Cloudy with a Chance of Overreaction

I refuse to grocery shop today, and you can’t make me. 

 First of all, it’s not my normal grocery day, and secondly, even if it were I think I’d still put it off because everyone is shopping today.  You see, it’s going to snow, and there is a certain segment of the population who still seems to think that we’re living back in the days of Laura Ingalls. Like in the days before grocery stores, when prairie dwellers’ lives depended on what they stored up for winter. They stock up for a snowfall of 3 to 5 inches like it’s the impending doom of Y2K or something, with bottled water, and enough toilet paper to stretch to the moon and back 6 times.  And like Y2K, the coming “winter storm” will probably not live up to the hype, but even if it does—People, it’s 5 inches of snow, not 5 feet!  Relax–most of you live in town, anyway, so your streets will be cleared in a day or so.

 But like weather-induced lemmings, folks will run off the cliff of sanity straight into the depths of bread and milk hoarding.

 My naturally rebellious nature simply won’t allow me to go there.  I refuse to be swayed by the mass freak-out.  In fact, I triple dog dare the storm to dump enough snow to truly snow me in, if it thinks it can.  And even if it does, that’s okay too.  Why?  Because I’m smart enough to actually keep some extra food on hand at all times.  Genius, isn’t it?  And you know what else?  I even go so far as to keep basic staples on hand, so that if I would happen to get snowed in without bread, I could *make* bread.  (What?! That’s just crazy talk!  I mean, nobody’s actually made bread since back in days of Laura Ingalls, er, hey, wait a minute…)  Time consuming, I know, but we’re talking about being snowed in, so presumably we’re stuck there with nothing to do but bake anyway.

 As much as I doubt that we’re in for the new Blizzard of ’78, I’m going to leave you with a recipe, just in case.  It’s a muffin recipe, which is like kind of a cheater bread, since it requires no yeast or rising.  Who knows, you might even have time to make this without being snowed in.

Mandarin Orange Muffins 

1½  c flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

²⁄3 c sugar

¹⁄3 c butter, melted

1 egg slightly beaten

¼ c milk

(1) 10 oz can mandarin oranges, drained

Topping

¼ c melted butter

¼ c sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Sift flour with other dry ingredients.  Combine butter, egg and milk, and add to dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Fold in oranges.  Fill greased muffin tins ¾ full.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remover from muffins tins and dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

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Changes

Mini Me went to school this year. As you may recall, we’ve homeschooled up until now, and it’s been an adjustment, but it was time. She’s done pretty well with school, gotten good grades, survived being called a loser for helping someone else, made some new friends, become known for her graffiti art skills, and narrowly escaped getting in trouble for possession of a Sharpie. She’s got some teachers she loves, and some that she could take or leave, and none that are really bad. However, this grading period has landed her in a health class with a teacher who is a cancer survivor. Mini Me knows this because the teacher has mentioned it in class. Every. single. day.

I know a couple of people like that, too. Thankfully, I’m not trapped in a room with them for an hour 5 days a week. I would be hoarse from singing “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” all the time. So, I feel Mini Me’s pain, but it also makes me laugh, because, well, better her than me.

Anywho, so this whole kid-going-to-school thing has left me without a day job, so to speak. Over the holidays I worked a seasonal UPS job (more on that at a later date), and I’ve been doing some freelancing, which is fun. I’d like to do some more of that kind of thing, and the way to get better at writing, and also to keep the flow going, is to keep writing. So, my goal is to write every day. At least every week day. That won’t always mean I’ll write here, but it will probably increase the frequency of my posts, which, let’s face it, have been pretty darned infrequent over the past few months. Of course, some of that is because I don’t have any funny cancer stories to tell since I’m not very cancery these days, and The Foob has gone to Florida for the winter with all of the other snowbirds. I can only get so much mileage out of those quarterly doctor appointments with Dr Birhiray.

That leaves me with a few options for this blog. I could write about whatever strikes me as funny in regular, non-cancer life. Or I could write about food. We all know I love that. I could write deep, inspirational posts. Okay, yeah, that’s probably going to happen, with the frequency of a leap year or something. I could just retire, but I do enjoy the blog, and my readers so I don’t really want to do that. And as I said, I think I need the exercise anyway.

What say you, my readers? Any of the above? A combination? Please let me know.

Pink Ribbon Overload: Marketing Ploy? What Makes You Say That?

IMG_0194Have you ever noticed that most pink ribbon products are geared toward women? Okay, our last entry was an obvious exception. But really, have you ever seen manly pink ribbon products? Maybe it’s just that the whole pepto pink thing doesn’t really convey the manliness that, say Craftsman is looking for in its marketing. About the closest thing I’ve seen to a pink ribbon man product are the NFL’s breast cancer awareness games this month, where we get to see big, burly football men wearing pink football accessories.  Which is kinda cool.IMG_0195

But back to the lack of pink ribbon man products.  Their conspicuous absence is probably why I have a hard time believing that most pink ribbon products are anything more than marketing. It wouldn’t really be worth it to Valvoline to go to the trouble of having pink boxes made, because the fact of the matter is, men don’t give a fat crap about breast cancer. No, really. Unless they have a loved one who’s been affected by it, or in the rare case that they have it themselves, they really don’t care.  And since some guys are just insecure enough to actually feel threatened by a pink ribbon on their razor blade package, it might cause the company to actually lose sales.  Hence why you don’t see pink ribbons plastered all over boxes of shotgun shells and cans of Skoal.  (Okay, yes, some women do use motor oil, shotgun shells, and Skoal, especially in Kentucky.  However, I doubt those are the kind of women who are going to base their buying decisions on a cutesy pink package anyway.  Just sayin’.)photo

DSC03656On the other hand, there is just a ridiculous amount of pink ribbon stuff that falls into categories that women traditionally buy, such as the pink ribbon Huggies and dishwasher soap submitted by our friend Ashlee.

Taste buds dead from chemo?  Then you’ll love the pink ribbon Hamburger Helper I found at Kmart.  And isn’t it great how it’s got that little hand mascot to remind us to do our monthly exams? 

Or if you’re a foodie like me, perhaps you’d enjoy cooking a meal from scratch using this bunch of breast cancer fungi. Our friend Tanya writes, “What’s for dinner, you ask? Why apricot chicken with mushroom cancer, um, I mean cream sauce.” 

Mmmmm!

 

Zumba vs. Chocolate Cake

I’ve been doing Zumba.  Much to Mini Me’s dismay, this has resulted in me gyrating at random intervals throughout the day.  I’ve always been a dancer.  Not in the coordinated, classically trained ballet dancer type of way.  Not in the Fame–I’m gonna live forever kind of way.  More like, in the shake your booty like you think you don’t dance like a white girl sort of way.  Only now it’s worse, because in addition to my old school 1980’s dance moves (think Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire at best and Bruce Springstein at worst) I have now added my Zumba moves including, but not limited to: gyrating, lassoing, Charro-style booty shakin’, and this strange tippy-toe mambo thing that is just fabulously fun when used while pushing a shopping cart.

 Oh yeah.  Because when I say at random intervals throughout the day, what I mean is at home, at the grocery store, at church, at a yard sale, in Susie’s pool, or any other place that I might hear music.  Or not.  Don’t really even need music.  Just having someone ask about Zumba is enough.  Or mention Dirty Dancing.  (Nobody puts Moody in a corner, heh heh.) 

 While it IS fun, the goal with this Zumba thing is to get in shape.  It’s supposed to burn, like, 400,000 calories in an hour or something, which is almost enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster of Last Week.  Because, friends, Moody has no will power.  None.  And so she usually tries to keep the danger items out of the house.  Things like Hostess Orange Cupcakes, that I like in spite of myself.  Things like really good bread.  Any form of chocolate.  When Mini Me asked, “Mom, can I make a chocolate cake?” I should have known that no good could come from saying “Sure.” 

 So, she made the cake.  A whole 9 x 13 inch pan of it.  And frosting, too.  And we ate some.  Then Hubster came home and hated on the cake, “I don’t like chocolate cake” he said.  Looks like it’s just Mini Me and I tackling this thing.  Again, no good can come from this. Mini Me and I ate some more cake after supper.  The next day, we had cake for breakfast.  Cake with lunch.  Cake as a snack.  Cake after dinner.  The following morning, Mini Me ate the last piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, proclaiming to me that she’d done it to save me from eating any more of it.  I am blessed to have such a selfless child, am I not?

 One cake.  Two people. Approximately 36 hours.  Did I mention that no good could come from letting her make a chocolate cake?

 As you can see, eating sensibly is just not how I roll.  Oh, I do alright most of the time.  In fact, I really probably eat better than most folks.  But man, when I fall off the wagon, I not only fall off, buddy I hit the ground running in the opposite direction, my chocolate smeared face contorted by maniacal laughter.  Anybody remember Mike Myers’ Hyper Hypo character?  That’s me. 

 So, if a girl like me wants to lose some weight, exercise in some form is a must.  Preferably something that I don’t totally hate.  Because I’m pretty good at avoiding things that I hate.  But Zumba has been great because it’s actually fun.  I’ve been doing it 2 times a week for about 4 weeks now, and the instructor is doing monthly weighings & measurings, so next week I’ll be able to let you know if all that booty shakin’ has been enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster.  Stay tuned.

Cookin’ Like Crazy

 This past week was a tad insane around here, but it was the good kind of insane where I got to make lots of yummy food for folks.  Not the bad kind of insane where I used a breast cancer bagel to beat the living daylights out of an entire table full of gum-smacking, loud-talking, OMG-saying girls at Panera.  Nope, that was the week before.  

Anywho, last week saw the convergence of three separate events in the span of two days.  Thursday was the surprise party for Bagel Sis who was doing the mini marathon up in Indy on Saturday.  Much to my amazement, BIL Bobo and I managed to pull this off without tipping off Bagel Sis.  This is particularly impressive considering that I spent several hours with Bagel Sis on Monday and without saying something stupid like, “Hey, do you know if Garlic Sis is going to be able to make it to your surprise party on Thursday night?”

 Prior to Thursday, I’d already spent the first part of the week cooking items for the Domestic Divas ladies event at church.  Divas was scheduled for Saturday, but since the fam and I were leaving town on Saturday, I wouldn’t actually be there.  All of my eleventy-seven platters and cake stands would be, however, and they’d need to be set up Friday night.  But, they couldn’t be set up until after the Vigo County Relay for Life survivor dessert, which ran until 8PM.  Oh yeah, I made a couple of cheesecakes for that, too.  See what I mean by insane? 

 But it was good, really.  I enjoyed the whirlwind immensely.  Because one of the hardest things about the whole cancer experience for me was all of a sudden having people not ask me to do things I loved anymore.  Granted, when I was doing chemo, I wouldn’t have been able to manage all this stuff in a weekend.  But the problem is that once people stop asking, they forget to ask again.  I know you’ve all heard me say (okay, maybe that should be “seen me write” but it just sounds weird) that from my experience, what a cancer girl craves most of a big slice of normal.  Well, it’s not normal for me to sit on the sidelines when food is involved, so the past two years or so have been difficult in that regard.

 So, Friday night was the survivor dessert, and I think I’ve finally figured out how I can participate in this type of thing without feeling weird about it–do what I love.  This time last year I posted an entry about the Relay for Life, where I talked about how the survivor activities just suck the very life out of me.  But Friday, I got to be a part of it by doing what I do best.  Now that’s MY kind of survivor activity. 

 Funny thing was, when I went to tear it down at 8PM sharp—because remember, I still need to drag all this stuff over to church and get it washed and set up there—I swear I was getting this entitlement vibe from the few survivors that were still hanging around.  Like, “I’m gonna stand here in front of this chocolate fountain as long as I want, until the cows come home, in fact, because I’M a survivor!”  I told my friend Dawn, who works for the ACS and is kind of in charge of this deal that next year I think I’ll wear one of my pink Komen shirts or maybe just go topless.  You know, whichever one she thought would be more effective of getting the message across, “Hey, I’m a survivor, too, so get your badonkadonk out of the way so I can get out of here before that creepy luminaria ceremony!”