Christmas Madness

Tis the season, not so much to be jolly but to be massively behind. John and I are in major catch up mode to get strips out so blogging will remain light for the next couple of days :-)

Hope everyone was Merry Merry !! 

Kreative Blogger

Many many thanks to Margaret Shulock for naming the Edison blog (and the whole site in general) for a Kreative Blogger award.

Margaret is one of the Six Chix (whose strip and blog I read regularly) and an incredible lady. You can read about my visit with Margaret this summer here.

Part of the award includes naming 7 blogs I would give a Kreative Blogger award to and linking to them. I'm pretty much sticking with my blogroll (Between Friends, The Mad Blog, Bizarro Blog, Cul de Sac, Pooch Cafe etc.) down at the lower right but I'm adding one and sort of reinstating  one. 

First, is the blog for Fiddlehead Yarns. This is the blog for a yarn store near me and, though it is local and you probably won't be popping in for yarn anytime soon if you don't live around here, the blog is always interesting anyway. And inspirational - you may find yourself having to run down to a yarn store near you to get knitting, crocheting, etc.

Secondly is the wonderful blog for Kieran Meehan who does the King Features strip Pros and Cons as well as single panel cartoons and fabulous paintings. I had to take Kieran's blog off my blogroll because somehow it would never load right or update but I read it regularly and you should really check it out. 

Also I am supposed to list 7 things people don't know about me. This is tough because thanks to blogging and the internet I think everyone pretty much knows everything about everybody these days - we are the paparazzi now - but here goes:

I am an addicted knitter since 1980 (when you couldn't get any decent yarn - only acrylic - man, how times have changed.)

Even though I play classical music for a living, my radio is always tuned to rock or NPR.

A piece of English Toffee (my favorite candy) once cost me $1500 when it pulled off a dental crown which was subsequently lost.

I was a classically trained ballet/modern/jazz dancer for 12 years.

When my mother advised me to take French in High School (because every musician should) I stubbornly took Latin instead. (This was to backfire on me mightily when I went to France to study harp knowing only "Ballet French" - honestly, you can only get so far knowing things like "Fondue means to melt" and "Tondue means to stretch")

I am allergic to fish.

I cannot abide beets.

Ultraman Flap

OK so the emails are coming in. We know, we know, we know about Ultraman. We knew it would be a problem before the strip ran. The company that readies Edison strips for publication reminded us about the name and it was decided to change it to "Captain Amalgam". That change was to be effected by the production company and it obviously did not happen. To Ultraman fans everywhere we apologize.

Produce Drawer of Death or "I Need a New Fridge"

So it's the holiday season and that means guests. 

And that means cleaning. 

Not just cleaning. 


As in everything.

Everything as in all three bathrooms - including the medicine cabinets (you know people open your medicine cabinets), all the mold and mildew in the shower (you know they look at that too - I don't know why, but they do), the toilets (including under the lid - a place the boys in my life should understand some people will see), behind the toilets and the pedestal sinks (ugh!.. my very least favorite - it's where all the dog hair not only gathers but somehow congeals), and the ritual placing of the fake towels (you know the ones - the ones no one in the family ever uses so they'll look nice for company - and the "company" thinks they are also too nice to use and so they sneakily wipe their hands on the shower curtain).

Everything as in moving all the furniture when you vacuum because someone might actually change the position of something and discover what's lurking under there much of the year.

Everything as in all the doors and door frames and light switches and kitchen cabinet knobs that apparently have not been cleaned since last Christmas. It's amazing how much grime builds up in these places without me noticing it. When I suddenly become aware of it about, oh.. Dec 6th, I am stunned at its obviousness and our slovenliness. For a brief moment, I worry that this grime will have been obvious to any and all other guests we may have had throughout the course of the year. Then, like the blissful forgetfulness that follows labor pains, I put it out of my mind until next December.

Everything as in the stovetop (never, I repeat never get a black enamel rangetop - shows every last water spot and grease speck) and the oven door and the dishwasher door (goddamned stainless steel). 

And, finally.... everything as in the inside of the fridge. Yes the inside of the fridge. Because not only is this the time of year for many guests, it's the time of year for many guests to help you. They will be in the kitchen helping get food on the table and fetching things in and out of the fridge for you and JUDGING YOU.

Which brings me to why I need a new fridge. Because not only is my fridge of an unknown age (it came with the house 12 years ago and it was probably at least 15 years old then), my fridge is frightening. Frightening because it makes a variety of unsettling noises  - hisses and pops and growls and grumblings - it's like something out of the Shining. When I open the door, I expect to hear "Redrum!" or else see those animal things from the fridge in Ghostbuters. And frightening because of all the death it contains. Dead soup, dead bowls of spagetti, dead half eaten yogurts, dead jars of crystalized jam, dead chinese food, and dead produce. 

Now the produce is in a different category of death. Most of the dead items in my fridge consist of optimistically placed leftovers. (You'd think after 24 years John and I would know which types of leftovers will actually get eaten and which ones are doomed to become a ritualistic sacrifice to the refrigerator gods. Yet we continue to put all supper leftovers in there blithely assuming they'll turn into lunches.) These I at least have no problem eventually throwing away - they never taste as good as when they were new anyway and they grow fascinating varieties of mold. But the produce represents a bigger failure. The produce represents a quest for healthy eating. Salads never made, vegetables never served for dinner, oranges that, while they looked juicy at the store, have turned out to be little rind covered balls of sawdust.

I try, I really do. Every trip to the grocery store I buy all these healthy fresh foods with every intention of consuming every bit of them. So where does it all break down? Why are these foods not getting eaten? It's not that we are junk food junkies - we love to cook and these  are foods we actually like to eat. 

No, the fault lies with my fridge and the produce drawer of death. My theory is that it is all the fault of the design of my "freezer on top - fridge on the bottom" refrigerator. First of all there are two produce drawers - one that says "moist cold" and one that says "vegetables and fruit" and the fact that I cannot for the life of me figure out what is supposed to go into the "moist cold" one if it isn't vegetables and fruit. Second is the fact that the drawers are tinted like sunglasses and you cannot see what is in them without opening them. This, of course, means that, unless you open them constantly, stuff is pretty sure to be going bad in there. Thirdly, and here is where we get to the new fridge part, the produce drawers are all the way at the bottom of the fridge. I practically have to get down on my hands and knees to even get access to them. Talk about out of sight out of mind. So what I need is... drumroll please... one of those new refrigerators that has the freezer on the bottom and the fridge on the top with the lovely french doors and the produce drawers right smack dab at eye level. With clear plastic that I can see through to boot. 

I am absolutely, stupendously sure that this will solve all of my fridge death problems and we will eat healthy evermore. And, I won't have to clean the fridge this year for company :-)

Are you listening, John?


This one really got me today. It is so true.

Ice Scrapers I have Made

Let me start by saying that I live in the Northern Midwest. Not only that, I have lived my entire life in the Northern Midwest. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin. This means that I have experienced Winter. And I really mean Winter

So, round about December, there is really no excuse for A) being unable to assemble  a matching pair of thermal gloves or mittens B) not knowing where anyone's snow pants are C) not knowing where any boots are and - most importantly - D) not being able to find a single ice scraper.

The explanation I offer for  A is that my children think all gloves and mittens are there for the taking. So they take them. And they never bring them back. No matter who they might actually have belonged to. This has led me to view the school lost and found as a sort of glove and mitten exchange where I can - for a brief moment in time - borrow a pair of mittens to replace the ones my child has donated - for a brief moment in time - to your child.

The explanation I offer for B and C is that I carefully put these items away into storage - usually in about July. July because, in Wisconsin you might still need your boots and snow pants in May, and by June - when you are just about sure you don't need them anymore - you still might. And by July you are tired of kicking the boots every time you enter the back door. So I put them away - each year selecting a new foolproof "I can't possibly forget where I put them this time" location. 

By August I have forgotton where that is. By September I don't care. By October I know I should care but still don't. In November the temperature will be 65 and sunny on Tuesday and, without warning, a blizzard will descend on Wednesday - followed within 36 hours by subzero temperatures. (This year Snow took a pass on November and sucker punched us this week with over 17 inches falling in Madison on Tuesday. We were told not to expect this sort of thing this year as we are supposed to be having a balmy "el nino" winter.)

Which brings me to D  - Ice Scrapers. Unlike the first three, ice scrapers fall into a completely different category. Rather than put them in with seasonal items we must acknowledge that they are really in the ball point pen/comb/nail clippers/brush/scissors category. If you are wondering what all these things and ice scrapers could possible have in common, I'll fill you in. These are items that - no matter how many of them you may own or how many you may buy to have on hand - you will never ever be able to actually find one when you need it. 

Douglas Adams had an interesting theory on the subject - at least when it came to ball point pens (which he calls "biros", both dating himself and pegging himself as a Brit). He opined that there was a  planet composed entirely of ball point pens on vacation and that, whenever they felt like it, they simply slipped through an interdimensional corridor and sloped off to their alternate planetary home for a little R & R, reappearing when it would be the most convenient to them and the least convenient to you. I agree with this theory wholeheartedly. I just think Adams didn't take the theory far enough. It definitely includes at least all the items I mentioned above and it most definitely includes ice scrapers.

Which is why, every winter, it is entirely not my fault that I don't have any.

Which brings me to what I use instead. To date I have tried: 

Books (whatever is in the car trying to get back to the library - obviously hardcovers work better than paperbacks) 

Credit Cards (relatively effective as ice scrapers, no longer very effective as credit cards afterward) 

Spatulas (really ineffective - the plastic ones don't have enough of an edge and the metal ones scratch the windshield)
CD cases (very effective and my scraper of choice yesterday - I would however, recommend removing the CD first as snow gets inside the case) 

Tupperware Lids (reasonably effective unless they are circular) 

My Shoe (utterly useless - I was really desperate), and finally 

Repeatedly pushing the button that puts de-icing liquid on the windshield and trying to sort of melt it off through an anti-freeze windshield wiper combo while cranking up the defroster inside the car. This last takes forever because the car takes so long to heat up. It also pretty much shreds the wiper blades.

So, tomorrow I'm off to buy approximately 25 ice scrapers in hopes that one or two of them will be handy. I'm sure they will all have disappeared by Christmas.