Sunday, September 25, 2011

There's nothing nutritious about a snickerdoodle

But that doesn't matter. Not everything life can be good for you.

Note: these cookies were rolled into little balls and then dusted with a cinammon-sugar mix, as it customary for snickerdoodles. My recipe says just put these lil' ball of empty calories on a baking sheet and cook.

Biff, in a shocking turn of events, insists that snickerdoodles are to be MASHED WITH A FORK and patterned up like a standard-issue peanut-butter cookie.


This is heresy! No! Snickerdoodles are to be allowed to develop their crackly tops naturally, not be FORCED into the MAN'S idea of delicious cookiedom! Snickerdoodles are the free hippie sister of the cookie family, dusted in exotic spices and allowed to find their own way, not pressed into some plaid shadow of potential perfection

Why, I think the man would want to lay out tie-dye on a grid. Pressed snickdoodles, indeed.


OK, fine. I'll fess up here now about something SD (snickerdoodle - I'm getting tired of typing that word)-related, an the 'fork 'em or not?' quandry.

The pressed bow-to-the-man ones are just as good as the hippie ones, and, in an odd turn, are more satisfyingly 'crunchy.'

(Hippie joke! Woot!)

Tasty, yes, but they just look wrong. Like mini little manhole covers, grids of tiny eager cinammon-dusted plinths rising from pale mashed plains of body surface area. No swirls or natural crackles in sight.

And I think that's just wrong.

Do you have a dog in this hunt? Are your SDs allowed to roam free or are they smashed with metal implements until they obey to the form YOU want, like a toothless caged lion in a terrible Baltic-region zoo?

Curious minds want to know.

Tiff out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's not so bad until you pull a giant shard of glass out of your foot

If you're new here (and I don't really think anyone is, but hope is a stoic beast), you need to know that we started remodeling the kitchen a little under a year ago. It's still not QUITE all the way done, so there are still gripping and heartwrenching tales to tell.

Part of the kitchen remodel process was to design and build 4 stained glass panels for the hutch area over the appliance/buffet area. There are 4 cabinet doors, each with a 9-inch 'reveal' for the glass work, and about 5 inches between panels.

For about 6 months those panels have been bare of accoutrement, and still are.

But things are a-changing.

As of last Sunday, there are a hundred bucks or so of new glass in the house, the kitchen table is stretched out, covered in cardboard, and is templated. There are designs sketched. Some of those designs have made it onto corrugated plastic backing, and even more miraculous, ONE WHOLE PANEL has been cut out and pieced.

FYI - My contribution thus far has been in the design process. Biff is the layout and cutting artist. Because, the cutting thing? Sharp edges and all. Best I not be involved so much.

Anyway, last night, after having a wonderful time with a good friend here talking about stupid Xerxes and poor Vashti, drinking coffee and eating cake (CAKE!), it was decided that at least one whole panel would be cut and placed in order to make some sense of headway in the stained glass project. It was not me who decided this, as I am lazy to a fault and would have sunk gladly into the couch with a big glass of adult beverage and not moved until ennui did its job.

Biff, however, was more moved, and did a wonderful job of piecing the 'farmland' panel. Snip snip went the snippers, and tap tap went the tappers, and oh carp went the craftsman when something didn't go his way, and merrily along it went for an hour or so. Small pins of glass from edge rounding and 'uh-oh' cuts were carefully deposited in the scrap pile, though some errant few went sailing and then were swept up so that nobody would be impaled.

And lo, it was beautiful.

We finally retired to the couches with our adult beverages, and in not too long a time Biff succumbed to the soul-sucking ick that is the cold he was rapidly developing, and thus he 1) fell asleep on the couch and then 2) went to bed. I professed that I was not yet tired as he shambled off to dreamland, and so stayed awake for a massive 2.5 more minutes after his departure.

At 2:08 in the morning I woke up on the recliner. Comfy, but not as comfy as our bed, so I shuffled off toward it with a single pit stop at the kitchen sink to put away my snack dish.

Which, coincidentally, is where a rogue shard of glass was.

More specifically, on careful inspection, that shard was right under my left foot, between between my second and third toes, jammed in a good 3/4 of an inch.

Shuffling, it appears, is a very effective way to insert sharp things into your meat.

Happily, I was still mostly asleep, and so simply reached down, grabbed the offending article, and yanked. Oh, it did a little 'goopy' slide out (that you can really feel in your back teeth, I swear), but not so bad and nothing to scream about. Just a flesh wound!

And then I bled. And bled and bled and bled and bled, like I was the Olympic FREAKING CHAMPION of BLEEDING, and nothing would stop me from giving my frelling ALL in the bleeding arena.

Let it just be said that the sure cure for fountains of blood gushing forth from the pedal region involves a wad of paper towels and elevation of the wounded bit. You can, and should, leave the mop-up of the trail of gore for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. Word to the wise.

Good thing about all that blood - almost no chance of any shard retention.

Bad thing - I'm fairly sure I'm very retentive. SOMETHING is still in there. Clearly, kitchen wants to kill me.

So, because now we now seem to have a homocidal cookspace, when at last we post photos of the beautiful new stained glass project that will bring us almost all the way to done with the kitchen remodel job we started almost a year ago, please nod to the third panel from the left and thank it for not killing me dead with its sharp shards of glassy death. I'm pretty sure only your thoughts will keep it from jumping out at me now or 30 years from now and cutting me to utter bits in absolute bloodlust.

Alls I can say to that is here's to sloth and unfinished business - Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fetch Granny her shawl, wouldya?

So see? I can too go for over a week without posting anything on this dark backwater eddy of the internet. It's not like I forgot, or didn't want to, or couldn't make the time, oh no. I CHOSE to not post as a test of my fortitude, and lo it was good and I won.

A bet with myself!

Which I just now made up to cover my lazy sit-upon. Seriously, over a WEEK? It's like I don't even care anymore, and that's simply not true.


In case you were wondering then, what has been going on in my world since I last sprinkled jewels of pithy wisdom and wisdomy pith about like so much animal dander, here goes:

- Thing 1 is now in Driver's Ed. Not a moment too soon, as he turns 16 in LESS THAN A MONTH and wants to get a job which will require him to get a license (as you do), but in NC the provisional licenses mean he won't be fully-fledged as a driver until he's almost 18, so yeah. Maybe we should have gotten into the classroom about a year ago.

- Skeeter the Dog is on pain meds and prednisone in an attempt to get her up and walking again. About a week ago she just went 'down' and wasn't getting back up. Oh, she's been stiff in the back end for a while, but at 12.5 years old (which is old for an Aussie) I thought it was a touch of chronology getting to her, and then she went completely lame. Hmmm, not at all like arthritis. More like paralysis. An X-ray or 2 later told the tale of The Bone Spurs, which is a cool name for a band but a really really sucky thing to happen to a dog's vertebrae. Therefore the meds. And the special prescription food. And for a moment, some hope that she would get better. A week into treatment and she's wobbling almost as bad as she was before starting, but at least now she can stand up on her own and, if there's carpet or yard under her, can walk and take care of her own business. I hate that she's crippled up; Aussies are hyperactive dogs, even into their old age, and Skeeter perhaps Queen among them for that attribute. Big ol sigh on that.

- This week is a weird one - I will be spending 3 nights in a row doing churchy stuff. I almost said churchy crap right there, but remembered that I'm churchy now and need to be a little more respectful. Also, it's not really crap at all, it's interesting stuff and some of it is instructional, some relational, some devotional, all useful. It's just seriously eating into my evening hang-out time!! I'll admit that yes, I was the one to sign up for the Bible study on Mondays (it's all-Esther, all the time for the next 9 weeks!) knowing full well that small group now meets on Wednesdays, so double-up was a given, but throw in a leader's meeting tonight and this is starting to feel like...habit. Oh, and toss in one band practice of Biff on Thursday, and by Friday you'd think we'd be glowing like Seraphim, right? Sadly, it doesn't work like that, but I suppose there's benefit in the TRYING. And I signed up to work both services again on Sunday, and thus will be standing on the hard floors of the Lincoln Theater in downtown Raleigh for another 4+ hours, answering questions, handing out pens, directing traffic, and doing whatever else is needed to make a go of the new site we just opened up. Folks, do not fear for me: I might be getting all churchy, but I promise to not be preachy. I'd probably get it wrong anyhow, and then risk being shamed on the internets for my vast stupidity. Can't have that, nossir. Shaming is right out.

- You'll notice that there's a whole lot less cussing here than there used to be. It's because I gave my share to Tracy Lynn, who needed more than were being deposited in her personal accounts. I do not begrudge her. She has a hell of a lot more shit to bitch about that I do. So, Tracy, you're welcome. Oh, and take 3 out of your pile for those ones I just used. Sorry.

- This is taking way longer than it should. Serves me right for fact-checking that Seraphim thing. SIX WINGS! GLOWS AS BRIGHT AS THE SUN! CAN STRIKE YOU BLIND WITH ONE LOOK! Seraphim, clearly, are awesome and require further research, and yet it's all I can do to not break my arm patting myself on the back for getting the reference right the first time. Seraphim. Woohoo!! (this is one example of a seraphim --> Another is the first pic of the post. Covered.In.Eyes. Still awesome)

For now, that's about it. I'll leave out my serious feelings on politics (nothing new), my anxiety over the global economy (nothing new), how getting a decent night's sleep is about the best thing ever (nothing new), and other stuff. Y'all don't need a novel, and I have to get moving before my butt grows into this seat.

Be well, Tiff out.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Between the mirrors

Some random kid I barely recognized came knocking at the door tonight.

"What time is Thing 1 going to the game?" he wanted to know.

"IDK," I said in real words. "Let me go get him."

As it's happening all over the United States lately, so it happens in Wake Forest - football season is here. Our son is a junior, and this year friends are coming by wanting him to go to the game. Friends are, apparently, also waiting for him to come to the game. Some of them with grills and tailgating plans. His friend are legion, it seems.

Oh dear - Friends are becoming his world.

Oh dear - He's not just 'mine' anymore. Pause for breath. Square shoulders. Move ahead.

As a parent will, I gave him and his neighborhood buddy a lift to the game, telling them to call me when they were ready to come home. They slid out of the van with 20 bucks in their pockets and a night full of possibility. Freedom. No parents, no siblings, no agenda. FREEDOM.

His lanky frame was quick to disappear into the crowds, but I had only the merest smidge of time to watch him go, the traffic was circling like a pack of hungry sharks and I needed to get going home. One, two, three, they're gone. Four, five, six, you wonder how this day came so fast, when they're now as old as I was when I thought I pretty much Had It All Figured Out. It doesn't take too many years for someone to go from helpless baby to strolling confident teenager, and seven eight, nine, you're getting closer every day to them flying the coop.

By 10, as it happened, I got the text - 'we're ready to be picked up.'

Bus loop, it's dark. Two tall young men side-by-side make an 11 in the shadows, gangly and lean. They slide into the work truck, we bump on home, dropping the friend off at his house a block away (I can walk from your house to mine; he said, but THIS mama bear won't have that, not while he's with ME). Once home, Thing 1, my gorgeous baby, dived into the leftover pizza, escaped to his room to play something online with people he's probably never met, and left his mama to wonder how he got this far, so fast.

A dozen years ago he was my baby, a snug towheaded bug in footie pajamas. A dozen years from now he'll be an adult, on his own, probably married. Watching him, and helping him, make those slow moves away from us and 'home' is the most excruciating work I've ever had to do as a parent.

I miss my baby boy sometimes, but I would never hold him back from his new work of becoming a man. Each time he comes home, having put a little more distance between us, I know he's doing what has to be done. He's growing up.

And I almost can't stand it.

Parenthood. It's not for sissies.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's not all sunshine and roses, baby

Right at this moment an enormous line of thunderstorms is about done crossing over the TinyHouse and environs. There is another line of storms immediately behind it. This second line of storms is going to have to pump up the jam to match the spectacular nature of those that have just gone.

Black sky, low clouds, simultaneous thunder and lightning, torrents of rain, the works. Very exciting, all for that little risk of a tornado that lurks within these kinds of storms.

Tornadoes are real mood-killers. There's nothing to DO with a tornado, you see. You can't watch them from inside your home and feel all warm and cozy, because if you're watching a tornado you're 1) close to a window (bad) or are outside (even worse), 2) close enough to it for it to hurt you, 3) probably going to at least have chunks of other people's stuff strewn all over your yard as it passes, which mean more work for you. Tornadoes are not at all like the average thunderstorm, which is loud and crashy-bangy but not truly dangerous apart from the odd lightning strike or potential of flash flooding. They're typically OK if you're watching them from inside a comfy house, which differentiates them from the tornado, is what I'm saying.


An old blogging friend recently passed away after experiencing the butt-munchery that is cancer. He'd been involved with trying to defeat it for a couple of years, but cancer is a douche sometimes and did him in.

I found out about it on Facebook.

Somehow, this is appropriate.

RIP Rick Leonard. The Middle-Aged White Guy lives on in our memories.


A while back I wrote a post about some of my unfortunate experience with the opposite sex. It was dark, possibly uncomfortable to read, and not at all like what you usually find here.

Probably should have just left it here to stew and fester into the morass of past posts, but I didn't leave it alone. I sent it on to Violence Unsilenced, where today it is posted.

My aim with that post was to hopefully touch just one person's life, to let them know they do not have to live with fear, anger, pain, mind games, blame, shame. Just one person - that would be enough.

Today I got a message from someone telling me that they were the person I wrote that post for.

Message sent and received.


Took a lovely plane ride out to Edenton on Sunday afternoon with Biff. In a car it would take about 2.5 hours to get there, which is kind of a long trip for a day jaunt. In the plane? 40 minutes with a good tailwind out, 50 minute into the wind back.

Cost to drive = about half that to fly.


Coolness of flying? At least twice that of driving.

See? It all evens out in the end.

Edenton was NC's first capitol, and has a bunch of really really pretty old buildings right on the Albermarle Sound. Very historic. Boxwoods everywhere. Reminded me a little of Essex, CT, which then made me homesick for CT even though I'm not from there. Fifteen years in one place though can sink into your skin, and so I reserve the right to be homesick for CT if I want to.

We took the airport's courtesy car (seriously - you leave your airplane parked and they GIVE YOU A CAR TO DRIVE) into town looking for something to gawk at, and had a lovely time walking around, taking photos, visiting the visitor's center, and eating ice cream sundaes.

All in all, taking part in the World's Most Expensive Hobby is a great way to spend an afternoon.


Well, here comes that second line of storms. Time to me to hang on tight.

Y'all be cool. Tiff out.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What smells like feet in heer?

There has been an incursion lately of bad smells into the Tiny House.

Currently the bad smell is like, um......unwashed bellybutton.

Or Parmesan cheese. Or really stinky feet in mesh shoes that are holding in some of the stink but not all so that you HOPE TO GOD ( The Capital G one, even!) those shoes don't come off that person's feet, ever, unless in a typhoon of hot water and lemon juice. And then maybe not even then.

It's funkay all up in hyar, and I am not a fan.

Listen, I'm a breeder of funky myself, and I am NOT talking the George Clinton variety. Oh noes. I simply can funk, Level 1, on occasion. GC could go to level 2, do the funk while being funky, or could be funky while funking, and that is OK and cool, because multiplexing the funk is awesome, but even ol' GC would shower from time to time, thus bringing the funkage to a Level 1 alert on occasion. HOWEVER - Whatever is breeding the 'woo!' around these parts is most assuredly NOT also bringing to "WOO!" to the party, a disappointing turn of events as there shall be no dancing tonight...and designating a Level 1 stink-only funk to this occasion.

And lo, doth I blame the cats.

But I do not know this: can cats smell like old cheese soup? If they do, is this a costly issue? And if so, how costly?

Curious minds want to know.

And maybe I should just go do the dishes and wash my upper lip, thereby perhaps avoiding a vet bill. Other vet-averse suggestions are welcome.

Tiff out.