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Archive for the ‘day to day ridiculousness’ Category

For some reason, I woke up at 1:27 this morning and could NOT fall asleep. I don’t recall dwelling on anything specific, or being worried or anxious about anything, I just couldn’t sleep. 

This was good (????) because I heard Carla get up at 4:00 and then I heard her sweet little voice call out, “Hello?” (Does she do this on nights when I’m not awake? Breaks my heart a little to think of that.) I went into her room and she was in tears because her leg was hurting so! much! I rubbed her leg for awhile and then she tearfully informed me that it wasn’t helping, so I gave her Tylenol and offered an ice pack. She declined the ice pack because the pain was in her entire leg, not in one specific spot. 

Poor kiddo. My diagnosis is growing pains (after shooing some very unpleasant frets about blood clots – why does my brain hate me?). Did you ever have growing pains? I remember getting them, that awful deep ache in both legs. The medical sites say that the pain is largely muscular, and that doctors don’t think growing hurts – despite the fact that the pains occur largely in growing children and tend to stop when the children stop growing. But whatever, nameless heartless overly literal doctors. 

Carla agreed to try some stretches, so I led her through a few knee bends and some downward dog. She had to show me child’s pose and cobra as well, even though I doubt those did anything for her pain and she ran through her “flow” at such lightning speed I don’t see how it could have been at all relaxing. At 4:37 she was still Wide Awake. I suggested she try one of my getting-to-sleep strategies (I have taught her getting-to-sleep strategies multiple times, but she never remembers them and has, until last night, mainly refused to try them), which was retracing the steps of a favorite walk. I suggested she think about going over to our neighbor-with-a-puppy’s house, and think about each step she takes to get there in as great detail as possible. She closed her eyes and was quite still for awhile. At 4:52 I whispered that I was going back to bed, and she told me that she was at the point in the walk where she was putting on her shoes. Great. 

“If I’m not asleep by 5:30, can I come get you?” she asked. She was so pathetic, and her leg still hurt. Against my better judgment, I said, “Do you want to come sleep in my room?”

Surprisingly, she declined. (Actually, what she said was, “I don’t think that would have any effect” which was a very surprising sentence to hear from a sleepy nine-year-old.)

I went back to bed and lay there, awake, waiting for her to come get me. (She never did!) I finally fell asleep shortly after my husband’s alarm went off at 6:00, only to have a nightmare that my mother-in-law, who is supposed to arrive next weekend, had instead arrived today. It was extremely stressful, as though the worst possible thing would be for my mother-in-law to show up when I had some clutter in the kitchen or had not yet washed her bed linens. She would be fine and cheerful about the whole thing, honestly. But in the dream, it was A HORROR.

Somehow Carla and I made it out the door to school, and then I went for a four-mile walk with a friend I haven’t seen in weeks, which was a very good second start to the day. Then I went to Trader Joe’s and then to the library, where I picked up my copy of The Accomplice, on hold after Birchie spoke so highly of it. (I know literally nothing about it, except that Birchie recommended it. It’s quite fun to dive into a book that you know nothing about, except when your husband asks you what it’s about and then screws his face up into perplexed concern when you say you don’t know.) 

But when I got home, things took A Turn: I had six emails from my bank, all saying in their typical panicked way, “You recently made a large transaction” followed immediately by “Card Alert – Review This Transaction.” The bank does this – sends two apprehensive emails – for every transaction, and I have learned not to get terribly stressed. But this time, I had NOT made any transactions, especially not with the M*** Store in Washington State. 

The thing is, I had also not made any transactions with the M*** Store in the first week of November, when two charges of $.99 each hit my account. After scrutinizing both my memory and my account at the M*** Store (from which I cannot recall ever having purchased anything, although perhaps I did once a million years ago since I do have an account), I called my bank and they cancelled my card and sent me a new one.

So the card that was charged today was a BRAND NEW CARD. And I know for a fact that I have only used it at two places, one that rhymes with GayGal and the other that rhymes with Glamazon. 

I have cancelled this brand new card – and disputed the three charges of $.99, $.99, and $9.99 respectively – and I guess now I wait for the new card. Hopefully the holiday gifts that I charged to it this weekend will go through. SIGH AND ARGH. And also, HOW? How is someone accessing my card? How did they get it so soon after I cancelled the previous one? Why are they so hell bent on buying things from the M*** Store?!? My husband suggested that the fraudster had put some sort of recurring charge on my previous card, and that the card company automatically updated the number once I got the new one. So I have talked with my bank about THAT. I hope we communicated clearly about the possibility, but honestly I’m not sure. Fortunately, it is my personal account and has only a little bit of money in there, and fortunately I check my email way too frequently, so I caught the unauthorized charges early both times. But it sure is ANNOYING.

On to dinners.

December starts this week, people! It’s happening! 

We have three measly weeks left of school until a two-week winter break. Three weeks of all the activities. One week of my mother-in-law visiting. One call week. We’re going to POWER THROUGH.

Dinners for the Week of November 28-December 4

  • Mulligatawny Soup: Per my mother’s suggestion, I am going to make this with leftover turkey instead of chicken. Even if I don’t like the result (I hate turkey), my husband will eat it.
  • Spicy Chickpea Bowls: I have some chicken breasts I can chop up for my husband. I do need to whip up a batch of the ginger garlic sauce that this recipe calls for, which is a pain. But it is SO NICE to have a bag full of ginger-garlic sauce cubes in my freezer, and they last quite a while. 
  • Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken with Steamed Broccoli: We haven’t had this in a very long time and it’s good and it’s a slow cooker meal. Enough said.

I am also going to make another batch of butternut squash soup because it is easy and delicious and I am in a Soup Mood. Plus, Trader Joe’s had a lot of very nice looking, pre-cubed butternut squash at a very good price. 

Trader Joe’s also had a big container of cubed sweet potatoes, which I bought on a whim… but now I don’t know what to do with them! Roast them? But then… do what with them? I have tried roasted sweet potatoes on salad before and I do not care for it. What would YOU do with a huge container of cubed sweet potatoes? (I am not adding them to my butternut squash soup – I prefer my soup to be pure.) 

Also: I forgot to buy iceberg lettuce until the last possible second. (This was at the other grocery store I went to, specifically to buy bell peppers for the chickpea bowls. I cannot eat the chickpea bowls without bell peppers. And Trader Joe’s peppers were all soft and wrinkly. Ew. I need a nice crisp, unwrinkled pepper.) All my stuff (more than just bell peppers, I’M SORRY I HAVE A PROBLEM) was already on the belt; there was a woman behind me in line. I did the thing where I speed-walked over to the produce section and grabbed the first head of lettuce I saw so I could get back without anyone feeling like I was abusing the checkout section. But then I put the lettuce down, because it was very light, and grabbed another. ALSO very light, but now I was panicking, imagining the woman in line behind me tapping her foot and sighing in my general direction. I should have just put it down and survived ONE SINGLE WEEK without iceberg lettuce (I have baby spinach! I have green leaf lettuce!) but I didn’t; I ran back to the checkout line and paid for my groceries and only then did I discover that my very small head of iceberg, which will probably turn out to be three or four outer leaves and nothing else, was THREE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. That is ridiculous. That is a ridiculous price for a giant heavy head of iceberg! That is a ridiculous price for a plastic clamshell of pre-washed, pre-cut gourmet lettuces! Ridiculous! And yet I paid it! Maybe this is why I am a target of fraud; clearly I am not all that careful with my money. SIGH.

This is my present and my future, folks. Screeching in disbelief about the absurd pricing of lettuce.

Okay. That was a much complainy-er post than I intended, but there you have it. It’s a post-holiday Monday, after all.

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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Since it’s almost Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and time is in short supply for me and possibly for you, I only have a very short post today. It’s a guessing game, really. I am going to post a photo with no commentary (aside from this commentary, which is getting long, but, eh, you know what you’re in for when you visit this blog) and you guess the story behind the photo. And then there will be a little giveaway for people who participate. 

Here’s how the giveaway will work: You can guess until midnight Eastern Time Friday. At some point, probably in December, I will number all the guesses/comments chronologically and randomize them and choose one person, and then I will send that person a little giftie. A very little giftie, and I haven’t decided what it will be: maybe an assortment of little things from Michael’s or Target. Maybe something specific to the winner, if I have any ideas of what the winner might enjoy. Maybe something yummy, maybe something practical, I don’t know. A mystery giftie. I am going to limit the gift-sending to people who live in the U.S. and Canada, however; I’m sorry! I am not confident enough in my ability to mail something to/find an appropriate retailer in other countries. 

If you don’t want to guess, you can still enter the giveaway. Just leave a comment of any sort. And if you want to guess and/or comment, but don’t want to enter the giveaway – which I understand, because the giveaway award is extremely vague even in my own mind – just let me know in your comment. The only stipulation to entering is that you must be willing to share your address with me. 

Then, at some point in the (hopefully near) future, I will tell you the story behind the photo and choose a giveaway recipient. 

Okay. Here’s the photo. And here’s a hint: I took this photo the day before my parents arrived for Thanksgiving.

Happy guessing!

What’s the story behind this photo? (As always, please forgive my poor photography skills.)

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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I had a whole post all planned out for today, but then I got a call from someone at Whole Foods.

“Hello, I’m from the Whole Foods holiday table,” he said.

“Hello,” I said, trying to keep any suspicion or panic out of my greeting.

“We understand you ordered a turkey from Whole Foods,” he said, his voice already tinged with apology. 

“Yes…” I said. “I did order a turkey.” In my mind, I was chanting, “Don’t say there are no turkeys, don’t say there are no turkeys.”

“And you’re supposed to pick it up today?”

“Yes, I am picking it up today.” (Notice my very positive and definitive phrasing.)

Don’t say there are no turkeys. Don’t say there are no turkeys.

“Well, due to forces beyond our control, including an avian flu…” he began.

Don’t say there are no turkeys! Don’t say there are no turkeys!

“Some of our farmers have been unable to meet the demand for turkeys around this time of year…”

Don’t say it. Don’t say it.

“And we weren’t able to get a turkey in the size you ordered.”

PHEW.

“Okay, what’s the biggest size you have available? I’ll take that.”

“All right, I’ll put you down for that one. Thank you for understanding.”

PHEW.

I am very glad that we will be getting A Turkey, even if it is not the (admittedly enormous) size that I’d ordered after consultation with my mother. But really, what can you do? (Perhaps I would not be so magnanimous if there were an issue with the potatoes.) After all, I am more than happy to allocate my share of turkey to someone who needs it more. But the slightly smaller turkey will be FINE and I will live to panic again another day.

* * * 

Carla and I were watching an episode of The Dog Whisperer the other day. One of the subjects of the show we were watching is a beagle fanatic. She wears clothing that features images of beagles. She has stuffed beagles. Beagle figurines. Beagle-patterned blankets. Beagle dishes. And, of course, a real live pet beagle. 

This beagle mania (not to be confused with Beatle Mania) stirred a vague memory of something I read or watched, or maybe even experienced in person… Someone in possession of a similar large collection whose explanation behind it was, “I said I liked X, and suddenly every time someone saw a thing with X on it, they bought it for me.” Was it my mother-in-law, who at one time had many things featuring cows? I can’t remember. I do think of her every time I see something with a cow pattern on it, though.

I like both the idea that a person can be so in love with a thing that they want to surround themselves with that thing… and the idea that a person can unwittingly – nay, unwantingly – become the owner of a massive collection simply by expressing interest in a thing, or owning one example of a thing. The fact that one’s house – one’s life! – can be overtaken by a specific theme, purposefully or by accident, and that the theme itself can become emblematic of that person… well, I really like that as a concept. (In practice, it could be… tiresome, I admit.)

When I look around my house, I don’t really see anything that would make something think, “Oh! She’s an X person!” and then become reminded of me every time they see X in the wild. I mean, books, perhaps. (And I would be delighted to get a book for every present, from now until the end of time!) 

Once, a friend gave me a very odd present. It is a… figurine, I suppose is the best word for it. It looks like a potato, but it has the features and appendages of a pig. Why did she give it to me? Did I strike her as the kind of person who needed a potato pig figurine in my life? (I am that person, but I didn’t know it at the time.) 

The other day, I was admiring my very modest fall décor, and my eyes fell on one of my favorite things. It’s… also a figurine, I guess. It’s shaped like a gourd. But it has eyes and the beak of a bird. Maybe it is a squash swan, although that is exceedingly difficult to say. I apparently saw this gourd bird at some point and thought that I had to have it. And, indeed, I do.

Am I a person who likes vegetables that are also animals??? Is this My Thing? 

I do not know. When my cupboards are filled with vegetable-animal mugs and my drawers are stuffed with vegetable-animal pajamas, I’ll let you know.

Are you An X Person? If so, what is your thing? Do you like being An X Person or have you grown weary of always being synonymous with X?

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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For so many, many areas of life, there seem to be clear divisions into two separate factions. Things about which people feel SO STRONGLY, so fanatical, there is no middle ground. I love coming across these moments of schism. Here are a few I’ve come across recently.

Butter Storage: You either store your butter on the counter, or you store it in the fridge. I am Team Counter Butter all the way. It’s soft and spreadable when you need it, and if you go through butter at the rate my family does, it never has a chance to go rancid.

Shower Time: I used to be a Morning Shower person, but now I tend to shower at night for purposes of convenience. However, I HATE IT. No way am I going to take the time to dry and style my hair when all I want to do is go to bed. But I also hate sleeping on wet hair! It’s a nightmare! Showering in the morning is the better option. (I suppose there is a secret third category here, of people who shower after they exercise, or people who shower multiple times per day.) 

Hair Washing: I wash my hair as infrequently as I can get away with it, which is usually every three to four days – although I can squeeze in a fifth day if go for a bun or a ponytail. Daily Hair Washers are aghast at this, though. They cannot comprehend having “dirty” hair. But oh, how wonderful it is to not have to dry my hair every day! (I cannot wash and wear my hair; it’s wavy/curly but more so on one side than the other; it looks awful if I let it dry by itself.) Also, I am convinced that Day 3 Hair is the best hair day of them all.

Drinking Vessel Material: My husband prefers to drink water etc. out of a plastic cup. I cannot STAND this. I need a glass glass every time. There is something revolting to me about the feel of a plastic rim between my lips or something. Yuck.

Pillow Quantity: While I like the aesthetic of a nice big pile of pillows on my bed, I cannot sleep with more than one. It gives me a crick in my neck just thinking about it! My husband needs three pillows though, and my daughter likes FOUR. I swear that their necks fold into a 90-degree angle from their bodies when they sleep, and it looks so uncomfortable. There is a secret third faction, though: the people who sleep with no pillows at all. I knew one of them in college and it was fascinating to me; he didn’t even own a pillow.

Thinking: I think in words. There is a constant stream of words running through my head, like the inner monologues you hear as voiceovers on TV. That’s how my brain works. It’s not really like hearing and it’s definitely not seeing words appear on a tickertape inside my head. But it’s words. My husband thinks in pictures. There is no flow of verbiage in his brain. Just images. If you ask him to visualize something, he can close his eyes and SEE THAT THING. I cannot do this. I just see blackness. 

Gifting: My husband’s family are Gift Listers. You send a list of things you’d be interested in receiving for birthdays/holidays, and then the gift givers choose something from that list. (It is understood that you might get something that is not on the list, and it is also understood that you can suggest categories of things – i.e., “coffee mug” – which allow the gift giver some freedom/leeway to make their own choices.) My family sometimes gives loose suggestsions, i.e. “books” or “things for entertaining.” But there are no lists. The gift is to be a surprise.

Snack Procurement: Picture, if you will (or, if you can), a tin of nuts or a bag of chips. You are about to procure some for your snacking purposes. Do you a) reach your hand into the tin/bag and grab a handful? Or do you b) pour the desired amount into a bowl/napkin/hand? I am a Snack Pourer all the way! I don’t want your hand – or mine! – rooting around in the entire container of food! I want to keep the food pure, and untouched until the last possible moment. Likewise, I am always going to close the container and put it back. If I desire more of the snack, I will get it out of the pantry and pour some more. Some people in my family prefer to keep the open box/tin/bag on the counter, just in case. UGH. I do not like this! 

Bathing: This is a late addition after Elisabeth’s post this morning reminded me how much I loathe baths. And yet some people LOVE them! They are supposed to be decadent and soothing, and yet… I find myself getting restless and itchy about two minutes in. And then I feel like I still have to shower to get all the bubbles off me anyway, so what’s the point? I grew up in a home with no bathtubs (although my parents renovated my bathroom when I was in… high school? and put in a bath), so maybe that has something to do with why I have no use for baths at all.

All right. That’s enough controversy for today. Do you feel particularly strongly about any of these topics? What else have you found is A Great Divider? (Besides politics, of course.) 

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I’m a reformed coffee drinker. Otherwise known as a tea fan.

Ally posted recently about her assortment of tea flavors, and it reminded me that I have… a lot of tea in my house. 

Since I cannot remember my origin story as a tea drinker, I will instead give you a tour of my tea. 

I have so much tea, it has to live in two places. This is the tea drawer in the red cabinet in the dining room.

It was so fun to read about how many of you have strong thoughts on herbal vs. black tea, and I will say that I have equally strong feelings about tea. The first feeling is that I don’t really understand what herbal tea is! Which is probably pretty understandable, considering that I drink black tea 95% of the time. 

My favorite is Earl Grey, and its variations. I love me some bergamot. The very best Earl Grey tea I have ever had was at a little brunch place in Montreal. I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and it was so floral and delicious that I wrote down the name of the tea they served and have asked for it for Christmas every year since. (It’s called Uncle Grey and its made by Tea Squared in Canada.) 

Extreme close up of my tea drawer! I have a bunch of Double Bergamot and then some regular Earl Grey as a backup. There’s also a lovely, fragrant lavender rooibos in here… but it makes my tongue feel funny when I drink it, so I stopped drinking it.

Because Uncle Grey is pricey, it’s not really reasonable to drink every single day. (That’s why it makes a great gift.) So I’ve had to come up with some acceptable alternatives. There is a lot of bad tea out there, folks. My favorite is Double Bergamot Earl Grey by Stash. I can often get it at a local grocery store, and if not I can order it by the 100-bags from amazon. 

My mugs are there on the right. The ones with cats. Also the one about being a writer; I will write about that later. I have a third giant mug, but it’s in the dishwasher.

I drink an enormous cup of tea every morning, and I use two tea bags to make it strong enough. I read somewhere that you do not strengthen tea by steeping it longer, you strengthen it by using more tea bags. (Steeping it longer can make it bitter.) If memory serves, I read this years ago in the first Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling, so I’m not sure if you should take it as gospel; it is advice that has served me well, however. 

This hastily snapped photo does not quite adequately capture how enormous my mug is. I think the mug on the left holds 8 ounces; mine holds TWENTY.

Despite liking my tea strong, I don’t like it black. When I make Earl Grey or Chai, I always add sweetener and half-and-half. I use about two tablespoons of half-and-half, so my tea is a lovely tan.

My second-favorite tea is matcha. But the way to make matcha good, in my opinion, is to make it with milk rather than with water, and that is sometimes usually more of an effort than I care to make. You will note that my matcha is encased in a resealable bag inside a Zip-loc bag, because I have learned from bitter experience that it is a bitch to clean up matcha powder that has spilled all over my pantry. 

My third-place tea drink of choice is probably a tie between Chai and green tea. If I order tea from Starbucks, for instance, I almost always order a Chai latte. But if I am having a second cup of tea during the day, I will make green tea. I like the grassy taste, although I sometimes add a little plop of honey. I enjoy jasmine green tea quite a bit; I guess I like flowery tea in general.

My tea collection includes a wide variety of teas other than Earl Grey, matcha, chai, and green tea. Sometimes I browse the shelves and shelves of teas at the store and think, “Hmm, perhaps I am a rooibos person!” (I am not.) or “What I need is a tea with winter spices!” (I do not.) Then I buy them and try a cup and hate it and go back to drinking my same old, same old. 

My husband enjoys some of the winter-spice teas, but contrary to my original assumption, which was that the winter-spiced teas I am posting here are his, he actually has all “his” tea in the same drawer where he keeps his coffee. So this is all tea I have purchased in hopes that I will magically become a different person.

I requested these for Christmas one year, and got them. They were fun to try, but I did not enjoy them. I think I got them two, maybe even three years ago and I only had two of them before deciding they weren’t worth it. I threw them out after taking this photo. The little box is cute though. Carla rescued it from the trash and has Big Plans for transforming it into something.

The chamomile is a different thing, though: I have chamomile because my mom used to make it when we weren’t feeling well. It was part of the Sore Throat Regimen (which also involved gargling with hot salt water). Even though I’m not a huge fan of the taste, it is comforting because it reminds me of my mother, and how tenderly she took care of me when I was sick. 

I much prefer a tea bag to a loose-leaf tea. This is something I continually try to revisit with myself, because the tea bags produce a lot of waste. I have the matcha, I have some micro ground tea, I have some loose leaf tea. I have a little tea brewer apparatus, into which you can pour your tea leaves and your hot water; once the tea is done steeping, you balance the little apparatus on top of your mug and it drains the brewed tea into your mug, leaving the leaves inside. It’s ingenious, really. But it’s difficult to clean (and you aren’t supposed to put tea leaves down your drain) and it doesn’t fit on my mug because it’s too giant. I will continue trying to train myself away from the tea bags though; it’s a terrible, wasteful habit.

Once, I went to a friend’s house for dinner. After dinner, she brought out this beautiful teak box with a hinged lid, inside of which were a dozen different teas I could choose from. It struck me as so fancy, and so hospitable. I, on the other hand, have a plastic bin filled with teas of all sorts that sits in my panty next to boxes and boxes of other tea. If I ever become a fancy person who enjoys having people in my house, I will certainly be getting myself a lidded box in which to offer my guests tea. (In the meantime, maybe it would make a good hostess gift?)

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

I started drinking coffee when I was eight. My mom brought home these beautiful bowls from a trip she’d made to Paris, and said that children drank café-au-lait out of the bowls. Obviously, I wanted to do this, too. So she made me café-au-lait, which is mainly milk with a splash of coffee.

My next memory of coffee comes from my mother’s law office. Her office had a little kitchenette in the basement, outside the library. It’s two best features were an “Honor Box” of candy bars (which I dutifully fed dollars and coins into so that I could have Butterfingers when they were available and Fifth Avenue bars when they weren’t) and a coffee pot. I’d pour myself cups of coffee, doctor them up with sweetener and powdered milk, and drink them while I did my homework.

Once when I was in high school, my father and I drove to a Big West Coast City. It’s possible we were on our way to check out a university there; I remember the visit and hating the bustling, city-like school with all my heart. We stopped at a resort on a lake, about halfway between my hometown and BWCC, and had a fancy dinner. After dessert, on a whim, we ordered the coffee tray. My father does NOT drink coffee, but he and I were both delighted by all the accoutrements – marshmallows, sugar cubes, whipped cream, chocolate shavings. We mixed our coffees into sweet oblivion. 

That’s where my specific memories of coffee-drinking stall. I have flickers: gratefully seeking out the break room coffee machine when my eyes started to flutter during an especially tedious internship; sipping that first pumpkin spice latte of the fall; searching for just the right flavor of those tiny tubs of flavored creamer crammed into a bowl in a diner. 

But coffee just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Hasn’t for a decade or more (despite my best efforts). Now, I’m into tea. 

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I have already gotten a few lovely questions on my Ask Me Anything form and am delighted that several of you have asked me MANY questions at once. So many great post ideas! Thank you!

(If there’s anything you want to know, please feel free to ask me anything by filling out this form! It can be anonymous if you prefer.)

NGS of The Time for Change asked, “What is your ideal way to spend a weekend afternoon?”

This is a perfect question for a Sunday! Especially a Sunday on which I woke up at 5:30 because that’s when Carla decided to wake up. Note to self: if we have to continue doing Daylight Saving Time, change the clocks BEFORE BED.

My ideal weekend afternoon would be spent lounging on the couch, reading a good book, with no pressing obligations hanging over my head. Ideally, I would be slightly tired from the exertion of some kind of family-centric physical activity that we undertook in the morning – a bike ride or a hike or skiing, perhaps. Also, it would be very pleasant if I had started dinner in the crockpot early that morning and I could sit and smell it cooking while I read, knowing that all the work was done and dinner was planned. 

During football season, I would swap out the reading for an afternoon watching my (problematic yet still beloved) team win, drinking a nice light lager, with my husband beside me for purposes of high-fiving and answering my questions about football rules, and my daughter lying on the floor of the living room, drawing or working on a LEGO creation. 

Now I want to know what your ideal weekend afternoon looks like. 

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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Great, now I have early-2000s Britney Spears stuck in my head. 

I need a word for something. Well, for someone, really. 

The word is for someone who is more than an acquaintance – someone you see fairly regularly, like a coworker or a Sunday school classmate or a person you volunteer with or a brother-in-law. 

But they are not a friend, because, well. They just aren’t. Maybe your personalities clash, or you have wildly different feelings about politics/vaccines/childrearing. Or maybe you have tried to be friends, but have learned that this person doesn’t share your morals or any of your interests. 

And yet you are constantly thrown into situations with this person, because of work/family/church/volunteering/school. Whatever. So you must interact with and be civil to this person. Or, at the very least, tolerate them. 

And it’s not like they are AWFUL, or anything. They have good points, along with the ones that make your eyes get very wide. They’re witty, or charming, or generous, or good at connecting you with others, or skilled at what they do. 

They aren’t an acquaintance. They aren’t a friend. They aren’t an enemy. (And, for purposes of this post, let’s say that works like “coworker” or “sibling-in-law” or “classmate” do not apply.)

What is the word for this person? 

The word I’ve used most frequently for this type of person in my life is “frenemy.” But that doesn’t feel quite adequate. It implies more of an edge, I think. I want a more neutral term. Like “acquaintance” but with more intimacy.

Do you have a person like this in your life? 

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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I read something recently (a tweet? a recipe blog post? an Instagram post?) that talked about measuring vanilla with your heart. 

I don’t think is the tweet I saw, but it captures the essence of the issue.

It’s so true, I think. Rarely does the listed teaspoon of vanilla do what it needs to do.

But I’ve heard my inner life coach urging me a lot recently to measure other things with my heart. Here’s a partial list:

  • Vanilla – The O.G.
  • Garlic – No recipe recommendation has ever come close.
  • Hot sauce – If your heart says less hot sauce, you do you; my heart almost always says MORE.
  • Chocolate chips – That “1 cup of chocolate chips” line in the ingredients lists? It’s just a suggestion.
  • Mushrooms – More mushrooms will only help.
  • Parsley – My heart says no.
  • Lime juice – I made my mother-in-law a cocktail the other night and she said, “Oh! That’s nice and lime-y!” That’s because I ignore the recipe and follow my heart.
  • Pepper – The pepper grinder at restaurants hates to see me order a salad.
  • Cheese – I’ve never said “that was too cheesy” about anything other than a rom-com. 
  • Wine – As an ingredient, you can often use a bit more than requested; in a glass, let’s all be optimists, shall we?
  • Exclamation points – They add pizzazz! I don’t care that they make me seem slightly unhinged!
  • (Likewise, parentheses – and dashes, of course.)
  • Shampoo & conditioner – I have long hair, and sometimes it needs a little extra.
  • Glitter – It’s going to get everywhere anyway, might as well go all out.
  • Cleaning spray – Let’s get things REALLY clean.
  • Laundry detergent – No way am I filling that cup up to the line for a normal load of laundry. Much better to do it by feel.
  • Library books – Do we have but one reusable bag to fill? Indeed. And yet we fill our arms as well.
  • Blog posts – Could I say something with (far) fewer words? Perhaps. But the heart wants what it wants.

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