Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An alarming trend in marketing

America does not need to go in this direction.  Cover up, America; we don’t want to see it.

Back in May, my husband was thrilled to find these pita chips in the store, and insisted on buying them.  I have to admit that they are better than the other, cheaper brand of pita chip.  I don’t know if this is because they are unclothed.

A few weeks after we found the unclothed pita chips, a friend came over (this was when the basement steps AND the deck were still intact). She brought with her some unclothed orange mango juice.  I was very intrigued, but didn’t want to freak my friend out by taking a photo of her drink.  So I went and bought some of my own.

In preparation for this post, I googled “naked food products”.  Once I got over my fear of clicking on the results, of which there were only 21 million, I found a gold mine of naked food: granola, confectionary sauces, chicken nuggets, soup, and even an entire grocery store somewhere in Chicago.

There is unclothed pizza, which purports to be made of 10 whole grains, agave fiber and probiotics.  Despite its nakedness, I don’t think I would be able to get my teenage son to eat such pizza.  It sounds more like a biology textbook than food.

I also came across something called “Magic Healing Cupcakes.”  Their main ingredient is chocolate.  Now we’re talking.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coming home

I just got back from a trip to help out my aunt.  Six hours is a long drive for me to do by myself.  I am profoundly glad to be home from four days of difficult and tedious tasks.

Looking on the bright side, here are a few of the many things about this trip that I am grateful for:

- Light traffic on the highway, both ways

- Not being too horribly allergic to my aunt’s house.

- Staying with my high school friend.  I’m finding it hard to express in words how good it felt to reconnect with her, and to be so welcomed at her house, and how therapeutic it was for me to have her to talk to.  I enjoyed this part of my trip immensely.

- The mug which said “Keep calm and carry on.”  Usually I don’t pay much attention to slogans on mugs, but these words were just exactly right for the occasion.

- My aunt’s willingness to work on the tasks we had to do.  We accomplished a lot.  There’s still more to do, but I’m grateful for the progress we made.

- Pumpkin muffins.  One of the many reasons I love fall.

- Old-fashioned popcorn – made in a pot, not in the microwave!

- Time to pray and think.

- Managing to not trip over the two cats, who always seemed to be underfoot.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...
- by Eric Idle
Cats underfoot.  Ah, ah, ah CHOO, I say.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For your safety

This is an update on my post of a few weeks ago, in which I avoided a broken ankle.  My husband cleverly fixed the offending basement step.  Yay!  But now the whole staircase suspiciously makes a squeaky chirp with every step, so when I walk up or down the basement steps it sounds like a tiny aviary.

Then a few days ago, in the course of the following conversation, I found out that another part of our house is architecturally challenged.  Oddly, my discovery stemmed from a discussion about Scout merit badges:

Son:  Dad, did you hear about the chess merit badge?!

Husband:  Yes, I heard about it.  Will it enable you to repave the driveway?

Son:  No.  There is no driveway paving merit badge.

Husband: Will it enable you to clean the gutters in the fall and the spring?

Son: No.

Husband:  Then I see no practical purpose to the chess merit badge. But I saw in your Boy’s Life magazine how one scout built a deck for his Eagle project.

Me:  Yeah, that was in Angie Dilmore’s article!  (She is my friend and is an actual published writer!)

Husband:  Well, we could use a new deck.

Son:  Dad.  The Eagle project is not allowed to benefit yourself.

Husband: You could at least learn those skills while doing your Eagle project.  There is already a loose board on the deck that needs to be replaced before someone puts their foot through it.

Me:  What?! Which plank is it?

Husband:  I’m not telling you.  Just take a BIG step when you go out on the deck.

Me:  I would like not to put my foot through a rotting board.  I already nearly broke my neck by going down the basement stairs when nobody BOTHERED to tell me the step was broken.

Husband:  But if I tell you which plank it is, you’re going to put up all kinds of warning signs and tape which will strangle people.
* * * * * 

It is true that I may have slightly overreacted to the broken basement step issue by putting up several spider-webs’ worth of freezer tape across the staircase, as a warning to myself and other hapless mothers who might mistakenly use the broken step. 

This time I have not posted anything to warn people away from the faulty plank on the deck.  So when you come over, be sure to use the front door.  When I suggest that we go out back to the deck, you should insist on staying in the living room. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Parade and Pie

What better way to celebrate the Common Household’s 200th post than with a parade and a pie?!

Roughly 76 trombones led this big parade.

There were, like, a thousand reeds
springing up like weeds;
Horns of every shape and kind.

Petite Ponies in the Parade:

Something just wasn't right about the placement of this sign.

And back home there was peach pie.

This is Youngest Daughter’s first attempt at a lattice-crust top.   Next time I hope we’ll have more time and won’t have to downgrade our home-made crust with canned filling.

In celebration I've also added two blog rolls, for those of you who still have more time to putz around the internet.

Pie is one of our favorite celebratory foods.  How about you?  What's your celebratory food?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory Of

In memory of 
Zoe Falkenberg and Dana Falkenberg, 
and their Mom and Dad,
Leslie Whittington and Charlie Falkenberg.

I did not know them, but they were dear friends of my brother. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday Five: Work Space

As usual, I am late.  This was supposed to be up on Friday.  After I saw this challenge at SheRev, it took me a day to decide to bare all and show you my work space.  This is my desk, after being cleaned up.  The pile of papers (seen on the left, under red folder marked "Papers to be seen/signed by parent") is usually much taller.

So here are five (out of many) things in my workspace:

1.  The empty space where my work computer (laptop) usually resides.  The laptop is where I create statistics, and the computer you see in the photo is where I create everything else, except dinner.

2. Reading glasses. These are now crucial to my survival in the business world.  I am glad for the existence of cheap reading glasses.

3.  Precious and useful storage items crafted by my children and nieces.  If it weren’t for that one labeled “MOM” I would never know where to find my staple remover or rubber bands.

4.  Bil Lepp CD.  Bil Lepp is the funniest story-teller in the universe, and multiple winner of the West Virginia State Liar’s contest.  Plus he's a fully certified Methodist minister.

5.  Cow finger puppet.  This is representative of all the random weird stuff that makes its way to my desk.  I do not remember how I acquired this finger puppet, why I acquired it, or why it is still there.  It would be appropriate to put it in the box labeled “MOM.”  I wish I could think of a better use for it.

RevGalPals, thanks for letting me crash your Friday party, even though I am not a Rev, and even though I am late.  I am counting on the assumption that part of your workspace includes forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

There Oughta Be a Manual

I have detailed elsewhere some of my husband’s winning qualities.  In addition to cooking ham during Passover, he is aware of other people’s needs, including mine.  He is also a guy who gets things done, usually well ahead of the last minute.  He is truly goal-oriented. 

There is one thing that perplexes him, as per this phone conversation, which we had a few days after dropping off Oldest Daughter at college. 

Common Household Husband:  I called about that incorrect bill and got it straightened out.  I just wanted you to know.

Me:  Okay.

Husband: And then I was dealing with this other issue and I think after several e-mails I got everybody back on track so that we can reach our goal and set the policy for this issue.

Me: Good.

Husband:  How is Youngest Daughter?

Me:  She went back to bed...(pause)...  I’m very emotional today.

Husband, perplexed:  Why?!

Me: It’s the end of an era.

Husband:  What do you want to happen next?

Me:  It’s not that I want something to happen next, it’s just that it’s truly the end of the Oldest-Daughter-as-a-Child era, and I’m mourning it.

Husband:  You know, there should be a manual about women. 

Me:  Your job is to say, “Tell me how you feel.”

Husband:  There should be a guidebook that tells you that the women don’t want a plan, or goals, they just want to bask in the emotions.

Me:  That’s right!

Husband:  Okay, tell me how you feel. Only not right now.

Me:  Okay.  Thank you for your time. I’ll call you later.  Is that what the men want to hear?

Husband: Yes!  Bye!

It’s okay.  I told him later how I felt.  And he listened.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carpe Latinum!

First day of school
As I was doing the Required Parental Quiz about the first day of school, Youngest Daughter said, “The Latin teacher at my school is AWESOME!”  My son, who was sitting in the other room and could easily have ignored this comment, shouted, “Yes, that is true for ALL the Latin teachers in the whole school district.”

Youngest Daughter continued, “Today our Latin teacher just started talking to us randomly in Latin, until finally we figured out that when she called our name we were supposed to raise our hand and say, ‘Hīc.’”

Who would have thought that a dead language could be taught by the immersion method?!

Second day of school
Youngest Daughter burst through the door after school.  I asked, “How was school today?”  She replied, “It was not male, but it was bene!”
(She pronounced it “MAL-lay” and “BAY-nay.”)

Third day of school
Youngest Daughter enthusiastically announced, “I have to do my Latin homework!” and she sang:
Mica, Mica, parva stella;
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.
Splendens eminus in illo,
Alba velut gemma caelo.
Mica, Mica, parva stella;
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.
Folks, it's "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in Latin!  Here the teacher has switched to the Suzuki method.  I love it.

Our school system begins foreign language instruction in 7th grade, far too late for my liking. Even then, it is only a 6-week taste of two different languages.  At the end of 6th grade, the students choose two languages to try in 7th grade.  Youngest Daughter chose French and Spanish.  I think she chose French as a sign of her loyalty to me (I am a former francophone).  But she was assigned Latin instead of French.  She doesn’t seem to mind, and I don’t either.  Her enthusiasm is remarkable, totally attributable to excellent teaching, I believe.

So I guess I can conclude that   
Lingua Latina Non Mortua Est

How about you - did you learn a foreign language in school?  At home?