Thursday, October 20, 2022

Not trained for this.

Ya know that whole pressure toward "have a career; you're wasting your mind on staying home!" thing aimed at women?  

Being a housewife/mom is damn hardReally damn hard.  

I spent six years in college.  Had a blast doing so, too--I really enjoyed the discussions of the reading assignments, and I really enjoyed the intellectual challenges in classes I wasn't as well-grounded in.*  Loved languages, the rules of the languages, and linguistics and how languages developed.  Enjoyed learning how language was acquired, too.  

The last two years of college, I was taught how to teach writing.  Somewhat.  Half-assed.  Mostly learned by example, and used what I learned from my instructors to be a better instructor, since the ones trying to teach me how to teach didn't know how themselves.  

I spent a lot of time and mental energy teaching, thinking about teaching, writing, and thinking about teaching writing.  It's what I was trained to do.  I knew how to do it, and I was good at it.  

And then I had kids.  First one came eight weeks early--right at the mid-point of the semester--and I had to leave campus.  No big deal, I thought, I'll just switch to online teaching.  From teaching on campus.  From '03 (in grad school) to '08.  I didn't have any training or guidance on how to do that, but I managed.  And I continued teaching online and stayed home with my son.  

And then my daughter.  

And I learned that the teaching stuff I'd been trained to do in no way translated to what I needed to know to do the mommy stuff.  Which I had to learn on the job, because that?  Yeah, the "how to" resources on parenting suck balls.  

And that's leaving aside everything else.  

I am still a teacher--but now, I'm learning things just before I teach them.  Instead of previously being the expert in the room.  

I am also a general manager, an administrative assistant, a short-order cook, an economist, a personal shopper, an efficiency expert.  I deal in finance, in triage, in tailoring, in housekeeping.  I  have deep base knowledge in history, philosophy, religion, and several different sciences.  

I have training in none of those things.  None.  

Thing is, I should have.  My mom was a stay at home mom.  I didn't get taught how to cook.  I got chased out of the kitchen: "Oh, you're making a mess, just let me do it--get out of the way."  And there was nowhere in the kitchen that was out of the way, so I didn't learn by watching, either. 

I didn't get taught how to keep house.**  I didn't get taught how to drive until my other half taught me.  And I don't really blame Mom for that--somebody prone to panic attacks should not teach somebody prone to panic attacks how to drive. 

I am still not entirely sure how I learned to budget, how to stick to a budget, or comparison shop--Mom doesn't do either, and didn't from the time I started paying attention.  I don't know how I learned to differentiate between "go to the doctor with this" and "don't bother going to the doctor--they won't be able to do anything about it." Mom's always been a hypochondriac.  All the way up to when it actually counted, and now she won't go to the doctor to have her cancer dealt with. 

I read, incessantly.  I research things I don't know, and that is the one, single thing that translated over from learning to teach research and writing to house-wifing: I can tell when something's sorta right, when something's totally bullshit, when something's been spun so hard in the presentation that, even if the facts are true, it's still false.  

It's not wasting my mind being a housewife.  It's not wasting my talents being a stay-at-home-mom.  It's really freakin' hard, and there are so many jobs that I have to transition between, without pause.  Or sometimes multitask doing jobs that DON'T go together, and still somehow managing.  This is far more intellectually challenging than teaching college--or really, any other single-focus career--could ever hope to be.  

There really is something for Heinlein's take on what a human being is. 

*Except math.  I hated math.  I could never figure out which equation to use in what situation to get the outcome being demanded.  And biology--I preferred my coursework on paper, not my hands.  

**That's...not entirely Mom's fault.  She was directed by the head of DFS that she wasn't to make my sister and me pick up after ourselves.  It really needs to be a daily thing, and a routine habit, and I never learned it.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


We're having a fairly serious cold snap, both for our area and for how early in the year it is.  Last night's lows?  Below freezing.  Today will be in the mid-40's.  And tonight?  Below freezing again. 

Today's high is normal lows for this part of the country during mid October.  Yeah, it's a short-lived cold snap, but it's a cold snap.  We've taken the hoses off the outside faucets, even if we've not covered the faucets, just yet.  I've buried my drift roses in piles of oak leaves for now, and I plan to get ground cloth and thick mulch before too much longer.  I don't want my more recently-planted roses freezing.

And it's still so very, very dry...I'll probably need to water them a bit.  After this cold bit has passed and things are back to normal for October.  Like, maybe Thursday.  Or Friday.  

I hadn't gotten the propane tank filled.  We have enough for this cold snap.  I think.  But I have put in an order.  For 177 gallons, at $2.70/gallon.  That's the summer rate.  Our tank is a dinky 250 gallons.  It's still costing nearly $500 to fill. 

Let's go, Brandon!  

And yes, this is something I can blame entirely on The FICUS Administration.  This is something that isn't entirely inflation-driven.  This is driven entirely by the idiot watermelon* agenda: the twats that keep trying to say they were elected (they weren't) and have a mandate from heaven the people to get rid of fossil fuels!**

Since 2021, there've been a number of policies shutting down any production on this continent.  Because of those policies, we've seen prices on...well, everything...skyrocket past what the money pumped in by the ill-considered "stimulus" payments would account for.  

We've also seen the idiots over in Asia saber rattling...then lunging.  And demonstrating just how well shooting the messenger works in real life, for making sure things work and/or are ready to be used...

...which brings us circling back around to yet another fucking boondoggle: "renewable" resources.  And pushing "electricity-only!" with the reliability (and expense levels) imposed by these "renewable" resources.  

Ya know, I really wouldn't mind relying mostly on electricity if they hadn't shut down so many plants that made the electricity.  Or if they'd, I dunno, already built a few micro-reactor nuclear plants to replace those filthy*** fossil-fuel plants.  

This winter's going to be expensive for those of us living in the United States.  It's going to be damn near impossibly expensive for a lot of us, and it will be impossibly expensive for a few.  There will be people freezing to death this year, in the United States. 

It's going to be a frozen hell for the rest of the northern hemisphere.  

I suspect the pendulum is going to be swinging--hard--the other way for the "greens."  And I can't say one way or the other whether that pendulum is going to be sharpened, before it plows through them.  Or whether it's going to be a wrecking ball. 

It's going to be a hard reset the hard left isn't expecting.  It's gonna really hurt them here.  It's going to kill them elsewhere.  It's just going to be a matter of figuring out how bloody it's going to get before it's over.

*Watermelon agenda: it pretends to be green, but that's only on the surface.  At its heart, it's red.  

**I wouldn't have any issues getting rid of fossil fuels if they had anything cheap and reliable to replace it with.  They don't.  Well, they could, but they won't.  

***If they want to see "filthy," they need to look at where the components needed for the solar panels, windmills, and other renewables come from.  And where they end up. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Food for thought

Hot cereal.  Everyone likes a version of hot cereal when it starts getting cold.  There are so many possibilities--and a lot of them are semi-good for you, since a lot of them are based in whole grain.  It kinda depends on which kind you like best for how healthy it actually is.  

I hated oatmeal, growing up.  Still kinda don't...really like it.  I can eat it, sometimes, but it really has to taste like an oatmeal cookie for me to be able to get past the texture (I've got instructions for how to do that in the microwave at the end of the post).  Can't eat it too often, but...yeah.  I always loved Malt-O-Meal, though.  And Cream of Wheat, but especially Malt-O-Meal. 

It doesn't matter, though, I suppose.  I can't have either one, anymore.  And rice...there's a Cream of Rice version of Cream of Wheat, but I have to limit how much rice I eat.*  And I have other ways I'd rather eat it (my bastard lovechild of fajitas and fried rice, and Zatarain's dirty rice or jambalaya). 

I can do corn-based foods easier than any other grain.  So...that left me with cornmeal mush (which takes for-freakin' ever), or grits.  Which can be made in five minutes on top of the stove, or three or four minutes in the microwave.

Grits it is, then.  Because my body is an asshole, and gives me really hard limits that change from day to day.  I can usually do stuff in the microwave, even when I can't stand over the stove for even five minutes. 

The instant grits packages that my Walmart sells was enough to get me started, and enough to verify that I don't have bad reactions to eating grits.  Not even daily.  So, I took the next step, and got the can.  Which had double the amount of grits in it for a buck less than the box of pre-measured/seasoned instant packets.  And...

Really.  Doing the measuring out yourself isn't hard.  However.  I cannot eat what the can says is a "full serving."  That's just...damn.  1/4 c of grits, plus 1 c water.  I can't eat that much--not as a meal by itself, and definitely not as a side.  I can, however, math well enough to cut that in half. 

So, for microwaved grits, I've been using 2 tbsp measured out (no, it doesn't really pile up on the spoon), and a half cup and a splash of water (to keep them from turning into paste).  For breakfast, I add a little butter, a tbsp of bacon bits, and around a tablespoon of brown sugar.  As a side? I add a little bit of cheese (which makes it a really good stand in, when the kids and other half are doing macaroni).  There are really good instructions on the back of the can for how long to microwave the grits for.  I found that doing half the time, stirring, then the other half gets better results than just...setting it to go the full time it says it needs to.  And that lets me determine if I need to add more liquid/how much I need to add. 

I am probably going to be eating a lot of grits.  And a 24 oz can ($2.58 at Walmart in SW MO)...just doesn't go very far.   My local Sam's Club doesn't carry grits at all. 

However.  They sell grits in their online site.  In 5-lb bags, for $2.98/bag (30 cents more than Walmart's pound-and-a-half can, so a lot less on the unit cost).  But only if you buy three bags at once. 

I'm set for a while, now. 

So.  Breakfasts. 

Recipes follow:

Cookie oatmeal (microwave):

1/4 c quick oats
1tbsp brown sugar
1tsp white sugar
quick shake of allspice**
quick shake of cinnamon (to taste)
raisins to taste
1/2 c water or milk
drop of vanilla

1. Mix oats and dry ingredients, add raisins (optional, at this point) and either water or milk and vanilla.  2. Microwave for 1 minute.  Stir, add sugar, honey, or salt to individual taste. 

If your raisins are hard (mine are--we don't eat a whole lot of them), you'll want to microwave them with the liquid.  If they're not, you can add them at the end.

Brown Sugar Bacon Grits

2 tbsp grits
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp real bacon bits
tsp or less of butter, brief shake of salt
2/3 c water (more or less, according to how thick you want it)

1. Put ingredients in bowl.  Don't bother to mix, since the butter's not melted.  2. Microwave for 90 seconds. 3. Stir, add liquid if you want it thinner.  Or sugar, if it's not sweet enough for you.  4: Microwave for 90 more seconds. 

And as a bonus, since I mentioned cheesy grits as a side and/or substitute for macaroni and cheese...

Cheesy Grits:

2 tbsp grits
1/2 c water
1 tbsp powder cheese (optional--it's easier if you have it on hand, but you can sub shredded cheese)

1. Mix grits and cheese powder (if you have it.  If you don't, wait on the cheese).  Add water.  2. Microwave 90 seconds, stir.  Taste.  Add salt if you need it here.  3.  Microwave 90 seconds. 

If you don't have powdered cheese, this is where you mix in however much of whatever kind of shredded cheese you prefer. 

*I have to limit most grain--rice, oats, or whatever else--or it kicks me into an autoimmune flare.  Same w/legumes.  Corn seems to be the only grain I can eat without issues.  

**I use allspice, but you can use nutmeg and cloves, or whatever else you'd personally prefer.  Just be sparing, because it can really take over with just a little too much.  

Thursday, October 6, 2022


Fourteen years ago, today, my imp was born.  Eight weeks early, impatient, wanting to be around people so he could get them to play with him.  Shocked the nurses silly: "Normally, babies as early as he was spend all their time sleeping.  I hate admitting this, but he's my favorite--he's happy, and wants to play with me."  

He was 19.5" long (two inches too long for the preemie footie jammies), and 3 lbs, 13.3 oz at birth.  Long, skinny baby.   No fat rolls whatsoever, anywhere.  His tushie looked like a frog's rear end.  

He's been fourteen for two hours, now.  He's shooting up--last doctor's visit had him at 5' 2.5," but only 87 lbs.  I'm not sure if he's gained weight since then, but I'm pretty sure he's gained some extra height.  He can reach the top shelves in the kitchen (I absolutely can't).   So, still long and skinny.  No fat rolls whatsoever, anywhere.  He's still impatient, but is also impulsive, in constant motion (jiggling foot, jiggling knees, twitchy fingers), wants to be around people, and play.  He's still usually happy, by default, but is starting in on the moodiness, and the outbursts of random anger typical of teen boys.  

His shoulders are broadening, and is developing an Adam's apple, but his voice isn't breaking.  Yet.  

His room is still carpeted in toys--Legos, GI Joe-type stuff, and Hot Wheels (cars and good-sized track sets).  However, he's also got a few snap-circuits sets, and a marble run.  He wants more snap circuits, wants to learn more about electrical work, and loves science and engineering stuff.  

He isn't really interested in school.  Other than band (he's played trumpet since 5th grade, and he's in 7th, now), he's got a solid C average.  Which, considering how hard his ADHD rides him, sometimes, isn't bad.  Yeah, he's a lot smarter than that, but he just can't focus it unless there's physical stuff involved.  Stuff to do with his hands (that isn't writing).   And he really, really doesn't test well: he says his mind goes blank when he starts taking one.  

He's got some idea of what he'd like to do for a living when he's finished school.  And what kind of house he'd like.  And car.  And...yeah, normal boy stuff.  

I'm proud as hell of him, and of how far he's come, and how hard he's fought himself to make it as far as he has on working around his ADHD symptoms, mitigating them, and dealing with life.  I'm absolutely certain that he'll find his feet and be okay in the long run. 

And, as parents, do we really have the right to ask for more?