Saturday, June 30, 2007


There is a lady in my parents church who is addicted to the phone. She's been known to call us 8 - 10 times a day. And she calls for no reason. A typical call with her lasts approximately 15 seconds. Just long enough to say hello, ascertain that there's no reason for the call, and say goodbye. This gets really annoying really fast. We finally had to ask her not to call.

She called this morning. She wanted El Slurpo's phone number. I really don't like him, so I gave her his number. I'm wondering how many times she'll call him before he tells her not to call. I'm also wondering how long it'll be before I get fussed at for giving her his number. It is worth it though.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Handle Your Scandal

This was the topic of a post on a forum that I belong to and it got me to thinking. I have quite a few people in my life who I wish that I could say this to.

For the person who wants to tell me all about her open marriage, I don't want details! I really don't need to know the list of who you're sleeping with. And I definitely don't need to hear about how many are in the bed at once. If you're happy with your lifestyle, then I'm happy for you, but please, deal with it on your own.

For the person who "needs a sounding board," I don't want to hear it! I realize that you think it's shocking when you tell me about somebody's open marriage and their behavior since that decision was made, but I already know. And here's the real kicker, I don't want to know! And I know that you think I need to know all about your suspicions of drug use, but really, I don't. And I know that you're fascinated by all the drama in everybody else's life, but that you're fascination, please leave me out of it.

And for the one who calls when you need money, I'm not a bank. When you point out that your household is bringing in at least ten times what I do, please don't call me to ask for a loan. (They're not extremely well off, I have an extremely low income.) If I had extra money don't you think I would have a better living situation? If I can make it work, then so can you. Don't buy that new car, or that $200 toy for your 4 year old daughter and then ask me for a loan. It ain't happening!

And for the teenage girl complaining about how guys look at you, stop putting yourself on display! If you look like you're advertising your wares then don't be surprised when that's how you're treated! Cover yourself up and maybe those guys would notice the color of your eyes.

I'm not perfect by any means and I don't want to come off as trying to say I am. If at any time you feel the need, then please feel free to tell me to handle my scandal.


As I was driving to the doctor today I started thinking about time management. Every day I have a list of things that I need to do, and I try to schedule my time so that they all get done. Sometimes this approach doesn't work. Most of the time I end up pissing my husband off.

If I know how long a certain activity will take then I have no problems deciding to start it in three hours. in the meantime I may choose to do something that's purely for recreation or relaxation. This doesn't mean that I've forgotten what I need to do, just that, for reasons that might only be known to me, I'm putting it off.

The biggest reason that this approach will fail is unexpected requests. I almost had this happen today. I had a doctor's appointment at 2:00, that meant that I needed to leave the house by 1:00. At 12:45 I was just finishing dinner and still needed to change my shirt, put myself together, and get out the door. That's when my mom decided to let me know that she needed me to fix her some lunch. I had 15 minutes worth of stuff to do, and now I needed to add in something that could take a while. Fortunately she realized my time constraints and asked for a PBJ. I managed to get out of here on time, but barely.

I think that I'm more likely to get frustrated by that kind of thing because of my husband. He used to wait until 10 minutes before I needed to leave for work to let me know that he needed me to take him to the store before I left for the day. It took a little while, but I convinced him that it was in his best interest to let me know the night before that he needed something so that I could add it to my schedule for a time that was convenient for me.

He still gets upset with me if I don't do things on his schedule, and I still let him know what he can do with his schedule, but I don't get as upset about it now. And so we've both learned that one person's time management can sometimes be a family project.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I was talking with my great-aunt today and realized something. My family collects strays. For some families that would mean stray dogs, others it would be cats, with my family it's people.

When I was elementary school age we would visit my grandparents during the summer. (They lived in California, we were in Alaska.) Visiting them was especially wonderful because of how many people lived there.

My grandparents had a three bedroom house with a mother-in-law cottage on the property. Grandma and Grandpa had one room. Uncle Kenny, Aunt Irene, and their three boys had another room. Uncle Doug, Aunt Dana, and their two boys had the third bedroom. In the mother-in-law cottage was Uncle Victor, Aunt Carol, and their son and daughter.

During the day my Aunt Carol would babysit my Aunt Sharon's two boys. When you include my sister and I the child count was eleven. And then the neighbor kids that we were friends with would come over. Quite often the child count was over twenty, and we were all treated the same way, no matter who we belonged to.

During the day we would run in and out of the house, watching cartoons, getting a snack, going potty, whatever. And our friends would run in and out of the house with as much freedom as we did. I swear my grandparents needed a revolving door.

One day one of the kids that wasn't related to us fell down and got hurt. He was crying pretty hard so the adults thought that one of them should take him home and explain what happened to his parents. The only problem was that the little boy was crying too hard to say where he lived. The adults figured that they would find out who he was friends with and get them to point the way to his house. That's when we discovered that nobody knew him.

Apparently he had seen a large group of kids and figured it would be fun to join them. He had been hanging out at my grandparents house for a couple of weeks before it was discovered that we didn't know him.

That event almost seems normal to me. I grew up used to the idea that everybody is to be made welcome with the same warmth that you would welcome family. This includes the family members that you don't necessarily care for. That kind of attitude can lead to a collection of strays.

When I was little my parents were foster parents for a while. Now don't get me wrong, I don't consider my foster siblings to be strays, I just think that having them around got me adjusted to the idea of opening your house and your heart to strangers. I still miss and wonder about some of them, even if they were so young that they would have no memory of me.

As a teenager it was my friends who became the adopted strays. My family has always been very involved with each other and this drew my friends in. It was a novel idea to them that a family would sit down to dinner together, turn everything off, and talk about what's going on in their lives. We'd been doing this as long as I can remember and so I found their responses to be interesting.

When my sister's best friend didn't want to move to another state with her family my parents let her move in with us. (With her parents permission of course.) When some friends of mine were having problems at home they were welcome to use our house as a home away from home. I had friends who continued to come and visit my family even after I moved away.

Now as an adult I see my parents and my grandma take in whomever they find that needs a place to stay for a little while. They are careful about their own safety (strangers can't move in), but they can't keep a guest room empty for long. They collect stray people.

And there's one more reason that I feel blessed to have the family that I have.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Do you ever feel like life is one crisis after another? The other day I realized that I'd had way too many crises lately. When grandma going to the hospital in an ambulance no longer automatically gets top billing you know there's been too many crises. Now to be fair, there was nothing life threatening wrong with her, and there was nothing that we could do for her right at that moment. In fact, when we got to the hospital we still had to wait an hour before being allowed to see her. It just struck me after the fact that we really are having way too much going on if we're prioritizing the crises that way.

And what does it say about me that there are a few people who's medical history I can rattle off better than my own? I think that my grandmother's wishes for medical care are clearer in my mind than my own are. It's amazing the things that I learned about her by staying the night with her in the hospital.

I wonder if I could successfully make a career out of going to the doctor with people. While I find it absolutely natural that I would do this for my family, I started thinking career options when a friend asked this of me. He didn't really understand what the doctors were saying to him and so he wanted some help. He had me go in with him for the exam and then I asked questions. Once I understood what the doctor was saying then we were ready to go. He just needed help asking questions. I've found that to be the biggest problem people have with their doctors.

I could offer a service that included holding your hand for the scary parts with helping you understand what's going on. I could meet with the patient ahead of time to be sure that I understood what they were needing, and then attend the appointment with them. I could even offer a service where I help explain what the doctor said to family members.

It would be difficult though, because I'd have to be very careful not to give my opinion at any time. I am not a trained medical professional, I just have a lot of experience at doctor's offices. Somehow I think that this would be a good way to get sued. Well, scrap that idea. I guess I'm back to just dealing with my family's crises.


I talked to one of my aunts today. It's always great to get a reminder about how messed up my family is. I swear that we could provide Jerry Springer with shows for at least a year. And that's not going beyond those of us descended from my grandparents.

The aunt that I talked to isn't part of the messed up ones, although I suspect that life's not perfect for her. Then again, who is it perfect for? She asked me how some of my family is doing, and I honestly didn't know how to respond.

When you're family members are making lifestyle choices that you don't necessarily approve of, and you know they would shock the other person, what can you say? She wants to know how they're doing, but I have no info that should be passed on. When more than an assurance that everybody is well is wanted you really need a few details to give.

Several people in my generation are behaving in a way that would shock and/or upset my parents generation. But they think it's cool. Yes, I can see that you're happy with your life how it is. And I'm happy for you. But please give me news that I can pass on. When our whole conversation is stuff that you don't want repeated I'm stuck in the position of having to politely brush people off.

And if you're that happy in your new lifestyle, why can't everybody know? Do you not trust that the older generation will love and support you no matter what? Can you not see that I'm closer to them only because I'm honest about myself with them? They love me anyway, and it's not a matter of favoritism. In fact, the one that you say favors me has said outright that you are the favored one. In fact, although several in the older generation have admitted to having favorites, I was never named.

And while we're discussing this, please don't give me details. It's one thing to say what kinds of things you're in to. It's something else entirely to give me the personal details. Honestly, I don't want to know. When I said I didn't want to know I wasn't just making a token protest.

And if you're arguing with each other, please leave me out of it. Each one of you calls me to vent. Please don't do that. Do you have any idea how stuck in the middle of your drama I get? And then you want me to move closer? How would I ever escape the drama that way? My life has enough drama that I don't need to borrow yours.

Above all else, remember that I love you, all of you. Please keep in mind that the other people who are playing along in your drama fest are people that I also love. And just leave me out of it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Three Years

It's amazing how long three years can feel. And it's amazing how short it can be. My husband and I just celebrated our third anniversary. I guess the doctor who thought he wouldn't make it to the first was wrong. It's been good, it's been bad, but mostly it's been life.

I love my husband with all my heart, but he drives me crazy. Adjusting to living with someone is a long process. Especially if you're both stubborn and both used to getting your own way. We still haven't gotten a final verdict on a couple of issues. I have a feeling that they're here to stay.

A couple months ago my husband was visiting his daughters who live a little over a thousand miles away. One morning a few days before he was to come home I got a call from my stepdaughter that my husband was in the hospital and not expected to live. It was an awful time for us. After two weeks in the hospital they decided that he was well enough to be sick at home. That's the most grateful that I've ever been to have him home.

Today I was thinking about all this. I realized that it's likely that we won't get to celebrate our tenth anniversary. And that's why it's important to make a big deal out of the anniversaries we have. It's also why I have to tell him every day how much I love him. Just in case.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


After posting elsewhere about my dad I thought that I'd put a little bit in here about I think my dad's great.


He always worked hard to provide for his family. And I have always known that my daddy would hand me the world on a silver platter if he could. He's always wanted better for my sister and I.

He's not afraid to let his love for my mom show. He still looks at her all moon eyed like some high school kid when he thinks no one's looking.

He taught me about God's love. That's the best gift he ever gave me.

He gave me a love of books. And my teacher's always said it showed. I can go anywhere and be anyone when I open a book. How wonderful that he taught me that world exists.

He encouraged curiosity. He's the one that taught my sister and I to "experiment" in the kitchen. Sis is better at it, but I'm learning. He also taught me that curiosity isn't confined to the kitchen. That I should always be asking questions.

He always spoke to me as if I were intelligent enough to understand him. It's amazing how even little kids know when you're talking down to them. Because dad treated me as intelligent I believed that I was. That made school easier.

He taught me that only boring people get bored. This led to me being able to entertain myself for hours at a time with nothing more than my brain. Talk about fostering creativity!

He taught me how to run backwards. For some reason that lesson has always stuck out in my mind when I think about how wonderful my dad is. Probably because it was one of those perfect days where dad had nothing better to do than spend all day with the family. He took my sister and I to the park under the school and taught me how to run backwards because I wanted to push my sister on the swing.

But best of all, he's always there, always loving me, and nothing could ever change that. Talk about security!

Friday, June 15, 2007

More El Slurpo

I'm actually worried about this guy. No matter how badly he gets on my nerves, nobody should live the way that he does. The only problem is figuring out how to help him. How do you force an adult to change their lifestyle, or should you even try?

This guy lives in an apartment in some senior housing. I've had to go there and deliver stuff to him a couple of times. He is a pack rat. His bed is in the living room because the bedroom is full of stuff. There is a path from the door that leads to his bed, the kitchen sink, and the bathroom.

I've never gone very far in so I'm not sure about the rest of the house, but the living room is anywhere from waist high to shoulder high in books and papers. He says that he eats all his meals out so there's no mess in the kitchen. I can see in there enough to know that he does have books and papers in there, but I can't tell about food type messes.

He's now talking about leaving everything to my dad. This means that when he passes away it would be our problem to clean up his mess. Not just the apartment, but the multiple storage units as well. There's at least three full of stuff. The other day he had two truckloads of books delivered by some friends and they went directly into storage.

I will never understand his need to accumulate things. It just baffles my mind. I wish that I knew some way to make him stop hoarding stuff, since it's so unhealthy for him, not to mention a fire hazard.

El Slurpo

Grandma's friend is here for his daily visit. He gets to everybody in the house. When he shows up everybody finds somewhere else that they desperately need to be.

My grandma has to use a walker to get around these days. That doesn't stop him from showing up and expecting to be waited on hand and foot. As soon as he comes in she gets up to fix some sort of breakfast for him. We've tried to stop this from happening, but nothing works.

He used to stay for three meals a day. That's when I nicknamed him El Slurpo. He's perfected the art of slurping his food. He can even slurp meatloaf. It's absolutely disgusting to eat a meal with him. When you consider that slurping is the most polite thing that he does you can see why he's great to have around if you're going for a starvation diet.

It's been that he'd show up for breakfast and the he and grandma would leave for lunch at the senior meal program. After lunch he would drop her off at home and leave. This was a schedule that we all learned to live with, and was why we put up with him. He was getting grandma out of the house and helping her develop a social life. We all believe that this is a wonderful thing.

Yesterday El Slurpo announced that he'd no longer be taking grandma to the senior lunch. Last week or the week before she passed out while at the lunch and so now he's decided that she shouldn't be going. She's getting medical treatment for what happened at the lunch, and the doctor's say that it would've happened no matter where she was. But he insists that it's too much for her so he won't take her. We all think it's great for her and are going to take her there as often as our schedules permit.

It's amazing how sitting down and being served a healthy lunch is bad for grandma, but waiting on El Slurpo isn't. He takes advantage of her so bad and she just allows it to happen. He refuses to get up and do anything for himself. He's more mobile than grandma, but will expect her to get up and hand him stuff that he's laid down and wandered away from.

Okay, I'll quit ranting about this guy for now, but later I've gotta write about his living situation.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Have you ever noticed that sarcasm doesn't translate well into writing? You have to add a note saying that you're being sarcastic or people might take you literally. This means that I end up censoring myself quite a bit.

It's amazing how often I can come up with sarcastic comebacks to stuff I read online, but I'm always at a loss for words in real life. So often lately I find myself choosing not to say anything because I realize that what I'm writing will most likely be taken wrong. I wonder sometimes if I'm just no good at expressing myself, but in conversation I can do just fine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The verdict

Well, the verdict is in on the pie. Flavor is good, texture is off. One part of the equation is easy to fix, there's too much cornstarch. I measured everything this time so next time it'll be easy to cut back.

The problem that I don't know how to fix is the texture of the rhubarb. In the first pie the rhubarb was deemed too crunchy. So this time I precooked my rhubarb and it lost all texture completely. I think that next time I won't precook the rhubarb, I'll just lower my oven temperature and cook it longer. That might do the trick.

The recipe (as it was used today) is as follows:

8 1/2 stalks rhubarb
1/4 cup butter or margarine (I used margarine)
1 1/2 cups sugar (Splenda could be substituted)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (try 3 instead)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Clean and slice rhubarb. (I'm thinking that playing with size of slice might help the cook time problems that I'm having.)
Combine all ingredients in saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Cook until rhubarb is soft.
Put filling in unbaked pie shell and add top crust.
Slice top crust to allow for ventilation.
Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

The first pie I didn't precook my filling and so it baked at 350 for about 30 minutes. I've forgotten the name of what I'm trying to think of. The pie had one of those toppings that you make with butter, brown sugar and flour. When it was just getting to be too brown I took the pie out of the oven.

I think that the next pie will be baked at 300 until golden brown. It'll also have less cornstarch.


Today has been used for perfecting my rhubarb pie recipe. My dad has been asking for a plain rhubarb pie for a long time. Have you ever tried to find a rhubarb pie recipe that has no other fruit in it? The only ones that I could find were for a custard type pie, not what dad was wanting. This is what led to me trying to make up a recipe.

The first pie had issues. The rhubarb had a bit of a crunch to it. Plus, it was rather runny. The juice that's supposed to thicken and hold the fruit in never gelled. I think I didn't use enough corn starch. This led to soggy crust issues.

After much discussion I decided to try again today. So now I have a pie in there cooling. I'm hoping that it's better. When dad comes home tonight he can try it and tell me what he thinks. Precooking my filling seems to have fixed my previous problems. Now I'm waiting to find out if there are new problems.