Saturday, January 31, 2015

Life With Mr. North Philly

Sometimes a blog post just writes itself!

Philadelphians are renowned for being straight-talking, pull-no-punches, no-sugarcoating kind of people.  You get a couple of glasses of wine into one on a Friday night and you can pretty much guarantee that whatever social veneer might have been constructed over the Philly isn't going to last long.  Anyway, Himself and I were sitting on the sofa watching junk TV and relaxing after a long day when somehow, the subject of people renewing their wedding vows came up.  (There was a long conversational train involved.)  Curious, I asked him what he thought about it.

"Why the FUCK would anyone want to do that?"  (Said with no hostility whatsoever, just genuine confusion.)  "Renewing would mean something expired, like some kind of library book.  Wedding vows don't expire.  I meant what I said the first time and every morning I wake up next to you is a renewal of my damn vows."  

At which point I absolutely burst out laughing.  If that isn't the most romantic thing ever barked out Philly-style, I don't know what is!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

On The Randomness Of Facebook's Algorithms

So, I happened to click on the Friends icon on FB this evening, and the first person on the "people you may know" list that the FB wizards serve up is indeed an acquaintance, but I can't for the life of me figure out how the *hell* FB knows that I know her.  We have absolutely zero direct contact (no phone, no email) and the one solitary person through whom I know her is not on FB.  Just bizarre.

On the bright side, when I clicked on the icon again for giggles, the randomness that is FB produced the page of my fifth grade math teacher, who at least knows other people in my network.  That makes a little more sense.  And since, as it happens, this is a guy to whom I've owed a major debt of gratitude for oh, about THIRTY years now, I took the opportunity handed to me by the universe to send him a message saying 'thanks.'  It's not an exaggeration to say that he changed the entire trajectory of my life, academically speaking at least, so I should have found a way to make it happen long ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is It Spring Yet??

Because I am going to lose my ever-loving MIND here if my kids and husband don't go back to their usual weekday pursuits soon.  Mama needs a little time during the day when she is not either cooking for or cleaning up after somebody, just sayin'.

On a related note, I firmly believe that only children old enough to dress and undress themselves and keep track of their own mittens/boots/hats/coats/snow pants etc should be allowed outside to play in the snow.   The sentence, "But MOOOOM, I can't find my _______" sends chills down my spine that are entirely unrelated to outdoor temperatures. thought I was only Grinchy at Christmas?  Nah.  :)

Love this poem...wish I knew who wrote it!

In My Next Life I Want To Be A Bear

If you're a bear, you get to hibernate.  You do nothing but sleep for six months.

I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid.

I could deal with that, too.

If you're a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute cuddly cubs.

I could definitely deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too.

I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling.
He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.
He KNOWS not to get between you and the food.

Yup..... Gonna be a bear.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Not A Paid Ad (I Wish), I Just Like It

Quiet weekend so far.  Basketball Friday night (Thing Two made another free throw!), a cache or two, a nice fire in the fireplace and working on a few puzzles to keep my brain moving.  Funny how my weekends are so much less active than my'd think it would be the opposite with three young kids home, but no.  Not even close.  On weekdays, I'm out and going all day with very little downtime and that's the way I like it.

Got one of these (below) for Christmas.  It's a Fitbit, and it's a pretty cool little contraption.  I've been wearing it pretty much straight since about noon on Christmas Day except for showers and when it needs to charge, which doesn't take long.  It can track all sorts of things, most of which I don't care at all about, or at least not enough to bother logging all the info--how many calories you take in, how much water you drink, how much you weigh every day, etc.  What I *do* care about is how much I many steps and what approximate distance.  The sensor embedded in this wristband keeps track of how many steps you take and somehow calculates distance from that.

I haven't seen a way to calibrate my step length, and regardless, it's going to vary based on whether I am booking it around a flat walking track with my headphones on or hiking up a steep hill, but I figure it will all average out over time for my activities anyway.  I know that I was more active on a 15,000-step day than on a 10,000-step day, for example, no matter how long the steps were.  (The default goal is set by the manufacturer at 10,000 steps per day, which I reach easily on a normally-active day.)  One common complaint about these things is that they are not completely accurate and usually overestimate activity, but a friend of mine has a different brand and if we hike together they usually have similar readouts at the end for distance, so it's good enough for me.  Just wish the thing tracked altitude gained and lost as well as distance for some of those hiking days!  As a side note, you can also put it in sleep mode when you go to bed and it will keep track of how long you sleep and how active (i.e., restless) you are while sleeping, which is interesting info too.

As you can see, this model has no digital readout...if you want to see more info than what the five lights give you, you have to sync it to your computer (easy, but a pain if you're out of the house) or your smartphone (a piece of cake and super convenient.)  Free app; open it and hold the Fitbit within range and the display on the phone shows you whatever metrics you want to see.  

Funny thing is that I almost invariably walk a good mile or so by 8AM, just around my house while getting the kids ready for school.  Who says you can't get some good exercise while still in your pajamas??

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Between The Eyes

Oh good GOD more appropriate words have never been spoken.  

Thought about this all the way through tonight's basketball games.  The dads, the dads (it's almost always the dads...) for the love of Pete just shut UP and let the kids play and the coaches coach.  And the dads who are coaches...don't start yelling at your kid about the game in the parking lot before you even get to your car.  We saw the kid's body language as he walked, and you suck.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh, And Two Other Hacks While I'm Thinking About It...

Both of these relate to freezers and power outages/loss of freezing for whatever reason.

1) I learned this one the hard way: don't make my mistake!  If you have an upright freezer, purchase plastic bins that fit on the shelves and put your frozen foods inside the bins, not on the shelves.  That way, if your power goes out (or if it doesn't go out, but somebody whose name will be nameless accidentally leaves the door open a crack and all the cold leaks out) and everything inside melts, it will melt inside the bins, greatly facilitating cleanup.  The alternative being, of course, cleaning disgusting smelly thawed raw meat juice out of the bottom of the freezer and off the basement floor--just ask me how I know about this.  There isn't enough bleach in the world to eradicate that odor!

2) Wash out large plastic drink bottles (soda and juice bottles are ideal) refill them with fresh water, and freeze them.  Fill any empty spaces in your freezer with these bottles.  Should the power go out (or someone leave the door open, ahem) these very large solid non-messy 'ice cubes' will help keep the contents of the freezer cold for an extended period.  And, of course, once they thaw, they are another supply of water for those poor benighted souls such as ourselves whose household water pump does not run without electricity.

This has been a public service announcement. :)  Anyone have any other tips to add??

Monday, January 19, 2015

Useful Laundry Hacks

Folding laundry today: how in the WORLD does one family generate so many dirty clothes??  They must be multiplying like rabbits in the hamper when nobody's looking. Did make me think about a few tricks I figured out long ago to make the process easier for myself, anyway.  I'll share: maybe they'll help somebody else too!

1) Boy underwear: white for Thing One, colored/patterned for Thing Two.  No more trying to guess which pair belongs to which boy, remember which superhero is on whose undies or read faded tiny numbers on tags.

2) Boy socks: ankle-length for Thing One, calf-length for Thing Two.  (Bonus hint: previous strategy was to buy a bunch of all one kind of sock and just divide them evenly between the boys every time I did wash.)

3) Which clothes belong to which boy now?  Sizes don't always help--they vary by manufacturer.  And once something gets handed down?  Hard to remember whose it is now, especially in the case of e.g. soccer shorts or athletic t-shirts, which can eventually get passed down to little sister too.  The solution?  Dots of permanent marker in the tag.  One dot for the eldest; when little brother gets it, add a second dot; if little sister eventually wears it too, add a third dot.  Easy peasy.  

4) If an item of clothing does not go in the dryer, its owner is responsible for putting it in a delicates bag before it goes in the hamper.  That's the signal to me to line-dry it, since I refuse to read the tag of every item that goes in the wash: my life is too short for that.  If the owner forgets?  The item gets dried: too bad.

Readers: any more to add?  All sanity-saving tips appreciated!