Thursday, September 17, 2020

Five on Friday: Okay, Boomer

"Ha ha, kids, I know I'm old but technically, I'm not a Boomer, I'm actually Generation X . . . "

"Okay, Boomer"


Five ways I'm feeling old lately that actually have nothing to do with the above oft-repeated conversation:

1. I cannot fathom why on Earth my child would want to spend his screen time watching other people play Minecraft on YouTube. This is a thing that makes sense to kids and makes those of us of a certain age interrupt their watching with, "But WHY???"

2.This makes me cringe so hard:

   "Oh my god, Mom, this is how you wear them."

3. I like a lot of pop music my kids listen to. I know this should make me feel young instead of old, but when I was actually young I despised the idea of liking what was popular with my peers so much. I remember when everyone in school was going crazy for U2's Joshua Tree and I would not even give it a chance.

4. Recently I have had to get rid of two pairs of shoes because they make me feet hurt when I wear them. Only one of them has a (teeny-tiny half inch) heel, the other one was completely flat but apparently just not comfortable enough for my old lady feet.

5.  I don't know if my family is getting worse at using the dishwasher efficiently or if my patience for bad loading has run out . . . but something about spending a portion of my time each day reloading an already-loaded dishwasher makes me feel like a crotchety old lady. So as I pick up dirty bowls and put them back down in a more orderly fashion, I quietly comfort myself with, "Okay, Generation X-er."

This is a stock photo. If our dishwasher ever looked like this I'd probably just check myself into a nursing home.


Friday, September 11, 2020

Five on Friday: Ways Remote Learning is Just Like In-Person Learning!

. . .  at least from Mom's point of view.

1.  Now that school has started, the children that have been waking up before 7 am for the majority of the summer have begun sleeping in. (Just like when they have real school! The only difference is now I can't threaten with "You're going to miss the bus!!") 

Likewise, my guy that's been sleeping in has switched a flip and is once again consistently the first one ready, but he's always been the exception to the rule in this matter.

2.  My kids are occupied all day which means my kids that can drive are no longer available to run my errands for me, but . . .

3. My kids are occupied all day!! And it's not me that's occupying them! So I can run my own damn errands, thank you very much.

4. I have absolutely no idea what their daily schedules are but they seem to know where to go at the right time so I'll just continue staying out of it.

5.  Sometimes there are fire drills! Okay, it was the smoke detector from a baking incident, but it did interrupt class with the alarm one would hear in the case of a true emergency.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Five on Friday: This Year's Back-to-School "Must Haves"

Just like everyone else, our back-to-school checklist looks a lot different this year. Since none of our kids are going to school in person (at least not yet: the younger three are working towards a hybrid schedule and I really hope they get to get into school, even if for just a week or two), we don't even need to stock up on face masks and sanitizer yet. 

But we still have five students (ages 10-19) starting their school years learning remotely all under one roof. So what are our family's back-to-school "must haves" this year? 

They include:

1. Noise cancelling headphones for the college freshman with a downstairs bedroom, a noisy family and an intense workload.

2. Frozen burritos and packages of ramen noodles for the two college students to have an easy, quick lunch option as well at the illusion of a more regular college experience.

3. A steady stream of easy-to-grab snacks for all five students.

4. Two new desks and sneaky spots to squeeze them into for improved work stations. Last spring's quickly put-together folding table in the family room got the job done but wasn't sustainable.

                                         Wasted space + free desk = learning nook!

5. A Mom who has offered her services to the children to not be entirely at their beck and call, but very willing to help them fetch that snack or burrito, find them a charging cord or refill their water bottles. Because while they may have their nooks and technology and amazing teachers doing the best they can under the circumstances, remote learning just isn't anybody's favorite around here. Since I can't do anything to change the situation, I can grab that granola bar for them.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Five on Friday: Face Mask Firsts

I can remember way back in those good ol' days before the Coronavirus when I'd see a person out in public wearing a face mask and think it was kind of weird. The switch from that to, "oh my god that person is in the supermarket without a mask!" seemed very sudden.

The transition to wearing a mask at the store not only felt fast it also seemed somehow very . . . natural? Easy? Not as weird as I previously believed? In spite of my becoming accustomed to it, I find there are continually more mask-wearing firsts. 

For example:

1. I donated blood while mask-wearing. Since there's blood involved, there have always been PPE in use so wearing the mask seemed sort of normal. (Of course they love making you have a drink and eat snacks when it's over, which isn't possible with a mask on, so they were very careful in spacing people out and constantly cleaning the tables. If you were wondering.)

2. I sneezed! In my mask! It was absolutely disgusting!!

3. I immediately learned a very important lesson about always having a spare mask on hand.

4. I had my first anxiety dream! So long, I'm back in High School and don't know my locker combination and Hello I'm at an indoor restaurant and nobody has a mask on and I can't find mine!

5.  My husband and I went out without the kids for the first time since January. We picked up some burritos and went to an outdoor concert. It was lovely but of course eventually I needed to use the restroom, and the restroom available to me was a port-a-potty. It was one of those nicer ones with the pump sink, but still just a port-a-potty. And as I was using it, I thought to myself, "Yeah, okay, wearing a face mask in a port-a-potty is a habit I could see sticking with." 

It just felt right. If you haven't tried yet, it's probably just a matter of time until you experience this face mask first for yourself. 

                                               Matching mask to shirt & earrings: another first!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Five on Friday: Reminders to Self



 Five things that I apparently need to remind myself, now more than ever:

 1. Cooking healthy meals that I feel good about serving my family and eating myself: really not that hard

2. Inviting friends over to sit around the campfire and gab: easy peasy lemon squeezy

3. Finding time to get a little exercise in a few times a week: totally doable

4. Going on a date with my husband: absolutely possible

5. Doing these things are not only simple, they also make me feel good, physically and mentally healthy and strong, nourish my relationships and enrich my life. 

2020 can go straight to hell and the biggest reminder is to not let it drag me along.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Five on Friday: Benefits of Composting (including some of the lesser-known variety)

Years ago I opened my oldest daughter's lunch box after school to find she had brought her clementine peels home. When I asked her why she did that, she said because there was no compost bucket at school. (That's my girl!)

Clearly we've been dedicated composters for a long time, loyally keeping all of our decomposable waste separate from actual trash. But we rarely actually use the "black gold" (it doesn't always refer to oil!) we produce. This year I did and as the summer goes on, I find myself only appreciating compost more and more. Here are some well- and lesser-known benefits of home composting:

1. Sending less to the landfill! It's been a silly little point of pride of mine that our family of seven has the smallest garbage can on the block. This is made possible by recycling and composting.

2. Having yet another chore to assign to the kids that they're going to whine about. Honestly, it wouldn't be fair if cleaning the toilets was the only gross thing that they all hated and fought about doing, I have five kids after all, I need multiple yucky tasks to dole out and dumping the compost bucket fits the bill.

3. It's nostalgic! I find that having a compost pile--and some children who don't properly mix the latest addition into said pile--is a great way to have a place my naughty little dog to run off and disguise herself as Harry the Dirty Dog, a beloved book from my childhood.

4. Sifting the pile for that dark black nutrient-rich humus (one m. Not the hummus that you eat) for my gardens has really provided me with ample opportunity to geek out over how freaking magic and purposeful it all is: take the seeds and skins that you don't want to eat, save them from the landfill and then get really good soil to grow more things to eat?! Mind blowing.

5. The best recent reason to love composting: mystery plants! As I said, I did use humus in my gardens this year: in my potted vegetable plants and to just fill in some bare looking spots in various landscaped areas throughout the yard. Well--even though I sifted the compost and it seemed like everything was fully broken down, apparently some sneaky little seeds survived. Now I have bonus plants in weird places, like a tomato in the pachysandra. I know I should pick it but seeing it makes me smile and the deer are going to eat it anyway.

I took a few of the mystery seedlings and planted them in their own pots and now I've got some tiny baby somethings! Watermelon? Cantaloupe? Pumpkins? We still aren't 100% sure but every I look outside and see these mystery plants growing I geek out a little all over again.

If you know for sure what this is, please don't tell me. The mystery is the fun.
If you know for sure what this, please don't tell me. The mystery is the fun.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Five on Friday: Our Ridiculous Little Dog

I'm a dog owner but not what I'd personally refer to as a dog weirdo. I eschew the use of the term "fur baby."  The pleasure I derive from owning a pet comes purely from watching how much my children love her. I don't snuggle her at all (but I'm still her favorite person ever, much to the kids' chagrin) but I love seeing the kids hold and hug her.

Zipper is not one to play with toys, she's never fetched a ball or a stick. But our ridiculous little dog makes us laugh a lot and I've got the pictures and video to prove it:

1.  Whenever I go to the bathroom downstairs, I can see the shadow of her little feet from the crack under the door (see also: I'm her favorite person) Since that door has a chalkboard surface, I decided to have a little fun with it . . .
2.  She puts up with a lot. I can't decide if this face says, "I am so comfortable in this kerchief I am going to sit here and meditate" or "Maybe if I pretend to go to sleep, she'll put me down and take this ridiculous piece of cloth off of my head."

3. Have you ever seen a dog content to be held like this? Like she's just a tiny human?? I have not and can't believe any dog would like this but she seems to, quite a bit . . .
4. You know how if you put anything down on the ground a cat will lay on or in it? So will Zipper. And then frequently she is prone to passing out in a position that makes you wonder if she's drunk.

5. And now for some rare video footage of the ridiculous little dog in her natural habitat: our front yard with the kids, deciding to put a buttercup under her chin to see if she likes butter or not. As usually happens with Zipper, hilarity ensued:

Friday, July 24, 2020

Five on Friday: Five Non-Scientific Reasons to Wear a Mask

Apparently some people want to debate whether or not it's a good idea to cover your mouth and nose to protect yourself and others while a pandemic is ravishing the globe and killing people by the hundreds of thousands.

Since science clearly isn't working to convince them, I would like to present some very good non-scientific reasons to wear a mask:

1. You don't have to worry about having food stuck in your teeth.

Do I have anything stuck in my teeth? Doesn't matter, you can't see them!

2.  It's lovely noticing how much a person's entire face smiles when their hidden mouth does.

3.  Masks are another fun way to accessorize!

4. Talking out loud to one's self in public is a little easier to disguise when nobody can see your mouth moving.

5. You can stealthily stick your tongue out if you encounter someone doing something stupid (for example, running their mouth about how it's their right to not wear a mask in public)