Showing posts from November, 2011


I was asked to do a little reflection on gratitude today at my Unitarian Universalist church, and thought I'd share it here too.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

One thing I appreciate beyond measure is the opportunity I’ve had to be a mother.  Partly because it’s been so much fun to spend my life with the particular kids that I got, but also for the more subtle joy of learning to be a parent, and all of that’s come with it.  I had imagined that certain things would be involved in parenting, and for the most part, they have – lots of basic care – feeding, clothing, and nurturing.  And a few things I didn’t anticipate, like all the driving, and the incredible volume of forms – endless places where my signature has marked that I’m okay with one thing or another. 

There’ve been so many forms that I wish I had just signed something once, at the very beginning, that says,
“I love my children more than you can imagine, and I hope with everything I’ve got that no harm will befall…

Thanksgiving horoscopes

Aries (3/21 – 4/19):  Do you ever have that thing where you say you'll update your blog every day, and after about 5 days you kind of wear out?  Yeah, I know!  Because it turns out you can either have a life or write about it; there's not enough time for everything.  Anyway, Aries, I've been busy making the salt, which is mildly arduous.  (Rush home from work.  Turn on burner.  Take a nap.  Etc.)  This week, take many naps.  All of those children will be out of school in a few weeks, so rest up while you can.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  Have you seen the video of "Occupy Walmart" that happened yesterday?  Don't watch, because it will make you seasick.  (Seriously, was the cameraman in sideplank on a teeter-tauter while s/he shot it?)  It's exactly like the sad footage of OWS except worse -- all the pepper spray without people who have convictions -- just some sorry individuals seeking deals on Blu-rays.  (I didn't even know what a blu-ray was until just now…

The Great Salt March

Recipe for making salt
1.  Find a reference to it on the internet.  Get obsessed, the way you do.

2.  Mention it to your daughter, who gets obsessed, the way she does, and asks if it can be an outing for her 21st b-day.  Without discussing it, we're probably compelled for the same reasons:  making salt involves a trip to the beach; salt is full of taste, smell, and texture; it's used for eating.  And making it involves something transforming from a liquid to a solid, which, if I had to choose, is my favorite direction.

3.  Mention it to her little brother, R., who immediately says, "I'm in."  Undoubtedly for different reasons, because every few days he says, "wait, what is it that we're going to do again?  Oh, right, salt."  Or, "Wait, is that a normal 21st birthday thing that people do?"

4.  Go to Sports Authority to buy another cooler, because if you're going all the way to the salt water, you should get as much water as possible, rig…

Finally legal

******************************************** Although I’m sure that no matter which babies had come into my life I would have made the best of it, I was lucky enough to birth two incredible people, the first being little M., who arrived exactly 21 years ago today. 

Before I had kids, I thought I was grown up, and I imagined myself teaching them things.  It turns out I had it completely wrong, and they’ve taught me more about life and love and forgiveness and just generally being decent than I even knew was out there.  The things I’ve taught them could be summed up in this list:
Try not to run out of toilet paper;Never buy coffee from a drive-through box because it’s unclear where the barista goes to the bathroom, and the coffee usually has an odd flavor;Put the heavy stuff on the part of the tray that’s closest to you;Be good to your sibling because you may need his or her kidney some day;Never scrimp on olive oil, and in general, don’t be a cheapskate with your things or your feelings…

Free Horoscopes!*

Aries (3/21 – 4/19): You courageous people can think about Harriet Tubman this week, that notable Aries who guided 300 slaves to freedom without losing a single one.  Lead just one slave to freedom this week, even if it's metaphorical.  Harriet was known to carry a gun, and if a slave was considering giving up, she'd say, "go on with us or die." You don't need to take it that far.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  Lisa Nowak is Taurus of the week.  In case you've forgotten, she's the astronaut who donned a diaper and latex gloves, packed a bb gun, stole a car, and set off for Orlando to kidnap her bf's new gf.  She's not some pansy-ass, home-alone-on-the-computer stalker.  Lisa is a woman with guts and a plan.  If you're gonna be a stalker, really go for it.

Gemini (5/21 – 6/21): Gemini, did you know that there are entire websites devoted to how to attracting you?  It's true. Judy Garland was one of you, and in honor of how quickly the earth is hurtl…

Lizard's Thicket

Has anyone eaten at the Lizard's Thicket?  Click that link and watch the slide show at the top,  at least until you get to the "Macaroni and cheese is a vegetable" sign.  If you have a few more seconds (which of course you do, you're here, right?), watch the "Country Cooking Makes You Good Looking" show on the left, becauase it's also pretty damned awesome.

I started out watching the clip of Rick Perry's slip up last night over and over, and noticed on the side bar that Michelle Bachmann will be hosting a Meet and Greet at Lizard's Thicket tonight, which made me curious, more as a biologist than a citizen.  What is the natural habitat of the Tea Partiers?  What do they eat, what do they look like?  Now I've spent way longer on the Thicket website than is healthy or normal.  I don't  have time to post anything else here because I have to go directly back back to watch more videos of kids eating vegetables.  Fried chicken is a vegetable to…

Homage to the lurky moon

I was trying to find something to write about this morning, so I visited E-bro to check my blood pressure and see what’s going on.

“Are you seriously going to update your blog every day?”

“Um, that’s the goal.”

“Were you drunk or something when you decided to do that?”

“No.  I just thought it would be good to put a lot of effort in.  But it turns out that I’m not really putting much effort into the writing part.  I’m just walking around panicking a lot, wishing I could think of something to write, and then slapping a post together at the end of the day.”

“Oh.  You could write about my new bandaids.  They’re pre-loaded with Neosporin. And you’ll like this:  one end is longer and tapers to a point for improved wrapping.  You can also talk about how I wore it in the shower, even though I know better, because there’s always that moment when you think, ‘oh, it will dry really fast’ but it never does. It just gets soggy and gross.”

“Um, okay, I’ll keep that in mind.”  My blood pressure tur…

Walkin' the cat

"So, you can go to Bolivia and walk the jaguars.  In the jungle.  On a leash."  I was telling The Magnificent about this, but he was having none of it.

"Ok, Betsy, what's the parcel number you're looking at?"

"I'm serious about the jaguars."

"What river is that in the picture?  And that doesn't sound true, by the way."

"Middle Fork.  And it's totally true.  About walking the wild jaguars.  On a leash.  As a volunteer.  With the only relevant training you've had is watching reruns of Wild Kingdom."

"Middle Fork?  Are you sure?  And are you sure you have to watch the reruns?  You’re making this up, right?"

As soon as he said that for the third time, it suddenly did sound made up, and I wasn’t sure anymore if it was true.

I read an article in the NYT yesterday about insomnia, and how women, especially single working mothers, are prone to it.  We wake at night with lists and unfinished tasks, which probab…

Two apples a day...

I just came back from a run with an excruciating craving for a baked apple.  The problem with baked apples, though, is that they take a long, long time to bake, and if I'm going to spend that much time waiting for something to come out of the oven, I want it to be cake.  I really longed for  the flavor of a good apple, but without all that biting into something hard and slightly cold, and chewing so much, and running the risk of possibly getting sticky apple juice on the sides of my cheeks.

By the way, remember when apples were a little snack you could just eat without a huge commitment?  Are the apples getting bigger or am I shrinking?

Anyway, I put a whole apple in the microwave.  After 45 seconds, it split very neatly along the north-south meridian, which I found interesting, but isn't particularly relevant.  After 30 more seconds, it turned into a baked apple almost like I was imagining.  After I added a little half and half and cinnamon, it was quite delicious, so I mad…

Trouble in the Alley

Yesterday I was sitting in one of the few alleys in town, snagging wireless internet from the library.  It isn’t a real alley, but because we have so few (3?) we need to be generous with our definitions.  It has a garden and a bench, and is really more of a passageway between the library and the fish protection store than an alley.  My favorite alley is across the street.  You can tell it’s a real alley because it has graffiti and cigarette butts in it, and sometimes you even find people standing there smoking or swearing.  I know!

Anyway, I had a few minutes before I met my co-worker, so I sat on the steps in Faux Alley with my laptop, conducting important research on the internet.  I was researching Clark Bars, because they’re quite good except that they're inclined to get stuck in teeth.  I had my first Clark Bar in a long long time the other day, courtesy of E-bro, and he told me that's because they hardly ever make it across the Mississipi, which seemed implausible.

So,  …

Planet Workplace

I would love to be able to write about my workplace, but I won’t. Not for the obvious reason, that people get fired for that, but because I don’t think you have that kind of time in your life. 

In order to tell you even the simplest story, I’d have to describe the whole weird planet that revolves around a different star, not the sun. The planet doesn’t have gravity or much oxygen, and there’s not agreement on which way north is.  The planet is populated with people who have become adapted to this particular low-light environment; you wouldn’t find them in nature, or in your workplace.

There's only one religion on the planet, affectionately known as KCC 21A.  Some of the inhabitants are zealous 21A fundamentalists, others take a broader view of what that book means, and others are atheists who don't really think 21A exists, which is kind of weird, like working in a Catholic church and not believing in the trinity.

Politically, it’s a 2-party thing:  labor and management, an…

Rule #1: No one cares what I had for lunch

I went to breakfast yesterday with my brother at a fine restaurant called Tommy's. 

Tommy’s is the kind of place that rents space on their coffee mugs and tables for advertising, so that our booth looked a lot a website without the content, just the ads.  Alas, the ads were peeling up -- that white blob on the right side of the photo is where there used to be table but now is just whatever is under the fake wood-grain laminate. 

“Are you getting eggs?” E. queried.

“Hmm, I only want an omelet if it’s going to be awesome.”

“Okay, based on what you know so far, the hostess, the waitress, the menu…. Is the awesome meter going up or down?”

“Definitely up.” The waitress appeared to have at least 50 years of experience and a charming lisp that may be related to one or more missing teeth. I’m not sure if she called me honey or not, but if she had I would have been okay with it, possibly even grateful.  The menu had things that you don’t find everywhere, like hamburger with fried eggs (o…

Pumpkin Grace

JJ wrote to me yesterday and mentioned that he considers autumn the Sunday of the season world. I guess he means that it’s not so bad by itself, but it foreshadows that long cold dark rainy season, and there’s a bit of dread.  I know what he means, but I decided to take a little challenge, to really be awake during November, noticing it, and not just wishing it were brighter.

And, in solidarity with the hard-working people who are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month, where people write an entire book during the month of November), I’m going to try to post here about that every day.

One of my favorite things in the whole world pumpkins, partly because they’re amazing.  In a few months, a fingernail sized seed turns into a viney plant with multiple huge bright orange gourds.  That’s magic, right?  And our beloved valley looks festive and playful with all the pumpkins sitting in the field.  In a few weeks, a flood will come along, and these orange globes will be swep…