Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baking LIVE!

Today Kira and I are making apple pie cookies.

It's an idea I had because one problem I have with all apple pies is too much fruit/not enough crust.  So now I've cut the fruit to crust ratio by an alarming rate so they are basically crust cookies with a tiny taste of apple. Like I said, it was my idea, but when I googled it I see someone else has already done it. That's where I got the picture.  Mine aren't done yet but I thought you should see a "this is how they should look" picture before you see mine.  I don't know how they are going to turn out.  I'm not following a recipe which would be fine if I understood baking at all, but come on, it was a pre-made crust and I just doused the apples with sugar and cinnamon.  It's not brain surgery.  Then I egg-washed the cookies after they were assembled and sprinkled them with more sugar.  The first pan is cooking right now and then we will test them to see what they need.  I'm thinking maybe on the next batch we will coat the crust with cinnamon/sugar before we put the tiny bit of apple in the middle. I'm baking them at 350 but they are smelling kind of burny.  I'll turn it down a bit.

So, while we're waiting what should we talk about?  

My tree is still up.  I hope Sam realizes that my leaving it up just because he wants it up for his birthday is an enormous gesture of love.

Kira is turning nocturnal.  She cannot get up in the morning and she cannot fall asleep at night.  Last night she was up until midnight and didn't get out of bed today until 10:30.

I think this might be my favorite week of the year.  It's a grown up year, no more surprises.  I like all the year-end wrap-ups except for the list of people who died.  I don't like January because it's starting all over again with a raw, unseasoned year. Ugh.  Didn't we just do this?  And then everyone is compelled to make it a great year with resolutions and empty promises about making so many self-improvements.  The last week of December you know how unrealistic those resolutions were and you are comfortable with the person you really are- the person who is okay with eating half a box of Cheez-its for lunch, or buying pants that actually fit instead of pants that you wish you fit into- and that is alright!   Come January first you will become delusional again and set some unreachable goals with ideas about being in the "best shape of your life" next December!  It's not going to happen.  Last year I told myself I was going to work out 350 times in 2011.  That leaves fourteen days of NOT working out.  That was CRAZY.  It's like I didn't even know myself, and after living with me for forty years I should have known myself better.  I was totally on track for about two weeks, but then I saw how stupid it was and didn't want to give up completely so I changed it to 300 workouts in 2011.  I stayed on track for about two months.  Then I stopped keeping track.  I don't know how much I worked out but I would guess it was about 150 to 175 times for the whole year.  Disappointing when you consider the goal, but not too shabby if I would have not made such a ridiculous resolution.  This year my resolutions are to like myself and be happy and live in the moment blah blah blah.  A bunch of stuff that can't be quantified so there will be no failure.

Oh, the timer went off!  I better check my cookies... Okay, I set the oven for 15 minutes and I just checked them and they don't look quite golden brown on the top yet so I'll leave them in for 5 more minutes.

Okay, I left them in for a total of 25 minutes.  This is what they look like:

Not bad.  Not quite as flaky as the picture from the website,  but they look good and they smell amazing.  Okay, now I'll try one.  Delicious.  VERY crusty without the overwhelming fruitiness of a pie.  I love them!

Let's see how Kira likes them:

She likes them.

We have another crust so she is going to make turnovers.  We'll have the turnovers for dessert tonight.  Sam and Mitch don't have to know about the six cookies Kira and I just inhaled.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some post-holiday questions:

How is it that a Christmas tree that I put up in early December and think is beautiful and majestic, magically turns into a tacky-piece-of-plastic-that's-dropping-an-impossible-amount-of-fake-needles-and-taking-up-a-lot-of-room sometime in the wee hours of Christmas morning?  Does that make me a Boxing Day Grinch?  Probably.  But how efficient would it be to just put all that crap away when your are throwing out all the wrapping paper?  I usually take it down on December 26 but yesterday Sam said he wanted it up for his birthday (Charlie Brown's birthday is five days after Christmas).  I don't know if I can wait that long.  How long does your tree stay up?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Here's a post from Christmas past:

It's been so great this month to get all the cards and letters from people I generally don't stay in touch with well enough. But I'm sad to say I only got a few Christmas Letters, the ones where people summarize the entire year in a one page letter. I love those letters, but one time I got one from a friend I have since lost touch with, in which she confessed to an "almost" affair she had with a co-worker.


But the more I thought about it the more I like the idea of an annual Christmas confessional/too-much-information letter. I think I could easily tell enough about myself and my family to keep people from looking me in the eye until at least Thanksgiving, the hard part is paring it down to a single page. I'd have to pick a theme like "lies I've told this year" or "bathroom incidents." But even that might be a little long considering the millions of lies I've told, and that 2009 is the year I learned that it's very important to take bathroom breaks at work when I can, and not to try to hold it too long. (lesson learned the hard way)

That all sounds too hard when I really just want to wish you all a fantastic Christmas and New Year. I'm happy to say that my biggest problem these days is the ever-present Chex Mix crumbs in my bra (itchy). I hope Chex Mix in your bra (or something of equal seriousness) is the biggest problem you encounter in 2010. I'll work on my theme for next year's letter. You work on yours too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Charlie Brown

We tease poor Sam for living a Charlie Brown life.  He's a nice boy, but he can't catch a break.  Today on the way home from school we were talking about the Mayan Calendar and the supposed end of the world next year.  If you know Sam at all, you know he LIVES to get his driver's license.  He has thought about it constantly since he was about two years old.  He dreams of what kind of car he will drive, how cool he will look, and having freedom and mobility.  He turns 16 on December 30, 2012.  He is planning on getting his license as soon as humanly possible after that date.

Unfortunately for Sam, the world will be ending nine days before his 16th birthday, so, too bad for you, Charlie Brown.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I love this feature on this blog and this blog so much that I am making it a feature here too.  Unfortunately for Mitch, he's the one I live with so it's his 'isms' that will be featured.  I can't help what he says, I just write them down as they come.

"I bet David Caruso's skin feels like soft, soft sandpaper."

"...he was taking the numbers down on an Etch-A-Sketch and I thought, 'Oh my god!  He's never going to be able to keep up!"

"Everyone knows the three things old people like to do the most is eat prunes, poop, and push their First Alert buttons"

"If you could smell your hand, you'd want people to smell it.  It smells weird."

Kira: Did you know I can move a four ton ball?
Mitch:  I could move a four ton ball.  It's a ball.

Friday, December 16, 2011


I went on a field trip with Kira's class yesterday to Junior Achievement's Biztown.  It is a place where classes who have been studying basic economics can go and pretend to have their own town with their own economy for a day.  The building was set up like a little downtown with 14 businesses.  Each business got a loan from the bank and had the day to run the place and try to be successful enough to pay off their loan.  It was so adorable, I almost died.  I was the adult volunteer assigned to the newspaper, the Biztown Buzz.  We had a CEO, a CFO, some ad executives, some reporters, some photographers, and an editor.  They started the day with a big meeting in the town square:

Here they outlined what the businesses were and what each business would be doing.  There was a grocery store, a cafe, a bank, two stores, a post office, town hall, a wellness center, a radio station and a construction company, to name a few.  They were all so adorable.  The postal workers wore post office uniform shirts and had big sacs and delivered letters that the kids wrote a few weeks ago to each other.  The construction workers had vests and hardhats and built a bench in the town square.  The adorable mayor walked around town in his little tie, glad-handing all day, and one of the kids even brought a briefcase.

In our business we had to run the paper, and at the end of the day we actually produced a town paper.  We had to write up the paper, sell ads, take pictures, and the CEO and CFO had to deal with payroll and paying bills.  Because we had a fantastic editor, our paper was a success, although at the end of the day we discovered we hadn't made enough to pay off the loan.  Oh well, newspapers are dying all over the place.  Everyone knows that.  Just add Biztown Buzz to the list.

What did I learn?  I learned that even though eleven-year-olds can run around and look really busy and impressive, DON'T LET THEM RUN YOUR BUSINESS.  They will drive it into the ground.  At one point I had to retrieve our CFO from hula hooping in the town square so she could make her bank deposits.  And the CEO was way more concerned about sending candy grams to her pals than signing paychecks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Some Important Milestones

Two things have happened in the last few days and I feel like because of them I'm starting an important new chapter in my life.  First of all, I have gotten 90,000 hits on this blog. 


Of course, probably more than half of them are from people googling crazy things like "teens peeing" and "ativan shut up juice," but you know what?  I'll take it.  So thank you to everyone who comes to visit me at this blog every day or week or month or whatever.  I'd keep writing even if I nobody ever read it but if that was the case it would probably be a bunch of craziness and someone would come across it sometime and declare that they've discovered a hidden genius!  Just kidding.  They'd just say I was nuts.  I keep it sane for you, my people.  Oh sure, I've reached out once or twice and let you in on what's really going on in my head, hoping that people would read it and say, "What?  That's not crazy.  I do that."  But you didn't.  You said I was weird.  That's okay, I already knew that.  But I don't need to advertise it, do I?  So I will continue to keep it mostly sane.  Anyway, like I say, I'd still write even if I had no readers, but I am really really glad I have readers.  I love knowing people are coming here to see if there is anything new I have to say.

The other milestone is that I cleaned my oven for the first time since we moved into the house twelve years ago.  It's an old 1970s Tappan and it's small.  It looked so old and crappy when we moved in I thought it would break down so why bother with the cleaning?  Is there a worse chore than cleaning an oven?  I don't think there is.  I almost cleaned it once three years ago but then I didn't.  After about ten years the thought of cleaning it becomes absurd.  Why would I do that?  It's disgusting!  So I'd made myself a mental flowchart which I turned into an actual flowchart:

See?  It doesn't need to be cleaned more than every 12 years.  Next time I clean it I will be 53 years old.  I'm glad because it will take about 12 years for these Easy-Off chemical burns to heal.

A Declaration of Independence from my Bladder

Dear Stupid,

Let's get a few things straight.  For 41 years we've been doing what you want and I'm sick of it.  I think you need to figure out that I run the show from now on.  You were in charge for a lot of years and did a good job for the most part except for that phase in your teens when you would pride yourself on seeing how long you could hold it.  It was a long time, but do you remember bladder infections?  That was me crying out for help.  Did you listen?  No. You're an insensitive jerk. We worked well together for a really long time, and I can honestly say it was almost totally because of me.  Sure, you got all the credit but we both know who was really keeping things under control behind the scenes.  Did you appreciate that?  No.  You took me for granted.  If we had a sign in the break room that said, ___ days since we've had an accident, it would have been in the thousands! (hundreds) But now I feel like we've grown apart and I don't like you anymore. I'm tired of playing a supporting role in your so-called life.  If I could live without you, I would.  I'd get a little apartment downtown and work at Starbucks and never talk to you again, but we both know I can't do that. 

From now on we do what I want, when I want.  You don't even get a vote.  Capiche?  I will get my way and if I don't, I will flood (pun intended) your brain with constant overwhelming thoughts about how bad you have to go, and if you try to ignore me or stifle me by doing the old squat-and-hold-your-breath move, I will embarrass the piss (pun intended) out of you, again

I thought you knew the score but then you tried to take an innocent trip to Target to get some wrapping paper.  Did you really think you could just whip in and whip out without making an obligatory stop at the bathroom?  Forget it!  I love that bathroom! Yeah, you tried to show your dominance by finding an empty aisle, doing the squat-move with some deep breaths and force me into submission, but it didn't work, did it?  Previously, I would have caved under the pressure and just done what you wanted, but I finally had enough.  I thought, "That's it, I'm not going to take it anymore! Why do we always have to do what you want?  What about my needs?" and then I forced myself to expel approximately one tablespoon of urine.  Enough to make your pants wet-ish but not enough to cause real embarrassment.  It wasn't easy.  I'm conditioned to not let that happen, but sometimes you've got to say enough is enough!  Yeah, you've got a pretty good kegel, but it's not going to be sufficient anymore.  That single tablespoon of urine was a symbolic shot over the bow.  A warning.  It was me finally casting off the shackles you've kept me in!  Next time you try to hold it when I suggest we make a pit stop I am going to totally unload no matter how hard you try to stop me.  God, I haven't done that in a long time.  Remember back in Mrs. Nelson's first grade, when we had to go, but you thought we could hold it, and then when the class was lining up to take a bathroom break we couldn't hold it anymore?  I really tried to hold it in.  I really did. We were a team back then, but I honestly couldn't control it.  I had to let it out until I was totally empty.  I felt bad that it had to happen on a day you were wearing white tights, but what could I do?  I was young. 

Well I'm not young anymore.  I feel like I've wasted my life doing nothing but holding in your disgusting urine for longer periods of time than any bladder should be expected to hold anyone's disgusting urine.  I'm more than a digestive organ you know!  Have you ever even bothered getting to know the real me?  No!  You haven't!  What's my favorite color?  What's my favorite movie?  Did you know I'm a Republican and have been quietly putting up with your liberal bullshit for decades?  Do you know anything about me?  I have feelings, you know. 

Well, from here on out we're living for me and for what I want.  Think you can watch a movie from beginning to end anymore?  Think again.  You better get an aisle seat.  Airplane bathrooms make you nauseous?  Too bad.  Better bring your barf bag in with you.  And if you have any ideas about getting into another battle of wills with me just know this: your bowels are getting sick of your shit (pun intended) too and all I have to do is say the word and your life gets real bad real fast. 

Sincerely yours,
The Bladder

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Krampus

I just heard a story on the radio about a mythical Christmas creature called the Krampus.  Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this???  I LOVE IT!  The Krampus is a demon-like creature who plays the yin to Santa's yang and while Santa is giving presents to the kids on the nice list, "when the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened thing away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner." (from Wikipedia)

Merry Christmas!

Do you know how much I would have loved to tell my kids that they better be good or the Krampus would come and kidnap them via giant sac and then take them to his stinky cave and eat them alive?  That is what Christmas is all about!  All I had in my parenting tool-belt was "Be good!  Santa is watching!  You might not get a present if you're naughty!"  Kira was so naughty when she was little,

that the "Santa's-watching!" threat never worked on her. She didn't care.  If Santa stiffed her, she would make Santa sorry he was ever born.  If the Krampus was in the picture, I might have gotten better results.  Oh well.  It's too late for my kids.  They would laugh if I told them about it now.  But it's not too late for my nieces!

And the best part about telling them in disturbing detail about the Krampus is that in their waking hours they will be scared to death to be naughty, and because I'm not their mother, I won't have to deal with the inevitable night-terrors!  Win-win!  I can't wait to see their big eyes when I tell them all about listening carefully in the dead of night for the clip-clop of cloven hooves on Mom's new hardwood floors,  

and that the only way to avoid being stolen and eaten by the Krampus is to sleep IN BETWEEN Mom and Dad every single night of the year.  

Wow, this is so great that I might have to start teaching kindergarten again!  I'll get this book for story time!

Sleep well, kids!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Club

Hi.  I'm teaching high school right now.  Well, not really.  It's my lunch break and I'm writing on the blog, so I'm not teaching anyone anything.  I like this teacher.  He seems to have his act together.  The kids have been super. 

I had book club last night and every time it's a book club day and it gets later and darker, I think to myself, "Oh geez, I don't want to go outside in the cold and drive and freeze my butt off, and park blah blah blah, lazy, lazy, lazy;  but every month I do it and I am so glad I did because those ladies are so much fun. 

Last night we talked about the book for a while (A Circus in Winter), and the general concensus was "eh."  That took about ten minutes.  Then we picked a new book (Undead and Unwed), and then we gabbed for about two hours on a variety of topics such as:

- when do our teenage sons start secretly looking at porn on their various electronic devices and what we should do about it and HOW GROSS IS THAT?  (answers ranged from "ick, I would pretend I didn't know" to "I'd make him watch it with me and tell me if he thinks the actors' parents are proud of them."

- how some of our kids get bullied at school or are struggling with some pretty awful social situations and what we should do about it.  (general concensus:  take the low road and make the little fuckers hurting our little angels PAY.)

- if the show Game of Thrones is or is not about lesbians. (is not)

- don't buy boots from because apparently the little Chinese children who make them aren't very concerned about quality.

- a general inquiry into when in your life your eyebrow hairs and pubes stopped knowing that they aren't meant to grow long and luxurious, (after the first baby) and what happens when your surgeon sews your C-section scar crooked (long and luxurious pubes grow at a jaunty angle).

- what is anus bleaching, how did it get so stained anyway; and how terrible a job is that?

And my favorite quote from the whole night was
"I've always considered myself low-maintenance but after today I'm beginning to wonder."
That had me laughing all night.  Then we picked our next meeting place and went home.  I am refreshed for another month.  Then today Dana, our leader, sent out an email that summed up the night with bullet points for the ladies who didn't make it.  It was so funny I stole the idea for this post.  Thanks, Dana!  Thanks ladies!  See you next month!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Which of the following are genuine Mitchisms?*

A.  "Bugs Bunny is just Mel Blanc doing his impression of Jack Benny."

B.  "Judging by their circular, I think I love Bed Bath and Beyond!"    

C.  Me:  How much money would you have to be paid to kiss Drew Carey full on the lips with just the    
              tiiiiiiinist bit of tongue~
     Mitch: (interrupting and not even taking one second to think about it) Thirty dollars.

D.  Me:  When we go to Bentleyville, can we hold hands?
     Mitch: No.

E.  "Bela Lugosi rarely steers us wrong, but he sure steered us wrong tonight."

* ǝʌoqɐ ǝɥʇ ɟo llɐ

Monday, December 5, 2011


The other day when we were putting up the Christmas decorations, Kira opened a bag and after a sharp, startled intake of breath she said, "Oh my god, that scared me."  She was talking about the nutcracker she made in second grade.

"Cracking nuts with my mouth is my job. Do you find that disturbing?"
The thing is, I am positive I threw this in the garbage last year.  How did it get into its own bag and get tucked away with all the decorations?  I thought it was scary before, but now that I know it's haunted and has a mind of it's own, I'm terrified of it.  Especially since Kira gave me a tour of what she was thinking when she created it.

Brace yourself.....

Here's a close up of his face.  His mouth is off center and and his teeth are clenched because she says he's grunting.  Some of his teeth are black because she says they are rotten.  She tells me his skin is gray because "he's molting."

 I asked her to tell me about his clothes, thinking she would tell me about his buttons, but she tells me that originally his shirt was yellow, like his sleeves, but is now mostly red because of "all the blood."

 Here's a close-up of his dirty, gray, cottonball dreadlock.

Kira (at least I think it's Kira) has started moving him around and putting him places to startle me, like on my pillow,

or in the shower.  When a girl is naked and vulnerable the last thing she wants to see when she opens the shower curtain is this:

Sweet Jesus!
I want to throw it away again, but I'm afraid it will come back and then I will go out of my mind with terror.

Here it is telling me that it will leave me alone if I give him my first born son.  NOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog Tutorial

Hi!  How are you guys today?  I've had a LOT of caffeine today!  I just got back from the Hmong New Year celebration here in Duluth. I earned some continuing education credits for my teaching license by going to it and immersing myself in another culture for a few hours.  I was the tallest person in the room by at least five or six inches.  It was fun and they were super nice to me.  My favorite part was a singing group of Hmong freshman at UMD who called themselves the "FreshHmong"

Anyhoo, I have some bloggy business to take care of because although I've had this blog for almost three years now, I've lately gotten some questions that lead me to believe some of my followers don't know all the neat things you can do on it.

First of all, you can always get back to the main page by simply clicking on the blog title at the very top of the page.

Did you just click on the picture of the title?  Well that's not what I was talking about.  The picture is only there to show you what the blog title looks like.  You need to pay better attention.

The blogger bar at the top, above the blog title, has some features that you might like:

Starting at the far left there is a blank space for you to type in any query you want and blogger will look up everything related to that query on the blog.  Try it now.  Type in "Mitch" and you will see all posts featuring Mitch.  See?  Neat!

Next is the follow button.  If you haven't clicked on that already, do it now.  Cool huh?  Don't you feel better now?  Next is the Report Abuse button which you will (probably) never have to use for this blog.  I don't abuse anyone.  The next thing is the Next Blog button.  That will take you to a random blogger blog that is somehow similar to mine.

On the right side there are spots where you can click to create your own blog or to sign in.

Underneath the blog title there are eight buttons.

Home is the homepage, the main page, the front page.  It shows the very latest thing posted on the blog and then after that the next most recent post etc. etc.

If you click on Reading List you will see an exhaustive list of books I have read with a short review, linked to Amazon where if you are interested you can buy them yourself or read a better review than I wrote.  The top entry is the latest book I read and it goes to the next most recent from there.

The Searches button is a list of crazy things that people have typed into to google and have been directed to my blog.  I think they are funny.

Under Characters is a list (with pictures!) of the people I talk about on the blog.  I should add more.

The Cartoons page features cartoons by Natalie Dee.  She cracks me up.

The FAQ button is a page with frequently asked questions.  Nobody asks me questions.  I made the whole thing up.  Actually, I asked people to ask me questions so I could make a FAQ page.  I think because I had just learned that FAQ means "frequently asked questions."  I was feeling pretty special that day.  Some people were kind enough to humor me and sent me some questions by they are not by any stretch frequently asked.

The find me page features links to other places on the internet that you can find me.  Click on any one of them and you will get to me.  But you're already here with me now, so why would you do that?  Are you obsessed with me or something?  Just kidding.  Friend me on Facebook.

The last button is a list of nicknames because I think they are funny.

If you go to any of these pages and panic and think to yourself, "OMG!  How do I get back to the main page?  What if she has posted something since I've been reading these FAQs or Cartoons?!  I must get back!" then you just click on the blog title, or on the Home button and you will get back to the main page.  See?  It's not so hard!

Sometime I link to other pages or to previous posts in a post.  When I do that you will be able to tell it is a link because it will be a different color like this.  If you see that, click on it and I could bring you to someplace WONDERFUL!

After each post is a little box with info in it like this:

Starting at the top left  this tells us that there have been three comments on this post.  The little envelope thingy can be clicked on if you want to email this post to someone.  The pencil is just for me.  You don't usually see it.  It is so I can edit the post if I want.  Then there are some buttons.  The M is for Gmail.  Click on it if you want to gmail the post to someone.  The B is for blogger.  If you have a blogger blog and want to blog about this or post this post on your blog, that's what you click on.  Next is a T for Twitter.  Click on it if you want to tweet the post.  And the last one is an F for Facebook.  If you click on it you will create a link to the post on your Facebook page.  Finally there is a button with a little 1 in it.  If you have a google account click on it and you will recommend the post to other google users.

Under that line is labels.  This is how I categorize each and every post.  They are cross referenced by subject and you can find all the subjects on the sidebar under the heading "Stuff I Write About"  If you click on any one of those, you will get all the posts I categorized under that heading.

The last line is for reactions to the post.  I just put a "like" button like Facebook has because people are used to that and I don't want to know if people think my posts suck because I can't handle it, so I didn't put a "this sucks" button on.  Just like.  Click it now.  See how it works?

Next let's look at the sidebar to the right.  I have too much stuff cluttering up my sidebar but that's just the way it is.  The top is widgets you can click if you want to subscribe to the posts or the comments.  I'm not really sure if these work properly because I don't subscribe to my own blog and I've never used them on other blogs because I just add them to my Google Reader and they automatically show up there.

Next is a StumbeUpon button.  I don't know how to use StumbleUpon and every time I try I feel like a total idiot, but if you have a StumbleUpon account and click on the button you list the post on the Stumble website and I get loads of hits.

Next is a Twitter button.  If you click it you will be directed to my Twitter page and you can follow me there.  I'm kind of a dud on Twitter.  I don't post much.  I'm too wordy.

Next is the heading "Sometimes I'm kind of funny" and below that are links to my personal favorite posts that I have written.

Under the heading "Stuff I Write About" is stuff I write about.  The headings I told you about before.

Next is a spot for me to brag about my blogging accomplishments.  This was listed as one of MBAOnline's top twenty humor blogs of 2010.  And I was nominated for a Best Humor Blog for the Blogger's Choice awards.

Next is my complete blog archive. You can see every post I've ever written by clicking on the links.

Next is the followers area.  These are people who have clicked on the "Join this site" button.  I love when people do that.

Next under the heading "Best Blogs Ever" are links to the blogs I love to read.  The top is the most recently updated.

After that are some pictures, a little thing about me, the blogger and my pageview counter.

So there you have it!  A Blogger blog tutorial!