Sore Throat Tea

Posted on 11/30/2013 09:33:00 AM In:
I don't remember where I saw this but it was last year sometime that I read on the internet how to make a good sore throat tea and we gave it a try.  I barely used it at all last year, but it's since come in handy because my kids keep bringing The Plague home from school and giving it to me.  I've been coughing for a month solid, much to the dismay of colleagues I worked at a conference with last week, who began to be able to identify my location in the hotel from the sound and echo of my cough.  I've been through about three jars and counting since September.

I've since had quite a few people ask me about it and eventually I'll forget what goes in it (yes, I'm aware there are only three ingredients; yes, I still believe I might forget).  Here's the "recipe" and I use that term loosely.

Get a jar, any jar will do, but I like the wide mouth Mason jars better because lemon slices tend to fit in rather nicely.  Also keep in mind that quantities below depend on the size of the jar more than any measurement.

Take a few lemons and slice them thinly.

Take a few hunks of fresh ginger and slice them thinly (Is there a correct word for a hunk of ginger? The internet suggests a thumb, a knob, a finger, and a lobe.  Why does it always gotta be body parts, internet?)

Now take the slices and alternate them loosely in the jar until it's mostly filled.  Don't force them in there. There should be lots of space still let in the jar. 

Now find a jar of honey. The last time I made this I used raspberry honey and it was really good, but usually I don't have that in the house and any kind of honey will work.  Pour the honey into all the space between the lemon and ginger. You'll want to do it bit by bit and allow all the air bubbles to surface, then pour in a bit more until it's all full.  You'll have something that looks like this:

Seal the jar tightly, put it in the refrigerator and mostly forget about it.  Shake it up every so often (I find the lemon juice will surface and needs to be mixed in with the honey).  The ginger and lemon will infuse into the honey after a few days.  This will keep in your fridge for about three months or until the honey starts to crystallize, which I haven't yet seen it do.

When you want a cup of tea, just pour two or three tablespoons (or more, to taste) into your cup and fill with hot water. Additional tip: if appropriate, put a tablespoon or two of whiskey in your cup too... works as a cough suppressant, or to help you forget all your troubles. 

My thoughts: 

I Wanna See You Be Brave

Posted on 11/29/2013 07:36:00 AM
Last week on Parks and Recreation we watched Ron Swanson put his finger on a candle to snuff it out.  I really wish I could find a video clip of this scene, but apparently it wasn't the most memorable thing in the episode for most people. Here's a screen shot:

The Dormouse was intrigued by this and assumed they had used some computer graphics to accomplish the special effect.  I said no, that the actor had probably just actually put his finger on the wick.  She was incredulous, so I pulled out a candle and showed her how you could lick your fingers and then pinch the flame quickly to eliminate the oxygen and put out the candle. 

Then she wanted to try it herself. 

Keep in mind that a great deal of time went by before I even decided to get out my phone and film it.


If you ever need to put out a candle in your house -- and have a half hour of time to kill -- have I got a kid for you.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 11/28/2013 06:37:00 PM
Why you should never fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner in my house.

Here endeth the lesson.

My thoughts: 

100 Songs

Posted on 11/28/2013 07:19:00 AM
A couple of years ago, Rosanne Cash released an album titled The List.  The story behind the album was that when she was nineteen, her father, Johnny Cash, gave her "a list of one hundred essential songs in an effort to expand her knowledge of country music" and she chose from that list for this album.  I've been intrigued by this idea ever since and have spent much time thinking about and making my own list of songs my children must know if they are to call themselves my progeny.  I figured out right away that it was easier said than done.  I've been adding to this list for several months and I know that the moment I hit the Publish button, I'm going to think of three more that belong on the list and how could I have forgotten that because that totally belongs on the list, certainly over that

Once, years ago, I attended a master class with Pinchas Zuckerman and he opened up time afterward for questions.  One guy, who was obviously there with his three daughters, asked, "What pieces of music do you always have to play and really hate?"  Zuckerman said something general, like how he appreciates all of the repertoire and there are things he loves more than others at certain times, but he couldn't pick a favorite any more than he could pick a least favorite.  The question asker wouldn't let it go, "Yeah, but what pieces do you see and just roll your eyes at when you have to play them?  What composers do you not value?"  This went back and forth a few times and the guy wouldn't let it go.  Finally an exasperated Zuckerman said, "Look, do you have kids?"  The man looked at the girls sitting with him and sat up a little taller, "Why yes."  Zuckerman glanced at the girls sitting next to the man and then he met the man's eyes and said, "Do you love them all... all of the time?"  And that was the end of that question.

This list is like that for me. 

There is no way I could ever call this a list of the best songs, or best written songs, or best performed songs, or most meaningful songs.  They all mean something to me.  Either they figured prominently in the soundtrack of my life, or I learned some great truth from them, or they were incredible melodies, or well-orchestrated, or I was just impressed with how the writer rhymed It's fop with shepherd's pie peppered witch actual shepherd on top (and already there's a song that belongs on the list that isn't there - make that one hundred and one songs) but they are all important to me for one reason or another.

Let's just say here's a list of one hundred songs for which I am thankful.
  1. Here's That Rainy Day
  2. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
  3. Daybreak
  4. Crazy
  5. When October Goes
  6. Anything Goes
  7. I Can't Get Started With You
  8. Stardust
  9. Yesterday 
  10. I Wanna Be Like You
  11. Corner Pocket
  12. Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
  13. Route 66
  14. Birdland
  15. Mountain Dew
  16. Mood Indigo
  17. American Pie
  18. Sweet Child 'o Mine
  19. Revolution
  20. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
  21. Thriller
  22. The Sounds of Silence
  23. Twist and Shout
  24. Georgia on My Mind
  25. Summertime
  26. The Girl from Ipanema
  27. Promises
  28. Losing My Religion
  29. Foxy Lady
  30. Lazybones
  31. Sing Sing Sing
  32. Up On the Roof
  33. This Island Earth
  34. Great Balls of Fire
  35. Eleanor Rigby
  36. Private Idaho
  37. Bohemian Rhapsody 
  38. Dream
  39. We Are the Champions
  40. Imagine 
  41. Sister Christian
  42. Whiter Shade of Pale
  43. A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square
  44. God Bless the Child
  45. Love Bites
  46. You Took Advantage of Me
  47. Scotch and Soda
  48. Sometimes Bad is Bad
  49. Angie
  50. Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
  51. Heart of Rock and Roll
  52. Snile
  53. I've Got a Crush on You
  54. Nature Boy
  55. Autumn Leaves
  56. Another Night in Tunisia
  57. Feed the Birds 
  58. Misty
  59. Up the Ladder to the Roof
  60. Zombie Jamboree
  61. I've Got You Under My Skin
  62. Puttin' on the Ritz
  63. Angela
  64. New York State of Mind
  65. Don't Fence Me In (This almost doesn't make the list because it's really a ridiculous song, but listen to Rosemary Clooney's interpretation and you'll understand why)
  66. Sophisticated Lady
  67. Tenderly
  68. Round Midnight
  69. There's a Tree in a Meadow
  70. I Fall to Pieces
  71. Without a Song
  72. Anniversary Song
  73. As Time Goes By
  74. In the Bleak Midwinter
  75. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  76. Fire and Rain
  77. Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
  78. Wish You Were Here
  79. Comfortably Numb
  80. Yesterday
  81. Sentimental Journey
  82. What a Wonderful World
  83. Not While I'm Around
  84. Foxy Lady
  85. Don't Fear the Reaper (with less cowbell)
  86. The Longest Time
  87. The City of New Orleans
  88. The Devil Went Down to Georgia
  89. Desperado
  90. Kiss Him Goodbye
  91. Route 66
  92. Silhouettes on the Shade
  93. When Sonny Gets Blue
  94. More (the Stephen Sondheim version, not the Mondo Carne version)
  95. Sooner or Later
  96. We Are the Champions
  97. Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
  98. Jack You Dead
  99. These Foolish Things
  100. I'm Beginning to See the Light
 What about you? What are your songs?

My thoughts: 

Stupid Birthday Tricks

Posted on 11/24/2013 06:17:00 AM
Allow me to introduce, the strangest toy I have yet spent money on (and that is saying a lot), Zed the Zombie.

What does Zed do, you say?  Well I'm glad you asked.

 The Shortlings picked this out for the KingofHearts for his birthday. This is what you get from your children when you have a serious zombie obsession, so if you're like the KingofHearts, you might just want to keep that obsession to yourself in lieu of better presents in the future.

My thoughts: 

The Arm Saw that Wasn't

Posted on 11/19/2013 05:30:00 AM In:
Hey, remember when we drove five hours out of our way to see an arm?  Or maybe not an arm, but at least an arm grave and possibly an arm ghost?

Well, you could hardly expect me to pass up the opportunity to see the saw that cut that arm off, could you?  No, right? 

Of course right.

That's how Monica and I ended up at The Country Doctor Museum last month.

And the best part about it was that we didn't even have to drive five hours out of our way.

The worst part about it was that we went to the Country Doctor Museum on recommendation of this website, and when we finally got there, we looked everywhere for the Arm Saw and then when we couldn't find it, we asked where the Arm Saw was and everyone was all, "Uuuuuuhh, saywhat?"  

So finally we asked the proper combination of people and found out that they used to claim that this,

was the saw that cut off Stonewall Jackson's arm, but then somewhere along the way, someone pointed out that while they knew that this was A saw that belonged to one of Stonewall Jackson's doctors, Hunter McGuire, they did not, in fact, know that it was THE saw that cut off the arm and while they did know that Hunter McGuire was known to be at the Battle of Chancellorsville, they weren't even completely sure that he was the surgeon who did the arm cutting.  So maybe it was THE saw, maybe it wasn't. 


Aside: A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers brought me a list of "cool words and phrases" he had written out and wanted to use in the marketing materials we were creating for an event and he stood in my office door reading them:

"Be in it to win it.
"Take care of you.
"Your destination for education."

He read off the long list of items he'd written down and then ended by saying, 


Me: "Provenance?"

Him:  "Provenance!"

Me: "Been watching a lot of Antiques Roadshow lately, have we?"

Him: "How did you know?!?"

Me: "I'll make a deal with you.  If you can use it in a sentence, I'll find a way to put that word in the document we're working on."

Him: "Uh... .... Come and get your provenance?"

Me: "Nope."

Him: "Be in it to win it!"


Even though Monica and I weren't able to see the actual saw that cut off Stonewall Jackson's actual arm, we did make friends with a Civil War re-enactor who specialized in medical treatment of the era.

Which was pretty good, even without the provenance.

My thoughts: 

Oh, I'm a Lumberjack

Posted on 11/18/2013 06:00:00 AM In:
Of all the questionable uses of Paul Bunyan and his trusty companion Babe the Blue Ox (and I've seen many), selling log cabin homes probably isn't the least questionable. But it still seems like he shouldn't be in Virginia for some reason.

Of course there probably aren't less questionable ways to post in front of him.

Or maybe not.

My thoughts: 

Speaking of Log...

Posted on 11/17/2013 12:03:00 PM
Here's something else you can do with it:

My thoughts: 

This is Ten

Posted on 11/17/2013 10:59:00 AM In:
Somewhere along the way in the past month or two of craziness, this:

turned ten.

I have sat down multiple times to wax poetic on the subject, but somehow words or time, or both, always fail me.

How could that tiny baby that would not grow only a mere decade ago have turned into this brilliant, courageous, self-assured individual who no longer needs me to attend to her every need?

When I look at these photos, I feel a thousand years old. 

We marked her day well, by attending the Renaissance Fair yet another time (!) and getting chummy with all our favorite people there.

A couple of weeks ago I got a text from one of the employees of the Renaissance Fair asking if we wanted to hang out with her and her family after work - not asking if we were going to be there - just expecting it was so, like with all her other work friends.  I had to break the news that we didn't just automatically go to the Renaissance Fair every Saturday and we weren't actually going to be "on-shire" that weekend due to a wedding we were attending in a different direction on the Eastern Shore.  You know you've been to the Renaissance Fair too many times when....  there are so many ways I could finish that sentence, I don't know which to choose.

We also got her birthday gift at the Fair, a baby dragon.

She had fallen in love with green anoles last year at the fair and since the obsession hadn't subsided in over a year, we decided it was time.  That's how I gauge kidpresents these days.  When they see something on TV or hear from their friend that "Log" is "the most awesome toy in the history of toys and I could never live without Log and you must get me Log now or I shall surely expire from this earth mom, and Log mom, mommommmommom, pleeeeeeze Log?", I have learned to use a different tactic.  Instead of going on the immediate defensive and telling them why they can't have Log and how it's not necessarily awesome to have Log and you can find a hundred Logs in the woods behind our house for free and how real Logs are made of wood but this Log is made of plastic it'll probably break before you get it out of the box and if it doesn't you will spend one million dollars on a toy that you'll use at best, like twice...   I instead say, 

"Well... put it on your Birthday/Christmas/FarthestHolidayAway list."  

And that ends the discussion whining right there and then.   If they even remember that they still want Log by the time the next Birthday/Christmas/FarthestHolidayAway rolls around, they probably care about it enough that it might be a good present for them anyway.  Everything else will have fallen out of favor.

The green anole turned out to be exactly that and she has loved and cared for that lizard as if she were a great, green lizard monster herself. (I know that reference is about as esoteric as it gets, but I watched the mini-series V  as a kid in the 80s and have never forgotten it.  For me, all other reboots of this story have paled by comparison. If you don't share the experience, feel free to move right on.)

After the RenFair, we headed over to one of my favorite towns, Hershey, PA and stayed overnight because you know what hotels have? Pool!  Or rather, poolpoolpoolOMGPOOOOOL!  I'm told Hershey has other things to do and think about but I can't remember what.

We kicked around town the next day (you know, after we swam in the pool at 7:39 am) and made candy bars in the chocolate lab. Not all of us enjoyed the lecture about where cocoa beans are grown around the world.

 But everyone enjoyed the chocolate.

Gratuitous unflattering daddy picture:

What can I say about my ten-year adventure with this one?

There is not a day that goes by where she doesn't challenge everything I think I know about being a parent...  or about being a person, for that matter. There's not a day that I don't think I'm failing her in some way.  Not a day where I don't think I've been too hard on her or too easy on her.  Not a day where I don't worry about her.  Not a day where I don't acknowledge how much of a pain she can be sometimes.  She is exasperating, frustrating, demanding, and confrontational.  She is also brave, effulgent, good-hearted, fearless, and I wish I could exhibit even a part of the lust for life that she reminds me I need to have on a daily basis.  This is The Dormouse.  This is ten.  Oh, and did I mention?  I love ten.

My thoughts: 

Hanukkah Kalikimaka

Posted on 11/09/2013 07:54:00 AM
The other day The Dormouse was talking about a homework assignment she had to finish and how she had to write her name, "but not just our name, we have to make it interesting.  Like we can write our name and what we want to be called, or any nicknames we have and where they came from. Or we can write an alias."  Only she pronounced alias as "a-LIE-es."  And that's when I realized her reading skills are at the point where there are words she can read and knows what they mean, but words that she's never actually heard pronounced; only seen in print.  So she's only guessing at how to pronounce them by employing what she knows from pronouncing other words, which may or may not apply in this case.  Because my brain immediately processed what she said and then thought, well that's exactly how I would have pronounced the word if I'd read it but never heard anyone say it. 

Then the same day I had a conversation with someone at work and in the process of waxing poetic about whatever point I was trying to make,  I said the word "eschewand my coworker stopped me and said, "Wait, is THAT how you say that word?  I've never actually heard anyone say it before. I've only seen it written."  And that's when I realized it doesn't really stop when you're ten either.

Yesterday I was in the bathroom and I heard The Caterpillar singing a song to The KingofHearts that she learned in school.  She got to the end and I heard The KoH say, "That's a great song, but do you really dance..."

*I came running out of the bathroom while yelling and shaking my finger at him*





KoH: "Huh? Why?"

So I could get video of this. 

Because THIS? THIS is my favorite thing that happened all year. 

My thoughts: 

Elementary, Dear Caterpillar

Posted on 11/07/2013 02:52:00 PM

We went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and SOMEone had a little too much fun in the photo booth.

My thoughts: 

Stopped Up

Posted on 11/02/2013 05:57:00 PM
Hey, you know what's worse than having a bowlful of super absorbent polymer balls* in your kitchen with eyeballs looking out at you

When your kid decides she doesn't want a bunch of them that have dried up and thinks it's a good idea to dispose of them by dumping them down the bathroom sink and you figure it out two days later because you happen to walk into the downstairs bathroom and step in a puddle of water on the floor.

Dormouse: "Yeah, but they were all moldy, so I had to throw them out."

*incredulously* "And you threw them down the sink?"

"Yeah, what's wrong with that?"

"Think about it.  What also goes down the sink?"

"Just water."

"And what happens when these Orbeez come in contact with water?"

"They swell up and... oooooh."

So, yeah, I spent half the day cleaning water up off the floor and taking the drain apart to try and extract the clog of Orbeez beads from all our pipes because School for the Gifted was too lazy to walk into the other room and throw them in the trash.  Hint: a vacuum cleaner hose doesn't work no matter how much you want it to so don't even bother. 

The sink is finally back together now, but it leaks.  I'm leaving that for The KingofHearts to fix when he comes home because it's half his DNA, after all.

All I have to say is at least she didn't put them in a fish tank.

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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