in emergencies, with powdered ginger and ground coriander, but it gets kind of sludgy — okay if you don’t mind “drinking” it with a spoon; and I don’t think it works as well. Keep these ingredients on hand throughout the winter; I cut the ginger into chunks and store them in a plastic bowl in my freezer and buy the cinnamon sticks in big bags from somewhere like Penzey’s Spices.)

Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a REALLY low simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve. Drink 1/2 – 1 c. hot every 2 hours with a nice squeeze of honey. (Whiskey doesn’t hurt either.) DON’T DECIDE TO BLAST YOUR COLD WITH AN HERBAL REMEDY ATOMIC BOMB AND DRINK IT ALL AT ONCE. You will have a stomach ache like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not telling how I know this.

Make this and start drinking it at the first sign of an oncoming cold — you know that throat tickle, fuzzy-head, nose-just-starting-to-drip time. If you do, you can often beat it completely within 24 hours. If you make it later, it helps a little, but your cold will still run a fairly normal course.

*Is that how you spell peel? English is such a weird language. Which reminds me: Should I be concerned that I was helping Only Daughter with her spelling homework yesterday and didn’t recognize the word “kneed” as an actual word? And why are they called knees, anyway? And who thought of knitting?


what I really need to know. . .

. . .besides whether I should get that tattoo or not. . .(for which I’m still waiting on consensus thankyouverymuch). . .

is whether it is possible to resolve the fundamental paradox between wanting to live in the moment and feeling some kind of obligation to strive for something better/more relevant/a way to make the world a better place?

Who’s happier? Whose life has more meaning? Are these even relevant questions?

My husband, being the musical geek type that he is (bless his sweet little heart), made a Schenkerian comparison between life lived in the foreground with an ongoing awareness of if not an actual influence imposed by the background.

Yeah. Something like that.

But it still doesn’t help me decide if, when I get up tomorrow morning with an unexpected few hours on my hands, I should do yoga, take a bath, and read my book, or if I should write the article I’ve been meaning to write or start planning the seminar I’m beginning to teach NEXT FRIDAY.



Had a wonderful morning this morning; yoga, several cups of espresso, long blog post (travelogue). Topped it off with bacon and eggs, and then dashed out the door because I’d dinked around too long to do my dishes. I did fill the pan with water to help it “soak,” one of the handiest dish-washing techniques known to man.

This is what was waiting for me when I got home:



This can’t be what’s happening inside my body right now, can it? Is there an antidote? (Besides red wine, it’s only 2 p.m.!?)

I mean, look:

Doesn't the one on the right look an awful lot like it's been stuffed with bacon fat?

I know the first picture is blurry. It’s too disgusting. I can’t make myself take another picture.

Does it make it any better that I was a good girl and drank my Metamucil first?

Kashi Go-Lean for me tomorrow. And I really have to start doing my dishes right away. That would all look so much better if I’d run the stuff down the sink.





Drove to a wedding over the weekend — 452 miles there on Saturday, 452 miles back on Sunday. The wedding was lovely, the food was delicious (the filet was like buddah), the bride and groom radiant, and not just because the wedding was outside, in 78˚ sunshine. Unlike our miraculous border experiences on the way there (driving from Michigan to upstate New York through Ontario is the most direct route), the border crossing on the return, at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, was tedious — apparently the 50-minute backup was caused by Ontarionian Buffalo Bills fans returning home. We think this kind of thing shouldn’t be allowed. When you cross into either country you are asked the reason for your visit. If you are going to a Buffalo Bills game you should have to drive around. Or swim. Who knew there  were so many football fans in Canada anyway?

Anyway, here is a log of some of my observations from/during the trip:

I trust no other driver — to stay in their lane, to use their turn signal, not to cut me off. Is this good defensive driving, or paranoia?

I wanted to pull the guy over in the Hummer, with the “Proud of my Son Who’s a Soldier in Iraq” rear-window sticker, and ask if he was being ironic. (Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but gratitude and respect for everyone fighting in support of our country; I don’t necessarily have that same respect for the people who sent them there to protect our access to Iraqi oil under false pretenses.)

Husband refuses to eat a single peanut M&M. He can’t get past the iridescence of the shell-coating (“that color does not exist in nature”) to the chocolate/peanutty goodness inside. There might be something wrong with him.

Some bloggers will state that they aren’t really writing a blog to “get readers.” If that were the case, wouldn’t you just be writing in your diary?

Flint is just sad. It was sad in the 80s, and it’s sad now. I had a roommate in college from Flint with a Flint-sized chip on her shoulder. Wonder how she’s doing now.

I comment on how much I enjoy the little “ping” of the pin on the GPS which shows us where we are. Husband asks: If you move the pin with your finger do we get there faster?

Who thought of knitting?

Me, observing highway signs: “Does every highway in Canada actually lead to Toronto?” Husband: “Torontonians think so.”

How strong are the rails on the bridges that lead to and from Grand Island? They look like they were made from reclaimed barn wood. Would they actually stop the car if you hit them, or just slow you down enough so as to more enjoy the fall?

And who named “Grand Island?” A misnomer if there ever was one.

There can also be few “sucks to be you” moments to equal the poor schmuck whose car broke down in the right-lane of the bridge to said Island. 2-lanes of road + 5,000 Buffalo Bills fans is not equal to “smooth sailing.”

We stopped at a rest area just past Buffalo (there is, as far as I can tell, one rest area in Ontario. Apparently Canadians don’t have to pee when taking road trips.) There was a fruit stand with locally grown peaches, plums, and apples. I thought this was a really good idea, and could enjoy my plums even more because I felt so self-righteous for eating them rather than french fries or Tim Horton’s fat globules muffins.

Tim Horton's Banana Nut muffin nutrition information

We saw a lot of these signs:

with different distance designations. I don’t suppose they discuss this with the deer? “So, how far do you think you’ll be wandering this fall?” I especially like this one:

Can you just picture them standing there, waiting for the light to blink?

Driving 900 miles in 39 hours is not fun. That tic in your left eye is probably just fatigue, and not a sign of some looming neurological disaster. My husband drove all of it, and gave me equal billing for navigating. He’s my hero.

Lovely wedding, saw some good friends, and it’s very good to be home.

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