Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I Have Learned Today

I learned that glass may be able to cook in the oven but cannot take the “high” setting on a stove.

I learned that you should double check which burner you have on if you have a glass pan with cornbread in it on one of the burners.

I learned that if you turn the burner on “high” that has the cornbread and glass pan on it, it takes about 11 minutes before the glass pan actually explodes.

I learned that when said glass pan explodes, glass can shoot up to four feet away from the stove.

I learned that you can sweep and vacuum up glass shards but still find more when you mop by hand.

I learned that you should wait for the burner to cool down before you try to remove the glass from the stove.

I learned that after you use Green Works, Mr. Clean, and Febreeze, it will still smell burnt in your house.

I learned that your seven-year-old son will think you are the coolest mom ever for blowing up the pan.

I learned that the seven-year-old son thinks you are a strict parent when he says, “I would have gotten in so much trouble for that.”

I learned that it might be time to just give up on the whole cooking a balanced meal.  I’m only cooking casseroles from now on.  One dish, one part of the oven/stove to turn on, one thing to make sure it is turned on correctly and won’t blow up.

No.  Wait.  I learned I need a cook.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Old Testament in Greek

Kevin and I spent the last week at Education Week at Brigham Young University.  Every August, BYU has its professors and guest lecturers give classes on religion, health, organization and family stuff.  We went last year and I spent the whole week in organization classes.  I am not as die hard as I was when I left last year, but I am much better at planning meals and making my children pick up.  This year I went to parenting classes, Old Testament classes, and a class on CS Lewis.  I am not sure anything has changed.

I came home determined to listen better and to teach my children better and to become an Old Testament scholar as I learn Greek.  Since I have been home, I have put Seth in time out, told my children to go outside to play although it was raining, and warned them that while I was organizing the pantry, I would be in a very bad mood.  I think when I am in parenting classes I spend most of the time considering all I do wrong.  I think about how much I must improve.  I wonder how much future counseling for my children is going to cost me and should I just start it now. 

As I wallow in my despair and self-loathing, I notice that when Katherine smacks into a wall, she walks past Kevin and wants a hug from me.  When Seth falls off his bike, he yells for mom, even if Dad is already in the yard.  And James didn’t want to take soccer until I told him I would go to all of his practices and games.  I think Moms simply get a lot of leeway.  God made it so.  If you read the Old Testament in the original Greek, it says it in Leviticus.  Even if your mom is a complete nutcase, and I am waiting for my children to figure this out, you still wish she is there when you are sick.  And I am talking about head, nose, throat sick.  I am nowhere to be found if you are vomiting.  If you are vomiting, I am dry heaving.  If I have to clean up vomit, you might as well right me off for the rest of the day.  But overall, I can be comforting.  I believe it is in Exodus where Sarah says when one vomits, one is alone.

So I spent a week learning listening and talking skills and then realized that as long as I do the best I can, the Old Testament in Greek and my kids will give me the leeway I need.  I wonder if the Old Testament in Hebrew will work with husbands

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Love Tom Collins or Why Hansel and Gretel's parents left them in the woods

Click to show "Tom Collins" result 1
My goal is and will always be to write on my blog twice a week.  I understand how difficult it is for you to go without my insights into this world.  Instead of writing twice a week, however, my children are alive.  Still.  There are women who look at the first day of school with regret.  They will miss having their children home all day.  I have come to realize that these women drink.  A lot.  And it ain’t just Diet Coke.  Due to my religious beliefs, I do my best to be sober.  I have decided to petition the leaders of my church to allow stay at home moms to be completely plastered the last week of summer vacation.  I am waiting a response.

On Wednesday, a friend called and asked if I would like to hike Mount Helena with her family.  Her kids are similar in age as mine and they had done it, so I said sure.  I understand that my three year old may be a little young to hike a mountain, but I say it is time for him to start pulling his weight.  If he had been born a Mormon in the 1800’s he would have had to walk across a few states by now.  He actually did really well.  He only complained when he tripped on the way down.  James only complained on how slow we were going.  Katherine was almost left for the forest ranger to find. 

On the way up, she took her shoes and socks off every few feet.  I asked her if her shoes were too small but she had a splinter on her foot.  I could understand if this was hurting but she was complaining about her pinky toes.  At the same time she said her shoes were not too small and there were no blisters on her toes.  Then she needed to pee and took 20 minutes to find the correct tree.  Four other kids peed in the same time frame.  ¾ of the way up she asked why we can’t drive to the top.  That conversation lasted 20 minutes because she was sure I could buy a car small enough to fit on the trail and long enough to take all of them.

We made it almost to the top when Seth started to slow down, Katherine had taken her shoes off and was walking barefoot, and James was telling the girls he was hearing rattle snakes.  I made the announcement that my family would be heading down now.  KATHERINE said no.  She wanted to make it to the top.  Seth did too.  So I said fine.  We made it to the top.  I did not feel any sense of accomplishment because I knew we had to go back down.

Katherine made it almost all the way down and then she stopped.  Now had I been drunk, I think I would have been more understanding.  I was sober, and done.  So in my best threatening voice, I said, “Fine. Stay on this rock.  I will walk down, call the forest ranger and let him know your coordinates.”  I then made her cry by telling her not to follow me.  She better not get up off that rock or I would be really angry.  I kept walking.  She followed whimpering most of the way until she saw everyone at the car and gave a demure little smile to let everyone know she made it.

I got everyone an ice cream at Dairy Queen that melted all over the car when they fell asleep before they finished them. 

I now appreciate Hansel and Gretel’s parents and their decision to leave their children in the woods.  I also understand why the witch may want to bake a couple of kids.  I’m beginning to enjoy the original fairytales with all of their violence, much more than the Disney versions.

Man, I need a drink.

Friday, August 6, 2010

a little fiction

Below is something I wrote because Kay from Book Group said there was a wave of books taking place in a book store and then a wave of books about food and so I said I was writing a story about a vampire who owns a book store and cooks.  This is the beginning.  It is turning into a devastating love story that I could give you in installments or give up on...  let me know what you think.

My name is Jake.  I live in a medium sized city in the middle of nowhere.  I enjoy nowhere.  I own a bookstore in the middle of the medium sized city, but what I really like to do is cook.  I get home between 4:30 and 5:00, after going to the local markets to buy nice, fresh ingredients.  I drive a couple miles outside of town to find the perfect human to pair with it.  Crap, I forgot to mention that I am a Vampire.

I am writing this because I woke up and realized that most of the books I was stocking on the shelves either took place in a bookstore, included recipes, or had a vampire.  I realized that I embodied all three of these best selling qualities and maybe, just maybe, there would be other vampires out there who could benefit from my vast knowledge of good books and recipe combinations.  It took me a long time to figure out that you should match the human you drink with the meal you are eating.  So if you are eating Penne Ala Vodka, you should look for someone of Italian decent.  I have actually fine tuned this, though.  Not only should you find an Italian, but a female Italian with medium length hair and well-defined calves.  Minestrone soup, on the other hand, is best with a male Italian over the age of fifty who does not dye his hair.  Normally I only have one or two glasses of blood with dinner so that I can keep my supply around.  If you went into my recipe book, you would see names beside each recipe.  They aren’t the suppliers of these homemade directions, but rather which of my neighbors goes best with the dish.  Every time I have Brats, no matter where I am, I crave a glass of Mr. Schmidt.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, but Jake, aren’t you afraid of being run out of town once your secret is known? I must laugh.  My name really isn’t Jake.  People may become suspicious of their local bookstore owners, but not of me.  As everyone knows, vampires are incredibly good looking and seductive.  We all know how to sigh perfectly to each situation.  If someone is sick, we sigh long with a little hum.  If someone has a new outfit on, we inhale our sigh so that it seems our breath is taken away.  If someone makes a joke, we sigh lightly while shaking our head.  Vampires don’t need super powers because we have good looks and the ability to sigh.
So that said, I will now describe myself.  This is actually how I look, but I am not afraid of being discovered.  I am simply too good looking.  People may think I am the vampire they just read about but their next thought will be: “but who cares, because he is so good looking.”  I am six foot four inches tall.  (Most male vampires are because this is the perfect height.)  I have dark black hair and blue eyes.  When I am clean-shaven, I most resemble James Bond.  When I allow a five o’clock shadow, I look as though I should be in an Abercrombie ad.  My face does not give away my age.  I could be between twenty and forty which enables me to pick up a nice wide range of people.

I only have one flaw.  I love sucking romance novel enthusiasts dry.  When I ring up a woman who is buying three or more books with pulsating members on the cover, I become so thirsty, I almost can’t contain it.  If there is no one else in the store, I often show her to my special stack of romance novels in the back, in the secluded room.  I am so gorgeous, they willingly go with me – to a darkened room with no windows and only one entry.  I realize that very intelligent women read romance novels, but perhaps they only buy one at a time.  So far no one who buys three or more at a time denies me.  I suck them dry and then I refill them with blood I steal from the hospital.  They generally lose their interest in romance novels after being filled with a strangers blood, but they don’t remember anything.  Sometimes family members will ask me if I notice anything strange about them, but I generally say no. I suppose this makes me a bit of a mad scientist, but all in all, I see no harm truly done.  Over time, their body has completely remade all of their blood and they are back to being themselves again.  They develop an appetite for political biographies, however.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to buy a Dooney

I have a Dooney and Bourke purse. Everyone has a measure of when you know you have arrived. I’m not sure where but I have certain tell-tale signs that I am there. One of my signs is to have a Dooney and Bourke purse. (Another sign is buying expensive tampons, but that is probably too much information.) It is mostly because of my Mom – when all else fails, one can always blame one’s parents.

At some point in high school, my mom told me that my sister Janet was an excellent student and got all A’s. I took this statement as a challenge and preceeded to get straight A’s in high school. Mom then told me that Janet got A’s in college and so I busted my butt my freshman year. I think it was some time after my freshman year that my sister told me she did not get straight A’s in college except for the one spring semester she took two religion classes and nothing else. I began settling for B’s and I stopped getting migraines.

What did not change, I think, is my belief that I must achieve higher than Janet or my life would be without meaning. This may also be about the time that I noticed that Janet only had Dooney and Bourke purses. (Do you now see how my mom started all of this?) If Janet owned a Dooney and Bourke purse, then when I have arrived, I will also own one. It all makes perfect mathematical sense. (Some of you may be saying, “But Marianne, we love you for who you are and you don’t have to arrive anywhere. Love where you are.” Well, we are dealing with my psychosis in this blog and this is part of it and I’m not changing it now. I finally got the stupid purse. Oops. Spoiler Alert.)

Now I suppose we should insert that I actually really like Fossil purses which I will not spend more than $40 for. I really like them. I have a few I have gathered over the last fifteen years. I will not pay full price for them. I also LOVE carpet bags and bought a couple in New York City which I love. I have never seen a DB purse I MUST have. I have never fallen in love with a purse with D’s and B’s all over it. But one must have one when one arrives.

So within the last two years, I have decided to search for “the bag.” I read Bringing Home the Birkin and if people can buy a $20,000 purse, I should be able to get a $200 purse. So I started to search. I wanted a patent leather black purse that was large enough to stuff a set of encyclopedias in. I looked and looked. I would find something I thought I liked, would ask to see it because they would be locked away, and then put it back after seeing the price tag. I just couldn’t do it.

I tried to settle by buying a D&B wallet. Normally a wallet would be around $100-150. I don’t believe I have spent more than $30 on a wallet. Or maybe $20. Once again, I couldn’t do it. I decided I would probably never arrive if I had to spend over $100 on a wallet or purse. And then it happened. The Dillards in town went out of business, because the mall in Helena is really a dark creepy hallway with boarded up storefronts. If Helena were a big city, the mall would be where you went to find out how to be initiated into a gang. When Dillards got to 75% off, I went and bought a wallet! I didn’t have much of a choice, but I had a Dooney and Bourke wallet for $35. I was very excited, but I still felt unarrived.

This is how I ended up in Macy’s with Kevin’s mom searching through the discounted purses when I found a really really large, patent leather, black Dooney and Bourke purse! It was $75 and my Christmas present from Kevin’s family! I was SO excited. I had arrived. And there was only a small metal Dooney and Bourke sign on the purse so it wasn’t too pretencious. It was more than I had ever spent in my life but I justified it by telling myself I would never have to buy a purse for the rest of my life.

It ripped.

Now Dooney and Bourke has you register your purse in case anything happens. If it rips, you mail it to the company and they send you a replacement. So I bundled my arrived purse and sent it to the company. Four weeks later, I received a letter letting me know they could not replace my bag but I now had credit for $265 – the worth of the purse. I just made $200 on my purchase! How great is that?

So I spent a week and decided on a nice $235 purse and a $30 cloth and leather cosmetic case which was so over the top that I love it more each day. I now own a really nice, leather purse. It smells nice. And it has rather large Dooney and Bourke signage. So I have arrived.


I sat in church and it was on the floor and I stared at it, embarrassed. I mean, who pays that kind of money for a purse? What was I thinking? I’m sure that no one, until now, realized how much this purse is worth. You have to know something about Dooney and Bourke to know their price scale and not too many women at church care about that. But I know.

So now that I have arrived, I am turning around. I will be keeping the bag, of course, because now when I tell Kevin that I need to spend money to make money, I have proof. I think what I have really realized is that I don’t need to arrive anywhere you can’t wear fluorescent green Doc Martins. (Surprisingly, fluorescent green Doc Martins seem to go with nearly everything. They do add a nice touch to my black leather with brown accent D&B bag, actually.)

Luckily all of this is my mother’s fault.