Confessions of a Working Mom

Dear anybody who was unlucky enough to stand too close to me yesterday. Sorry! I skipped my shower. Ran out of time.

I keep trying to get up earlier and earlier, and somehow there seems to be less and less time. So I used my morning for something other than bathing, OK? And I may or may not have skipped my shower the day before too. Who can say? Dry shampoo — you are my new best friend.

I also need to vent a little. Sometimes I get a little annoyed with stay-at-home moms who say they are so busy and have no time. In the past I even had one comment that I never did much. Really? I mean, I’m not saying you don’t do a LOT. I’m not saying that you don’t work hard. You do! Buy let’s try a little comparison.

Stay-at-home moms do: mom stuff, maintain their household, and volunteer stuff.

Working moms, especially work-out-of-the-house moms, do: mom stuff, try really hard to maintain their household, sometimes still manage to do volunteer stuff, and work an entire workweek out of the house.

Let’s say stay-at-home moms have an 80+-hour work week. I know. I know. Some of you would say the job never ends. It is 24-7. And that is true.

But working moms have all that PLUS a 40ish-hour-per-week job on top of it. Sometimes it’s more than 40 hours. And don’t forget drive time. Or the fact that grocery stores will have longer lines when we can be there.

So stay-at-home moms just lop 40+ hours out of the middle of your week where you can’t do any housework and see how that goes. Trust me, you’ll find time for things that you never thought you could do. But there may not always be time for a shower.

And please do not tell me or treat me like I should hire help or quit my job. If i could hire help I would probably not bother with the 40ish-hour-a-week job (at least not as many hours of it).

Don’t get me wrong I really like my job. But it is also necessary.

My “help” comes in the form of a glass of wine at the end of the day. Yesterday, after working, shopping for groceries and Halloween costume supplies, and feeding my family, I was too tired for that glass of wine. Since I missed it last night, I thought about having it when I got up this morning at 4:50 AM — it’s still kind of nighttime, right? I needed to try to put away some groceries that, sadly, did not put themselves away as I slept. That glass of wine will have to wait. I’m pretty darn determined to get that shower in!

I might even wear jewelry to work today. I always try for earrings because I look more professional, and I can put them in my pocket as I leave the door and then pop them on at a stoplight. I have gotten really good at doing a lot of things at stoplights. But necklaces don’t always happen. Necklaces or bracelets with a clasp are even less likely to happen. So pasta necklace with a 30″ inch cord, you are good to go. Unless you get tangled with something else. In which case, sayonara.

Pretty, hand-beaded 16″ necklace and lovely amethyst bracelet with a safety clasp, I am sorry. I know I’ve been neglecting you. I swear I will wear you again. You are beautiful! Always believe that. But I am much more likely to wear necklaces that are long enough that I can just put them over my head. Presto, jewelry!

So yes, stay-at-home moms, you work. You do get busy. I’ll get over the fact that “busy” may include lunch with friends at the local artisan pizza place. I still love you. I appreciate you a lot. I know you volunteer for the kids more than I do. I really hope I didn’t stand too close to any of you yesterday and cause any olfactory discomfort. I could use one of you in our house.

But right now it’s 6:25. My daughter’s alarm is ringing. We need to get going. The time that I’ve used to write this blog entry has been stolen from laundry time and maybe from drinking that glass of wine, but hopefully NOT from the shower. I really NEED that shower.


Because I Should Really Have An App Just For Keeping Recipes, Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough Recipe

Maybe this type of recipe app exists already, but I don’t have one. I have other apps that already have recipes, but I just want an app where I can enter or import my own recipes like a pocket-size set of index cards. Recipes that I really like would be easier to keep track of. And I’d be less likely to misplace notes on recipes-in-progress and experiments – like my mead. There are index card apps! Maybe I’ll check them out and see how well they’d work for this type of thing.

In the meantime, I can post recipes here on my blog so I won’t misplace them. Today, I came across this article and recipe for two-ingredient pizza dough.

Click here for the article on two-ingredient pizza crust.

Here’s the recipe:
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 to 1.5 Cups Self-Rising Flour*

*Or 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1.5 tsp. baking powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt – thus making it more of a four-ingredient pizza dough, but it still sounds good and fairly simple. Then they brush it with olive oil so it’s really a five-ingredient pizza dough. But who’s counting?

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes (presumably until it builds gluten and the dough bounces back after a stretch). Add small amounts of flour if the dough is too sticky. Don’t let it sit around and rise like a yeast-based dough. Immediately form the dough into your desired pizza crust shape. Brush with olive oil. Add toppings. Put into a 450 degree oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

I really like the idea of making my own self-rising flour because I think I might try it with some white whole wheat flour. Maybe add some honey to the dough too for a honey-wheat crust. That way I’d have a “simple” seven-ingredient pizza dough. Yum! Can we eat yet?

Mango Sunny Passion from Capital Teas, a Mini Tea Review

It’s getting to be a good time of year for hot beverages. Not that I don’t like them year round, but cozying up with a fragrant cup of yum as defense against the chill of autumn or winter is especially enjoyable.

I’m happy to have found Mango Sunny Passion tea from Capital Teas. The name may imply it’s nice for spring or summer, but I’m enjoying it here in October just fine.

This is a green and white tea blend with mango, pineapple, and yellow rosebuds. No added flavoring or artificial flavorings are listed as ingredients.

The crisp taste of green and white tea comes through nicely – a floral, fruity, light tea with brightness and light astringency. This isn’t a grassy or vegetal green. I can taste some mango and pineapple but these are not overpowering so I can still taste the tea. Some fruity teas might as well be fruit juice they’re so fruity, but this is well balanced.

Abundant sage greens and silvery hues are dotted with light yellow fruit bits and rosebuds to make this a visually lovely tea.

I brewed it as I would a white tea. The liquor is light as one might expect from a white and light green tea. So far, a second steeping is just as flavorful as the first. Hopefully it will hold up well for a third.

I’m excited to be trying teas from Capital Teas as they’ve opened a shop that’s easy for me to visit. I’d rate Mango Sunny Passion right up there with some of my favorite Teavana white tea blends from years past.

Slow Mead

In May of 2012 we started trying to make our own mead. We made three separate batches, all done around the same time, but done differently — different types of honey, different additives, slightly different overall process.

Letting it sit for a while and tasting it at various stages, we FINALLY bottled it today. Talk about taking our time! Mead takes a long time, so maybe this is somewhat appropriate.

The clarity of the mead has been quite good for a while, and we’ve been meaning to bottle it. I think I purchased the bottles over a year ago. I may have left some of the mead on some of the lees (yeast carcasses at the bottom) too long, but we’ll see. I wouldn’t say that any of the batches are fantastic yet, but they say some stronger meads can take 2-3 years and up before they’re really good …

At an earlier taste test one of the batches had a distinct sort of rubber aroma which was quite yucky. I’m pleased to say that wackiness has aged out completely. Whew! Just goes to show how important it is to age mead.

One of the batches, batch #1 as it would happen, was pretty good at the six month mark, but we decided to let it go longer as mead is supposed to take a while to age properly. At that time I made some cyser because I wanted to try something that was quicker. The cyser was not bad. I still have one bottle of it. I kind of wish I saved two. Oh well.

Mead batch #1, the one that was a fairly nice at six months, has lost nearly all of its sweetness now. In fact, I’d have to say the same for all three batches — all dry and not really sweet at all. I guess that’s somewhat to be expected. Maybe.

Two of the batches taste fairly strong now. As I didn’t own a hydrometer when I started the mead (kicking myself), I don’t know the actual alcohol content. I can guess, however, and if I compare to other known beverages, I’d guess these are the high end of what the yeast tolerated, maybe 14%? Maybe 16%? 18%? Ack.

I REALLY wish I could find my notes. I HAVE them. Somewhere. That would tell my the exact type of yeast I used and the recipe for each of these batches.

I don’t mind the dryer mead. It’s has a beautiful aroma. One of the batches tastes close to a dry white wine. Not bad, but it’s not really the traditional mead that I was going for either. Two of the batches seem a little strong, a bit like firewater. So maybe this stuff is good for dry mead that just needs to age a bit more. Um, don’t know.

I think I’ll leave all to age longer except for the two bottles that didn’t get filled all the way. Those are free game for experimentation! I’ll get out my mad scientist/mixologist hat. I may try back sweetening a bit to get more of the sweeter honey-mead flavor that I’m used to. Maybe I’ll add a bit of acid to one of the batches as it seems a little flat. And I need to find those notes.

Upturned Noses and Glasses and Buns

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Upturned Noses which asks:

Even the most laid back and egalitarian among us can be insufferable snobs when it comes to coffee, music, cars, beer, or any other pet obsession where things have to be just so. What are you snobbish about?

I like to try a lot of different foods, so maybe I’m snobbish about that. I don’t quite understand people who refuse to try something new. “What do you mean you won’t try the eel scaloppine with fried mealworms in peanut butter sauce?”

I can probably be snobbish about tea and maybe mead and some kinds of food. Except that, really, I’ll still drink or enjoy just about any kind.

I adore good tea — perfect jasmine green infused with the scent of actual blossoms, not just added flavoring. That’s snobbery talk right there. A Greener oolong that has matured into a delicate floral or a darker robust oolong from Taiwan. Yum! New Darjeeling you think is great? I’ll try that too.

I like a good basic mead — Chaucer’s the kind we can get at our local Renaissance Festival and elsewhere is certainly enjoyable. Fox Hill Special Reserve which is made with a darker honey has a bit of bitterness and a lot of depth. Some Redstone Mountain Mead can be impressive too. It’s real mead made in small batches — some can be bitter and some wonderful. They even date the batches, so you’ll want to get more of the same date if you like a batch. That’s mead for a mead snob for sure.

Unless I’m allergic, it could poison me, or it’s a dish that exhibits unusual cruelty, I’ll usually try any kind of food. I read about a Japanese dish called Ikizukuri where live fish is sliced and served still moving. I think I’ll avoid that, thanks.

But I do love to taste a variety of new things! I love gourmet dishes that have the perfect balance of flavors, colors, and textures, but I also love hot dogs from gas stations that have been roasting on those metal rollers for hours thus reducing water content and enhancing flavors. You do not know a good hot dog if you turn your nose up at those things. So maybe that’s makes me a hot dog snob. Is it wrong to have a hot dog with my beautiful jasmine tea? Maybe. The darker oolong would probably be better with hot dogs.

Time for a One-way Street

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is One-way Street which asks:

Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

Aren’t we already riding a giant time machine of sorts? I mean it’s fairly sequential and analog, but we are moving through time and space – sometimes faster or slower (usually inversely proportional to how much we like where we are). The only difference is that we can’t really skip over chunks of time forward or back. We’re locked into a sequence – now must happen before the future and after the past. Future and past touch at this single point.

I’d have a seriously hard time choosing which I’d want to jump to – the future or the past. Presumably which ever machine I choose means I must stay in the time period it takes me since the directions say that machine goes in only one direction. So I can’t return from wherever or whenever.

I’d not want to go far forward. I might miss my daughter growing up. I don’t want to miss any of that. Too far in the past and I risk the same.

I’d love a time machine that could skip back small amounts of time – a few minutes or hours, seconds even – avoid car accidents, evacuate dangerous areas before earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanos, attacks … Maybe jump back a couple of hours to get more cleaning or organizing done because it always takes longer than I want it to. Always!

Going forward in short spurts seems kind of pointless. What, avoid long lines at airports and amusement parks? Seems like a bit of overkill and a waste of technology.

So OK, I guess I do have my answer. I’d get the time machine that goes back in time, but only use it for super short little trips back. It’s not that I want to live in the past — but it would be nice to have a few do-overs for those times that important mess-ups happen in a matter of seconds.

Life In Transit

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is In Transit which asks:

Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?

Sometimes I feel like all of life is just one big transportation station or terminal. We’re all movin’ on through. It’s not a stationary place or at least shouldn’t be. We may have an extended layover in certain places or phases of our lives, but if you stay for too long you risk losing your connecting flight or bus or next phase of life. That’s not really traveling efficiently, right?

As we’re all on a journey of sorts together, I feel like there’s a certain amount of bonding that can happen with our fellow travelers. People give advice or I’ll offer help back. Some people are just fun to talk to. A knowing laugh from a fellow passenger can brighten a crummy day. Many keep to themselves.

There are some who are constantly too loud and don’t know when to stop. Some who put their needs in front of those of twenty or more others just because they want to make sure they’re not cheated somehow. And in the process everybody else gets cheated of a little peace. Those folks are annoying. But, really, if you don’t let them get under your skin they can be entertaining too. I think that’s the real trick. These folks are helpful to remind me how awesome some of the other people can be. There is value in that. I’d have to say that some of my most valued life lessons were from the people who hurt me or bothered me most.

You might ride a train with a woman who has 100 barrettes in her bundled mass of hair and try to figure out if that is, indeed, a large band-aid sticking out from the right side of her sculpted locks. Is it art? A knowing look and a smile from the couple two seats behind her tells you that they too wonder a few things. Then you arrive at your stop and move on.

Welcome, Stranger (In a Strange and Not So Strange Land)

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt for Sunday, October 5, asks:

Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?

Hands down the strangest thing to most people who visit where I live would be the traffic. It is almost nonstop 24-7 traffic jam here. We have lots of jams all the time. And I don’t mean the sweet kind one might put on toast. From about 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM and again from about 3:00 to 6:30 PM folks from out of town who somehow manage to be on the road then will often imagine that there’s some kind of accident up ahead, but no. That’s what it’s like five days a week and some weekends depending on where you’re driving. If there is an accident or if it’s raining or snowing or the wind is kind of strong that day then expect worse. If you’re downtown DC and there’s an event or if some official is traveling somewhere that involves driving with an entourage then you can expect gridlock. They regularly close off streets just because. And off-hours, like 10:00 PM, if road crews are out making repairs or building something new you can pretty much expect a traffic jam then too.

So, there are a lot of things some people might find strange here such as the number of people who look different — from explorative hair colors to piercings to people who dress in the same things they’d wear if they were still in their own country, there’s a lot of variety. I think people kind of expect some of that around here though. I don’t even think I’d call it strange. I enjoy the number of different nationalities — the languages spoken just about anywhere, the different ethnic restaurants we have so many of. Yum!

But jams are the thing. Too few roads and too few transportation options — you’d think we’d have tons of trains or other futuristic options, but not so much — mixed with too many people trying to get somewhere, and pretty soon it’s hard to get anywhere at all. Strange.

Bark or Howl at the Moon

Today’s Daily Prompt from the Daily Post asks:

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen Ginsberg
Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?

I will try to rein in references to Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon. I just saw that on Pop-Up Videos so I can’t get it out of my head when I read “Howl at the Moon.” I almost never watch Pop-up Videos — maybe once a year or less. Not sure how that even happened. I think Dave might have turned it on. A little dose of the 1980s isn’t the worse thing in the world for us. My daughter had no clue why we found it so entertaining. The comment bubbles on Pop-up asked if animals even bark at the moon at all. They concluded that wolves to not and apparently Ozzy was dressed as a wolfman or werewolf, so the video was just wrong. There you have it. Pop-up Science.

Is howling at the moon much different than barking? Does it matter what kind of animal you are? Not all animals bark or howl. Can I just meow at the moon? Maybe howling comes from deeper within than barking. Is it more guttural? Maybe it’s inspired by something more specific — a light, either inner or outer. Glow. I mean any old dog can bark at just about anything, right?

Today’s post

OK, yesterday I wrote that I would start posting regularly again even if the posts were short. Well this one is short. Might write more later. But hay, it’s something!

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