Maybe the other wheels need oil! THINK OF THE OTHER WHEELS

Guess who has a deadline and a houseguest arriving in less than 24 hours and piles of laundry and floors that need vacuuming and a bathroom that needs scrubbing BUT ALL THE DISHES ARE DONE SO TAKE THAT. That’s why I’m blogging. Or more likely it’s why I’m thinking so much. Okay, I’m always thinking so much.

So here is my thing. I’m not all that loud. You might think from my penchant for ALL-CAPSery that I’m loud, but I’m not that loud. I guess I’m loud in a HA HA I THINK I AM SOOOO FUNNY sort of way sometimes. But I’m generally pretty private and quiet and being in crowds freaks me out and having ANY ATTENTION on me at all makes me want to cry and hide and point at someone else and run when heads are turned.

Because of this, I have a really hard time asking for help. Well, not asking for help. I can totally ask for specific help when I know that I need it and I know what I need. But support, you know? From the general collective. I’m TERRIBLE at that. Any time I do mention I’m having a hard time and get kind words back, I want to apologize. Oh, please, no, don’t worry about me. I’ll be FINE. I can take care of me. Look! At all those people with bigger problems! Go hug them instead!

And here is what happens. There are lots of people, whether they are extroverts or what, who are VERY GOOD at letting everyone know they are going through a hard time. And then you sit and you watch the support roll in. By the truckload, so much support, everyone is thinking of them, holding them up in prayer. And I resent it. I resent the HELL out of it.

And my uncharitable thoughts spiral out from there. Why can’t SHE just DEAL with her problems? Why must she make such a spectacle? Why doesn’t anyone help the people too quiet to know how to say they need help?

Well, dumbass. Because how in the WORLD are they supposed to know those people NEED help?

I see a lot of people talking about how people write on the internet and try to sell themselves as so happy with these perfect lives when meanwhile insanity is happening beneath the surface. And later they are criticized for this, for painting a happy picture when they weren’t happy at all. And that DOES happen, that definitely happens, but then I get (also uncharitably) defensive. You can’t tell! You can’t! Because sometimes people are just private! Sometimes the things we carry aren’t for the internet or even close friends. Sometimes the things we carry are ours to carry alone.

But also sometimes people ARE lying to sell their lives. So maybe I should reel that in. Maybe I shouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt OR judge. Maybe I should just STOP.

Then of course there are layers to what people are willing to share. Just because so-and-so is very vocal about certain stressors, it doesn’t mean EVERYTHING in her life is stressful, nor does it mean there aren’t things happening that even she isn’t mentioning.

This all sounds very ominous. I promise things are a normal amount of fine and messed up over here. No great turmoil. This isn’t a cry for help. It’s just, I don’t know. I get frustrated every day–EVERY SINGLE DAY–of my life when I find myself not stopping and taking a second and realizing WE ALL PROCESS THINGS DIFFERENTLY. There aren’t right and wrong ways.

Well, kicking kittens is a wrong way.

But there aren’t. And I need to stop. To stop resenting the squeaky wheels. THEY NEED OIL. So they squeak. And people bring them what they need.

And that’s ANOTHER thing I do. I see someone being very loud about a problem, and I immediately imagine what sort of problem I’d have to have to be THAT vocal about it. And I compare my imaginary makes-an-introvert-scream problem to the WAY AN EXTROVERT PROCESSES REAL ACTUAL PROBLEMS and that’s just not fair. NOT FAIR. Not to either type of personality. Or anyone on that sliding scale, I suppose, so as not to pigeonhole everyone.

I’m not going anywhere with this. It probably sounds preachy, and I don’t mean it that way. I just, I don’t hide things on purpose. I don’t know that it’s even HIDING, it’s just not sharing, because it’s mine and I’m protective of it. Maybe. I know it’s not pride that makes me do it. I have no desire for everyone to think I have it all together. And it’s not shame. I guess sometimes there is shame, but I’m not embarrassed that I can’t do it all, that I need support. It just doesn’t even occur to me to talk about it.

But, man. If it does occur to you to talk about your problems, to live your life out loud? I admire you. And you deserve every drop of oil you get.



Filed under Probably too serious

Because when you come here, this is what you get: analyses of movies you watched a decade ago

Internet! It has been so long since last we met! In this capacity, anyway. I’ve still been on Twitter. And Facebook. And IM. I’ve even been doing that texting thing the kids are talking about these days. Have you heard of this? I highly recommend it.

ANYHOW. I’ve recently had some assigned writing, and if there is anything that makes you dust off the blog you write on for funsies, it’s needing some way to procrastinate, am I right? And, yeah, I have kids to watch and dishes to do, but typing words in a box for free? WHAT BEATS THAT?

Now, I have a reason why I want to talk to you today, and the reason I want to talk to you today is that I recently re-watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And when I say I re-watched the trilogy, I don’t want you getting any ideas like I sat down and watched it properly, all the way through. Or even sat down and watched a single one of the movies properly, all the way through. I think it took us 7 (seven) nights to get all the way through. What with the aforementioned children and wanting to sleep. WHILE I was watching the movies, I was live-texting Ian, as one does, with several questions and observations, because he knows everything and it’s my duty to make sure he feels really useful and full of knowledge. I’m doing him a FAVOR, guys. And FINE, I’m sure none of these are new observations, and there were blogs a decade ago, so this has probably all been said, up in your brains or otherwise, but just HUMOR ME because I HAVE QUESTIONS.

So, okay, these movies. You’ve seen them, yes? You have. Here’s the thing: none of this ever had to happen! Do you REALIZE that? Am I the only one who screams at Elrond every single time he just lets Isildur walk out of Mount Doom all proudly clutching his precious? YOU ARE A MAGICAL ELF AND YOU HAD HIM RIGHT THERE. Just, come ON, Elrond, throw the dude in the fire. THROW HIM IN THE FIRE. I think pretty much he knew the next 3000+ years of living might get a little dull if there weren’t evil in the world, so he just let that crap go.


Another thing that confuses me is these guys are wandering the open countryside, running into people left and right, and EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYBODY. Is there some sort of Middle Earth Facebook that Tolkien never mentions? They know each other BY NAME. All, oh, yeah, you! You’re Isildur’s heir, right? That dude who died 3000 years ago and we somehow kept an eye on that bloodline through ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY generations. It’s like that part in The Emperor’s New Groove where the kid is jumping rope and tells Yzma she’s so old, she’s more like his great, great, great, great … great, great, great GREAT GREAT AUNT.

A hundred and fifty greats, guys.

And, okay, orcs. Those are some nasty nasties, right? Here is what I want to know, and maybe you know and this will be obvious to you, but I do not know and when I had the thought it blew my mind, but here it is:


Like, back in OrcVille or wherever, waiting for their handsome and doting husbands to return from their noble war? These things are pretty much grown in pits in the ground, right? Or are those just the ones that Saruman harvests?

And are there FRIENDLY orcs? Meek orcs? Kindly orc neighbors who are all, “Hey, I had some extra maggots, so I baked you this pie! I hope you like it!” And then what can you even DO? You have to say THANK YOU and possibly even eat the pie, because yeah sure THIS orc is a nice orc, but he probably KNOWS people, you know? He’s got a cousin who knows a guy who knows a guy from Isengard.

Yeah. Just eat the pie.


Oh, right. Gandalf! First of all, this dude is a war-monger. He is just going from place to place–I am TELLING YOU, watch the movies with this in your head and you will see–from place to place telling people, oh yeah, you gotta fight. You’re gonna need to rally your troops and fight. And every single person is all, NAAAAAH, I don’t feel like fighting, and sometimes it is the SAME PERSON, MULTIPLE TIMES, saying naaaah, I have fought enough. And then he’s got his staff which sometimes is like this magical glowstick of making those creepy Nazgul dragons fly away and other times he just hits people with it. If it can be a magical glowstick, Gandalf, please do use it in that capacity AT ALL TIMES.

So he’s Gandalf the Grey, and then Gandalf the White, and SINCERELY I want to know, was he Gandalf the Black at some point? Do they all start at grey? Is there something in between? Gandalf the Charcoal? Did he get to skip over Gandalf the Heather Grey? Like, you take out a balrog, you get your white glowstick no questions asked?

I think one of my favorite parts is the battle for Helm’s Deep, when they put the pile of bombs under the wall, and one orc is running toward it with his torch, and Aragorn is all, “LEGOLAS SHOOT THE GUY WITH THE TORCH!” As though if he takes him out, the other few thousand orcs will be all, “Damn! I was SO sure that would work. OH WELL. Ladders it is!”


Take it from someone who currently lives in a 3-story townhouse: Minas Tirith looks an exhausting place to live.

Theoden’s beard is green, and it gets greener as the movie goes on.

I mentioned this on Twitter, but, you guys, I can’t tell Boromir and Faramir apart. When Faramir shows up in Two Towers, every single time I’m like HEY DIDN’T HE DIE OH RIGHT THIS IS THE OTHER ONE. Now, I fully admit I have never looked up both actors and seen their pictures side-by-side, and probably that would make it OBVIOUS that they are not the same person, but inside of my head, they are exactly the same person. I do this with a lot of people. Like, when I picture Phil Collins? Bob Newhart. Every time. I don’t know WHY, I don’t think they look alike, I just assign celebrity faces to other celebrities. IT IS JUST MORE EFFICIENT, OKAY?

Speaking of the -mir twins, we all know about one of them saying how one does not simply walk into Mordor, right?


He just waltzes on in there, no problem, I’ll just wander up the tower to exactly where they are keeping Frodo. I GOT THIS, GUYS.

And now the ring. The ring is IN Mordor. Allll this time Sauron has been sensing it approaching, and now it is IN HIS LANDS and he’s TOTES UNAWARE?


Speaking of Sauron, is there anything more unintentionally hilarious than his lighthouse eye looking all over the place as his tower crumbles?

And then we come to the end. Well, the sort of end. This movie acts like it is ending a good five times before it actually ends, which just makes the actual ending so sad because every time I watch it I forget which ending is REALLY the end and so I’m hoping there’s still one more ending, preferably with Aragorn and Legolas bromancing it up, but WHATEVER, anyway, the first end, and Sam and Frodo are all floating on the lava equivalent of an iceberg, and then Gandalf swoops in on an eagle, and I finally FINALLY figured out how he knew they were still alive!


Reception in Mordor remained surprisingly good, even after the tower fell. Apparently.

Anyway. Lady orcs. THINK ABOUT IT.


Filed under Not even kidding

This way you have to make it yourself if you want to see how awesome it is

OH hey guys! Things have been a little crazy lately. Because it’s life and life is crazy and all that. We’re probably listing the house soon! Matt got put in charge of a big proposal at work! Leo is crawling and trying to pull up! The girls are sort of becoming friends! A LOT HAS BEEN HAPPENING.

So things start happening, and I immediately go to the kitchen. Because, you know, we keep the food there, and I like the food. The twelve foods I can eat, anyway. And sadly not one of those foods is BREAD FROM STORE. All the processed bread has who knows what as far as corn ingredients go (dextrose is my mortal enemy!) and all the fancy bakery breads were baked ON CORN MEAL for its non-stick properties, which left me breadless. (Also in what shall heretofore be known as my Breadless Size, a size I think we can all agree is not worth the lack of bread.) I’d been making everything from scratch but bread? Really? I conquered my fear of yeast for things like pizza dough and homemade soft pretzels and dinner rolls and even HOT DOG BUNS (because when you eat processed maybe-meat-bits, you really don’t want to put it on STORE BOUGHT BUNS, do you?) but bread recipes always freaked me out.

Then Maureen kept pushing her Magic Bread recipe. (She uses that word a lot, have you noticed that? Magic bread! Magic baby! Magic hair! IT CAN’T ALL BE MAGICAL, MAUREEN.) But, she was right. It was magical. Not QUITE magical enough for (picky little kid plain cheese) sandwiches, but super magical for eating all the livelong day slathered in butter or just by itself. It was basically my bread-making gateway drug. Seriously, go try it! I’LL GIVE YOU THE FIRST CLICK FOR FREE.

Uh, anyway, so I kept looking and I found a good recipe and I started TWEAKING said recipe. My poor family, every single loaf since then (and I’d guess there have been about ten? maybe more?) I would change one tiny thing and be all “HOW IS THIS ONE? IS THIS ONE GOOD? TOO CRUMBLY? TOO DRY?” and then I’d tweak again and they all cried and wished for when life was simple and our bread came in squares from a bag the way it should be. Well except they liked the new bread better, but I’m not sure even THAT was enough to make up for the daily questionnaire tucked into their lunchboxes. (Were the mini-golf pencils too much?)

Anyway, I had grand plans for a fancy step-by-step recipe post, not that I plan on making that a THING just that it would have been good for THIS thing, but instead I’m just posting a link to the original and then my adaptations. Basically I won’t even REVIEW it there because I’ve changed so much, and I hate when people do that. “Oh I loved this! I substituted chocolate for the tomatoes and cookies for the pasta and I think you’ve REALLY got something here! Though I’m rating it only 3 stars because it was more a dessert than a main course, you know? I’ll leave out the garlic next time.”


But, seriously, this bread is everything I thought bread made at home could NOT be. It’s got texture just like STORE BREAD. I mean, the slightly denser store bread that comes in the cellophane within the bag, so you know it’s FANCY. My husband says it tastes like sandwiches-from-the-nice-deli bread, but he also chose to spend his life with me, so that opinion comes with a lot of salt grains (and also ETERNAL PATIENCES.)

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2.5 cups 100% whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water, if needed

1. Add milk and oil to small saucepan. Scald the mixture. (Basically you want to let it get pretty hot, ALMOST boiling, but not boiling. You can do this in the microwave if you want.) Set aside to cool to 110-115 degrees F.

2. While milk/oil is cooling, add flours, yeast, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly to combine ingredients.

3. When liquid has cooled, turn on mixer to low and pour in the liquid until it comes together. If the mixture remains too dry, add up to 1/4 cup of lukewarm water to get it mostly stuck together.

4. Switch to the hook attachment and knead on low for 5-6 minutes, until the dough looks smooth. Transfer to an oiled boil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise about an hour, until puffy. (It doesn’t need to double.)

5. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan. Form dough into a loaf shape. (I am NOT good at this, but trust me, it still looks mostly like a real loaf of bread no matter what you do!) Set the dough in the bread pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap. (I totally take the piece from the rising bowl and smear the extra oil from the bowl on it because LAZY) Preheat the oven to 350F. Leave dough to rise until the middle of the loaf is about an inch or so above the rim of the pan. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes for me, but I live in Florida and my house is twelve hundred degrees.

6. Remove plastic wrap and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Check at the halfway point for overbrowning and tent with aluminum¬† foil if necessary. It’s done when the internal temperature is 190F.

7. Turn out on a wire rack and immediately rub a stick of butter over the top crust. (The sides and bottom, too, if you’re feeling frisky. Or just like buttery crust.) This leaves the crust soft, like store bread. Allow to cool before slicing! I never do, but I hear you should!

And there you have it! The best way I know of to grow right out of your Breadless Size.


I have since made the bread with water in place of the milk. If you do that, there is no need to scald anything, you just need warm water right from the tap. WAY LESS WORK. This made a much lighter, fluffier loaf, and I think I’ll be sticking with it in the future.


Filed under Uncategorized


So. Guys. There’s something that’s been going on recently, and it’s been bothering me. I’ve talked to a couple of people about it, and MOSTLY I am probably in the wrong, or at least in the minority, with my opinion, but I want to explain WHY I feel the way I feel and maybe hear from the handful of people who are on my side. Or perhaps I’m looking to be convinced by the people on the opposing side why I’m WRONG.

Now, normally when you come around here or any other blog sort of like this one where we’re big on BRINGING THE LAUGHS, this would segue into some sort of flighty, traditionally unimportant topic. This is ACTUALLY, for once, a more serious thing I’m talking about. Though not really all that serious. No life or death involved. Well, sort of both life and death, but not life OR death, which is a bit more pressing.

An article/blog post went viral recently, and the gist of it was that as mothers, we are too often told to “enjoy every moment!” and “seize the day!” by strangers, usually old ladies in the grocery store, when they see us out with our children. The general consensus seems to be that this is annoying, it’s intrusive, it’s rude, and it’s unrealistic; it is impossible to enjoy EVERY moment of motherhood. (Note: I’m not linking to that post because some things have come to light recently about the author and possible plagiarism in other pieces, so let’s just NOT go there.)

Which, truthfully, I don’t take issue with. Of course no one enjoys every moment of ANYTHING. No matter what the best day of your life was, you probably didn’t ENJOY using the toilet or that one sneezing fit or the car that cut you off in traffic. OBVIOUSLY, right?

The thing is, I can’t help but put myself behind the eyes of every person who has ever said this sort of thing to me. I instantly flash forward and imagine my children all grown and gone from the home. Maybe they’ll be married and have children, maybe they’ll all choose to remain childless, maybe they’ll struggle with infertility, maybe we will be estranged for one reason or another, or maybe I’ll just be melancholy over this part of my life being over. And then there is a woman out with her three beautiful children, in the PRIME of her life, really in the thick of things, LIVING even though every day is filled with chores and dirty diapers and screaming and tantrums and fights over the stupidest things imaginable. It will take EVERYTHING in me not to run up to her and grab her by the shoulders and tell her to HANG ON TO THESE MOMENTS, FOR THEY ARE TOO FEW.

I won’t, though! I promise.

What I am telling you here, though, is that I am in PRE-MOURNING for this part of my life. This is IT, this is what I have always wanted. It is ten million times harder than I ever imagined it would be, and it has me exhausted to my core. It has me filled with more worry than I knew I could carry. It has pushed me to my limits and beyond those limits, and I am saying this in a way I do not intend to be taken romantically. The last seven months since Leo was born? The HARDEST months of my life. OBVIOUSLY I did not cherish every bowl of oatmeal or bowl of rice and peas or bowl of ANYTHING BECAUSE THE ONLY THINGS I COULD EAT WERE SERVED IN BOWLS while watching my family eat pizzas and cakes and other assorted foods that required chewing. Of course I didn’t. And I am not insisting that any of you — any of us — should be counting your blessings every single second of your incredibly difficult days.

Just … it is HARD. It is SO SO HARD.

But, you know? I’m pretty sure all of us are going to miss some part of it. I am NOT a baby person, not at all. I cannot wait for Leo to turn one. I mean, I am practically wishing this entire year AWAY. I wouldn’t mind taking a nap from now until July 6th, thank you very much.

What got me thinking about this was a tiny little moment in the middle of the night last night. Leo got two immunizations yesterday. This was his second round with these two particular shots, and it was those shots that gave him a high (102+) fever last time. That was when we tried the HA HA corn-free acetaminophen. We were told this time that he needn’t be medicated for fever unless it got that high again, and by 10PM last night, he was at 100.9. I spent the entire night with the AC cranked and the fan on with my pitiful baby wearing a onesie beside me in the bed nursing while I kept him cooled down with a damp washcloth on his sizzling forehead. I barely slept, fretting in the dark that I’d have to give my baby medication that was sure to make him more miserable than the fever. I was MISERABLE and I HATED THE WORLD. I hated everything and everyone and I started thinking about the ladies in the grocery store with the love in their eyes telling me to cherish every moment.

Then I thought about Vio, 5 years old and down the hall in her own bed, who does not want to be touched if she is sick. Vio who had a tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy, her second one already. And I was already that lady in the grocery store, telling MYSELF to cherish this moment, because that little girl was just this little boy. She JUST WAS. They are only a month off being exactly 5 years apart, and we find ourselves looking from one to the other in awe. Look at her! Five years ago, she was learning to sit up, and now she is READING US BOOKS! Etc. etc. etc.

I guess what I am getting at here is that I get it. I get why they do it. And it’s FINE if it bothers you when they say it to you, it’s just that I don’t think they mean it that way. Swistle wrote a great post recently about this where she talked about how we need to weigh the INTENTIONS along with the words they are saying. I wholeheartedly agree.

MY intention in writing this is not to guilt anyone who currently is NOT loving every moment. FAR FROM IT, as I hope I’ve made clear with the admission that I am most definitely not doing that myself. I have this problem, and when I tell you what it is, I’m going to sound like I’m trying to pass off a strength as a weakness or like when you answer that question about your flaws in a job interview and you say, “Oh, I’m a PERFECTIONIST,” but I promise you I am not. The thing is that I am fair to a fault. It sounds like a positive thing, but it has cost me more friends that I could possibly comment on here. Once, when confronted with the end of a friendship, I asked the question WHY? What had I done wrong? “It’s just … you’re always the bearer of bad news.” See, someone would come to me with a problem they’d had with someone else, and instead of being supportive, I would IMMEDIATELY try to see it from the other person’s side. I would put myself in BOTH sets of shoes, shoes that had no business being on my feet at all, and then WORSE, I would start in on my friend. Kindly, of course, but completely without regard for it being what the other person needed to hear. It’s something I fight like hell now that I realize how obnoxious it must be. It is something I have gotten more successful at pushing out of my head over the years, but it still creeps into my personal relationships far too often. Because I think I am being helpful! I only realize much later that it wasn’t the case at all.

That right there, now that I think about it, is the root of why I am writing this at all. I see people forming an angry mob against these (I’m assuming) well-meaning people and their well-meaning comments, and all my instincts tell me to DEFEND them and put me in their shoes. I think they’re right at the same time I think it is perfectly right to be annoyed and furious at all they have to say. I am here now living moments that drag on horribly and I am there looking back at a lifetime of moments that passed in an instant.

So, I don’t know. I DO carpe diem. I want to carpe the HELL out of all the diems I can. For me, anyway, it is so much better to be the one hearing the words “Cherish every moment” than the one speaking them.


Filed under Motherhood uncensored, Probably too serious