Monday, November 24, 2014

Leftover Day

Traditions have to start somewhere...right? So we've decided to start a new one.

We call it Leftover Day.

Thanksgiving is the time for family. We make a ton of food, eat a ton of food, then talk about all the food we ate. Most of the time there are leftovers, and many questions as to what to do with all of the food before it goes bad. I have teenagers, so I my leftovers don't usually last very long, but I remember having leftovers from past Thanksgivings.

I noticed some of my friends didn't seem thrilled about being with family for Thanksgiving. In fact, some dreaded it because of all the drama that ensues. Since this holiday is geared towards family, even with the drama potential, no one really wanted to not go over for the traditional family Thanksgiving meal.

So I devised a solution.

We invite several friends and people with no family over on the Friday after Thanksgiving for Leftover Day. If they have leftovers they bring them, or bring a side dish. We make an extra turkey, and one or two side dishes (if we weren't hosting that year), then have a second Thanksgiving with friends. Everyone has their signature side dish or dessert, so we all get to try something different at the Thanksgiving table, and maybe share a few new recipes. Any unwanted leftovers are boxed up and sent to the local shelter or to local families in need. 

I always manage to have enough left over to make turkey salad for lunches for work and school, my fridge is cleaned out, and no food will go bad. I get to spend some extra time with friends, and there's no pie daring me to eat it. 

Oh yeah, this is going to be a new tradition in our house!

Would you be willing to try having a Leftover Day? If so, I'd love to hear how it went!

Monday, November 17, 2014

MRI Yi Yi!

Once upon a time I had a shoulder. It was a good shoulder, but it got strained and decided to go on strike. Now I no longer have a shoulder- I have this creaky old arm hinge that hurts whenever I try to lift stuff.

I asked for an MRI. I got an X-ray. X-ray said the bone was fine. Duh. I already knew that. This wasn't a bone issue, medical people- even you told me it was a tendinitis thing. But let's waste some fundage anyway by taking useless pictures of perfectly healthy bone. Sheesh.

Only after the X-ray was I allowed to get an MRI. So I took my permission slip and off I went to schedule an appointment.

I've never had an MRI before. Oh, I've heard tales of claustrophobics having panic attacks and people not knowing they had metal in them (like a pin they swallowed in the second grade), but I watched House and Bones and knew that those machines weren't as small as my friends had told me- they seemed roomier on TV. After all, TV doesn't fabricate...right?

The TV people lied.

Everything was hunky dory as I lay down on the little bench, trying to keep my bulk from slipping off the sides as the technician screwed on a shoulder holder thing that reminded me of a really weird-looking C-clamp. This was to keep my shoulder from moving during the photo shoot.

They laid a cotton blanket on me that was thin but warmed me up in a jiffy- especially nice since the room was below freezing. I really want to know where they sell those things- I want one to slip between my sheets on winter nights!

I also had a firm pillow tucked under my knees to make things more comfortable. Back spasms are bad if you have to lie still for forty minutes. I was given a panic button to summon the tech if I needed anything. Now it was time to stick me in a tube that reminded me of the casket shooter that shot Spock's body into space in Star Trek: Genesis.

As my head went in I was also concerned I might reenact Mr. Incredible's entrance into the travel pod in The Incredibles. A few more pounds and that might have actually happened!

My body parts that tried to slide off the sides were suddenly scooped up and pressed against the very tight walls of the machine. Oh sure, my shoulder had some support now, but was squished against the C-clamp and the wall. Looking up only rewarded me with a close look at frosted glass that glowed like a small sun. 

To hide the impending noise of the machine, I was gifted with earphones. Before the earphones were put on, I was given ear plugs. Talk about an oxymoron. But the best part was that my ears were already half plugged with wax (yet another health issue from the Wonderful World of Old), so I could barely hear the music from the 80's that I'd requested. 

But I'd heard that machine. 

I imagine it would sound the same from the inside of a dryer that contained a pair of sneakers. Thump, thump, thump. I hit the button several times to ask for her to turn up the music, but my requests fell on deaf ears- or the button she gave me was a fake one. I suspected the latter. I closed my eyes and thought happy thoughts- like how I was eternally grateful not to be claustrophobic.

Believe it or not, I fell asleep.

The sound of my own soft snoring woke me, and the tech clicked in. "How are you doing in there?" she asked. I think she thought my snores were me having labored breathing from a panic attack. "I'm good- can you turn up the music please?" But I heard a click after "I'm good" and the music remained muted.

So I fell asleep again.

The machine stopped and started a few times, and she kept announcing every four minutes that another four minutes had passed. And each time, she woke me up. Apparently I didn't need an update- I needed a nap.

Then it was over and I was extracted from the machine. My shoulder was killing me. It didn't like being shoved in a C-clamp and a Star Trek tube for forty minutes and let me know most insistently. 

I was helped into a sitting position, and my head spun. "Oh, that's normal," she said. "You'll be fine in a few minutes." Then she tried to rush me to stand and get out of the MRI room. I put a hand up and warned her to give me a minute- unless she wanted to try to pick my bulk off of the floor all by herself. She waited a minute until I was ready to stand. Smart lady.

I went into the changing room and slid off the robe, then spent the next ten minutes trying to get dressed with a shoulder that refused to cooperate. I did not want to go out into the real world without certain undergarments (at my age, gravity is not my friend), so after a struggle and a lot of awkward twisting, I finally managed to get dressed. Then I got the heck out of there.

I should be getting the results this week. I have to wonder what MRI really means. Personally, I think it means Majorly Rectal Irritant, which means a pain in the posterior- or in my case, shoulder. But you get the idea. Please keep me in prayer, Dear Readers- I need them!

Monday, November 10, 2014


I know why God gave me children, but why did He have to give me teenagers?

These people think they know everything- and thanks to technology and new math, most of the time they can prove it. But I have questions that need answers!

Why can a teenager program my new cell phone in 3.2 seconds, but can't figure out the proper setting for a dishwasher?

Why can a teenager talk or text friends on the phone forever, but can't remember what they did at school for eight hours?

How can teens make themselves a four course breakfast, but can't remember to put the food away?

How can teens be up at the crack of dark to go on a trip, but can't manage to crack an eyelid when the alarm goes off for school?

How can they understand new math but don't understand the simpler, old math?

Why are we parents considered dumb as stumps- until we brainstorm a way to get them out of trouble?

Why do teens think spelling isn't important, but get mad when no one understands their written work?

Why are teens okay with spending money- unless it's their own?

And why, King, of Kings and Lord of Lords, can't these teenage people clean up after themselves when they make a mess? I don't care if it's their rooms, the couch, or the kitchen- the house seems to be their personal dump site!

I really wonder if God was dealing with Adam and Eve as teens in Eden. "I gave you a garden and all I said was 'Don't touch that one tree'...and what do you do?" Then God places His hand to His head and sighs, muttering to Himself, "Thou shalt not kill...thou shalt not kill...I need to write this down...."

So God decided right then and there to invent The Mother's Curse- because He wanted them to have kids that act exactly like they acted.....

Teens. Can't live with 'em, can't sell 'em on Ebay. But you gotta love 'em, because you're the only one who can brainstorm them out of trouble....


Monday, November 3, 2014


That's it- I'm going to start a commune.

I'll start with friends and get them to move to a plot of land several hundred acres square. We'll build luxurious houses that are solar and air powered. There will also be a huge communal pool- because having one hundred separate pools is just silly- because we'll be spending all of our summers together anyway.

Since we'd have all the acreage, we'd start an organic, self-sustaining farm complete with farm animals and in-ground fish tanks for talapia, perch and any other good-eatin' fish that would provide all the fertilizer for the huge greenhouses so we can grow stuff all year long. I know it can be done- I saw a guy from Milwaukee grow a million pounds of food on a mere three acres!

Families will work together- everyone would trade skill for skill- you help me clean, I cook for you, you fix this for me and I handle your taxes- everything within the commune would run fairly smooth using the barter system. 

The best part is the kids would always have someone to play with and the at-home parents will have real grown-ups to talk to. We're talking major happy potential here, people.

For the public, we'd have stores for the produce, restaurants serving fresh organic food, and stores for homemade goods and crafts. If done right, this could be a self-sustaining neighborhood!

Okay, so the idea isn't a new one. The Amish have been doing this forever- without the cool pool and solar panels. But it's still a good, viable idea. Especially if you can get enough people in on it. 

So...who wants to start a commune with me?