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Archive for November, 2016

That was what I was craving tonight: linguini and white clam sauce. But I didn’t want the canned crap that I usually buy and doctor. There are never, ever, enough clams in the canned stuff. It’s more like a tease.

I’ve tried to make my own from scratch before, but it always lacked one ingredient that I didn’t think really made a difference: white wine.

The reason is this: we’re not drinkers, so we don’t keep stuff like that on hand. While we’re not tee-totalers, we’re still a few steps below even being lightweights. Once every couple of years we may buy some Kahlua or Apple Pucker for me, and a bottle of Jack Daniels for the PIP, and those bottles will still be on top of the fridge a year later, still half full. It’s just never been our thing.

However, as the children have grown closer to their teenage years, which means constant fighting between the two of them, which drives both parents absolutely insane, we have begun to keep a bottle or two on hand at all times. We have made it up to lightweights. A glass of wine at dinner allows us to retain our sanity in the face of the ridiculous arguments our children have with each other, or to view their lack of motivation to do chores any better than half-assed with a bit more calm. We still wind up having to scream and holler to get things done properly, or to shut down the latest argument over who gets to use the slang term “swag”–unbelievable–but we do a lot less of it with a glass of wine in our systems.

Now, I don’t know from wine, here. I know what I like, and what I don’t. You will never hear me say anything about body or bouquet, or that this wine goes with that meal, because I don’t have the least clue. The only thing I know is what I once read from a chef: when a recipe calls for white wine, you buy a good drinking wine, because if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with either. So the last time I bought wine–about a month or so ago–I bought one that I already knew I liked, and another bottle to try.

I didn’t like the second bottle at all. Couldn’t even get through one glass of it, so back it went into the fridge to await the time when there would be a recipe I could use it in. Apparently, I only like sweet wines, and this was bitter, at least to me.

So tonight it got used in the clam sauce recipe, and now I understand why wine is a requirement of the recipe. The difference it made!!!!!

Like I said, I had tried this recipe before, and it was mediocre at best when I did, because I didn’t use wine. But what I made tonight was far, far better! The house smelled heavenly, and the flavor–why bother with the noodles??! And it was full of clams–I made certain of that!!!

I did tweak the recipe a little bit. The only herb the recipe called for was parsley, but I am a huge fan of oregano, so my version was equal parts of both. And I added just a touch of lemon juice and some extra butter to mine.

Even the children could find no reason to complain, and that’s saying something. Both of them went through their bowls of pasta at lightspeed and left very little to wash out. An hour later they were wondering if there was more to be had. And I’m a terrible mother, because I lied to them and said no. I had plans of my own for the leftovers. Now that we have what are supposed to be nocturnal pets in the gliders (all seven now wake up around six am and are still up at eight pm!), my day begins at around 4 am, when I get up to prepare their food for them. I can’t usually get back to sleep afterward, so I get my own breakfast going then too, and that’s what was for breakfast.

In my defense, I have to say that there was only enough left to serve one person, and if I had given it to one of the children, the argument that followed would have driven me mad, so eating it myself was for my own sanity. After all, the PIP is allergic to all forms of seafood, so he couldn’t eat it, and I wasn’t about to throw it away!

I guess I have to thank the insanity of motherhood for actually having what I needed in the house for a change. Who knew I would ever have cause to thank my kids for driving me crazy?

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!

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Changes

I haven’t posted in awhile about the situation between the PIP and myself. Honestly, I don’t really know what to say about it, but I’ll try.

Things are different now, since he’s come out as gay. Not just in the obvious ways, but other, more subtle ways. Things that we each took for granted from the other are now things that must be asked for, such as sharing of finances or even something as simple as a massage. We live in the same house, but in two different worlds, although we are still friends. We each find it difficult to be in the other’s domain, although we do it. He has a friend–just a friend, however I think she might prefer it to be otherwise–who tends to come over and stay for days on end. And as much as I loathe this woman–I’m not proud of the fact, but she drives me insane–it’s a relief to me when she’s here, because then I don’t have to be in his domain. He won’t ask it of me, because he knows I don’t like her. I have good reasons for feeling that way, reasons that she’s given me to distrust and dislike her, and if I’m not going to be home, it is now automatic to lock my doors if there’s a possibility she’s going to show up…which means they’re almost always locked, and the PIP doesn’t have a spare. Weird, right? I can’t stand her–and neither can the girls–but when she’s around is the only time I get to be alone.

He feels like he’s lost me, something he’s told several people, including me. And maybe, in some ways…in a lot of ways…he has. I still love him…that isn’t going to change. He gave me the two most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received in my girls, and for that, I will always love him. But I don’t think I’m in love with him anymore, if that makes any sense. I’m not angry anymore; that time has passed. He is who he is, and he can’t help that. Being gay is not a choice, however much he’d like to believe he can force himself to be something he’s not. I never had issue with the fact of his admitting he was gay, I had issue with the way in which he handled it.

We don’t fight anymore, and haven’t in over a year. Oh, we’ve had disagreements that have been pretty surface, and others that went deeper, but neither of us pursued them.

Have you ever heard the tenet “Show me a couple that doesn’t argue, and I’ll show you a couple where one or both just doesn’t care”? I think that’s us, at this point. Or at least me, as I can’t speak for what’s in his mind. But for myself, I’ve started looking in new directions, prodded, in part, by my children, who both think I should start dating again.

I don’t even know how to do that.

Seriously, how does one date when they’re in their late 40s? I’ve learned some things about myself since looking around at various dating sites. One of the biggest is that I have really high standards that I’m in no rush to lower. Another is that I’d like to find someone who is physically attractive in my eyes. I know that sounds shallow, and to a certain extent, it is, but let me explain.

It’s different when you meet someone at work or something like that, where you’re exposed to each other regularly and you’re getting to know each other almost by accident rather than by design. You’re getting to know each other because you’re together in the office or the classroom day in and day out, so you’re almost forced to get to know this person. And gradually you discover you like this person, and it has nothing to do with looks, only with personality. But you had that time to get to know that his personality suits yours.

With a dating site, you don’t have that. You have pictures, and I, at least, need a physical attraction in order to make even an initial contact.

Let me tell you something about dating sites: past a certain age, the choices presented to you are pretty discouraging. And let’s face it, if the guy is an Adonis, he doesn’t need a dating site, because there is an endless stream of women who would be happy to throw themselves at his feet. And shallow as it is, if the guy looks like a cross between Lurch and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I just can’t do it.

It also doesn’t help that I have a thing about grammar. If you were born in this country, went to school here, and still can’t speak proper English and don’t know the difference between their, there, and they’re, I have a tendency to be judgmental and think “uneducated”. I know that’s wrong, but it’s who I am, and I am working on that.

I’m also not in a position to pay for a dating site anyway, so any messages received on my profile go unread by me, because even when the site says it’s free, it usually means it’s free to look, not free to get messages…which means the site is useless to me.

And I don’t go out where I’m likely to meet anyone. Sad, right? But I don’t. The only places I really go are to the grocery store or to friends’ houses, and very few of my friends are in my age group. Most are much younger than I am, so anyone they might want to introduce me to is also much younger, and generally not looking for someone like me. And of course, you may have noticed that I have a self-confidence issue. Sure, I can dye the grey hair, and I can go to the gym and shed the weight, but I can’t change my age, and I’m still partially disabled and walk with a limp that gets more pronounced over the course of a day, and I come with two young children. I have a very hard time believing that there’s anyone out there that I find attractive that is going to look at me the same way.

Not that I’m unhappy; don’t get me wrong! I’m not going to cry myself to sleep because I don’t have a guy in my life. I have my kids, I have my crafts, I have my pets, so I’m happy enough with that. I don’t exactly need a guy, contrary to my children’s beliefs. And again: high standards, which also encompasses the fact that I don’t cheat, and I don’t poach another woman’s territory. Because of the PIP’s various relationships over the years, I know what it feels like to have to share your partner, and I won’t put anyone else in that position.

So I’ve rambled on to say, I guess, that I’ve kind of reached the conclusion of “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, and I’m muddling along with that. It’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not exciting, it’s just life, my life as a result of the decisions I’ve made over the years. I don’t regret any decision that brought me here to the man I’ve spent fifteen years with, because to regret those decisions is to regret my girls, and I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination. And if I had known where I’d end up, I don’t think I’d change any of the major decisions. Maybe the minor ones: buy the red dress instead of the blue purse types of decisions.

And maybe not.

All I know is that when the PIP first asked me out, I knew he was bisexual. I knew this could conceivably happen. And I did a lot of soul-searching before I said yes. Ultimately what it came down to was two things: being left could happen regardless of whether he left me for a man or a woman, and I wasn’t going to let fear of what could happen rule my decisions. Both of those two things still stand as true. I might find a guy, and he might be straight, and he could leave me in the end. And I’m still not going to let fear influence my decisions.

So I choose, for now, to let things ride. I’m not having a fairy-tale romance, the hottie I just saw a picture of isn’t going to sweep me off my feet, but I’m not exactly unhappy either, and sometimes that’s okay too.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough, and I hope this post makes sense to anyone reading it! Have a good night!

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This is a WWE post, so be warned!

I don’t understand the WWE universe and the hatred for Roman Reigns. I simply don’t get it. Outside of the ring, he’s a great guy who takes the time to actually talk to his fans on a pretty regular basis, when he has time. Inside the ring, his matches are awesome. He’s made fans for life in my kids and me, so I’m admittedly biased, but even viewed objectively, I don’t understand the issue.

The explanation most often given is that Roman has been shoved down their throats as the next face of the company, and the WWE Universe doesn’t like it.

Let’s assume that that’s true. Ok, fine, but what gives any of us the idea that we have the entitlement to make choices for the WWE? I don’t see that we do. I don’t see any entertainment franchise giving us that much voice in their decisions, unless we’re stockholders. Think about it. Who decided who the leading actors or actresses were in any show? The powers that be may have paid attention to the Nielsen ratings, but let’s face it, how many of us actually are Nielsen families? That power resides in the hands of very few, and we all abide by what those families watch…..or don’t watch. Do you think that the zillions of Firefly fans wanted to see that series go? No, and fans did everything they could to keep it on the air, but their efforts made no difference to FOX, and the show was axed. How is the WWE universe different? We aren’t behind the scenes to know the reasons behind the decisions made, any more than we are with any other show on TV. And with any other program, we either live with the decisions and keep watching, or we don’t, and we stop. What we don’t do is take it out on the stars of the show. The decisions made by the powers aren’t his fault any more than they are ours, and booing him out of the building every time he shows up isn’t fair. He and all of the rest of the roster bend over backwards to put on a great show every night. There are no repeats on Raw or Smackdown, no hiatus for them, unlike other shows we all watch, and we should be grateful that these guys spend 300 days of each year traveling from city to city, courting injury and missing anniversaries, birthdays, school recitals, etcetera , so that we can enjoy ourselves, and we repay that by booing the good guy. What???

Call me crazy, but that seems pretty selfish and ungrateful to me. How many of us are willing to go out there and do what Roman Reigns does every night? How many of us realistically could?

My feeling is this: like with other shows, if you don’t like what you’re watching , then don’t watch. It’s one thing to boo the guys who are heels and are supposed to be booed, it’s another to unload hate on someone who’s just doing his best to entertain you and who isn’t responsible for the role he plays either. If you have to yell at someone, at least direct it to the right person. Roman Reigns hasn’t done a thing to deserve the way he’s treated by the WWE Universe.

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Sweet little Maverick

Sweet little Maverick

Petaurus breviceps means “short-headed rope dancer”, which means sugar glider. And playtime has taken a new turn. Many people in the glider community recommend small camping tents as a safe place for gliders to play with their humans, zipped inside. So I ordered one a while back, apparently from China or some such, given the time it took to get here. If it came from China, it made good time. If it came from the States, not so much. But I wanted an inexpensive, small tent, and that’s what I got. $19 for what is supposed to be a two-person pop-up tent.

I had to laugh when I got it today. First off, my understanding of “pop-up” was something like those fabric windshield shades for vehicles, where they come in this round bag, you take them out and they pop into two rectangular pieces of fabric that you place in your windshield. When you’re done, you put them together and grab the two corners diagonally across from each other, twist them in some way I never got the hang of, and they become round things again that fit back in their round bag. That was what I expected: take tent out of bag, already assembled, and it pops up into an instantly usable tent. Apparently I was wrong in my expectations, because what I received is the tent and two disassembled poles that slide into tunnels on the tent and bend, creating a dome tent. I was under the impression that dome tents and pop-up tents were two different things. Whatever the case, it does fit into the section of the bedroom that houses the cages. Tightly, but it fits. And I’m sure you’re supposed to disassemble it again to put it away after each use, but that, I could see, would rapidly get very old. So what I do is squeeze the two poles together flat, and wedge the whole thing between the cages and the wall, so I just have to pull it out and go in.

The other thing that made me laugh is that you can only call this thing a two-person tent if the two people in question aren’t above the age of eight. There is absolutely no way anyone taller than 4’6″ can comfortably lie down to sleep in it unless they’re in the fetal position, and then there’s only room for one person, unless the second is sleeping literally on top of the first. But for glider playtime, the tent is perfect. And really, for $19, well, I got what I paid for. Fortunately, I didn’t buy it for camping. We have a tent for that, which we haven’t yet used in seven years. It’s a huge, two room monstrosity, either 10′ x 12′, or 10′ x 18′. Massive.

Anyway. Until the tent arrived, we’d been using the bathroom for playtime, and thought we’d pretty much glider proofed the room. The one area we really had to worry about was the vanity. A few years back, when we started renovating the bathroom, the PIP decided to be creative with the new vanity. He bought an antique stereo system, the kind that came housed in its own cabinet, and repurposed the cabinet as a bathroom vanity. He did a fantastic job on it, but it doesn’t sit directly on the floor. It has legs that are about 2″ long, so there’s a space under it that is perfect for gliders who are scared, but not so perfect for the human trying to get them out of said space. We thought to roll up a towel very tightly and wedge it into the openings to keep the gliders out, and it worked…until little Canth figured it out within two minutes of entering the bathroom for the first time since arriving in our house. Half an hour later, playtime in the bathroom ended until last night, which was the first time we ventured into the bathroom in a week. And thankfully, the tent arrived today.

The glider play tent

The glider play tent

I can’t say that the first tent playtime session was a rousing success. It wasn’t horrible, and wasn’t fantastic either. The Dragons went first because they’re the hardest to deal with, not having been handled for so long. They are one short step up from feral, and it’s going to be a good, long while before we manage to gain their trust. I’ve finally got them taking treats from my hands, and tonight was the first time little Ruth climbed up on me, which is a step in the right direction, but they weren’t sure what to think about this new structure. Mnementh was the only one who wasn’t actually stressed out.

After the Dragons went back to their cage, it was Maverick’s turn. Of all of them, he’s the one who has been handled so much by his previous owner that he’s pretty much unfazed by any human being in his orbit. He’s got the sweetest personality of the seven, and he doesn’t so much bite as nibble on you. It doesn’t even hurt.

Well, as unfazed as he is by people, he was not so calm about the tent. Holy cow. I’ve never seen him move so fast. He had a complete panicky meltdown. The second I sat down in the tent, he swarmed up my arm to my shoulder so fast that I couldn’t track him with my eyes, poor little guy. It took him about fifteen minutes to calm down, but even then, if I brushed against the tent in any way, he freaked and was right back up on my shoulder.

So not a resounding success, but not an epic fail, either. I think they’ll all eventually get used to the tent as time goes on, and I’m much more comfortable with not having to take them out of the room to play, and with the overall safety of the tent. Not bad for less than twenty dollars!

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It’s November now, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to get these gifts made for the girls. I’d thought I could do this faster than I have been, but the bags have been the bane of my existence!!! Well, okay, and of course the addition of the seven gliders to the household has been a thing too, but we all adore them, so I can’t say that they’re a bane. But both bags had to undergo restarts after getting a good way into them, because of the number of things that went wrong in the process, or were wrong from the very beginning. And, of course, the children brought home new variations on the plague, which hasn’t contributed to my desire to crochet either.

Bag two has begun, with different yarn than I originally started with. The original yarn, which was Red Heart, was far too rough and scratchy, and I really didn’t like working with it, which may account for some of my procrastination in ripping it back. The new yarn is also Red Heart, but it’s the Super Saver version, which for some reason doesn’t feel as bad. This bag is going better than the first one, but there are still some issues that I haven’t quite figured out, such as the fact that I started out with 175 stitches, but when I counted them up today, I was at 147. That’s a significant loss of stitches, and I have no idea where I lost them. The pattern still fits perfectly, so I’m at a loss there. And I’m not about to start over again for a third time. It’s not coning very badly, so I’m going to leave it alone. The bag is for a six year old, after all. I don’t expect it to last long, even if she does love it because Mama made it. Remember the scarf that I poured months into? The one that is the first knitting project I ever finished, and I had to grit my teeth to make myself finish it? Guess where I found it today: on the living room carpet, covered in dog hair and every dirty thing else Bryony could find to dump on it. I don’t even know why it wasn’t on the hanger in the closet where I’d left it. It hasn’t been cold enough for a scarf yet. So I fully expect this bag to go the same route. Maybe not right away, but it will. It’s the nature of the beast.

The last of the bunnies born here, Blue, has gone to a new home, leaving us with only one bun, Stitch, our Netherland Dwarf. Blue wasn’t bonding with any of us, no matter what we did. I have to admit that Stitch really isn’t either, but Stitch is far easier to handle than Blue. Blue is a big rabbit, with very strong legs, and very disinclined to have anything to do with us, despite being born here, where Stitch is much smaller and less inclined toward things like biting and clawing us, which was Blue’s modus operandi. He went to a family of seven, most of whom are allergic to more traditional pets. Half are allergic to dogs, the other half allergic to cats. They were eager and happy to have Blue join the family, and I couldn’t say no to that. So he left us, with his new family promising to send updates often. Well, we’ll see. Maybe they will, but I’m not holding my breath. I know where two of my speckled ones are, and see pictures of them any time they’re posted, not to mention the fact that they’re here in town and I’m friendly with their owner. The other speckled one’s owner sent pictures once, and never again. The black one is here in town too, but I haven’t gotten an update from that one’s owner either.

I’m actually coming to the conclusion that there’s something about our family that the rabbits just don’t like. I could be wrong, and if we can create a bond with Stitch it’ll go a long way toward changing my thinking there. The gliders don’t seem to have any issues with us that can’t be worked out. I won’t say we’ve completely bonded yet, but they’re far more willing to interact with us than the rabbits have been, with the exception of the Dragons, who have yet to get beyond their fear. Two of them haven’t been handled since February, and the last was never handled at all, which makes things a tad difficult. But we’re working on it. The Kaos Krew doesn’t spend much time in the bonding pouch lately, nor does Maverick, because the Dragons need it so much more. Maverick, especially, has been handled so much that he isn’t missing anything by not riding in the pouch, and he gets plenty of playtime with me and with Aneira. So does the Kaos Krew, although we discovered the other day that we don’t have the bathroom as glider-proofed as we thought. So on the advice of several members of the glider community, we’ve ordered a small pop-up tent for playtime in the bedroom. That ought to work out much better!

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