Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who wants a present?

It's time for me to renew my Entertainment Weekly subscription, and though I'm not so pleased with their recent "redesign" (fewer book reviews! and shorter reviews! less to read!), I'll subscribe again.

There's an extra incentive this time: I get a free gift subscription to give away.

You want it? Explain why, in haiku form. Funniest entry wins the gift subscription. (You'll need to be willing to tell me your address if you're the winner, obviously.)

Deadline: September 1.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I hate that smoker

This summer, a couple moved into a condo in the building next to mine. She's a smoker. She doesn't want to stink up her home, so she goes out in the front yard or on the back porch to smoke. The breeze wafts that damned stink right into my house, and by the time it wafts to where one of us is sitting, it's too late to shut the window.

Cigarettes in general are stinky, but there are some brands (no idea which ones) that are less assertively rank. Alas, the neighbor prefers one of the nastier-smelling brands.

It's been a glorious summer, one in which we've not had to use the air conditioner much so the windows are open. But this smoker has me hankering for the return of cold weather, so I can seal the windows against her smoke.

This year, the state's indoor smoking ban took effect and bars and restaurants are blissfully smoke-free—but now I need to leave home and go to a bar if I want to avoid smoke!

Maybe I'll leave a Chantix brochure and a pack of Nicorette on her back porch.

Thank you for letting me rant.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How I blog the DNC

I greatly admire Ted Kennedy and all he has done in the Senate, and was delighted so see him speaking with righteous liberal passion at the Democratic National Convention. He looks surprisingly robust.

Ben's watching with me. He had one question:

"Does he have a neck?"

I cackled.

Kennedy's relative necklessness and expertly wrangled hair (obscuring pretty well his surgical site) all looked fine. But oh, man, it looks like Jimmy Carter blew a blood vessel in his eye. Gruesome! I had that myself earlier this year, only to a lesser degree.

Second breakfast rocks

My favorite meal is not one I have every day, because if I had second breakfast every single day, I would have to buy an ever-larger wardrobe.

I typically start my day with a bowl of cold cereal and a hit of cold, bubbly caffeine. It doesn't always tide me over until lunchtime, but pouring cereal out of a box is about all I've got the wherewithal to do first thing in the morning.

I love nothing better than making plans to go out to eat between 10:30 and noon. It's a bit early for lunch, but perfect for second breakfast. Mind you, having plans to go out to breakfast at 10:30 doesn't mean I skip that bowl of cereal—I'd get hangry without first breakfast.

The very best second breakfast is the blackberry bliss cakes at a Chicago place called m. henry: Two fat pancakes. The bottom one soaking in a pool of warm blackberries and their juice. The top one adorned with a sweet and crunchy mix of oats and brown sugar. Sandwiched in the middle, a slab of vanilla mascarpone cream that melts while you're eating the bliss cakes. One forkful containing fluffy pancake, crunchy oats, sweet and tangy berries, and sweet rich cream? Holy crap. It's all I can do to sit upright...but if I let myself slide onto the floor in a state of rapture, I wouldn't be able to reach my plate.

Second breakfast can also take place at IHOP, with an order of corn cakes (Butter? Check. Hot syrup? Check.) and a side of scrambled eggs. But you really can't beat those bliss cakes.

The new sidebar poll asks what your favorite meal is. If you love a mealtime that's not simply breakfast, lunch, or dinner, tell us about it.

(Post inspired by Mona's breakfast musings.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Damned with faint praise

Yes, I'm going to give myself props for belated cleverness on a very, very small scale.

As you may recall, I've had a collection of orphaned socks for many moons.

Yesterday, I noticed that Mr. Tangerine's sock drawer was uncommonly empty, waiting for clean socks to refill it. I was struck by an epiphany: I should take all the remaining socks out and see if there are any orphans that match up with those in the Basket of Lovelorn Socks.

I think I added one or two socks to the Basket, but I was able to reunite seven Basket inhabitants with their partners.

The black ones make sense—Mr. Tangerine probably wore two unmatched ones, and those two socks have lived in the Basket of Lovelorn Socks ever since. I don't know how one purple-and-green running sock found its way back into the drawer alone, though.

Isn't it sad that this is what passes for accomplishment in my life these days? This and changing the damn sheets.

I did it!

Yet another "praising myself for an insignificant 'accomplishment'" post—the bedsheets are in the laundry. (Recently, DoctorMama misunderstood my "I finished another book" brag as being about writing a book rather than reading one like the rest of you do all the time.) Why, it's been scarcely a month since they went on the bed! Ben did relocate himself to his parents' room and drool on the bed the other day, which contributes to my motivation to change the do the Fiery Eyeballs of Judgment I was feeling from those of you who cannot abide leaving the same sheets on for more than two weeks.

Speaking of Ben: Wow, 8-year-old kids are so awesome! He's cracking me up every day with the things that issue from his rambunctious mind. This afternoon, he asked me what month comes after this one. September, I confirmed. "What's the date?" It's August 19. "Man! It's almost school!" he exclaimed with an acute sense of outrage. Yeah, it's that time of year.

You ever sit there mocking something because it's for old people and then discover that you are the target audience? I made fun of the merchandise in the FootSmart catalog right up until the moment I noticed that I could use those socks...and those shoes look comfy...and maybe they've got the right arch supports for me. Am I old, or am I a young and vibrant woman cursed with crotchety feet? I just ordered a night splint for plantar fasciitis because the daytime stretching doesn't do enough. My orthopedist said the night splint didn't do anything for him, but I figured it was worth a shot. Because I am old.

I had a birthday last week. Mr. Tangerine ponied up a box of assorted Godiva chocolates and a box of Godiva "biscuits." That's some good shit.

I've had a low-grade headache for a week and a half. I just diagnosed it this morning as a result of Olympics-related sleep deprivation. I've been up 'til 12:30 or later all but one of the nights since the Summer Games began, but I'm not sleeping late in the mornings. It's either that or a brain tumor, and I choose to believe I will be cured within 48 hours of the closing ceremonies.

By the way, if you were hooked on Scrabulous at Facebook and you've been in mourning ever since it got the boot, I bring good tidings: I've been playing via the e-mail option—you play Scrabulous the same way as before, but you get an e-mail notifying you when it's your turn. Which means you don't have to go to your Facebook page and click on the Scrabulous link to find out if it's your turn—it's e-mail! So easy! And you can play with your non-Facebook friends. Or your non-Facebook self. Tertia, Julie, PK, and Krupskaya are among my Facebook friends, but I'm sure a lot of you are all, like, "Eww, Facebook, that's for kids." You probably think texting is for teens too, don't you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Linens and things

Today, Ben was outlining the things kids need to do before they leave for school in the morning. (Chicago kids don't go back 'til after Labor Day, so that's a few weeks off for him.) Eat breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth...and make the bed.

"Make the bed!" I exclaimed. "You never make your bad." Neither do I. It's not the way I was raised. Mr. Tangerine's mom expected him to make his bed daily, but he's adapted just fine to the "twice a year, when we're feeling fancy" mode I tend to follow.

I read somewhere in blogland that Oprah changes her sheets every day or two. Or, more likely, her hired help changes the linens for her, and launders the vast volume of fine cotton, and pays the utility bills for the washer and dryer's overuse.

Me, I change the sheets roughly quarterly. There. I said it. Confession time. The pillow cases go through the wash more often, because (a) that's where our faces land and (b) they're so easy to add into a laundry load of towels.

Where do you fall on the make the bed/change the sheets continuum?