what the…?

Ten facts randomly chosen out of my brain. About myself. Thanks to the Lovely Helen, a woman of strong moral character whom I would love to meet someday.

1. I hate to be cold. I detest having cold hands and/or cold feet. My feet are cold all the time. I can’t stand it.

2. I love singing duets with my mom, but I also hate it. My mom is a vocal teacher, so I’m too self conscious, but I grew up singing duets and rounds with her and my brothers. I think I could be a professional singer if I took lessons and practiced. I think I could be as good as my mom, who, ironically, is nearly deaf.

3. I hate overeating. It makes me hurt, and it makes me feel immoral, but I do it all the time.

4. I speak fluent Tagalog.

5. I don’t think I can ever have a pet. I hate the smells, the hair/skin/slime; I would forget to feed anything that didn’t beg; I don’t like to touch animals that are mammals; they’re just too much work.

6. These are the pets my family has had: a couple of baby iguanas that died, Lightfoot and Quickfoot, an iguana that lived a long time and eventually had only about 5 toes total and a short stubby tail (you’ve heard that iguanas grow their tail back, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always happen), Carlos, a Columbian Boa Constrictor, Jorge, a rat who died of cancer, Bubba, a mouse, Chicken Tonight (he was actually dinner for Jorge, but he was cute, so I kept him for a while), a bunch of tropical fish, a couple of goldfish, Jareth and Petunia. I can’t think of any others. Oh, yeah. My dad caught a rattlesnake once and kept it for a week or so. It wouldn’t eat, so he let it go.

7. I never leave the house without Burt’s Bees lip balm. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 on me.

8. I make really, really good bread. Sometimes I make pretty bad bread. I love to read about bread. I love to go to bakeries and look at bread. I like bread to be pretty. Derek thinks I’m obsessed with bread. I like bread. I like to smell it, and eat it. While I was pregnant, the smell of baking bread made me throw up. I made no bread while I was pregnant. Calvin likes to help me make bread, and sometimes he eats the raw dough. I think that’s yucky.

9. I’ve never had a perm.

10. I can pick things up with my toes. I can write with my toes. I cannot play the piano with my toes, although they are long enough that they look like I should be able to.

I’m tagging Liz (to give her incentive to write her first post), CW, Sketchy, Derek (yes, my Derek), and anyone else that wants some tagging action.

*randimity is a word my friends and I made up in high school, at the same time that we decided that the plural of cathedral was catharsis.

Do you read all the mail you get? Even if it looks like junk mail, and says across the top, “Open Immediately!” or “Do not discard!” What about if it says, “Check enclosed?”

I’m in the habit of tossing anything that wasn’t addressed by hand. I’ve always been pretty sure of my junk mail judging capabilities. If it’s from Wilmington, Delaware, it’s a credit card solicitation. We get lots of those. If it has a window through which you can see coupons, I don’t need to open it to know the coupons are from such fine establishments as carpet cleaners, auto detailers, and seedy chinese buffets. If it’s from Deseret Mutual Benefits Administration, I can be sure it’s a detailed list of all the money they won’t pay towards our medical bills.

But this week, I’ve come to be proven lacking in my junk mail judging skills. A representative from Men’s Wearhouse called to inform me of the current sale, and to tell me that my time was running out to use the $50 gift certificate they had sent me, a valued customer. I was not aware I had received a gift certificate. Which is sad, because when Derek starts his new job in August, he will have to wear a shirt and tie every day. And he has a shortage of nice, clean ties. We realized a couple of years ago why ties are such popular gifts for Father’s day. Because fathers don’t have ties that are clean and haven’t been beaten to a pulp by their loving children. So, no new tie, because I tossed the Men’s Wearhouse junk mail without opening it.

The other day, I was looking at our auto insurance policy, and I realized the card we keep in the car is expired. We get a new card every 6 months. We also get updates on the policy, solicitations to buy more insurance, loan opportunities, and personal birthday cards from our insurance agent, who once went to far as to drive two hours to meet us and invite us to purchase life insurance. We get a lot of mail from the insurance agent.

This morning, as I was cleaning off the piano (my repository of junk), I found an unopened insurance envelope, and since Derek was standing right there, I handed it to him to deal with. He opened it, and there were our auto insurance cards. They’d been on the piano for a month. (I know, I have a problem. The piano is sort of a void. If you set something on it, you won’t see it again. Derek handed me my insurance card, I set it down to continue de-cluttering, and he said, “No, go put it somewhere safe, now!” I laughed, kept working, and he said, “Right now!”)

I came across another insurance letter, and this time I was sure it was something worthless. It said, “Policy information enclosed.” How important could that be? There haven’t been any changes in our policy for several years. I handed that to Derek as well. He opened it, and there was a check for $27. I know, that’s barely enough to cover dinner for 2 at Bombay House, but sheesh, I was gonna just throw it away.

I think I’ll start reading my mail. Cause what if it’s not Junk Mail? What if it’s Treasure Mail?

When I was awake at 12:45 this morning taking care of leg-aches in a 3-year-old and feeding a 7-month-old, I was formulating in my mind this wonderful post about Spike and the ironies of having amnesia, while wearing a disguise and waking up with a crowd of people that are not friends, and having a mind-controlling microchip brain-implant that causes extreme pain even at the mere thought of harming a live human. Not an ideal situation for a vampire.

Randy, aka Spike, transcends his vampiric, technological, and forgetful shackles, and declares himself a “Noble Vampire” when he joins Joan, aka Buffy, in the fight against shark-shaped evil. Is this the start of a brilliant commentary on the human condition? Or is it the dark, delusional raving of a sleep-deprived mind?

In case you’re unfamiliar with this part of the story, Spike is the evil, super-villain bad guy vampire, who has met up with a secret branch of the government that implants hostile demons with microchips that inhibit violent behavior. He is therefore unable to acquire lunch for himself. He has made some enemies in the demon world by colluding with the enemy, Buffy and her non-superhero minions, because they can’t harm him while he can’t harm them (they’re only protectors, not avengers), and they can buy him pig’s blood. So sometimes Spike fights the other bad guys. They’re not human, so it doesn’t hurt. Plus he has a major vampire crush on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. That doesn’t really work for Buffy, and she’s mostly repulsed by him. Mostly.

So Spike is running away from the shark-dude, who, I believe, is a loan-shark. Spike owes him money. Spike dresses up in tweeds and runs to hide at the magic shop, where Buffy and her cohorts hang. Pre-BIG-BAD Willow is trying to make her lover forget a little spat, and the forgetfulness spell goes awry, causing everyone in the magic shop to drop to the floor/counter/table unconscious. When they wake, they try to determine who they are and their relationships to each other, guessing at names from available information. Spike decides he’s Giles-the-magic-shop-owner-and-Buffy’s-trainer’s son, because they’re both British. Giles decides he’s engaged to Anya, who is sporting a ring, and who fell asleep on his shoulder. Willow forgets she’s gay. Buffy calls herself Joan, because she likes the name. They all go out to kick some demon butt, and Spike, discovering he, too, has superpowers, declares himself to be a Noble Vampire, one with a soul, who fights the forces of evil alongside the likes of the Slayer.

I think I must also be a Noble Vampire. In spite of the bad side of my nature, I want to let the good side of my nature win. I’m wearing a disguise that makes me forget who I am. Evil creeps into my house daily. It spreads itself across my floor, slimes my couch, and tries to take over my mind.  It tries to make me turn against my family, to yell at my kids, to abuse my body. Yet I want to fight. Even as I lie in the swamp, feeling the pull of the bog below me, I feel the clean air above, and I feel the grasping hands of my angels pulling me up. I have to care. I have to use my superpowers for good. I have to remember that every superhero has a kryptonite, and every superhero fights anyway.

Delusional ravings of a sleep-deprived mind. In the daylight, the brilliance of it evaporated like so much vampire dust.

I just found my own blog, translated into German. I think everybody might have this. If you’re on my blogroll, you can go check out your stuff in German too. Is it in other languages, as well?

I especially love some of the translations. Clara’s dolly journal is translated as Clara’s Transport wagon journal. You know, a dolly, not a doll. Cousin Mike is Cousin Microphone, which is actually funny, since he’s in a band. And colloqualisms are just left the way they are, which makes for very interesting reading! How do they make programs that can do this? Languages are so different. Anyway, hours of enjoyment. I am brilliant in German.

We went out to eat last night with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my cousin Liz, and my dad. We let the boys choose whatever they wanted, so Zeeb had fried chicken and french fries, and Calvin had a whole bunch of goldfish crackers with ranch dressing dumped all over them. Mmmmm.

I have an embarrasing weakness for monkey bread. I got a bunch, and tried to get Calvin to try it too. He never does. I just know that after he tries gooey bread covered in caramel, he will love it just as much as his sugar-junkie mother. But he would not.

He asked what it was. There’s this one Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin comes in the kitchen while his mom is making dinner and asks what it is. She says “Monkey brains.” Calvin is so disgusted and intrigued that he ends up eating dinner without complaining. So when my Calvin (yes, that’s the origin of his bloggy name, and if you knew him, it would be even more obvious) asked me what I was trying to get him to sample, I replied, “Monkey brains.”

He looked at it over his root beer float, and said, “It doesn’t look like monkey brains. It doesn’t smell like monkey brains. And it’s definitely not on fire like monkey brains.”

This morning, I shaved all my legs. After I wore my clothes, I went outside and a neighbor saw me wetting the lawn. Derek had the kids fed to the dogs, and we had his feet for breakfast. They were pickles. I ran away. Derek stayed on the floor. Then he worked out with his problem.

Calvin wears oranges. He’s afraid he’s not turtley enough for the Turtle Club. He skipped the metal fingernails and greased his peel. This morning, he pushed up, just like Superman told him to when he had a flew. His nose ran out of blood. He is scared of water-sprouts, and fire-work volcanoes.

Zeeb has the blues, and his nose is overflowing. His finger found it. He threw up his cheerios and took off the rocket. He found bats in the living room when he drew on the floor, and then wrapped a buggy around his thumb. Zeeb is free. Or he’s almost free. He sinks.

Kiki was leaking after she was awake. She is living inside her pajamas. She is prone to wander, but can’t stand it without hanging. She lies. She is sparkling for her brothers.

Astonishing, isn’t it? That there could be a Value Pack of Pig’s Feet hanging out in my kitchen for 4 weeks, and nobody noticed it? It all started when Kathryn was searching for artichoke hearts and ran into Mr. Value Pack in the supermarket. Me, I can’t resist a dare, especially one that involves poking just a little bit of fun at my sweet, unobservant husband. As it is, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen him laugh so hard it brought tears to his eyes.

I went and got my jar of Pig’s Feet on the evening of March 1st. I placed them prominently next to the garganto-jug of popcorn. We eat popcorn a lot, so I figured the feet would be discovered quickly. Not so, my friend. After about a week, I transferred them one shelf up to live with the baking stuff and peanut butter and honey. That day, Derek decided to make chocolate cookies (from a Martha Stewart magazine, no lie.) He got out the baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, etc, without noticing their cloven friends.

About two weeks went by where nothing happened, even when I asked Derek to fish out the peanut butter and honey for sandwiches. One day last week, I was baking and I asked him for the oil spray, which was actually touching the feet. Nothing.

I began to despair of him ever finding the treasure. I started thinking, like Bon did of her husband, that he had for sure seen them, but for some crazy reason, chose not to comment. I talked to Kathryn a couple days ago, and told her my fears. She decided Derek had seen them and was playing mind games with me. She suggested a strategy for forcing him to be the first to break. I was to keep moving the jar to different, obvious locations where he could not fail to notice and say something. Hmmm.

So I put them in the fridge, on the top shelf near the milk and water.


Open the door, and THERE THEY ARE! That was 3 days ago. Since then, I have tried to be around any time Derek opened the fridge, just in case. I asked him for water for dinner two nights in a row. One of those times, he actually grabbed the pig’s feet, moved them to a different shelf, and got out the water. I held my breath. Nothing. Oh, the suspense!

Tonight, I figure he’d have to notice them if I put them on the dinner table with the rest of tonight’s dinner. So, there they were, with the pickled artichoke hearts (fitting, eh?), the falafel, the tzatziki, and the pitas. Doesn’t that sound like a well rounded meal? A grain, a dairy/vegetable salad, deep-fried legumes, and pickled, semi-boneless goodness.

I called everyone in to dinner. The little boys came in first. They started asking, as they always do, “What’s this?” and pointing to everything. “Artichoke hearts,” I said, hoping they wouldn’t make me say out loud what was in the jar. Somehow, (it must be their male-ness) they did not see the pig’s feet.

Derek came in with Kiki in tow, started talking about falafel, looked over, and said, “Who’s gonna eat the pig’s feet?”

I stared at him, blankly.

He asked me where they came from. I asked if he really didn’t know, if he really hadn’t seen them. He said he’d seen them this morning, while I was out running, but forgot to ask me about them. He forgot. Then he actually said to me, “You’re the sort of person that would try to cook with something like that.” I laughed out loud, and said, “Yeah, except NO I WOULDN’T!!! PIG’S FEET!!!”

He really hadn’t noticed them, for 4 whole weeks. He told me that it must be because he just trusts me so much to make good things for him that he doesn’t need to pay attention to what’s in the pantry. My theory is that he’s a man. If I hadn’t put them out for dinner, I would have had to bury them in the backyard with Grandpa’s turtle when we pack everything up to move in August.

So do I win?

Derek and I both have this weakness. We have to eat out, or at least order take-out at least once a week. Usually not more than that, but usually not less. I like to have a break from cooking, and he needs a break from dishes.

So on Saturday, when he got back from camping with the Scouts, he told me about this Peruvian restaurant he wanted to try. Two of the guys on the campout were from Peru, so he had asked them what they thought of the Peruvian restaurant that we used to go to sometimes. They both said it was terrible, and that there was a new one that was way better. So he got all excited and asked them what was good there. He doesn’t speak Spanish, so they made him memorize a couple of names of dishes they like.

We are both pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new things, and we’re both food snobs, too. We like everything, as long as it’s authentic. (I cannot stand to go to a place that calls itself Mexican and is really more like Taco-Bell. It makes me feel violent inside.) We like spicy food, so we’re really not afraid of that aspect. We both served missions for our church where we had to eat things that were not your typical American fare. I have had pigs intestines, brains, boiled skin, chicken heads, intestines, feet, fish eyeballs, fertilized duck eggs (with a little baby chick in there) and some sort of burrowing beetle. So I can take surprises, usually. Not that I want to go back to any of that.

Anyway, we were pretty excited to have REAL Peruvian food, something exciting that we’d never tried before. Maybe something that we’d go back for another day, since the selection of good restaurants in our town is kinda small.

Derek called them to make an order, and was heartened to find out that they spoke not a lick of English. He ordered Sachi Papas, and Pollo a la Brasa. The other thing he was supposed to order was some kind of drink, but the person taking the order just couldn’t understand his accent, so he gave up.

He drove to the restaurant to pick up the food, happily noted a Peruvian-looking family leaving the building, and came straight back without even peeking. When he got home, he came right in to Kiki’s room, where I was feeding her. Cue dramatic music, as he slowly opens the first Styrofoam container with the Sachi Papas, and sees… French Fries with sliced Hot Dogs. And three suspicious looking dipping sauces. He burst out laughing, as I sat dumbfounded. Authentic Peruvian French Fries? That had been steaming in the Styrofoam, and were now exceptionally soggy. They weren’t even homemade fries, just the frozen ones that every fast food place has.

On to the Pollo a la Brasa. A full leg of a chicken, complete with drumstick, thigh, backbone, all that congealed brown stuff under the backbone, and even the chicken bum. You know, that thing your Grandma call the “parson’s nose.” The thing you never see in your package of boneless/skinless. The thing that has a tailbone, a bunch of squishy fat, and some skin where you can still find a few tail feathers, if you look hard enough. On top of another pile of soggy, now very greasy Sachi Papas. And a small, soggy, greasy bunch of iceberg lettuce with mayonnaise on top. And a slice of winter tomato. (I’ll save the winter tomato rant for another day.)

I think Pollo a la Brasa is some sort of traditional spit-roasted street-vendor fare. And you guessed it, it tasted like it had been roasted at the side of a very busy, diesel fumey congested street. With a very strong hint of campfire. And some extra grease poured on top. Derek is bone-phobic, so I got to pick all the meat off. Because, yes, we still ate it. And then we were sad.

I told Derek he needed to give those boys a lickin’ at church the next day, but he forgot. He was too busy trying to think of creative ways to teach the dangers of pornography to a bunch of squirming 12 and 13-year-olds. (We made some phony doggy-doo with peanut-butter candy and lots of food coloring, put it in a zip-lock bag, and put that in a gift-wrapped box with a bow on top. The lesson being that it may look nice and inviting at first, but it’s really just a bunch of crap that you don’t want in your house or your mind.)

So I don’t think we’ll ever go to that restaurant again. Nor will we take culinary recommendations from any 12-year-old boys, no matter where they’re from. They may be nice kids, but jeez!

I started hearing about Mr. Fargus a few months ago. The boys would be in their bedroom playing, and one would say to the other, “Hello, Mr. Fargus.”  And then there would be wild giggling. “You’re Mr. Fargus.” “No, you are.” Hee hee hee. I had no idea who this Mr. Fargus was, nor where they had met him. Sometimes, they would be playing with their toys, and one of them would be Mr. Fargus. I asked them who he was, and they looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t know.”

So one day, we were watching Spider Man, and during the scene where they’re having the parade with balloons, Harry comes out onto the balcony in his tux, and approaches the bald man in the wheel-chair, and says, “Good morning, Mr. Fargus.” How did my boys catch that? And why him? Why not Mr. Osborn, or Peter Parker? Or, knowing my boys, Mary Jane?

When Zeeb was not barely 1 and Calvin 3 1/2, they were playing in the living room. Calvin was going through a Hercules phase, wherein he would answer to no other name than Hercules. He would call us other names from the story (we’re talking about the Disney version, here). I came in, wanting Zeeb to do something, and I said, “Zeeb!”

Calvin looked at me like I was delusional, and said, “Her name is Meg!” I asked him what he’d said, and he repeated it. He told me he was Hercules, Derek was Hades, and I was still just Sarah.

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