‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Monday, May 24, 2010


At first I was perturbed with the universe for breaking our new washing machine just before Memorial Day weekend. I mean really, the timing couldn't have been worse. All our clients are kicking into full gear and we are simply not in the mood to wash our clothes in the stream.

Then I realized it was the best possible thing because you know what makes you want to do things like write press releases? An impending trip to the laundromat. I have gotten more things off my back-burner list in the last few days, all in the name of avoiding the laundromat. Sorry kids! Looks like we're stapling towels around you again for school today! Mommy is sooooooo busy.

One of the things I got done was edit a submission I wrote for the Magazine of Yoga. I had sent the first draft off a week or so ago and when the editor emailed me back it was more like having a personal trainer than an editor. Also a therapist. In the face of hauling 18 loads of laundry across town, her suggestions seemed surprisingly manageable. My post went up on the site this morning. (woot!)

Eighteen loads isn't much of an exaggeration.

It was also my turn at Polite Fictions last week. We're finishing up the alphabet of regret and I wrote U is for Us. You might like it, unless you're my mother in which case you should skip over the swearing part.

And finally, Opera Betty is getting a radio show! We go into production very soon. Right after the washing machine is fixed and I repair the staple holes in all our towels.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

speaking of needing our eyes checked

We had much chicken drama this morning.

There are times when having no actual experience with raising chickens may be considered a handicap. Or a blessing. Jury's still out.

We have 5 baby chickens and 5 grown up chickens. The babies are not all babies - two of them are teenagers - but none of them can vote so for the purpose of this post, they are babies. We got two of them and then for reasons known best to the chicken people, waited a few weeks for the next three. I think they were backordered. Or they didn't have our size and the hens had to hatch more. It's complicated.

At any rate, we had two shifts of baby chicken boxes in our livingroom. When it came time to move them out (bigger little ones), we put them in the Tea House, which is an auxiliary coop that neighbors Camp Chicken. All was well.

Yesterday we (Chris. This is all Chris' fault) decided to move the smaller little ones out too. We put them in the Tea House. Lines were drawn. Alliances were formed. The babies hid in a corner.

Chris (this is all Chris' fault) suggested we put the bigger little ones in with the grownups. A pecking order was formed, with the bigger littles firmly at the bottom. All was well until bedtime.

The bigger littles did not go into the coop, so Chris (see above) put them in after the others had gone to bed. He then looked all over the yard for the escaped little littles, found one, lost one, found two, captured one, cornered the other and then discovered all three inside the tea house. They should move to New York and do street corner shell games.

All was well.

I went out at 5am to let them out and make sure they were all alive in case we had to "drive some to summer camp" before the kids woke up.

The larger littles were lying in a pile in the corner of the coop.

There were only two chickens in the tea house.

As I started to pack up the larger ones' stuff for camp, they miraculously came to life and ran out with their new friends. Fakers.

There were still only two chickens in the tea house.

I told Chris, who insisted that there were three in when he closed them up but claimed it was all his fault anyway. I pretended it wasn't. We went back to sleep after we had looked high and low for the third chicken. She had obviously stolen a neighbor's car and driven herself to summer camp.

This is the one who kept squeezing through the fence into Camp Chicken yesterday, where she ran around terrorizing everyone before squeezing back through to the safety of the tea house. She is a firebrand, that one.

Which is why we should not have been surprised when we looked out an hour later to find she'd returned.

This is Trout Towers and we have a chicken with an attitude.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the science of optometry

It has come to my attention that I can't see as well as I once could. This is most apparent when someone presents a splinter to be removed. I cannot see the splinter and estimated guesses as to its whereabouts are under-appreciated.

After a period of fretting and hand-wringing and worst case scenario-izing, I made an eye appointment. That appointment happened yesterday.

Eye appointments are fabulous. You should really make them more than every 15 years. The chair is comfy and they even give you a place to rest your chin. All chairs should come with foot and chin rests. Once you are nice and comfortable, they ask you to do things that are much less repulsive than the other things you have to do in the course of a day.

You read letters, top to bottom, until you get to the line of hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs are there to trick you.

Then they ask you questions. I get asked questions all day long but I don't know the answers to those questions. Those are questions like "why are we so far over budget?" and "who totaled the company car?" The optometrist asks questions like "which one's clearer? A or B?"

I like questions I know the answers to. And if I get them wrong, who will know?

I could tell I was getting them right because the more I answered, the better I could see. It was like magic! Toward the end, the letters looked like they had been cut with a scalpel from black construction paper.

But that's not the interesting part. After the "exactly how blind are you" part of the exam, they start looking at the eyeball proper. They put drops in your eyes and after dropping the drops they say "that's yellow highlighter" and you're all "hahahahaha! that's funny! as if you would actually draw on my eye with a yellow highlighter!" and you wipe a little laugh-tear from your eye with a tissue and it looks like a bug got squashed in your eye because the tissue is bright, bright, bug-gut yellow and it turns out they did actually just put yellow highlighter in your eye.

Just as you are deciding never to trust them again, they put another drop in your eyes and tell you they are testing the pressure. The drops will make your eyes feel like they are wrapped in double stick tape.

Finally, they put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils, and send you to the waiting room to look at magazines but not read them because you have yellow highlighter and double stick tape in your eyes.

When they get you back in the chair, they tell you they're going to look inside your eye with a bright light. What they don't tell you is, they are looking inside your eye for ants which they then set on fire with the light and a magnifying glass. It's the only possible explanation for someone to point a light that bright at you. Also, I know that's what they're doing because after they do it, all you can see is exploding ant fireballs.

And then they tell you you need glasses, which you pick out while still under the influence of exploding ant fireballs.

Which explains a lot.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

educating children

Okay so who here was awakened by breakfast-making children at 5:30 this morning?

Part of me was all "no Susan, Do Not Ruin this! Be a good sport! Do it for the children!" and the other part of me was all "who super-glued my eyes shut?"

I resuscitated myself enough to chose from the menu (created two weeks ago): Cheerios, toast, rice cake with peanut butter, peanut butter sandwich. I also got to pick something to drink. Studley had asked me a couple days ago how to make juice. He said "I know you start with water and salt, but then what?"

I had coffee.

But this isn't about me and my search to find a culinary institute who accepts 7 year olds. This is about why I am suing my own mother for emotional distress.

She came over this afternoon because we made her. I'm sorry, but there is just one of her and five of us so it goes that way. With her she brought the Heifer International magazine. It has pictures from all over the world and lots of animals - right up our alley.

"Look!" she said to Sugarplum, showing her the picture on the back. "Isn't it cute?"

Sugarplum looked at it quizzically. "What is it?"

It was a picture of two people and a very cute baby something or other in a pen. Frankly I had no idea what it was so I said, "well, read about it. There's a paragraph right under the picture."

Sugarplum, who reads voraciously and has been known to correct our spelling, looked at it again, looked more puzzled and handed it to me to read.

"In just three months in 1994, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed in one of the worst acts of genocide in recent history...."

That? Will put you right off your peanut butter rice cake and salt water.