Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Bag Lady strikes again!

We had a temporary produce crisis in the Den: The last delivery from Planet Organics came just a couple days before the first one from Fresh Edibles, and I wrapped it all up in Evert-Fresh bags and began working my way slowly through the lot.

Slowly.

So slowly that I realized at the rate I was going, at least half of it was going to be wasted, keep-fresh-bag or no.

So I made a stock with everything that was looking a little less-than-great, and a couple things of soup to freeze, and went through consolidating everything else and made a summer squash stir fry and then, when it came time to do the washing up…

Green bags, as far as the eye could see. Hmmmmm…

You can reuse these bags at least eight times, so I usually rinse them out and prop them up to dry overnight on the counter. But people…I had an awful lot of these bags here. There wasn’t enough counterspace in the whole kitchen to dry that many bags.

Pondering this terribly vital issue (shut up), I looked out my window and saw my clothesline, empty but still stretched across the yard. Hmmmmmm…

The sun was way down on the horizon and thus the line was in the shade, and it was still plenty warm outside. They wouldn’t cook, but they’d definitely dry

So I crept out like a bandit, hung up the bags as fast as I could, and bolted back inside before anybody saw me at it.

Because, really now. You’re line drying your plastic baggies?

A line of bags

Why yes. Yes I am.

With two clothespins each, no less.

Two pins!

What? It was a little windy.

The next morning I raced out, turned the bags inside out and pinned them back on the line for another ten minutes (I set a timer – I didn’t want them hanging in full sunlight), just to make sure all the moisture was gone.

Then I grabbed them off the line, folded them up and stuck them back in the canvas bags for the next farmer’s market trip.

Sometimes, I wonder what the neighbors make of me, I truly do…

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another proof people are spying on me…

From (The Customer Is) Not Always Right comes this gem: Oooh, So That’s What Marriage Is For:

(A guy has been leaning over the counter trying to chat me up while I rang up his purchases. Finally, he notices the rings on my finger.)

Customer: “Oh, you’re married?”
Me: “Yes.”
Customer: “Don’t you find that puts guys off?”


Ahem. You might think this is one of those rare and strange occurrences. Alas…not so much. I have had similar things said to me dozens of times - most frequently when I was performing.

I had a guy make a nuisance of himself for nearly twenty minutes as I was packing up after a performance at a hotel, then try to push his room key on me. When I told him my husband was expecting me home soon, HINT HINT, he said, “Oh. You mean, that’s actually a wedding ring?! Don’t you think that’s leading guys on, wearing that?”

{blink, blink}

Then there was the eager young lad who, when I held up the left hand and shoved my wedding ring in his face [HINT-HINT-HINT!], responded with, “Oh. So you’re one of those ‘MARRIED-married’ types?”

Yeah, as opposed to the merely married ones who are still, you know, available.

My wedding ring being a simple gold band, I’ve also gotten a ton of the ‘oh, I thought that was just, you know, a deterrent!’ lines.

Soooooooo…you thought I was wearing a fake wedding ring to keep the wolves at bay…so naturally, you had to rush right over and make an ass of yourself?!

Sigh.

Gentlemen Who Do This: Why? Is it just eternal optimism, here? Or is it that you actually do live on another planet, in which no female is ever married-married and your devastating charm and good looks can overcome all obstacles…like another man being the other half of her Perfect Whole™, the father of her children and her soul’s chosen mate?

Oh well. I guess there are some mysteries we are just not meant to understand.

Otherwise, someone would have long ago explained things like the hot dog / hot dog bun packaging conundrum and why we find it so hard to drink enough plain old water every day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Idle speculation of the day

I've started printing double-sided, to save paper and trees and to stop global warming and so forth.

But the paper I buy is so thin that the ink bleeds through.

So today, I resolved to buy thicker paper.

...which means each piece will be using more tree-and-stuff.

Feh.

In related news, I spent some time today actually putting away some of all that printing I've been doing. Specifically, the knitting patterns I have been printing out for the last few eons and putting into a drawer to file "later." (Later...never...they're such similar words...)

I found myself thinking, as I sorted each pattern into the appropriate Massive White Binder, that someday...at the Estate Garage Sale...my kids are going to be selling these. "Set of knitting patterns: $1.00...$0.50...$0.25...Free with purchase!...{sticker on the inherited heirloom-quality whatnot} $5.00 - MUST ALSO TAKE BINDERS OF KNITTING PATTERNS!!

...I wonder how many people would walk away from the heirloom-quality whatnot, because all those knitting patterns made them dizzy...

Happy Birthday, Captain Adventure!

Well, it’s the actual day. Four years ago today right down to almost the minute now, Captain Adventure arrived by a planned c-section that was finally the way it was supposed to be. (The other three were all one degree or another of emergency, and neither of the other two “planned” ones happened on their “planned” day!)

I should’ve known he was gonna be trouble when the surgeon announced, “OK, here he comes, we’ve got him out now…oh! HA HA HA, no, I’ve got it, I’ve got it…heh heh…peed on you there, mom…”

Cute, huh? Oh, but he was cute, and you just couldn’t stay mad at him, not for a minute. Little did I know that this little bundle of charm and good looks…

Talking things over

…was gonna turn into an adrenaline junkie. MY adrenaline, not necessarily his own!!!!

that's my boy all right

(No, he wasn’t really going to ride the ceiling fan…he was trying to figure out how to disassemble it, a much safer activity, I’m sure.)

He’s surely mixed things up here in the Den. Caused sudden and extreme changes in plan, given us sleepless nights and anxious days, kept us and The Experts™ guessing. Keeps us in stitches, too. He’s got a devilish grin and a wicked sense of humor that gets more and more evident every day. He’s stubborn, willful, charming, funny, full of vinegar and sweet as honey.

And he sure knows how to make a girl feel loved.

Love, true love...

Happy birthday, Captain. I’m proud to be the first woman you loved, and the first to love you.

(…and grateful I’ve got lots of time left before I have to consider the possibility of being usurped!...)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ooooooh, guilty as charged!!!

MomLogic had a guest blogger writing about Attention Baby Disorder.

Here’s how she puts it: Tossing a fabric-covered ball back and forth makes me want to eat a box of Twinkies 'cuz I'm so bored.

WAH! HAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah. Oh yeah. {snicker, snort}

Been there. Frequently.

I about died right up at the top: My face is frozen in a smile so insincere it would rival Miss Runner Up's in any pageant.

It’s like she’s been in my house, taking notes!!

So in answer to their question: “Do you ever get bored while playing with your kids?”

Uh…yeah. Yeah, I do. And to Tom, who commented, “If you’re bored playing with your kid when they’re 2+… you have some issues.”…I, uh, apparently have some issues.

Oh, it isn’t that I’m bored playing with them all the time. Shoot, no! I love playing with them…for the first couple hours each day.

But slowly, over time…I start thinking it.

Oh no. Not the fairy unicorn princess game again…c’mon, Danger Mouse, pick something ELSE, will ya?!

Uh…does this story have, you know, an END, Boo Bug…?

Gah…I have 11,762 things I’d rather do than play Wizardology with a cheating 10 year old right now…(Eldest does cheat, you know – shamelessly!)

Yeah, that’s right, we’re NAMING FRUITS. Yay, you know a banana is yellow…{yawn}…


Overall, I love playing with my kids. I find them fascinating and entertaining. They charm me, inspire me, motivate me and otherwise add a depth to my life that I would miss if they were gone. Our playtime gives me something to look forward to, a lot of laughs and frankly, a chance to reclaim my own childhood a bit.

But at the same time, I have other things – grownup things – that I’d like to do, too. Sometimes I am absolutely filled with longing about those things. Even the things that aren’t as much fun as playing fairy unicorn princess or listening to a long, long tale about a puppy who ate a worm.

You play the same repetitive game enough times, I tell you what: Sorting out the mate-less sock drawer sounds exciting, comparatively speaking. And the very young child tends to really dig doing the same.damned.thing, sixty million times per day.

Right now, I am sick to death of playing the Lightning McQueen and Mater Drive Around and Around and Around the Coffee Table game. Captain Adventure is enthralled with that self-invented game at the moment. Skidding into the room, he will yell out: “Go DIS way! C’mon, mommy! Go DIS way! Is Cars! RED car, BROWN car, vroom, vroom, VROOM!!! KA-CHOW!!!!!”

Gah. Again?! Can’t we do something else? Or maybe couldn’t you do this, you know, solo, this time?!

Now, don’t be like that, I’ll scold myself, as I begin obediently running Mater (I’m always Mater) up and down, around the obstacle courses Captain Adventure has put into place, a plastic smile glued to my face and my Dora-inspired play-voice urgently and optimistically responding to his cues: “Where is the red block? Right! There’s the red block, good thinking! Where do we go next…”

Meanwhile, my mind is wandering. Far, far away it wanders. Counting the hours until preschool starts, my three hour break from the constant mommy-mommy-mommy, the urgent demands that I engage in non-urgent activities. Wondering how long before he’ll be ready to move on to a new game. Pondering the state of the laundry, or tonight’s dinner. Thinking about the cash flow (or lack thereof) and how much work I have to do before the sun sets today…

Feeling guilty for my lack of absolute attention to this valuable play. Valuable! Essential, really, building the nuts and bolts of his language and communication. I should be reveling in his desires to include me, blissfully sunk in his acceptance of a partnership-play, cherishing these moments while they are here for lo! Soon, he shall be grown and flown…

…mmmmm…youngest child, grown and flown…imagine the knitting time…NO! Stop that! Focus…focus on the play…

…around, and around, and around the coffee table…red block, blue block, back again…vroom-vroom, ka-chow says Lightning, git-er-done says Mater, ha ha ha, that’s right…{yawn}…I wonder if we have any Twinkies…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Creatures invasion continues

My knitting time has taken a serious face-plant lately. Summer vacation having eliminated most of the time I sit around waiting for Denizens here, there and everywhere, I’m trying to grab moments where I can. And then I started working again. Hello, no-time-at-all-for-anything!

Nevertheless…ladies and gentlemen, the starfish are in the house:

Starfish

It’s actually starting to look like a shawl now. This being a pattern that starts with the whacking-huge 1,672,170 cast-on stitches, it gets faster and faster as you go – a definite plus for me right now. The first bunch of rows took a good half hour or forty-five minutes to do, and now I’m getting through a row in about fifteen minutes, give or take depending on how many yo-ssk-blah-blah-blah they put me through.

The drape to date

This shawl is heading to the prayer shawl ministry when it’s done. It’s been causing a bit of a mix-up in the group (bwa-hahahaha). We’ve all settled into a rut, all doing the same thing again and again and again: *Pick a bulky acrylic yarn, grab huge needles, cast on a bunch of stitches, knit a rectangle or triangle, repeat from *.

As I was digging through looking for another bulky yarn for another triangle, it suddenly hit me: Why?

Why is it that my “fiddly” knitting, my “cool” knitting, my “fun” knitting, was reserved only for, you know, family?

What’s wrong with doing something, you know, interesting, for others? Maybe a little more intricate, a little lacier, a little more feminine, a little more delicate? Especially when we’re talking about this group, where there are no ‘acrylic only’ or ‘machine wash only’ restrictions? These shawls are given to people on a very personal, one-on-one basis, with full ability to make sure the receiver isn’t allergic to wool or hand-washing something.

Why not do something other than the bulky-yarn-triangle?

So I started bringing this to the meetings.

And now one of the other members is doing a box-lace lap blanket in a worsted weight. Because she suddenly thought, Hey! I can do that kind of stuff! Why don’t I do that kind of stuff?!

Mwa-HAHAHAHAHA!!!

The virus has been spread.

My work there is done.

…except that I’ve still got, what, a hundred rows or so to go?...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thomas the Wooden, Take-Along or Trackmaster Train

Captain Adventure's birthday party is tomorrow.

Today, I went to get him a present. Because I am very into thinking ahead and like that.

Ahem.

ANYWAY.

I wanted to get him a train thing. At first I thought GeoTrax, but as I started shopping I realized that there is basically only one set of GeoTrax currently available anywhere, and it was kind of lame. "Here, sweetheart, you can make a circle the size of a rather large grapefruit! And run this train around and around it! Wheeee!"

He loves Thomas the Train, so naturally I started looking at the VAST numbers of Thomas the Train stuff on the shelf. Hmm, we've got the Cranky the Hoisty-Thingee, and the helicopter dude, and there's the red guy and the green guy and of course Thomas...and the round-house and...waitasecond...um...does THIS track set go with...?...erm...

There were THREE different sets on the shelf. One was the "wooden" set. It (and its accessories) do not go with any other set. Just the Wooden set. Hmm.

THEN, there was the Trackmaster, a plastic track set. My eye was drawn to that one because it had one of those larger sets that basically gave the kid enough pieces to actually build something. Sweet.

...and sixty bucks. OK, yeah, uh, no. What did we have for, like, $20-ish. Up to $30. $40 at the absolute max and it had better be a real train that I can take to work, people. He is the apple of my eye and all, but he's also a destructive little @*^@& with his toys. I'm not spending $60 so I can step on the abandoned pieces all over the Den, thank-you-very-much.

Oooooh, look, here's another big-ish set! Oh wait. No, it's not that big, it's another one of those grapefruit-sized round things with a BIG roundhouse. $30. Hmm. Welllll, I might see my way clear maybe because it's got a lot of pieces and maybe if we just got this extra set of track for $9 we might be able to make someth-...hang on, why are THESE tracks gray and THOSE tracks black? Are they the same? The connectors don't look the same...

No, it wasn't the same, at all! This roundhouse thing was a take-along set. The extra tracks were for the Trackmaster. Humph. Well, what the @*^&@ is the take-along, then?! What's its groovy deal, why do we need it in our lives?

Sell it to me, Thomas the Train...

So the main selling point of the take-along series is that all the pieces conveniently fit into whatever larger thing is the "theme" of the set - the "airport" sets tracks and figures all go inside the airport building for storage, that kind of thing.

Nice...if you have a kid who will DO that. But Captain Adventure does not feel his creativity should be confined to any form of {pfft!} storage, so the pieces will be scattered all over the Den forthwith and the storage container broken into many small pieces to see what it looks like in fractal-form.

At this point, realizing that there were THREE (3) different flavors of Thomas the Train tracks and that none of three played nicely with any other set...I had a bit of a Moment. It was a weighty question, one that demanded that I give it absolute and solemn attention:

Which track do we want to be married to for the rest of all time?

THIS set has more pieces; THAT set theoretically could be stored neatly. I like the feel of the wood tracks, but who cares about me, I'm just the one who will spend hours and hours on the floor saying, "No, honey, look, you can make a bridge! See? No, hey, Captain, quit hitting your sister with that - I need it for the hookup to the roundhouse!"

These plastic ones are beefier, but these have more individual sets. But the more individual sets are also smaller in size - the trains are tiny. Whoa, yeah...those suckers are gonna hurrrrrrt when I stomp on them barefoot at 3:00 in the morning when he wakes up crying for no damned reason and needs a cuddle and I don't want to flip on a light because that would be intelligent that might fully wake him up. Which, considering that he is screaming like bamboo is being driven under his toenails, is kind of a moot point but nevertheless, this is why I go in there in the dark, even though I know that his bedroom is wall-to-wall carpeted with pointy toys.

OK, so...we're back to the wood set, or the Trackmaster. Both have nice big sets, both have expansion sets of track available...

And then...I saw it.

The Deciding Factor. The one true and clear advantage one of these two sets had over the other.

It was on the biggest, baddest set of them all. That's right. The one that actually had enough in it to make a COOL train track, a train track cool enough even for my little mister - he may be delayed in speech and language, and can be endlessly amused by the simplest of electronics (like, say, the birthday card he got from my mother-in-law, which blares forth with the theme song from Jo-Jo's Circus whenever opened...yeah, he loves that thing, has played with it for HOURS AT A TIME for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT....heh heh, yeah...remind me to thank her for that...), but when it comes to building sets and puzzles, he figures them out in nothing flat, and if he can't do many, many things with them...{yawn}. Hmm, let's see...I wonder how far this would bounce, if I caught the back of my sister's head at precisely a 45-degree angle...?

The advantage was subtle. I almost missed it. But, although it seemed that the store was determined to ensure it went unseen...my keen and experienced eye saw it!

There...beneath the sticker proclaiming that this set, A $125 VALUE!!! NOW ONLY $89.95!...a tiny red sticker that said, in wee black letters: Clearance. $32.48.

WOOD SET IT IS, MY SON!!!!!

Happy birthday, sweetie...and thank Dog you're too young to notice that Mommy forgot to peel that Clearance. $32.48 sticker off of there before we wrapped it...(I hope...)

(Although...$32.48? C'mon, really? Does that not scream that the clerk handling the clearance stickers was so sleep-deprived - possibly due to an almost-four-year-old child having nightmares every night for three or four or fifteen nights, s/he's kinda losing count at this point - that s/he could no longer see the buttons on the tag-printer-thingee and just pushed random buttons and this is what spit out?)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dude…wait…what?

Sometimes, I really find myself sitting here saying…What the ever-livin’ @*^&@*?

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t had my coffee yet. Perhaps this will make sense after I’ve had some caffeine.

Help me out here, people.

Our Golden State is, once again!, in the throes of a budget crisis. Not only are we a tad short of what we need to fund all our stuff (our state motto really should be: Living Above Your Means Is Beautiful), but our beloved representatives can’t get their collective @*^& together and put together a budget that at least gets cash flowing again.

So naturally…the solution would be…to tell State employees that they’re taking a haircut in the paycheck department down to the Federal minimum wage of $6.55 (which in California wouldn’t allow a guy with five roommates to afford a one bedroom apartment, for crap’s sake) (OK, I may be exaggerating just a tad…he’d only need four roommates…) until such time as the budget is passed?!

Oh yes. This is one of the things Ah-nold proposes. It’ll save $1B a month!

Maybe…if I stirred a little acid into my coffee…this would make sense?

Say. I’ve got another idea.

How about if our representatives take a daily pay hit for each day the budget is not passed? $1,000 shaved off their annual take for each day they don’t get their crap together sounds good to me. Let’s see, each one of them would have lost $24,000 this year already! What are there, 120 of them jostling up there? I just saved the state $2,880,000! AND @*^&@ING COUNTING!!

And this before I’ve even had my coffee, folks!

Sigh.

I’m gonna go get my coffee now. Maybe I’m still asleep. Yeah. That’s gotta be it. Caffeine will fix this.

And if that doesn’t, maybe squeezing my eyes shut, ramming my fingers in my ears and screaming, “LA LA LA LA LA!” will.

And if that doesn’t…I may have to pen a sternly worded Letter of {SMACK! DOWN!} to Ah-nold and my beloved leaders up there in the Assembly and Senate.

Heh. Sending furious emails to 121 people. “FEAR MY SPAM OF OUTRAGE! FEAR IT!!!!!!!”

Yeah. Coffee. NOW.

…what a helluva thing to wake up to this morning…{grumble ‘hey thanks for working for the Golden State – here’s your paycut! Don’t worry, we’ll catch you up LATER…’ grumble SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!!!}

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shameless Weekly Errand

I have really enjoyed my biweekly shopping schedule. One day every other week instead of every other day all week? Awesome. I’m not sure which I liked more, saving the time or saving the money.

Then…something came up. It looks like this:

food glorious food

Can we just pause a moment to admire that? {bows head reverently}

This is a CSA (community supported agriculture) box from Fresh Edibles, an organic method farm in Stockton. I’d looked into them before, when I was first on my “why does produce taste so wretched?!” rampage last year, but at the time they didn’t have a drop-off location close enough to me. Driving thirty miles to pick up a $20 box of produce, and then thirty miles back home again…well. Even when gas was half what it is now, that just wasn’t going to happen.

But then I was flipping through a local paper a couple weeks ago and oh look, there’s that CSA up there in Stockton so close and yet so far blah blah blah organic methods something about boxes yadda yadda…waitasecond, they have a drop-off here in town now?!

About six seconds later I had signed up for the trial month. Every Saturday, a bin like this one is dropped off at a local health food store for me to grab. I didn’t think to photo-document last week’s box, even though it was so beautiful it actually took me aback. On their website, Fresh Edibles says that “every share is hand washed and arranged.” I expected this to translate to something like, “Given a quick hose-off and tossed in your box with at least some thought given to heavier-stuff-on-top. Most of the time, anyway.”

I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but this produce is clean. Oh sure, it came from a farm, it has some dirt or dust clinging to it and definitely you’d want to give it a serious wash before you pop it in your mouth…but I was really truly struck by how no, really, we mean WASHED-washed clean it is.

It is also most definitely arranged. This is more like a bouquet of produce than a box.

Also…it is delicious. That kind of being the whole point of the thing, I feel it is absolutely my duty to report on the flavor of this produce.

Let’s see…digging into my well-honed vocabulary…calling up the bardic genetics of my Celtic ancestors…hmm…ah yes, I have the perfect word:

YUM!

Last week, the lettuce was crisp and delicious, slightly bitter-tangy and oh-so-fresh. The summer squash, on the other hand, had precisely zero bitter to it, and was sweet and buttery. The cucumbers were refreshing and mild, again without a bitter note anywhere in them. Our only complaint about the yellow corn was that we would have liked more of it. Which is going to be a problem even if they stacked the whole entire box with it and then also filled up the entire back of the minivan and possibly allowed us to fill up a car-carrier on TOP of the minivan, so, you know.

There are some areas where there really is no pleasing us.

Oh! And! The tomatoes.

Oh. My. Dawg.

The…tomatoes... {swoon!}

I wish I had a way to put one of those up on my blog so that you could touch and smell and taste these. They feel good in the hand, slightly heavy for their size with smooth, thin skins. They smell like summer – clean, a little tangy, a little savory.

And they taste…like tomato. Their flesh is firm and packed with juice (be careful when you add a slice or three to your sandwich!), and the flavor is just…well, it’s therapy.

The tomato, it speaks to me: “Remember how you liked tomatoes when you were a kid, but then slowly found yourself deciding you didn’t like them anymore? And you were kind of confused because usually it goes the other way and you start liking things as you get older? Yeah. It was weird all right…but THIS is why! What you’ve been eating? Not tomato. Me? I’m a tomato, kid. This is what a tomato is supposed to taste like, rich and sultry, deep and light at the same time. I’m supposed to be smooth like velvet, not mealy or grainy. I’m supposed to have a deep layer of tastes, not be a watery bland or bitter single-note waste of tooth-wear…awwwww, it’s OK, sweetheart. Go ahead and cry, let it all out…I understand…”

ALSO. Fresh Edibles makes the mistake is awesome enough to not only allow shareholder visits, but encourage them. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to take the Denizens out to see the farm, to see where the actual literal food they are eating is coming from, and meet the people who grow it.

It’s just something I really want them to recognize, that food doesn’t just magically appear. I want them to appreciate it, to look at an ear of corn and stop for a second to think about all the care that went into producing it. Sure, it may be just one ear of corn among billions produced this year…but it’s still somebody’s pride and joy.

Or should be, anyway.

I suspect at the Fresh Edibles farm, each shareholder box is packed to the brim with pride and joy.

So. I’m going to be stepping out for an errand every Saturday, hopefully for a long, long time to come, to pick up a box of seasonal exuberance.

And I am just ever so OK with that.

Pie Plant Pie

A friend showed up last weekend with his magic pie plate (a housewarming gift: it comes prefilled with a pie, and magically refills whenever you visit. AMAZING!) and asked for a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

He even provided the rhubarb. Which, by the way, is also called pie plant. Just so you know. Because I called the post ‘pie plant pie’, see, and I was afraid that maybe somebody would think I was just on drugs or something. Ahem. Anyway. Moving on. Look! It’s rhubarb and strawberries!

strawberries and rhubarb

Strawberry-rhubarb pie is great on a couple of fronts. It’s super easy to put together, with no advanced slicing or mixing skills needed or ingredients you’ve never heard of required. It tastes mostly like strawberry, which can make it a gentle introduction to rhubarb – rhubarb is a pretty tart-bitter flavor on its own, and not everybody loves it. It uses about half the sugar of a straight-rhubarb pie, AND is utterly without animal products. Nice when you’re cooking for a mixed crowd that contains vegetarians and/or vegans.

The biggest drawback is that you tend to have a lot of helpers appear when you’re trying to slice strawberries.

hmm…eat...or hand to mommy...eat...or hand to mommy
Hmm…eat…or hand to mommy…eat…or hand to mommy…

bigger than an eye smaller than a mouth
Sooooooo, you’re saying…you want to use THIS strawberry? This one? You’re sure?

Our friend brought enough rhubarb for two pies, so we made two. Each one required:

An oven preheated to 375. A word from the School of Hard Knocks graduate over here: Put something down in the oven to catch the juice before you heat it up. Fewer burns that way, and you will thank yourself for foresight later. These babies tend to bubble over like crazy in there.

1 double pie crust

2-1/2 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1” pieces
2-1/2 cups strawberries, sliced in half (huge ones quartered)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 to 1 cup sugar – if you like super-sweet, you can go as high as 1-1/2 cups
1/4 teaspoon salt

That’s it. Told you it was simple.

Mix the dry ingredients together, and toss with your sliced rhubarb and strawberries.

floury
It’s like snow in July!

Now, rhubarb-strawberry pies are frequently topped with a lattice rather than a straight crust. They’re great candidates for it, because they are soooooo juicy that not being sealed tight doesn’t hurt their moist-factor one bit.

But lattices often seem to freak people out. They think they’re hard and stuff.

Nah. Not hard. Check it out. You roll out your bottom crust, put it in the pan and add the filling. Then, roll out the top crust, just like you usually would. You don’t need to be too fussy about perfect roundness, though, because next you’re going to square it off and cut it into strips.

lattice strips
Wait…does this mean my blog is now a strip show?!

Weaving the lattice is really easy. Over and under, just like making a potholder at summer camp. I generally put the three “upright” pillars in first, then fold them back and weave the horizontal ones in.

weaving lattice
over…and under…and over…and under…

I finished this one with a quick fork-crimp around the edge. Dip the fork in some flour and just press the tines into the crust all the way around. Fast, attractive, and easy.

Now, there’s another ‘open top crust’ technique called the quick lattice or cutout lattice. I kind of like this one because of the high amusement factor. For this one, I chose dragonflies. This is the top crust, with dragonfly cookie cutter poised for action.

quick lattice
Um, Tama? There’s a bug on your pie, dude…

There are a few ways to go about the cutout technique. Depending on the size and shape of the cutter you use, you might do the whole entire top, all over (a small oval cutter, for example, looks neat with a tight series of holes).

Mine being somewhat large, I chose to do just a few cutouts, centered. Does this not make you think of a squadron of dragonflies?

flight leader to squadron...
Flight leader to squadron, prepare for takeoff…

One of the fun things about using the cutout technique is that you can then further decorate with the cutouts. Brush the top of the pie and the bottom of the cutout with a little water, and it’ll adhere like it was glued.

Photobucket
Hee. There’s a bug on my pie, and people think it’s cute!

I left the edges kind of “au natural” on this one. Trimmed to about 1/2”, tucked the top one under the bottom one and gave it a quick pinch all the way around to seal it. Very “rustic” looking.

Brush the top with your glaze of choice (just water, just milk, sugar-water, water with an egg white stirred into it) and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon-sugar if you like. Remember to avoid the crusts, and make sure you don’t have any glaze pooling up on the surface – it’ll cause those areas to get too brown too fast.

Cover the edges with tin foil to prevent premature browning (blackening), bake at 375 for 25 minutes, take off the foil and bake another 20-30 minutes or until the crust is properly browned and the juices are bubbling.

Feel clever.

finished lattice
See what I mean about the juice? Right over the edge!!

finished dragonflies
Oops…one of the dragonflies leaked a bit there…oh well, we’ll eat him first…


I didn’t take any pictures of this because I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but there’s almost always a little crust dough left over when you make a pie – and when you make a lattice, there’s even more.

You can wrap leftover dough scraps in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. I don’t personally like to do that because I feel that it makes for a fairly tough crust. But I’m picky about pie crusts. Really, really picky.

So what I do is either use it right then for a pot pie, using whatever casserole is in the fridge (there’s usually at least one Tupperware in there with leftover casserole in it), or I make crackers.

Roll out the leftovers and cut it into shapes. You don’t have to be fancy, although using a cookie cutter makes for a nice end product.

Put them on a cookie sheet, brush with milk, melted butter or cream (water works fine too, it just doesn’t add as much flavor), and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice. Onion or garlic salt make good savory snacks, cinnamon sugar is always popular…cheese and pepper…use your imagination.

Bake in that 375 oven for, eh, between seven and twelve minutes depending on your topping. Until they’re nice and brown. It makes a nice cracker and helps keep the guilt of throwing away extra dough at bay.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chatty a bit, are we?!?!

I have 1,040 unread blog posts in my reader.

Gee whiz, you go on a five day stock market binge and just LOOK at what happens...!

Wha…wha day izzit…?

I’ve been adjusting my stock portfolios this week. When I doodled that task down on the list last weekend, I expected it would take, eh, four hours or so on Monday. It’s usually a quarterly thing, but I’ve started doing it a tad more frequently since the market has been…um…let’s call it unfriendly.

I’m not a day trader, or even a particularly active investor. When it comes to my personal investing philosophy, There is no way but Value Investing, and Warren Buffet is its prophet.

Buy for value, hold it forever. Amen.

So Monday I settle in and rebalance my husband’s IRA. Conservative portfolio, not a whole lot of action going on. Took some profits off the table, reinvested the dividend and interest cash in other things, and moved on. No more than an hour. {yawn}

My IRA. A little more aggressive, a little more time in. Hmm. Interesting, this is really down, almost to the point where the stop order (an order you place with your broker in advance saying, “If this hits this point, sell” – it’s a way to protect profits if you aren’t going to be directly babysitting your investments) will engage. Didn’t expect that, not really…what gives?…hmm…that’s interesting, looks like it’s just pin-action from this other thing…hey…

Whoa. Waitasecond, why is that down that far? Holy crap, this other one is…@*^&@in’ A, man, that’s way oversold! {Begins pouring over financial statements and making educated guesses and frantically moving money around…}

Five days later…it’s like The Lost Weekend.

Only, you know. It was five days, instead of a weekend. And instead of descending into the dark underworld of addiction, I was playing the market like it was Warcraft. Made really good money. Whoo boy. I’ve got some good fish stories now, people. And it was fun.

But yeah…I seem to have lost a few days. Vines have grown up the walls in here. And I think I saw an Eloi foraging in the fridge. Or it might have been Eldest. Hard to tell, really.

This highly-active investing thing is not exactly low on the stress-o-meter, either. I had to see my doctor yesterday to go over medications and how well they are(n’t) working, and for the first time in my life, ever, my blood pressure was over 120.

I’m usually one of those people they read twice. “OK, and your blood pressure is 100 over 58…wait…let me do that again…104 over 60…um…let’s use a different cuff…”

So when I came back at 127 over 74 yesterday, my doctor drawled, “Hummm…what’s got you all worked up?”, and swung the computer monitor around so I could see that the line showing my blood pressure over time was all “boring… boring… boring… boring… SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT!”

What can I say, man. {starts twitching and nervously fingering the Treo, which may be about to buzz with an alert from the broker} Made bank in a quick pop in and out of MegaBank.com this week, and yet I still have a large lot held long because I have a long investment horizon and think in, oh, five years or so, that sucker may be back up from the $3.05 I bought at to the $25 or even better range…unless, of course, their heavy reliance on the FICO instead of common frickin’ sense for lending rears up and bites them on the arse, which is IMHO the next big !SURPRISE! coming for the financial sector.

…crap, there goes my blood pressure again…

Interesting week. Fun, too. But I wouldn’t want to do this, you know, every week. Too stressful, and too fraught with peril. It’s a lot like going to Vegas. Most of the time, you don’t win big. You do well if you break even, or only lose what you intended to lose.

But then you have that one time, when on the way to the blackjack table you drop three quarters into a slot machine and win $600.

Somehow, that one win cancels out dozens or even hundreds of other Vegas trips where you left poorer.

I still think value investing is the one true way to build wealth in the markets.

But managing to grab a few thousand shares at $3 and selling most of them off at $5.50 a few days later sure makes for a great fish story, huh?

And now, I think I’d better settle in for some nice, relaxing knitting. Let’s see, I’m on row 73 of lace pattern #2…K17, K2tog, yo, k1b, yo, kn1b, yo, sl1-psso, yo…wait…is that a yo, or a k1b…?

Crap! There it goes again!!…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Waffles, Vocabulary and New Irrational Fears

I was making waffles.

Wait.

Let me rephrase that.

I was trying to make waffles.

In spite of having made waffles just about every Wednesday for the last two years, I forgot one tiny step: Spritzing the waffle iron with oil.

As I was irritably alternating scraping the glued-on waffle batter from the iron with burning myself on it, Eldest yawned her ten-year-old self into the kitchen. She leaned on the kitchen door and watched my battles with the ruined, yet stubbornly clinging to life, waffle for a moment.

“Lemme guess,” she drawled at length. “Something went horribly awry.”

Now, really. Where does the child get these expressions?!

Possibly, this may answer that question: Last night, through a strange and convoluted conversational path, I found myself explaining naked shorts to the child. What's good about them, what's bad about them, and how you can be caught with your financial pants down trying to use them.

Look, the kid understood fractional reserve banking at two better than most adults. Even adults who WORK FOR BANKS. I'm not surprised that she can grasp the basic concepts of a naked short.

She also uses words like 'awry' and 'convoluted' and 'grimoire' and let us not forget 'oxymoron' in everyday conversation.

...that kid is sooooo cool...

BUT. Now, I’m worried. I’m envisioning the start of her day at camp…

“So, what did you do at home last night, Eldest?” asks the perky young counselor.

“Oh, mommy and I were talking about bankers and their naked shorts!” Eldest replies, sardonically and with that sort of smug I'm pretty sure you have no idea what I'm talking about expression.

{knock, knock, knock!} on the front door.

“Yes?”

“Hello. We’re with Child Protective Services, and we’d like a word with you…”

Sigh. Just another thing to add to my list of irrational fears…CPS wanting to discuss my child’s involvement with naked bankers whose shorts don’t cover their arses.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Got milk?

Milk is one of those irritating issues for us. Even with an extra refrigerator out in the garage, trying to store a two week supply of fresh milk is enough to make me a little crazy.

I bought eight gallons two weeks ago. We’re on the last drops of the last gallon already – two days before my next shopping trip. Even though I was short at least one Denizen every single day since Shopping Day.

Ugh. I need at least ten gallons for two weeks. Probably twelve, if everybody is home. Argh. Have you ever tried to wedge twelve gallons of milk into a fridge? Or even two fridges? Especially when the house is regularly climbing over 80 degrees so you’ve got all the fruit in there too?

It’s enough to make a saint cuss. And I ain’t no saint.

Like everything else, the cost of a gallon of milk is creeping upward. We pay about $3.69 a gallon out here; usually, there will be one brand that offers about a dollar discount for a two gallon purchase - $6.39 for two gallons, for example.

Between the storage and the upward twitching of the price of a gallon of fresh, I’ve started thinking about powdered milk. I haven’t used the stuff in years, not since the price for a gallon of fresh dropped below that of powdered. I didn’t like the stuff anyway – chalky water with milk undertones? Blech.

Well.

Well.

One of my favorite sources for things like bulk food storage containers, freeze dried whatnots, emergency kits, enormous pails of rice and such is Emergency Essentials.

In addition to the aforementioned groovy stuff, they have powdered nonfat milk in 10# cans, each of which will make 4.75 gallons of milk. Each can costs $18.95…or you can get a three cases, a total of 18 cans (or 85.5 gallons) for $309.95, plus $12 for shipping. (By the way, their shipping maxes out at $12. So, with the exception of the Super Pails, you can add as much other stuff as you want to your order and still pay $12. In other words, this is a good company to give ONE BIG ORDER rather than three little ones.)

Assuming I didn’t buy anything else and the shipping was only for the milk, I’d be paying $3.77 a gallon for the powdered milk; if we used it for half our milk-needs, it would last me roughly four months.

Gads, we go through a lot of milk. ANYWAY, moving on.

So the last time I had an order, I added just one 10# can of milk to it. I paid a premium per gallon ($3.99), but I figured that was a small price to pay to try before I buy (in bulk). If it turned out to be nasty, I didn’t want to stuck with over $300 in milk we weren’t going to use.

Last night, doubt in my soul, I whipped up a gallon of the stuff and stuck it in the fridge.

This morning, I tried a tiny glass of it. With my face screwed up, ready to hate and despise it.

It…wasn’t half bad.

In fact, I thought that if you didn’t know it was powdered milk, you might just think it was, you know, just…nonfat milk. We don’t usually drink nonfat milk, so the flavor difference wasn’t as striking to me as it might be to someone who habitually drinks nonfat.

I used it in our muffins this morning, and none of the Denizens noticed anything different – and believe me, they are among the pickiest eaters in the universe. Knowing that I had used it, I was aware that the muffins were slightly less dense – airier, with a crumblier texture, and left out on the kitchen counter they got stale faster than their lowfat cousins.

But in terms of flavor…not a hint of that ‘chalk water’ powdered milk thing.

And then…the ultimate test. I made my husband and I a second round of mochas…secretly substituting half the fresh milk with the powdered.

I could taste no difference. My husband tasted nothing out of the ordinary.

Success!

I am pleased. And in this kind of packaging – in a nitrogen packed can containing an oxygen absorber – it really will last and last and last. Well beyond the four months I expect to have it around; probably as long as four years (the average for nonfat dry milk stored at ‘reasonable’ temperatures…if memory serves, at higher temperatures the shelf life drops dramatically, but I’m too lazy to go look it up right now).

When I place my next order, I will be ordering the 3 cases for the best price, both as a solution to my fridge-space crisis, and as a hedge against milk prices taking yet more nudges upward. Given that there will be other things sharing that $12 shipping, I figure my actual cost per gallon will probably be roughly $3.65, already better than the single gallon price. If the two-for-a-dollar-off brand climbs above $7.30, I’ll be saving money.

And much as I’d like to say, “Pfft! It’ll never happen!”…it’s already a dollar more per two gallons than it was a year ago. Another dollar doesn’t seem as unlikely as it did, way back in the grand old year of 2006.

Ah yes, 2006. I remember it well. When house prices never went down, only up, and gasoline was practically free, and we just sat around running our air conditioners all day long because there was no such thing as global warming or electricity bills…

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Seahorses and Crabs abound!

In spite of knitting time being pretty scarce right now, some progress has been made on the Creatures of the Reef shawl:

Creatures First Block

I finally wrestled my way through that first major pattern block, the seahorses and crabs. I can’t wait for the post-blocking pictures, because right now it’s doing That Lace Thing, where you try to tug it out so see the shape, and the minute you let go it shrinks back up. This is about the best picture I could get (seeing as how I have only two hands – if I could just figure out how to take a picture with my toes, this would be much, much easier).

Attempt at Detail

I enjoyed this first bit very much. The pattern was difficult enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that I had to bite back curses or tears. Much.

I’m halfway through the ‘bubble’ pattern that delineates each of the main patterns, and then it’ll be on to the starfish!

…oh no…starfish…Patrick and Spongebob!…lace knitting...fun...what is FUN?...fun is...well, it's sorta like a...what is fun...let me spell it for ya...

The FUN Song


GAAAAAAH! CURSED NICKELODEON BRAIN WORM!!!!!!

(Ah, Spongebob. Purveyor of fine brain worms since 1999...)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Blues: A photo journal

This morning, I found myself with a major case of the blues.

got the blues
Four cups fresh blueberries, picked over to remove stems and other non-blueberry-bits, and rinsed with cold water.

Obviously, this day needed a little bright color and some sweetening, not to mention taking them with a pinch of salt.

add some zip
One teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, a scant 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Getting a little starch on the old upper lip wouldn’t hurt, either.

starch the upper lip
2 cups flour, 2/3 cups shortening, dash of salt – blend with pastry cutter until shortening is about the size of peas.

Whoops. Split water while I was making the coffee. Oh well, at least it wasn't milk. Or coffee. I'd have to cry, if it was the coffee...

drink some coffee
Between 4 and 6 tablespoons of water – you want enough to make the dough come together, but not so much that you’ve got a sticky, gloopy mess.

Can’t let the blues get you down. Just roll with the punches…

roll with punches
Roll the first half of the dough out to slightly bigger than your 9” pie plate. There are a lot of methods for getting it into the plate - I use the 'fold gently in half, lift in and unfold' method, m'self.

…and dot your day with sunshine.

sprinkle with sunshine
Two tablespoons of butter, in small dabs all over the place. You can skip this part if you don't want any dairy or would like to save a few calories.

Then knuckle down!

knuckle down
Roll out the top layer and lay over your filling. Trim to about 3/4” overhang, then tuck the top crust over the bottom crust – like the bottom crust is the mattress and you’re tucking in a sheet. This gives you a nice pillow of crust to work with for the fluting. Press your thumb into the crust at an angle, giving it a little push at the same time on the other side with an index finger to emphasize the scallop. Trust me, it’s easy once you get going – just make sure you turn the PIE PLATE as you go, rather than trying to twist your ARM around the PIE.

Brush yourself off!

brush it off
This is just a quarter cup of water with a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in it. Take care to avoid brushing the crusts, as they already tend to brown too fast as it is. Also watch out for pools of liquid, as they also cause extra-crispy spots. If you want, you can follow up the liquid brushing with a sprinkling of sugar for extra crunch. You can also use just plain old water, or milk, or cream. Mmmm. Cream…

Maybe embellish yourself just a little.

dot the (p)i(e)'s
Hee. I put dots on top. They’re supposed to be blueberries. Ahem. I am perhaps too easily entertained.

And maintain that sunny disposition.

sunny disposition
This is my sun oven, out in my backyard being powered by the sun. It’s a little tough to see, but the thermometer inside it shows a wicked 350 degrees. Go, Sun, Go! It took about an hour and fifteen minutes before the filling was bubbling away…but the crust was a little too anemic-looking for my taste, so I finished it in my convection oven on low broil for ten minutes to brown it up.

To bake like a normal person in a standard oven, preheat to 375, put foil over the crusts to prevent premature browning, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is nice and brown.


Not bad, for a blue kind of day!

not so bad!
Ta da!

Now, all I need is a rhino to help me eat it, and I’ll be all set!

just need a rhino
But where on EARTH could I find one of THOSE?!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Like leprosy, only not contagious

My sunburn has already gone through the first four stages of healing.

  1. It has been discovered.

  2. It has been repeatedly remarked upon by others. Goodness, got a little pink there, didn’t ya?

  3. Suggestions for cures have been presented by various persons. I had some aloe vera / lidocaine gel on hand, so that’s what I used – but the suggestions were all noted and appreciated. There will be other sunburns, I can count on that. Because I never learn. NEVER.

  4. We have been through the four days of steadily decreasing discomfort, going from yelping and cringing when touched to a mere irritable grumble when prodded.


And now, we enter the Fifth and Final stage of sunburn healing: The dreaded peeling phase.

My d├ęcolletage and arms look like I sprayed them with Pam and rolled around in bean bag chair filling. I have developed a compulsive habit of rubbing at them, and it is only by dint of extreme self-restraint that I avoid attempting to pick.each.flake.off, one by one, with an expression of intense concentration, all day long.

There is no end to this peeling. None. The peeling, it is Epic. It’s bad enough that it, like the original burn, is being remarked upon. “Oooooh, got a sunburn, did ya? Yeah, cause, you’re peeling pretty good there.”

Gosh, really? Wow, I hadn’t noticed that half my body was attempting to peel away from the rest of me. Thank you for letting me know.

But of course, the best moments are when someone recoils in horror, squeaking, “OH MY GAWD! You’re, like, PEELING!”

Maybe they think sunburns are a virus? Or perhaps they suspect leprosy?

Impossible to say.

I really hate this phase of sunburn recovery. Hate. It. Granted, the Red Phase is more painful and all, but the peeling is just plain ugly.

Not to mention kind of gross. I mean, really! Everywhere I go, I’m keenly aware that I am shedding bits of myself. I feel almost as nasty about rubbing at my arms right now as I would if I were picking my nose – I just really don’t want anybody to see me doing it.

But it itches. And in an unguarded moment I will start rubbing at my arms. Suddenly I realize that I’m sending a cloud of dead skin into the air around me! GAH!

Then I try to act cool while surreptitiously looking around to see if anybody looks like they’re uploading a cell phone video of my antics to YouTube. Because obviously a video of me itching at sunburn-healing-phase-five peeling would be a hot YouTube item.

Fortunately, the phase (and associated paranoia around being videoed) will be over soon.

In related news, Mary Kay Satin Hands Satin Smoothie Hand Scrub does a pretty decent job of removing sunburn peeling. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t, you know, HURT your poor newly exposed skin, but rough enough to get the bulk of the peels currently frolicking on your limbs in a wildly inappropriate manner (the hussies!) OFF.

And it has a gentle peach scent, too. Much better than, you know, charred flesh or frantic washcloth.

In other related news…I seriously think that I should be excused from cooking until the peeling is over. For, you know, obvious reasons. Right? Right.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go order some pizza for dinner tonight, an act of supreme hygienic nobility that shows my boundless love and self-sacrificing nature.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Almost anticlimactic

Well, I went shopping yesterday. Apart from my 99 Cents Only spasm, it was the first time I had taken out my wallet in two weeks.

We were out of margarine, and ran out of milk over breakfast, so Shopping Day arrived just in time.

I had a list of all the things I’d thought of that we needed – with an awful lot of those things crossed out. Having time to reflect, even if it was just overnight, saw a lot of nifty ideas nixed.

The night before, I made up a menu for the next two weeks and went over my pantry to make sure I had anything I lacked on the list.

It wasn’t as long as list as I expected. And I certainly didn’t think that I would do two whole week’s worth of shopping in less than three hours.

But I did. One hour online, a little less than two hours around town, done.

It was almost anticlimactic.

The longest errand was down to the city to pay for the second half of the summer camp the girls are attending…and to just add a heapin’ helpin’ of ludicrous to the whole thing, the reason I appeared in person was so I could get the sibling discount, which was not available online because their programmers suck the system doesn’t support the discount online. You have to appear in person, and wait in person, and go over each line in person, and discuss the heritage around your children’s names in person, and be witness to approximately thirty-seven impromptu staff meetings around how, precisely, one is supposed to enter these things into the computer, at which point you will be told, in person, that they can’t get the discount into the system either.

You’ll have to call Accounting on Monday and ask them to make the adjustment.

So glad I could learn all this in person.

ANYWAY. Apart from that little exercise in futility, everything ran smooth as melted butter. I’ve got a bunch of things being delivered (Treo accessories, clothing labels [don’t start me], replacement brushes for the Roomba [we’re trying to kill that little robot, I swear we are]). I hit up Costco and replenished the basic supplies – including a case of copier paper for $10 less than the same basic thing at Office Depot. Sweet.

A long dally at the city offices (grrrr!) followed by a swift dart through Longs Drugs and an even faster swoop through the supermarket and…that was that.

Done, until July 16th-ish.

It was suspiciously easy, this switch to bi-weekly shopping. I’m not quite sure I believe it, just yet. Thanks to my cheat last week, I got a one hour head-start on the whole thing, sure…but it still just went…smoothly.

Too smoothly.

Of course, one trial does not a program make. The real test comes as the weeks continue to pass, and Life does that thing it likes to do, throwing curve balls at every opportunity.

Not to mention those times when there is simply more that is needed. Nobody needed socks, or a new swimsuit, or had demands from their teacher for 144 cupcakes by Friday. No birthday party invitations came home in backpacks, nobody had to build a mission out of sugar cubes.

Just some groceries and household sundries, a few electronic gadgets and a trip to the city zoo offices.

I got a lot more done around the Den thanks to the increased time on my hands, we burned practically no gasoline, and by my rough guesstimate based on the items crossed off the list, we saved around $300 simply by having a cooling off period between thinking we needed something, and actually going out to buy it.

Which is good, because there is a pretty major lag going between getting back to work and getting paid right now. It’s a good time to hold onto the money I have, rather than spending it on things I {nudge-nudge-wink-wink} Neeeeeeeeeeed.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Texting…texting…

OK, so, as a further example of how behind the times I am…I was instructed to text ‘blah’ to 67286728672867286917692876 to set up one of the applications on my new Treo.

Which, by the way, I am loving. It does this thing that my old Treo didn’t do? It’s called ringing when there’s an incoming phone call?

In other news, I’m way more popular than I thought I was! Three calls a month? HA! Three a day, minimum! And it isn’t just my new clients calling, either!

I’m…too pop’lar fer my phone…too pop’lar fer my phone…

Ahem. Anyway. So. Text…text ‘blah’ to…hmm.

I had to go online and look up Texting for Dummies to figure out how to ‘text’ something to someone.

OMG, I am the only human being in the world who doesn’t instinctively know how to text ‘lurve’ to 2768276827692765 for my love horoscope!

I’ve figured out instant messaging, because we used it at work – extensively. When you’re working with people who are physically far-flung (Seattle, Portland, Davis, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, etc.), the IM thing is groovy. Just like hanging your head over their cubicle wall for a mini-conference or quick answer to something.

And just as annoying, too. Working, working, working, thinking, working, think- {BOOP!} IM Window jumps up in front of whatever I was doing!!

Coworker: got sec? dsn is conf. pls advs?
Me: WTH? Can you say that with English words, please?
Coworker, five minutes later: Do you have a second? The DubraiServiceNetwork is not responding, do you have any suggestions?
Me: Oooooooh! Yeah. It has a slow memory leak, it gets clogged every few weeks. Shut down the B server, count to ten, then bring it back up. Then pester Dan about fixing the issue.
Coworker: K-thx!
Me: Sigh (But at least I understood that one.)

For someone who has spent way more time than really I ought to admit to on Internet bulletin boards and the like…I am surprisingly flummoxed by the ever-evolving ‘IM/Texting slang’ thing. I even find myself having to sound out what the LOLCats are saying, sometimes.

Sigh.

A dinosaur already, at the tender age of forty…anyway. Now that I know how, I suppose I ought to get back to it…the texting thing, I mean…