Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't blame the duck, he just wants grapes

Duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender: hey, got any gwapes?

Bartender: No, this is a bar. We don't have any grapes.

Next day the duck walks in again and asks: hay, got any gwapes?

Bartender: no, I told you yesterday we don't have grapes. Now get outta here or I'll nail your feet to the floor!

Next day the ducks walks in again: hey, got any naiwls?

Bartender: NO I don't have any nails!

Duck: Got any gwapes then?

(this joke available online, with gifs! The internet is a wonderful thing.)


So, I pretty much suck at telling jokes. I can't ever remember the punch line, have no rhythm, don't 'build' them correctly, and forget most of 'em as soon as I hear 'em.

Sadly, I've not yet forgotten the duck joke. And now you won't either.


I was listening to NPR (pinko liberal commie radio, funded by a bunch of filthy hippie intellectuals and Novo Nordisc, a Swedish company probably staffed by half-nude vikings and marajuana-ridden legal prostitutes!) the other day, and there was a bump about some guy who is a neurologist has written a book about visual issues and how they relate to perception of reality (or similar theme. I forget details sometimes too). What was interesting wasn't so much the subject matter - though I do enjoy me some altered reality - but was more that this guy has two fascinating visually related deficits himself: face blindness and a tumor in his eye that causes him to hallucinate!

Freaky-deke, right?

Dwell on this, brothers and sisters: dude walks around not recognizing people, ever, not even his wife, and what little he can pin down as memorable is distorted by an eyeball tumor that makes him see things that aren't there!

If I were him, I'd be whimpering in a corner somewhere nice and dark, hoping the walls don't resume shimmying and that the person I think is my wife doesn't appear with 6 eyeballs and a carrot where her nose should be.

This, kids, is why I never took hallucinogens when the opportunity presented itself. Reality is a big enough bear to keep under control - to purposely alter it so that what you KNOW is there becomes something else entirely or things that you never expected (eg, an extra hand, tigers in your bathtub, flowers sprouting from the carpet) seems downright insane.

Of course, I don't have much depth perception and operate on monocular vision because my left eye is seriously nearsighted and my right one is farsighted, so it might well be that my reality would be your worst nightmare. I don't know for sure, but it might well be that what YOU see is very different from what presents itself to me as 'real.' It could be that I'm walking around half-baked all the time because of my vision issues.

Or that might just be the lingering effects of the '80s. We may not ever know.


There's a cute new computer in the Tiny House. Not by any choice of ours, mind you, but rather because the old computer (clearly, 3 years of service was all it had in it) completely crapped the bed last week and is, by all accounts, now a mere paperweight.

Most of the time, a dead computer can be revived by experts to at least be able to take the data off the hard drive. Well, our computer is an overachiever, for there is NOTHING on the hard drive that can be recovered. No pictures, music files, work-related items, pictures, estimate worksheets, and did I mention pictures? 3 year's worth of them?

Did I also mention that we're getting pretty good at kicking our own butts over not backing up the files?

Let this be a lesson to you. BACK UP YOUR DISC! Save those files to someplace NOT your hard drive. Someplace NOT subject to sudden catastrophic disc crashes. Someplace safe and snuggly, where the bits and bytes can live in peace and safety, certain that they're not going to be utterly destroyed by a power surge or other misery. Because someday you might just want to look at those pictures again, to maye print them out to put in a book, to share with friends, to jar memories. And if you do not BACK UP YOUR FILES you will not be able to do this.

I'm just sayin', is all.

PSA over, Tiff out.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Yesterday was spent mostly figuring out how to get as little done as possible while still doing things, because after Saturday's festivities I was mighty tuckered out.

Yes, throwing a block party for 600+ people is rather exhausting, do you even need to ask?

Two+ months of planning and preparation, asking favors, cajoling volunteers, guilt-tripping local businesses and friends, placing advertising, asking for publicity, doing all the things necessary to do on a list that made it to the '10 pages or more' stage are now over ,and those 2+ months of all that time and effort are being counted in my book as 'totally worth it.'

The success of our party is all that more sweet because last week at this time I, the apparent pessimist of our crewe, wasn't sure if we could pull it off. There was just so MUCH left to do, and so little time in which to do it. In the end though providence smiled on us and everything came together, including the weather (which I think was ordered pretty much straight from heaven, that's how glorious it was (and what's the bill going to be for THAT, I wonder?)), and everyone involved, from chairperson to smallest child, seemed to have had a good time.

So yeah, Saturday, despite being holy Batman busy, was Awesome with a capital A.

In the end, we gave away dozens of cupcakes (1 at a time at the cakewalk), served over 500 people a free meal, heard 2 great bands perform, played a lot of 'cornhole' (heh heh heh), hung out with friends (some of whom came from over an hour away (Hi Renn!)), and saw a few new faces at church the next day, all because a bunch of people wanted to get to know their neighbors.

Yep - it all worked out. Wonder how THAT happened?



Ridiculous work thing #254 - we have had a week to completely update our training records to avoid problems with record keeping in the future. This has involved reading many an SOP, recording the reading thereof an an approved form, signing and dating the approved form, taking multiple online training classes and documenting the taking thereof by printing out certificates of completion, researching current job descriptions and procuring a copy thereof for the files, and updating the ol' CV to be current as of this very minute.

1 week. All while doing our regular jobs.

Oh, it's nothing but fun around the cube farm, yessir.

I thought for a moment about boycotting this whole thing, but my inner Girl Scout is apparently far more pushy than my inner demons (that's probably good news), and thus I have finished 80% of the training and all the other paperwork attendant to this effort.

Frankly, I'm as shocked as the next person at my compliance. It's simply not like me to expend so much effort on something as low-personal-return as this. Maybe someone subliminally planted the idea that on completion we'd all get cookies or something, because that's about the only thing that would get me to kowtow to the powers that be like this.

Mmmm, cookies. They have powers.


Going to leave it hanging with that one. It's time to refill the ol' water bottle and get ready for meetin' time again! Aw-riiiite.

Tiff out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shoulda stood in bed

Waking up this morning was tough. The window was open, cool air filled our room, the sheets (glorious 500-count bamboo sheets, how I love you!) and comforter were the perfect weight and warmth, the pillows had conformed to the precise right shape and loft.

So, when the alarm went off, it got snoozed. ONCE. The second time it went off, it got shut off and the 'eff that' button got pushed, and HARD. Which is why it was very much later when I finally crawled out of bed.

Yes, it is a work at home day, why do you ask?

With a prep time of 0 minutes and a commute of 2 minutes, or the time it takes to boot up the computer, rolling out of bed at 9 isn't the liability it would otherwise be if I was expected to present body and soul to the Gods of the Cubicle. 'S verynice.

It's wonderful to have a job that allows the work at home thing to happen. On those weeks when the Things are with their Dad, and we don't have to be out the door at 7:30 to drop them off at school, working at home can be almost leisurely, like a little vacation almost despite being spent in front of the same computer facing a similar list of tasks.

At least it's a different chair my butt is at risk of growing into.


I mentioned a comforter above, as I'm sure you recall. What a nice word, comforter. It says what it does, which is neat.

Another good word is duvet. Doo-vey, baby, a fluffy confection of goose down piled between two layers of fabric, then (as you see here-->) the feathers are kept in place by some well-placed quilting. Duvets are wonderful for cooler weather, providing tons of warmth without a lot of weight, a good thing for those of use who suffer from 'trapped toes' syndrome, that uncomfortable feeling when your feet are weighed down by tucked-in sheets and heavy blankets. Duvets help folks avoid TTS, which is just one of the valuable services they provide.

Duvets, in other words, are lovely things. Expensive lovely things, it should be noted, and so care must be taken with them to keep them in good shape for a very long time indeed.

For example, sometimes they need to be cleaned, and this is a tricky proposal. Down needs special care, as it can clump and not dry completely, which can lead to mold and other icky stuff that you do not want happening to your 400 dollar coverlet. So ,when a duvet needs to be cleaned, the experts say to take them to a dry cleaner, who have experience in such things.

So, we did.

And when we unwrapped the duvet after its cleaning by the experts, we found that maybe the folks we took our lovely expensive duvet to are not experts at all, or maybe their expertise is in ruining expensive lovely duvets. What we got back was NOT a fresh-smelling confection of fluffy pillows containing newly-cleaned and lofted down, oh no. What we got back was (and I'm slightly sick thinking of it) a mishmashed conglomeration of random totally EMPTY pockets and others stuffed FULL of feathers, of partially filled areas, and torn seams. In short, what we got back was lumpy mess, utterly useless.

So we took it back. Rather, I took it back, and made it very very clear that I was deeply unsatisfied with what had happened to our lovely expensive duvet, and that they needed to fix it or make consideration toward helping us purchase a new one. Y'all, we didn't pay 35 freaking dollars to have them ruin our lovely expensive goose down duvet, because if I wanted to RUIN IT I could have done that myself very nicely, I'm sure.

The duvet was left at the shop, with a promise from them to call when the seamstress was done fixing it.

Weeks went by. No call.

Two weeks ago Biff went to the shop wanting to know why they hadn't called. Can you guess what they said? Well, if you guessed that they said "oh, we haven't looked at it yet (because someone just threw it up on a shelf and promptly forgot about it," you'd be right.

Biff let them know this was unacceptable, the counter kid agreed, apologized, and promised to have the seamstress work on it that week. Things were looking up, at last.

(You should hear ominous 'dun dun dun' music starting right about now...)

Last week we got a call from the dry cleaners, asking for our mailing address because 'they were unable to fix the duvet.'

- blink blink-

Yes, folks, they are going to MAIL us our duvet back and, apparently, wipe their hands of us. Because that is good business! That is how they get the good press!

Well, we are not giving them our mailing address. We will be going there in person. OK, clarification: Biff is going there in person, because every time I think about how they're willing to brush us and the ruin of our 400-freaking dollar duvet off I get hopping mad. You really wouldn't like me when I'm hopping mad, trust me on this one.

Seriously. They're wanting to MAIL US BACK OUR WRECKED DUVET, and that's all we get for our 35 dollar investment in their services? FREE EFFING SHIPPING?

I cannot use a wrecked duvet. If their freaking seamstress couldn't fix it, what are the chances that I can? What do I need with a wrecked lovely expensive bag of feathers at this point?? I mean, other than weeping in disappointment into it, or letting the cats use it, or turning it into a giant mishmash of dog bed, I cannot use a giant bag of clumpy feathers that used to be a lovely expensive duvet, can I?

No, I cannot.

And it's coming on cool around here; it's turning into perfect duvet weather. And us without a duvet anymore. At least my boiling blood will keep me warm, dammit, but it's not the same as a lovely duvet's worth of lofty comfort.

Should I be so very incensed over the turn of events? How loudly do I complain? What recompense should we demand from the cleaners? What should we really EXPECT is our due in this case of duveticide?

Your thoughts?


This has turned into a really long update. Clearly I shouldn't go several days in-between, because the words do tend to pile up. I'll stop here, and wish y'all a happy Thursday.

Tiff out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

There are ashes in my hair, and it's not even Lent

When I was a young Girl Sprout, we used to do Troop-y things like make God's Eyes and tie knots and practice the Pledge, but my the best thing was when we went camping. We'd set up our canvas pup tents (this was back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth), find firewood, unpack the marshmallows, and have a good ol' time for a day or two.

Mostly what I liked about camping were the fires.

I'll let that soak in for a moment.

Yep - ol' Tiff was, and is, a genuine pyrophile. Camping is a wonderful reason to have a fire going all the dang time. Breakfast is cooked in a thick cast iron pan over a fire, coffee is perked in a spatterware enamel pot banked in the fire's coals, dishwater is heated in a dish-soap coated pan (the soap on the outside prevents the pan from getting scorched, you know). Lunch is not a fire occasion, by and large, but dinner, ah...dinner. meat and veg done up in a foil packet and buried deep in the coals to sizzle until perfectly done, or biscuit dough wrapped on a peeled green stick and toasted over the fire then filled with jelly to make doughboys, or chili suspended in the dish pot over the fire bubbling happily away while girls get showers after a long hike and the leaders more than likely take a nip from a flask they carry for just such occasions. After dinner is cleaned up there are the s'mores and baked marshmallows toasted up to a perfect golden brown on the end of yet another peeled green stick. If overdone, the marshmallows could become flaming torches of sugar, burning with intensity and a glorious smell.

Mmm, flaming marshmallows. Pull off the crusty outer coating and inside there's a gooey warm mess of mallow ready to be gingerly tugged off the stick. Who cares if your fingers get sticky? Nobody, that's who, because there's a pan of dishwater waiting, cooling, for little girls' fingers to be dipped into before being sent to bed.

Tonight I kind of wish we'd had some marshmallows, for the bonfire in the backyard was perfect toasting temp. As it was we wound up toasting only ourselves and the rest of a small group of friends (just their outsides, and not even until done!) while we planned out a big event coming this weekend. S'mores would have made it more delicious, I'm sure, but we wouldn't have gotten nearly enough done with the siren song of sugar calling us.

So, as a nod to the troop leaders of yore, we celebrated the ebbing flames with a glass of tipple after our friends headed home, while getting bathed in smoke smell and poking at shifting flames.

As a result, I now have ashes in my hair and smell like a bacon factory, which I take as a good thing. My Mom, however, might not agree. She would always wrinkle her nose a little after I came home from camping, telling me I smelled like smoke, which might have been a generous way of saying 'get in the bath girl, you reek,' and probably not from smoky origin. Mom is not a camping sort, which makes it all the more curious why I adore the smell of smoke and all the accoutrement of camping. Tonight, with ashes in my hair, I remember those camping days and am happy.


We, the small group, as mentioned, are planning a big event, as I'm sure you know by now. I'm excited to be a part of a wonderful team of people who take this thing very seriously, and can have a marvelous time poking at fires while discussing the business at hand. They are a group I could totally go camping with.

I wonder if they know how to make sand candles? Because those were my third favorite thing about camping, after the hikes.

Are you in favor of fires and camping in general, or is your idea of 'roughing it' having to cook your own pizza instead of ordering out? Do tell, and thanks.

Tiff out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iGoogle, do Yoogle?

Last night was one of those nights I should never have even thought of trying to sleep. After putting the Things to bed at 10, I started watching one of the best of all time shows ever, "Monsters Inside Me," but after a few tales of people with worms and stuff I nodded off on the couch while Biff did something at the home computer and it was all strangely unsatisfying. Like I was waiting for something to happen, or felt anxious about something NOT happening, and so when I woke up at 11 I was grouchy and sleepy and probably a little rude.

Oh yes, my friends, I am a wonderful wife and mother. Mostly. OK, largely. All right, I TRY, but not at 11 p.m. At that point I'm on autopilot and feel lucky to change out of my lounge pants and into PJs.

Shut up - don't tell me YOU don't have graduated levels of comfort. You do, and you know it.

So, anyhow, then I went to bed.

And then my brain went apeshit on me and dreamed failure dreams, then woke up, then fell back to sleep, then dreamed confusion dreams, then woke up again, rinse and repeat. I was up at 1:30 when Biff came to bed, back up at 2 when he got back up, fell asleep, woke up again at 2:37, felt anxious, peed, fell back to sleep, was up at 4:37 (how punctual!) laid there fretting, tossed, turned and finally just said fuck this and got up.

All the while, of course, I KNEW why I was so strange and irritable: work. The project I was supposed to deliver today didn't get delivered, I KNEW how much of it was my fault (about half)and my head was going around like Regan Macneil's, spinning infinite strands of excuses and self-hatred. It is at these hours that my powers of self-castigation are legion, and I can whip up some hurtful flails of loathing tipped with shards of glass-sharp disgust, then go all Shi'ite and whip away until all I can feel is an aching head and a twisted knot where my stomach should be.

It is also at these moments that the way forward becomes horrifyingly crystal clear, which is why one could have found me at 5:30 this morning writing a note of apology to those who thought they might have gotten the project today, booting it to tomorrow. It was also at 5:30 that I started working furiously, trying like mad to catch up to where I was supposed to have, in my mind, been by now.

Oh, and those people at work who I thought for sure would have been disappointed in my lack of adherence to timelines and failure to perform? Made not so much as one peep about the delay. As a matter of fact, one person was still, uh, giving me comments on draft 1 today at noon (due a week ago, if that's any indication), so maybe I'm just making myself crazy?

Be that as it may...., it's almost 9, and I'm starting up again. I'll be jiggered if the team doesn't have at least 3/4ths of this horribly complicated beast by tomorrow to look at. I fought my way through the worst of it today, dong the tasks I've put off for a week, and mapped the rest of the plan out in each subsequent part of the project, so that all I need to do is follow the trail of comments from point a to point 8 bajillion, and I'm done.

In truth, it feels good to have gotten done what I did today, but lo doth it suck to have to spend my night in a furious rampage of 'shoulda done.'

My God, if I worked all the time like I did today, this company would only need to have 2 employees: me, and the cafeteria lady.


Tiff out. Or on. Ya know?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

As a matter of fact, Grant's blog is pretty good

Also, I notice JC's been writing lately. And Beth said howdy a while back.

So, maybe not all sites in the blogroll are dead. Some might SEEM dead, because I'm lazy and haven't updated the links to them (sorry Kaply!), but they're not. I own that error.

So, yes. Things are in fact not as grim as I thought yesterday.


It was homecoming at the local high school this weekend. We 4 went to the game, and I think 2 of us actually watched it. The Things had free reign to wander during the game, during which time I'm certain they did nothing but socialize. Biff and I did watch, because by gum we'd PAID to be there, and had a pretty good time.

There was some crowning of queens and such at the halftime, which meant that the band didn't do their show, so boohiss on THAT action. Not to worry though, because they did the show after the game was over.

Our guys won. That was pretty neat, it being homecoming and all, and even if there is an unwritten rule that the homecoming team must win the game, it's still nice to sit and cheer.

After the game was won, something very cool happened. Instead of trotting off to the locker room to celebrate their victory, the football team piled into the bleachers where the band had previously sat, and WATCHED the marching band put on a show.

Y'all, I just about dropped my Chik-fil-A.

I also just about dropped it when I saw the kind of drill the band was doing. Hard doesn't even begin to describe it. They are all OVER that field! It's even more impressive when you consider that there aren't that many kids in the band, so each one has the chance to stick out like a sore thumb if they're off by more than just a tiny bit. They looked great, sounded great, the color guard was impressive, and the crowd loved 'em. I think probably 80% of the people who were at the game stayed to see the band perform, which clearly indicates one thing:

My town rocks.

It felt really good to have gone, to have enough trust in the kids to know they're going to behave appropriately when not under direct supervision, to have our guys win, to be a little bit Norman Rockwell on a nearly-perfect autumn evening.

It's good that we had that experience; we needed it to reflect on after watching Michigan fall all over themselves Saturday afternoon. Sheesh - that game was enough to frustrate Ghandi. Seriously, someone needs to tell their line that it's OK to hold onto the guy you're supposedly tackling.

(it looks sinister. in reality it's about as tough as a spotty banana.)

And I know it's Wednesday, and you probably can't remember what you did this past weekend, so just tell us who you root for in college football, and how 'your team' is doing.

For the record, I don't really have a 'team,' because my alma mater isn't really a football school (but they did beat Va Tech this year and are 4 and 1 overall, so I might have to reconsider!). I WOULD root for Michigan on Biff's behalf, but after that game on Saturday I'm not sure I want to sign up for that much rage.

Besides, look at JMU's logo! A pigeon-toed bulldog in a cape and crown? Who WOULDN'T want to root for a team with that kind of brand identity? Oh, yeah.


OK - time to work. Y'all have a splendiferous afternoon. Tiff out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please come back. We miss you.

Sometime I see virtual dead people.

It's creepy f-reals.

Like, when I go to Tammie's blog, and she hasn't posted in months but that cute half-naked chick is still standing there with the fish in her underwear. It makes me miss Tammie's posts, even though we're in touch in other ways and I know that her husband is still awesome and her kids still drive her nuts (but not as much as the old folks who are out to get her).

Or when I go to Buzzardbilly's place, only to find it's not there (well, OK, it's 'open to invited readers, but I've not yet gotten MY invite, so it's as good as dead). Sure, through the power of the internet I know in general terms what she's up to and that she likes Clownvis and that Freddie Mercury should rise from the grave THIS VERY INSTANT so all can be right with the world again, but the brief flickers of insight are mere shades of the vivid personality who used to rail against those who dared stereotype her beloved West Virginia.

Mr Schrock, Dr. Sardonicus, No Celery Please.


Biff Spiffy.

My blogroll is where lots of good blogs have gone to die, it seems. And that makes me sad.

Now, I'm sure some of you are saying, 'uh, aren't you, like, MARRIED to Biff? Can't you pretty much, erm, CONNECT with him when you want? Why would you need him to post when you're both living under the same roof?' and you might have a point, but here's the thing:

Each of us has a voice that we use on our blogs that is ever-so-subtly different from who we are in the real world. When we write in our blogs, whether it's topical, angry, ranty, insightful, or just plain silly, we bring along a whole catalog of inner conversation that informs the manner in which we write. We have time to THINK while writing, to form whole thoughts instead of slim converzational snips of interplay. The voices in our head get distilled into a slightly different 'us' from what our neighbors and coworkers know. And so, when people with wonderful online personalities drop off the face of the earth, it's very much like losing a friend, even if we happen to be married to one of the people we used to love reading.

I miss Tammie, and NCP, and BB, and Biff, and all the others who have either lost interest in blogging (hey, it happens. i guess), lost time to blog, lost a place to blog, or just walked away from blogging in order to go live real life. I miss who they were online, even if I do sleep with one of them and can reach out to the others almost any time I choose.

My little community is getting smaller and smaller; with each dead blog I wonder if this one is simply a quaint place to unload to a vanishing audience.

If so, I suppose that's OK, but it's rather like shouting down a well. Nobody but YOU is going to shout back.

To those of you who I've named here today, know that you are missed and I'll just bet that there's more than one of us who wishes like mad you'd tickle the keyboard once more to let us reconnect with what's going on in your heads. To those of you I didn't name but who have, nonetheless, turned your back on the bloggery, know that at some future point I'll probably snatch your name out of the bag of rant and call you out on how badly you've disappointed me.

You're welcome.



That's it from here. Biff just walked through the door. I need to go, uh, do some connecting.

Tiff out.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

panicky whambang grimy treatsies

I have now officially over-committed to work projects. Just last week I was scooting happily along with ‘probably enough to do’ on my plate, and then I went crazy.

I accepted work from a colleague who is truly and desperately overbooked, I accepted a new project that starts up in a couple of months (but PREWORK starts now), I reminded myself that a gigantic project is about to start soon, and let’s not forget that I need to totally rework the thing I was working on that had me fairly happily occupied with ‘probably enough to do.’

What is wrong with me, people? What is the major malfunction that makes me think that if I’m not in a white-hot panic about being able to deliver projects on time and within budget that I’m DOING IT WRONG and need to ask for more more more. Am I proving my worth? Is it that? Can’t I prove my worth in some other way, like brown-nosing or performing illicit favors for the big cheeses? Because, seriously, brown nosing isn’t all that hard and illicit favors might be sort of fun if they involve things like ‘shots of schnapps in the head office’ or ‘playing WoW with the CFO on the big-screen teevee in the executive board room.’

Just asking for more work though, that’s whack.


So I was sitting here reading all about transepidermal absorption of antibiotics, when my heart just about scared me to death.

Another blast of atrial flutter came and went and took a little more of my faith in immortality with it.

Has anyone else ever have this happen to them? You’re motoring along just fine, working or whatever, when your heart forgets how to beat and instead boogies around looking for rhythm for a few seconds. It’s highly unpleasant; I cannot recommend it. Also, it’s no something that the docs I’ve spoken to about it seem to think is all that worrisome, as it only happens rarely and resolves quickly (besides the whole‘scaring me shitless’ part that tends to linger, that is.).

Not a fan. Not at all.


I have a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk that was given to me over a year ago. I have never used the hand sanitizer.

I’m a filthy pig, I guess.


Today is Thursday, right? Yes. That means that today is the day the Things come back to the Tiny House for their week with me and Biff.

It also means today is the day I start, once again, going to the grocery store every day to pick up items the Things have eaten all gone. Typical list includes milk, cereal, cheese sticks, granola bars, yogurt, peanut butter, bread, and crackers.
Note: a bag of apples can pretty much sit around all week and not be in danger of being all gone’ed. Same for the last 3 bananas in the bunch. THOSE can hang out until they’re utterly black and oozing, and have. Yum!

Re: the eating thing, they do have their preferences and patterns, some of which (because I'm a mom and don't want them being launched into the world with absolutely zero couth) I'm trying to change. One thing is this: the boys should not haul the box(es) of cereal, the gallon of milk, a bowl and a spoon to the living room with them while they snack/do homework/watch teevee/play Runescape after school. Simple, right? You think so, but for some reason this is a lesson that’s taking a long time to sink in. Perhaps because they’re only with us half-time and maybe live like savages at their Dad’s house? I don’t know. They’re getting MORE in the groove with ‘bachelor dishes’ though (where ‘you use a plate you wash a plate’ is the general rule), so I have hope that the ‘one serving snack’ will catch on as well.

Or am I, once again, seriously deluding myself?


Happy Thursday afternoon all. I’m off to go wallow in self-pity and fear of failure!

Tiff out.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cats, aliens, and hot sauce. Sounds like an episode of Alf.

Eric the cat has spent much of the day cataranging around the house like a madman. As a result of all the careening around, he'd been awake far too long, and was, until recently, in danger of not getting his recommended 22.5 hours of sleep a day.

Well, no more. He's comfortably ensconced on my backpack, which is on the kitchen table. His head is resting on some papers I need to do my work, which I suppose is pretty typical for cat behavior.

Eric normally sleeps sort of upside down, which basically means that while his body might be on its side, the top of his head is what's touching what's underneath him. I do not understand how this could be comfortable, and yet he persists. Lola, his sister, does not do this, for it is wildly undignified and she wouldn't dream of doing anything less than dainty. Eric, because he is a cat for whom the descriptor 'dainty' will likely never be used, clearly doesn't care - he lays on/in/over whatever and wherever he wants, in whatever style he wants.

For now, he clearly wants to save me from doing paperwork, for which I thank him.


'District 9' - have you seen it?

We watched it last night. Streamed it from Netflix through the new BluRay player onto our BAT, as a matter of fact. Yet another chunk of the 21st century has invaded the Tiny House, and I am a fan. What could be MORE convenient, and there is NOTHING to do but click a couple of buttons! Awesome.

Here is my review of the movie: Rocked. See it. Go click your own couple of buttons, grab the popcorn and remote, and start streamin'. Itsa lotta fun, that one.


Who decided to make Sriracha so dang good? Shepard's pie + Sriracha = deliciousness. I could talk for a half an hour about what it does to perk up chicken soup. Or mac n' cheese. Or marinades. Teh glorious yum, that stuff, but wickedly mouthsearingly hot, so if you're not familiar, and decide to try it on my recommendation, START SMALL. One or 2 drops is plenty for novices, trust me.

Even as delish as it is, there are limitations to its use. Some foods I do not think it would taste good with are as follows: brownies, applesauce, milk, tea, banana bread, most cake varieties, and breakfast cereal. Otherwise, pretty much everything else could benefit from a splash of fiery red chili sauce (formerly appeared as 'cause.' Thanks to Kenju for correcting me!).

Have I missed anything? Offer up YOUR thoughts in a comment. IF YOU DARE.


That's it from here. Got to get a shower to warm up (why no, the heat does NOT work, thanks for asking, but by Friday it will so yay) so I can put a bra on without giving myself goosebumps, run a few errands, and return to this cozy kitchen chair to finish putting in my 8 hours.

I hope you're rocking this humpday like Bruce Sprinsteen in tight jeans.

Tiff out.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The one in which I’ll try like mad to NOT talk about the weather even though it's GORGEOUS here

(Carefully place phonograph arm over first track of today's album of thoughts, and this is what you get)

In an effort to stave off the issuance of my ‘proud elderblogger’ card for a while longer, here is a list of things I shall not write about this week:

  • The weather
  • Aches and pains
  • Physical ailments
  • How much better life used to be back in the day

I think I can I think I can.


(skip a track, place the needle on 'Entertainment News')

In case you weren't made aware of the following groundbreaking news, let me be the first to tell you that the comic ‘Cathy’ is no more. After 34 years, she’s finally married (for 5 years now), and apparently, pregnant.

With a girl.

So, there’s that.


(whoops! Bumped the table and the needle wound up on 'current events'!)

Spent most of Friday and Saturday on a boat, zipping around Smith Mountain Lake and having a blast. We went on a sunset cruise AND a night cruise in addition to all the rambling around we did during the day, because there’s a whole LOT of sky over that big water, which is a treat to gaze at for these city dwellers.

Messing about in boats is a wonderful way to spend a weekend. I highly recommend it.


(what's on the flipside? Kitchen talk!)

As you Facebookers know, I made rouladen last night for supper. This is a dish I recall from childhood, a my German Gramma would cook all her fave dishes for us when we’d come to visit. Rouladen, kartoffelkleusse, sauerbraten, schnitzel (though I don’t remember having much of THAT), all made an appearance on our plates over the years. When Biff said last night that his preference wfor dinner would be 'something not sweet,' this dish popped into my head for some odd reason.

Rouladen is a super-simple dish to make, but does require you set aside some time for it, as the simmering phase is anywhere from 1 to 2 hours long. However, as I’m a big fan of anything that simmers for a long time (hellooo, good-smelling home!), this was not an impediment. Plus which, I got to beat on some steak with a big stick to flatten it out, which is pretty much made of win.

If you’re looking for something different to serve and you have some time, consider the humble rouladen. It’s gluten and dairy free too, so woohoo! SERIOUSLY not vegan though. Really seriously not vegan.

Here’s how you make them (sorry for the second recipe post in as many posts. It’s fall. I’m cooking again. I like to share. Deal with it):

  • Get you some thin-sliced steak (1/4” at most). If you don’t have that, then bash at a regular, sized steak until it’s a flat as it needs to be.) The pieces should be about 9 x 4”, or about as big as your hand
  • Spread some good mustard on one side of the steak pieces, then sprinkle with paprika.
  • Lay a then spear of dill pickle crosswise on one end of the seasoned side, follow with a thin carrot spear and a couple of pieces of onion. Follow with a half-slice of bacon.
  • Roll up the steak, then secure the ends with a toothpick (or tie up with string).
  • Sear the meat in butter until all sides are browned.
  • Add a chopped onion to the pan, cook until onions are soft.
  • Add enough broth/stock/water to half cover the rouladen, cover the pot, turn heat to low, and let simmer for an hour or so until beef is very tender but not falling apart.
  • Remove rouladen from pan, set aside and keep warm. To the juices in the pan, add 3 tbsp of flour or corn starch that been whisked into a 1/4 cup of liquid. Let bubble for a couple of minutes until gravy is thickened.
  • Take toothpicks out of the meat, and serve them and gravy over mashed potatoes.
And that's it! Easy, tasty, simmery beefy goodness!


(How does this record end, anyhow?)

That's it from here for now. There are bridges to cross and parapets to conquer, if by 'bridge' you mean email and by 'parapet' you're talking mostly about timelines and stuff.

Tiff out.