Poor, sad iPod.

March 14, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, And then I thought..., I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

I’m clumsy.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  On a recent patient information form, it asked if I bruise easily.  Hmm.  Not sure.  Hard to tell since I spend an inordinate amount of time clunking myself into things.  If I got into a normal number of furniture altercations, would I have normal bruisability?  And how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

The upside of being clumsy is that the human body is a magical thing that heals itself with cheesecake and Band-Aids.  Actually, you don’t even NEED the Band-Aids!  The downside of being clumsy is that things that are not the human body (or other living creatures) do not heal themselves even in the presence of Band-Aids or cheesecake.  Exhibit A:


What do you mean, my pictures are fuzzy? That is a special photographic technique. It's tough to get that look. I try not to brag about it though.

This is not awesome.  Not awesome at all.  It’s sad really; see how the crack looks like a little frown crossing the corner?

Now, my father is Mr. Fix-it.  So is my husband.  They use words like, “Spanish windlass,” “awl,” and “Now, what did you do?” They make water come out of wells and stop it from Old-Faithfulling out of the washing machine and toilet. They bring life to dead cars, many of which were “a good deal.”  They pull the yarn and cat hair out of the vacuum cleaner and can even do amazing things with mysterious entities called “fuses” which makes electric things work again.  And they make it look easy.  And I get tempted to try to fix things according to their examples.  And that doesn’t usually end well.

But, I am not a quitter!  I keep trying despite my very, very, very limited record of things that I have actually fixed and the fact that I usually drop heavy, sharp, pointy tools that make gouges in the floor.  So, since my iPod Touch still worked, indicating that the touchscreen is okay and that only the cover glass is cracked, I figured I could totally fix that.  So, hop-dee-do, I surfed around on the Internet and found lots and lots of articles and videos about how to replace the glass.  I found sources for parts.  And I realized that trying to replace the screen myself is about as good of an idea as diving into a tub of rusty scissors since there are A LOT of little, teeny, expensive and complicated-looking parts in an iPod Touch.  And you can’t lose even ONE PART during the repair process or bats will eat the sun and all kittens will go bald.

I can’t have either of the Mr. Fix-its in my life do the repair either.  My father is not a fan of iPod technology.  I only know this because of our deep, nearly ESP-level connection and by the way he says, “I’ll step on that thing” when he sees it.  He thinks iPods are communist and in league with the microwave.  My husband refuses to pay a lot for parts that cost nearly as much as a new version of the broken thing.  He believes it takes his spirit away.

So, since the iPod still works and all, I guess I’ll live with the cracked screen.  But I’m going to be very annoyed about it.  It will be character-building.


So cute right now.

February 8, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

She really wants to fit in.

Okay, I promise no more cat posts for a while.  This one will tide me over.

The Container Club

February 6, 2012 at 11:54 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

I belong to a number of highly exclusive food clubs, of course.  There’s the Prezel Eaters Club, the Clean Plate Club,  Kettle Corn Anonymous, and the latest one that I’ve decided to call The Container Club.

The Container Club is comprised of nurses, mothers, and me.  We, the fine members of this protective organization, have learned when a human is going to hurl, puke, vomit, etc.  We can sense the signs.  We feel it in our pinky toes.  We hear it in the wind.  We see it in the pale cheeks.  And we are dedicated to finding a receptacle to contain IT from the rest of you even if that means catching IT in our own sacrificial outstretched palms.  We are your first and only line of defense.  We deserve customized t-shirts.  Also, I would like a manicure.

My most recent Container Club moment happened at work.  It is the most wonderful time of the year in public schools!  It is standardized testing season!  Whee for bubble-filling and #2 pencils!  A shout out to “Please fill in the circle completely, and make your mark heavy and dark.”

Confession: as a kid, I LOVED standardized testing.  I thought the reading selections were interesting.  I was also the child  hovering outside the library attempting to use the power of MY MIND to get it to open early and the one who rejoiced when my second grade teacher sent me home with the third grade lesson book to borrow ALL SUMMER.  I am who I am.

So, being a compliant little teacher in good standing, I implored the iChildren in my classroom to take the testing so very seriously because otherwise bats will eat the sun and a puppy’s head may fall off somewhere, blah, blah, blah.  NOTE TO SCHOOL DISTRICT: I DID NOT REALLY TALK ABOUT BATS AND PUPPY HEADS FALLING OFF.  I READ THE DIRECTIONS WORD FOR WORD.  I AM A GOOD GIRL.  And the iChildren all nodded and blinked their little eyes earnestly because they aren’t really allowed to do anything else during testing.

And it was all going beautifully.  Bubbles were being filled in completely with marks that were heavy and dark.  I was monitoring the room and fully prepared to recite the testing creed, “I’m sorry, but I cannot help you.  Please do your best.”  It was then that I sensed IT.  I detected ITs approach.  I saw, in the pallor of one of my scholars, that IT wished to be known.

See, I know vomit and IT knows me.  IT is my life partner.  I complete IT.  For some reason, kids who are sick always choose to hurl in my teachery presence.  Someone displays dinner every year, including leap years, in my class.  Field trips are not complete without a trail of upcycled Skittles festooning the side of our bus.  Taste the rainbow, indeed.  My sister puked on me during our own middle school years (fish n’ chips and black cherry ice cream in a waffle cone).  My nieces think The Black Thing and I are excellent used food storage places, particularly if I am wearing something nice or if I have just had the car detailed.  Artemis the Cat saves her best hairballs for my shoes.  I’m getting used to it.  IT.

So, I grabbed the trash can.  I gracefully placed it with utmost compassion in front of the heaving and pasty child.  I teamed with gravity and the plastic trash bag (which does not dull temperature or texture, by the way) to adjust the, umm, flow of things when some…things…hung on the edge of the trash can.  And I maintained an appropriately concerned expression as he shared his breakfast with the trash can and Part 2 of the reading test.  And with all the other kids in the room who actually, to their absolute credit, took it like champs and kept filling in bubbles, making their marks heavy and dark.  Excellent and lovely children, they were and are.

The sufferer went to the nurse.  I sprayed a little Lysol, swapped out some #2 pencils that were getting dull and appropriately notified people about the possible test disruption because I am a good little soldier.  Also because it was fun to write “VOMIT EVENT” in the subject line of a work email.

I mean seriously, “VOMIT EVENT?”  Who gets to write that?  I thought about writing “VARSITY VOMIT” to be sporty but decided that plain and classy was the way to go in the serious testing environment.

Above all, let us be classy.

And let us not eat Froot Loops before taking standardized tests.  Just saying.





January 22, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

Productivity. That's what these are.

I am not a coffee drinker, but this week has required a little help to get going in the mornings since it’s dark and continues to be about a billion degrees below zero.  Fortunately, the guy who can fix everything got chocolate-covered espresso beans for his birthday. A couple of those (the espresso beans, not birthdays) down the hatch and…








I’ve been advised that I have had enough chocolate-covered espresso beans.  The guy who can fix everything says the world is not ready for me + them.  He also said something about “detox.”

As if I need that.  I could have stopped on my own.

And the world is totally missing out now that my yodeling career has been cut short.  For a second there, the hills were alive!

But, we’ve been promised ten degrees above zero this week!  In balmy weather like that, I may not even need a jump start.  I’ll be out tanning.  And maybe adding some finer details to the roof mural.

On Apples, on Oranges, on Raisins and Dates!

December 21, 2011 at 9:32 AM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Eat this., I made this., I'm related to these people. | 2 Comments

There's a whole orchard in here.

First, an apology to Dan.  Mincemeat inventory status was not reported here to Mincemeat Central.  That is why there was no mincemeat pie at Thanksgiving.  I apologize for the shortage and have informed the DLG Turkey Team that status reports are to be more accurate and timely.  She will be creating an action plan to prevent mincemeat shortages in the future.  Feel free to check her progress on this, but also be prepared to dodge because she likes whacking people.  And hi Marjorie!

For the rest of you, above is a jar of mincemeat.  As a kid, I loathed this stuff.  Of course, I hadn’t actually tried it because I was sure it would be too disgusting for my delicate and advanced palate (the one that also ate Cheetos and and longed for a mother who would buy Kraft macaroni and cheese instead of making the homemade stuff).  However, I should have known that something was up when my dad never expected me to eat mincemeat pie.

See, my dad is the founding member of the Clean Plate Club.  This fine and hallowed organization celebrates the eating of EVERYTHING on one’s plate in the spirit of the founder’s ancient and revered motto, “Because I said so.”  But mincemeat pie was never a club eatable despite it similarity in grossness to other club eatables like steamed rice and waffles (which, for some other delicate and advanced palate reason, I also found revolting).  Mincemeat pie was a food club eaters could choose not to eat.

I have solved the mincemeat mystery (which would also be a very good name for the Ford Bronco that The Guy Who Can Fix Anything And To Whom I am Now Married acquired as a “good deal”)!  Mincemeat pie is dee-licious and completely worthy of hoarding.  Unfortunately for the founding member of the Clean Plate Club, he now has to share his pie.  Fortunately for him, I like making mincemeat almost as much as I like eating it.  Okay, that’s a lie.  Eating it is WAY better.  But, making it is still pretty fun.

Now, turn those noses back down, mincemeat-haters, I know your world.  I used to be one of you.  But, I have repented of my past and now spend a large part of a day here and there chopping approximately 1.3 billion apples, forty-seven oranges, twenty-three lemons, a bathtub-full of cranberries, a whole bunch of figs, dates, raisins, golden raisins, and a paaartridge in a pear treeeeee! Just kidding about the tree part.  And also the partridge.  My mincemeat is certified partridge-safe.  After the chopping-pa-looza, I shovel the whole fruity mountain into a huge stock pot and begin stirring, stirring, and stirring.  And then, I start inhaling the evaporating brandy and sherry that splashes merrily into the mix.  That’s when I get all crazy on up in here!   Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaaaaaaa!  And then some other stuff happens in the brandy-sherry fog involving some spices like cinnamon, maybe, and somehow, at the end of the day, the house has not burnt to a crisp. no one’s face has been scalded off, and all the little jar seals have done their sealing thing.

And mincemeat pie is in the future which makes everything merry and bright!

And then I wash a million dishes.

Note: numbers may be slightly exaggerated in this post due to brandy-sherry fume inhalation.

Also, I am not good at math.

Slightly More than Nothing

October 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Intentions | Leave a comment

Know what I want to do today?  Nothing.  Guess what I’ve accomplished so far?  Nothing slightly more than nothing:

I’ve got the bear meat that I corned this week cooking in my trusty 1972 Crock-Pot.  This is actually my first experience with bear meat, corned or otherwise, since we never ate bear in my family.  This is because bears in my hometown eat a lot of often-rotten fish and the occasional buffet de la garbagio.  You are what you eat, even if you are a bear.  But the guy who can fix anything comes from an area where bears eat berries and plants, therefore, his family eats bears.  So now, I will eat bears too.

I fed Levi the Dog and Artemis the Cat.  This doesn’t really count as something, but it’s technically more than nothing.  Plus, if you ever want to feel like a superhero, find a dog and feed it.  Their standards of heroics are low, low, low, but their enthusiastic responses are off the charts.  Levi the Dog is currently composing an ode to my greatness:

I have read the news.  If you haven’t experienced the news today, I will sum it up for you: things happened and people did stuff.  I’m not sure why CNN hasn’t offered me a cushy desk job yet.

I caught up on my Old Farmer’s Almanac daily calendar.  I was two weeks behind.  See, I teach seventh grade, cook 90% of the meals we eat from scratch, write book reviews, and sort of run a jewelry business when I have a spare moment, so my days sometimes don’t allow for things like reading non-essential calendar pages.  Or sleeping.  Or moving at less than a sprint.  This is why I wish to do nothing on weekends.  Today’s calendar page inquires if I know which person was not a child of Erik the Red:

A.  Freydis

B.  Olafur

C.  Thorstein

D.  Thorvald

Answer: B.  

Finally, I spilled tea all over the desk which was covered with papers that I am supposed to be grading.  Awesome.  I will tell my students that I antiqued their writing in order to add character to the pages.   I’m crafty like that.

What needs to happen today is some letter-writing on real paper as a personal effort to aid the ailing U.S. Postal Service, decluttering the kitchen table since it has somehow become the junk mail center of the universe,  going to church in clothing other than my pajamas, filling the three necklace orders that came in this week, and walking Levi the Dog so that I might achieve sainthood in the Kingdom of German shepherd-huskies.

Ready, set, go.

Bone Marrow Mashed Potatoes

October 1, 2011 at 12:09 PM | Posted in Eat this. | 1 Comment

Stop gagging, and just read.  You wimp.

The guy who can fix anything, including well pumps, furnaces, and wonky toilet installations, has promoted himself to the guy who can fix anything and is now married to me, so he has a big list.  I love that guy.  I am glad he’s around all the time now.  And I’m in all-wifey mode where I’m making beee-you-tee-ful dinners and roasting vegetables and baking vast quantities of banana bread.  This works out nicely for the guy who can fix anything, etc. as that boy likes to eat.  And he likes to bring home dead things to eat.

Now, if you are opposed to bringing home dead things to eat, please chillax.  My husband and I are both big fans of the sanctity of life.  We hunt and fish only what we will eat, and we kill quickly and mercifully and follow all fish and game regulations.  We look with our mean eyes at those who don’t. I sometimes incorporate one raised eyebrow into my mean eyes.  We do our part.  And I can blog about it if I want.  The First Amendment says so.

I’m deeply devoted to a quasi-subsistence, living off the land, berry-picking, spending a lot of time gardening lifestyle.  In fact, you could say that I’m bone marrow deep into it.  As in, I spread it on toast.  I scrape it out and eat it plain. I make mashed potatoes with it.   And I revel in every moment.

Bone marrow is fabulous.  It’s delicious!  It makes the most delicately-flavored and yummy-textured mashed potatoes ever.  In fact, I don’t have a picture of them for ya’llses because we ate them.  There was no time for pictures.  Sorry.  Put on your imagination cap and visualize.  Or better yet, make your own bone marrow mashed potatoes if you want to see them in person.  Here’s how:

1.  Marry a guy who can fix anything and who thinks it is romantic to bring home a dead moose.  If you can’t find one of those, you may buy beef thigh-bones at the store.  If you must.

2.  Make killer banana bread for guy who can fix anything.  I like this one despite its profane name.

3.  Now that the guy who can fix anything is all happy and banana bread fortified, have him cut the moose leg bones in chunks that will fit in the roasting pan you own.  Or have the butcher at the meat department do that for beef leg bones.

4.  Roast the bones at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the marrow starts leaking out.  Mmm.

5.  Using thin, poky things (I use an iced tea spoon and a filet knife), scrape the marrow out of the bones and into some little dish thing.  Let it cool.

6.  Cook potatoes in water.  I make a lot, like 10 good-sized potatoes or so.  Use organic ones so that you can leave the skin on.  The potatoes should come to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

7.  Then, drain the potatoes and mash into them the cooled bone marrow with a few minced garlic cloves if you are anti-vampire or if you just have 85 thousand cloves of garlic from your garlic planting experiment last fall.  Maybe this year you will only plant a few cloves instead of a few heads.  Not that I would know anything about that.  I’m just blogging.  And add enough milk to make a consistency that you like along with salt and pepper to taste.  Mash, mash, mash.  I like to leave chunks of potato in the mix.

8.  Then, sprinkle parsley on top because you like things to be pretty.  You know you do.

9.  Serve to unsuspecting guests.

Dear Trader Joe’s, I am mad at you.

October 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM | Posted in We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

There is no Trader Joe’s in Anchorage.  This displeases me, and I have to resort to buying all my Trader Joe’s favorites on eBay or hoping for relatives and friends in Trader Joe’s locales to take pity upon my poor, Sesame Honey Almonds-dependent soul.

But then it occurred to me, I could just whip up my own!  The trusty Internet always has recipes.  So I googled my way to veggiewiz.blogspot.com and found the following recipe:

Honig Brat Madeln

  • 1 cup almonds, whole with skins on
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons almond oil or vegetable oil
  1. Spread the almonds and cashews in a single layer in a shallow ungreased baking pan and place in cold oven. Bake at 350F/180C, stirring occasionally, until the color of the nut is tan to light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (The nuts will continue to roast a little more after they are removed from the oven.) Set the roasted nuts aside.
  2. Thoroughly mix the sugar, salt, and sesame seeds, and set aside.
  3. Stir together the honey, water, and oil in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the roasted nuts and continue to cook and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the nuts, about 5 minutes.
  4. Immediately transfer the almonds to a medium-sized bowl into which some sugar mixture has been sprinkled. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the nuts and toss until they are evenly coated. Spread the nuts out onto a silicon pad or parchment paper. When cool, store at room temperature in a tightly covered container or plastic bag. Will keep up to 2 weeks.

Now if I could just find a recipe for Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea.  Trader Joe’s, why do you despise me and refuse my advances?

New Seafood Marketing Campaign?

June 24, 2011 at 8:55 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

A friend who moved to the far, far, far away realm of Alabama reported the following: in his local fish market, Copper River red salmon was selling for $17.99 per pound.  Copper River sockeye salmon was $18.99 per pound.  Being the wily ex-Alaskan that he is, he went for the red salmon.  Why?  Well, because red and sockeye ARE THE SAME THING.

Hi! I am a sockeye salmon! I am also a red salmon! Please buy me and all my friends so that Stephanie's commercial fishing family can have your money.

I suppose you pay extra for extra letters on the packaging.  The letter ‘y’ isn’t free, you know.



Forty-five Dollars.

May 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people., We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

This is Peninsula Airways, affectionately commonly known as PenAir in rural Alaska.   Due to Alaska’s charming lack of connecting roads, this is the only way in or out for many communities, including Dillingham.  Thus, it was the only way to send birthday raspberries to my dad for his birthday on Sunday.  The only FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS way.

Extravagant?  Well, yes.  Absolutely.  Great Jehosophat.  In fact, I can’t quite believe I did it.  But my dad is cool.  So, I shelled out the cash and sent the little, perishable, non-mailable raspberry guys on their big adventure.  I’m trying to think of it this way: Dillingham is 350 miles southwest of Anchorage.  If there were a road between the two communities, it would cost me a tank of gas for The Black Thing each way as The Black Thing is not a dainty consumer.  We’d be talking over a hundred dollars for me to deliver the raspberries.  So, I’m actually saving money!  Hooray for thriftiness!  I am a financial whiz-kid!

And my dad isn’t really the gift card type.  This is the guy who advises me to grab my students by their ears if they are not behaving and who thinks that you turn off a computer by unplugging it.  He thinks the microwave is communist.  He’s sort of from a different age.  Raspberries, however, are always current.  Haha–I was sooo tempted to write “currant” since raspberries are a berry and currants are ALSO a…sorry.

Raspberries are always appreciated, especially in rural Alaska places like Dillingham where produce prices rival that of fine jewelry.    The birthday raspberries will be a nice treat, especially since most fruits and veggies arrive at my mom’s grocery store looking like they traveled with a screwdriver in some hefty guy’s back pocket.

Besides, I think I still owe Dad for the time that I high centered the truck on a log and maybe also for the time that I melted an entire box of crayons down the side of the wood stove.  Forty-five dollars in raspberry plane fare seems like a good start.

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