Thursday, July 30, 2015

Parade Dreams

When Julian and I arrived in Utah late last summer, one of the first things we did was attend the local town festival parade. It was awesome and just how parades should be, in my opinion. I shouted and cheered for every single entrant ("go cymbals!" in the marching band) and we happily collected every flier and handout and scored a ton of taffy we later counted and threw away because, gross. I don't know if i've ruined Julian or made him the glorious human being he is today because recently we attended another nearby small town parade and I even said he could have some candy from his stash but instead he said "NO! we have to count it!" Because that's more important, having a LOT of a thing. Not just consuming it. He did count it and put it away in his drawers, and we will trash it in a few days.

But I had a realization at this recent parade. First i admired all the floats, remembering how i've always thought floats were sort of mystical and strange. And then i began to dream up what kind of float I might make, that I would be totally ok devoting an entire summer to the making of a float. The Summer of the Float, it would be, and time well spent. And then i watched the other paraders and thought, c'mon, would it have killed you to add some balloons? Some wavy ribbons? Something glittery? Anything? And THEN, then I realized that I should like to for real BE in a parade. I realized that I have parade dreams! And were I to be in a parade then i would just deck myself out with balloons and all manner of cheeriment, solely to amuse the watchers, and myself. And i would probably be on my scooter, for nothing makes me happier than that, so should it with them. 

And also, it would feel good to just have everyone looking and waving at me for a while. You know? And maybe cheer for me? If i throw candy at them?  I was in the Highland Fling parade two times as a youth, and I enjoyed it.  And now i think I'm ready to revisit that. I don't have a cause, other than to be happy and to give happy.

This year i often scooted to school to pick up Julian and we'd ride home together. I thought how it might make a nice memory for him-- "I don't remember much about kindergarten, except riding on a beauty of an Amish scooter with my mom,"  he'll say to his friends. And now i wonder if being in a parade might not stand out in his memory. I know it'd stand out in mine.  So I've decided. We're doing it. Me and Julian, on my scooter. (yay!) Come and watch us? It's on Saturday and starts at 10:00.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ode to the Foe

Canker sores come, and canker sores go. And then they return and you never quite know, how long will this last? is it just the one this time or three? and how long will they give me in-between? And that special kind of trauma, that unique misery yields a special kind of bliss, being canker-sore free. Makes you appreciate life just a little bit more, with much more intent, until the next time that damned thing surely returns, hell-bent, to your life once more.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Conjoined twins and other important things

So for dinner Sean made some pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans and also this brown gravy puree stuff.  Which was crazy because I had seen him cooking up the apples, mushrooms and onions but forgot all about them when we sat down to eat.  And there they were, in an unrecognizable yet delicious form. 

JEN: This gravy stuff is so good. And it's like, substantial. If you couldn't chew you could eat this and still get real food. That's pretty cool.

SEAN: Yes. And it's a puree, not a gravy.

JEN: Yeah.  And i guess, people DO eat like that but it kind of sucks for them.  Still, *full mouth, chewing food* it sounds ok to me. [because it's delicious, see]

SEAN: If your mouth was wired shut, it seems you'd miss food, you'd miss texture. 

JEN, thoughtfully: There must be something to chewing.

SEAN: I saw this study people were doing on two-headed snakes...

JEN: Go on...

SEAN: They would feed one head but the other head was still hungry even though its stomach was full. The other head wanted to eat. 

JEN: Yeah. I wonder if that's the same for conjoined twins. 

SEAN: Maybe. Depends on what organs they share, I guess.    I haven't thought about conjoined twins in a long time...

And that's when I opened up my computer to document this conversation. I've been relaying it to Sean to make sure I get all and told him where I'd left off, that that final line was what i wanted to get to. And he then said,  "I think we used to talk about conjoined twins all the time. It's one of your favorite topics.."  which just makes me laugh. I don't know if that's true, but also, I don't know if it's not true.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I made some art the other day at a museum. I was pretty pleased.  I tried to take a picture of it on the paint table. The overhead light was pretty bright. I had to take it at an angle so as to not have a shadow of my hands directly over my painting. Here is my art:

Here's a picture of my shadow taking a picture of my painting on the paint table.


And that's when I realized the shadow was much better than my painting.  I also realized the paint table was probably the best painting of everything there, but I failed to get a picture just of that.

Sean told me for an art class once, everyone brought something to show and they would all participate in a group critique.  One person had made some kind of art and cut it out of paper.  Sean said the paper was sitting on the table and the table, wood and worn, dented with traces of ink, appearing through the round hole where the art student had cut, was amazing.  It was a little disheartening for them to realize that the best art there was that bit of table, framed by the leftover piece of paper.  Which is kind of what I felt at this museum. But I choose to see it that maybe I didn't make art, but I did find it, in the end.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tongue Twister

JULIAN: Why did they build the Great Wall of China?

JEN: To keep out their enemies.

JULIAN: Like the Mongol hordes?

JEN: hahaha! Yes, that's exactly right.

Mongol hordes just makes me laugh.  This is from a tongue twister from Calvin and Hobbes.  Julian has taken an interest in them lately. He's actually really good at saying them.  For example:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
 He says this more like, 

"How much wood if a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck woodchuck chuck wood." 


Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. 
He says that one pretty perfectly.

The one from Calvin and Hobbes goes as follows:

How many boards would the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored? 
One day several weeks ago-- I can't remember why we were doing this--we spent a substantial amount of time trying to write our own. It proved to be quite the challenge.   

Timeout--Hahahaha! Sean just walked in and I asked him, "Sean, what was that tongue twister you came up with?"

Sean lit up and said excitedly, "Ah! Yes. I've been wanting to read this for a while. I thought about it the other day and couldn't remember." And he actually brought out his phone--

Jen: hahaha! You wrote it down on your phone?? 

Sean: Yes. I didn't want to forget it.

I don't know why but it just made me bust. ANYWAY... it was tricky. Here's one Sean came up with:

Only a bear knows what a bear's nose can bear. 

Here's another one we thought of:

Two can can-can if a Toucan can. 

To make it extra tricky, I suggested using "can-can" again, like this:

Two can can-can if a Toucan can can-can.  

But Sean rejected that. They're not really tongue twisters I guess. What would you call them?

Lastly, here's a pic of Julian in the car a few days ago, crying because he couldn't remember the "mongol horde" one.   I love this family of mine. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Worthy Things of Late

10:00pm on a Sunday night. The windows are open and the door is open to the summer dark of night, the sprinklers are on, and I am in a blogging mood.  Sean is watching something on the telly and a sweet folksy song was playing. When i asked him what it was he said, "it's actually the background music for a silent cooking show..."  which leads me to all sorts of half-hearted questions that will probably remain a mystery.

I did ask him why he liked cooking shows and he had this to say:

I like seeing people whisk, i like seeing the countertops. how they dress a plate. I like it all.  Usually i like how they talk about food too but here it's all in silence. 
"I like seeing people whisk."   :-D

In case you're curious, the song was Thou Mayest, by Tom Eddy. In fact, it's probably best you listen to it while you read the rest of this post to get the full effect.

I had a dream last night of an acquaintance and though the details are sketchy, it was a lengthy dream and feelings were strong and have lingered which always makes me feel weird all the ensuing day long. Like I have somehow formed a relationship with this person, but it's a fabrication and I'm made to experience the residuals, and it's weird.

There's a mosquito on my computer screen and for a while there I thought the mouse was going berserk. I even wiggled it around a bit-- "c'mon, whattsa matter with you."  And then my mouse sprouted wings and up and flew away.  Silliness. 

There has been silence from the next room for a while and suddenly Sean just exclaimed, (in the way Sean might "exclaim")

"holy cow. I just learned so much about pies."  - That's a decent contender for the title of this post.

If you ever want to drink a gelatinous blob for breakfast, put an avocado in your smoothie. It makes the texture sooo weird. So globular and shiny.  I am reminded of when I ate an avocado popsicle and it now makes a lot of sense. It would be perfect for popsicle consistency. Know what else it would be good for? Pudding. It looks just like pudding. And then i looked online for pudding recipes using avocado and they abound. Someone make it and tell me how it is.

Speaking of breakfast foods, every once in a while I get a hankering for muffins. (As you may know.) As many people do when making recipes, I like to add things or adjust the recipe a little.   Generally, any time I make a muffin recipe I like to add "single-handedly eat entire batch through the course of the morning day" to the list of instructions.  I shall add this to )en's Cookbook.  

Sorry for those links. I think I'm just now realizing how annoying it is to read blog posts with a million links in it. Actually I think I've known for a while that it's annoying, i just forgot to apply that to me.  

Back to baking:  Lately my favorite thing to eat has been a microwaved brownie in a mug. And now I've moved to single-portioned muffins in a ramekin in the toaster oven. I've wanted a toaster oven for a long time so finally I got one for Sean for his birthday--ha.  It's so great. Toasts, broils, bakes things up to like 450 degrees.  But I love my ramekins muffins. Ramuffin? Muffikin?    
Either of those is solid. 

Sean just wandered in, wearing a shirt with blue palm trees and said, "Whew... this lady just made spaghetti sauce from scratch and it was crazy." 

I recently attended a writers conference for an entire Friday. They provided meals and snacks and I went to about six or seven classes. Most of them weren't quite my area of focus. They were geared toward fiction writing and fiction writer I am not. As you may gather, the personal essay is more my jam. I sat at a table of other writers, one being a 14-year old girl who is into fantasy and mythology (who isn't), and who I loved, and an older gent. I can't remember if it was him or someone else i was talking to but i explained that I just don't have room in my head for making up brand new stories. Room/ability.  But why should i spend time creating an entirely new character when i have the best one I know? ME.  This probably makes me sound like an egoist, but maybe not for a personal essayist? 

Just now, Sean, peering around the corner: 

"I just saw a fried rice episode which showed me i know absolutely nothing about fried rice.  They don't even cook the eggs. It's all DONE and then they stir in the egg. 

JEN: Oh yeah? And the egg cooks?

SEAN: Not really, it's just like an egg sauce.

JEN: Really? Don't people like a little scrambley egg in there?

SEAN: I don't know. I make fried rice based on what i've seen in Japanese restaurants where they do it in front of you.  This was Taiwanese style. It looked good, but a little different.

But the conference was fun.  I wrote down a few notes in my notebook.  I'll include them here: 

1. -inadvertently flirted with the man in charge of door prizes when I said, "may I just say, you look very nice today" when I found out his duties.  I don't think he understood but he seemed very flattered.

2.  Each presenter introduced themself with a word of their choosing. A single word.  Brave, wonder, perspective, chocolate. One person said "sesquipid" and then proceeded to spell it, like in a bee, which I thought was clever.  I thought about it and, my word:


3. I sat in various classes and by far my favorite was the Sci-fi class. Not because I have any dreams of being a science fiction writer but because I LOVE SCIENCE FICTION.  I got real excited sitting there watching the super-nerd teacher who was like the scientist guy on The Simpsons but with black spiky hair streaked with white, like a skunk. He was an actual physicist and wrote things for NASA and taught at Columbia and whatnot. I sat in the front and just soaked in all the nerdism. He talked about all the ways to use sci-fi, like space stuff, future stuff-- if you write future stuff, the things you MUST include, like how does this society eat? What is the food like? How does one thing impact the whole economy? Like the modes of transportation?  I loved it all.  So when he said, "it's like.. in the book you read about Spock's people, the Vulcans and how they used to kill each other just using their minds, which is why they had to work so hard to stifle emotion..."   I yelled out, "WHAA?? Are you kidding?  That's my takeaway from this class! I had no idea!"  

And then later I asked him stupid questions like, "what's your favorite use? In your writing."  Ha ha. I heard some snickers in the class because it was a dumb-a question but i don't care, I was so happy to be there.  He said it was artificial intelligence. When i asked him what was one he was afraid of, like how people are afraid of robots taking over the world, he said disease.  And we talked a bit more and people offered their two cents, about why Dr. Who was great or wasn't, and which version I should start watching, (I publicly asked the class after I confessed I had missed that boat), the teacher and I had a bit more back-and-forth at the end of the class which ended with what is turning out to be my favorite go-to quote: 

"engineers are so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they don't stop to think if they SHOULD,"  after which I thanked the teacher and exited the class with glee.  Definitely the highlight of my day there. 

This blog post is a product of my rusty brain groaning to get moving, begging for me to dig into myself and fling out some words. I haven't been doing it often and it shows. So thanks for bearing with me this blog night of nights and I hope you found something worth while up there stuck in the muck.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Charm of a Day

Some mornings ago we woke up and Julian reminded me of my promise that we'd finish the ultra weird Star Trek episode we began the day before. I laugh every time he suggests watching Star Trek. He wants to watch something and he knows my Achilles heel.  "Hey Mom, how 'bout we watch Star Trek? I know you like it..."  Curse you, child! *shaking fist*   This episode was whack though and i laughed at the typically sexist story. But at the same time, sure enough, it was thought-provoking. And this is why I love the original series.

After that one we watched a Bill Nye episode about digestion-- excellent. {thumbs up emoji}   Remember when emojis were called emoticons? I really loved that term. I'd keep using it but i'm sick of people not knowing what the hey I'm talking about.  Bill Nye is awesome though and I picked up right where I left off with my crush on him, as in days of yore.

The morning was bright. The sun shone and the pinwheels spun like a chorus of synchronization. We ate some food and ventured out on our scooters.  We visited some people and then got lost in an enormous suburban subdivision.  Honestly. Couldn't get out. I felt like a mouse in a mouse maze. At one point Julian caught a raised section of sidewalk and biffed it. He is terrified of getting scrapes. He's had a few bloody knees in his time.  So he cries out of fear, not out of pain (i'm assuming. Also, i don't know how he keeps falling.)   But the knees weren't too bad this time.  We enjoyed scooting along in the quiet ghost town-like streets.  I know everyone is busy and fine and friendly and safe in their homes and whatever but every now and then my brain does a little flip and it's too easy for me to see it as this scary wasteland where everything stands, looking normal, but all of the humans have been zapped off the face of the earth and we're the only ones left (for instance).  It feels JUST like i'd imagine that scenario to be.

We finally made it home and ate a huge plate of lunch meat, crackers, nectarines, pears, peas, and cheese. I wanted to pass out but instead i threw in some laundry and we went back out, this time for a haircut. Man, I'm trying hard to prove to myself that suburban living isn't necessarily mundane, that you can still find the magic in the mundane.  Is it working? I'm catching myself with some of these sentences and I'm just not sure. "this time for a haircut"--Oooooo!!) 

I haven't taken Julian to get his hair cut in a long time. These days we go to Great Clips and I couldn't be happier. I just can't do those $$$ NY haircuts. I got a lot of cuts there too and my favorites were done by hair school students and scissor-skilled friends.  Except for that one, that one time.  But I do feel that it's ridiculous to pay a lot of money for a cut, especially when you have weed hair like mine. Also, Great Clips is fun because it can really be hit and miss.  Just because I'm comfortable with getting a bad cut doesn't mean they don't exist, because oh, they do.  And you're like, what in the fudge just happened? or, wow, that one was pretty good! I wish I had asked the stylist her name...   I'm tempted to take polaroids and make a hair stylist wall with green and red stickers. 

Julian was reluctant because he hates the tools near his ears (who doesn't).  He sat down on the booster seat with this giant haircutting cape around him. I sat in the chair next to his and just died laughing the entire time. The kid is freakin' HILARIOUS when he gets his hair cut.  His faces were kil-ling me.  scrunched up with disapproval, leaning his ear down to his shoulder despite being instructed again and again to hold still. His shoulder gradually hunching back every time. Like, he takes it, he tolerates it, but does not care to hide his disdain and discomfort. I'm so tickled.  And then the thing that really did it was after a while of this, either he was feeling more comfortable or more awkward and succumbed to the classic awkward salon silence but out of the silence he suddenly spoke up, "So i fell down today."

Hairdresser: Oh yeah?

Julian: Yeah, i was out on my scooter and i fell on my knees. It wasn't a bad scrape though.

Hairdresser: Oh, that's good.

Julian: And then a dog came up and licked my face! And I hate that!

Hairdresser: Yeah?

Julian: Yeah, and I told the girl, 'the next time I come over I'm going to have to teach your dog some manners!"  

Imagine like this old man barbershop scenario but it's a 5-year-old squirt.  DY-ING. "And you know what i says, I says to the girl..." I dunno. he kills me.

And that's where I'll end, mostly because i'm finishing this blog post weeks later and forgot the rest. Which is why we should all write down the good stuff, people! Write.. down.. the GOOD STUFF.  *publish*

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today's Lesson

I've always had suspicions but it wasn't confirmed until today when I was putting in a tiny pair of black pyramid-shaped earrings. I had both pairs in one hand I was using to put in the first pair when the second slipped and fell, and when my other hand, aiding my first hand missed no beat, swiftly catching that tiny stud falling in the air, I immediately knew that there really is literally nothing I can't do.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Pig Meat

A few days ago we visited a museum full of dead animals. A natural history museum, in other words. Ha ha, I don't know why i called it that. Actually, yes i do.  Let's continue the story. My niece Anna was distraught at all the dead things that had to die and be on display.  After i successfully persuaded her to not think about that, to just enjoy being able to see them up close, Julian started expressing sadness as well.  I helped him through his feelings and after he would exclaim, "and they had to KILL that one too" I would add, "Orrrr... maybe it was found dead, so they just gathered it up and put it to use..."    By the end, everything in that museum may or may not have been found already dead, would you believe it??  Anyway, just now we had a delightful sort of continuance, and it also answered my question of wondering if Julian would ever have a vegetarian phase like so many other kids i hear about.  The answer:  No.

JULIAN (big sigh): I love meat.

JEN: oh yeah?

JULIAN: Wait, is meat pigs or cows?

JEN: Both. It depends. Beef, what we're eating, is cow meat.

JULIAN: And what's pig meat?

JEN: Ham, bacon...

JULIAN: Do they kill the pig to make pig meat?

JEN: Yes

JULIAN: It's sad they have to do that. Or, maybe they FIND the pig dead, and then make it into pig meat.

JEN (laughing, considering): Maybe...

Thursday, June 04, 2015

)en's Cookbook: Tomato Soup


-1 box of Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato Soup

-2 microwavable mugs

- a few paper towels


1. Pour desired amount of soup into a mug. 

2. Put mug in microwave and since you want it HOT, cook for 2 minutes.

3. When it's done, open the microwave door and see a tomato blood bath all over the interior. 

4. Pour exploded-over mug of soup into the second, clean mug. Rinse first mug in sink. Leave it there for the remainder of the day.

5. Use paper towels to wipe up the mess. If you think ahead, you can even use some of these paper towels to line the bottom of the microwave before cooking and catch some of the mess. 

6. Enjoy your soup.

I've made this recipe twice now and so far it's worked like a charm.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday Gross-out

SEAN:  I had a dream last night that I was in bed feeling something on my forehead, so i went into the bathroom to check it out and there was a piece of spaghetti on my forehead.  I pulled on it and it was stuck and realized about a foot of it was inside my brain. And I kept pulling and I thought, well, better out than in.  And when I pulled it all out i looked at the end of it and saw that it was hollow on the inside, like a straw, and i looked inside it and there was pink stuff and I said, "that's my brain."  And I thought, well, what's going to happen? Is this hole in my forehead going to bleed? And nothing happened so i thought, well ok. But then I thought, I can't just have a hole in my head. Oh great, now I'm going to get meningitis.  That's how I'm going to get meningitis.  Anyway, it feels good to get it off my chest, even if it ruined your day. 



Thursday, May 21, 2015

two wheelbarrows

so much depends

two old wheel

sitting side by side

through rain and rust

so many piles of dirt.

When I was in 10th grade I took honors english. I struggled with it, mostly because I kind of disliked my teacher a lot. I mean, I'm sure she was real nice but for some reason I was bothered. It could have also merely been that I was fifteen. But I read a heckuva lot of books, some I enjoyed (Farenheit 451) and some I did not (Scarlett Letter--burn, Scarlett Letter, burn! Burn at farenheit 451!)   

I also struggled with a lot of the poetry. I feel like I enjoy poetry. I mean I even write some myself. I began writing poetry at quite a young age. I still have an old book of poems I wrote in as a child that I'm quite proud of. But for some reason a lot of the poems we were forced to explicate rubbed me all kinds of wrong ways (I'm looking at you, Emily Dickenson). Again, i blame my teacher.  

One of those poems was William Carlos Williams'  The Red Wheelbarrow.  I thought it was so idiotic i wanted to die.  It was kind of my poetry pet peeve for several years after, even. Pet poetry peeve?  And then I grew up and forgot about it. And then recently I saw these wheelbarrows at my neighbor's house, sitting together so adorably like an old married couple and stole a pic.   And of course I was reminded of this poem that really never left me, and I realized, sort of suddenly, that i like it now. That it might just be my kind of poem! I don't enjoy being forced to dig and discover the true meaning of a poem but rather just mull it over in my mind naturally. Rely on my gut to tell me if I like it rather than what it allegedly is meant to mean.  And now, giving it a second chance after many, many years, I like it. It's fun. It's silly.  I believe I have made a poetic full circle on this. And it only took twenty years. It feels strange, but good. Happy closure.  Emily, you may be next.  (I said may be)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Birthday Lady

It's my mom's birthday today. She is the BEST.  We love her. To celebrate, we made her a cake and decorated it in just the adorablest way you could imagine. I went through ye olde journal, found some good gems, rolled them and inserted them into little balloons and had ourselves a jolly good time.  Happy birthday to YOU, Mom.

Dec. 28 1993[Listing Christmas presents] I got some little stickers that say my name and address that you put on letters to people. I've always wanted those. Mom really paid
Thanks for paying attention so you knew EXACTLY what kind of gift to give me, Mom.

February 12, 1994
Yesterday I got one of those root beer float popsicles and I put my mouth on it and my top and bottom lip stuck there. For good. Mom poured warm water over it and I just pulled my mouth off. It hurt like a badger.
Thanks for all the warm water you’ve poured over hurts throughout the years, Mom. 

March 2, 1994
On Tuesday, I felt extra, extra bad. My temperature was 102 and my throat killed. Mom looked down it and my tonsils were just COVERED with white. I don't know what it is. We went down to the doctor because Mom thought it was strep. Well, it wasn't strep, so the doc suspected it was Mono.
Thanks for being willing to do disgusting things for the benefit of others, Mom. 

October 7, 1994
We FINALLY got Jurassic Park! Mom brought it home yesterday. I've seen it twice since then.
Thanks for bringing home Jurassic Park, Mom. There you are again, paying attention.

June 3, 1996
Jon is on Heritage Tours.  Mom made me write a letter to him today from the family.  Yeah, like I know what to say.  "Hi Jon, how are you.  Hmmmm.."  That’s pretty much it. 
Thanks for making me write letters, Mom. Boy, I really owe you one.

June 5, 1996
Mom and Jeremy are now moving a new bed into my room.  Wow.  Maybe I should help. Naah.   
Thanks for getting me new beds mom, and moving them for me. I’ll help next time I promise. 

November 5, 1997
Mom is vacuuming and it sounds like a dang dump truck. I'm all, EARTHQUAKE!!!!, just mom vacuuming. Oop, she stopped.
Thanks for all the cleaning, Mom. Sorry I didn’t help out more.