Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The imp's kindergarten teacher cornered us this morning, and told us we were going to need two appointment slots for his parent/teacher conference.

Now, I'm not just worried, I'm stressed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lazy Tuna* Noodle Casserole

I came up with this recipe a few years back.  My other half doesn't like tuna, so I substitute either canned chicken or canned roast beef (leftover roast also works well).

1 box macaroni & cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can meat (tuna, chicken, roast beef), drained
1/4 c milk (if you have it--water works, if not)

1.  Cook macaroni according to box instructions, and drain.  2. Ignore the directions for the cheese sauce--dump in the cheese powder, the can of soup, and the milk, and mix together.  3. Add can of tuna, chicken, or beef. 

If you want, you can add frozen peas to this, or canned corn, or whatever vegetable you think will taste good. 

It's a great wintertime dish: hot, filling, and satisfying. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I am a terrible housekeeper.  The house is cluttered, with mess strewn everywhere.  I can't seem to get on top of the mess with fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, or all day every day of trying. 

I am terrible at staying organized on what needs to be done when to get things done in a timely manner.  I can't seem to remember appointments unless they're written down in three different places, and there are at least two alarms to set to make sure we get the kids to school on time.  And to remind us to go get them. 

I can say that I have never forgotten one of my children in the car.  I can say that I have never forgotten to feed them. 

But that's really all I can say.

And I look around my house, and my cluttered schedule, and I wonder what the hell I was thinking, bringing two children into the world to care for, when I can barely take care of myself., we took them to a nearby large town, where there's a place where someone's model train hobby got way out of hand: two engines pulling open cars with bench seats just wide enough for an adult and a child around two miles of 24" tracks decorated for Halloween.  We weren't sure we'd be able to take them this year--the weather was a little iffy, but today dawned bright and beautiful, if chilly.  And so, we got up, made the decision, threw the kids into clothes and shoes, and hustled them off to take a 20 minute trip around that two mile loop of tracks. 

I look around, sometimes, and wonder what the hell I was thinking, thinking I could take care of two tiny, near-helpless people.  And then, on days like today, just for a little while, I stop beating myself up, and just enjoy the wonder, excitement, and joy in their eyes.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Random ramblings

So, the imp tells me that he has trouble with the "spelling" tests they're doing: the teacher says a blend, and they're supposed to write down the letters that make the sounds.  I guess that that's one of the things we need to practice. 

Fair enough.  We can do that.  But I think he needs to do more practice with the individual sounds, first.  I'll work with him on that, then move on into the blends. 

But that's keeping him at an F in the reading/language arts stuff. 

On the other hand, he's sitting at 100% on his math.  And is ahead of the rest of his class.  He's adding.  They're doing that in games only, not in graded work. 

The pixie, as a preschooler, isn't graded yet, to my knowledge, on anything other than behavior...and I haven't heard any complaints from her teacher about that. 

So.  Their teachers had a couple of in-service days, last week.  Odysseus and I were off on Monday and Tuesday, and the kids were off on Thursday and Friday.  I was able to care for them on Thursday, but Friday?  I had teaching and tutoring to do, and had no way to deal with them.  So, Thursday afternoon, Odysseus took them to the halfway point to meet his parents, and then we had a bit of a date night.  Friday, after classes for us were done, we went to visit his parents and pick them up. 

The cats expressed their distress at having been left alone all day yesterday, last night.  They were incredibly clingy and annoying.  Usually, they stare at us in disapproval from a distance. 

My students tore through the concepts I'd had to introduce them to much quicker than I'd expected.   Most of my classes in the past have tried over-complicating things that are simple because they assume it can't possibly be that simple.  These classes...haven't done that. 

Because of that, I spent four hours revising Fire and Forge. I'm working on writing an addition to one of the chapters--Spitfire--to expand some of one of the couples' stories.  I should be finished with it sometime within the next week.

I've had a couple of short stories that don't quite fit anywhere pop to mind.  I've gotten them written, and gotten one written out long hand (and still needs typed).  I'm considering putting them out as another collection.  So far, with three stories, I've got about 15,000 words (and one of those will probably be rewritten from first to third person, and expanded).  It won't be put out until I've hit around 80-120,000 words, but I keep coming up with these shorts demanding written, and don't know what else to do with them, since they're too long to post on the other blog.

Friday, October 17, 2014

FFOT: This week.

This week can fuck off so hard.  Monday, the alarm didn't go off.  No, Odysseus and I didn't have class, but the kids still had school...and they were being good, and didn't wake us up until ten 'til eight.  They're late if they arrive after 8:05, and we managed to somehow get them there by ten after.  That can fuck off. 

Second, I got sick that night with a mild gastric virus that made me run a fever, and feel like I'd eaten glass...and caused bloating and pain from that...Monday night.  I'm only just now getting over it. 

Third, my CD player in the bedroom quit working. 

And last, but not least, I think I'm coming down with a cold. 

I am so ready for this week to be over...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New recipe

I hate pinto beans.  Always have.  Always will...when fixed as bean soup.  They're a handy filler when used as refried beans and added to ground beef in tacos. 

But they're freakin' cheap.  I can get a ten pound bag of 'em from Sam's Club for just over $6.  Lots cheaper than buying cans of beans.

And...I found a way to make them that I like, just on their own. 

HH's Modified Refried Beans

1 lb (2 c) dry beans
1 onion
5 cloves garlic
1 t salt
2 T bacon grease OR 4 slices bacon OR 1/2 c bacon ends
3 T chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, pureed
shredded cheddar (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Soak the beans overnight; dump into crockpot with minced or crushed garlic (I use a garlic press) and chopped onion (bacon if you want to cook it with the bacon); cook all day.  When beans are done, drain and mash with bacon grease, salt, and pureed chipotle peppers. 

If you want to add to taco meat, about a quarter of what you just made will do--freeze the rest.  If you want bean dip, add the cheese and sour cream to taste, and eat warm. This is also excellent smeared onto a tortilla with salsa and extra cheese and eaten like pizza.

I ate until I nearly popped, last night.  And didn't get hungry before bed, either. 

I thought I hated  beans.  Turned out I just hate beans without flavor--which is the way I grew up being forced to eat them. 

I fed three adults (two grown men and me) for under four dollars last night, and had more leftovers than what we ate.  This is an excellent thing, especially in today's economy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Huh. Good to know.

It is possible to get the kids dressed and fed, get lunch packed for the imp, and get them to school in just about twenty minutes.  If we had awakened five minutes earlier, they wouldn't have even been late.

What a day for a) the alarm to not work, and b) for the kids to be very good and very quiet so they didn't wake us up. 

Thank God it's Fall Break--we didn't have to scramble to get ourselves ready and back to campus in time for Odysseus's first class at nine.

And adrenalin works better than coffee to get me functional.  But it wears off a lot faster.