Tuesday, January 15, 2013


a secret ingredient makes hamburgers taste like steakburgers

Thank You for Helping . . . Sort Of

I work from home and I do the majority of the chores.  The kids did most of them, but I'm back to taking care of the daily bits like the dishes.  And so when every once in a while my family helps, I appreciate it, I really do.  Sort of.

It starts when I open the dishwasher.  I have to say last night wasn't too bad.  I mean I didn't have to re-wash anything.  But the system used to load the thing boggles the mind.  I just stared.

Do they have no sense of how the machine operates?  There is a reason tall stuff goes on the outside and the utensils go pointy parts up.  Sigh.  We've had this conversation before.  In fact, I held a workshop - How to Load the Dishwasher and Why.

Opening the cabinets to put the stuff away I just stopped - and stared - again.  All I could think was, "Are they new here?"

My cabinets have been arranged the same way for 14 years.  A lot of thought and planning went into how my dishes and other cabinet dwellers are arranged.  14 years ago most of the house from about counter height down was ripped out to repair the sub-floor.  I'll tell you all about that nightmare in another post.  Suffice it to say that my contractor came to me one day and said, "You know, if you wanted to make any changes in the kitchen, right now is your only shot."

Joy!  Cartwheels!  Gasp!  Every woman's (and man's?) dream!  A new kitchen lay out.  Well, not so much.  I couldn't change where any of the services like electricity, gas, or water was - too expensive.  But I could decide what the lower cabinets would look like.  I moved the fridge and the oven around and installed pot drawers instead of cabinets.  I designed cabinets for food storage stuff, baking stuff, small appliances - you see where I'm going here.

In other words, for 14 years everything has been in its very carefully considered and built to accommodate place.  Yet not another soul in this house can mange to empty the dishwasher without randomly cramming stuff into the first available place they see.  Even my husband.  It's as if they have never opened a cabinet and gotten out the exact item they were looking for.  And because they can all cook, and often do, I know they know where stuff is.  The logical - I think - conclusion is that they also know where it goes BACK.

The evidence in the cabinets suggests a different conclusion.  I don't say a word - I already learned that lesson - and quietly start to rearrange, just glad for the help and the helpers who wanted to give it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Fly Trap

On my latest feed store run for chicken feed, I decided to grab a fly trap.  So I did what I usually do - I asked the nice lady that usually helps me if they had fly traps.  "Sure," she says.  Real talker she is.

"Which one works?" I ask.

"All of 'em," says my feed store guru.  So NOT what I wanted to hear.  What I wanted to hear was some sort of run down of the best fly killers available and the most effective GUARANTEED way to use them.

Because we have flies.  Oh boy, do we have flies.  It's January in South Texas and I worry that the flies will get together and airlift some chickens, or maybe the basset hound, right out of the yard.  And they get in the house.  Drives my husband NUTS.  And the basset hound.  She spends a lot of time staring into a myopic, droopy eyed, middle distance waiting to track, and hopefully catch, a fly.  Gets weird after awhile.  She looks like she's having what my great aunt used to call "a spell."  Weird.  Not as weird as when one of the chickens decides to track a fly.  They look like they're having vertical grand mal seizures.  Absolutely bizarre.  I'm afraid they may hurt themselves.

So we really needed a fly trap.  Make that fly traps.  Ones that work.  A lot of them.  To save the hound, and the chickens.  And me from having to listen to my husband comment on the flies fourteen thousand times a day.

Anyway, armed with these sooper duper traps, I returned home and went about the day.  I fed the girls, harvested, cleaned up.  Then I decided to tackle the traps.  Some assembly required.  It doesn't really say that.  What it says is "Carefully cut along dotted line."

See, the premise here is that of a real trap.  You cut a small hole in the top, pull out part of this plastic funnel looking thing, "fill to the line" and hang "near the presence of flies or areas where flies tend to gather."  My feed store guru said the trap would smell and that, "You wouldn't want to hang it by your backdoor or anything."

Which is precisely what I proceeded to do.  Because I thought, "Flies coming in the back is the issue here."  And because smell is relative. I mean, I spend most of the day up to my ears - well knees, anyway - in chickens and their (ah-hmm) detritus, dogs, cats, manure, compost, rotting compost, etc.  So smell for me is WAY different than other people's smell definitions.  Maybe that's why I love my own body products so much . . .

Back to the trap.  It works - like a charm.  As the bag says it "an attractant in 2 - 6 hours and flies will climb in the funnel and become trapped."  It's the attractant that smells.  And I finally smelled it.  After two days of furious fridge cleaning, trashcan maintenance, and yelling at the kid to clean out his soccer bag, I finally realize the whiff of unpleasantness was the trap - working.  Sigh.

To Begin Again

2013.  I haven't written a thing in over two months.  That's because I need to re-conceive this blog.  Going forward I plan to speak truth (more on that concept in a minute).  I will write about life, things I notice, things I forget to notice, and stuff I find along the way.  I think you're gonna like it.

Truth.  If there is one thing I have learned in 42 years on the planet, it is that truth is hard.  Though it WILL set you free, the process is never without doubt, never without a little twinge of discomfort at the very least.  I have learned if you can live with the twinges you will find that there is simply MORE of YOU.  The anxieties and second guessing that come from NOT living truth tend to fade away and open you up to MOVE - move on, move away, move up . . .

So try it.  Find one small thing that is not true for you.  Maybe you don't really have the desire or the time to volunteer on that project.  Or maybe you really don't want to get together with that family member all the time because they are negative and you feel exhausted after every encounter.  Or whatever.  You don't have to make this a big confrontation thing.  Often, whoever we speak to can't here our truth - that's part of what makes speaking truth so hard.  You speak truth for YOU - not for others, and not in any hope of a standing ovation from the universe.  You will probably not feel remarkably free or joyful or whatever as a result, either.  There is almost always doubt.  After all, you are a smart person - there must be a reason you have been doing whatever it is that makes you unhappy for so long.  The point isn't to have fireworks of joy, but to get a little space, a little relief.

Tell them you can't keep doing what you are doing.  You don't have to be specific.  They either won't care or will question you incessantly   It WILL be uncomfortable.  You might think, "Why was I doing this if they don't really care after all?" Or, "I hate this third degree, if I say no, I mean no." Or the truth deadly, "Maybe I should just keep doing this and tell them I will keep going." Listen to YOUR truth - not theirs.  They are working from their priorities - NOT yours.

If it's family - I avoid confrontation I don't think will make a difference and lie.  That's right - in speaking my truth - the need for relief from a situation - if I have to - I lie.  Tell them I have a conflict, or whatever.  As I have gotten better at this I stopped lying.  It is a lovely side effect of keeping up with speaking truth.  But lie if you have to - its okay - what you need is space and practice.  You can work on the honesty part as you get better.  Just promise yourself that next time you try to be honest.  Although sometimes you just can't with family.

So speak YOUR truth, if you can, somewhere little.  Tell your kids you won't do their laundry.  Make a family event of it - teach them to use the machine.  Buy a bunch of paper plates, napkins, cups, and declare weekdays a low-to-no-dishes-that-need-washing zone.  Give away half your stuff.  Whatever might give you some relief.  Speak your truth.

Namaste, my friends.