I’m not sure really.

So I have this thing where I like to stash stuff away to find at later times. I couldn’t tell you when I started doing this but I know it’s been at least since my high school career because one time, I found an entire box of spoons – individually labeled with restaurant of origin and location – and one of those restaurants, was the place I ate at on prom night, so I guess it was a thing.

Like a butterfly collection, but for stolen flatware.

Now that I think about it, I have no idea where that box went so if you ever come across a bunch of labeled spoons at a Goodwill you’ll at least know what the hell that was about.

Anyway, I also do this with ideas.

Ideas are a bit harder to corral but I have a few traps that seem to work. I have a little notey-book upstairs which works very nicely. In the kitchen, I have my recipe box.

A while back, my mom was getting rid of her old recipe box – the one that I grew up with. The one that always says to me “Here is where important things are.” I have clear memories of it being a useful thing in my life so you can understand why, when she asked if I wanted it, I said “HELL YES.”

Did I have a use for it? No. To be honest, it sat around for about a year and a half, looking all empty and judgmental.

And then, one day, we had to have a note card for something school related. I don’t know what it was, maybe the science fair? Whatever, we only needed one card.

But you can’t just buy one note card, can you?

No, you cannot.

They make you buy that shit in packs of five million even though we only needed one. We had note cards all over the damn kitchen.

They drove me to distraction. I had no idea what to do with them. I didn’t have any recipes to write down because they’re all on-line now. And who the hell uses note cards anyway?

I moved them from the window sill to the basket above the microwave, back to the windowsill. They were in the way. I didn’t want to get rid of them, because you never know, but I hated them for even existing in my house because what the hell do you do with a note card?

And then one day, I had this perfect sentence in my head. It was hilarious. I didn’t want to lose it. I loved that sentence and somehow, that evening, I was smart enough to know that I’m dumb enough to forget shit. So I grabbed a friggen’ note card and friggen’ wrote it down.

And for one shining second, the depthless world of note taking opened up to me. I saw the universal truth of the three by five and its glorious role in fragmented thoughts that you don’t want to forget but don’t want to hold on to any more. There may have been tiny cherubs and angles and shit. It was an epiphany that glorious.

And twenty seconds after that, I had a note-card crisis. Because WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A NOTE CARD? They aren’t useful – they’re too tiny. They always get stuffed in that damn basket above the microwave and then I gotta fish them out one by one. I hate that basket.

[Right up until I need stamps. And then I love that basket because I know exactly where the stamps are.]

As I searched the room, the OCD part of my brain noticed that my mom’s old recipe box was perfectly note card shaped.

And then it realized that the lid didn’t shut all the way so if one were to have, say, just one little note, one could slide it into the box without even opening it up.

Thus, my idea cache was born!

The difference between this cache and all my other ones is that, I know where this one is I just don’t know what’s in it.

how is this even a little bit of a surprise to you

I don’t know, Past-Me. I just don’t know.

I am eagerly awaiting my new career in the Magic 8-Ball and Fortune Cookie Fields.

 

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I did not make it up. It’s a thing.

I changed the bed linens the other day. And by “changed” I mean “I took them off the bed, ran them through the laundry, and folded them.”

When it came time to go to bed, I trudged upstairs, only to be reminded that I hadn’t actually put the clean stuff back ON the bed. But I was too tired to struggle with the fitted sheet so I made my husband a deal – if he dealt with that fitted monstrosity, I would put the pillow sheets back on. His response was laughter.

Lots and lots of laughter.

Apparently, he had never heard the term “pillow sheets” before.

So then I got to wondering. Did I make up the term pillow sheets? I didn’t think so but you know how it goes – the more you think about something, the stranger it gets. That happened to me during the years I lived in the South. No one believed me that there is technically an ‘O’ in front of the word ‘possum’.

NO ONE.

But now that in internet is a thing I’d like to say:

SHUT UP ITS A THING

WHO IS THE CRAZY ONE NOW, BRIAN?!

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Spacetime

Spacetime is almost a buzzword these days. Everybody knows what you mean when you say spacetime. Han Solo did the Kessel run in 12 parsecs because of spacetime. Scotty can beam Captain Kirk out of peril because of spacetime. Without spacetime, there would be no Doctor.

But the idea behind spacetime is still an abstract concept that takes a little bit of explaining to understand. And even if you do understand it perfectly, I think you can still appreciate the simple way in which this definition paints a very clear picture:

“Although it sounds abstract, the notion of time as a dimension is actually concrete. When we want to meet someone, we tell them where “in space” we will expect to see them – for instance, the 9th floor of the building on the corner of 53rd Street and 7th Avenue. There are three pieces of information here (9th floor, 53rd Street, 7th Avenue) reflecting a particular location in the three spatial dimensions of the universe. Equally important, however, is our specification of when we expect to meet them- for instance, at 3 P.M. This piece of information tells us where “in time” our meeting will take place. Events are therefore specified by four pieces of information: three in space and one in time.  Such data, it is said, specifies the location of the event in space and in time, or spacetime, for short. In this sense, time is another dimension.”

-Brian greene, “The Elegant Universe”

Spacetime

“Spacetime”, according to these two kids I know, is best defined as a Space-bank heist in Space-time with a map of Earth (sans Canada) in background.

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Trevor Pyle: Your New Internet Crush

Trevor Pyle: Awesome Guy

Trevor Pyle: Awesome Guy

Trevor Pyle is a sports reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald, an excellent cook and has the keenest sense of humor I’ve ever met. He also has a gigantic cat named Keaton.

Trevor is also an excellent writer.

Last year, Esquire Magazine ran a flash fiction contest – all entries to be exactly 79 words in honor of the magazine’s 79th year. He sent it to me (because us writers do things like that) and I immediately begged him to let me re-post it. And after much whining and crying, he finally relented.

The Letter

That night, Tyler helped Will write a love letter to his ex-girlfriend.

Will wrote at a kitchen table littered with bottles and ballpoint pens with chewed ends. He had written a list of things he loved about Sandy, like “your pretty hair.”

Tyler crossed lines out. He wrote, “the way you close your eyes when you’re laughing hard.”

Will went to bed but Tyler stayed up, crossing out lines, putting in different words, trying to make it perfect.

 

Find and follow Trevor on Twitter at @TrevorPyle. He’s hilarious. You won’t be disappointed.

You can also find and follow me on Twitter at @snickerpants 
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How to get your child to successfully clean their own room (by sevens)

Materials:

  • Child
  • Messy room
  • Timer

1. Clear your calendar of any responsibilities for at least 4 hours.

2. Make sure your child knows that although they will be cleaning their room, they MUST be willing to take breaks to play. Do not take no for an answer. THEY MUST BE WILLING TO TAKE PLAY BREAKS OR EVERYTHING WILL GO TO HELL AND THE COMMUNISTS WIN. You can use these exact works if you like.

Shh, Don't tell Mom she's crazy.

Shh, Don’t tell Mom she’s crazy.

3. Set the timer for 7 minutes. When it goes off, they must go in their room and pick up all the dirty clothes and put them in the laundry. You may encounter some whining. If so, remind your child that once they’re done with the one simple task, they must take a break to go play some more.

4. After they’ve picked up all the dirty clothes, inspect the floor to make sure they really did get everything. (I like to point out any missed socks or underwear with my toe but I don’t actually pick anything up.) When they’re done, they must go back out and play. Set the timer for another 7 minutes.

6. While they’re playing, inspect the mess again and decide what to clear up next.Each step should be about 5 minutes of work more or less. A good next step is rounding up stuffed animals or putting all the books away. It is important to let them know the next task as soon as you can. 

7. At the timer, help them transition into cleaning again by reminding them what the next task is.

8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 until you can see the floor.

There are two key points to this method that you, as a parent, must be willing to do.

Firstly, you must also appear to be busy. Not ‘on the computer’ busy but actually ‘walking around cleaning stuff’ busy No kid wants to be the only person in the house cleaning up a mess, especially if they know you’re doing something fun while they’re stuck picking seventeen million Legos off the floor. If you are busy cleaning stuff too, they’re just helping out.

Secondly, you must stick by the timer. If you ignore the timer when it goes off, they will too. Do that twice and you can go ahead and clean their room by yourself because you aren’t actually teaching them anything but how to ignore you.

After the first or second round, you might encounter a bit of resistance. It may help to have a few easier tasks such as “pick up your shoes”. Here is a list of the cleanup tasks we do (kind of in order):

  1. Dirty clothes to laundry
  2. Put all stuffed animals away
  3. Books back on the shelf
  4. Costumes and props away
  5. Pick up all magazines and papers
  6. Pick up and put away sports equipment/shoes/balls
  7. Pick up play food/dishes
  8. Pick up action figures/dolls
  9. Good luck with the Legos/Playmobil
  10. Sweep/vacuum check

Try to clear big items away first and gradually assign smaller and smaller toys to pick up. Not only will it be easier to see the larger toys but they won’t miss any that may be hiding underneath stuff. Save the Legos, Playmobil and Polly Pocket shoes for last.

When they’re done, set the timer for one last round. After it goes off, walk with your kid into their room. Stand in the room and make them look at the job they did. If you’re feeling especially wordy, now is the perfect time for that lecture about how you can do anything you set your mind to by breaking big jobs into small tasks.

Then congratulate them for doing a good job.

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At least they were trying to be scientific.

This morning, I made up some iced coffee as I am known to do during the summer months. I drank the entire glass. It was delicious.

When I went to pour myself some more, I found this at the bottom of my glass swimming around with the rest of the almost melted ice:

Where the hell did they get a candy cane this time of year?

I drank the ENTIRE GLASS of coffee before I found this.

The adult side of me immediately wanted to know who put that in ice cube bin of the freezer because that’s A) gross and B) not safe.

The parenting side of me just sighed.

Then the scientist side of me looked at it and thought, “Why the hell hasn’t that candy cane dissolved yet?”

This thought brought me to a logical conclusion. In retribution for the wayward chemistry experiments I am going to make them use their summer-addled brains to figure it out.

I think that’s only fair.

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Has Anyone Seen the Mr. Coffee?

 

coffee

Because I literally cannot find it.

I found seven other types of coffee pot which make seven different types of fussy little European coffees which can be satisfying. But I don’t need satisfying right now, I need some damn coffee and the actual Mr. Coffee Coffee pot is completely gone.

It’s almost as though I’m under some sort of ancient gypsy coffee pot curse, doomed to buy a new coffee pot every summer in order to make iced coffee. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out what it is I’ve done to curse me into losing every fucking american-style coffee pot I’ve ever owned and loved.

Ugh, coffee-pot curses are the worst.

 

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This is not funny. Ever.

“Make me a Sandwich, Bitch.”

I am not saying you can’t use the phrase because, who am I to tell you what you can and cannot say? In fact, if you are the type of person that finds it funny then it’s probably best if you do say it out loud, at at the earliest point in conversation. Especially if you think it’s a joke.

But just so you understand, the joke is not in the phrase – the joke is in the person speaking it. By using this phrase (or any of its Woman-belong-in-the-Kitchen derivations) you’ve just shown everyone an intimate part of your nature. Mainly, that you are the type of person that finds this funny.

“But I only use it ironically.”

Really? Because “being ironic” is not valid justification for being a Level 28 Misogynistic Jackass. This isn’t funny. This is malicious sexism. It’s bigotry dressed up as a one-liner.

Don’t believe me? Try this:

Instead of saying “Bitch” at the end of the sentence, substitute one of the following words: Nigger, Spic, Chink, Gook, Fag or Dyke.

Now say the whole thing, out loud, in front of your coworkers. You don’t get to explain yourself afterward.

Does it still seem funny to you?

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Tough Bastard.

I haven’t posted anything new for some time and I would like to apologize to all three of my readers for being so reticent.

I have not been idle though. I have built stuff. And planted stuff. And defended stuff. I also  learned how to use the saw. I will say more about that soon but for now I am trying to finish this damn scene. I’ve just spent an hour writing a few paragraphs that will most likely NOT make it into this book. However, I love this little passage and I don’t want to throw it away. So I’m giving it to you.

She turned south on the side street then turned again down the small street that led to the back of the house. The rain had stopped but clouds still covered the moon giving everything in the alley an extra creepy blanket of shadow.

Because this was a gentrified alley, there were no villains hiding within these shadows – only a geriatric holly thicket that went by the name Tough Bastard.

Tough Bastard had spent the greater part of the twentieth century waging an unceasing (and very pokey) battle against the world – stray cats, garbage trucks and the property line fence in particular. Generations of gardeners had been employed to tame the massive thing but the only method of pruning that has ever won back any territory, is driving a car through it on a regular basis.

 

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Thank you Mr. Watterson. You can pick him up anytime you like.

This is my husband and my kid:

this is why we can't have nice stuff

Thanks to my sister, Jennifer Mills, for taking this picture.

Thank you Bill Watterson. You can pick him up any time you like.

He’s got the eye thing down pretty well.

 THAT’S MY BOY!

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