Sunday, May 22, 2016

Having your cake and eating it too

Today we have a guest blogger!  My brilliant and talented daughter Buffy.  She is so much funnier than I am.
Buffy is my youngest daughter - she's a teenager and I don't know where she gets her sarcasm from?  (cough - her father) What?  Did you hear something?

So here is Buffy's Guest Blog Post:

Phrases I Hate - by Buffy

1.  You can't have your cake and eat it too
     What do you mean by "having cake" if not eating said cake?  When you throw a party and you announce that it's time to have cake, you don't just stand around looking at the cake, reminding yourself and your guests how lucky you are to possess cake.  Having cake means eating cake and that's final.

2.  Comparing apples and oranges
     Whoever coined this phrase had a very limited frame of reference.  Apples and oranges are both fruits and so are therefore comparable.  There are also many instances in which you would actually need to compare apples and oranges, such as deciding what juice to buy or what fruits to eat.  If the point is to suggest a comparison of two un-like things, then those things should be more dissimilar.  How about, "comparing apples and the '27 Yankees," or, "comparing the use of mythological creatures in 19th Century literature and your mother-in-law." These are both, I think, better examples of pointless comparisons.

3.  You can't judge a book by it's cover
     Yes, you can and yes, you should.  If you like action/spy books and you pick up a book called He Came with the Storm and it has a shirtless man in the wind on the cover, you should not feel obligated to read it.  It is not for you.  In a real world application, people should not feel ashamed of stereotyping.  Everyone does it.  You can almost always determine your future opinions of and relationship to a person within an hour of meeting them.  Sometimes there is obviously not a connection and it is okay not to want to pursue a friendship based on this.

4.  You'll never know if you don't try
     First of all, Shut Up!  Who are you to judge me?  Similar to number 3, sometimes you don't need to try something to know it is not for you.  I do not like seafood, can't stand it actually.  So when someone offers me sushi or caviar, I do not need to try it to know that I will not like it.  If a person is obviously uncomfortable around a certain food or experience, do not insistently pressure them to try it because they will only hate it more and they will resent you for inflicting such torture upon them.

5.  Bringing home the bacon
     This phrase is supposed to fit traditional gender roles with the men earning all the money and therefore bringing home food.  But, if this gender role is to apply, then the stereotype of women doing all the shopping must also be applied.  This would make the women the people who literally bring bacon home.  This phrase is not only outdated but foolish.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pack Rat Confessions: Marzipan Pig

I have been sorting through a bunch of crap that we have shoved into the sitting room to get it out of the dining room - I know, long story.  I have found a number of items we should have thrown out long ago including lots of expired medications.

I also found this disturbingly well preserved Marzipan Pig, pictured here for your enjoyment.  And the answer is - NO, I did not eat it!  Sheeesh!

The frustrating thing is, no matter how many boxes and bags I sort through and throw stuff away and put stuff away - the pile doesn't seem to be getting any smaller.  It's like that vault in Harry Potter where every time you touch a golden goblet, another 20 or so more golden goblets appear.  Only this isn't gold, it's old files, paperwork, old school work, family photos, documents that are important, documents that are not important, and literally anything and everything.  I know, I only have myself to blame.  .....Or do I?

I could blame my family for assisting in the not throwing anything away ever.  After all, it's not all my stuff.  For example, this is not my Marzipan Pig.  

I could blame my day-job for taking up all my time.  Imagine if I had all day every day free to clean house.  ...on second thought, scratch that.  I think it was Freud that said, "be careful what you wish for, you might get it."

I could blame the internet for distracting me from my tedious task with the promise of cute cat videos and shopping for books on Audible and playing Words with Friends.

I could blame my 2+ hour daily commute for the loss of .... time..... hope...... sanity

But no - playing the blame game never got me anywhere.  Instead I shall press on and dream of another room found in the Harry Potter books, the Room of Requirement.  It would be perfect!  I could have a huge room of unlimited storage and, when I require a lovely parlor or dining room for entertaining, there it would be.  When I require a quiet space to retreat and read, there it would be.

(Sigh) - if only magic were real.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bad at Crafts - Surgical Glove Elephants!

Bad at Crafts - Surgical Glove Elephants

Let's just say - I was going for the Participant's Ribbon in this sculpture competition.  Sadly, I did not even win that - no ribbon, no certificate, no bragging rights, and no respect and admiration from my peers.  My elephants look pretty pathetic.  They are even ashamed of themselves as evidenced by their downcast eyes

Here is how to achieve mediocre at-best elephants with minimal effort, in 9 easy steps.

1.  Blow up some surgical gloves like balloons, let most of the air out

2.  Tie off the opening

3.  Draw eyes on with a sharpie

4.  Cut out some ear shaped pieces of whatever  paper you have lying around.  Two ears per elephant.  I just happened to have paper that was the same color as the gloves.

5.  Affix the ears to the sides with scotch tape.

6.  There is no step six.

7.  Realize that your elephants are just going to lay there unless you prop them up somehow.

8.  Poke pencils through some dessert sized paper plates.

9.  Scotch tape the elephants to the pencils

And viola - you have just done the bare minimum.  These are the kind of elephants that don't like talking about their flair.

My elephants were feeling okay about themselves until this group of monsters stampeded their way into the sculpture competition.

Just look at them, acting all superior with their robust elephant figures, their big elephant smiles and batting their sharpie drawn elephant eyelashes.  This was not an amateur competition after all.  
These elephants think they're all that - but they're not.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Christmas in May

Pack Rat Confessions Part 76 (or is it 5?...  I don't know anymore)

We were looking for a set of dishes which I was sure could be found in the attic. Cissy took some of our plates to college with her and now there aren't enough plates to go around so, we thought we would break out the dishes we got second-hand from a relative, whose name happens to be REDACTED.  We shall call this person Red, for short.  

Red didn't have space in his or her attic or garage anymore so he or she offered the dishes to us.  "Of course," we said, and promptly stored them for someday.  Only now, someday is here and the dishes are so well stored that we can not find them.  

No, we did not find a box of dishes in the attic.  What we did find was a box labeled "Binders," in big friendly lettering.  It's my handwriting.  So, I thought I knew what was in there.  I thought that Red had also given us several perfectly good binders that he or she just didn't need anymore.  I remember the offer of binders.  And I, being the pack-rat that I am thought, I will squirrel away these binders until I have a big enough hoard of loose paper to put in them.  And so, I did.

Honey Bunch said, "There's a box of binders up here."

I said, "Binders?  We don't need no stinkin' binders.  Lets donate them to Goodwill."  (I have since come to the realization that I will not have a bunch of loose papers that need bindering.)

So, the box was brought down from the attic and opened.  Lo and behold, it did not contain binders at all.  It contained several Christmas decorations which I have been searching for for the past four years.

You can see the box, pictured above, with a lovely poinsettia platter peeking out the top.  A platter which my own mother lovingly painted and fired in her kiln.

You can see the top of a lighthouse which has been missing from my Christmas village for so long, I'm sure many little Christmas sailors have perished in shipwrecks caused by the lack of it's blinking beacon.

There were Christmas mugs and even a set of wooden letters, which you can see below.  We like to get Christmas messages and then switch the letters around to spell something weird.  It's a Christmas tradition at our house.  What?  Doesn't everybody do that?  Can you guess the Christmas message?

So, why the word Binders on the side of the box?  I expect that I removed the binders and donated them to Good Will.  Then, I packed up some Christmas items and was so exhausted from all that effort that I could not possibly be expected to re-label the box.  Or perhaps I could not find a magic marker.  Who's to say?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

None of Your Business

People Magazine wants you to share your size!  Literally.  They want you to write your size on a piece of paper and hold it up while someone snaps a picture.  Maybe, if you're lucky - your photo will be in People Magazine!

So, let me get this straight.  You're not judging me about my size, but you want to know my size?

Oh Hell No!

The thing is, I just don't get it.  How does putting your size front and center prove that size doesn't matter?  It's...  I don't even know the words for it - ironically wrong, incongruous, Epic Fail?

The blurb about this campaign is on page 26 of the May 9th issue of People Magazine, the one with Prince on the cover.  In it are four pictures of women (are men excluded from this voluntary public display?) ranging from a size 2 to a size 18.  All of them proudly holding up a sign with their size and showing off their bodies.  Yeah, that proves that size doesn't matter.  Two of them are hot blondes in bikinis.

Okay ladies, I'm glad that you're all young and fit and proud of yourselves but the truth is, you are doing the exact opposite of what you say you are doing.  If size doesn't matter, then why are you focusing on size?  For the four pictured, I'm sure it's because you are proud of your size and glad to have the opportunity to be in People Magazine.

But, for those of us who are overweight, forget it.  I'm not sharing my size with you or anybody.  It's none of your business.

So, I'm starting a "None of Your Business" campaign to prove that if size doesn't matter then stop focusing on it, for real.  Stop asking women about their size, or their weight, or to put on a bikini and take a picture.  Just don't.  How about sharing your GPA, or your IQ, or your number of volunteer hours?  Those are some numbers I could get behind.

But, I'm sure People will have tons (over 2000 pounds) of smiling women, happily revealing the thing that is just a number and doesn't define them.  I wonder what other personal information People could get folks to reveal, just for the chance to be in the magazine?  Maybe their salaries or their STDs or their regrettable tattoos.

If you want to enter People Magazine's "contest" to "Share Your Size" then email a picture to  They will also want a description of the photo, contact info and some biographical information.  The photo has to be 340x490 pixels and the deadline is May 13.

I sent them the picture above.  I would love it if more people sent them a "None of your business," photo to let them know that at least some of us are not focusing on size.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What Moms really want for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching, so before you go out and buy another scarf, blender or coupon book for free hugs, let's take a minute to find out what Mom really wants.  

Flowers are always nice

I did a highly scientific survey recently, okay I asked my facebook friends.  The thing that struck me is that lots of Moms wanted some time to themselves, while lots of other Moms wanted to spend time with their kids.  Two things that seem, on the surface to be diametrically opposed but, let's take a closer look shall we?

A Day Off - Many of the Moms that participated in my informal survey said they want some peace and quiet, a day to themselves or just some uninterrupted sleep.  ie - some time off from the responsibilities of mothering.  Mostly, but not exclusively, these responses came from mothers of small children.  
That makes sense.  Mothers of small children are always "on" making sure their little ones are clean and fed and above all SAFE.  Following the toddler around all day making sure they don't get hurt or fall down a well or put something disgusting in their mouths. that alone can be exhausting.  Not to mention the chores these Moms have to deal with - laundry, dishes, meal prep, diapers, picking up toys, bath-time and bed-time.  After that, it's time to put pictures of the kid on social media so, it's an all-day and all-night kind of a thing. One Mom of a 3-year-old said she wanted a full day alone to go to a bookstore, see a movie and have a nice dinner out - all by herself so she would not have to entertain anyone or share anything.  Sounds great!
Moms of school-age children have a lot to deal with too, such as the aforementioned laundry, dishes, meal-prep, picking up toys, bath-time and bed-time.  Hopefully no more diapers though.  And usually school aged children can be trusted to keep themselves out of harms way for longer periods of time - say half an hour or so.  But then there's the homework, the school lunches, the driving to activities and making sure all the forms are filled out and the uniforms are clean and ready to go for any sports etc.  So I get that these Mom's would like a little "me time."
Moms of teenagers - it's a mixed bag.  You want some quality time with your teens but sometimes, they can be ...  well, I just call it teenagery - attitudinal, bickering, emotional, but then again frequently they are awesome.  So, it could go either way.  
The bottom line is - Mom wants some time off from the chores and responsibilities so, any kids who are old enough should clean house for Mom.  Take her out to eat or make a nice meal for Mom (though breakfast in bed is iffy) and let Mom do what she wants, take a nap, get a pedicure, be alone or whatever.

Time with the Family - A lot of Moms did say they wanted a fun outing with the family.  The suggested activities were varied:  a picnic, going to Church together, a trip to the movies, a walk in the park or even a knife skills class.  (That's a new one on me.)  I would also like to throw in an afternoon of board games like Apples to Apples or Clue.  I have been told that Cards Against Humanity is not approved for Moms so, looks like we'll have to skip that one. 

Handmade Gifts - These are still a popular item however, I would skip the coupon book for free hugs if you are over the age of 10.  Seriously, it's not cute anymore.

Breakfast in Bed - One of the Moms in my survey asked for breakfast in bed.  In my experience, it is a recipe for disaster.  When my girls were little, they made me breakfast in bed which was a bowl of cereal with milk poured up to the rim of the bowl and sloshing everywhere.  But they were so cute, I loved it anyway.  
My friend Red (short for Redacted) had this to say about breakfast in bed:
     My kids tried to make me breakfast in bed two years ago.  I was woken up by my daughter knocking on the bedroom door.  Her words EXACTLY, "Mom? Did you hear the fire alarm?"
I answered, "No."
She chirped back, "Okay, breakfast is ready!"