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There are two types of people in this world

Listen, I understand that genetics are complicated and sometimes recessive genes do funky things and all of that, but I’ve recently made a horrifying discovery about my offspring. I’m not the tidiest person in the world, not by a long shot—I tend to have tidy areas of the house and then a few small dumping grounds (see also: my desk, my bathroom counter). It’s been a lifelong (their lives, not mine) struggle to be okay with a certain amount of mess in my kids’ rooms, because that’s their own space and there’s a line between “my standards” and “health hazard” and they have to both avoid Ebola and learn for themselves. I get all of that.

And when it became clear that Chickadee never pairs her socks, I kind of gave her a pass on account of the mixing-and-matching she tends to do with said socks. Also, she’s a slob, so no surprise there. But Monkey is much less of a slob and I have only recently discovered that he also no longer pairs his socks. SOCK DRAWERS GONE WILD. Honestly, why wouldn’t you pair your socks?? I do not understand. This is beyond the pale.

(I feel better, now that I’ve shared that with you.)

Other than lecturing my children about their sock habits, not all that much is happening here. BUT I did write some stuff over at Alpha Mom for you recently, so feel free to check it out. First, if you’re not tired of hearing me gush about how exciting it is to have finally get diagnosed with and treated for ADHD, I have a few more things to say about that. And second, if you—like me, and lots of other folks—are starting to plan for a college launch, you’re likely wondering how to pick the right meal plan for your freshman. But please do not ask me how to get your college student to pair their socks, because I clearly have no idea.

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Another month, another series of mostly minutiae

Has it been another month? It has! I don’t understand how this keeps happening, and yet, here we are. Time has passed, some interesting things have happened and other not-so-interesting, and life marches on, etc.

I’ve made a number of desserts for Nerd Night this year and shared almost none of them with you because I’m a big jerk. Also because they’ve mostly been fine but unexciting. However! I am the sort of person who buys buttermilk for a recipe and then spends the next however-long trying to find recipes with which to use up said buttermilk, because most of the time when you Google “buttermilk recipes” you end up with things which call for a tablespoon or a quarter cup of buttermilk, and then the next thing you know, you’re looking for another recipe. Sometimes you just want a chocolate cake or a gooey pie or a cookie filled with caramel and chocolate, of course, but a couple of weeks ago I came across Teaspoon Bake Shop’s oatmeal cake recipe and made it for Nerd Night. Monkey was effusive in his praise—most likely because he is a fan of maple-glazed donuts and I suspect this tasted like that—but also, this uses a lot of buttermilk and quite a lot of oats, which means that yes, it’s cake, but it’s also relatively healthy. Cake without guilt! And it uses up buttermilk! If I could eat wheat, I suspect I would have a slice of this with a cup of coffee in the morning without apology. (My tips: First of all, I doubled the recipe for a full 9″x13″ cake pan, and second, all of those oats and buttermilk would be somewhat negated, then, by 4 sticks of butter, so I used 2 sticks of butter and a third cup of coconut oil, instead, to both cut the fat overall and use a “healthy” fat for part of it.) It’s a very simple/easy recipe and in no way “fancy,” but I recommend it.

Cake aside, here’s what else has been going on: (more…)

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We are all my little dog and her coat

It’s a very good thing I never actually promise to come back to writing here regularly. I think about it—a lot—but in the end, it doesn’t seem to happen. Oh well. Hey! This blog is worth EXACTLY what you paid for it! (So there.)

Things are rolling along, here, and everything is both going WHOOSH TOO FAST and also OMGGGGGGG SO SLOW. You know how Hermione has a time turner in the Harry Potter books so she can be in multiple places at once? Imagine I had one of those time turners and then I somehow ran it over with my car and tried to use it, anyway. Everything is taking too long but is over before I had a chance to pay attention. It’s an odd place to be, with everything in flux and me never sure what day it is or what’s going on. I mean, tomorrow is December. How did that even happen?

Thanksgiving was a cozy affair with enough food to feed an army, and I gained several pounds this past week while I sat at the computer working and eating ALL THE STUFFING AND GRAVY. I need to stop gorging on leftovers. The best way to make sure that happens is to eat all the leftovers so there are none for me to eat, right? Right! (#LOGIC) Chickadee came home with a carful of laundry and germs, and after sleeping and generally swanning around for the week, headed back to school and left her little brother hacking and wheezing with the crud she’d so thoughtfully shared. Otto and I are both run down and feel like we’re fighting off illness, but maybe we’re just tired. Hard to know. The stuffing is all gone, now, so I have switched to endless cups of ginger tea and whispered exhortations to the universe that I would really rather not be sick right now.

Let us have a brief State of Casa Mir Address, shall we? (more…)

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Hi

Hey. How are you?

I’ve been better. I’m guessing a lot of you feel the same. Maybe some of you don’t. I am mostly fighting a constant battle against waves of exhaustion and dread, and then doing super productive things like reminding myself that going onto social media makes me feel a little less alone BUT THEN I run into something that makes me hate everyone and I feel even worse, so I definitely shouldn’t do that; so I don’t, for like, maybe a whole hour, but then I do, and then everything is terrible all over again. Wow, I think, I should STOP DOING THAT THING THAT MAKES ME FEEL BAD. Yes. And then I open Twitter an hour later. (I’m not very smart.)

Rather than rehashing a lot of excellent and thoughtful takes on what’s happening in our world right now, I will just refer you to this post by my lovely friend Jean and leave it at that.

There were a few other things going on in my head before the election, too, and I’m trying to figure out how/what/when to talk about some of that, but it all pales in comparison and feels selfish and indulgent (um, hello, having a blaaaaahg) so I dunno. We’ll see. In the meantime I am working on finding pockets of normalcy, few and far between though they may be. Here’s One Good Thing: next week I get to have Chickadee home for almost the whole week! Just in case your college freshman is coming home and you, too, are desperately trying to figure out how to pretend the world is still normal, I wrote you a handy guide. Enjoy.

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This was supposed to be a more formal post

So I agreed last week to write A Political Post for an organization I love, and then this week happened and this week was a complete jerkface and I ended up doing… um, almost nothing I was supposed to. At all. As in: I got up this morning and did a week’s worth of dishes, because it was that kind of a week. SUPER FUN! (And here we mean “fun like a root canal.”)

Anyway, that’s not your problem, that’s mine. I’m dealing with it. Turns out that time and coffee heals all wounds, or at least dulls them to the point of manageability.

A different sort of person would then come here and implore you to vote, if you haven’t, yet, and keep partisan opinions out of it. But I am me and if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time at all I cannot imagine you’re shocked to learn that I find The Orange One Who Shall Not Be Named to be the most terrifying “politician” to emerge in my lifetime, and besides, I already told you I’m an enthusiastic Clinton supporter. Not a “well she’s the lesser of two evils” supporter, but a wildly enthusiastic, I-think-she-is-smart-and-dedicated (and yes, not infallible, but neither is anyone), I-cannot-wait-to-say-Madame-President, supporter.

Again: I cannot imagine this is a surprise for anyone who’s ever read me before. If it is, and if you find that offensive, okay. I’m not for everyone.

If you’re willing to read on, I have a few more things to add. (more…)

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Pictures and critters and stuff (oh my)

When I last left you, we were discussing pictures. Specifically: my son’s inability to pose for them without acting as if being waterboarded.

No matter! We had a few more opportunities to get a good shot of him, and while I wouldn’t say my hopes were high, they were… highER. Because surely it couldn’t get worse. HAHAHAHAHA.

First, we had Senior Night for football/band. At halftime the seniors line up with their parents, names are called, the announcer reads off something the senior has shared about their after-high-school plans (I swear I am not making this up: one of our seniors put down that they were hoping to become a carrot; I thought I misheard, BUT NO), we walk across the field, the senior gets a rose, a picture is taken, and off we go.

This is a fun little ritual to mark the end of the last season of marching band, and of course last year I had Some Big Feels as Chickadee ended her time there, but this year I found myself having Many Many Giant Feels as Monkey fell into line, because this was the LAST LAST time and six years of marching band is just about over. (For her, it was the end of a beloved and truly formative activity that sustained her through the most difficult years of her life. For him, it was the end of something he’d stuck with for years despite a lot of ups and downs, and represented tremendous personal growth that often occurred in spite of himself.) Add in a hefty dose of MAH BAYBEEEEEE and you understand my state of mind, here, perhaps.

And on a purely logistical note, the weather here is nutso right now, so that made everything more complicated. (more…)

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Ahoy, mateys!

I’m about THIS CLOSE to wearing an eye patch and calling it a day. I hardly ever wear makeup, right? Like, I’ll wear it when I dress up. Which is almost never. For some reason at the beginning of this week I was digging for something in my bathroom drawer and found some mascara I forgot I had (my first mistake) and was all, “Oh! I’ll put some of this on.” So I did.

And then I woke up with an eye infection the next morning. Because of course.

I threw away the mascara. I’ve been doing warm compresses and medicated eye wipes (did you know this was a thing? it’s a thing!) and trying not to touch my face and and also whining A LOT about how my eye hurts and burns and itches and did I mention? MY EYE? WHICH IS CLEARLY INFECTED?

After one too many jokes from friends about the eye patch I am surely destined for, I went to the doctor today. Now that I’m on antibiotics I guess today is probably my last day to make pirate jokes, alas.

While I was gone this week trying really hard not to touch my eye, I wrote a couple of posts over at Alpha Mom. One is about what matters to me now that I’m solidly middle-aged and the other is (in response to a reader question) all about how homeschooling can be all kinds of different things. So, um, you can go read those and I won’t make ye walk the plank. Arrrrrrrr.

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Everything is terrible (not really)

It occurred to me that I forgot to tell you about my recent Bread Adventures.

If you’ve been reading here forever and also have an uncanny memory for stupid details of other people’s lives, you may recall that many, many years ago I discovered how easy it was to bake bread, and also how DELICIOUS said bread was, and I began baking bread all the time. In fact, I stopped buying sandwich bread altogether, because I just baked it here at home and it was a billion times better. Sandwich loaf bread from the store is—to me—a necessary vehicle for sandwich fillings, but… meh. Homemade bread, on the other hand, is yummy and good for sandwiches and also just random stuffing into one’s mouth. So I began eating LOTS of bread when I started doing all that baking, and shortly thereafter was when my skin and my general health went berserk and I did an elimination diet and ended up discovering my body is not so fond of wheat, actually. Surprise!

Once I determined that I couldn’t eat the bread I was baking, I stopped. We went back to store-bought bread. I still baked bread for the rest of the family occasionally (rolls to go with dinner or focaccia for pasta or what have you), but I didn’t bother with sandwich bread. Lo these many years I have avoided wheat and my long-suffering family has made do with stuff from the store. (Their disappointment is likely tempered by all of the Nerd Night baking I still do, you understand.)

And then… I made a sourdough starter. Because I’m a dummy. Look; it wasn’t my FAULT. There were suddenly a million articles about how EASY it was and how SCIENCE-Y the process is and before I knew it, I had a bubbling jar of goo convincing me I needed to bake bread ALL THE DAMN TIME. (more…)

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On pushing, and not

I tell you what: you think, when your kids are little, that when they’re bigger, it’ll be easier. HAHAHAHA. You look forward to self-sufficiency and assume it will magically appear in exactly the right proportions at the right time. This is because parenting damages your brain. When you’re dealing with a child who goes floppy and boneless when it’s time to put on their shoes, you imagine that someday they will make good, responsible decisions as a direct result of your calmly reiterating instructions for the tenth time and your remarkable restraint in not strangling them with their own shoelaces at that pivotal moment. You envision a day when that same child will race towards adulthood with glee.

Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

As they get older it only gets more complicated. You have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to “encourage” and when to back down, when to just go take a nap because an old country song is stuck in your head. It’s HARD.

Recent developments ’round here include me finally explaining to Monkey that we are going to stop pushing him to drive, but we’re also going to expect him to figure out how own transportation more often than not, and also I am finally ready to tell you about how we are the absolute meanest when it comes to summer employment. (Don’t worry, it has a mostly happy ending.)

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Yep, it’s summer

This morning I removed the season’s first rodent from the pool. It was just as much fun as you might imagine! And that’s how I know that summer has well and truly arrived. It’s not summer until something drowns.

Also, my garden is giving me fits. APPARENTLY I planted a bunch of bum seeds for my beans and cucumbers, and because I am a very slow learner—and also because we have squirrels and feral cats roaming around and sometimes digging in my beds—I replanted with those same seeds several times before admitting that they simply weren’t going to grow. Finally I admitted defeat and bought new seeds. Now I have bean sprouts! But my cucumbers are still struggling. And I have a butternut squash vine that sprung out of nowhere as a volunteer from last year’s leftovers, I think, and one eggplant that’s thriving and one eggplant that is being eaten by I’m not sure what. The tomatoes and peppers and basil and zucchini are all coming along. Something keeps digging in my herb box (though the MIIIIIIINT is forever undisturbed). In short: GROWING FOOD IS HAAAAAARD.

In other news, I recently scored this shirt for Monkey at Goodwill for $2 and it makes me laugh every time I see it. The lab he’s working in this summer requires that he wear long pants (and a variety of other safety gear, depending on what he’s doing), which meant I spent some quality time on Memorial Day frantically shopping for suitable lightweight pants for him (HEY did you know Old Navy’s size 18 pants are ridiculously long and slim, thus suitable for man-sized string beans, and also that sometimes they get marked down to around $4?), and now he heads off every day looking super professional except for the part where he’s always wearing a ridiculous t-shirt. I may or may not be buying him more ridiculous t-shirts just because this tickles me.

In the meantime, it’s been a while since I did an advice column for Alpha Mom, but today’s topic is helping your teen stick with an activity when the other kids are sucking the joy out of it, and I’m not gonna lie—I am so, so glad that 50% of my children are now done with high school.

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