curses-foiled again!


What better way to start the day than to run 5 miles, including a speed-trial 3 mile in 25:31? And then to get home and find out your basement is flooded? And it hasn’t stopped raining? And it’s really pouring? And I’m not sure there’s quite enough water in my basement? And of course the home warranty that we have is mostly only for appliances, and our insurance has a deductible of $2,300? And there are at least 30 other people in the queue before us at all the clean-up places we called? And there were 20 boxes of books waiting patiently on the basement floor for the day when we would finally be able to purchase a bookshelf? Or twenty?

I’m sorry, I really am. I’m just so giddy. This isn’t your everyday sort of excitement. And just so you know, the reason I haven’t been commenting on y’all’s blogs is because I haven’t been reading them. I really, really miss you, but I am not fully put together right now, see? So be patient. And for your viewing enjoyment, here’s a video of my darling baby girl. I tried to get her to sing “Hot Cross Buns” but she only sang the first part, and you have to use your imagination to catch the words. She does get the pitches, though. There’s also a little bit of whispering where Calvin is trying desperately to distract her off the right side of the screen.

This morning, Zeeb descended the stairs and announced, “Mommy, I maked my bed! And I put my buggy and my Pippos under my pillow. Do you wanna come see?” Admittedly, I haven’t been enforcing the bed making rule, so I’m bewildered at his desire to do it at all. I’m pretty sure he’s never done it on his own before.

FYI: running in the freezing rain is definitely not a good idea. Especially when it’s getting dark. Yesterday, it had snowed in the morning, so school was canceled and Derek’s work was on 2 hour delay. (I used to scoff when I heard of places that would cancel school for 1/2 inch of snow, but my attitude has been corrected. In Utah, when it snows, there is usually a layer of white, fluffy snow. The roads quickly become slushy and muddy, and school is only canceled when there is so much snow that the plows can’t keep up, and people can’t shovel their driveways. Here, it will snow, then down will come the freezing rain, laying a lovely sheet of black ice across every surface, and the winds pick up to 40 miles per hour, pushing people and vehicles willy-nilly across the ice. Transportation is impossible, walking is treacherous. Running is stupid.)

I hadn’t run in the morning, because Derek took the kids sledding at the nearby golf course, and got home just in time to eat the scones I made and race to work without even showering. (I think I’ll post the recipe for the scones soon. They were delicious, and easy as pie. Or I guess way easier than pie, because you don’t have to roll anything out, unlike regular scones.) So I decided to got running when he got home in the evening. It was probably almost 6:00, which should have been my first deterrent, since I planned 4 miles, and it would definitely be dark by about half-way through.

I thought I could just stick to the roads, which is what I do anyway, and that way I could take advantage of the slush, instead of braving the deadly sidewalks. The rain was still coming down, but I had my new rain jacket. (Which is also an interesting curiosity. When it rains, you wear a jacket to keep you dry. But if you’re running, the added layer makes you sweat more than usual, thus making you more wet from the inside. When I did get home, I was drenched, but not from the rain.)

I went out, and immediately discovered the roads were still pretty icy. Stupid me, I just kept going just a little slower that I had planned. There was one point when, ascending a steep-ish little hill, I kept slowing down because my feet kept slipping out from under me, and suddenly, near the top, I was sliding backwards, with no way to slow down. I managed to get over to the side and jump onto the lawn. I still kept going.

After another mile or so, I was headed down a road that went through the very rich part of town, which is huge estates with huge houses separated by and nestled in the forest. Yes, I was running on a lonely, icy road that went downhill into the forest in the freezing rain at nightfall. I finally decided to stop there and cut through my loop and just go home.

I turned around, and found a street to turn on. I went up the road a little, to discover it was a cul-de-sac. Of course. And the neighborhood was forresty enough that I couldn’t see a road from the top of the little hill. Still, I thought I could cut through the forest and end up heading in the right direction. There were a couple of giant houses down the hill, one with many lights on, and one that was dark. I scrabbled through the forest, down the hill towards the dark one, hoping it wasn’t just the back that was dark. I finally found the driveway, and noted that the place was, indeed, vacant. As I traveled up the driveway, though, I came to the real house. I turned around, and beheld the garage, larger than my own home. Too late to turn back, I ran up the driveway, between the house and the gate-house, and as I was nearing the street, an SUV pulled in.

Mortification set in, and I slowed down to explain my plight. The lovely woman got out, and was eager to help me on my way. She made sure I knew where I was, offered to drive me home, and when I declined, offered the use of her phone, and when I declined, offered an umbrella. I think she had pity on me because when I was explaining that I had been a little lost, my voice cracked. Nice touch, eh? Not that I did it on purpose, I had just realized by then what a fool I’d been in attempting to run at all.

So I got out to the road, which, of course, was cobbled. Nothing like running in freezing rain on a cobbled road covered with ice in the dark. I managed to find my way home without further incident. I had only shaved 1/5 of a mile from the total distance with my foray in trespassing, but I had probably added 10 or 15 minutes.

So what are y’all doing for Valentine’s day?

I’m ready to go off the grid and move into a cave and eat only fruits that fall off the tree and wear clothes that are made from skins of animals that are already dead that I skin and tan myself and not breathe anymore ever. I mean, come on. Biodiesel is WORSE than petroleum? What is there left? Aside from not driving any more and not using electricity and not having any more kids and letting all the cows and pigs go free?

I was so excited. I decided to go ahead even before all the comments showed up. I ran upstairs, grabbed the scissors, got a fistful of hair and hacked. It was great, like the feeling you get from taking it out on a punching bag. I hacked and hacked, with no caring for whether it was even. I got as close as I could to the back of my head. I even tried Derek’s beard trimmer, bit it couldn’t grab my fine hair, so I just used the scissors. I thought it would be so terrible, with huge chunks and divots in the back. I purposely left some longish ones in the front and on top.

I washed my hair, trimmed some more from my fuzzy neck, and smooshed it around. This is what I got, still wet:
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That’s almost the same as the last haircut I spent $50 on. Except for the craggy back. That was yesterday. Today, I tried a little harder to get something useful out of the cut, and this is what I’ve got so far:
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Maybe I just need to learn to go crazy with the library paste. Next time, I’ll go for the buzz.

Everyone in my family has crappy teeth. We all get too many cavities (it couldn’t possibly be the horrific amounts of candy we all eat. It must be genetic.), and we all have had to have fillings and root canals, plus a few extractions. I never used to be afraid of the dentist, until I started getting abscesses, and the resulting root canals and crowns. I once had a crown crack in two, and the tooth cracked right along with it. I had to get it pulled. For some reason, the Novocaine never works very well on me, so they end up pumping me with 7 or 8 shots, and I can still feel it. Well, getting a tooth pulled sucks, especially if you can feel it going on. I don’t know if it sucks as bad as what happened to my brother, though.

Isaac is a magnet for negative cosmic energy. People pick on him for no reason. The laws of physics conspire against him, and worlds collide to render him uncomfortable. I am not making this up. He gets way more than his share of bad luck, but I’m not going to tell you all the tragic stories today. Just one.

Isaac had recently gotten a new crown for one of those awful root canals. The dentist affixed the crown with temporary glue, instead of permanent, so that Isaac could wear it for a while and decide first if he liked the crown before it went in there permanently.

About a week after he got it, of course it loosened itself and fell out. Not wanting to waste a $400 crown, Isaac planned to keep it and return to the dentist. Having nowhere better, he decided to leave it in his mouth. After all, who wants to keep a tooth in their pocket, with all that lint, and who knows what else?

Just after finishing the last bite of his burger at lunch, Isaac suddenly realized that his crown was no longer in his mouth. OK, this part might have involved a tiny bit of lack of common sense, but read on.

Angered at himself, but nevertheless determined not to waste $400, Isaac descended upon a plan wherewith to retrieve his crown. You may be able to guess what his plan involved. Initial attempts at vomiting the crown out were unsuccessful, “probably,” he says, “because I ate it and it went right down to the bottom of my stomach, under the burger.” So he waited until the opportune moment and, armed with a quart sized Ziploc bag, he “sh– (rhymes with scat) in the bag.” He described to me the benefits of the bag. Apparently it is much easier to squish around if you first let all the air out of the bag.

The first attempt resulted in nothing, but never losing hope, Isaac persevered through a second. And Eureka! He found the crown. He fished it out of the bag of his own poo, and was rinsing it off in the bathroom sink, when Mom came downstairs and inquired about his activities. He tried to tell her several times that this was a clear case of “You don’t want to know,” but she pressed him until he explained.

Thoroughly grossed out, Mom left, only to hear a solid stream of profanity emanating from the bathroom shortly thereafter. Isaac had, of course, dropped the crown, and it had, of course, gone right down the drain. My compassionate mom went in to help him retrieve it again. They dismantled the sink and drain, and were able to rescue the treasure.

Isaac thoroughly cleaned the crown, and then took it to the dentist, who glued it right back into Isaac’s mouth. I can honestly and quite literally say that I am glad my teeth are not as crappy as Isaac’s.

Liz and I are making soap. We searched 10 different stores for lye today, so we didn’t get started until this evening, but we’ve finally got it going. We were duly careful, with our gloves and goggles, and we measured everything by weight, not volume. We chose a crock-pot recipe so the curing time is much shorter: one day instead of 4-6 weeks. We’ll use lavender, peppermint, and honey-almond oils. We’re taking documentary photos, but I’ll post them another day.

I also have to report on my spontaneous surgery this afternoon. Since we moved into our house, I’ve had strange things going on with my feet, particularly the skin on the bottom of my feet. I have all these tiny holes. I thought it was just dry skin that was peeling, but today I got a painful little blister thingie right on the ball of my left foot. It wasn’t a blister, though. It was too deep. I know it wasn’t a plantar wart, because I had those as a child. My dad, an EMT, looked at it, and performed the operation. He lanced the thing (I know this is what you were dying to know about me when you woke up this morning), and said that since the pus was white and not yellow, it was not too bad.

He soaked it in sanitizing hand-gel, since there was no alcohol to be found in my aunt’s house. He kept asking if it hurt, and only left to go to the movie when he was satisfied that I was in pain. From the stinging. From the 64% alcohol gel, which would theoretically kill whatever organism was the source of the pus. Anyway, he left me with a bigger hole, and no answers as to what might be causing the weird holes. It’s not the ‘A’ word. That would never happen to me. It’s not friction blisters, as my dad scathingly said that I couldn’t get those from only running for 10 minutes a day.

I guess I’ll be taking my own advice, though, and get myself some new running shoes. Because nearly any of the available causes of my holes can be linked to the shoes. If it’s the ‘A’ word, or fungal, then my shoes have it. If it’s friction, ditto. If it’s excess moisture, then I need more shoes so I can alternate pairs of them, because, yes, I wear running shoes every day for most of the day. I don’t even think they’re that ugly, except in the respect that I wear a size 10, and who needs feet that big? Especially someone like me, who is not at all what anyone would call tall? Or maybe it is the heels that I bought and started wearing on Sundays, even though I swore never to wear them again.

That’s the sort of thing that would happen to me.

You know when you haven’t been to the market for a while, and you’re running low on vegetables? And low on everything else that could possibly be construed as edible? That happens about once a week here. Earlier this week, I perused the contents of the fridge with an empty head. I couldn’t come up with anything to make for dinner, and I had almost nothing that could be combined with anything else to make a passably edible meal.

Until I noticed the leftover macaroni from the night before. That had been a desperate attempt at getting the boys to eat something without complaining or making any retching noises. I had made plain mezzi rigatoni with butter, salt and pepper, and for the vegetable, cucumbers in vinegar. They ate, they forbore to complain. They even fought over the cucmbers. The next day, the leftover noodles became White Macaroni and Cheese, which was really sort of noodles alfredo, but a little different. I didn’t have any cream, but I did find a can of evaporated milk in the pantry. I melted the butter, tossed in some flour and made a roux, poured in some evap milk and regular milk, some salt, some grated parmesan cheese, and the noodles, and stirred it all until it was hot. The boys totally loved it, especially when I started calling it “White Macaroni and Cheese.” I would have liked it better with some steamed broccoli, green beans, or zucchini, but the boys would make noises. And sometimes I’d rather stab myself in the eyes with toothpicks than listen to the whining.

Fridge Fry #1: White Macaroni and Cheese

1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2-1 cup evaporated milk
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan, pecorino, swiss, or any cheese or combination of cheeses
salt and pepper
4-6 cups leftover pre-cooked noodles
some sort of vegetables, steamed or sauteed

Later that night, I still had the same problem with the no vegetables. I scrounged around some more, and found the remnants of the frozen Costco spanakopita that Derek and I love, but the boys won’t eat. I decided on a Greek theme, but I somehow couldn’t find any chickpeas. I did have some kidney beans, so I pulled out the remnants of the quinoa that the boys also mysteriously didn’t like last week. A solitary onion, a waning carrot, some leftover tomato paste, and a can of chicken broth? We have the makings of a South American soup. But how to turn it Greek?

I know this is totally lame, since I’m in no way Greek or South American, and hence no expert, but I got out my favorite recipe for stuffed zucchini and made the sauce for that. It has only cinnamon and oregano for seasonings, and I love it so much, so that’s what I put in the soup. It was no standout in the parade of jumbled concoctions my family has been subjected to in the last 7 years, but it wasn’t yucky, and the childrens ate. Zeeb even decided he liked the spanakopita and ate three. I felt cheated.

Fridge Fry #2: Greek-Peruvian Bean and Quinoa soup

1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, very small dice
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t oregano
2-3 T tomato paste
1 can chicken broth
1 can kidney beans (or kiddy beans, in my house)
1 cup leftover pre-cooked quinoa (round rice)
water
salt and pepper
maybe some steamed zucchini, if you have it, or some diced and sauteed eggplant

On my mission in the Philippines, I cooked lunch for the people that lived in our house. One of my mission companions would give my dishes names that caused me to giggle. Vegetable Rumble with Tokwa was one. It’s pronounced “Betch-ta-boll Rrrrrahm-boll weeth Toe-kwah. Tokwa is Tofu. Another dish was Eggplant Macaroni with Color. I think the “color” was zucchini and tomatoes.

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