Monthly Archives: February 2012

~ In Between the Sheets ~

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they sleep. I’ve made a science out of it, really.

Guilty Conscience…lots of tossing and turning.   Sheets twisted around and around.

Relaxed….very little movement, sheets a little rumpled, but not much.

Angry….blankets crumpled, maybe even chewed at the corners.

Happy….perfectly wrinkle-free sheets.

Bedtime Snacker…..crumbs everywhere.

I look at Varmint’s bed in the morning…the one she didn’t make, but of course was going to,

And I think she’s probably doing ok.  There’s a little bit of sheet movement, but no horrible twisting or anything.  I’m thinking she probably has a fairly guilt-free conscience, has a little bit of worry, and needs to eat less crackers in bed.

Other than the fact that she didn’t make her bed, I’m pleased with what this shows me.

Now then, Critter…..

I don’t even know where to start.

The sheets are off the bed entirely.  They are completely inside out.  It looks like there was a World Wide Wrestling match going on in here.   Of course, with Critter, that’s entirely possible.  He could have even used part of the bed as a turnbuckle.

How disturbing is it that a 44 year old middle of the road full-time mom knows what a turnbuckle is?

I think my son has just created a new bedlinen category.  The WWW Sleeper.  What does it indicate?  Energy.  And waaaaaaaayyyyyy tooooo much of it.  He’ll be an Ironman Champion one day.

An Ironman Champion with no sheets.

So, what do your bed linens look like in the morning?

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~ Critter and The Bee ~

The kids’ school is having a spelling bee.   I don’t remember the school doing it in previous years while my kids have been attending there.  If they have, I certainly never knew about it.   And now I’m afraid to ask anyone if they have done it before, because that would expose me to censure and ridicule.


The kids were given lists of words a few weeks back.  Varmint has been practicing; I’m pleased with her overall spelling ability.  And she shows drive…there are a couple of her friends she really wants to beat.  I’ve even heard her use the term “Double threat”.

How can you have a double threat in a spelling bee?

I’m afraid to ask because it would expose me to censure and ridicule.

Now, Critter also said he wanted to win the bee.  But every time I asked him if he wanted to study the word list, he had more important things to do, like draw dragons or make paper airplanes.   He may have skimmed over the words once or twice, but honestly, I don’t think that list came out of his folder more than that.

Today was his grade’s spelling bee.  He did let me go over some of the words with him last night.  I won’t lie to you, he stunk.  He must have misspelled seven out of ten words.  After about ten minutes of that, I said, “Why not just go to bed, love.  It’s too late to work on this now.”    He shrugged it off and was not worried.

I was.

This morning he announced over his biscuit that he was sure he would do well enough in today’s spelling bee to end up competing against Varmint in the multi-grade finals if she could make it to finals, too.  I wanted to brace him for the disappointment that was sure to come, but I held my tongue, figuring that it was better to let experience teach him on this one.

Varmint was optimistic for him, but I quietly shook my head at her to hush so she wouldn’t get his hopes up.  I felt bad for him, but, well, if you don’t do the work, you don’t win, and you don’t go to finals.  That’s life.

You have to work for your own success.  And he didn’t.  He could have, but he chose not to.  And the consequence for not working, is often losing. It’s a simple concept to grasp.  Painful,  but simple.  And, it’s an important life lesson that he would do well to learn now, rather than later.

Sometimes parenting stinks because it’s like watching a train wreck.  You can’t stop painful lessons from happening.  All you can do is pick up the pieces afterwards.  So before Critter and Varmint came home, I read a few parenting books, and tried to pick up some good counseling concepts to help him through the disappointment I knew he would go through today.  I spent some time talking myself up, preparing, bracing for the worst, getting ready to help my little guy navigate through this particular rocky rapid of life.

He came home off the bus, beaming.

He made it to the spelling bee finals.


So much for that little life lesson.

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~ Virus? Nope, Sweetener. ~

There are a ton of sugar substitutes on the market these days: Splenda, Stevia, Saccharin, Equal, etc.  Some are more natural than others.  Some have stronger aftertastes than others.  But one thing they all have in common is that…

They all taste like crap.

You could argue that some taste worse than others, but, honestly, they all taste like crap.

Despair not friends! For I have found a sugar substitute that is:

1)      All Natural

2)      Has no aftertaste

3)      Is useable in a 1:1 ratio with sugar, and has the exact same consistency

4)      Is digested in the lower intestine, giving it a good glycemic index rating, which therefore makes it an excellent choice for diabetics

5)      Is actually recommended by dentists as HELPING fight tooth decay!

It’s called Xylitol, and it’s a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in things from Birch Tree Bark to Corn.

You can use it interchangeably with sugar in all but one way:  You cannot bake yeast breads with it…the alcohol aspect of the sugar alcohol kills the yeast….just like it kills the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay.  So you can’t use it for bread, but you can in darn near everything else.

So I do.

I put it in my iced coffee. I put it on my cinnamon toast.  I put it in my cookies.  I make lemonade with it.  I’ve sweetened spaghetti sauce with it.  I put it on my oatmeal (’cause, really, who wants oatmeal that tastes like oatmeal? No one, that’s who).  I use it liberally, man.

Like, a lot.

In the interests of full disclosure, there is one little detail I ought to mention that might, if one were a pessimist, be taken as a small insignificant drawback.

If the consumer is not accustomed to eating sugar alcohols, it causes, um, shall we say…

intestinal distress.

Of many a variety.

Oh, don’t worry, it doesn’t last forever, and your intestines DO eventually get used to it.  But in the beginning at least, it’s best not to gamble if you feel a little fart coming on.  Run, do not walk, to the nearest bathroom.

Oh STOP!  It’s not gross, it’s just natural, man!

And if you are creative (read: devious), and you want to play a prank on say, an unsuspecting firehouse shift, you could use Xylitol in a batch of cookies you sent in with Your Captain.  Nothing is funnier than a man fighting a fire who suddenly has to GO!

I’m not allowed to do that prank….


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~ Cross It Off ~

I come from a long line of list makers.  We make lists of items we need to buy, things we need to accomplish, people we need to have rubbed out…that kind of thing.

My mom is one of the most impressive list makers I know.  She starts every list off with “ 1.) make a list.” so that after she finishes writing the list, she can already cross an item off.  It makes her feel a sense of accomplishment right out of the starting gate.  She’s a genius, my mom.

My lists tend to be a little more frustrating.  I’ve got daily to do lists, honey-do lists, and long-term goal lists.   It’s a little anal, and I try not to think about the time I waste actually drawing up the lists to begin with.

I’ve got a long-term goal list that has not changed much for the better part of a year.  One has to wonder why I bother making the list in the first place.  More than anything it serves as a reminder for how NON-productive I actually am, which is not something my fragile ego needs:

You’ll note that ‘Clean out car’ has not been crossed out….for the better part of a year.  And the filing, well, if large piles of papers scattered on and around the desk counts as filing, I could probably cross that one off.  The play area in the back yard technically doesn’t need cleaning anymore because there is a layer of autumn leaves covering the whole of it, kind of making it look all fresh and orderly.  And as for the photographs being put in frames and hung…I DID buy the frames like, six months ago.  I’ll probably get to hanging them within the next six.


Why do I share this with you?  Is it to give you one more aspect of my deeply faceted personality, or is it a desperate reach to see if I’m the only one out there who is that backwards?  We’ll never know.

I suppose an optimist would see these lists as goals, and a pessimist would see them as lists of failed intentions.  Hmmm……I ought to take a moment to ponder that concept.

I’ll put that on my list.

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~ Gift of the Cupcake ~

Our friend Cupcake was so sweet to remember us on our wedding day…he gave My Captain and me a generous gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma.   Williams-Sonoma is a store I never shop in because I’m filled with lust and desire, and that is quickly followed up by disappointment and resentment because I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on the way cool stuff they sell there.

But Cupcake’s gift certificate was like…free actually patronize these high-brow-kitchen-gadget-Elysian-Fields.  I was psyched!

It took me months to finally choose something…there were too many options.  My Captain realized quickly that he had no say in this particular purchase…and in that respect, Cupcake’s wedding gift to US was really for ME.  Someone ought to tell him he still owes My Captain a gift.

But that’s not for me to do.  I wouldn’t be so forward.

Well….are you all chomping at the bit to see what I finally chose?

Let me start by showing you what I HAD been using prior to Cuppy’s gift:

These are like, ten years old.  And even though I SWEAR to you they are clean, they are so stained and burnt and just plain nasty, that they carry an odor about them I cannot describe.  I guess we’ll just have to go with “Old Potholder Stench” or O.P.S.

Looks dirty…but it’s not.  That is years of lasagne sauce, melted cheese, broccoli casserole and pork fat all rolled into one four layer wad of cotton O.P.S., my friends.

Still, with all the other things a family our size requires, replacing them was fairly down low on the totem pole.

That is, until Cupcake’s Williams-Sonoma Gift Card.

Soooo without further ado, check out what my favorite U.P.S. guy delivered to me today!

They are SOOOoooOOoooOoo  PURTY!  And so sparkling clean and fresh!

And check it out….they don’t smell weird!

And look! I even have a snob tag now!!

And, I can’t tell you how good this action felt:

I wonder what is more disturbing: that my life is so simple I just spent several minutes composing a post about potholders, or that you just wasted several minutes reading about it.

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