Friday Five

1) Chipotle and panko-crusted tuna

2) Chocolate bread pudding

3) Best-damned homemade steak sauce ever

4) Caramel soup

5) Citrus & shrimp salad

No, not all in one meal.  These are just some of my favorites.  Gotta love a good cook.


I have seen elsewhere people who list 40 things to do before 40, some of which involve the sublime (world peace, travel to exotic places) and the mundane (completing baby albums for their kids).  While I enjoy lists, trying to come up with 40 things that I want to accomplish and that, while not easy, are not blatantly impossible given current finances, lifestyle, inherent laziness, etc., is beyond me.  Besides I have less than 3 years.  So, focusing on those items that are centered totally on me, myself and I,  and are not obligation-oriented, family-oriented, or current-career-focused, here they are:

1) Write and submit a piece of writing for non-internet publication.

2) Take singing lessons. 

3) Take a creative writing course.

4) Draft and re-draft a novel and submit for publication.

5) Take the totally rockin’ dancing/gala outfit I have to a dressmaker/tailor and have a copy made in a different color and with a slightly different top (square neck w/ short sleeves as oppposed to scoop tank)

What do you want to have done in the next three years – just for you?

1) Typing and using the mouse without contorting my hand.

2) Putting on/taking off a bra without having to twist the fastener to the front, which I haven’t had to do since I was 12.

3) Putting the car into reverse and drive without reaching ooover with my left hand to put the car in gear.

4) Opening beer bottles.  I am managing wine bottles okay, though, so all is not lost.

5) Grabbing an out of control kid to put him in time out.  The boys know that I have been reduced to solely using my wits to move them where I want them to go.  I’m not sure who is winning.  Thus necessitating copious amounts of wine after they are in bed (which incidentally does more for the pain than the vicodin they gave me (which I stopped using almost immediately, it made me nauseous)).

Come back opposable thumb! Heal quickly! I need you, I want you, I cannot liiiiiiiive without you. 

So the school year starts next week for mr. jolt, and in two weeks for the kids.  I am experiencing a mild sense of panic over various things that need or should be done and are not.

1) We have no sitter for the one day a week that I must both drop off and pick up the boys from school/care due to mr. jolt’s unusual work schedule this year.  I can’t get my work hours in & do both trips to school and my employer is a stickler (can’t make it up on other days, which is absurd).   Craigslist and other venues have not panned out.  Just got an email through a posting I did at our local community college – my fingers are crossed that this one will work.

2) The boxes of artwork I got at the end of the year for each child are still sitting on our dining room table (hmm, guess we haven’t used it all summer).  I must sort, purge, and put away before the new influx begins.  Not to mention we’re having guests next week and will need the table to eat.

3) Soccer 2 nights a week, piano one night a week.  Now I understand why families never have dinners together anymore.  And this is only one child (LB is still too young).  I’m stopping swim lessons until soccer is over because it is just too much.

4) There are about half a dozen matters at work that have the potential to explode in the next few months.  With mr. jolt’s work schedule this year, there is no real flex in my family time commitments (i.e., no one to cover if I have to work late) so if work gets busy I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

5) I’m sure there was a fifth, but my brain is too fried to remember. (I know, that’s a cop out – so sue me).    Oh, yeah, that same problematic work/school schedule of mr. jolt’s means that I will have virtually no “writing nights” for the foreseeable future.  

Anyway, I’ll just be spinning in circles over here, doing shallow breathing, and being seriously pissed at mr. jolt for not thinking through this schedule and the demands it is putting on our family , and more particularly me.  (Did I mention that I have to switch my work schedule so that I will start a whole hour earlier?)  Grrrrr.

So, as I once again catch myself doing something that I am trying not to do, I decided to use it as inspiration for my Friday Five: Bad Habits I am trying to break.*

1) Resting, slouching, etc, into my left hand, propped on my desk, while I work.  I wasn’t even aware that I did this until someone I work with mentioned that I am always doing it (he can’t help but notice because the direction out of his office means he looks directly into my office every time he goes anywhere).  I could have been self-conscious about this, but now I know why I always have stress-knots on that side of my shoulder/neck, so I’m actually glad he told me.  Now, I just need to stop doing it.

2) Turning off alarm #1 (set to get my butt up to exercise) and hitting alarm #2 (set to an hour later).  I have been very slothful.

3) Reading after the kids are in bed.  Not a bad habit in and of itself, but there are numerous projects that have been sit, sit, sitting all summer.  If I just spent 1/2 hour on them before sitting down to read, my stress level would go down; instead, I block out the stress by reading. 

4) Inadequate planning for writing time.  I really need to do better to set aside certain evenings to do this.  I had a really good practice for a while, but it’s completely fallen apart this summer.  In some ways all the crazy scheduling requirements that go on during the school year force me to plan better.

5) Talking down my job.  I tend to badmouth it, at least to myself  and close friends.  And really, it’s pretty good.  There are days when I have felt my work is somewhat pointless, but some recent events have highlighted the necessity and importance of what I do.  I think there is something in most people’s egos  that drive one to want what one does do to make a difference.  I hadn’t felt that until recently and it makes a big difference in my view of my work.

What bad habits do you want to break?

*I have many other bad habits, but I don’t really have any desire to stop doing them at the moment.

Why, why, you ask would anyone want a boring weekend?  Well, remember that ancient Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times?” So, the things that have made my life ‘interesting’ this week:

1) mr. jolt is out the country.  This isn’t really that interesting, but it made all the other ‘interesting’ things more stressful somehow.

2) We had a fire in our backyard on Wednesday. 

Fortunately, it was a small mulch fire.  We had mulch spontaneously combust in one of our flower beds.  (yes, this happens – try googling spontaneous mulch fire)  It’s actually a good thing that our sitter was home with the kids because they smelled the smoke and put it out and the entire house didn’t catch on fire (it was right next to the house).  The boys did enjoy the visit from the firemen (who had been called before the source of the smoke had been found).

3) We had rain in the kitchen on Thursday. 

Yes, rain.  The drain hose from the washer, which is on the second floor, came loose and so we had 1.5″  of water on the floor in the laundry room, with seepage through the kitchen ceiling.  The drops dripping off the light fixture over the kitchen table were a nice touch, I thought.  Never have I been more thankful that our shop vac is wet/dry – I was able to suck up all the water that seeped into the air vent in the floor.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t end up with mold in our ventilation system.

 4) After cleaning up as best I could from the item above, I get a call from my mother informing me that she had just returned from the hospital. (Uh, thanks mom’s husband – ya think you could give her only daughter a call when she’s been admitted to the hospital?)  She’d had a bad fall on her bike on Tuesday and knocked herself out for about 12 hours and broke her clavicle.  They kept her in for a day due to the severity of the concussion, but she seems to be ok, if a little woozy.

Overall, nothing horribly, horrible, but a nice, quiet, weekend would be much appreciated, thank you.

This Friday Five is going out early because we are headed for the beach for vacation tomorrow morning.  We’re going to the same beachy area that we’ve gone to since BB was a big bump in my belly.  Sometimes we’ve gone with friends and their kids (great fun) sometimes just our family (also fun).  We keep talking about going somewhere else for a change, but this place is so easy it’s hard to pull away.  My favorite things to do while we’re there:

1) Run around on the beach helping the boys catch hermit crabs.  Sometimes we even see a horseshore crab (which are actually more related to spiders than other crabs according to a book we bought last year).  Last year, a baby seal got caught between the sandbars and we all had to stand back while the wildlife officers kept us from getting to close while we all waited for it to find its way out to the bay.  A picture of this seal is used in the header of the blog.

2) Eating ice cream.  While on vacation we almost always do this twice a day – once on the beach at lunch time, some drippy pre-packaged ice cream sandwich thingy, and later after dinner a scoop of local ice cream at one of the fabulous ice cream shops.  The beach shack where we go to for lunch sometimes also has awesome stringy onion rings.  Mmmm. 

3) Going for a walk through a nearby nature preserve.  Although last year this was not successful – the boys were tired and refused to walk and wanted to be carried the whole way.  Ugh.  But the year before we spotted a turtle laying eggs right in the path.  I ran back to get a ranger because we were worried the eggs might get crushed by later walkers.  It turned out the turtle was endangered so they placed some kind of barrier to keep people from stepping on it. 

4) Grilled lobster.  Wow.  None of that drippy mess you get when eating a more traditional boiled/steamed lobster.  You need a big cleaver to do it because you have to split the lobster lengthwise so that you can cook each half shell side down on the grill.  mr. jolt did not make it last year and I was very grumpy. 

5) Naps.  Although I’m not sure they’ll happen this year now that the boys are older.  With all the sun and water, even BB would fall asleep on a just long enough stroll in the afternoon while sitting in the jog stroller we used to rent while there.   Now, neither are napping regularly so we’ll have to see whether mr. jolt or I get to take our own.

Have a great week everyone!

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