Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dinner for Breakfast

My grandmother has probably been one of the most influencial people in my life. Still is. Not necessarily because she was always around me to teach me things.She has always been learning things, trying things, asking things, and staying occupied. Not a bad thing to emulate. We moved to Oklahoma when I was nine and couldn't manage to escape back to Texas until 21 for me (the rest of my family escaped earlier and left me stranded).

However, I always saw her for one or other of the big holidays (Christmas or Thanksgiving) and in the summer I would be shipped out to her house in Houston for several weeks. Possibly so my mother could stop worrying about commiting a justifiable homicide.

Grandma (she's the one we call Baba in this blog) was an aerobics instructor--land based and water. She was always trying new things--one summer we macrame'd fish and door knockers and, well more fish (I was destined to macrame fish). We rode bicycles (three speed tour around town bikes) like we were professional mountain bikers and paid the price later. She rode the rides at Astroworld and she was also a Trekkie. She kept a journal and still does today. On the cover it says, "Captain's Log." She was also an LVN and went to a modeling school and gave us a set of her proofs.

I remember waking up at their lake house to the sound of the wind through the pine trees. I always woke up way earlier because over half the main walls of the house were glass. I'd go downstairs and she'd make me this giant pancake.

She was an awesome cook. I always looked forward to her food and there wasn't a thing she couldn't make, but there was a day--I don't know which one--that she decided that she needed to be eating healthier. Therefore, all others would bear the brunt (more of a defacto thing than by proclamation). Not only did she start cooking low-to-no sugar and fat free (and I mean free), but she also restructured meals to have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.

So the next summer when I sat down to the table and she plunked a plate of turkey, broccoli, and squash in front of grandpa and I for breakfast, well, let's say I was not even sure I could keep it down. Grandpa muttered something about "twigs and berries" and did his best to eat, but I couldn't do the
broccoli. Go ahead, try to stare broccoli in the face at 6:30 a.m. with out hiding it in a seriously fruity smoothie. The idea was that you burn more calories from your breakfast and lunch meals versus dinner. So...obviously if you eat dinner for breakfast it wouldn't be adding as many pounds to your--whichever pound-heavy part. And I mean it. If you were visiting, just coming for a meal, whatever, you had to jump on the bandwagon for that meal.

I don't know why she gave up that plan. Perhaps it was the fact that grandpa kept going to Edo's for some "real food" and "seriously chocolate cake." Or it could be the steady stream of fudge the ladies in grandpa's class kept making him. Maybe it was too much of a pain to do all that cooking in the a.m. for hungry people waking up at different times. All she gave up was the dinner for breakfast thing. The "twigs and berries" menu stuck and is sticking today. And I can still hear grandpa muttering under his breath as he shakes his head..."twigs and berries."


The Toilet

For the record, I couldn't give three flying rat rears about whether or not the roll is loaded "over" or "under." I'm not even really that persnickety about seat up versus seat down. As I am outvoted on that seat up biz, I figure it's only fair for me to put it up when I'm, erm, done. Or whatever. Heck, I don't even care if no one puts a new roll on after it runs out. It's so easy to do myself and isn't icky at all.

What I have been bothered about of late is the--how to say this nicely--the type and amount of *stuff* on the toilet when I actually want to use it. Let's start with sawdust. Sawdust is probably the most humane thing to deal with on a toilet seat. Since Dad is keeping himself occupied by building storage cabinets over all the toilets in everybody's bathrooms, I really can't complain about the construction. Even after the incredible disaster that was left after tiling the bathroom and new shower enclosure/claw foot tub feat there was nothing I could do but feel grateful for the work. I'd have been in there helping except for the pneumonia...thing. So...sawdust. Somehow, even after making all the cuts outsides there is a fair amount of sawdust on every flat surface there and without my glasses on sometimes, I sit right down in it. It doesn't register on the unsanitary scale, but my lily white derriere protests profusely. So I started checking for sawdust.

Dad and Squib also use my bathroom. Often. Squib because he's seven and Dad because it's more convenient to his project and, well, he's 60-something (and will probably kill me for saying this, but this is a family history from my perspective so nyah). So there are considerable issues with aiming when the seat is down. I am only going to say this once. If I had a "device" with which to aim, then I would, by golly. It's that simple. If there's splashing, then wipe it off.  I try to check for stealth puddles, but they are, after all...stealthy. And honestly, gents, would you urinate on another person's rear end? I think not. However, that's basically what happens when the seat gets drenched and...etc. etc. bleh, bleh, bleh.

Now for the weird stuff. I haven't the first clue what the black powder is, but twice now it's been on the toilet cover and then also on the toilet seat (and the floor while I'm at it). It's not actual "black powder." I checked ;). So it's a bit of a conundrum. Pretty sure I don't want it on my bum on general principal. I'm assuming that it has to do with the construction, but as I have yet to see any black powder whatsoever in our housing projects (pun intended) thus far, I seriously doubt it has to do with the cabinet.

Spackling. Lumps of rather uncomfortable white putty. Why? Just why? Besides, the cabinets haven't had the screw holes smoothed out and no one has painted (that's my job). Why, already? Mud. And lots of it. I probably could have started a terrarium on the toilet lid. I assume this came from someone's boots as they traipsed in and out of the Hobbit Hole to work on said cabinets. Obstacles. You know how sometimes you have to get to the bathroom really quickly? Well, the Hobbit Hole has only one toilet. So, when I raced in there yesterday I found a short step stool and a ladder both blocking my way in addition to a drill and other construction tools. The weird part was I had already moved them earlier and they got moved back in even though no more work got done! To preserve my relationship with dad, I'm going with poltergeist on this one. It was like Sixth Sense. All the climbing assist devices immediately readied themselves in the blink of an eye.

And I don't even see dead people...

Friday, March 1, 2013

More Educational Awesomeness

I don't often endorse products or services, but I can't say enough about the app called "4 pics, 1 word."  I started playing by myself because I love words and crosswords and all sorts of things like that.

Well, Squib saw it on the iPad and decided to take it on and it's developed into a family project. The results were, frankly, shocking! Once I worked with him and helped get his brain start to see the common thread in the four pictures shown...well, I have to say that he started to shock me. He was guessing words he'd never even spelled yet, so we got to practice some new words. We got to discuss multiple meanings of the same word. We got to agree and disagree and debate our points (this is actually important as well). We got to practice constructive ways to work out our frustrations.

In other words, it was ALL GOOD.

I was amazed, really, at what my seven-year-old learned to do in just one sitting. You could see his progress as we worked. It honestly shocked me. Of course, his malleable mind is probably more open to new ways of thinking than mine. He's very imaginative and artistic and can apply that to other subjects.

Altogether a wonderful app for family fun. Great learning device for children to start figuring out how to relate words and their uses. It presents itself as a game and they like the challenge. You will have to help out and maybe add some clues yourself on occasion, but, IMO, you should be sitting down with your kids and "playing" things like this with them anyway. Don't be afraid to tell them when you're stumped and think out loud so they know how you're going about finding solutions.

The greatest gift you can give your kiddos is to teach them how to think!