Holiday Spirit

(scene opens in packed gym)

Me: (wearily signing out of a session)

Trainer: (chipper) Can you believe it’s December already? Have you finished all your Christmas shopping?

Me: Almost. My kid said the weirdest thing to me the other day. You know how when we were kids, we wanted everything? Nothing was ever enough? Wanted the whole damn toy catalog?

Trainer: Oh yeah, totally.

Me: I asked him what he wanted and he said, “Well, you got me an Occulus for my 18th birthday, my Steam account is full of games, I already have everything I want. So…maybe a new pair of flannel lined jeans.”

Trainer: (stares in Are You Serious?)

Me: (stares back in I Know, Right?)

Trainer: Kids these days. They’re so weird.

Me: Gives me a little hope for the future. I mean, yay! down with unfettered capitalism and all that. But…at the same time….really? Well, okay, I guess I’m getting him the the really good jeans for Christmas.

Trainer: Yeah, no knock offs for that kid. See you Monday.


(scene opens at early morning breakfast table)

Beta: Mom? Why did Alpha quit college?

Me: (deep sigh) Wasn’t his thing. Still trying to figure out that life path. Why?

Beta: I thought that if I was starting Jr. College next year, he could some with me and take a welding class and see if he liked it.

Me: (dismissively) I offered for him to try the welding classes in high school and he didn’t want to. Said he was afraid of fire.

Beta: (slams hands down onto the table) He is an Eagle Scout! It is against the rules for him to be afraid of fire! Fire is for fun!

Me: (shrugs) That’s what he told me after taking a Chemistry class. None of the kids had any clue about fire safety with just Bunsen burners, he wasn’t going to risk a welding class with them.

Beta: (with hauteur) Besides, welding isn’t fire. More like molten plasma.

Me: That is not going to help as much as you think it will.

US Healthcare: A Commentary

(scene opens in morning dining room)

Me: (on the phone aggravated) I’m check on a prescription that hasn’t come in yet?

Pharmacy: Its on back order. We might not get any until December.

Me: (more aggravated) I was told in October that it’ll arrive in November. He needs to be on this for a month before we see the doctor again for his next appointment.

Pharmacy: Yeah….they keep changing the date. That’s the generic, though. I can get the name brand stuff.

Me: (dumbfounded) Then let’s go with that!

Pharmacy: But your insurance doesn’t cover it.

Me: (long pause) My insurance covers the generic but not the name brand stuff.

Pharmacy: Yeah.

Me: Why the hell do we have insurance for anyway if it won’t let me have the stuff my doctor proscribed!?

Pharmacy: (awkward silence)

Glorious Purpose

(scene opens in harried morning parlor)

Delta: (picks up sticky gummy hand, swings it around) Look mom! I’m armed! Armed and dangerous!

Me: Ha ha. You’re funny. Go get your shoes on.

Delta: I am funny. That was the only reason I was born, was to be funny. I’m humor personified.

Me: That’s a good reason to be born. Go get your shoes on.

Emo Spoiler Alert

Alpha: Mom? Did you want to come see “The Creator” with me? It opens at my theater today.

Me: Never heard of it.

(Alpha calls up trailer on Carrot’s laptop. They both watch.)

Me: Wow. That looks pretty. I’m going to have to decline. I know I’m too emotionally compromised for that movie.

Alpha: Because of the kid?

Me: In part. That movie is going to be a “What does it mean to be human?” type of story. Where humans are the bad guys for their lack of self-awareness and willingness to kill anything they don’t understand while the machines understand the sanctity of life and self-sacrifice for the greater good and survival of the species. Its a common sci-fi theme. I know I won’t be able to handle it.

Alpha: (slightly disappointed and skeptical) Okay. If you’re sure, I’ll go by myself.

(hours pass)

(Alpha returns home)

Me: (looks up to find a red-eyed despondent Alpha) You okay?

Alpha: (shakes head)

Me: (gently) Go upstairs and take a nice long hot shower and have yourself a good cry. You’ll feel better.

Art imitates….

(scene opens in early morning parlor)

Beta: Have you heard of the Baldur’s Gate game? Its ridiculous.

Me: (yawning) I hear its one big flirt fest.

Beta: Oh yeah. Like everyone, literally everyone, is trying to get in you pants. Randomly. For no reason! After talking to them like once!

Me: Now you know what its like to be a woman.

Beta: (blinks) … mom.

Me: *sips her coffee*

Children are terrifying.

(scene opens in early morning dinning room)

Me: (bleary, drinking coffee, scrolling Tumblr)

Delta: (bright eyed runs over, reads over shoulder)


Delta: (reading out loud) The nowe…

Me: Novel. It’s a type of book.

Delta: (reads it out loud correctly) What makes him think he’s going to live another three years?

Me: (side eye) That was a little dark.

Delta: (grins kisses Carrot, runs off)

(image stolen from Write-On-World)

Got me there.

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Delta: And my friend at school dyed her hair today!

Me: (mildly) Oh yeah? What color.

Delta: Purple! She looks like a brand new human!

Me: Did you want to color your hair again during Spring Break?

Delta: (delightedly) Yes! I want to dye it black!

Me: (makes a face) Black isn’t fancy. If you’re doing to dye your hair, you should do it a fancy color.

Delta: (determinedly) Black is fancy! Black is the color of suits and suits are fancy so black is a fancy color.

Me: (moderately impressed) Well then. I guess we’re going to dye your hair black

Delta: (gleeful once again) You lied!

Me: No, I didn’t lie. You just changed my thinking.

Black like my soul.

Look. I can’t be funny all the time.

I can’t even poke my kids and say “Hey, do something funny.”

Okay, I can poke Beta and he’ll step up to the plate, but sometimes translation is hard and you can’t distill the funny into a cut-scene. So today we do shameless promotion.

(cue trumpet fanfare)


Today’s beloved topic is the coffee.

Oh, that magical brew that allows me to be functional against my natural circadian rhythm and the demands of children who apparently do not have circadian rhythms and do not respect the circadian rhythms of others. The brand I propose to you today is the Perle Noire.

(linky goes not to the Amazonian empire and I am not being paid for this review)

The bag was a birthday gift from my sister-in-law, who understands my love of coffee. She also understands that Mama Ain’t Proud(tm) and I will drink whatever coffee is on hand. Because I am just grateful to have coffee. Because its hard to justify the really expensive coffee when I have a pack of feral chimps in my house who’ll eat two dozen hardboiled eggs in less than a day.

There’s my self-slam. I’m cheaper than eggs.

Thus I am gifted the Expensive Coffee. Because when you’re all grown up, its the expensive treats that really get you excited.

Anyway – I cannot tell you in pretentious wine terms about “hints of oak” or “a chocolate finish”. I have not that refined a palate (see again, Mama Ain’t Proud(tm)) But it is smooth. So smooth. Like they took out that bitter sucker punch of your first morning’s hit and replaced it with unicorns and rainbows. I suppose it must be mentioned that I drink my coffee black. Black black blackity black. No sugar. No cream. Nothing. Just me, hot water, and the sacred almighty bean to whom I pledge life and loyalty.

There is nothing to stand between me and whatever the Coffee Gods decide to put in my mug in the morning and so I must taste its full savage judgement.

And Perle Noire loves me. It says to me “Child, life is hard. You’re going to need this. Godspeed.” And I say, “Thank you, Perle Noir. Without you, my life is meaningless.”

Even the smell is smooth. Everything about Perle Noire is dark and silky and full of love. You want Perle Noir. Trust me.

Not pulling punches.

(scene opens in harried dinning room, Carrot combing the hair of a suffering Delta)

Gamma: Mom, did you know there are people who think the earth is flat?

Me: (just not having it this morning) Yes. They’re stupid. There are some people in this world who – no matter the unarguable truth you put before them – will only believe what they want to believe. Although its possible some don’t, they just like picking fights and watching people get upset. They’re stupid too. Avoid them.

Delta: But mountains! The earth isn’t flat because mountains.

Me: Wrong kind of flat. It’s bumpy, but they think the earth isn’t shaped like a ball, but like a frisbee.

Gamma: Why do they think that?

Me: (aggravated, puts hands to head) People who believe conspiracy theories do so because its an issue of control. Or power. You can’t tell them what to do. You aren’t the boss of them. If you told them the sun set in the west, they’d argue it sets in the north just because they want to be right. Not correct. But right. Being right and being correct are two different things, and they’re so convinced of their super smarty better-than-you selves, that they cling to conspiracy lies just so they can lord it over people that “Ha ha, I know the truth and you don’t!” and give themselves a sense of self-worth.

Gamma: There’s a kid in my class who says the earth is flat.

Me: Don’t be friends with those kinds of people. Its just not worth it.

Gamm: Wait, there are other people like that?!

Me: Damn, girl, they’re everywhere. And they’re not worth your time.

Setting mood and theme.

(scene opens in small kitchen. Platters of frozen ingredients thawing: everything from meat to mulberries. Kitchen aid-mixer running.)

Me: (muttering to self) Bread going, where are the peppers?

(Carrot take down small red glass jar, holding five small red pepper. Carefully shakes one out, begins to de-seed. Crumbles to near dust in her hands.)

Me: Damnit, they’re too old. I can’t use these.

(Pepper flakes re-bottled, Carrot turns back to mixer, tests dough with finger.)

Me: Damnit, too watery and I’m out of flour.

(Carrot absently licks fingers. Freezes. Surprised look on her face.

Me: Oh. They’re not too old.

(Carrot claps hand over her mouth, begins hunting for coffee mug, downs it)

Alpha: (Watching. Points.) Ha. Ha.

Me: (blinks rapidly) Legit.

What Carrot does during the school day.

So once upon a time, I use to play with making mead. And when I say “play with” I really do mean it. I have this delightful inclination to go full on Lab Kid* when doing anything halfway arty. I can’t say halfway sciencey because we all know the difference between fvcking around and science is writing it down.

I was not writing it down in those days.

In that Fvck Around Phase I made some hella good mead. A few stands outs were a my plain sweet, a morat (mulberry mead), and a peach mead. My brewing process went as follow –

1.4 cup orange juice to start off a packet of Montrachet yeast

2.5 gallons of tap water (Lake Michigan for you aqua connoisseurs)

2.5 gallons of blackberry honey from the Great North Wests somewhere. I think from Glory Bee.

I’ll give a few of you a moment to wipe the coffee you just spit all over your screen. Yes. 2.5 gallons. We good? Okay – so I like mead sweet. Those of you with even the smallest bit of fermenting knowledge will not be surprised to hear it took me nearly two years for it to be drinkable. And I bet it could have gone longer, but as soon as I brought some bottles out to test drink, it went fast. Any notes I took – if I was even halfway that organized – had me do some math. I only remember this math on the alcohol content because I did it several times over, 100% certain I had totally fubar’ed my math and it just wasn’t humanly possible.

It was clocking in at 20%.

Okay, you really need to stop drinking when you’re reading my hilarious interludes. Get a fresh cup and come back.

This ridiculously high alcohol content is hilarious because I am a lightweight beyond compare. I bring shame upon my known-for-heavy-drinking ancestors with my two drink drunk. Alas.

My morat ran as follows –

Same juice set up, 3 gallon bucket, who knows how much honey, topped off with water.

No notes. Because I was full on mad scientist, which wasn’t really all that sciencey because no documentation. Who knows what my alcohol content was. But that got drunk as fast as the blackberry sweet.

The peach?

Same juice set up

12 pounds of mashed peaches with skins ripped off (you can’t really peel peaches when they’re really ripe, just mutilate them)

Oh hey, look, I have some left over honey in this three gallon bucket. I have no idea how much honey is in there, lets just dump it all in and add some water and call it a day.

See? Very precise. Such Math. Much Science.

Even with my lightweightness, that had a kick. I had racked them into 16 oz Grolsch bottles I had saved for this project. Half way through one of them I had to lay on the floor and recover. Five years later it was still amazing. I only know this for it having shown up in a Mystery Brew Box (for having no label) where adventurous re-enactors would drink for a dollar donation. It was the hit of the evening.

And now we are here. I have a little black book now and am more sciencey than arty.

Raw honey and here we go! I know some of you are thinking – why is the water and honey separated? Are they supposed to be mixed?

Yeah. I guess so? I did this with my blackberry sweet. I’d have to roll the carboy every couple of weeks to agitate the top layer of honey as the yeast slowly ate its way down. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason the yeast was able to accomplish this task, it gave it time to build up tolerance. Also I’m sure there’s some sort of very niche-trick of slow fermentation that impacts the final product something something wine snob goes here.

Weirdly, the water/honey was more homogenous until I poured in the o.j. with the nicely foaming yeast. Cleared it like oil and water. Fascinating. So now my yeasties beasties are going to slowly nibble from the top down.

I guess we’ll see what we get? In two years? It’s only three gallons, so maybe we’ll see in one year.

Wish me luck.