Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Aside

My dad lies.

I thought I shared this story with you a while ago. Apparently I did not.   Klondike & I took a day trip somewhere, and I asked my dad to come by and feed the pack and let them out. (Klondike brings his two dogs up when he comes.) This conversation took place the next day…..after Dad’s report that all the dogs behaved nicely and ate their food immediately upon being presented with it.

————————————————————————————————

Me: You are so busted. Did you bring over cottage cheese (to stir into the kibble) when you came to feed the dogs?

Dad: No.

Me: Ohhhh, hahahahaahahaha! We found a spoon in the dish drainer and neither one of us had used it for anything so I thought maybe that was where it came from, and that that was how you got all the dogs to eat right away. Hahahahahaha!

(pause)

Dad: Tuna

Me: What?

Dad: I didn’t use cottage cheese. I used tuna.

Me: Um.

Dad: I had some tuna I didn’t like so I stirred a little bit into the dogs’ food and they all ate as soon as I put the bowls down.

 
Oh, my dad. He thinks he’s so funny.

Sometimes I do, too. 😉

The pack

The pack

Paleo Schmaleo

Me
11:13am
I will shove processed carbs down the throat of the next person who says “paleo” around me.

Her
11:13am
omg. dude. that made me laugh so hard i almost peed.

 

Ok, seriously. Can we please give it a rest with the over-sharing of food choices, dietary restrictions, fad diets, gastro-intestinal issues, food allergies, all of it?

I support healthy living, even though I don’t always act upon it myself. I am all for learning about food and nutrition and taking an active role in your own well being. I am sorry you are allergic to nuts or are lactose intolerant or have celiac disease. I am glad you have discovered that eliminating carbs from your diet does whatever you wanted it to do. I support your choice to be a vegetarian. But sweet fancy Moses, do we have to listen to you talk about it all the fucking time?

(And by “talk” I mean Facebook, but also the real world.)

Let’s keep whether or not it’s boring out of it. I find it so obnoxious when people go on and on about whatever life-altering change they’ve made in a manner that suggests we should all make the same change immediately. We are all different, and what’s good for you might not be good for me. We all have different needs and different bodies and different tastes. And quite frankly, one person raving about how she is now eating nothing but dirt and we should all immediately start eating nothing but dirt starts to feel a little bit like someone suggesting her church is the one we should all join.  Please stop proselytizing your food. I am begging you.

Because also, it gets kind of boring after a while.

 

And ps, my dad hasn’t eaten meat in something like 35 years, and many in  my family have some kind of health-driven dietary restrictions, so I know it’s possible to not talk about it all the time, because we don’t.

Aside

My mom is the Rain Man of the grocery store

Mom, aka Rain Man

 

Klondike says this will be our million dollar idea: the “ask Fran” grocery app.

The Narcissism Project: A Year in Review

side mirror

One of many pics of Ruby Dogwonkafonka from the phone purge….

My blog reminded me recently that it was our one-year anniversary. To celebrate, let’s take a moment for reflection on what we have “accomplished”, shall we?

Looking back at my very first post, I find myself laughing that nothing much has changed, except instead of downloading 1200 pictures off my phone this past weekend, it was more like 1700. Most of them were of Ruby. Shocking, I know.

“Write more” was my New Year’s resolution, carried out here, with a desire to average a post a week. And with this being my 57th post, I achieved that. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a resolution through to completion. Completion? What happens now? Was it only a one-year project?

Negatory. I like it too much.

I will say that blogging has made me a total narcissist. Hmm. Or perhaps it revealed how full of myself I was to begin with. I mean really, how impertinent of me to suppose you want to know what I think about anything – or perhaps more accurately, about nothing in particular. And about four seconds after publishing my first post, I became a stats junkie. I stare at the counts, I marvel over the countries, I laugh over the search terms bringing people here.

The countries, yes. WordPress started tracking for us what countries the views come from. It’s kind of fascinating. I have a friend living in the UK and another in Taiwan, so when I get hits from there I chalk it up as likely being them. But Bhutan? I don’t know anyone there, but I’ve had one view from there. Since WordPress started tracking this, I’ve had views from 31 different countries. I’m totally flattered. And mystified. And hopeful I haven’t made that one person in Moldova think that all Americans say “fuck” all the time. Some of us do. But a lot don’t.

Although, that’s another lesson learned through the stats: Apparently you people like f-bombs. Especially when in reference to my family.

I find myself incredibly gratified when a stranger likes or comments or follows. In some ways it’s more satisfying than from my existing friends – and that maybe sounds awful, and I don’t mean for it to. But a stranger doesn’t already have affection for me or familiarity with my sense of humor.  It’s nice to be appreciated. I like to state the obvious, too.  😛

The search terms people used that brought them to Wonkafonkaland….oh man.

  • “purple toaster” (you know you’re jealous of my purple toaster.)
  • “Weird squishy bump on elbow”
  • “rainbow shower head misleading” – clearly they bought a different model, less awesome than mine.

Some of them are horrifying, however, and I can’t even bring myself to share them with you. Suffice it to say, they were probably pretty disappointed when they got here.

I can see who my most frequent commenters are. Thank you, Coopy and Kristin.  😀  And which posts were most commented on.

Y’all like controversy. The most popular post so far was the one about my email interaction with the small-minded aunt of a former employee. But I’m pleased to see a happier post, the one with the oatmeal cake recipe, is a close second. And it’s good to see that why being single is awesome has almost twice as many views as why being single sucks.

Hmm…..this post feels like it’s getting boring…..enough with the “me, me, me”. Thank you for all the nice comments and supportive things you’ve shared with me over the last year. To celebrate, I got the blog and me a little present: our own domain. Woo hoo, wonkafonka.com is in the hizzouse! Yeah, that’s stupid. Pretend I didn’t say that last thing. Fo shizzle.  Let’s distract you with something funny. It’s your favorite: a member of my family and an f-bomb.

I think a lot of Damn You AutoCorrect is probably fake, and this isn’t that anyway. It’s my dad using Siri’s “dictation” feature and it’s flipping hilarious.

Dad - autocorrect

Thanks for reading. 🙂

A Farewell To Latkes

So, yeah, Happy Hanukah. 🙂

My family came over for brunch on Sunday for our annual Chanukah gathering. Noshing of food, exchanging of gifts, airing of grievances…..wait, scratch that last one, this isn’t Festivus.

Tangent: holy CRAP, there are a lot of websites for Festivus, including one where you can get your own Festivus pole. Are you freakin’ kidding me????

Anyway, back to Hanukkah! I offered to host, and I like to do brunch; it’s the meal I feel most comfortable making special occasiony. I can rock a couple of brunch dishes, yes I can.  And conveniently, traditional Chanuka latkes, a.k.a. potato pancakes, work nicely for brunch.potatoes

All latke recipes are essentially the same: shred some potatoes and onion, stir in some egg and flour, fry them in oil. Fried potato Chanukkah goodness. What’s not to love?

Hmm…..lemme make a list.

Let’s begin with my own stupidity. I always shred too many potatoes. Always.. Nobody could make or eat that many latkes. Seriously, it’s like the potatoes double in quantity in the process of grating.

One of the things I like about making brunch is I have a slew of recipes where you do all the prep the night before, stick it in the fridge overnight, pop it in the oven in the morning, and it’s fresh and awesome and delicious with little effort the morning of. Latkes do not afford this luxury. Theoretically you can make them in advance and reheat them, but there’s no way they’ll be crispy. (Please tell me if you have successfully accomplished this!) And you can’t do the prep in advance. Once you start shredding those taters, you’d better get to cooking or they’ll turn brown and/or gray and disgusting. Nobody wants gray food.

So it’s almost time for company to arrive, I’d prefer to be tending to final details and on the ready to greet people, but instead I’m in the kitchen getting sweaty and disheveled with a pan full of hot oil (I hate cooking with oil) and a ridiculously large bowl of latke guts. I put one test latke into the pan. It does not hold together. I add more flour to the bowl. I put another test latke into the pan. It’s holding together, but when it’s time to flip it, oil spatters my hand mid-flip and my reflexive jerking away causes the latke to fall into a clump in the pan.

Fuck. That.

I consider that all of my company has arrived, the caramel french toast in the oven is almost ready, and I have yet to make a successful latke.

I look at the bowl of shredded potato. The bowl of shredded potato looks at me.

I dump the entire bowl into the pan to prepare the not-yet-as-widely-celebrated Hanuka hash browns. Next time I’ll try to get them a little crispier. What I will not do next time is bother trying to make latkes.

And I haven’t even mentioned one of the worst parts yet, not directly anyway. Fried. In oil. My house reeks. Days later, my house reeks. It’s almost as bad as cooking bacon. (Bacon, not so much a traditional Channukah food.) And to exacerbate the situation, I don’t have an exhaust fan in my kitchen.

Hence, I believe I am done with my latke adventures. Food should not stress you out, in my opinion. And I’m pretty sure my family can successfully and joyfully celebrate Chanukka without them.

(I confess, I might just be looking for opportunities to work Hanukka into sentences.)

I have come to accept that there are certain foods that I’m not going to master, and that’s ok. Even if they’re really basic things like latkes or cutout sugar cookies (shut up, cookie cutters are tricky). Maybe someday I’ll try again, who knows. But life is too short to get bent out of shape over a potato.

Happy Hannuka! I mean Hannukkah! I mean Chanuqa! (Ok, not that last one.)

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

(I was going to look for some fun pic of the Muppets or something wishing a Happy Hanukah and then I realized I already have something much more fun, courtesy of my friend Mark Lahey from last year’s Great Photoshop Smackdown. It’s time to do that again!) 

It works both ways

Awwww, my mom sent me a note in the mail!!! How sweet is that?


Apparently she reads the blog.   😀

 
And dig it, she used a totally cool Griffin & Sabine card, which is also completely appropriate.

 

If you’re not familiar with Griffin & Sabine, I highly recommend you check it out. I’m going to read it again right now. Although I swear I had the entire trilogy, yet only one book appears to be on my shelf….curious. It better not be a casualty of the Great War. I didn’t really inventory my books when I packed. Anyway, it’s a charming book of correspondence between two people who have never met, and it consists solely of their letters and postcards back and forth. The art is lovely, and some of the letters are actually in envelopes mounted in the book, and you take them out to read them, and it’s great fun. Thumbs up. You can borrow mine if you PROMISE to give it back in pristine condition.

 

OMG, why is WordPress suggesting “Cuban Missile Crisis” and “Soviet Union” as appropriate tags for this post?

 
Ok. Going to read. Right now. Ciao!

Sadly, I get it now.

I didn’t get it.

The way my grandmother spoke of Pearl Harbor Day, or my dad about JFK being assassinated. That was history. And it was sad history, and important history, but it didn’t have a profound, moving impact on me like it did on them. (I actually think it kind of annoyed my grandmother that kids didn’t understand what a big deal Pearl Harbor Day was.) I didn’t get it. How lucky I was, and I didn’t realize it.

For a while, it seemed as though the “where were you when _____?” moment for my generation was going to be the Challenger explosion. Not quite the same thing. Sad and scary and impactful on the space program, but it was an accident, not an attack on democracy.

And then everything changed.

September 11, 2001.

I get it now.

How you can remember with such clarity and detail exactly where you were, what you were doing, what happened next, even someone like me who is memory-challenged.  How eleven years later you can see pictures of a beautiful blue sky, filled with confusing images of towering, smoking buildings, and start to cry. How we feel compelled to share our stories of watching it unfold.  I get it now.

We grieve, each of us in our own ways, but we remember together.

And we dream of a day when there once again is a generation who doesn’t get it, doesn’t know what it’s like to have a life-altering moment when THE WORLD is turned upside down – not your own personal world, but the entire world. And we never forget.

Peace.

Powerless

Northeast Indiana was pummeled by a huge storm Friday afternoon.  We’ve been having a drought (as have you, probably) and I love thunderstorms, so when the sky started darkening I was rooting for a doozy of a storm. Pounding rain, booming thunder, the works.

Note to self, don’t wish for big storms.

Our storm was such a doozy, it even has a name, one I’ve never heard of before, and I watch Storm Stories. It’s called a Derecho. 500 trees were toppled by the wind gusts, creating havoc and taking power lines down with them.

I was very fortunate. Only one small branch fell off my already dead tree. All around my neighborhood, trees and tree bits littered yards and streets. Even now, almost a week later, a downed tree tangled with wires is blocking the entrance to my street, not to mention someone’s house. Tree shrapnel is everywhere.

This tree is blocking the entrance to my street, with a tangle of wires.

When the storm started up, I was at my desk in my office, and the lights started flickering. Uh oh. Flickering, followed by off. Klondike was in town, but not at the house, so Ruby and his two dogs and I sat in the dark and watched the storm through the front door. I wasn’t concerned about the power being out; it’s happened a couple of times before, and is usually back on in a matter of hours. I had no idea about the magnitude of the Derecho. (Cue ominous music.)

I was one of 119,000 people in the region who lost power.  Um, that’s a lot. It suddenly became painfully obvious that the electricity wouldn’t be back on anytime soon. Crap. Oh, and did I mention it’s been in the upper 90s for the last eon? Initial estimates were that power would be restored BY WEDNESDAY. And there was no way of knowing whose power would be restored first. We all felt so….powerless.

I like to think I’m a somewhat capable person, who has my shit mildly together. One of the quickest ways to prove me wrong is to take away my electricity.

Two people. Three dogs. Very difficult to invite that kind of entourage into someone’s home.

My dad lives in a magical house that never loses power (please don’t let me jinx him) even in the wake of a Derecho or the crippling ice storm of 2008, even when neighbors all around him have no power. It’s kind of amazing. And it’s my haven in times of need. Fortunately, he has a spare fridge, too. We spent a good chunk of time there over the weekend, running home to check on the dogs and to sweat. Oops, I mean sleep.

I took cold showers, followed immediately by breaking into a sweat from the simple act of getting dressed.

I went to get ice to put in the dogs’ water bowls, forgetting that my freezer was empty.

Every. Single. Time that I walked into the bathroom I flipped the light switch. Stunningly, it never worked. After about the third time, I started doing a little song & dance that looked a wee bit like me stomping my feet and shaking my fists, and sounded kind of like me screaming, “The goddamn light switch doesn’t DO anythinggggg!!!!!!!!!”

Neighbors across the alley and next door got generators. The noise was astonishing. It sounded like there was a running lawn mower in my house.

By Sunday evening I was hot and crabby and hot and whiny and hot and tired of not being able to live comfortably in my own home. I was at the end of my rope, and entering the work week as someone who works from home presented a whole new kind of mess. Klondike and his dogs went home, and I set up camp at Hotel Dad.

Through some wonderful fortune, a text from a neighbor late Monday afternoon informed me that my porch lights were ON! I was giddy with electricity. And felt so, so sorry for those who didn’t win the power-up lottery. Even as I write this (Wednesday night), I still have friends in the dark, with no a/c, and it was 100 degrees today. I can’t imagine how frustrated (and hot) they must feel.

It’s amazing, the things we take for granted, and how uncomfortable it is when our daily routines are turned upside down and modern conveniences are suddenly unplugged. But equally amazing were the kindness and generosity of those who were in a position to help. As I mention on a regular basis, I am a Facebook junkie. And while running down my iPhone battery keeping tabs on Facebookland, I saw invitation after invitation from people who had power: beds, freezer space, laundry. It was truly moving, and felt very genuine.

And now that it’s over (for me), I can appreciate the silver linings:

  • My refrigerator is GLEAMING. Before loading it back up, I scrubbed the hell out of it.
  • My basement freezer was defrosted for the first time in two+ years. And I finally threw away those leftover buns from the cookout in 2010.
  • I bonded with my friend and neighbor, Claire, who I really only knew through Facebook. She and her husband Ben kept me in the loop about the power situation after I fled to Hotel Dad. They were the ones who let me know when I could return home to a powered-up homestead. (Thanks, pals!)

That’s it, no more silver linings. Be real, those four days sucked. 😉

Of course, I recognize how easy my everyday life usually is, especially now that I can have perspective in the comfort of my air conditioned home. (I’m obsessed with a/c, aren’t I?) I’m so thankful that I had options, and for my family, friends and neighbors who checked in on me and made sure I wasn’t in need. While I prefer not to have to choose, I will take that kind of love and friendship over power any day. At the end of the day, even if the day was hot and I was crabby, I’m very, very lucky.

Klondike by a tree in my dad’s ‘hood.

The base of that same tree.

Miss Ruby, reveling in the cooler temps at Hotel Dad

 

Oh sweet Jesus….a completely unexpected, bizarro thunderstorm popped up at the end of the day today and wreaked more havoc. More trees down, people without power again. I now have “loaner mayo” in my fridge from a friend who had JUST finished restocking from the first power outage, and she’s without again. I feel for you people, truly. Holler if you need something.

Goddamn, I love Blue Man Group.

I just got home from seeing Blue Man Group (again). I love that I was able to see them right here in my hometown (rather than Vegas, where I saw them the first time), at the lovely historic Embassy (rather than the Coliseum, where I saw them the second time). (That’s it, by the way – three times.)

Blue Man Group take my breath away with their charm and whimsy, and how much they can convey without uttering a single word. With a turn of the head or a subtle gesture, we the audience know exactly what the joke is. And holy crap, the drumming. Lots of things make me wish I knew how to play the drums, but this makes me want to whale on a giant drum like nobody’s business.

If you’ve never seen them and have no idea what I’m talking about….well, you’re missing out. They’re kind of impossible to describe – even their own website is mostly pictures and video, without trying to articulate quite what they are/do. I first remember the Blue Men coming onto my radar with those commercials they did for Intel back in what must have been the late 90s and early 00s. Then my dad and I had to go to Vegas for business, and I wanted to see a show. “I don’t like plays,” he said. Fine. I would find something non-play-like and make him admit he liked it. Enter Blue Man Group. And he loved it. So much so that he has also seen them three times now. You’re welcome, Dad.

Music. But mostly percussion. Rhythmic movement, but not really dance. Humor, but not really comedy. Audience interaction. Lights, sound, drumming on all sorts of things. Gigantic floaty ball thingies. Exploding streamers. See. Impossible to describe. Magical. That’s what I should’ve said from the beginning and just stopped trying. A big, enchanted dance party.

That magical feeling is part of what I love so much about the live theater experience.  There’s nothing like it. And perhaps seeing Blue Man Group for a third time is excessive (although I would happily see them again), but I want to support freakin’ awesome shows like this being brought to Fort Wayne. I want them (them? the powers that be? promoters? who knows…) to see that there is an audience here. I will spend my dollars on quality productions that come to my doorstep. Please feed my theater hunger.  I’m not used to going to bed high on theater right here at home; I like it!

(Then I crashed. Pretend I posted this late last night, mkay?)

(Ooh, and thanks, Sunshines, for inviting me to come along!)

My dad fucking cracks me up.

We work together, but out of our own homes, and in the morning we touch base via email to let the other know our schedule. Today, he sent mine back to me.

My dad fucking cracks me up.