Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bad Day 354--Forget 500 miles; I can barely walk 5 steps!

I spent the day in bed, almost literally. I did get up early to take Child 1 to the airport. I happen to own an air cast which I also happen to know is the best way to stabilize an ankle sprain from experience. So I put it on and I used the crutches to get to the car and I made her drive there. Then I hobbled in with her, got her all checked in, saw her go through security and then hobbled back. There really ought to be a way that people with ankle sprains can get a temporary handicapped sticker because every muscle in my body now hurts from that effort. I forgot what a strain crutches put on your shoulders and arms and hands and neck and the leg that isn't hurt. So I managed to drive home with the cast (thankfully very little traffic so I didn't have to step on the brakes a lot) and I came home and went to bed and stayed there for the rest of the day.

I'm not kidding. Child 3 heated up leftovers for me for lunch and brought them up while wearing Groucho Marx glasses to cheer me up and we ate lunch in my bed. Then Child 2 came home from church and I tried to make them watch Pride and Prejudice with me, but they fell asleep instead so we all took a nap together--even The Dog. It was lovely. Now back to Pride and Prejudice, it was the 2005 Keira Knightly version.

I have to say that when I first found out that they were making a movie and Keira Knightly was going to be Elizabeth Bennet, I was really mad. I didn't happen to think that she would be able to pull it off. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I read it every few years. I love it so, so very much and the BBC version with Colin Firth was perfection itself, so why would you want to tackle that? (A side note, if you have seen the BBC version and you want to laugh out loud, you must read Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason. There is a scene in the book that isn't in the movie where Bridget interviews Colin Firth about the pond scene. Best interview ever!) But I saw it anyway prepared to hate it and I didn't. It was lovely. The BBC version is still better, but you can't watch that all in one afternoon. And for 2 lovely hours, I was transported to Jane Austen's world and I completely forgot about my foot. Just what I needed today. That is until the children made themselves ice cream and forgot to get some for me even though I had asked for some. Sigh.

This coed in Virginia is having a worse day than me. She bought a box of this at a convenience store, and undercover cops pulled guns on her and arrested her.

It is sparkling water, in case you can't see. The coed didn't realize they were police because they were in plain clothes and they yelled at her to roll down the windows, which she couldn't because the car wasn't on, so they pounded on the windows. It seems to me, that the whole thing could have been avoided if they had actually read the box where it says "sparkling water" which is not in any way alcohol and if they had not scared the poor girl to death. Also, who pulls a gun on a car full of college girls? Isn't that like throwing water on a grease fire because you are just asking for them to scream and panic and act irrationally. Have none of those officers ever seen a horror movie? Or met a teenage girl? So thank you, Charlottesville Police, for making me grateful that the police officers in my town wave to me when they drive by and are always friendly and never pull guns on cars full of teenage girls. Small town America has its advantages. No bears or mountain lions or zombie wheat and friendly police officers--not the makings of a horror movie at all.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bad Day 353--Inconceivable!

I have sprained my ankle again. Seriously! I was just telling someone the other day that I was really loving wearing heels because my ankles were doing fine after having broken each of them in China and re-spraining them a year later but they've been good for almost two years, and then Boom! I stepped off a curb at the mall and down I went--right in front of about 10 people. They were all very kind. One woman ran into a restaurant and came out with ice bags and a towel. Another woman offered to drive me home in my car while her husband followed behind. And a kind chiropractor looked at it and said it probably wasn't broken and I should go home and elevate and ice it and not bother with the emergency room. So Child 3 helped me limp to the car and I drove home with the ice tied to my foot in a lot of pain, the whole time thinking I have to be able to drive, I have to be able to drive. Because Child 1 is leaving for San Antonio in the morning and I have to take her to the airport and I will be the only driver.

But we made it home and Artemis stopped by and brought home-made sour cream and bouillon none of which has any maltodextrin in it. then she helped find my crutches and drove me to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription which I couldn't get yesterday because the power was out at the pharmacy. And then we ordered gluten-free pizza from Domino's and now we are watching The Princess Bride. I love that movie. "Murdered by pirates is good!"

It is helping distract me from my big purplish blue ankle and the fact that I have to figure out how to walk five blocks every day on crutches. Stupid glass ankles.

People in northern New Mexico are having a worse day than me. They lost internet and cell phone service for 20 hours and nobody knew why until they caught the malicious culprit.

Yep. It was a beaver that ate through the fiber optic line and cut everyone off. So thank you, Mr. Beaver, for not chewing my line because Today would have been a long horrible day without internet and tomorrow would be even worse.

Bad Day 352--I am not dead in a ditch.

I am still alive, just up late. (Sorry, Sister 1) Sister 3 is leaving in the morning and we stayed up late talking because I finally could, even though she herself has to get up at oh dark thirty to start the long drive home. But that is our family tradition and some traditions must be followed. If I didn't stay up really late at least once, then Child 2 would be really disappointed in me.

Today there was a really big storm, so of course the power went out. But the car was filled with gas, because after last summer's disaster of not being able to leave for NYC during a power outage because there were no gas stations in our state with power, I always keep the car at least 1/4 full and up to the top if I can help it. You never know when you will need to leave for New York. And we had lanterns ready and our radio that you can power with a crank. So after I came back from my doctor's appointment, which was just in time for the power to go out, the nieces and Child 3 danced to the radio until they were bored and then we went to the mall and the movies.

I discovered a couple of things. 1. Child 3 is thankfully old enough that she realizes not all animated movies are going to be good and there were quite a few from the trailers which we both think we will skip (but not Despicable Me 2--that looks really funny.)

And 2. Movie popcorn makes me really sick and my tongue has been burning for hours. Popcorn should be gluten free, but apparently butter flavoring is not. Seriously, is there nothing fun left for me to eat? I almost broke down in tears the other day at the grocery store because it takes me so darn long to buy anything, and invariably everything I love and want to eat will have wheat of some kind in it. It. is. such. an. ordeal.

OK, enough whining. I need to get to sleep because I have to drive to kingdom come tomorrow to test drive a car for my friends "Annike and Aaron." We knew them in China and we love them so very much and they are moving here in the summer, so to make life easier for them, I am helping buy a car for them so when they finally arrive, they have something to drive. So I'll get right to the fact that everyone who says they are stressed is having a worse day than me. Oh wait. . . I can't have a worse day than me. These people in Washington are definitely having a worse day than me. They were at home in their house minding their own business when suddenly a huge 3 pound piece of metal crashed through their roof.

A mysterious metal object crashed through a Seattle roof (Seattle Police Department)

No, it is not from a space ship or an airplane. It is a piece of a wood chipper and it must have flown pretty far because this is the hole it made. Seriously, all the way through the roof!

The metal object crashed through a home's roof and ceiling (Seattle PD)

So thank you, Seattle home owners, for reminding me to be grateful that there are no lumber yards near my house. There are a lot of trees, though, but if I see anyone using a wood chipper to clean up the ones that fell during today's storm, I'll be sure to ask them to move it far away from my house.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bad Day 351--I wouldn't walk 500 miles

My feet hurt. Not just ache--actually hurt like sharp, shooting pain every time I step on my left heel. Probably because I walked at least 10 miles today. I'm not really exaggerating. For those of you who know DC, I started out at Metro Center, then walked to L'Enfant Plaza, then over to the Lincoln Memorial, then up to Foggy Bottom. Sister 3 and the three nieces and Child 3 met me downtown because they wanted to see the memorials at night and also it's not as hot. We really thought we were going to get rained on because some really dark clouds passed over us, but they blew on through and we were remarkably dry, although very sweaty and tired. And hungry. Dinner was hours ago and we definitely walked it off. But the good news is that I found a Mediterranean place that has gluten-free pitas, so I will be looking for that chain again. Also, they serve olives as a side dish. The nieces were not impressed, but Child 3 was and ate every last one.

This is what the Lincoln Memorial looks like at night so you can see why they wanted to go.

What I hadn't noticed the many times I've been there before is that on the steps, carved in granite, is a marker where Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech. Not everyone pays attention to it, and obviously I had never realized it was there before. But this time, the steps were a little wet and the light reflected off the words "I have a dream." Most people walked right over it, but I saw a group of students from Texas A&M standing on it and one of the girls looked down and realized what it was. Her group left soon after, but just as she was leaving, she bent down and gently touched the spot where Dr. King had stood, quickly but reverently. It was a very sweet moment watching her pay homage to history.

It is way, way past my bedtime, so I'm too tired to write much more. This girl is having a worse day than me. No need to explain why.

OMG I want these so bad!! ♥ #fashion #shorts #spikes

So thank you, Ms. Spikey, for reminding me to be grateful for my lovely and comfortable pleated chiffon skirt that I wore today. It even held up during all the walking and I wasn't too hot. I love good fashion. Those shorts are in no way good fashion.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bad Day 350--Is there such a thing as zombie mosquitoes?

There is a mosquito in our house that will not die. I swear I have killed it over and over, and yet it is still biting my feet. I don't know why my feet are so attractive to mosquitoes, but they are and I hate mosquito bites. I always put Benadryl on them and they always feel better until the second day when they swell up and itch like crazy and then no amount of Benadryl in the world will help. I think you can actually overdose on the gel so I haven't tried to find out how much gel you can put on before you pass out, but I'm tempted. I just got three bites while typing. Three! It's hiding somewhere in the room now so I cant kill it. This reminds me so much of life in Asia when I was afraid to go to sleep at night without mosquito netting. The worst is when one gets trapped inside the net and bites you all night. I hate mosquitoes. They are evil. They serve no purpose other than to be pests and spread disease. Something should be done.

Child 1 and Child 2 are leaving on a trip tomorrow for three days. They have to be dropped off at 6am, so this will be a short post tonight. Plus I have to find and kill that mosquito.

These 20 tourists on vacation in Canada are having a worse day than me because they got trapped on the ice by the super moon. I bet that's a sentence you've never seen before! For some reason, they thought this would be a fun place to go camping.

OK, actually they wanted to see migrating whales and polar bears. But the super moon caused a big tide and tides and wind pushed them out to sea. The Royal Canadian Air Force dropped them supplies, which weren't necessary because they were camping, and after several days, the wind shifted and pushed them back to shore. Unfortunately for them, thick fog has prevented them from being rescued and brought back to civilization and they are still stuck in the wilderness even though they are not on the ice any more. So thank you, crazy tourists, for reminding me to go to Antarctica by boat and to just visit polar bears at the zoo. Much less trouble and way warmer.

Bad Day 349--The problem with a common sense approach

There is a big thunderstom raging outside and I am counting the seconds until the power goes out. Of course it will go out because it always goes out when we have company. You can count on the power to fail when we need it the most. Also, it was really hot today, so the house will be a furnace without the air conditioning. And Child 3 will run screaming into my room and I am so not excited about being woken up to be told the power isn't on. Sigh.

Sister 3 made us chicken piccata tonight which was delicious and gluten free! Because I had gluten free spaghetti on hand. Also capers and mushrooms. Apparently other people do not keep capers and mushrooms on hand, but I love them so we do. Not much bread around, though. Chicken Picata looks like this.

Chicken Piccata

The children loved it. So apparently it is OK to have lemon and chicken with pasta, but not lemon with chicken and rice in a soup. I cannot figure out the rules. But if you don't bread the chicken, and you use corn starch to thicken the sauce, you have a lovely gluten-free meal with things I always keep on hand. So this one is a winner!

A fellow tandem whose husband is in Afghanistan forwarded to me our bureau's annual "please don't dress like an idiot" e-mail. They asked everyone to use common sense which is completely the problem. You see, common sense is based on experience and your awareness of your surroundings. So if you are young, or oblivious, or conceited, or all three, you are going to come up with some very different rules than your colleagues for dress. For example, if you have spent the last four years wearing sweatshirts and cut-offs, then you might think that flip-flops are dressing up.

And if you believe that your best quality is your sex appeal, then you might dress like this.

That is actually a picture of a Halloween costume, but I've seen things close to it at the office. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a leather mini slit so high up the back I could see underwear. I suppose I should be thankful she was wearing some at all. And then there are the people who really believe that they look fine when they show up like this.

I think he is an attorney. But at least his shirt matches his shoes. Honestly. Reading GQ would so not help him. Some people are beyond help. But I am still bucking the trend at the Department. I wore my award shoes again today and again they did not fail and complete strangers told me how much they like them. They are my favorite shoes. Maybe of all time.

Giada de Laurentis is having a worse day than me.

Giada De Laurentiis stops by Access Hollywood Live on June 25, 2013 -- Access Hollywood

The Food Network replaced Paula Deen's time slots with her show, and Paula's fans are not happy about it. They want her to stand up for Paula on social media, so they are bullying Giada who does not make the decisions at the network. And I have to say, that kind of bullying of the innocent is exactly the problem that Paula Deen is supposed to have caused. So fans, cut it out. And to Giada, thank you--I love your pasta sauce at Target. Now if you could only make your gnocchi gluten free.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bad Day 348--No packout for me! Darn it.

My friends are all posting on facebook about their packout woes and I have to say I feeling a little smug because I don't have any! I can't imagine how stressed I would be if I had to handle the children all by myself and dividing up the house into storage, via ship, via air freight, and in suitcases. Not to mention having visitors and trying to pass a language exam altogether. So I'm feeling rather better about staying in Washington and also my new job is going to be awesome. The current one is, too, so I'm feeling really smug. Still, I am a little jealous because I love the going somewhere new part. I'll just have to wait for my TDY to Africa in the fall. Oh yes, did I mention that I'm going to Africa in the fall? A whole new continent that is not Asia! And I already know the language! I'm thrilled. Now, if I can just somehow skip over to Uganda at the end to visit Sadie, my life will be complete. OK, no it won't because I still have to make it to South America and Antarctica, and also Alaska (only one state left!) But I have vowed to visit all 7 continents before I die. So TDY to Africa will help.

The other dream I have of the Foreign Service is that someday I will get to serve somewhere warm with a beach where you can actually swim. You could drive to the ocean in China, but you wouldn't want to swim in it. Really, don't swim anywhere but in a private pool in China because the public ones all look like this. Remember?

Speaking of swimming, my bathing suit has not arrived yet and I'm getting nervous. I had to guess at the size. If it's a little big, I guess that's not a big deal because I'll be wearing the shorts and rashguard. But too tight is uncomfortable and way too big, like the one I have now, is hazardous to my sanity because I would freak out after every big wave wondering if my suit stayed up. I love the beach so very much, but I hate bathing suits. Also, if God made me to live on a beach, which I'm convinced he did because I love the sea and sand and sun and palm trees, then why oh why did he make me Danish? Danish people were meant to live on the beach, it's true, but in the dark, with no palm trees. Covered in clothing because we are pale and I have red hair which means no melanin which means I do not tan. OK, I tan a tiny little bit, but mostly I just burn and freckle. My genetics have not corrected for global warming. So good thing there are rash guards and sunscreen because this is where I was meant to live and someday, I am going to find a way to get the Foreign Service to send me somewhere like that. A girl can dream.

This farmer in Oregon is having a worse day than me because somebody planted his field with zombie wheat. Yes, you read that right. He had zombie wheat growing in a fallow field. He discovered its zombie-like qualities when he tried to kill it with round-up and it wouldn't die. It was apparently genetically modified to resist weed-killer. No one knows where it came from but the company who makes it suspects it was sabotage. I'm going to go for aliens planting it because that sounds about as plausible. So thank you, Mr. Zombie Farmer, for making me grateful for once that I will never, ever eat Zombie wheat. I'm still sad about the brownies, though.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bad Day 347--The House Rules

Sister 3 is visiting with her three children--Nieces 3, 4, &5. I know, you are thinking how many sisters does this woman have? Just the three, and a brother. Sister 3 drove from Texas so they are very tired, but I have mentioned that I come from a family of story tellers, so the children and Sister 3 and the nieces are all staying up late telling stories in the family tradition. I, however, have to go to work in the morning, so I am going to bed, as much as it pains me. I so wish I could take vacation to hang out with her, but Afghanistan ate all my leave.

In the spirit of trying to have a more structured summer than in the past, we made a list of house rules which we all signed and then of course lost the paper and who knows if we ever will find it again or remember what we put on it. But the children reminded me the other day that we actually do have family rules, albeit rather unorthodox ones. Here are some of the rules.

  1. Everyone shall eat olives, both green and black.
  2. No water guns at the dinner table unless Mom shoots first.
  3. We only stick our tongue out at King George.
  4. Do not, under any circumstances, ever, ever route for the Redskins.
  5. No nail polish anywhere but the bathroom. (That one is really for Child 3.)
  6. You can dye your hair blue but not bleach it blond.

Child 1 tells me that rule number 6 is rather backwards, but I grew up in Texas and blue hair was not acceptable but everyone bleached their hair blond and why would you want to look like you had straw hair when it could be blue? It makes perfect sense to me. If I were a teenage girl, I would so want my hair and my eyes to match.

People in Russia who sent these packages are having a worse day than me. Instead of unloading them properly from a train car, the railroad worker just threw them out the door. Literally. Into a big pile. If you click on the link, you can see the packages flying through the air.

I hope nobody had liquids in those packages. Or photo frames, or glassware, or anything remotely breakable. I'm pretty sure that those carts nearby were for loading the packages into and that the railroad didn't pay him to just throw things out the door. But thank you, Mr. Lazy, for reminding me to never, ever send a package through the mail to Russia. FedEx might be OK, but then you run the risk of your present or whatever ending up on a deserted island with Tom Hanks. I love that movie. I need to watch it again. At least he actually uses the stuff in the packages rather than just throw it around. Seriously, I hop this guy gets fired. Will somebody in Russia let me know if they catch him?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bad Day 346--Stupid maltodextrin!

These late summer nights are going to kill me. We stayed up way past midnight last night, and it's going to be another late one tonight. The problem is that the children don't have to get up in the morning, but I do. This morning, I woke up at 10:30 and had to rush to get to the farmer's market before it closed. I had organic lemonade for breakfast (which was really, really tart because I think they forgot the honey they said was supposed to sweeten it) and cherries for lunch. Finding gluten-free lunch options is a pain, and now that I'm pretty sure I'm lactose intolerant, baked potatoes with cheese and sour cream aren't going to work. And I'm allergic Lipton onion soup mix, which really stinks because we use it on lots and lots of things. It's delicious on roasted potato.

I discovered the allergy today when Child 1 made onion dip, which we love and my tongue started burning. We checked the ingredients, and it had barley flour in it, which I thought might be OK but really wasn't. I have lovely hives on my cheeks to prove it. Sister 1 also pointed out that some sour creams have maltodextrin in them, which means I can't eat those either. So I did some research online and I found you can make your own dry onion soup mix, but it requires beef bouillon granules. And guess what all beef bouillon made in the US has in it? Yep, evil maltodextrin. (Why is that stuff in everything from soup mix to jelly beans?) It is apparently used as both a thickener and a sweetener and is made by cooking down vegetable starch, which is sometimes wheat or barley. So I can't eat it and must be why it is found in sour cream. However, bouillon made in Mexico which you can by on Amazon doesn't. And, I also discovered that you can make your own sour cream!

This is going to be my life now--going back to the 1800s and making everything from scratch. But I'm finding out why everyone in the 19th century was so skinny because it takes so much more work and way more time to make everything on your own. And then by the time you're finished, you're too tired to eat.

This woman in Pennsylvania is having a worse day than me. She bought a bag of potatoes at Walmart and when she opened it to get some potatoes out, she found this.

Yep. Walmart apparently decided to give out corn snakes as a bonus with a bag of potatoes. Not my idea of a good deal. She called up the store, and they said to return it to the lawn and garden department, which must have made her wonder if they really understood what she was talking about. So thank you, Walmart, for making me feel really good about my decision to buy potatoes at BJ's. I don't mind snakes, but I don't think I'd like to find one in my kitchen. Also, I'm not sure The Dog would ever recover and I just can't have her barking every time she sees a potato.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bad Day 345--What's one more day?

I think it's actually day 346, but I made a mistake last week and I'm too tired to go fix everything. Plus, Husband still has 3 1/2 weeks, which means that it will be more than 20 days before he's home, so what does it matter if I'm a day off. If anyone objects, please do let me know and I'll fix it just as soon as I finish my brownie.

It's summer and I've lost weight which is bad, bad news. I know you think that I might be happy about being almost two sizes smaller than I was previously, and I am, except that it means that I need a new bathing suit. And unless you look like Heidi Klum, then you know how horrible shopping for a bathing suit is. Sometimes, I think that a burkini wouldn't be a bad idea, but then I looked them up on Google and they look like this.

Although, I also found this woman below, and I so love her. I need to be friends with her. If anyone knows her, will you ask her to friend me on facebook?

But back to the burkini. They are awful. And while I was searching for them, I found something that made me even sadder, because they are made and marketed to women in the U.S.

It's called "modest swimwear" and it's beyond modest and just so awful that women would want to wear 19th century style suits on the beach. I understand not wanting to be exposed, but this "swim wear" would make you a spectacle and not in a good way. Isn't the idea of modesty to not draw attention to yourself? This suit would fail in every way, not to mention looking terrible when it's wet and sticking to you.

Anyway, I ordered a suit online--the regular tank kind--and a pair of board shorts and a rash guard for good measure. The rash guard is not because I'm afraid of being seen in a suit but because I have red hair and very fair skin and I burn after about 5 minutes. So anything that keeps the sun off my shoulders is a good thing. The look I'm going for is "surfer" not "turn of the century but without the hat." Honestly, if you like the 1800s look, just go for the real thing.

Now that is a swim dress! But I'm thinking it might be drowning hazard. Still, don't they look lovely and happy?

Paula Deen is having a worse day than me. She has been fired from her cooking show on the Food Network for using racist comments.

I'm sad because we all liked her and thought she seemed nice, but apparently this was a pattern with her and I think the Food Network did the right thing, not that they asked me, but I am a regular viewer and I approve. So thank you, Mrs. Deen, for reminding me to be grateful that even though I grew up in the South, I had parents who taught me to respect everyone. Although, I have to say that I have lost all respect for you. Good luck trying to climb out of this hole. You won't get any help from me or the children. We'll be watching Anthony Bourdain instead.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bad Day 344--I think I can't

Today defeated me. Completely. I think my phone is out to get me. This morning, it sent my friend an emoticon of a dead cat.  So sorry, "Violet." Once I end up on the emoticon screen, it seems to send random stuff. But at least Violet has a sense of humor and she thought it was funny--probably because she could tell it wasn't on purpose. Sigh. I hate being dumber than my phone.

It all went downhill from there to the point where I told Child 3 that she could not freak out because only one of us could and it was my turn, and then I went up into my room and sobbed in front of Child 1. I am not being a very good parent right now. I am making them cook their own dinners and I am in my pajamas and am going to bed. At 7:30. I am pretty sure they are still alive because The Dog is not barking which means someone must be petting her and it's certainly not me. Also, someone else is going to have to walk The Dog. I can't. I'm in my pajamas already.

Since today was such an awful day, it was hard to find someone having a worse one than me. But I think the tenants of these horrible landlords in California qualify.

This undated photo released by the San Francisco Office of the District Attorney shows cut joists under the floor of a San Francisco apartment. A couple prosecutors dubbed the “landlords from hell” for going to scary lengths to drive tenants from a San Francisco apartment building has pleaded guilty to several felonies. Prosecutors said Wednesday that 37-year-old Nicole Macy and 38-year-old Kip Macy threatened to shoot tenants, changed locks, cleared apartments of belongings, and sawed holes in floors, all in an attempt to drive renters out of their building in the increasingly pricey South of Market neighborhood. (AP Photo/San Francisco Office of the District Attorney)

I don't know if you can tell, but those are floor joists that have been almost cut through. They did that to their tenant's apartment to try to make the tenants fall through the floor. They actually cut holes in the floor and sent fake threatening emails in one of the tenant's name. They were pretty much a nightmare, but when they made bail, they fled to Italy. Thankfully, there is an extradition treaty with Italy, so they were arrested there and sent back to California where they are now in jail. So thank you, evil landlords, for reminding me to be grateful that I don't have one. If I had a landlord, I would complain about the broken faucet handles in my bathroom, but since it's my house, I just live with it. But we really ought to get that fixed. It is no fun to brush your teeth with hot water.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bad Day 343--I'm not sure if I think I can or not

I go back and forth these days between being Eeyore and the Little Engine That Could. Sometimes I think we'll make it and other times I just think "oh, bother." Right now is an oh, bother moment. Earlier today I was more optimistic, but that was before I smashed my finger in a drawer (I think I'm going to lose the nail) but after someone at work recognized that I had been right about something all along. If I weren't allergic to chocolate and wheat, I would just eat a brownie and go to bed, but I am, so I'll only do the last half of that.

I can hear the theme-song of the A-team coming from upstairs. No, not the stupid movie with that guy in it that I hate, but the original with Starbuck from Battle Star Gallactica. You know, where Mr. T says "I pity the fool." I did not introduce Child 1 to the A-team. I think her cousins did and now that she is fascinated with the Vietnam War, she is watching 80s shows about Vietnam Vets. It's weird to think that to her, Vietnam is as far away as WWII was to me when I was her age. Also, to her, Vietnam was the place with the awesome overnight train up into the hills where we saw terraced rice paddies and pet a water buffalo.

We also were introduced to restrooms that were a hole in a board over a stream. The hills are still ringing with Child 3's screams because she was not going to use that board if it killed her. She was only 4, but she held it in for four hours until we finished our hike. Then later when we were on a cross-country road trip in the US and stopped at a rest stop, we decided that dragging our kids around Asia was a great idea because even the oldest, yuckiest rest stops still seemed luxurious to them. Mom, they have toilet paper! Yep. Low expectations are the key to a happy road trip.

We also learned that people in the hills in Northwest Vietnam had no idea where America was or that we had ever fought a war with them. They all knew about the war with China, because their parents had  told them about it. But "Nam" never touched them, or at least the women we talked to had no memory of it.

They thought we were Australian or French and were happy to walk with us for five hours just to try to sell some ribbon bracelets. I still have the bracelet I bought, and the satchels, although the indigo dye they used rubs off on your clothes, so we don't use the bags. Someday, I will figure out how to make the dye not run and then I will use one for a purse because they are beautiful and I like to remember how privileged I felt being able to meet them and learn about their lives but still leave the dirt-floor huts and travel back to my house with air conditioning and hardwood floors. Traveling sometimes makes me feel happy and guilty all at the same time.

The people sitting behind this woman at Ascot are having a worse day than me.

Larisa Katz, Royal Ascot, Crazy Hat

Yes, it is very intricately designed and not only does it match her shawl, it is made out of chocolate wrappers. But for heaven's sake! It is going to block the view of about 25 people. If you only go to Royal Ascot to see the hats, then you are my kind of person, but it is actually a horse race and I can imagine people getting a little testy having to sit behind someone whose hat is bigger than a sofa. So thank you, Ms. Chocolate, for reminding me that chocolates are for eating, not wearing, but no thank you for reminding me how much I miss a good chocolate bar. Somebody bring me one so I can smell it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bad Day 342--Wait, what did I agree to again?

Now I remember why I don't usually let the children have parties on work night because when they are staying up late, so am I and they don't have to get up the next day, but I do. Still, I got a really clean house out of it and they cleaned up after. All I had to do was provide the pizza and drive a couple of kids home, so not a bad trade off. But ask me again at 5:45 am and see how excited I am to be up so late tonight.

The funny thing is, my whole life I have been a night owl. Before someone else paid me to get up and go to work, there were years, years that I did not wake up before 9:30 am. I miss those years because I really don't like getting up early and 5:45 use to be not long after I went to bed, so the fact that I get up that early is just torture--for me and everyone else who has to deal with me when I'm sleepy. I am not a wake up cheerful and greet the day kind of gal. That would be Child 2 and Child 3 who both always woke up smiling. There is a reason we used to call Child 3 "Happy, happy, joy, joy." She was a joyful baby. Really, all three were, it's just that Child 1 was happy when she woke up around 10 am, and I was, too. See Curly singing that song? Not a sunrise in sight. It is bright outside which means it is not 5:45 am. Beautiful mornings do not begin in the dark.

Another good thing about today is that I ate Afghan food for the first time and it was delicious and there was no goat, nor did I have to sit on a rug or eat with my hands. So if Husband is missing Afghan cuisine when he returns, I'm game. We had a pumpkin dish that was to die for and lamb with apples that really was superb and the rice! I never knew there were so many delicious flavors of rice. I definitely need to go back to that restaurant, so thank you, my friends, for taking me there.

People who go swimming in freshwater lakes in Florida are having a worse day than me because they are in danger of getting their brains eaten by amoebas.

Yes, brain-eating amoebas are a real thing and they will kill you. In the 50 years since they were discovered, only one person has survived. And apparently this will be a bad year for them in Florida because of heat and drought. If you do swim in an Florida lake, you are supposed to wear nose plugs and not put your head under water and not kick up a lot of mud, which completely takes all the fun out of swimming in a lake. So thank you, Florida health officials for giving me something else to freak out about. No lakes this summer, girls. Only chlorinated pools and the ocean--both of which are more fun anyway and not full of things wanting to eat your brains. There are sharks, but we'll just avoid those when the scary music comes on.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bad Day 341--There is nothing to do!

We are one day into summer vacation and already the children are bored. This must be a record. Child 1 fixed her boredom by going to the mall where she is probably spending the change she owes me from fronting her movie night last week. Child 2 never got out of her pajamas, and Child 3 already hates day camp. It is going to be a long, long summer. On the good news front, our chore chart worked well today and Child 3 actually made dinner mostly by herself and it was spaghetti and Child 2 loved it and asked for seconds. If you remember from earlier posts, this is the child who doesn't like spaghetti, or lasagna. The key, we have discovered, is using sweet Italian sausage instead of hamburger. We all like spaghetti a lot better with sausage. I'm a convert and Husband will be very happy when he returns home because he is a sausage fan, believing that it is akin to bacon, I guess.

The reason I am such a late-comer to the Italian sausage party is because of my Dad. See, in my house growing up, it was Dad who was the experimental cook. The only problem is that he is not a super-taster; he is a non-taster. We have this theory that he burned off all his taste buds at a very young age and cannot taste anything that isn't spicy enough to make your eyes water from across the room. One night when I was very little, 4 years old at the most because we moved out of that house before I turned 5, he made spaghetti with sausage so spicy it made us cry. It was inedible and famous because we still talk about it 25 years later. (OK, maybe a little more than 25, but I'm not saying exactly how many!) It was a cooking failure and he went out and got McDonald's for us to eat and we loved that and said over and over again "Mama Mia, spicy meatballs!" I think that must have been from a commercial because we are not Italian so why else would we say Mama Mia! Just checked on Google and it was a commercial.

At any rate, for years, when I heard Italian sausage and spaghetti in the same sentence it always signified something too spicy to eat, just like the cornbread Dad made with jalapenos in it, and the chili relleno that made my nose run when I walked into the kitchen. There were also some hot pickles in there somewhere, too. I avoided spicy food for years believing it was all inedible until my friend "Emily" introduced me to Thai food and I realized spicy and delicious could go together. But sweet Italian sausage is not very spicy and goes perfect in spaghetti and since we cannot use pre-made meatballs any more and I am to tired during the week to make my own gluten-free meatballs, this is a good solution. Also, Child 2 likes it, so we'll keep making it that way.

I should correct the impression that Dad is a bad cook. He makes amazing meat loaf, fabulous pot roast, and I will always be grateful to him for teaching me how to make corned beef and cabbage, which we love, love, love. But just don't let him near the peppers. I think I might hide my Szechuan spice next time he comes to visit.

This fashion model is having a worse day than me.


I know you think he is just carrying a bunch of recycling, but that is actually supposed to be a garment. You know, something to wear. I suppose that a custom-made bunch of cardboard could be a nifty urban camouflage and maybe something the military should look into, but it looks rather stupid as a sweater. But that's OK, because in London fashion week, you can also find the exact opposite look, if you like! This one camouflage's nothing.


I think my very favorite part of this look is that not only are those Capri pants for men, he is wearing them with knee socks. So thank you, British fashion industry, for proving that you also hate men. I have known for years that you absolutely disdain women, but it's nice that you go for equal opportunity embarrassment. I will pay someone money if they suggest these looks for the Department dress code. Or better yet, wear the cardboard box sweater to a country team meeting and say it was in GQ, so it must be OK to wear to work. That would make my year.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bad Day 340--The zombies ruined my piecrust

Things I learned today:

  1. My phone has weird emoticons on it that I cannot control. I don't understand what some of them mean, like this one  or this one I should still not be allowed to use this phone because I keep inserting weird emoticons into my facebook messaging. I apologize to anyone who finds this in their message. I don't know why it's even in my phone, or what message it could possibly convey. Perhaps "time to play monopoly with cats?"
  2. Gluten-free pie crust is really, really, really hard to make.
  3. Failing miserably at making a pie crust makes me very cranky.
  4. Baking powder and cornstarch should be packaged in containers that look completely different in every way.
  5. If you accidentally put baking powder into your berry pie filling it fizzles like a science experiment.
  6. You can fix a baking powder accident in your pie filling with lots of sugar.
  7. Berry pie filling is great on ice cream when your crust fails.
  8. Clothes that have been on the floor for 5 months can be picked up in 5 minutes if you threaten to throw them away.
  9. Father's Day stinks when your husband/father of your children is in Afghanistan.
  10. Child 2 is not afraid of zombies, and I should apologize for implying that she is. She is afraid of contact lenses instead.
This would be car-jacker in Texas is having a worse day than me. He hid out in an unlocked minivan until the woman who owned the car and her kids came out and got in it. Then he pulled a knife on the mom, but she decided she was having none of it. She grabbed the knife, punched the car-jacker in the face, ran the car deliberately into a telephone poll all while dialing 911. Then when the car-jacker jumped out of the car and tried to run away, she ran him down with the car. He was airlifted to the hospital and his car-jacking days are probably over. This is her picture.

She said she was just protecting her kids, and I think she is an awesome mom. So thank you, Ms. Spitfire, for fighting back and winning. I'm glad you and your children are safe and that car-jacker is no longer on the streets. People should not underestimate moms in mini-vans. And to Husband, let's not do another Father's Day with you in Afghanistan. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bad Day 339--The zombies didn't get me

They might as well have, though. Apparently, I should not be allowed to watch zombie movies while blogging because I forgot to push the button. Then, when Sister 1 texted that she was worried because there was no post, I tried to publish it from my phone, but it cut off the end because I hadn't saved it yet. But Day 338 is all fixed and you will be happy to know that we are not all dead in a ditch as Sister 1 accused us of being. OK, she was joking. That is what she tells her children when they forget to text her or tell her where they are. She knew we weren't dead in a ditch or eaten by zombies. I did even manage to get a few hours of sleep last night in spite of the slumber party, but what happened after that is all a blur because we did a LOT today. I was extremely productive.

First, we got all the non-slumberers out of bed and gave them back to their parents. Then we went to the farmer's market and bought lots and lots of vegetables and salsa and soap. Child 1 is in charge of dinner tomorrow and she wants to make ratatouille  so we have eggplant and squash and tomatoes and onions and mushrooms, because we like mushrooms in our ratatouille. Then we came home and loaded up the back of the minivan with stuff to take to the dump which is about 20 minutes away on a good day but today was almost 40 minutes away because of traffic. It was my first time at the dump, and I have to say it was pretty quick and painless. So after the dump, we went to lunch at a seafood place and ate very messy crab legs and posted half of yesterday's story.

And then we went shopping for pants and shorts for Child 1, which of course meant we found nothing for her, but Child 2 got a whole new wardrobe. But Child 1 still needed shorts, so we then went to the mall and struck gold at Old Navy where Child 3 also got a brand new wardrobe, though she does need things to wear to summer camp. Child 1 got some shorts, but what really excites me is that she also got some awesome books to read, including Catch-22 which I hope she will keep reading through the confusion in the beginning because then it gets really, really good.

Then we went our separate ways--no, not permanently. They are still minors! What kind of parent do you think I am? Well, you are right because I am exactly the kind of parent today who would ditch her children to hang out with friends. I had dinner with Artemis and Adonis and we spent a lot of time catching up and chatting and hearing about Adonis' experiences in a war zone and eating delicious food that Artemis made. AND she made me maple sugar candy and let me take home the leftovers. She is definitely the best family I could ever choose and a true blessing in my life. It was a wonderful evening of books and history and art and even though I stayed at their house far too long, I enjoyed every minute of it. The children were all still alive when I arrived home and one of them had even showered. So I took out The Dog because I could tell by her dance when she saw me that they had forgotten, and then I fixed yesterday's post, and here I am. Tired, but happy to have had a pretty good day, in spite of the fact that my husband is in Afghanistan.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, is having a worse day than me. He showed it to a very famous person who is the head of a foreign country who put it in his pocket and walked away. See if you can guess who it is?

Yes, that is Vladimir Putin and there he is holding the ring right before he stole it. Mr. Kraft sent a letter asking for it back, but officials told him it would probably be better if he offered it to the president as a gift. So now Putin has a Patriot's superbowl ring. I'm not certain if that is symbolic or not. But thank you, Mr. Kraft, for reminding me never ever to show Mr. Putin my jewelry collection because some things I am not willing to share, even with my adopted sister Artemis. I will happily help her shop for her own fabulous jewels, but I'm not giving mine up ever and full intend on being buried in all of it. OK, not all of it, but the nice stuff definitely.

Bad Day 339--Waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse

No, Child 2, there is no such thing as the Zombie Apocalypse, but Child 1 and I are watching Warm Bodies and there are zombies in it. It seems pretty funny, but zombies are gross. I'm not sure zombie movies are for me.

Tonight, the house is full of girls because Child 3 is having an under-the-sea sleepover. She decorated the house to look like the ocean floor and they watched Aquamarine which is that cute movie about mermaids. We also roasted marshmallows and Starbursts, which is apparently a thing. They taste just like warm Starbursts but warm Starbursts are pretty yummy.

And then I found out that Child 1 really loves me because she saved me from the chocolate. You see, the girls asked me to open the chocolate for the s'mores and I broke off a piece to give to one of them, but it was too big, so I broke it in half, which was a mistake because then I could smell it, so I licked it. And then Child 1 said no, you always get sick, every time! and held out her hand, so I gave her the chocolate. But here is the thing, it had almonds in it, and Child 1 hates almonds, but she ate it anyway so I wouldn't. Because she loves me, and hey, the almonds did have chocolate around them.

People keep telling me that it's so great that Husband is almost home, but I'm still sad and lonely and tired. And he's still not here. I suppose if I were a glass half full kind of girl, maybe it wouldn't bother me. But I'm not, and it does and he's still not here. One month left. I can survive one month--if the zombies don't get me first. (Seriously, Child 2, there are no such thing as zombies. Calm down!)

The daughter of the father in this video is having a worse day than me. OK, I'm not sure if he really actually has a daughter because he is a comedian and this is one of the characters he plays called "The Dad Who Makes Everything Worse," but it is really funny trying to imagine how horrible it would be to have a father who invites you to listen to Rush in the rumpus room with him, or offers you a boy's bathing suit to wear on vacation when your luggage is lost. But then again, at least he is trying. So thank you, Dad who makes everything worse, for reminding me that it is OK to laugh at parental mistakes, and in fact, sometimes having the children laugh at me is the best way to know what not to do again. The eyerolls are also a good clue.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bad Day 338--So dreamy!

Today, my office was deserted. Everyone bugged out early because a terrifying storm was on its way. The Department was on liberal leave which is government speak for everyone who has extra vacation days can go home early. Which of course meant I stayed until the bitter end of the day, except that it wasn't bitter. The bad storm came through right after everyone left and had completely blown over by the time work ended for me. So I didn't get wet and had a very easy commute home. I'm glad I didn't waste my leave and get caught in the storm.

We in the foreign service spend a lot of time preparing to bid on our next post. We have no idea what will be on the list when it comes out, but since Husband and I have so many limitations (two jobs in the same place, a high school, not Armpit Asia because I won't go back there) I feel like it is my job to find the hidden gems out there that might be great for our family which nobody else will want, even though we won't bid again for more than a year. In case you haven't noticed, I am a planner which is really, really hard to be when you have no idea where you'll be in two years.

I have already had the good fortune to have lived in Vienna, Austria AND Oslo, Norway, and I have visited Europe many times. I love Europe. I feel completely at home there. I love the food, I love the culture, I love the scenery, I love the languages (I speak three of them!) but I don't want to bid on there--in part because to get to Europe, you have to go to Afghanistan and I am not doing that and also, because I have already lived there. I want something new and different. So my actual dream post is Kampala, Uganda. My friend Sadie is there now and I have yet to read anything from her on either facebook or her awesome blog  (so, so jealous of her safari trip) that could convince me it is not as wonderful as I imagine it. But because we have never managed to actually bid on Kampala (the two jobs in the same place problem), my new dream post is (drumroll, please) Dakar, Senegal! This picture is why I want to go there. True, there are no mountain gorillas and there are malarial mosquitos, but who wouldn't want to live near this?

I am determined to live in the tropics someday, and French speaking Africa could totally be our ticket. Plus, wouldn't it be fun to tell people we were moving to Senegal? They would all ask where is that. And I would reply Africa! I had a blast telling people at the store that I didn't want to be on their mailing list because I was moving to China! They all said wow, I guess not. But Senegal even sounds pretty, so it must be a nice place to live. (No, Husband, I actually did check it out and the high school is supposed to be great, high differential, and easy to get in and out of.) People tell me I would get tired of the good weather and heat (um, I'm from Texas, remember! It's not exactly cold down there.) and lack of seasons. And every time I hear that I want to say let me try! I have no idea if I could hack it or not, but I think I could. Honestly. I think I could also live on an island and not get island fever. As long as I could get books to read, I could make a go of it anywhere, I think. If I lived in Senegal, I would spend a lot of time on the beach reading under an umbrella. A girl can dream, can't she?

This teacher in California is having a worse day than me.

She was fired from her job because she has a violent ex-husband. Yes, you read that right--ex-husband. She was a victim of domestic violence, and like many violent relationships, the bullying, intimidation, and violence didn't end when she left him. One day, he actually showed up at her school where her children also attended and because she was worried and needed help, she told the school officials who locked down the school and called the police. That was the right thing to do, but their next move was wrong, wrong, wrong. You see, they decided that even though her ex-husband went to jail, it was still too risky to keep her and her children around, so they fired her and expelled the children. Yep, cowards--the lot of them! So thank you, Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, for reminding me to be grateful that I will never ever have to send my children to your awful excuse of a school. If you cannot stand up to domestic violence and support that brave teacher, then I have little hope for your ability to teach children right from wrong let alone left from right. I hope you lose a lot of students because of your horrible actions. And to the teacher, you are a brave woman and I hope another school district snaps you up lickity split.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bad Day 337-- I'm from the government, and I'm tired of helping

The elves with jackhammers behind my eyebrow are back and woke me up at 3:30 am with a monster of a migraine--the kind that all the medicine in the world can't kill. So I called in sick and went back to bed and woke up at 11:30, except for when I walked The Dog and got Child 3 out of bed and pushed her out the door to school. But thankfully, the older two children are capable of getting their own breakfast and getting off to school on their own. AND there is only one more day. One more day of whining, moaning, just 10 more minutes, no, really I'll get up in 10 minutes. Why won't you believe me? Leave me alone! The children are not morning people.

One of them, however, is obsessing about a video game that was supposed to arrive today and hasn't and boy is she going crazy about it. She has asked me no less than 5 times to track the package and she yelled at her sister to get off the computer so she could see if it had been delivered. It actually was, but it was in the box with the dog food which I had put in the garage unopened, because who ships video games with dog food and detergent pods? Apparently Amazon does, so I will have to not assume I can just throw unopened boxes in the garage anymore. Either that, or The Dog will need to learn to like Tide-flavored detergent.

See, the problem with laundry detergent is that after being in the heat, the smell seeps into everything surrounding it. So even if you pack it up with your sheets and blankets, they will still smell very detergenty when they arrive at your next destination and you will have to wash your entire linen closet and the smell still won't dissipate for months. I know from personal experience. I had to wash our blankets several times in hot water with no soap to get the smell out after the last move. This is one of the reasons I'm not so sad that I'm not moving this summer. Since we are doing two DC tours in a row, there will be no packing or boxing or sorting or labeling this summer. I take that back. There will still be sorting and labeling, but it will only be because I can't stand the state of Child 2 & 3's room any longer. Seriously, I spent hours in there last weekend and it still looks like a dump. Something must be done. But not while I have a migraine.

This husband in California is having a worse day than me. He accidentally sold his wife's $23,000 wedding ring at a garage sale for $10. Seriously. This is a picture of the ring. It is one big ring. I won't even get into why she needed such a large wedding ring and why she didn't keep it in a nicer box. But there it is.

His wife was in the hospital having just had a baby and he thought it would be a great idea to sell stuff at the community yard sale. So without asking his wife if she wanted what he thought was an empty watch box, he thought he would "help" by deciding what to sell on his own. The woman who bought the box did not return the ring, although I am certain he is still hoping she will. But thank you, Mr. "Helper" for reminding me to be grateful that Husband would never, ever hold a garage sale of his own volition and he would never, ever sell something of mine without asking. Or at least he will know now that he'd better not, not that I own anything besides my house that is worth as much as that ring. Remember that my anniversary band cost less than his TV, which I suppose in this case, would have been a good thing. Still, I like my anniversary band and I'm not trading it in for anything, although if he came home from Afghanistan with a nice big ring, I wouldn't turn it down. Just a suggestion.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bad Day 336--Current events are not history

I am helping Child 1 study for her "American History" exam which covers things that I was alive for and therefore could not possibly be history. When I took history as a class, all history ended with the Vietnam War which we usually got to about 3 days before the end of school and just skimmed over. Most of what I know about the Vietnam War comes from reading books on my own and actually going to Vietnam. I have been to the Hanoi Hilton--both the prison and the hotel. The hotel was lovely. The prison was a pit, which was the point. It was originally built by the French. The theme of our vacation in Vietnam was "the Americans weren't as bad as the French." Because that is what people told us over and over. I have no idea if that is actually true, but it's what the Vietnamese who talked to us told us to make us feel better, or maybe to get us to spend more money.

Anyway, Child 1's "history" class also covers things like the Iran Hostage Crisis and the INF treaty, and SDI, and Desert Storm and NAFTA--all of which I refuse to believe are historic because I remember them. And I refuse to admit I am old enough to be part of history. I know who Gorbachev is. He is still alive.

So is President Jimmy Carter. I met him and First Lady Rosalynn and she complimented me on my necklace. (Artemis says the only thing that surpasses my shoe collection is my jewelry. This is why I love Artemis so very much.) But how can it be history if I was alive and cognizant? (OK, just barely cognizant. I got mad at the Camp David Accords for interrupting the Muppet Show.) I certainly don't look or dress historic, although my new gray dress and "in lieu of a reward" shoes definitely have a Mad Men vibe to them. I wore them again today and three people complimented me on my shoes, so I know they are awesome. Also, they make me almost 6 feet tall and for once, it is fun to look down on people--literally, not figuratively. Also, I got offered a TDY to Africa in the future, so I think they bring me luck. Navy swiss dot platform peep toes are way better than some dumb old award certificate to put on my wall. Right?

These airline passengers in Las Vegas are having a worse day than me.

There is a heat wave in Vegas and it has been over 100 F for a while. The first plane was stuck on the tarmac for two hours. Then the second plane they switched to also had mechanical problems and left them without air conditioning and they ran out of water. But instead of becoming unruly, they started singing. "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly was their song of choice, which is really, really funny. So thank you, Musical Passengers, for reminding me that we are still a civilized society and that humor makes lots of bad things better, and also for making me very grateful that I have not been stuck in Las Vegas in a plane without air conditioning. Although if I ever am, "Cooler than me" would probably be my song of choice.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bad Day 335--Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Catch-22 is one of my favorite novels. Really, one of the funniest I'd ever read and after I finished reading it the first time, I had this huge desire to watch re-runs of M*A*S*H, because that show was very much in the spirit of the book.

All these Snowdens in the news make me think it is time to read it again because I'm certain there isn't anything much more absurd in the book than what is happening in my life right now. For instance, you would think that with three children, at least one of them would remember to do something I asked them to do today, but no. They all "forgot." We even have a new chore chart on the wall, but it doesn't work if you "forget" (read shut your eyes every time you walk by it) to look at it. I think that everyone is just waiting until their chore rolls around to me so then I will have to do everything. I should not have put myself on the chore chart.

The children have 3 days left of school and I'm not sure we're going to make it. Child 3 is still supposed to be reading for 30 minutes and finishing up some homework and she has yet to show me she's completed anything. Child 1 & 2 both have exams tomorrow and I know for a fact that you cannot study for exams while taking a nap on the couch because I tried that in high school and it doesn't work. Sleeping near your textbook doesn't impart any knowledge into your brain at all. And instead of folding the laundry I put in the chair in front of the TV so that they could not avoid it, they just dumped it onto the floor and step over it. They will all make excellent congressional witnesses someday. Can't you just see them saying no, Senator, I never saw the pile of laundry. I may have actually moved it, but it wasn't a conscious effort so I have know knowledge of the event. I will be so proud as a mother on that day when they plead the 5th.

OK, that's not entirely fair because Child 1 did begrudgingly make dinner and Child 2 voluntarily gave The Dog a bath which is good because The Dog was getting smelly. Child 3, though, is avoiding both chores and homework, but I am giving up. I am just too darn tired to force her. It will take a force of nature to get her moving and I am all out of natural force. I am too old for this. I don't look it, though, but I certainly feel it. I still have no forehead wrinkles, but the gray hair is driving me crazy. I have got to get it covered up soon. If I can just get the energy to actually call the salon. Maybe if I take a nap on the couch, my hair will magically color itself? Why not, if napping can help you study history, then why won't it work on highlights?

The women riding in this limo in California are having a worse day than me.

They were on their way to a party and were sitting in the limo in their gated community not yet driving when it suddenly caught on fire. There were 10 of them, and they all escaped, even though most of them used canes and walkers because they were over 90! Yes, that's right--90 year old ladies had to escape from a burning car. Thankfully, they are all OK, although a little miffed with the limo company, as they should be. So thank you, Brave Ladies, for reminding me that you can still be feisty at any age and that "elderly" doesn't mean helpless. Now lets hope that limo company gives you another ride free of charge, because even at 90 I imagine you don't want to miss the party. As my Grandma used to say, young man, I'm over 80--if I want to eat chocolate for three meals a day, I should be allowed. Now bring me some of that dessert! Maybe when I'm over 80, I'll be able to eat brownies again. I'm not sure I can wait that long.