Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thinks he's funny

Scene: the living room

Rachael is on her laptop, looking at curtains on Pinterest. Andy is on the other couch, eating leftover homemade pizza and flipping through Netflix. Cue LOUD, RHYTHMIC THUMPING FROM BACKYARD.

Rachael: What the hell is that??
Andy, not looking up: ZOMBIES. Duh.

Banging continues.

Andy: Good thing I'm armed.
(Note: He isn't.)
Rachael: No, seriously, what's the banging?
Andy: What banging?

Turns out the neighbors are tearing down an old, dilapidated shed. Andy knew this, as he lent them a sledgehammer. Thinks he's funny.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bizarrely grown-up things I want

Weird, unexpected things I've been daydreaming about:

I am on the hunt for a super-awesome, less-than-$50 paper shredder. I am not kidding. Andy bought a weird cheap one that lasted a few months and has lived on the floor in the corner of our office (which is really more of a catch-all nonsense room that stresses me out to look at) ever since. Any time we have sensitive mail stuff, I've been ripping it up by hand, but that's a pain in the ass.

The shredder is part of a longer-term daydream about getting rid of some of the old, weird, mismatched shit in a particular kitchen cabinet and set up a nice, organized mail station. Yo, if you're into organizational porn, here you go. You're welcome.

Also, this is something I've wanted for a long time but haven't started actually mentally designing: I want an embosser. I know. It's such a weird, nerdy thing, but I have something over 400 books and I seriously think it would be pretty sweet to emboss all of them with my name. I'm thinking I might wait on this one until I get my tattoo finished, because it would be SO FUCKING COOL to have my books match my skin, right?

What weird grown-up things are you hoping to spend your hard-earned money on?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recap: Baptism fight!

The long-awaited (and just plain long) story of my most recent fight with Andy.

I want to preface this with a statement about how we really almost never fight. We avoid conflict and are really good at communicating and shit. However, sometimes things just aren't clicking. This was one of those times.

So we had a baptism to attend on Sunday, which was after the noon mass at a church nearby. We've known about it for weeks. The plan, initially, was for us to get a present on the way, attend mass, do the baptism thing, and go to the family party afterwards.

On Friday, Andy's boss asked him if he wanted to go golfing on Sunday morning, at a course an hour away, tee time at 6:30. Andy (who was really on the spot - his boss hollered out to him from his office while on the phone making the reservation) said he'd go, and remembered a few minutes later about the baptism. He told me Friday night that he still was planning to go, but was pretty sure they'd be home by 10:30 or 11. I know precisely dick about how long it takes to golf, so I figured that would be plenty of time for us to grab a present and get to church. He agreed, but specified that I was "in charge of the present." In my world, this meant I got to pick it out, as he doesn't know what the hell to get a three-month-old-girl for her baptism. In his world, this meant, "Please go to the store and buy the present and have it ready before I get home," which, if that was what he meant is goddamn well what he should have said.

So. Sunday morning. I got up around ten, but put off showering, since one of the things I hate most in the world is having someone walk into the house while I'm naked and vulnerable behind a curtain. (Seriously. I startle easily.) I started to get annoyed around 10:45 that I was just sort of in a holding pattern until he got home and we could get shit started. Then, at 11:11 (thanks, technology!), he texted that they were just finishing the game, sorry, took longer than expected, be home just before noon. This pisses me off, as there's no way it was a surprise to him that they were playing slowly and why couldn't he have texted to let me know, like, say, an hour ago?

So I shower and rush out to get the present. The store I wanted to go to - a Christian bookstore, where I was hoping to buy the baby a stuffed Jesus, because that's awesome - was closed. I didn't have time to go anywhere else, so I went to Toys R Us in the same plaza. Holy shit, that place is awful, isn't it? Finding anything took forever, and finding anything that wouldn't require a second mortgage took even longer.

I left Toys R Us with ten minutes to drive six minutes home, wrap the present, and drive seven minutes to the church. I pulled in the driveway to discover that Andy had gotten home and apparently left without me, assuming I was already at the church. So I'm the one who's been running around at the last minute and is now going to be late, and he gets to breeze in on time and look like the good guy. I checked my phone and found that he had called and texted, but they FUCKING AWFUL MUSIC in Toys R Us drowned it out. I texted back that, obviously, I was running late, and he replied that hey, mass had already started, they were sitting off to the left. At that point, I was seriously so steamed that he was all, Hey you're late! when HE MADE ME SO LATE I WAS SO MAD THAT JERK WHO THE FUCK DOES HE THINK HE IS, DOESN'T HE THINK I'D LEAVE A NOTE IF I LEFT WITHOUT HIM.

Then I walked into the house to get wrapping paper, and discovered Pancakes had managed to climb onto the kitchen table, found a bowl of powdered-sugar glaze I'd made, ate most of it, and knocked the bowl onto the floor, where it shattered. I was so pissed and overwhelmed that I teared up, so I had to take a minute to calm down and not cry and ruin my makeup and then have to tell everyone for three hours why I was upset. So I got to clean up sticky shards of glass, then wrap the present, then drive to the church, where I had to park in the "Bad Christian" section way out behind a field. I got into church a solid half-hour late.

It was a really good thing that the friends we were hanging out with are a huge family and sit all jumbled up, because I got to sit next to two precious toddlers and not Andy during church.

In the car on the way to the party afterwards, I tried to explain why I was so upset, and Andy said a truly dangerous thing: "I'm sorry you're so upset about this." Not "I'm sorry I was so late and communicated poorly." Not "I'm sorry I really didn't plan this out." No. What I heard was "I'm sorry you're such an emotional female about this." "I'm sorry you have stupid feelings."

Later, when I had cooled down (lasagna and more babies helped), he told me that he had played his worst game of golf ever, and that in hindsight he had no idea how he thought the timing would work, and apologized sincerely. He also was very surprised to hear that he hadn't in fact apologized for upsetting me - and was receptive to the difference between "I'm sorry you're upset" and "I'm sorry I upset you." It helped, and by that evening we were back to normal. But seriously, for a few hours there I wanted to do one of those weird primal screams while smashing things.

What fights have you gotten in recently?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recap: First foster class

We are two of a group of 24, but only 22 showed up last night. The class was led by two caseworkers and an experienced foster parent. Two of the three leaders are not terribly skilled facilitators, and my teacher brain kept urging me to redirect things so we could keep moving, as it became evident pretty quickly that we were going to run out of time. We got through about two-thirds of the stuff we were supposed to, but none of the leaders seemed to think this would be a problem down the line or anything.

We are the youngest people in the class (but only by a few years). We are the only married couple who have zero children between us, I think. I was relieved that quite a few of the people in the class aren't sure if they want to just foster or are hoping to foster-to-adopt, because we haven't made up our minds 100% yet on that one.

Basically, the biggest thing I took away from the class was this: Fostering is not an easy life to live, and the ten weeks of classes are designed for you to discover if it's right for you, and if it is, to give you tools to make it somewhat easier. If it's not right for you, that's okay. It's not for everyone, and it's way, way better to "select yourself out of the class" (caseworker's language, not mine) than have a child placed with you and be indifferent or regret it.

There is a guy in the class who is only going through the system to become the legal guardian of his niece, who he has raised almost since birth (she's just over a year, I think). I think the dude is not totally in control of his mental game, and he took up a lot of the class time pointing out that shit they were telling us about meeting with birth parents didn't apply to him. He did not take a single hint that maybe he didn't need to keep bringing it up. I am really hoping that he can chill the hell out so the rest of us can hear information we might very well need, but I'm not going to be surprised if he drives me crazy for ten weeks.

Overall: Lots of review of shit I read in the reading everyone was supposed to have done but probably only four of us actually did; hoping the nine classes left feel more useful.

Tomorrow I'll post the recap of my fight with Andy. It's a fun one.

Any questions for me about the foster stuff? I'll try to answer anything I can!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fostering: first day of middle school right here.

Tonight's our first MAPP class, y'all. This shit's happening.

We have absolutely no idea how many people will be there, other than that "the session is full." Full could mean two other people, or seventy, and I honestly don't know which guess will end up being closer to the truth.

Also, I'm really good at being anxious, so I've been practicing worrying about this all week. Last night I freaked out because I didn't have every single piece of paper they wanted already lined up (and stayed up late getting them all ready, and getting grumpy at Andy for not rushing to make me a copy of his car insurance card when I wanted him to).

Today, I am trying to figure out what to bring us for dinner, because the classes are from 6 to 9 and Andy's going straight from work. He texted me that he ate a really late lunch, so I'm grabbing a sandwich here and bringing us three kinds of fruit from our CSA - we'll each get a peach, three teeny plums, and a handful of blueberries - and homemade granola bars. Turns out I'm trying to impress these bitches by being all "I work full time, but am still capable of providing nutritious food to any child placed in my care!". Obviously, no one but me gives a shit about my snack choices, but I feel like everything I do/say/wear/think is being scrutinized.

What if everyone else is really weird, or really into Jesus (who's cool and all, but not my reason for doing this), or old, or something? What if they make us do stupid role-play stuff (someone mentioned "acting out skits" in one of our earlier meetings) and it's lame and forced and everyone has those weird tight smiles but we have to pretend to be excited so they don't mark us down for having a bad attitude? I JUST WANT TO HELP SOME KIDS is said in the same tone in my head as I CAN'T REMEMBER MY LOCKER COMBINATION AND I DON'T HAVE TIME TO GO PEE BETWEEN CLASSES AM I SUPPOSED TO HOLD IT ALL DAY OR WHAT.

I'm so good at worrying!

Anyone want to hear a recap of the class stuff tomorrow? Or would you rather hear about a fight I had with Andy on Sunday? Or both? CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!

P.S. Let's be serious, if no one chimes in with a choice I'll probably forget I was going to write about either of those and write about something different. So, you know, be ready for that too.

Monday, July 25, 2011

On non-critical medical shit

So I just had Part 2 of my appointment at the chiropractor's office. Part 1 was a lot more fun, what with me getting undressed and rubbed and all, but today's was interesting as well.

I've had issues with lower back pain since I was in high school. I saw a physical therapist for a little while, and I saw a chiropractor for a while, and I had a bone scan done, and an MRI, and some x-rays and stuff, and there was never any apparent reason for my back to hurt the way it did. I kept up with the chiropractor the longest, but really, it didn't make sense for me to pay the $20 copay a week when it only kept it from hurting for a day or so at most. So I've just sort of dealt with it, and have really appreciated massages when they help (deep tissue helps WAY more than Swedish) and have just sort of ignored it as much as I can otherwise. It's not debilitating or anything, so I just try not to think about it more than is necessary.

So the appointment the other day included a consultation with the chiropractor. I've noticed an uptick in the amount of times I've noticed my back aching lately, so I went along with it. The doctor was nice enough. I don't know. He confirmed that I have scoliosis, which I've had since elementary school, and explained how that, plus the way I sit, does all sorts of not-nice stuff to the bones and muscles in my back. He immediately zeroed in on the two places it hurts most, without me specifying, and identified them as "really out of whack."

I definitely want my back to stop hurting, and he said working with stretching, exercise, chiropractics, and massage can do that, mostly. I did like that he didn't promise anything, and that he acknowledged that the scoliosis will mean I'll always be working against some alignment issues. But in the back of my mind, I keep telling myself that I've lived with it for more than ten years, and that every new patient means more cash for this dude.

I know my insurance will cover at least part of the cost, and we have a solid Health Savings Account that would cover any uncovered amount. But I can't make up my mind. I'm supposed to stop at a walk-in imaging clinic tomorrow or Wednesday to get a few x-rays, and I have a follow-up appointment on Thursday to chat about them. If the guy were smarmy, or pushy, or a weirdo, it would be so much easier to just pass. But the idea of laying in bed and not having to flip back and forth because my back aches is a really nice daydream.

What would you do, readers? Spend money on a not-guaranteed fix that includes massages? Or save money and live with constant (very-)low-level pain?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby names

More baby name ridiculousness from my fair city! As always, I swear to you that I typed all of these exactly as they appear in the paper.

First names:
-Giavana (What, Giovanna was too complicated?)
-Jaxon (This is a name the kid will have to spell every day of his life.)

First-middle combos:
-G'Nyiah Lee Da'vhinne (Good money says they pronounce that last part "divine.")
-Krystafer Jewellz (WHAT)
-Xena Rayn
-Lilly Love U (NOT KIDDING)
-Destinee Sincerity
-Q'Zay Aresineo (This kid is actually a junior. Wow.)
-Mya Doris (We're hip! Her middle name is Doris!)
-Jamarria Trinytti

"Aiden" and variations: Brayden, Aidan, Caiden, Hayden, Aiden, Aiden (two of them in a row!), Zayden, Kayden, Caydan.

Sometimes I text these names to my sister, which means my phone stores them in its memory. Nothing is more surprising than mistyping a word and having my phone suggest "Dezyre" as a good option.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On massage

I just got back from a deep-tissue massage. If you're keeping track, that makes two massages in three months. I assure you that this is not a typical situation around here, but I wouldn't mind if it were to become so.

Andy got me this massage as an anniversary present, and he got it for a reasonable price with a groupon. So I guess that justifies it a little, right?

Three things about massage:

1. Today's massage was actually at a chiropractor's office, and was more "clinical" than "Zen." This might be why it was my first ever massage in a fully-lit room. That was a little weird at times. I mostly avoided eye contact when I was face-up.

2. I can't be the only person to do this, but it always seems a little silly: Whenever I'm in a room where I have to get undressed and my clothes are in plain view, I always tuck my undies (or, in today's case, my bra) into or under other clothes. I don't know who I'm hiding them from - the woman who's rubbing my mostly naked body? A doctor who will actually be seeing the parts those items are designed to cover? - but I do it every time.

3. I think I want massages to be a more regular part of my life. I was thinking about it, and I can't tell you the last time I got a manicure. I can tell you the last time I got a pedicure, because it's only happened once (last May). I don't spend a lot on self-maintenance besides buying slightly more expensive soap or toothpaste once in a while. I think I'm going to start packing my lunch more (which is a good idea anyway, as all the places by my company's new location are burger joints) and saving my discretionary funds for, let's say, a massage every other month. I just checked, and there's a school of therapeutic massage in the city that has student clinics for $35 an hour! I can totally make it happen. And if the $35/hour massages aren't great, I can save a little more and upgrade!

What do you think about massage? Do you love them, or are you like the Kid, who thinks it's weird to pay people to touch her when she actively discourages that the rest of the time?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat wave!

I feel like if I yell "heat wave" it sounds like something out of a Beach Boys song instead of something that drives me indoors with even more ferocity than normal.

My grass looks like straw. We could water it, like our neighbor who goes out with a hose and waters his lawn by hand while talking on his cell phone for hours at a time, but that would mean the grass would grow more and we'd have to mow it more, which sounds like a bad idea.

On days like this, when it's 93° and the humidity makes it feel like you're walking in someone's mouth, all I want to do is sit on the couch in my underwear, windows drawn, with a wet towel draped over my head. Sometimes, to help myself savor that feeling even more, I think about how on days like this in, like, pioneer times or whatever, they'd be wearing long-sleeved dresses, maybe even with petticoats. Suckers. And the only escape they had was shade, not central air. I think I'm too whiny to have been a good pioneer. I'd have been one of those pale, wan girls with what the doctors described as "weak constitutions" who laid on the couch and coughed gently. 

We're having friends over for dinner this week, and I'm making a pasta dish zucchini and tomatoes from our CSA and I'll be attempting to make garlic bread in the toaster so I don't have to turn the oven on. We'll see how that goes.

Is it super hot where you are too? How are you dealing with it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sick day

Yesterday afternoon I was hit with some disgusting stomach issue. I spent most of the afternoon miserable. I'm feeling much better today but still not great, so I stayed home.

I've spent my day napping, watching Hoarders on Netflix, staring vacantly at Pinterest, and folding the last of the laundry that Andy started yesterday. I'm drinking SmartWater and ginger ale and eating water crackers.

It might not be what the doctor would prescribe, but I think it's helping.

How do you deal with a sick day? What do you have to have to make yourself feel better?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Dudes. I spent the first several hours of the day at our awesome public market, drinking iced chai and standing in front of any fan I could find - it's 90° today and sunny. But it was totally worth it, because I got an empanada and iced chai and all of the following:
  • Three cucumbers for $1 (some are already on their way to becoming pickles, and some are going in a glass of Pimm's as soon as it hits 5:00)
  • A HUGE bunch of garlic scapes - like 15 of them - for 50¢
  • Three lemons and two limes for $1 (the limes are for margaritas, the lemons for Pimm's)
  • Six peaches for $1
  • Four ears of corn for $1.25
A friend is coming over in a few and we're going to make a double batch of chai concentrate and paint our toenails and maybe knit. Then when her boyfriend and Andy get back from a motorcycle ride, we're all having a lovely outdoor dinner in the shade, followed by a bonfire and some marshmallows. 

It's days like this that I really, really love my life.

What's your ideal summer day?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shakespeare! And the outdoors!

So my city has a pretty awesome community theater group and every year they do a production of Shakespeare in an amphitheater in one of the city's prettiest parks. Last year's Hamlet was incredible, and I have high hopes for Othello, which I'm going to see tonight.

I don't think it will be a huge surprise for me to reveal here that I love Shakespeare. He's clever and accessible and I'm one of the few people who actually enjoy reading his plays. My favorite is Twelfth Night, which I wrote my final paper on in my undergrad years and which I will use for my thesis if/when I finish my Master's degree (which, for various reasons, is half-finished and stalled. I haven't talked about that on this joint, have I?). I love seeing his work performed even more than reading it. Seriously, every year when RCP announce their new line-up, I hope really hard it'll be Twelfth Night. (Their history page says they have performed it thrice: in the 1935-1936 season, in the 1994-1995 season, and most recently in the 1999-2000 season. I really hope they don't have another sixty-year break from it.)

Now. For me, as you might imagine, watching a play outdoors is a challenge. It's late enough in the evening that it isn't too hot, but it's perfect time for mosquitoes, and as the dew starts to settle it gets chilly. So this year, I'm planning ahead. I'm bringing a tote bag with bugspray, a sweatshirt, wine in a water bottle, and some mindless knitting that's easy enough to be able to do in low light.

I have fully accepted that I will be indistinguishable from the old ladies who go to these things, except that I'll be wearing high-top Converse sneakers instead of orthopedic sandals with pantyhose.

Which play is your favorite, Shakespeare or otherwise? What am I forgetting to pack?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So busy and important.

Dudes! We have been going like gangbusters, with plans every night, and are taking our rare evening off to finish staining our bedroom furniture. Hopefully several hours from now you'll find me relaxing in the air conditioning with a glass of Pimm's and a homemade pickle, basking in the glory of a job well done.

In the meantime, here are two websites to tide you over:
Gender-neutral nurseries, as pinned on Pinterest. So much awesome inspiration.

TV Tropes page for Full House. Prepare to be lost for hours in the wormhole that is TV Tropes. (I'm serious: I wrote this post fifteen minutes ago and just spent the time in between randomly clicking on that site.)

Your turn! Share an interesting site with me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things I hate: Tuesday edition

More things I hate:

  • My company relocated a few weeks ago. The old place had three smallish bathrooms, and the new place has one big one (per gender, I mean), which means your likelihood of running into someone in the bathroom is much higher. At least twice a week, someone in the bathroom feels a need to exclaim about how much busier the new bathrooms are. Can't a girl just change her tampon and/or worry about the color of her urine in peace?
  • There's a dude parked in his car across the street from my house. The way the street is set up, it's possible he's waiting for someone in another house, but he's DIRECTLY in front of my house, and only sort of near two other houses. He has not moved or done anything unusual since I got home, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want him to leave. Now.
  • I'm hungry and want a snack, but we're going to our friends' house for dinner and I'm not sure what time we're eating. We're supposed to arrive at 6, so dinner could be anywhere from, like, 6:15 to 7:30. I don't want to show up not-hungry, as these friends always cook enough for an army, but don't want to sit there ready to eat my own arm because I didn't have a snack.
  • It's a big ol' cookout thing we're going to, so I get to deal with Andy's dad in the intense humidity and heat, which is an extra-special treat.
  • Work Friend quit smoking a while ago, and gave us permission to give her shit about it if she started back up. She has since started back up and quit again several times, and Work Acquaintance is an asshole about it to her every single time.  If Work Friend were to say anything (like, you know, it's an actual addiction and it sucks, thanks for being a jerk instead of supportive!), Work Acquaintance would protest that it was all lighthearted and besides Work Friend told her to! So on top of nicotine withdrawal and trying her best not to soothe herself with eating a ton, she also has a "friend" she's known for a long time being a dick to her on top of it. None of this is actually my business, but it pisses me off.
  • That guy from his car has gotten out of the car and appears to be canvassing for something, as he's going to doors holding a clipboard. No suit, so he's probably not a Jehovah's Witness (who are fun to chat with and occasionally give your mom's cell phone number).
  • Both dogs got groomed this weekend, and when I went to let them back in this morning, Rooster (who was white when I let him out) was laying in a patch of bare sandy dirt. He is now closer to beige than white. And on the couch.
What about you, ducks? You grumpy about anything?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fostering: to-do list

We got a letter officially confirming our enrollment in the next session of foster-care classes, starting at the end of the month, which means we have just over two weeks to compile copies of all of the following stuff:
  • Social security card
  • Driver's license
  • Marriage license (or divorce verification)
  • Proof of income
  • Car insurance card
  • Dog rabies vaccinations
  • Fireplace inspection [Note: we have a fake fireplace that burns gel fuel. No joke, it's like having a Sterno fireplace. I think the lady we met with didn't really understand what it was, because she wants us to get something called a "certificate of non-use" for it.]
  • Pistol permit (if applicable) (it isn't, and we told the lady that, but she made sure to tell us, like, three times that we could own a gun, but we needed to keep it locked and all.)
And we have until the end of the classes (the last week in September) to accomplish the following:
  •  Move Andy's sculpture stuff away from furnace
  • Cap pipe fragment in basement [It irritates me that this is on our official list, as the lady told us the only reason she thinks we should cap it is so kids don't shove stuff down it. Not exactly a safety concern, but whatever, we'll cap it.]
  • Move carbon monoxide detector upstairs
  • Paint sunroom
  • Buy a carseat
  • Get a hook-and-eye latch for the door from the kitchen into the garage, as a toddler who could reach the handle could open the door pretty easily
  • Get stupid certificate of non-use for fireplace
  • Return kerosene heater to my parents' house
 Naturally, I've had the paperwork containing both of these lists sitting on the kitchen table for a week, reminding myself to get at least the first one taken care of. And just as naturally, right now I'm sitting on the couch looking at the list, thinking about reading some blogs for a while until Andy gets home and (hopefully) makes me dinner, and then continuing to hang out on the couch and watch a movie.

Wait. I just moved the carbon monoxide detector upstairs. Now I've officially gotten started on the list, and can therefore relax in the pleasure of a job well done.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Anniversary weekend!

My wedding anniversary is Tuesday. Andy and I will have been married for three years. But Tuesday is a shitty day for a celebration, because of working the next day and being old and going to bed early, so we are celebrating this weekend!

We started last night with an awesome sort-of-fancy dinner. It was at a restaurant that's just over half an hour away, that we went to a few years ago. I remembered it being fancier, and felt a little overdressed in my fancy dress and shiny silver shoes, sitting next to a lady in a pastel sweatshirt and denim capris. But the food was excellent and the wine was great and the dessert was overly generous, so we left happy.

Then, since we were on that side of town anyway, we went to the little town I went to high school in and saw Transformers 3: Whatever It's Subtitled at the awesome little theater there. The movie was exactly what you'd expect from a third movie in a series based on a tv show based on action figures. The model they got to be the lead girl wasn't any worse than Megan Fox (which, really, would have taken some doing) and her big ol' lips make me think that kissing her must be sort of like making out with a warm Clementine.

We got home late and I slept in nice and late this morning, and we've spent most of the day stripping our new-to-us bedroom furniture. The bedframe and nightstands are being stripped with this delightful shit called CitriStrip, which I absolutely love. It's a thick orangish gel that smells like fruit that you paint on, then wait a while, then scrape off. Once that's all done, we're finishing them with an awesome gray shade called Sunbleached. I can't wait to see it all done.

I'm going to go eat some of my refrigerator pickles (WHICH ARE SO GOOD) while I wait for the stripper stuff to set on our next batch. I hope you all are having such an awesome weekend too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Public Service Announcment

Disclaimer: I am about to talk about pee a lot. (If any dudes read this, which I sort of think is unlikely, I'm also going to mention menstruation! You're welcome!)

I had a minor freak-out this morning when I got up to pee: My pee was pink. At first I thought I had started my period a few days early and with no other warning signs, but upon further investigation realized this wasn't the case. I thought about it for a moment, but I'm not at my best in the morning, so I just sort of figured Andy had done something weird like flush something reddish before he left for work. I went on about my day and managed, because I am a scatterbrain, to completely forget about it.

Mid-morning, I peed at work, and the pee was RED. I suddenly remembered that this was the second time today, and no joke, I started to sweat. I felt fine, I wasn't in any way unwell, but I was apparently peeing blood! Or something!

I started taking a mental inventory of all the things that have been going into and coming out of my body in the last few days, searching for possible culprits. I've been eating a lot of salad, and I had a shitload of cherries in the last few days, but half of those were golden cherries anyway so that wouldn't be it, and I had a bunch of black raspberries, and I ATE A SHITTON OF BEETS. BEETS THAT WERE SO RED THEY WERE ALMOST PURPLE.

I walked back to my desk quicker than is normal, and immediately googled "can beets turn urine red?". It turns out this is a fairly common thing, because before I had gotten to the letter "r" in "turn," google had auto-completed the sentence. The answer, according to the Mayo Clinic, is yes. In about 14% of people, beets can turn your urine red. I am not dying of some bizarre painless bladder infection. Yet.

So. Here is my public service announcement: Beets can turn your pee red, and you probably aren't dying of a bizarre painless bladder infection. Probably.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm a Domestic Goddess, Parts One and Two

Part One: Yes I Am. I finally got around to making refrigerator pickles. Here are my notes, so I don't forget  by the next time I do this, and so you can learn from my experiences, or something:

- I read somewhere that it's helpful to make your brine in a pitcher, so you can pour it easily into the jars. I can say for sure that this was an awesome idea. It helps if you use a pretty glass pitcher you sometimes use as a vase, so you get the whole ridiculous shebang done as sweetly as possible.
- I doubled the amount of garlic she suggests and probably came close to tripling the dill.
- I thought at first glance that the amount of brine wasn't anywhere near enough for all the pickles I had, but I was only about a cup short for four pint jars. So, you know, don't double the batch until you're sure you need to. (To make the extra cup, I just divided the recipe in thirds. Duh, I guess, but I felt pretty clever.)
- I cut two jars' worth into spears, one into slices the long way (SANDWICH PICKLES!), and one into slices the short way. One of the spears jars got a serious shake of red pepper flakes.
- I used a total of eight gherkin (? The CSA sheet just said "pickles") cucumbers of varying sizes, so it averaged two small-ish cucumbers per pint jar.
- I have no idea how I'm going to wait 48 hours to try those things.

Part Two: No I'm Not. I just unearthed my smallest Pyrex bowl from the back of the fridge, where it has been hidden since I last made couscous. I have no idea when that was, but I can tell you that it took solid seconds of thought to realize that the black lumps had once been mushroom. There was also an interesting growth of grey mold on the top that seemed to be binding the grains together somehow, as that part of the stuff in the bowl stayed in a big clump even after everything else around it sort of shattered apart. My next-size-up bowl is holding the beets I finally cut up and steamed yesterday, and the bowl up from that is holding shelled peas. Neither of us particularly like peas, so those will likely sit there for a few more days then get eaten out of a sense of obligation and not because we do something delicious with them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


We're on our way home from visiting the Kid and Brian and the new baby, whom I've mostly been calling Rachael Junior. She's so awesome, you guys!

I know that this is the typical reaction to a baby you love, but this baby is the smartest, cleverest, prettiest, most wonderful baby in the entire world. Even her poop is cute. We hung out with her in the mornings after she ate around 8 so the Kid could sleep in, and she was so alert and cheerful. She makes a million delightful bizarre noises.

She eats like a pro, too. She makes those hilarious little piggy grunting noises while she's eating, then eats so fast she has to pause to breathe for a minute. As Brian put it, "My kid is so fat she gets winded from eating."

Four days are nowhere near enough to get in all the squeezing and smushing and smooching that will need to tide us over till the next time we see her, which will probably be early fall. This is when it sucks the most that the Kid lives six hours away.

Andy's curled up with the baby on the couch right now, and just told her "Auntie Rachael's blogging about you, baby." She wrinkled her nose and grunted at him. I'm going to go kiss her fat cheeks for a while.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Obligatory holiday post

Eco-friendly fireworks! Via
Dudes! I hope you are having a lovely, leisurely long weekend, with no more obligations than to decide if you're having a hot dog or a hamburger.

Today I try to appreciate all the awesome stuff that comes with being an American - like cheese in a can, and Froot Loops, and, I dunno, freedom to say that Bush sucked a lot without worrying about being arrested.

I also appreciate veterans like my grandfathers on both sides, and my dad and my brother, and especially my brother-in-law, at whose home on an Army base I'm currently staying. (Surprise! Don't rob my house while I'm gone!)

What do you appreciate today?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby names

In what might become a regular feature on this site: Actual baby names from my city in the last few months. (Please note that I do not choose names that are more obviously ethnic - like you'll never see me be like "haha samir is such a dumb name!" just because it's not a mainstream American name. Please follow that guideline in your comments.

First names:
-Matteson (middle name is a dude's name, so I'm guessing they're just really into the last-name-as-first-name trend and didn't bother to say it out loud: This is Madison spelled stupider)
-Ni'Vaya (Nevaeh - "heaven" backwards - spelled stupider)
 -Chole (do you think they misspelled Chloe?)
 -Kloey (I know they misspelled Chloe)
-Jahsi're (the apostrophe is stupid, and even stupider in the middle of a syllable)

First-middle combos:
-E'lenai Azriel (Azrael is the angel of death, but spelled stupider)
-Cali Fiona (Cali is not a full name and these two together do not flow at all)
-Adleigh Clementine (WE'RE HIP, YOU GUYS)
-Samiah Karmella
-Callahan Alexander (this is the name of someone the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would pick on)
-Christeona Nylean
-Cordai Ladarius
-Mariabella Teriana (so many syllables!)
-Mary Sunshine
-Blaze Temperance

TRIPPLE WHAMMY: Reign Supreme Tarez 

-Veronica Nella and Victoria Svitlane
-Diandra Rosemarry and Diandre Andrew (Do you think they'll pronounce it "Rose-Maury"?)

-"Aiden" and its cohorts: Zaiden, Jaeden, Baden, Jadian, Brayden, Brayden (yes, two of them), Jaedyn, Aiden, Ayden.
-Last names as first names: Matteson, Cameron, Landon, Jackson, Camden, Clayton, Mason, Parker, Colton, Callahan, Carson, Preston, Addison, Greyson, Marley, Ashton.


Friday, July 1, 2011

On cats

I recently took care of my parents' two cats while they were out of town squeezing their new granddaughter. And I just want to say, I don't really get cats.

I'm not a dog-lover. Don't get me wrong, this isn't one of those "Cats are so aloof!" posts. No. This is a post about pee.

Because I want to say to every single cat-owner out there: Yes, your house does smell a little like cat pee. Yes. I know you don't think it does. But it does.

Thankfully, my parents hide their cat box way in the back of the basement, so no guests ever have a reason to go there, plus the cats are incredibly well trained and only use the box, but I've had to scoop that box this week, so DAMN. THAT'S GROSS.

The problem, I think, is mostly in cat litter. We had a cat - actually, I insisted we get a cat - when I was a kid, and in all the years and all the different litters we used, there was not a single brand of litter that in fact kept the cat pee clumps from breaking apart and mixing themselves back in with the otherwise-not-stinky litter. And what the hell are you supposed to do with the pee clumps along the sides of the box? Those things are never coming out neatly. Ugh. And I think cat owners are used to thinking that better litter means good litter instead of yeah, it still breaks up but not as bad as that last brand.

Yeah, picking up dog poop is gross too. But at least that's outside, and the pee doesn't make my eyes water. I have known precisely one home that had cats and didn't smell like pee. The owners have SIX CATS (which is nuts in and of itself) and have a morning and afternoon chore routine that takes upwards of forty minutes that includes scooping each box twice a day (more if it needs it) and changing all of the litter in the house once a week (or more if it needs it). And I'm willing to bet on eighty-four-degree days like today, some rooms in their house are not particularly sweet-smelling.

Okay, go ahead with the hate comments: are you a cat lover? Am I totally wrong here?