Sunday, February 24, 2008

I use The Google

My friend Carrie is in Milwaukee visiting her mom this weekend, and earlier today she sent me a text message with a comment she thought I'd enjoy:

I asked my mom if she knows what a blog is, and she said, "Yeah, it's kind of like a Google, right?"

My reply?

That is the best thing I've heard all week. I may have to put it on my blog. I mean, my Google.

And so I did.

It's easy to laugh at the late middle aged and borderline elderly... I enjoy Carrie's stories about all her mother's baffling quirks (consolidating her kitchen by storing her microwave inside the oven; fearing that pretzels might go bad if she doesn't store them in the fridge and leftover salad is precarious enough to require the freezer), but really I appreciate these bits of information not because I'm judging her mother in any way (I've met the woman, and she's a terribly sweet and well-mannered lady towards whom I certainly mean no ill will or disrespect), but because it makes my own parents look a little less strange by comparison. They actually have the opposite problem (spreading out more and more stuff across every possible surface in their home, and testing the limits of expiration dates and proper food storage on an all-too-regular basis) but old and crazy is old and crazy either way.

Truth be told, maybe I appreciate these stories just because I feel a bit old and crazy myself at times, and I like to think maybe age has nothing to do with idiosyncrasy; maybe we should embrace our quirks as charms at any age, without worrying that they might compound over time.

I'm saying all this, of course, at the end of another of my weekends of hermitude, so maybe I'm trying to justify my lifestyle in some way. Yesterday I didn't talk to anyone (unless e-mail counts as conversation), and I stepped outside my house only far enough to get my mail, and today I left only to buy fabric for a quilting class I'm taking soon. Apparently I'm practicing for old age: as if being a shut-in who knits isn't enough, I've decided I need a few other proper and traditionally ladylike hobbies as well. Oh! And I'm buying things in bulk, too, as if stock piling for a nuclear disaster. But instead of canned goods or toilet paper, I'm stockpiling lip gloss.

Yes, I said lip gloss. Neutrogena has this nasty and annoying habit of discontinuing products immediately after I've fallen solidly in love with them (oh, HeatSafe spray, how my dry, split ends miss you so), and MoistureShine Tinted Lip Balm seems to be the latest perfect item in their collection to fall to such fate. First I saw the near-empty bins with clearance tags at Target; next I saw the same sad thing at Ulta. Today I searched online and bought approximately half of the remaining stock at Amazon. I spent $36 on drugstore brand lip gloss, and my only regret is that perhaps I should have spent $36 more.

Moving on. I may have been an old lady and a hermit this weekend, but I was also quite productive and domestic. I made some solid progress on my basement beautifying project, and I also cooked three times in three days as well. Cooked! For real! With mostly non-processed, legitimate ingredients and with use of pans and stove burners! No Kraft singles! No microwave! Forgive all the exclamation points. It's just been a while is all. Incidentally, dinner both Friday and Saturday went just fine, but breakfast this morning? Not so much. I think I've decided that making pancakes, simple a process as that should be, is just going to rest solidly and permanently in the "Things I cannot do" column. I don't know what the science is; I don't know why I need to throw out not just the first pancake, but the four after that as well... All I know is eleven hours later, everything in my house still smells like burnt pancake, so maybe making pancakes is just something I'm not meant to do.

Luckily, mastery of grammar and spelling is still in the arsenal of skills I can call my own. The 2008 Poppy Awards were recently announced, and I took home the Grammar and Spelling award for the second year in a row.

I've got mad grammar skillz

This year I apparently had some competition. I had to share the award with another worthy contender. Maybe if Poppy knew Aaron's preemptively named me Grammar Czar for his soon-to-be-elected administration? Maybe that would have tipped the scales in my favor? Who knows.

I received another Poppy award as well, though it's one I was a proverbial shoe-in for, as Poppy created the category with me in mind. (Thanks, Poppy!)

Lima beans. Dammit.

In case you've forgotten, that award is in reference to this post, and is in honor of my recently departed grandmother, god rest her crazy old soul. Her funeral last week actually brought up a few things I thought bloggable, but I've already forgotten most of them by now. One still stands out, however, and seems appropriate to mention here. Following the service there was a lunch in the church basement for any family and friends who cared to come. My mom chose to include mashed potatoes because my grandma always made them for me, and kneecaps because they were my grandma's favorite at the Easter and Thanksgiving buffets. I'm guessing she did not have anything to do with the vegetable selection, however. I was directly behind my younger sister in the buffet line at the lunch, and as she peered in the pan of mixed vegetables on the food table, she looked at me and said, "Look: Lima beans." Without missing a beat, I said, "Dammit." Good thing Grandma wasn't actually at that lunch, I guess.


Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one- I too have the pancake problem. This has been solved by the introduction of a waffle iron. But pancakes sure would be nice......

confiance said...

Kraft Singles? Really? I can NOT stand Kraft Singles.

Of course, cheese is a food group of its own in my house, so I could just be a cheese snob.

And since, out of all of that, I only felt compelled to comment on the cheese, I'm going to say that yes, I am a cheese snob.

Can you forgive me?

confiance said...

and then I re-read my comment and notice that I used the wrong from of "its." I am an English major, this should not happen!

I apologize for messing up the awesome grammar of your blog.

3carnations said...

I'm sure your grandma was laughing from above at you all stuck eating the lima beans. :)

shelleycoughlin said...

The secret to awesome pancakes is not over-stirring the batter. And also, making sure that the griddle (or pan) is hot before you put the first one on, but not so hot it burns.

Also, those kneecaps look great but I can't get over the terrible name.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds herself to be 'pancake-challenged'.

Also, a liberal spraying of Febreeze should take care of the burnt pancake smell.

Not that I know that from experience or anything...

Poppy said...

BLEEP you are awesome!!

I love that comment about blogs and Google being the same. There is Booble, .... is there Bloogle? hmm! There should be, because it annoys me when I'm looking for blogs and have any sort of trouble finding them.

Ooh, there is but it's restricted. Damn them!

lizgwiz said...

I think the REAL key to successful pancake making is using JUST the right pan. Wrong pan--you have no chance.

I LOVE that there were lima beans at your grandma's funeral. Love it. Dammit.

Jess said...

Quilting class! I am so jealous. I love quilting and I took a class once like 12 years ago and I keep meaning to take another one, but I haven't done it and probably won't. Please start a series of photo-entries documenting your progress. Consider this an official request.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who doesn't know what kneecaps are? In the food category, of course.

Stefanie said...

Monkey--I think you're on to something... I like waffles better than pancakes anyway.

Confiance--I am an equal opportunity cheese lover. I'm all about the fancy, snobby cheese, but I can be all ghetto and enjoy a melty Kraft single rolled up in a tortilla, too. Also, where is your misplaced "its"?? Am I failing in my grammar skills as well? I don't see any problem in your first comment. (Oh no!)

3Cs--You're probably right.

NPW--I think the heat of the pan is indeed my problem. I just can't seem to get it right.

Cookie--I'm equally glad to hear it's not just me. When I told The Scientist about this problem, he seemed to think it was entirely ridiculous, as if pancakes are something ANYONE can master.

Poppy--Booble?? I'm not entirely sure I want to look that one up. It sounds dirty.

Liz--Oh, I DEFINITELY don't have the right pan. But I didn't realize that could be my problem as well.

Jess--I don't know how interesting an in-progress photo collection would be, but I promise I will show you the finished product. :-) And if the class is in any way amusing or bloggable, you'll hear about it.

Pam--I doubt it. That's why I included the link. I figured it might be a regional thing. :-)

Anonymous said...

KNEECAPS? This is the name of an edible item? Am I rude if I say "ew" here?

I cannot believe someone brought lima beans to Grandma's funereal lunch.

Also - bravo on the cooking! What else did you make?

L Sass said...

A hermit-y day sounds just dandy to me, so I'd say that doesn't qualify you as crazy. (or, at least, it qualifies me as equally crazy, which means You Are Not Alone!)

Anonymous said...

I didn't talk to anyone all day on Sunday, either! And the only reason I didn't quilt is because I don't know how. And because I cleaned behind my refrigerator.

Unknown said...

The quilting class sounds like a great way to get out of the house and meet interesting folks at the same time!

Stefanie said...

Lara--Indeed, it is an edible item, and a tasty one at that. It's basically just a chewy, doughy powder-sugar-covered donut, but instead of a hole, there's just an indentation, and in that indentation, they inject whipped cream. Yum. I'm pretty sure it must be a regional thing; I've never seen or heard of them outside of Manitowoc, WI. And I already answered your "what else I made" question via email, but in case anyone else is curious, I made a cheesy spinach casserole (to which I added chicken and garlic and oregano not in the recipe, because I'm just that adventurous) and Nigella's Ritzy Chicken Nuggets, which Lawyeris raved about recently. (Truth be told, the pancakes were inspired by Lawyerish as well... what ELSE are you supposed to do with leftover buttermilk??)

L Sass--I have no qualms about a hermity day; I start to wonder about myself only when it's been a hermity entire weekend and when I feel like another two days of additional hermitude would be great. That's when I start to feel antisocial and wonder if there's something wrong with me.

Noelle--I should really clean behind my refrigerator. How about if I teach you to quilt (after my class, of course) and you clean behind my fridge? What--that's a fair deal, isn't it??

Peter--Yeah, maybe there'll be some quirky cute MALE quilters. (Um, yeah, not likely, eh?) Anyway, it should be fun.

Unknown said...

No more MoistureShine?? NOOOOOO!


Edger said...

oh no...moistureshine was the ONLY lip gloss i ever bought! i will be heading to amazon to see if i can buy the other half of their remaining stock!

Anonymous said...

Okay, first of all, I've never heard of kneecaps, but looking at your other comments I guess I wouldn't have as a Southerner.

Also, I so feel you about the hermit thing. Although I actually had a very busy weekend, I was a little thrilled to find myself at home alone on Saturday night watching the first four episodes of Three's Company on TVLand. Crazy? Sad? You decide!