Today is Valentine’s Day! You know what that means …
That’s right! Tomorrow is 70% off chocolates day!
We all know that proud, overly-sharing parent, the one who is amazed their child can do perfectly ordinary things. “My daughter Marjorie can add up to ten!” Your daughter Marjorie is in college, Karen. “Look at little Timmy read this book!” It’s a picture book, Barbara.
If you’re like me, you want to back-end every car sporting a “My Kid is an Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker, and you snicker at the “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Roll Student.” I have a new bumper sticker: My Super Smart Dog Bit Your Honor Roll Student.
If you ask me, there’s not enough focus on the truly smart animals in our lives. Anyone who thinks animals can’t count has never tried to give three biscuits to a dog who is used to getting four at a time. The internet abounds with videos of horses counting and even if it is a trick of clever training, the idea that a horse can be trained to appear to count is pretty freaking amazing.
Recently, a family member was gushing about her toddler who knew where the pretzels were kept in the house. She even went so far as to surreptitiously record her child in this endeavor to share with the audience. This tiny human marvel could even open the pantry door and get the pretzel jar, but the act of unscrewing the tightly closed lid thwarted her adorably chubby little hands.
Awww, isn’t that cute.
My dog knows where the treats are. He opens the kitchen cabinet, gets his treats, opens the box, and eats his fill. I will admit, he hasn’t quite grasped the idea that cleaning up after himself might be to his advantage. At the least, as I keep explaining to him, it would buy him some time before being found out. I had to put childproof locks on drawers and doors and everything in between to foil my cat, the ne’er-do-well, who is apparently a master locksmith and can open any barrier placed in front of her. So long as she wants whatever is behind it, that is. My friend shakes her head sadly when telling me about her German Shepherd who can unlock door handles, open the door, and go into any room she likes. Baby gates? Pfftt. It’s like you’re not even trying. Cabinets and drawers and off-limit rooms are nothing to these animals, so while I think it’s adorable that your toddler can find the pretzels, I am holding my applause for now.
Don’t get me wrong, I know kids are smart. Heck, I’ve had two kids raise and train me perfectly. I just think it’s funny when over-effusive parents boast about ordinary milestones in a completely unironic way. “Look, she’s only 144 months old and she can recite the alphabet!”
Yeah, Lois, very nice. Can you hold the cat while I call the vet? She opened my locked bedroom door, climbed a ladder, cracked my wall safe, and got into the treats that I thought were for sure out of reach this time. And let me know if you’ve seen the dog, my car keys are missing, and I think he drove down the street to see that damn poodle. Again.
Don’t even get me started on that horse next door who keeps blowing the whistle on my trips to the refrigerator at night; I never should have gotten him binoculars for Christmas.
I’m not sure why people always have their deepest, most sincere and profound thoughts in the bathroom. Men are famous for flushing the toilet, opening the door and announcing, “I just thought of something.” For women, we do our best thinking for the shower.
Sometimes, shower thoughts are genius: We could solve world hunger if cow manure was edible.
Other times, they are life-changing: I am going to invest my tax refund wisely instead of buying another pair of shoes.
And sometimes, they are rambling, incoherent, and pointless.
Ladies and gentlemen, I devote this entry to my rambling, incoherent and pointless Shower Thoughts. Lucky you!
Okay, so where do you do your best thinking? Any Shower Thoughts you’d like to share? Feel free to spill, folks! I’m always looking for proof that I’m not the only one with a mind like a mouse in a maze!
This has to be the Monday-est Monday that ever Monday-ed. I’m trying to stay positive. By that I mean, I’m trying really, really, really, really hard not to stab anyone. Wish me luck, people.
Remember in school when we had to write haiku? Neither do I, so here’s a refresher. Haiku is Japanese poetry, three lines long, with seventeen syllables. It’s written as 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 again. It’s usually about nature or an experience. Someone, somewhere, thought this up, folks.
I live in the Eastern US, where “nature” has been eleven straight months of rain, followed by a swath of single-digit weather. I wrote this lovely haiku about it:
Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain
Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain
Ice, ice, ice, ice, ice.
I know. I agree. I am far too talented to be wasting my life working instead of creating masterpieces.
Looking at it, haiku are like limericks for the snootier among us, minus the humor. Haiku doesn’t rhyme, and not to disparage a centuries old tradition, it sounds just a bit disjointed and rambling when read aloud.
In my mind, all haiku follows this:
These words make no sense.
Here are seven syllables.
Oh look, it’s a dog.
Don’t hate me for my talents, embrace me in all my haiku glory.
I have never liked non-rhyming poetry. Non-rhyming poetry is cheating. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a beloved classic, in non-rhyme form. This is my absolute favorite literary piece of all time:
I don’t like them in a home, with a rodent. I don’t like them, wherever you put them. I don’t care for this dish of green eggs and ham. I’ve told you several times, Sam, I don’t care for them.
Now let’s go one step further. Green eggs and haiku.
I don’t like this meal.
Sam, take them away from me.
I won’t eat these eggs.
Look, I’m not saying that the haiku process takes the fun out of poetry (hey, at least with a haiku I wouldn’t have to come up with a word that rhymes with purple for that piece about grape jelly I’ve been struggling to write). I’m just saying it seems like the kind of poetry put together by someone who thought rhyming was overrated and just a tad too, well, rhyme-y.
I may be in the minority here, though. April 17 is National Haiku Day, believe it or not, so make your big Haiku Day plans early. My plans on Haiku Day? I am going to protest by reading from a book of limericks on the White House lawn.
Nobody likes “leaves, all floating down – stupid leaves need to be raked – damn it I hate trees,” but you know what we all have in common?
Everyone loves the man from Nantucket.
Do you ever lay in bed at night, trying to sleep, and suddenly, your mind decides to reach into its dark, hidden stash of almost-forgotten memories to slap you in the face with the most random shit? I have to believe this happens to other people (it’s what keeps me sane, so don’t pop that balloon, for all our sake).
And by the way, what the hell is up with these nighttime reveries anyway?? It’s your one time to relax and not think. You’re laying there, feeling the hardships of the day seeping out of your overburdened consciousness, and you’re grateful for the quiet … glad to be away from the noise of it all. Suddenly, your brain is like, NO! You will NOT sleep … you will instead fixate on that irritating commercial jingle you heard in third grade as it plays over and over in your head. Or how about that stupid thing you did at work five years ago? You know what I’m talking about. In the conference room in front of everyone too. That was fun, huh? Or, why does a round pizza come in a square box? Answer that one, smart guy. Why is it that if someone yells “duck” they are helping you, but if they yell “chicken” they are mocking you? Have they ever even MET a chicken? Those things will tear you up. Tear. You. Up. Or the old tried and true, are there birds who are afraid of heights? Poor birds.
Anyway, I bring all of this up to let you in on the crap question-of-the-night my brain decided to throw at me last night. Perhaps you’ll relate. Perhaps you’ll have an answer. Perhaps you will be kind enough to soothingly touch my arm (figuratively speaking, of course, since we are on the internet and as far as I know, we can’t actually reach out and touch someone … yet) and say, encouragingly, why, no, Wendy, you are not crazy. Not crazy at all. It will all be all right.
Is the plural of a computer mouse, mouse(s) or mice? The crux of the problem, the answer to which I unwillingly contemplated for hours, is this: grammatically, saying computer mouses just isn’t right and the grammar-fanatic in me fights back against such misuse. But … saying computer mice … well, in a word, drives me flipping insane. It sounds neither right nor logical … just stupid.
Me at Best Buy: “Excuse me clearly overworked sales clerk, but do you have any computer mice?” I feel as though such a request would be met with disdain if not outright confusion. Oh, of course they would know what I meant, but wonder in awe at my attempt at being “hip.” (On a side note, do we still say hip?)
It took me longer than it should have (4 hours 32 minutes) to figure out an answer to this late-night grammar puzzle. But solve it, I did. Aren’t you proud?
Simply put, I will never ever be in a situation where I have to use the plural of computer mouses mice mouses mice mouses … aaarrrgghhh!
It’s that time of year. Fall. My favorite season, to be honest. But it also means our world is briefly transformed into a pumpkin spice hell-hole paradise. You may think that pumpkin spice is just a Starbucks thing – which my daughter loves by the way – but alas, there are more pumpkin spice things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.
A friend of mine (yeah, a friend, not me, a friend) went to a veterinarian recently to get some medications for her dog. She was glancing around the office as the receptionist ignored her and was caught by a sign posted by the office’s groomer that boasted pumpkin spice shampoo and spa for dogs. Yes, this is a thing, and I can’t imagine what a wet-dog pumpkin spice smell would be. In fact, I try not to think about it at all.
If you’re wondering about other bizarre pumpkin spice offerings (and really, why wouldn’t you be!?), wonder no more. I have researched the most incredible pumpkin spice products, that actually exist, and compiled them here for your enjoyment.
Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder: For those guys who want to bench press five hundred pounds while staying in touch with the purity of the season.
Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses: For the love of all things pumpkin, why? If you are a bit more high-browed in your chocolate choice, never fear: chocolate royalty Ghirardelli has a version as well. Still not enough? Check out pumpkin spice truffles.
Pumpkin Spice Oreos: I think this one is the most offensive one on the list. Is nothing sacred? Don’t panic, there is also pumpkin spice milk for dipping these atrocities.
Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water: Carbonated pumpkin; who could ask for anything more? Personally, I hate sparkling water … especially flavored sparkling water. You expect this delicious, refreshing beverage and all it is, really, is just angry water. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life?
Pumpkin Spice Burrito: I guess this makes your post-burrito bathroom experience a little more pleasant to those on the other side of the door? Rest assured, there is also a pumpkin spiced hot salsa to complement these.
Pumpkin Spice Bagels: Yep. Never fear; there is also pumpkin spice cream cheese and pumpkin spice butter to spread across these New York Hell Spawns. Prefer pumpkin spice English muffins? Yup. They’ve got you covered. This one might actually not be so bad, all things considered. It’s kind of like a pastry in a way, so I might could get on board with the whole pumpkin spice thing here.
Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn: As if candy corn wasn’t already awful enough. On a side note, the dreaded pumpkin spice Peeps are on the shelves as well. If you want to deter trick-or-treaters forever, offer them a handful of both. I’m stocked up. Just in case you were wondering.
Pumpkin Spice Pasta: There are no words. I suppose pumpkin alfredo would require pumpkin pasta. If you’re feeling especially spicy, there is also a pumpkin spice pasta sauce.
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pringles: I bet you CAN eat just one.
Pumpkin Spice Vodka: Well, after the first drink I suppose this one won’t really matter. If you’re not a vodka lover, there is pumpkin spice moonshine as well. Follow this up with a little pumpkin spice chewing gum, and you can’t go wrong.
Pumpkin Spice Toothpaste: There is a fake meme about Crest’s pumpkin spice offering, but Breath Palette does offer pumpkin spice toothpaste.
Pumpkin Spice Toiletries: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, beard oi, lip balm, nail polish, and body spray are all available in pumpkin spice aroma.
Mentholated Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops: Turn your cough into a gag with these medicated nightmares. At least you’ll forget about your cough!
Am I the only one that thinks pumpkin spice has gone a little overboard? Sure, we all love a little pumpkin spice candle on a fall night, but these other monstrosities have got to go.
The saddest thing about all of this, is I just know that some of you are already Googling these to see where you can buy them.
I apologize for the recent radio silence. I thought I would make up for the unexpected peace and quiet silence on my part that you’ve been blessed forced to endure, I would regale you with a real-life incident that really happened, no really, it did, or, as they loosely say in the movies … “events portrayed are based on a true story.”
I was browsing the used book store a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across an old cookbook from the 1930’s, well-loved and dog-eared, with lots of pen scribbles in the margins of the recipes. To be honest, some of the chicken-scratch in this dusty, old tome read more like a “how to” on summoning a demon than your typical Sunday dinner recipes, but who was I to judge? I had to have it. It was high time to bury myself up to my elbows in flour and try something new, or old, however you want to look at it.
I flipped through the book and found a bean casserole; what could be easier or more wholesome than a bean casserole? I decided to make it that very evening for dinner. I parked in the lot in front of the grocery store and jotted down the ingredients. Difficult to spell spices, Devonshire cream, Hawaiian sea salt, banana flour, Lychee and sea beans? Easy-peasy.
An hour later after a lengthy search for obscure ingredients, I came out of the store with my Devonshire cream, on sale for just $8 a quart, my $25 Hawaiian sea salt, my $18 banana flour, and a variety of top shelf – if not odd smelling – spices. I was also given directions to a produce market about two hours away for my lychee. I was in it to win it, though; I don’t know what a lychee is, but if it’s in this book it’s got to be good. I plugged the directions into my navigation, and off I went.
I pulled into the dusty, broken down roadside shack and got even more excited. What other culinary delights are hidden in there? The bells jingled behind me, and a German Shepherd barked menacingly behind the counter. There, in the back, was a faded sign that read, “Lychee.” The recipe called for ten bunches of Lychee …at $15 per bunch. I was feeling a little less than thrilled, but still determined. I forked over the $150 for my bunches and mentioned that I hadn’t seen any sea beans. He handed me a sack and directed me to a swamp about five hours south.
A quick stop by a Wal-Mart outfitted me with my rubber boots and pants, on sale for $169! I couldn’t believe my luck. Five hours later, I arrived at the swamp. I wandered through the murk until I found them; sea beans! I would have shouted for joy, but I didn’t want to wake the napping alligators on the banks. There was already a water moccasin watching my every move.
Around midnight, I got back home and took my finds into the kitchen, eager to get started. First, it seems, I needed to “bruise” the lychee. I hesitated to do this, I was rather fond of the fruit by this point. I took the bunches and began bashing them with a hammer. Although it was a great stress reliever (you don’t even know!), this just didn’t seem right, so I looked up the term only to find it means “gently” crushing the fruit. I slopped the remains into a pot; it couldn’t matter that much, really. I peeled the sea beans, only to read a pen scribbled note in the margin of the recipe that the beans shouldn’t be peeled. That can’t be too important, right? At any rate, I dumped them into the bowl with the remains of my Lychee. Looking good so far, folks!
Now, on to the fun! I grabbed a measuring cup and my imported Devonshire cream. I checked the cup several times but found no measurement for a “jigger.” Undaunted, and remembering back to the days of my youth when my own mother cited this oft-used but heretofore forgotten in my mind measuring increment, I poured the entire quart into the soggy mess of lychee and sea beans. Ok, next I needed a saucer of flour. I still am not entirely clear what measurement a saucer is, but I gamely dumped several cups into the mixture figuring a saucer is pretty big … you know, to catch all of that spilled coffee. Next, I included a stick of butter in response to “butter the size of a walnut” (because …butter), a quarter cup of garlic powder (one saltspoon? What the heck is a saltspoon?) and, of course, a pinch of Hawaiian salt. I have small fingers, so I added a few more pinches to make sure. I mean, who knows who wrote these recipes? It could’ve been Paul Bunyan for all I know, and you know what size fingers he must’ve had.
Next, I needed to cook my delicious dish in a “slow oven” for 30 “scruples.” Not sure what a “slow oven” is, since mine has never shown any inclination to run a marathon, I heated it to 425, poured my mixture into a casserole dish, set the timer for an hour and a half, and sat at the table waiting with excitement. This was going to be awesome; I could see myself serving this dish to my neighbors, bringing it to office picnics, offering it for holiday feasts.
The smell hit me first; somewhere between skunk and sulfur, the smoke was billowing out of the oven and the casserole was on fire. I took it out to let it cool “for a few moments” before having to admit, I was defeated. $370, including my fishing outfit, and hours later, I had a congealed scorched mass of I don’t even know what. I put it outside for the crows and raccoons, but so far, they’ve only been sitting around it, in a circle, mumbling to themselves and periodically looking up at my window as though they’re plotting my demise for having insulted their taste buds in such a manner.
Come to think of it, summoning a demon might’ve been easier, and certainly a lot more interesting. Smell probably would’ve been the same. Still, there are 153 other recipes in the book, and I can’t wait to try them all …once I pay off the credit card debt from this one.
I think no matter how much you love your job, Mondays are bittersweet, if not downright traumatic. Unless, of course, you’re the Director of Cat Cuddles at the local cat sanctuary… then Mondays would be a joy. Alas, such a job opening has been quite elusive, and trust me, I’ve searched the want ads until my vision is blurry. In the meantime, Mondays will remain coffee fueled.
Facebook, in its ever evolving need to placate everyone, has implemented a service to help busy Facebook users better manage their time. You may have noticed that under each article or video, Facebook has added a handy dandy estimate of how much time it will take their oh-so-busy users to read an article.
I won’t even touch on the fact that many Facebook users don’t (or can’t) read an informative article to begin with.
I will even ignore the fact that I can read a 300-word piece in well under 5 minutes, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg.
Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we? If you are on Facebook for the twentieth fiftieth gazillionth time today, explain to me exactly what tight, rigorous schedule you are on that prevents you from choosing to read a five-minute article?
“Wow, teens exploring a wooded area next to the local mall downtown discovered a live wooly mammoth family today in New Hampshire! Oh wait, it’s a 5-minute read!? Who the hell has time for that??” *Keeps scrolling* … “Coke adds the name Adonis to its line of labeled bottles and cans … 2-minute read. All right! Now, that’s the kind of timeframe I can get behind! Let me at this one!”
If it takes you more than five minutes to read the article, can you sue for lost time and damages? Does that five-minute read include pictures and captions? Really, Facebook, I have so many questions!
I suppose you could time your Farmville crops to article lengths and give yourself something to do while the crops ripen. “This one will take exactly one corn harvest.” “Oh, man, I’ll never get to harvest those yams in time if I read this one, forget it. Who cares about the newly discovered pyramid on Mars, anyway? Those crops are waiting!”
Now, what happens if I choose to invest my time in, say, a five-minute article and it only takes me three minutes to read? I have two extra unplanned minutes in my day. I could:
Years from now we’ll be telling our grandchildren, “In my day, we had phones that plugged into the wall, TV sets without remotes, and we never knew how long it would take to read an article on Facebook!”
So, my followers and friends…what will YOU do with all of your extra time?