The Unthinkable

Three bits of randomness, and a challenge.

1. Yesterday, two wild turkeys wandered along the sidewalk past our house. Just out for a stroll in the fog. No big deal.

2. Today, I pretended fixing breakfast took a lot longer than it did, because I was reading.

Yeah, that sort of sneaky behavior only works on the shorter set. Anyone tall enough to see over the edge of the counter (and she’s just about there, believe me, I’m raising an Amazon’s child) wouldn’t be fooled. [Yeah, that’s my crowded counter and chipped butter dish. So what?]

3. And finally, today I made Mommy Surprise. I named it that; it’s really a modified “Fruit Crisp” recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (modified: tweaked because we didn’t have “rolled” oats, only other oaty stuff; no human needs 4 tablespoons of sugar in a fruit crisp, and I mean Z when I say no one; and I got tired of cutting up apples so added two cups of blueberries instead):

Surprise! Mommy really loves you!

Prepare to be impressed: I microwaved it. Really, I’m not that afraid of the oven, but (sappy voice here) I wanted it to be ready before Z’s nap. She doesn’t know I’m calling it Mommy Surprise because it’s “Surprise! Mommy can actually make stuff in the kitchen! And she put her book down long enough to do it!”

Okay, here’s the real post, now that that other stuff is out of the way.

The challenge: Severely limit the amount of time I spend using the internet

The reason: Other than the fact my eyeballs hurt…my husband (sort of) jokingly said that I love my laptop more than I love him. Youch! Which got me thinking, am I online too much? Could I be the half-step between a regular person, and a person with the Feed? (That’s an M. T. Anderson Feed reference, there, and if you haven’t read that creepy-sad book, I suggest you do.)

The limits:

  • I will allow myself three sessions to read and respond to emails next week. No session may exceed an hour. I’d give up email entirely, except I have promises to critique writing and post writing for critique for one of my writers groups. And a week’s worth of Freecycle posts would probably get my email account shut down.
  • If I can keep each of those email sessions to half an hour, I get a prize. Now accepting ideas what that prize can be.
  • I will not post anything on my blog, nor will I check the stats, nor will I fiddle with any of the widgets or anything blog related.
  • I will also not – gasp! – read the blogs of anyone else. (Will WordPress, my blog host, even allow me to post a blog like this? If I don’t participate in the blog world, their site traffic will be decreased dramatically.)
  • No Facebook or Twitter, which, as fun as they are, won’t be such a hard loss.

The benefits: I calculate there will be many. I’m looking forward to some chunks of time being freed up for work on my manuscript, for one thing (no internet does not mean no laptop). Maybe Husband and I will watch a show together, or play a round of Killer Bunnies, or even, I don’t know, talk. The house might be a little cleaner. Z might remember what her mother looks like without depending on the clicking sounds coming from the little black box to recognize me. My time on the computer will be devoted to working on my manuscript, which will feel refreshing and invigorating and will give me that extra inspirational push I need to get through revising this pesky fight scene. I’ll also lose ten pounds and develop magical beauty skills, influence people, make friends, and convince Husband it is him I love, not this (beautiful, fabulous, convenient, perfect) laptop.

The question: Has anyone else tried this before? How did it work out? If there’s something else I need to consider, let me know soon, because it’s Internet Black Out starting at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The other question: The world won’t stop, will it?

More Kitchen Capades

So. I have long held the belief that I have no value in the kitchen whatsoever, except perhaps as a dishwasher. Not only do I subscribe to this belief, but I gladly admit it to others.

Despite this belief, nay, this truth, that this woman’s place is definitely NOT in the kitchen, I continue to adventure into its depths in the hopes of concocting something worthy and edible that is NOT chocolate chip cookies.*

Part of my ineptitude is, I believe, a direct result of my belief that I am a failure of domestic culinary achievement. Another part of my ineptitude is the result of fear.

I fear the stove.**

I fear the oven.

And no matter what I’m making, on those rare occasions I am able to swallow my fear (and overcome my crippling laziness) something bad always happens.

Sometimes my misadventures are as minor as filling the kitchen with death-smoke resulting from drops of a leaky cheesecake (my one-time contribution to Thanksgiving dinner…which was in actuality contributed on the day following, as I’d forgotten the cake needed to hang out in the refrigerator overnight).

Other misadventures call for a disposal of the creation or, in the case with rice last spring, disposal of the pot.


After. Note: this is after repeated washings.

Husband will never again ask me to get rice started for him.

I once had to throw away an entire double batch of pumpkin bread, misreading the “teaspoon” as “tablespoon” for both salt and baking powder. In my defense, the recipe was handwritten by someone else.

I’m thrown by recipes that refer to “bouquet garnis” and “cheese cloth,” and do not even ask me to fry something because if egads that grease splatters onto my bare skin I think I am dying. I put on more protective gear for cooking than I do for cleaning toilets, or visiting nuclear power plants.***

This has been great fun creating childish drawings for you, but I’ve got something in the crock pot and I think I smell smoke.


Here’s Kitchen Capades I, if you’re interested. No drawings, but maybe that’s better.

*Chocolate chip cookies are a relatively safe assignment for my (un)skill level. I have been baking them with my mother since before I can remember, and worked out the hazardous kinks with BDawg, my BFF since 3rd grade. Our hazards were 1) neglecting to remove foil wrapper from margarine before microwaving, and 2) attempting to make cookie-sheet sized cookies, one for each of us, and ending up with twin liquid dough puddles. Fairly harmless, as hazards go.

**I made myself blue. Creative license. I like purple better, but the purple in Paint is kind of garish. And this blue is…not? Well, it’s less garish.

***No, I have not actually visited a nuclear power plant. Creative license.