Quote Monday and kids these days

Me: “I seriously doubt [any of the parents of those kids] would have let them watch that.”
Evelyn: “If you think [the kids in my class] haven’t seen it, you don’t know kids these days!”

Me: “Did you know that Grandma Kathy is my mama?”
Alex: “And mama is MY mama!”

Ollie: “I like restaurants where they give you too much to eat.”

Alex, from the back seat of the car: “OMG I am going pee pee!”

I don’t know if there are more frightening words from a not-quite-two-year-old who is not wearing a diaper in the car than “OMG I am going pee pee!” Certainly gets your attention.


Another 5k in the books

This is now my 2nd consecutive 5k after vowing never to run another 5k in my lifeĀ (though last year I clearly just blocked the entire thing out of my memory and didn’t even blog about it).

Last year I got suckered in by the insistence that “the WHOLE FAMILY is going to run”, and it was the same this year as well.


As always, the highlight was the face painting. We have had a lot of cool face painting over the years, but the dueling, “Eastern versus Western dragon” face tattoos were pretty awesome.


Alex asked for a “cake” on his face:


“Dada, take a picture of me eating mine bacon!”

My time had actually gone up a few seconds between year one and year two (36:38 vs 36:56), but I was pleasantly surprised to be under 35 minutes this year at 34:43. A year older and a whole two minutes shaved off my time!

I ran with Sara this year for the first time, and I was definitely struggling to keep up…until I found a little bit left in the tank at the last minute to beat her by 2 seconds. šŸ˜‰ “I knew you were going to do that the whole time,” she said (and she was right! How well she knows me; I was definitely going to do that the whole time.)

Oliver absolutely hates our practice runs and spends the whole time complaining about how hard it is. Often I have to hang back with him and try to motivate him to keep going.

Which is why it’s totally surprising that, come race day, there’s no catching him!

Last year he started off like a flash, but I hung back thinking, “Okay, he’s going to get tired and when he does, I’ll be back here waiting for him.” Eventually he got far enough ahead that I actually couldn’t catch up! Sara and Evelyn had started at the front of the pack, and we started at the back, so I struggled to keep up with him long enough for him to catch up to them, and then gave up and ran the rest of the race alone (well, technically I had Alex!)

It turns out that Oliver actually turned in a time of 32:57 and won his age group last year! Unfortunately we didn’t even consider that possibility and left before they called his name for the awards.

This year, he beat his time by almost FOUR MINUTES!! 29:13. That is…unbelievable. We thought for sure he must have won his age group, so it was no surprise when they called, “Oliver…” but it turns out there was a FASTER Oliver in his age group! Oliver beat the next closest person by about four minutes, but this other Oliver beat him by almost FIVE minutes! That’s nine minutes ahead of 3rd place! Yowza!

Too bad for Ollie, because he would have been so excited to win, but I still can’t believe he just went out and threw down a sub-30 minute 5k. After all the complaining he did, that little stinker!

Afterwards we went out for some post-race breakfast, and the kids got chocolate pancakes and hot chocolate. All in all, it was another great day at the race!


Quote Monday saves daddy from over consumption

Alex: “Dada, go downstairs.”
Me: “No, just wait. I’m busy.”
Alex: “Dada, go downstairs!”
Me: “No.”
Alex: “Dada…coffee’s ready!”
Me, laughing: “No it is not you liar, but it was a good attempt.”

Me: “I can’t believe you [went out for doughnuts and] forgot about your poor, old daddy.”
Sara: “We did think about you. They weren’t that good, and we saved you from 500 calories.”
Me: “Wow. Thank you so much for falling on that grenade for me.”

Alex: “I want MINE wine! I want mine bottle!”

Smart Phones: Stronger than phobias!

I have had a bus phobia for as long as I can remember.

As a rational person, I understand that phobias don’t make any sense.Ā  It’s not possible to reason with a phobia, because it’s not rational. For example, I only have anxiety on regular old city buses, with various stops, not like coach buses or school buses. I don’t have anxiety on trains. My fear is basically that I will get on the bus, the door will close, and the driver will say, “Well, as everybody knows, this bus now goes express to Texas” and I will somehow be powerless to stop this.

I certainly am not going to be able to explain it to you why this gives me anxiety, because I can’t even explain it to myself. For starters, that’s just not how buses work, and even if it was, surely I could stand up, make a scene, and insist they let me out. It’s not even a scary situation!

Regardless, if IĀ have to ride a bus, I usually spend the entire time in a kind of fight-or-flight mode. I am sweaty, my insides are twisting, my veins are pumping adrenaline. If you surprised me at that moment, I would probably jump through the roof. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s to the point where I just don’t see taking the bus as an option. I’d rather do just about anything else, including walking a couple of miles if necessary. Just not worth it.

I think I even know the exact moment this all began:

I don’t remember how old I was, but I was probably about 5 or 6. My mom decided that, as a fun thing to do, we would go for a bus ride. We’d catch a bus downtown, maybe walk around a little bit, and catch one back. Cheap form of entertainment. However, when we got to the bus station downtown, everything was confusing and complicated. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but I’m sure everything was contradictory and full of sighs and eye rolls at my mom, who was juggling 3 kids in a pre-cell phone era.

My brother and sister were blissfully unaware, but I was old enough to know that my mom was upset and didn’t know what to do, that we were far from home and didn’t know how to get back. My feeling at the time is that we might NEVER be able to get back home. I think right at that moment a feeling settled on me that buses were scary and impossible, with unknowable routes and schedules.

The irony, though, is that the story actually has a tremendously happy ending! Eventually my mom decided that we were going to need to walk home, and that being the case, we had better get started. As we were walking down the street, a bus pulled up next to us. “Where are you going?” asked the bus driver. “Uh…where are YOU going?” asked my mom, fully aware that was not how buses worked. “This is a special bus, ma’am,” said the bus driver. “We take you wherever you need to go.”

Keep in mind this memory is pretty old at this point, and memory (especially MY memory) is unreliable. My memory is that the bus dropped us of in front of our house, though I asked my mom about it years later and she said that wasn’t true. In any case, that anonymous bus driver is an absolute hero as far as I’m concerned.

Still, that feeling remains: buses are a mystery that follow no rules, or rather, they follow obscure rules that everybody knows except you, and you’re probably better off without them altogether.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I rode the bus today, anxiety free, thanks to my smart phone. I used to have a lot of anxiety about taking taxis, but it has completely disappeared due to Uber (lol on my comments at that old blog post asking people what Uber is). Turns out, the anxiety-inducing parts of taking a taxi were payment and not being able to track if the taxi was going to show up at my house, and those are handled by the app.

Turns out, my bus anxiety was not so much different.

With the app I can see the bus route at all times (NOT HEADED TO TEXAS THANK YOU VERY MUCH), and even where each bus is / how long I have to wait. I can obsessively check how many more stops I have before I have to get off (which I apparently need to do about every 20 seconds).

And today I rode the bus like a big boy! Anxiety free, like an actual human being.

Whole Foods Feud Update

Since multi-grain crust pizzas from Whole Foods came up yesterday in Oliver’s poem, I just want to give you a little update. You’re probably thinking that the feud has blown over, because you haven’t heard about it recently.

Well, it hasn’t.

Last Friday we called four hours early, as we have every week for the last THIRTEEN MONTHS, they told us that they were thawing some out and, in fact, writing a note to make sure the next shift knew about the pizzas, so there “wouldn’t be any surprises”.

Guess what? Surprises!!

When we got there to pick up the pizzas, it turns out they had already sold our multi-grain crusts to someone else. Not only were our pizzas on regular crusts, but they also made us broccoli instead of sausage.

It would be annoying if it wasn’t utterly predictable. They didn’t even give us a discount!

I do find it interesting that the response from the corporate office way back in May was, “Well, you know,Ā itā€™s really not that popularā€¦ā€ AND YET the number of times we show up to get our pizza only to find it has been sold to someone else. Obviously SOMEBODY out there wants it! Maybe if it wasn’t, I dunno, impossible to actually obtain, someone might buy it? Maybe?

Obviously there is no reason to continue ordering pizzas there. We have tried, oh have we tried, to help them get it together. We have vowed so many times to never buy pizzas there, and yet we go back. Why?

I guess for the sense of justice? Can you imagine if someone asked you to do something at work, and you were still getting it wrong after 52 consecutive weeks? Can you even imagine?

I was hoping maybe things would get better under Amazon, but at the moment I can say the Hyde Park Whole Foods has THE WORST pizza department in the ENTIRE WORLD.

“Where I’m From” by Oliver

I am from Whole Foods Cheese Pizza
with multi-grain crust (sometimes),
Battleship with Evelyn,
spider plants around the house,
making applesauce,
and wanting to be a soldier when I grow up
is where I’m from.

I am from birthday cheesecakes,
a brownstone house,
and Wisconsin is where I’m from.

I am from the Packers,
A Series of Unfortunate Events,
and homemade bread is where I’m from.

I am from time-outs
and butterflies.

This is where I’m from

I love this poem to pieces. “Time-outs and butterflies” is about the concisest, most accurate description of Oliver I can imagine.

Cranberry Almond Muffins

The first Friday of the month is reserved forĀ recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food postsĀ here.


Hi guys. Evelyn speaking.

As a advertisement for my business Party, Celebration, for all of the Nation, (Which comes with your choice of a party dessert, by the way), I am doing a guest post on my dad’s blog. I am doing step by step directions, so if you don’t like my method, go ahead and scroll all the way down for the recipe.

1.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2.Go ahead and put the dried cranberries and water on the stove. You can keep them on there for about 3 minutes, but since I tend to be the slower type of baker, keeping it on the lowest heat can be okay. Just make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate.


3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. (It should be mixed, the picture is only like this for decoration). Put like 5 pinches of lemon zest and put the rest in the freezer-you can use it to make scones.


4. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. If you are juicing (is it juicing or de-juicing?) a lemon, keep lemon juice clear of any cuts. It will sting bad if the two come into contact.


5. Mix the the wet ingredients into the dry until ALMOST combined. Drain the water out of the cranberries, and fold them into the mixture.

6. Grease some muffin tins and put the batter in. It should make 12 muffins, so if you have less, even it out between all 12. Then put three sliced almonds in a triangular shape on top of all the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Tip: Do not lick the spoon. This muffin batter does not taste good before baking. Belive me; I tried.


7. Let the muffins cool on a cooling rack. Eat them with fruit or at least a glass of water because they tend to be on the dry side, (It’s not your fault).


The Recipe:

(It’s from the Vegan Yum-Yum cookbook.)

  • 1/2 rounded cup dried cranberries in 1/2 c. water
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBL. cornstarch
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 c. milk
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place the cranberries and water in a small saucepan and heat until simmering.Ā  Simmer for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, and lemon zest.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, lemon juice, veggie oil, vanilla, and almond extracts.
  5. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until almost combined.Ā  Drain the cranberries and fold into the batter, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fill a muffin tin with batter, top with a few sliced almonds, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.