Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bad Day 264--I'm not saying I told you so. But I so told you!

Today is Easter, but I am too jet-lagged to do anything about it. Somewhere in the garage, we have a bunch of plastic eggs, and somewhere in the house we have candy I bought to fill them, but I can't keep my eyes open, so I didn't do anything about it. Plus, Husband is the big egg hider, and we only have one child who might be interested in the hunt, so I told Child 3 she could dye the eggs herself and I took a nap. I know. I'm a terrible mother, but I did tell her which pot to use to boil the eggs before I fell asleep. Except that she didn't listen and claims I never told her to cook them first and she dyed all the eggs raw. And then when I told her they needed to be cooked, she dropped them one by one into boiling water where they each promptly cracked and poached, sort of. It was gross, so we threw them out and started over. She still did all the dyeing, because she loves art projects like that. And then we turned them into deviled eggs and ate them. The cooked eggs were delicious.

We also had ham and asparagus and mashed potatoes and fresh mango. Delicious and all gluten-free. Finding wheatless things to eat in England was way harder than I thought it would be, thus all the "jacket potatoes" which are really just baked and they honestly do put baked beans on them. They also eat baked beans for breakfast. But then, I'm from Texas and we eat beans (refried, though) for breakfast there, too. Also salsa on eggs and grits with cheese, so who am I to judge. One very sad lunch the restaurant had run out of potatoes so I had the vegetable soup which was good, but not very filling. Child 3 ate chips with every meal and once I had to grab a bowl of Frosted Flakes out of her little hands because they are not gluten free, even though some hipster told me they were. I looked it up online and they use malt flavoring, so no Frosted Flakes for us.

Now I'm shopping online for luggage because mine broke when I was packing it to leave for England. I took it anyway, but it has no handle on the top, so it's hard to move around. And the zipper pulls are all broken, and the telescoping handle broke the first time I used it seven years ago. But it's a nice shade of blue. That doesn't make up for the fact that we bought a really crappy expensive suitcase that didn't last. The cheap ones we bought at Costco are still going strong. I'm going to try at Marshall's next. But not a designer bag. Just a lightweight one that is the right size and has lots of pockets and maybe is blue. The matching carry-on is still in good shape and I would hate for it to clash.

The owner of this flea circus in Germany is having a worse day than me. Europe is having an especially cold spring and the fleas apparently died from the cold. I know you are wondering why this is a bad thing. And also, are flea circuses really real? But they are and here is a picture of one.

I know! I'm itching just thinking about it. The picture is so much worse. But the owner was able to find new fleas and train them in time for the big performance. Please don't make me google how to train fleas. I don't think I could stand it. But thank you, Mr. Flea Trainer, for reminding me to be grateful that I treated The Dog for fleas before we boarded her at the vet's. I have no interest in having fleas in the house, trained or not.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bad Day 263--I feel like I'm dragging the whole jet behind me

I have jet lag. I know you are wondering how I could have jet lag when I've been at home all week but I haven't actually been home. We've been in England; London to be exact. But because I got paranoid about advertising that our house would be empty for a week, I didn't say anything on the blog. I hope you will forgive me for not being exactly truthful. We did meet Husband there and we had a great time, even though it was freezing cold and gray and very un-springlike. But I hear the weather in DC was much the same, so we didn't miss that. Anyway, here are some of the highlights from our trip along with quotes about the activity.

Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace--I can't see. I'm cold. I can't see. What's happening? I can'y see anything! Can we go get lunch? 

Tower of London--If you Americans had paid your taxes, all this could have been yours! I hate all tour guides except the really cool Beefeater funny ones. 

Brass rubbing at St. Martin in the Fields--Mom, this is really fun! You should do this next time you come on business.

The London Eye--You have not seen London until you've seen it from the top of the London Eye. (This was Child 3's bit of wisdom even though she was at first afraid to get on.)

The Making of Harry Potter Tour--The butterbeer was the best part. (I might almost agree with this except that we saw the actual sets and walked down Diagon Alley.) Also, Hagrid's head was animatronic. Who knew?

Windsor Palace--Down with the tyrant King George! (They had a lot of fun making faces at the portraits of George III)

Stonehenge--I thought it would be bigger. Sheep train! (There are lots of sheep in the surrounding fields.)

I learned to really love "jacket potatoes" which are gluten free. I don't love baked beans on them, though. Or coleslaw. Child 3 and I ate a lot of chips without the fish. Child 2 made up for us though and ate more than her fair share of chips. Everyone but me got British shirts or sweatshirts, although I got a beautiful shawl from the Edinburgh Woolen Mills. And we spent lots of time with Husband, holding his hand, teasing him about falling asleep, and generally having family togetherness. And then we all sobbed when it was time to leave for the airport--including Husband. But six weeks now until his next R&R and then six weeks until he comes home for good. I can't believe we've made it this far.

Someone suggested that this 8 year old girl in California on a field trip is having a worse day than me, and I totally agree. She was on a trip to a science museum with class, when someone shot her in the leg with an arrow. Seriously! Poor thing. She was very brave and will be fine, but still. No child should be shot with anything on a field trip, and that includes Child 2 who was shot in the face with a rock from a sling-shot on a field trip once in third grade, and the school didn't even bother to tell me. Another mother called me to let me know because she was so upset about it. You can bet I didn't let that slide by. I think the principal's ears are still ringing, as they should be. But still, you Sweet Brave Girl, I hope you feel better soon, and I really hope they catch the idiot who shot you. That person deserves jail time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bad Day 262--You would think this would be easier

I honestly thought I would get better at the good-byes, since I send Husband off so often, but they are painful and wrenching and awful every time. He doesn't even leave until tomorrow, yet I have been crying all day. I have completely given up on makeup today because there is no point. Also, I have run out of tissues--twice. OK, they were small packets and both half empty, but still, you would think I would know better and just walk around with a big box of Puffs with lotion by now. It has to be the lotion kind because the other tissues disintegrate with this much crying into them. Also, my nose gets red and raw.

Child 1 has been her grumpy self all day and Child 3 has had her moments, too. Child 2 is brimming over with optimism and telling jokes and making everyone laugh. Whose child is this anyway? Oh right. Husband's. I am too heartbroken to write much more and I feel like I'm wasting time writing when I could be spending it to him, so right to the bad day, if I can find anyone having a worse day than me, that is.

This homeowner in California might be having a worse day than me. He was inside his house with his dog, when two brown bears decided to break in through the doggy door and raid his refrigerator. They ate his Chinese food and stole a box of dog food before animal control arrived and fired beanbags into the air to scare them off. Here is one of them contemplating what to do with the TV.

So thank you, Mr. Bear Host, for reminding me to be grateful again that there are no bears where we live. And also that we have no doggy door. It is a pain to have to take The Dog out every single time she needs to go, but if it keeps the wild animals out of my house, it is totally worth it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bad Day 261--The beginning of the end

Tomorrow is Husband's last day with us and we are all terribly sad about it. I am handling it by touching him as much as possible to make sure it's not a mirage and that he is actually here. Child 1 and Child 3 are doing what normal children do which is to be mean to everyone because they are sad.  But I recognize this for what it is and I know that they are not really mad at me so it is OK. Now, after Husband leaves when they are still grumpy, we will see how well I handle it. But Child 2, on the other hand, tends to handle Husband leaving in a way that has me totally stumped on how to handle it and completely confused. When she encounters something that makes everyone else sad and grumpy, her go to coping mechanism is, wait for it, to become more optimistic. Yes, I have an optimist for a daughter which can only be Husband's fault because that has to be where the optimism comes from. I would swear she is not related to me, but I was there when I gave birth to her so I'm pretty sure she's my daughter. She goes around saying things like "well, at least we still have electricity." Or "Only 3 1/2 months until Dad is home for good!" Or "at least he is not in North Korea!" I suppose all of those are good things, but Child 2 is annoying the heck out of Child 1 and making her even grumpier, if that is possible.

Poor Child 3 is still sick, but on the mend. She made us all crack up at breakfast when I asked her if she wanted chamomile tea, and she replied no thank you because she didn't think camels should be food. I love having children just for the joy of conversations like that. I wouldn't want to drink tea made out of one of these, either.

This woman in Florida is having a worse day than me. She threw a surprise party for her boss, which you would think would be a nice thing. However, the higher-ups thought maybe she had used company funds for the party (which must have been much more than donuts and a card which is the usual Department celebration) so they looked at the books to see if that was true. And they found more than a few irregularities which showed that she had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. So thank you, Ms. Crook, for reminding me to bring home-made gluten-free cookies next time I celebrated someone's birthday. Although I have no control over any funds at work whatsoever, so I think I'll be alright.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bad Day 260--What a waste.

Child 3 is sicker than ever. This poor thing is going to spend the rest of her Spring Break in bed. She has a fever and a stuffy nose and a cough that sounds like a seal. If it gets much worse, we will go to the doctor. At this point, I know exactly what the doctor will say which is give her plenty of fluids and send her to bed. She couldn't even be tempted with french fries today, so I know she feels awful. Poor thing. The only thing worse than being sick during vacation is, well, I don't know what's worse. Maybe being allergic to wheat? Oh wait, I think she wins that contest, too. Really. I feel so bad for her, I just want to kiss her cute cheeks and make it all go away. Instead, I gave her some advil and sent her to bed. I hope she sleeps and that her coughing doesn't wake her sisters.

Husband is snoring again. I think this may be the one R&R where he doesn't fully adjust to our time zone because he won't be here long enough. But he did manage to stay awake long enough to help Child 3 with a little homework and to have yummy Indian food for dinner. I am so full, I think I might burst. Indian food, aside from the naan, which I don't eat, seems to be pretty safe. They don't make their sauces with flour and naan is usually cooked on a separate grill or oven. I'm feeling OK and the burning on my tongue is from the spice and doesn't feel the same as when I eat wheat which makes me feel like I've scalded my tongue with hot soup. I had french fries the other day and as soon as I'd had about three bites, I could tell there was a problem. I guess that's a good thing, because it makes it easier to stop before I've had too much, but I'm so sad that most places make fries in the same oil as other batter-dipped stuff, so that makes them no good for me.

Husband and I were talking about my current job today and how much I love it and how it is completely his fault because he made me take the foreign service exam even though I was reluctant. He said he took great pride in stealing me away from Gymboree to work in federal government and he was happy that all my salary wasn't going to clothing. OK, most of my salary doesn't, although you might think that it does given the number of purses and shoes and cardigans I have bought since Husband left for Afghanistan. But when I worked at Gymboree, which is a children's clothing store in a shopping mall, all of my salary went to clothing for the children. All of it. I don't think I netted a single penny in four years, which is the problem with getting a 40% discount in a store that has adorable clothes and you have three daughters. I didn't make much money to begin with, and I tried to tell Husband not to think of it as money but as free clothing. However, he didn't feel like they needed that many items of clothing, which is probably true given the boxes and boxes of clothing that I have donated to friends and charities over the years when the children out-grew them. But it was a fun job and I liked it, but not as much as being a foreign service officer. Still, when people ask me what I did before joining the State Department, I love telling them that I worked retail in a mall part time while I stayed at home with the kids. Never, ever underestimate stay-at-home moms. Someday, we might just rule the world.

This man in Glendale, California is having a worse day than me. You would, too, if this was where your car ended up.


Yes, that is his neighbor's roof. He says the brakes failed, but he must have been going super fast down his driveway to end up on the roof of the house behind him. He says he couldn't see where he was going when the airbags deployed. That is probably true, but usually they deploy when you hit something, like a roof. So thank you, Mr. California Driver, for reminding me to be grateful that I live on the top of a hill so it is extremely unlikely that anyone's car will end up on my roof. If it does happen, I will be sure to let you know, and it will certainly be Husband's fault. (Just kidding. I will blame it on Afghanistan.) Props to Sister 2 for realizing that this man's day was way worse than mine, even given my sick child. (Poor thing!)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bad Day 259--We're getting there!

Husband is still jet-lagged. He probably will be this whole entire week, poor guy. So he is falling asleep and I am blogging because there is nothing else to do and I can't watch TV. OK, I could read, and I will, but I thought I'd get the blog out of the way first.

My feet hurt, and I may be coming down with a cold and Child 3 definitely has one because she spent the entire day using hand signals because her throat hurts and she has lost her voice. It's amazing what she can communicate without speaking. She has a very expressive face and hands. But it was worth it. Today was not a bad day, in spite of the fact that the weather was awful and this is the coldest spring break we have ever spent, bar none. We went downtown today and did touristy things and walked a lot. Miles. And miles. I wore my gray knit cloche hat that I bought in Brussels last year and my half boots and put my hair up in that do that looks like Princess Kate's and Child 3 said I looked like Downton Abbey. I take that as a compliment. The children had a ball being tourists, Husband was happy and we all made lots of fun memories. Child 1 even stopped instant messaging long enough to be goofy with her sisters and make fun of Husband's new "family dance." Don't ask. You don't want to learn it. And apparently omelettes for dinner is the new big thing. With mushrooms and cheese.

My version would be minus the toast and the herbs lest someone starts whining about why are there green things on her omelette and they are so hard to scrape off and I should wash them off or just make her a new omelette. Sigh. But at least they like mushrooms.

Speaking of spring break, these people who got temporary tattoos while on vacation are having a worse day than me. Apparently, vendors who do temporary tattoos like at the beach or on the boardwalk or at a fair use dyes that have a chemical in them that many people are allergic to and causes painful blisters. Regular henna tattoos made from vegetable dyes are fine, but the black ones may say they are temporary, but can leave permanent scars like this.

Child 1 asked for one a few years ago and I wouldn't let her and the pictures above are exactly why. So, Child 1, if you ever want a red henna tattoo, go right ahead, but skip the black kind because you know with our luck, you will scar. And thank you, spring break tattooees, for reminding me to be grateful that I won't even get my annual spring break allergic to sunscreen rash this year. Yes, that's right. I am allergic to sun screen and I break out into a rash every single year we go to the beach and I go anyway because I love the beach. But because this year we didn't go to the beach, I will be just fine. Who needs sunscreen when it's cold and rainy?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bad Day 258--I should have knocked on wood

So I cursed Husband's flight by writing about airline delays and he arrived two hours late, very tired, but very happy to see us. And he is here, so I don't care that I had to wait. I will do anything I have to to have him home, even eat Korean food for lunch, which I did. I had bibimbap without soy sauce and with tofu because all the meat would be marinated in soy sauce and I love him and he loves Korean food, so there you go.

It was actually pretty good food despite the lack of meat and it is the kind of Korean restaurant where you know the food is going to be authentic because everyone else in the restaurant is speaking Korean. Husband was really happy because they don't have much Korean food in Afghanistan, or any Korean food at all. Really. Did you think maybe they did? The children were happy and Child 1 said she felt right at home. I should probably take them out for Korean food more often because they love it. However, since all my favorite Korean foods are made with wheat, it's not as fun to not eat the things you like. But that is my life now. It's Child 3's too. She had a little melt-down at lunch and then dinner because she is mourning the loss of her favorite foods and is having a hard time finding things for lunch. The novelty of taking gluten-free pepperoni and olives for lunch is wearing off. But we had a brainstorm about making our own kimbap for lunch which is like sushi rolls only the meat is cooked Spam. She loves it and it would be completely gluten-free because it is just Spam, rice and seaweed. I know. Not my idea of a delicious lunch, either, but I haven't spent 70% of my life in Asia.

Husband has jet lag and is fast asleep. I am watching one of those shows where a real chef goes into a restaurant and is supposed to help them fix it because it's losing money and the people who work at that restaurant are totally having a worse day than me.

The owners are in complete denial that they have a terrible restaurant, even though they were losing money and requested to have Chef Ramsay come yell at help them. Sometimes I wonder if the people who volunteer to be on these mean makeover shows have actually ever watched the show. For the first season, you could say maybe they didn't know what they were in for. But Gordon Ramsay is mean. It's called "Kitchen Nightmares" in part because he doles out the nightmares along with the makeover. But not these owners. They are fighting back as if he were some uninvited guest who elbowed his way into their restaurant, not as if they actually serve bad food, which they totally do. Train-wreck television is awesome. I so love this show! Maybe because it's not my boss who is yelling. I had a yeller of a boss before and he totally gave me nightmares. Thank goodness that is not true of my current or next job. So thank you, Chef Ramsay, for making great TV and for reminding me to be grateful for supervisors who are kind and patient and encouraging and have my back. May my string of good luck continue and may there be no more yellers in my future.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bad Day 257--Slowly dying

So we bought this computer in China 6 years ago and the battery is slowly dying. When it's fully charged, I get about 60 minutes of time on it. And now the plug is broken. So my first chore for my vacation during Spring Break is to find a new plug. Brilliant. Just fabulous. This will be a short post, so I don't run out of battery and have to finish on my phone. I hate typing on my phone. Stupid small keys and auto correct that every time writes "you" as "tippy." I mean, come on! Tippy?

We hung out today with "Rob and Bobbi" who we worked with in China and who are so much fun. They kindly cooked gluten-free food for us and they have the best movie collection ever, so Child 2 and Child 3 were in heaven. And the best thing about it was that it gave us something to do while we anxiously await for Husband to arrive. He has some awful flight that gets him in around 10 pm, so we are all breathless with anticipation. OK, I am. The children are excited, but not breathless. Still, they are going to stay up way past their newly appointed bedtimes from our new "house rules" to wait for him. Not that that is any big sacrifice on their parts given that they hate bedtime and it is Spring Break.

These fans of Rhianna in Chicago had a worse day than me. For those readers who are cave dwellers, Rhianna is a big, huge pop star and has millions of fans.

Very pretty, isn't she? Apparently it takes a lot to get her looking that way because the children at this school in Chicago won a contest she sponsored and she was supposed to make a person appearance at the school at 1 pm. Instead, she showed up after 5, which if you remember from being in school is a couple of hours after it is finished. The kids waited anyway and when she finally showed up, she stayed for 16 whole minutes. 16. Seriously. Oh, she gave free tickets to her concert to the principal, but he is only one person and those kids waited four hours for what was supposed to be a great event. So thank you, Rhianna, for reminding me to be grateful that I have my priorities straight. I would never, ever keep anyone waiting for 4 hours, unless it was an airline problem or something, speaking of which, Husband's plane had better not be 4 hours late, or the children and I would be up all night. But it would be worth it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bad Day 256--A woman of substance

I know. I know! It's too early to post my blog, but I'm avoiding all the things I should be doing today and trying not to stress about the thing I forgot which isn't working because I can't stop thinking about it. So instead of sleeping last night, I wrote my EER in my head, because that isn't as stressful as the thing. And I know you will all be happy to hear that I made a breakthrough at about 4:30 am and I now have a good handle on just exactly what I want to say. I'm hoping to inject some personality as well as some substantive things about my job without sounding like a pompous self-promoter. It is a delicate balance. I might, just maybe, get it right after about 15 years of this or so, by which time I will either be crazy or promoted or fired. Maybe even all three! I can be an overachiever when I want to be.

Now, instead of folding clothes, I am watching Magnum P.I. and blogging. Clearly I am avoiding my responsibilities which I should no longer avoid. But it's cold outside and I am so lonely for Husband so who can blame me for wanting to pretend I'm in Hawaii? Wouldn't this be better than our current un-spring?

I think we can all agree that Waikiki at any time of the year beats 34 degrees in DC. And I think we can all agree that the Groundhog needs to be fired. So fired. Lemme at his EER!


I am all for whimsical fashion, and the cat-ear rhinestone headband in the article is adorable. But honestly, if you are paying for designer clothing, it should make you look delicious because you look amazing--not because you look like actual food. So thank you, ice-cream designer, for making me feel much, much better that I am not a trend follower. And also that it is almost noon and I am still in my pajamas. I could not wear anything fashionable all day and be completely happy. And comfortable. Now excuse me while I go nap because I've been up since 3 am.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bad Day 255--I. need. chocolate!

It is 7:30 pm and I am in bed in my pajamas and I have been here for an hour already. It has been that kind of day. It will be better on Sunday when we meet Husband at the airport, and it is the beginning of Spring Break and I am taking the week off, so you would think today would have gone better, but that was until the thing. The thing is I forgot something. Something hugely important. Something that could be devastating. I can't go into what it is, but let us just say that it's a big thing. A big freaking huge thing. The kind of thing that can ruin everything. (No, I'm not pregnant! Quit going there!) So I have fixed the thing, but it may be too late and I am very, very stressed about it.

To be fair, Husband completely forgot the thing, too. So it's not completely my fault, but I am the mother and I am in charge of everything and I have to handle it because he is not here. Sunday. I can make it to Sunday. Without chocolate. Maybe. Maybe?

At least I didn't have to cook dinner because I ate Stevie's lasagna which was gluten-free and incredibly delicious. She makes it in a skillet and it was awesome and a lot less complicated than the oven kind and I think I can re-create it. I am totally up for the challenge. After the thing is all taken care of. And Husband is back in Afghanistan because I am taking the week off and that means from everything. I am not going to cook. Not a thing. It is a vacation and I am completely making it one. Plus Husband only has one week, so we are making it count. No work. No laundry. Lots of fun and someone else cooking. I can't wait for Sunday.

This man in China is having a worse day than me. He was wearing a "Wanted" t-shirt like this one.

He doesn't speak English, so he had no idea what it meant. But a policeman in his town did and asked him about it. When he responded evasively, the policeman got suspicious and asked him more questions and then checked his status. And it turned out he was wanted on drug charges. So the policeman arrested him. So thank you, Mr. Wanted, for reminding me not to ever wear anything that might make a policeman ask me questions. And to also not commit crimes, which should not be a problem. Now excuse me because I have to watch hours of "Say Yes to the Dress" which has become my new substitute for chocolate. Sunday. Sunday. Sunday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bad Day 254--Why is it still winter?

Spring is supposed to have arrived and there are crab-apple trees blooming but it is still freezing cold. Literally. It was 34 degrees when I got in the car this afternoon. And that is not Celsius, that would be Fahrenheit. What happened to spring? That stupid groundhog said it would be an early spring and he so lied because here it is six weeks after February 2nd and it's still too cold to put away my winter clothes. Which is a bummer because today I tried on my too small Olympic t-shirt and. . . it's no longer too small! It's a little snug, but not obscenely so and I wouldn't be too embarrassed to wear it in public, so there you go. Take that you evil British designers who have different sizing! I can actually fit into your clothes now! Unfortunately, it is way too cold to wear the T-shirt, so it will go back into the Drawer of Things I Might Fit into Someday which is now the Drawer of Things That Are the Wrong Season. I cannot tell you how odd it is that I not only fit into my skinny pants, they are now too big.

OK, they're not that big, but you get the idea. Child 3 likes this picture. She loves cute kitten pictures.

My friend "Stevie" dropped by tonight with some gluten-free lasagna which I am so excited to try. Tomorrow, when the children are all out at their various activities, I am going to eat it all by myself and not share it. OK, maybe I'll share a little with Child 2 because she isn't going out, but only a little because she doesn't like lasagna. OK, it's just my lasagna she doesn't like, but still, that's no reason to share Stevie's with her which was clearly intended for me. OK, not just me because Stevie too nice to not make enough for everyone. Alright! Everyone can have the lasagna, but can you please leave enough for me?!

Jennifer Capriati is having a worse day than me, and not just because she is wearing ugly white barrettes in this picture.

Ms. Capriati, whom you may remember for being a teen tennis prodigy who later flamed out, has had a few run-ins with the law and also apparently has terrible taste in men. She had a big fight with her ex-boyfriend and she sort of stalked him and stood in his way of the locker-room door and pushed him and hit his chest. Now, Jennifer is an athletic girl, so she probably can pack a punch, and it is understandable that the ex-boyfriend was upset. So he called the cops and they issued a summons for her to appear in court where she will be charged with stalking and battery. So thank you, Ms. Capriati, for reminding me to be grateful that all my exes live in Texas. No, not really, but some do and the rest I have no contact with so who knows where they are. You see, when you break up, that is supposed to end the fighting, so quit stalking your exes and get your life back together. No amount of yelling and screaming will make him love you again--it will just make you embarrass yourself and turn you into a sad laughing-stalk. Have some pride, girl! You should be as fierce about succeeding in life as  you were on the tennis court.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bad Day 253--This is exactly why!

I may have mentioned before that I did not ever want a dog. And also that the parent who did want a dog and promised the children a dog is in Afghanistan, thousands of miles away from The Dog and therefore does not have to clean up after said dog, or smell her. She stinks. Literally. See, last night, I got a roasted chicken and three of us ate it for dinner and one of us, who had already done a load of dishes and the grocery shopping and heated up the dinner, asked the other two (who really just ate the food instead of helping prepare it) to put it away, which of course they did not. So the dog jumped up on the table and ate the rest of the chicken and now she has diarrhea, which means that instead of going when we take her outside, she is just pooping all over my bathroom floor. Yes, my bathroom, not the bathroom of the culprits who let her have the chicken in the first place. So three times today so far I have had to clean up the mess. I am making the children help, and to their credit, they have actually helped clean it up, even though there is lots of gagging and moaning and grumping, and that was just from me. There was more from the children. But for the third time, the floor is scrubbed and sanitized and febreze had been used and the house smells a lot better. The Dog still stinks, though. This is the magic scent we used.

I love dragon fruit. I love the way it tastes. The children think I am crazy and that it tastes like nothing, but I think it tastes like kiwi and strawberries and I love it. And it is my favorite Vitamin Water flavor, too, which is the only way I can find it in the US. When I went to China last year, I ate it every day for breakfast. Every day. And once, I smuggled one back from China to Korea because I love it so much and I wanted to bring one home. I know. I shouldn't have. But it was delicious. I won't do it again, I promise, because I don't live in Korea.

Something I learned today while helping Child 3 study for her test on the Revolutionary War--Paul Revere looks exactly like Jack Black. See? This is Paul Revere, the famous Boston revolutionary who warned the Americans that the British were coming.

And this is the actor Jack Black.

All my illusions about Revolutionary War heroes are shattered.

This policeman in Michigan is having a worse day than me. He stopped to talk to someone sitting in a car late at night. The driver of the car said he had hit a deer and was taking it home to butcher. The policeman opened the trunk and this is what happened.

Yep. That is the deer bolting away into the forest. Apparently, the deer rather objected to being butchered. So thank you, Officer Wildlife Rescuer, for reminding me not to put roadkill in my trunk should I ever hit a deer with my car. Especially since I drive a minivan and there really is no trunk and having a live deer in the back of my car would really freak me out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bad Day 252--I have nothing to say.

I spent all day working on my EER and I have one paragraph done. And it's not even that good and has one tiny thing of substance in it. I am a good Southern girl and I don't like bragging about myself and that is exactly what these employee evaluations are--big brag letters like those ones you get at Christmas where all the children get perfect scores on the SATs and someone gets into Juliard and someone is valedictorian at Harvard and the bad child only goes to Johns Hopkins. And they have a brand new mansion and all took a cruise around the world for vacation. Those kind of letters. So that is what I have to write for myself and I hate it and that's why I only have one lousy paragraph.

The rest of the day was hectic with lots of running around and half accomplishing things including sort of going grocery shopping and sort of making dinner and kind of making Child 3 do her homework. And I kind of did the laundry, too, if matching and folding a few pairs of socks counts as doing laundry. My pile of socks is only a little larger than this one.

I've put it smack dab in the middle of where Husband normally sleeps, so I have a couple of months to get it done, although I think some of them lost their mates several moves ago. I expect someone in China is thinking, how did we get all these pink socks with no mates? I should just throw them away, but I keep hoping the matches will magically show up. Or maybe what I should really do is just make the children put them away and wear mismatched socks. Since the school thinks I'm irresponsible and lazy anyway, unmatching socks won't make much of a difference.

This man in Hawaii is having a worse day than me, and it is his own fault because he obviously has never read John Le Carré, or Daniel Silva, or Tom Clancy. How can you work for a defense contractor and not have read Tom Clancy? I thought it was part of the job description.

But anyway, he fell for a classic "honey trap" in which a pretty foreign agent convinces a sad middle aged man that he is a babe magnet and then gets him to give her classified material. Now, I am a rather dumpy old mom who has been married for a long time and I am not delusional enough to believe that someone I meet at a conference who is way hotter than me would be actually interested in me as a person and not as a passport or a bunch of classified information. Sadly, there are people who are exactly that delusional and this guy was one of them. I don't know what his Chinese girlfriend/spy said exactly to get him to give her state secrets, and I hope I never find out. Whatever it was, it wasn't worth it because a) they are no longer together and 2) he is probably going to jail for a long, long, long time and it won't be in Hawaii. So thank you, Mr. Spy, for reminding me to be grateful that I will never commit treason and get locked up for the rest of my life because my Chinese girlfriend manipulated me into spying. I hope you like the snow, because the Supermax prison where you are going is high in the mountains and very, very cold. It's the opposite of Hawaii. Didn't think about that when you were passing along vital American secrets to your hot girlfriend, did you?

And brownie points to anyone who gets the reference to one of my favorite TV shows. I miss that show. Also brownies.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bad Day 251--There are limits!

Apparently, many families have house rules like no eating upstairs or no jumping on the beds. I have not made many house rules, in part because the children have bunk beds and it's hard to enforce the no eating upstairs thing when a) you are not home and b) you keep snacks in your own bedroom. Also, my children are older and have a lot of common sense. However, apparently when you fill out a bunch of forms for the school about your child's needs, the fact that you don't have rules for the house shows up as a problem and you become in danger of being labeled a bad parent, or at least an ineffective one. So tonight I am setting limits and I am determined to enforce them. There will be bedtimes and they will be observed. The children don't look like this anymore, but I miss the days when bedtime was when I put them in their crib and not when they were "sortofmostly" finished with their homework.

Before I had children, I was a perfect parent and I always swore that my kids would go to bed at 8. However, after I actually gave birth to the children and discovered that naturally, they would go to bed at 9:30 and sleep until 9 am, and then when I discovered that if I got them to sleep at 8 they would be up at 7:30, then I figured, why push it? So the kids have always gone to bed a little later. Plus, I only have so many hours to be with them after work, so I haven't pushed the bedtime. But now, I will because the school thinks I am a bad parent and that is the reason Child 3 is behind on her homework. I could try explaining that it is all Husband's fault for going to Afghanistan, but then I would be an irresponsible parent, as well as a slacker who doesn't set limits and can't make her daughter do her homework. Also, if you know me, the idea that I don't give the children limits is laughable. But still. We'll try the bedtime thing, but that also means they won't be able to talk to Husband because he won't have woken up by the time they go to bed. Stupid 8 1/2 hour time difference.

The people in this village in Turkey are having a worse day than me. They had a footbridge over a creek much like this one.

When they went to bed, it was there, and when they woke up in the morning ready to use it, it was gone. Completely. The whole entire bridge. Authorities think it was cut up and sold for scrap. So now the residents of the village have to take off their shoes and wade across the creek. So thank you, bridge stealers, for making me grateful that the river I cross each morning is too big to steal the bridges from overnight. No way you're carving up the 14th St. bridge in one night. And thank you for reminding me how nice it is to wade across a stream in your bare feet on a hot day. When you want to, of course, not when someone has stolen your bridge!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bad Day 250--Going green! But not that way.

We all wore green today. Except The Dog. We don't have a St. Patrick's Day costume for her. We ate our traditional Irish boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and mashed potatoes. We also make a green jell-o salad with pears and creamed cheese and whipped cream. It was delicious and completely gluten-free. If I could only eat like this every day, but the cafeteria at the Department never has delicious jell-o salad. Mine looks like this only without the fancy mold. I need a fancy gelatin mold. And a food processor, but that's another post.

We had another shredding party tonight. The children are fascinated with the shredder and I'm happy to let them do all the work. I know eventually they will get tired of it, but maybe we will get through the box by then, or at least most of it before they figure out that shredding can be a chore.

Will someone please explain to me why I have the song "Old Dan Tucker" running through my head? I haven't heard it in years and I don't even know all the lyrics. I had to look them up because it's driving me crazy to have the tune in my head and not know the words. Also, in my head, it's inexplicably sung by Loretta Lynn. I'm losing it. I must be. Maybe I've already lost it and I don't know it. Husband is going to come home and I will be a crazy lady with leaves in her hair running around in a nightgown singing folk music. I'll have to buy a nightgown first, though. Crazy women wear flannel nightgowns and I don't have one. I refuse to be a lunatic who is not dressed for the part.

This man from Atlanta is having a worse day than me.

I know, you are thinking, that he looks very normal. Except see that non-descript beige milky drink in his glass? That's his dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. He decided that shopping and cooking were too much trouble, so he invented a nasty what he calls delicious nutritional drink (and named Solyent like that one in the Sci Fi movie where it was made out of people) which is supposed to have all the nutrients you need in it in order to live. He claims he is healthier that he has ever been, lost 13 pounds in one month, and he doesn't miss food at all. The problem is, he's a young guy, and they tend not to have taste buds anyway. I much prefer to cook a variety of foods and exploring new recipes is one of my favorite hobbies. So thank you, Mr. Soylent drinker, for reminding me to be extremely grateful for the leftover corned beef in my refrigerator right now. I might just have some for breakfast tomorrow. Way tastier than an odorless beige drink. Soylent! Only a ma could think that was a good idea.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bad Day 249--Not the girl who popped out of the cake

Lots and lots of cookie sales today. It was the last weekend of Girl Scout cookie sales, so both children who are Girl Scouts had booth sales to work at, which of course meant that I also had booth sales to work at. And that I bought $40 worth of cookies. Which I can't eat. So we are sending our cookies to Afghanistan. Literally. When I talked to Husband on Friday, someone in the background reminded him to ask about the cookies, which I assured him were coming. All the extra money donated to the troop is going to buy boxes to send to his post to share with the troops. I hope they like Thin Mints, because that is what they mostly have left. But then, who doesn't like Thin Mints? I even like Thin Mints and I am allergic to them. I miss Thin Mints. And brownies.

It is late, but the children and I are watching Brigadoon, and we can't go to bed until it's over.

Brigadoon is one of the most romantic movie musicals ever. I mean, seriously. How can you look at that picture and not sigh? The first time I saw it, I knew I wanted to be just like Cyd Charisse when I grew up. Unfortunately, I am not a tall, leggy, beautiful brunette ballerina. More like the opposite of that. But still, I can pretend. When I was explaining about who was in the movie to the children, I told them it was Gene Kelly from Singing in the Rain, which they love. Child 2 asked if that was the girl who popped out of the cake or the one with the funny voice. If you don't get why that is such a hilarious question, then you need to watch more musicals. The most fun part is watching Cyd Charisse walk with her knees bent through most of the movie trying to pretend she isn't six inches taller than Gene Kelly. But hey, if I had to squat in order to be in a movie and dance with him, I'd do it. Heck, I'd walk around on my knees for months for the chance to dance once with Gene Kelly. Or someone like him. Maybe Mark Ballas. He is not the blonde in the dress.

Hendrix, and English Springer Spaniel is having a worse day than me. His owner was on her way from New Jersey to Phoenix, which is in Arizona, which is west of New Jersey. However, apparently United Airlines did not know that and put Hendrix on a flight to Ireland, which is east of New Jersey. Across an ocean. And is a whole other country. Of course the owner was devastated when she arrived in Arizona and found her dog was half-way around the world. United says they have apologized and refunded her money. I certainly hope so! Because they charge an arm and a leg to fly pets cargo just across the US, let alone to Ireland. So thank you, Hendrix, for reminding me to be grateful to double-check our tickets when we fly to Arizona this summer, just in case. And to be grateful that we are not taking The Dog with us. But next time we fly with The Dog, if she accidentally ends up in Ireland, she can just stay there. Really, it will be OK. No need to fly her back. Maybe we should take her to Arizona after all.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bad Day 248--Lavender blue

I knew the optimism wouldn't last. Today was one of those days where nothing went wrong, but it was still all just wrong. I'm tired of being a single parent. I'm tired of being responsible, and I'm tired of having to do it all. And I'm just tired. I think there is no way to make an unaccompanied tour fun for everyone and I honestly, truly believe with all of my heart that the families left behind have it way worse than the employees. I would say that next time I'll go and Husband can stay behind at home, but the children have already told me that is not an option. I believe the exact words were, "Don't leave us home alone with Dad! I don't want to eat fast food every day!" Apparently, last year, when I went on business trips, he never cooked and they were sick of pizza and tacos. Which is really funny when you think that we made gluten-free pizza ourselves tonight and they loved it. Child 3 even gave me a gluten-free pizza crust mix for my birthday. So, making pizza at home with Mom--good. Ordering pizza at home with Dad--bad. I don't understand it, but I am an excellent cook, so maybe that's the issue.

Child 3 has been complaining about her stomach hurting for weeks now. Months actually. Stupid, unobservant me thought it was stress. And then lactose intolerance. But it very well may be wheat, so she's going gluten-free with me and already she is beginning to feel better. She is all excited about it now, but she doesn't yet realize she has to give up brownies and Thin Mints. Luckily, she is not allergic to chocolate, so she can still have a lot of candy. Just not Twix, or Kit-kats. I miss Kit-kats. And brownies. Sigh.

Because I'm feeling so lavender blue, the only people I could think of who could possibly be having a worse day than me are these Greyhound bus passengers in New Jersey.  You see, they lived my worst nightmare. There they were, having a nice ride from Atlantic City to New York, when suddenly, their bus was swarmed by cockroaches.

Not just one or two, but so many that the driver had to pull off the highway. Greyhound sent a new bus and refunded everyone's money, but still. They have to live with the nightmare. So thank you, Greyhound, for making me resolve to never, ever ride a bus to New York. I will definitely drive in my minivan. Although it's old and a mom-car, it doesn't contain a single cockroach. It had better not or I will just get out and leave it on the side of the road. With the keys in it. Running. I think the insurance company might total it for a cockroach swarm. But I'd really rather not find out.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bad Day 247--The barnyard is busy

It's spring. I can tell because the trees in our neighborhood are beginning to flower, and my colleagues are all sniffing with hay fever. I don't get hay fever in the spring, thank goodness, but I do get optimistic, which is rather disconcerting for a pessimist. Something about the sunshine and warmer weather and flowers turns me into a person I hardly recognize--the kind of person who hums and and swings her purse when she walks. I know! Weird. So how I know it is really spring is that I was daydreaming about Husband today, which is something I find myself doing a lot lately because it has been so loooong since I last saw him. And then I found myself planning things we would do when he gets home, which, if you know me or have read this blog at all, you will know is totally 180 degrees from where I usually am which is thinking all the time that July is a million years away and Husband will never, ever be home. Never! So the planning for the future together caught me off guard. Could I actually be finally able to handle the whole separation thing? Nah. It's probably just temporary, but it is hard to be pessimistic when the world looks like this.

Tonight for dinner we had Child 1's improvised soup recipe and for fun, I threw in a can the tomato soup from Britain which doesn't have any wheat in it, and like many things in Britain made with tomatoes, it is orange. Bright orange. I don't know what is wrong with English tomatoes, but they are a weird color. So the soup was orange, but it tasted good, so I guess I can't complain. But I am glad I didn't buy an entire case, and I guess I'll have to find another wheat-free brand unless I want to get used to eating orange food that is not Cheetos. Only Cheetos should be that color. And creamsicles. Not soup.

So today at lunch, I was that lady. You know: the one that has all the questions about the food and requests something special like a substitution or a subtraction and takes all that time ordering? You know, "I want the Italian salad dressing instead of the ranch, but I want it on the side." That lady. And then, after all my questions about wheat and soy sauce and explaining I was allergic, they handed me my lunch and it had a big cheese biscuit right on top. So I made them take it off and I ate the lunch anyway and of course I feel sick. So I don't know if it was cross contamination, or it had something else in it, but I won't be going back to that food truck. Bummer. The Department runs out of baked potatoes around 12:15, so if I don't get to the cafeteria early, there is nothing for me to eat and today I had a conference where they did not feed me lunch but made me sit and listen to long boring speeches saying nothing but saying over and over again that went way past lunch. So thus the bad food truck full of cross-contamination. Ugh.

Speaking of cross-contamination, the owners of this bakery in New Jersey are having a worse day than me.

They claimed that their baked goods were sugar-free and gluten-free, but apparently, they weren't. The FDA actually tested the products and found sugar and a bunch of allergens including wheat. The bakery "voluntarily" shut down their facility and will have to remain closed until they meet FDA regulations. So thank you, Butterfly Bakery, for reminding me to be grateful that sometimes, the federal government actually does have my back. OK, actually, a lot of the time, since they pay me and all. But still, the laws are there for a reason and it's nice to know someone cares when companies mislead people about what's in their food. (Jelly bean makers, I'm talking to YOU! Gluten-free my foot.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bad Day 246--Back, by special request!

I am still sick, so Child 3 has offered to guest blog for me today. Before she begins, I should mention that she also made me a delicious dinner and served it to me on a tray. I feel very well taken care of. I cannot promise that the blog won't be in Spanish, but you can use Google translate as well as I can. Child 3, the blog is now yours!

Hola mi amigos! Me llamo Child 3! No, the whole thing is not going to be en español, ¡muchas gracias! Okay, so today is pretty much average so I'm going to list the weirdest things about me.

  • Whenever I go into the kitchen alone, I dance with no music
  • I enjoy annoying my sister
  • I hum a lot of Le Mis songs during class
  • I OBSESS over Niall Horan
  • 3rd youngest in the ENTIRE SCHOOL
  • I haven't read Harry Potter but I LOVE the movies
  • I have my mom's nose
  • I love Pandas, Penguins, Polar Bears, Turtles, Dolphins, Cats, Dogs, Bunnies, and Whales
  • For some reason, I want to be Irish (WHAT!?)
  • I make the weirdest/funniest/randomest/most unforgettable jokes ever
This man in australia is having a worst day than me. Apparently, he is sick in bed at home. Even though he is on vacation in Australia! Wow who knew he could be two places at once. Well, there was a shark attack on the beach so he had to save two children.
Honestly, lying to your boss and getting fired. PLUS tackling a shark.
So thank you Mr.LyingMcSuperHero  for reminding me that I don't have a stressful job,
and I don't lie either.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bad Day 245--Yo no hablo español

120 Days left. That's about 4 months. I think I can survive 4 months, that is, if the Spanish homework or this stupid cold doesn't kill me first. I woke up at 5:30 completely miserable, unable to breathe through my nose with laryngitis and a headache the size of Texas. So I used one of my precious sick days and stayed home and slept until 1:30. It would have been lovely if I weren't so sick and miserable that I couldn't enjoy it. But that is why it would be a sick day and not a vacation day. And true to form, the children have completely ignored the fact that I am on my death bed and all of them want me to help them with their homework. So I spent the evening digging through 100 Years of Solitude (which is a really, really loooong book in which everyone has the same name so it's also confusing) with Child 1 and explaining the Boston Massacre to Child 3. Child 3 still has Spanish homework, but I'm too tired to help her, so I'm making Child 2 help her because Child 2 took Spanish last year and also in preschool so she is an expert compared to me. Child 2 has this sort of affinity for languages and when she was learning Spanish in preschool, she would come home speaking it and I couldn't understand her and would have to remind her to speak English to me. I did learn quickly that zapatos are shoes, but I can't remember how to say "tie" even though Child 2 asked me to do that a lot. She could speak Spanish and taught herself how to read at age 4, but she couldn't tie her shoes by herself.

My headache is still trying to hammer and chisel its way out of my skull, and Child 3 is still not done with her homework, so I'll get right to the bad day and the driver of this Ferrari who really is having a worse day than me.

In case you can't tell, that is a swamp he crashed into. Apparently, a friend of the owner was at a car show where they were having speed trials and he drove down an airport runway trying to get the car to go as fast as it would go. The only problem is, he ran out of runway before he ran out of speed and he forgot that he might need some road left on which to stop, given that he was going super fast. The car may be salvageable, but it will probably cost as much to fix it as to buy a new one. I sure hope they have insurance. So thank you, Mr. Speed Demon, for reminding me to be grateful that I remember the laws of physics and would never drive a Ferrari on such a short runway. Also, my minivan won't accelerate that fast. But really, I hope your friendship survives this crash, because I know how I would feel about a "friend" who wrecked my sports car, if I ever have one, which I won't because we don't make enough in the Department to be able to afford one. Maybe when I win the lottery, if I ever buy a ticket. I kind of need to save my money because of this whole sequester thing. I am so, so never going to have enough money for a Ferrari.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bad Day 244--Sniff

I am coming down with Child 1's miserable cold. I knew I would as soon as I found out she had been hanging out in my bed. Now my nose is runny and my throat is scratchy, and my head hurts. I made chicken noodle soup with those delicious potato noodles made by an Orthodox Kosher company in Brooklyn and I hope it works. I don't have time to be sick. Also, I don't want to be sick because it's no fun and having a cold is so much more miserable when you are the only parent and you don't have anyone else to take over and feed you chicken noodle soup and send you to bed. These are the amazing potato noodles in case you are wondering and want to try them.

But instead of going to bed, I am arguing with Child 3 about doing her homework. I seriously hate homework, and I think Child 3 probably dislikes it as much as I do, but the thing is, she still has to do it. I don't have to do my 5th grade homework because I already turned that in about 25 years ago--ish. But now I'm stuck in some Groundhog Day loop and here I am thrown back into 5th grade--labeling parts on an atom. OK, technically I'm making Child 3 label them, but I have to tell her what they are because she left her science binder at school. Thankfully, I am actually smarter than a 5th grader, so this should go pretty quickly, if only there weren't like 50 more pages of homework to finish.

 Child 3 is a bit of a procrastinator, so she's a little behind. OK, a lot behind. She gets it from Husband who once gave me my birthday present in July. Remember, my birthday is at the beginning of March. This was the same year I gave birth to his first child. Yep. Four months late. What if I had waited four months longer to give him the baby? Yes. You're right. That would have been much more of a punishment for me than for him, but still, he needs to experience the joy of procrastination when someone else is doing it but he is paying the price. Husband told me today that next year Child 3's homework will be his sole and exclusive responsibility and I won't have to lift a finger. Yeah, right. Actually, that might happen earlier than he thinks because if I have to hear one more whine about how someone doesn't want to do her homework, I swear my head is going to explode! We have finally finished with atoms and now we are working on Spanish. Funny thing. I don't speak Spanish. Thankfully, again, it's 5th grade Spanish so I think I can figure it out based on my rusty college French and Google Translate. See? Smarter than a 5th grader. Too bad, I'm not smarter than a Foreign Service Officer. Oh wait!

This mountain climber in England is having a worse day than me and not just because he's climbing a mountain in winter on purpose. I personally do not think that any sport that involves tools with the name "crampons" could be very fun. Also, there is the whole danger of falling down the mountain, which is actually what happened to this fellow and he got it all on film. This was the view he had when he fell down the mountain.

When you watch the video, it is obvious that the mountain is trying to kill him because it threw a big chunk of ice at him. So thank you, Mr. Mountaineer, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never angered a mountain, that I know of. Because I am too sane to climb up them when they are full of ice and snow and you need a pick ax. Seriously, why would that be fun? It doesn't involve the beach or snorkel and fins at all! And it's freezing! Now I'm going to bed for about 5 minutes before Child 3 comes in to finish the rest of her homework. Or my head explodes. Either one.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bad Day 243--Best dinner idea ever

Child 1 is sick and has been hanging out in my bed using my massage chair. Without asking I might add--while I was not home. And using my Kleenex and watching Star Trek TNG on Netflix while using my massage chair. I can tell because half of my Kleenex were strewn all over the floor--not by Child 1 but by The Dog because she will eat Kleenex if you put it in a trash can she can reach, which Child 1 did. So we'll see how long it will be before I get sick because I had to pick up all the nasty Kleenex  I seriously do not like that dog. OK, maybe I like her a little bit, but not very much. She stole one of my shoes the other night and was sleeping with it--one of my favorite shoes, of course. At least she didn't eat it.

Some friends had us over for dinner tonight for their weekly traditional Sunday dinner which consists of popcorn and ice cream, which I have to say is a brilliant idea for Sunday dinner. They had three different flavors of pop-corn, all homemade, so it's not like they just threw a bag in the microwave. And there were also several flavors of ice cream including vanilla just for me, along with home-made hot fudge sauce for everyone else. It was a lot of fun to swap foreign service stories and chat and there is very little to clean up when you have popcorn for dinner. Seriously, brilliant! I think we might have to try that once in a while. But not next Sunday because we will be eating this:

Yes. Next Sunday is St. Patrick's Day which is a very important tradition in my family who are not Irish at all, even a little bit. However, every year for St. Patrick's Day, my father would make us corned beef and cabbage and we loved it. Loved it so much, that now that all of us are grown up, we all still make it every year. I even make it more than once, I love corned beef so much. Once, Sister 3 had people over for dinner and fed them corned beef and they took huge helpings of it leaving her very little and none for leftovers and she cried. And I completely would have done the same thing. Once, I cried because someone ate the leftovers and I wanted them for lunch.

I'm not exactly sure what it is about corned beef that I love so much, but it doesn't matter because I look forward to this dinner every year. So much so, that once in China when we couldn't find corned beef, some friends actually gave me a tin they had bought earlier because I was so sad about it and they felt sorry for me. When we can find it, we cook the fresh version, but canned will do if there is nothing else. There is also a green jell-o salad that goes with the meal, which I will talk about more next week. But maybe we'll try the popcorn and ice cream dinner after that.

These children in Norway are having a worse day than me. Their parents are, too. Apparently, their teacher brought a vial of her own blood into school and poured it into a dish and let her kindergarten class touch it. When one of the children asked how to get the blood off of her finger after she dipped it in the blood, the teacher told her to lick it. And because they are kindergartners  who do things like eat paste and boogers and listen mostly to their teachers, they did. They actually licked the blood off. The teacher, of course, has been fired but I'm sure the parents are having nightmares. So thank you, Ms. Vampire, for reminding me to be grateful that this year, the children's teachers are mostly sane and none of them have ever brought blood to school for show and tell. Honestly, how could she possibly have thought that was a good idea? I realize that Norway being dark for 1/2 the year might make it attractive to vampires, but you would think being one of the un-dead would show up on the normal security background check. Maybe kindergarten classrooms should all have mirrors installed and grow garlic as a class project. You know, just to be on the safe side.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bad Day 242--More like lurch forward

Tomorrow is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time which means we have to move all the clocks forward an hour tonight. I had planned on going to bed early because we have early church, but of course, Child 1 and Child 2 are both out at parties and I will have to go pick up Child 2 at 11:30 which really means 12:30 am because of the stupid moving clocks thing. So I will be a zombie tomorrow at church. Thank goodness for Sunday afternoon naps.

Because the older children are out partying, Child 3 and I decided to have our own evening of fun which involved making bead jewelry and getting pedicures and eating out and then watching a movie that she would love but her sisters would make fun of. So since we are in a mermaid phase, we chose Aquamarine, which I have to admit I find very cute. Plus I think the blue-green hair streaks are adorable.

I have tried unsuccessfully to get Child 1 to put them in her hair, but she won't. She thinks they are stupid. Child 2 would never, ever, plus her hair is too short. Child 3 is my only hope.

The bead jewelry we were working on included a bracelet for Child 3 which she designed and made herself, and lanyards for me. Department employees must wear a badge at all times and most people wear them on lanyards that say things like "Embassy Moscow" or "Bureau of Consular Affairs" or "Ikea." OK, that last one was just me because Ikea had lanyards for $1 and actually my keys were on it. But wearing a lanyard? Ick. I decided long ago that if I were going to have to wear something around my neck, it was going to be jewelry. So when I lived in China down the street from the jewelry market, I had about a dozen necklaces made of different gemstones (don't judge--they were $3/a piece!) and I clip my badge to them. So I can color coordinate and don't have to wear any ugly lanyard with words on it. The only problem is that they are now a little old and they are breaking. So we went to a bead store to buy some wire to fix them. And I have discovered what it takes a jeweler in China 5 minutes to make, takes me a couple of hours. But I'm getting faster and I will be happy to be able to wear my favorite colored lanyards again because I'm getting tired of the beige crystal one. The one I fixed today is garnet. Lovely.

Next summer, everyone in Florida will be having a worse day than me. This is because Florida is going to be invaded by monsters. Specifically, these monsters.

They are giant mosquitoes the size of a quarter called gallinippers and they scare me to death. The thing you have to know about me is that I am a mosquito magnet. Seriously. If there is a mosquito anywhere within a mile, it will seek me out and bite me, thus saving everyone else around. You really want me at your barbecue because I will get bitten and no one else will. So you can just imagine how fun it will be when the monster gallinippers are out in force and attacking me. So thank you, Florida Residents, for being bait. Please keep the mosquitoes down there because I don't want to have to move again soon. Really, there is not room enough in this house for me and a gallinipper, so the first time I see one, I'm out of here. Are there mosquitoes in Iceland? Maybe I'll go there next.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bad Day 241--Why are you arguing with me?

Child 2 wants something and I said no and she won't drop it and she is driving me crazy! Child 1 told her that it's no use arguing with Mom because she always wins, and still, she is pushing it and won't give up and keeps bringing the thing up over and over and over and I'm about to lose my mind. It's about to send me over the edge.

So to make myself feel better I am eating the last of the cheesecake and watching Magnum P.I. Don't judge. I am learning a lot. Like that they keep referring to Five-0 and Magnum occasionally says he is "McGarret." Also, Miguel Ferrer is Jose Ferrer's son, which I had no idea. Also, Miguel Ferrer was really good looking when he was young. He is in the upper left in this picture.

Also, his mother is Rosemary Clooney which makes him George Clooney's cousin. I wonder if he can sing? Miguel, not George. Who cares if George can sing? I just want to look at him.

Child 2 has forgiven me enough to participate in our weekly movie night, so we are watching The Princess Diaries. I had no idea Mandy Moore was the mean girl. Also, why does she dump the cute boy in the next movie? I guess we'll have to watch the sequel to find out.

This third grader in Michigan is having a worse day than me. He and his mom decorated cupcakes to bring to his class to celebrate his birthday. Because he is a little boy, they put plastic army men on them like this.

Not my favorite choice, but then I only have girls. For a little boy's birthday they are perfect. Even the school secretary said so when his mom brought them in. However, someone in the principal's office disagreed and they confiscated the army men because they were "insensitive" after Sandy Hook. Now, Sandy Hook was a horrible tragedy. I was horrified along with the rest of America and my heart still hurts for all those parents who lost their precious children. But the school that got all bent out of shape is in Michigan. Sandy Hook is in Connecticut. Also, those army men are characters in the Toy Story movies which is what most of the children will associate them with. And also, if they have good parents, Sandy Hook is only a foggy thing on the horizon that they have no real knowledge of because they are 8 years old. So thank you, Principal Over-reactor, for reminding me that zero-tolerance is a ridiculous policy in child rearing and that children ought to be allowed to be children. Now excuse me while I go hug Child 2 because I feel bad about being annoyed with her. But she is still not getting the thing that she wants. Sometimes, a parent must put her foot down. If only Husband were here to back me up.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bad Day 240--How do I describe my career?

Today was career day for the 5th grade, so I went to Child 3's school and gave her class a presentation on being a Foreign Service Officer, and I have to say that I was awesome. Really, there was a guy who jumped out of airplanes and a police officer with a gun and even the lady who is a train-crash analyst said my job sounded really cool. I have to admit that crashing real-live locomotives into each other to see what happens when they hit at high speed is way more interesting than working with budgets, but I am a better story teller. And I brought pictures. No one else had pictures. Visual aids are important with any audience, but most especially with 5th graders. Here is one of the pictures I used.

Then I explained that my job was nothing like that, and they still thought I was awesome. See, you have to know your audience. I know that I was awesome because they oohed three times during my presentation and only once during the paratrooper colonel's when he said he shot an AK-47. Also, Child 3 said I was and when I picked her up today, two of her classmates recognized me and asked me more questions. Now I'm the cool mom with the cool job and I love that.

Tonight was also the International Dinner at the high school which Child 2 insisted on going 2 which was a pot-luck. I am learning that pot-luck really means "nothing that I can eat except what I bring myself" because invariably, everything at the pot-luck will be made with wheat. Seriously--think about what you make for pot-lucks, even the fancy Foreign Service ones! Lasagna: has wheat. Macaroni and cheese: what do you think the macaroni is made out of? Bulgogi: soy sauce. (OK, that is just pot-lucks in Asia because even in China there were lots of Korean families and that is what they bring to a pot-luck.) On to the desserts--brownies, cake, pie, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies--they all have wheat! And chocolate! (I so miss brownies.) So since I did not have time to cook, I brought Yangzhou-style fried rice (which has no soy sauce) from the bad Chinese restaurant down the street and I asked when I dropped off the dish if I could just take some then because there would be nothing else for me to eat. And they almost didn't let me! Their big idea was to get in line early, which is impossible to do at an event where there are teenage boys, which I pointed out. I also pointed out that of all the dishes present, the only other one I wasn't allergic to was the marinated cucumber salad. So they let me have some rice and that is all I ate. I am so not going next year. Husband can go because he has a stomach of iron and can eat anything he wants, especially brownies. I bet they have brownies where he is in Afghanistan.

This identity thief in Colorado is having a worse day than me. She went into an Applebee's and ordered a drink and when the waitress asked for her ID, she just handed it over. This is a picture of the waitress.

Pretty, isn't she? Here is a picture of the ID.

Hmm. She looks familiar, no? Yep. The thief handed the waitress the waitress' own license which had been stolen. So the waitress handed it back to the thief and then went in the back and called the police who came and  arrested the thief. So thank you, Ms. ID Stealer, for being dumb enough to get caught in the most spectacular way and for giving back the waitress her rightful property, even though you obviously did not intend to. And thanks for making me grateful that my ID has never been stolen and I hope it never will be. Although if you steal my identity, please take the wheat and chocolate allergies with you. Oh, and The Dog. Because you will deserve to have your favorite shoes chewed to bits.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bad Day 239--Happy Snow Day!

My birthday wish came true and federal government was closed today because of snow. I was so hoping it would be and really happy when my alarm went off at 5:30 and I checked the website and found out we didn't have to go in today. School was canceled, too, so I turned off the alarm, didn't wake up the children and we all rolled out of bed around 9:30 very refreshed. We had a yummy late breakfast of fried potatoes and scrambled eggs and then I did nothing all day. OK, I did cook the breakfast, but I didn't do the dishes, and mostly I just played on my computer, looked around  Pinterest, and watched Magnum P.I. on Netflix. I love that show. I love Hawaii. I love Tom Selleck. It was a good birthday.

I should also mention that some friends brought me flowers and cake and we had Thai food for dinner at the place that has a gluten-free menu and I am full and happy and tired and going to bed.

This girls basketball team in California is having a worse day than me. Their coach was upset that they got a third seed in the regional tournament when he thought they deserved a first, so he threw a temperfit and said he refused to show up for the tournament, so the officials left them out of the tournament altogether. Here is a picture of their coach.

Tom Parrish's postgame comments cost his team a berth in the state tournament -- Fresno Bee

Yes, that's correct. His bad temper cost his team their spot in the regional post-season tournament where they probably would have done really well. So thank-you Coach Angry, for reminding me that competition and selfishness are two different things. Because of your bad behavior, your team learned a hard lesson. True, it is one they will never forget and there is value in a bad example, but still. It's a shame that they have to pay for your poor sportsmanship. You also said you probably wouldn't return as coach next year. I'm certain I'm not the only one who really hopes you don't.