April 1, 2012


I got a little blog crazy awhile back and started compartmentalizing into separate blogs: one for this, one for that, one for another thing. And now I find that I've got to pare down. I wish now I had done a little less compartmentalizing and a little more simplifying. So, I've decided to merge. Crumbles is merging with EpiBloguer (after many months of negotiating, of course). I'm still going to try to keep up with Crumbles Jr, which name now makes little sense, but oh well.

So the time has come to hibernate this little blog for the time being. I'm not all too happy about it, but as has been obvious, I'm having a little trouble keeping up with it. I hope I'll be able to get back to it again someday. But for now, you can find me over at my book blog, www.epibloguer.blogspot.com. Hope to see you there! And, as always, thanks for reading. =)

February 15, 2012

The Original Edward

My husband's Valentine's gift to me, which viewing experience was enhanced by several pieces of dark chocolate. Excellent casting (Jane isn't too ugly, Rochester isn't too morose), excellent screenplay, excellent costumes. Probably one of the best adaptations I've ever seen, although, admittedly, I must be one of the last people to have seen it, considering it came out last year.

It was so good, I felt almost as caught up in the story as I did the first time I read it.  I even pulled down my old copy from the bookshelf and read my favorite parts again--a ritual which is long overdue. Such pain, such bliss . . . there's nothing like it.

November 29, 2011

Opposites Attract

We have two cats: Sasha (Alexander=boy) and Dinah. We got Sasha about two and a half years ago and Dinah about seven months later. Sasha started out as an apartment cat, and when we moved into a bigger place, we decided it was time to get him a friend who he could pounce and chase and play with to his little cat-heart’s content. And, they’ve turned out to be pretty good friends. I had my doubts, in the beginning. I won’t go into it, but it’s quite a production to introduce two cats to each other and make them share living space. We had to keep poor Dinah cooped up in a bathroom for days. Finally they could be in the same room together without hissing. Now I find them snuggling together all the time. Well, together as in close to the same area. It’s still fairly rare to see them spooning, but it’s been known to happen.

We call them our cat babies, because that’s really how they act. They are just little babies who want attention and love. They are people cats, both of them. Love to be in everybody’s business. Sure, they still do that cat-hiding thing where they find small, dark spaces to squeeze into and curl up for a nap, but more often than not, they’d both rather do that in a lap or in the same room where I am. When I spend more than fifteen minutes in one room, I’ll often look over and find them sneaking in. Like now, for instance, I’ve been on the computer for about half an hour, and there they both are—lounging on the spare bed we keep in the office. They groom each other, chase the laser pointer together, and other kinds of kitty things. But that’s where the similarities end.

Sasha is very tiger-like: his dusty black coat is striped with gray. He’s got a mane of neck fur and big yellow eyes. He’s got long whiskers and a stare that can stop you in your tracks. Dinah is all black with two small white patches, one on her neck, the other on her belly. She’s still got a killer stare, but she’s got a much less menacing look, and bright green eyes. She’s got a tiny head. I think DH’s nicknames say it all: Dinah he calls Pinhead (endearingly, of course), and Sasha he calls Pants (because he’s got so much fur on his lower extremities that it looks like he’s wearing them).

Where Sasha is lithe and strong, Dinah is chubby and squishy. When you pick up Sasha, his whole body tenses, ready to spring into action. You can feel every muscle in his body, and each one is strong and toned. When you pick up Dinah, she flops in your arms like a wet blanket. She feels mushy and soft like a pillow. Yet, she’s still surprisingly light and fast.

Where Sasha is long and strong and big, Dinah is short and flabby and small. Sasha stretches like an accordion when he looks out the window or gets ready to jump up on a chair or a counter. His body looks comically long, actually. His toes are huge and he balances well on them. He really looks like a jungle cat and can do some damage if you happen to be sitting in his path when he gets spooked. He’s got an enormous head, covered in a surprisingly large amount of thick fur. Dinah however, looks like the cat equivalent of a couch potato. She’s got a big belly with extra skin that wobbles when she walks. She’s got short stubby legs that get her around. She’s got a little head that doesn’t seem to quite match her girth. Sasha’s head grew last when he was maturing, but we’re not sure Dinah’s ever will (hence the nickname).

Where Sasha is elegant, Dinah is sloppy. Sasha acts like he ought to have a butler. He looks like one of those cats from the Fancy Feast commercials—like he must eat his well-cooked meals off a silver platter. He just look regal somehow, and I swear he’s striking poses constantly. He often crosses his front paws when he’s getting comfortable. I love to watch that cat bask in the sun. It’s like he’s a debutante getting a tan at her private villa. He also keeps himself impeccably clean. He is always grooming, getting those hard to reach places: behind the ears, under his neck, the end of his tail. Then there’s Dinah, who would fit in well at a trailer park. She’s got that look like she’s a teenage boy who just rolled out of bed on Saturday at 1 p.m. She’s always got junk in her fur. Something she’s picked up from Baby Girl’s dinner on the kitchen floor or dust I’ve neglected from somewhere. Sasha constantly grooms her. When we first got her, I’d find her with her face and head completely soaked. I’m serious—actually wet. And then I witnessed it one day: Sasha actually licked her face till it was clean. Well, anyway, we’ve resorted to baths for Dinah to keep her looking presentable.

Where Sasha steps gingerly and carefully, Dinah runs headlong. This is the most obvious when the cats come to snuggle on the couch. Sasha stares us down for a minute, trying to decide if he really wants to sit with us, and if he does, then where. He paces. He finally jumps up and just stands on your lap, looking at you (I can’t see the TV!). Then he walks around on you a little. I can almost see the thoughts liked little bubbles above his head, “Where is the perfect spot . . . right there? No, that’s not it. Here? Oh, I don’t know about that.” Finally, he sits, and after awhile, he’ll get comfortable. Dinah? No way, she’s going through all that trouble. She jumps up, and plops down. Two steps. She doesn’t even look where she’s sitting and has fallen off my lap a few times because she sat right on the edge of my leg. If Sasha even feels your leg muscles tense in the least, he jumps down. Dinah will stay on your lap until she falls to the floor, usually with a thud.

Are there two cats that were ever this different from each other? I don’t know, but it’s hard to imagine. And somehow, they get along. They are like two college roommates, thrown together as strangers, who come out after a year of learning to live together as good friends. Ignoring certain things, accepting others, and then looking beyond all that to find the goodness deep inside. They annoy each other, and yet they love each other. I’m sure of it. If those two can get along, maybe there is hope for the rest of us?

November 5, 2011

Cool as a Cucumber

Yesterday, I found myself in a bit of a pinch. I was hosting book club at my house (my turn), and I wanted to get the perfect treat to share: pumpkin spice cake donuts from a specific place. Served hot with wassail. Mmmm. Would have been perfect with the crisp fall weather we've been having. I thought I knew where to go, but still being relatively new in this neck of the woods, I mis-remembered where I thought the store was. After driving around way too much with a fidgety child, who was running low on patience, in the back seat, I realized I was going to have to settle (NOOOO!), and just get something from the grocery store’s bakery.

I happened to be on the phone with my rather kitchen-savvy sister at the time. She replied to my dilemma with, “Just make cucumber sandwiches!” Like it was the easiest thing in the world. (As it turns out, it may actually be just that.) “That’s my go-to appetizer,” she says. Yes, because everyone has one of those! After putting her off a bit, she finally just explained what to do, and I thought, okay what the heck. Not as easy as buying a package of freshly made (not by me) donuts, but whatever. And guess what. BEST. EVER. These cucumber sandwiches are so good! Finger-lickin’ good, and I don’t say that lightly. Especially about a food that contains no chocolate or even a hint of sugar. And maybe everyone and their brother already knows this recipe, but it was news to me, so there you go.

Here’s the recipe! Easy as Sunday mornin’.

Download to print here.

And, the first snow has hit. Winter is officially here. I’m hoping we’ll still get one or two “warm” days, but they are definitely numbered. The funny thing is, I hate snow, but I love the first snow. It’s really hard not to like it. It’s so magical. Everything covered in white. The world just seems brighter and happier. And those memories of the last winter that just wouldn’t say goodbye and give us spring have faded so far into the recesses of my mind that I can’t remember the drudgery. I guess that’s a good thing. Anywho . . . here's to another long winter! I’ll go have me another delicious round of cucumber sandwiches and wassail.

October 27, 2011

Going through the Big D

And, as it goes, I don’t mean Dallas. Nor, however, do I mean Divorce. There is no judge who has anything to tell us. I’m all on my own on this one. I’m talking about the BIG D, which will not be contained by the little d -- the diaper. Much too little for the big, big mess. It’s been weeks on end, and I’m in poo poo hell.

I just want to say for the record that I am not a big fan of poop stories. My replies have always consisted of: “Your kid poops, good for you,” or “Yeah, that is really disgusting and must have been awful. Thanks for sharing.” So, I wasn’t going to write this, although I thought the title was clever (haha). Because really, who wants to hear about this stuff? I don’t even want to. But it is seriously taking over, and this is my blog, so I’ll write what I want to. And I just might cry about it, too. My life has devolved into a cycle of laundry, bathtubs, and bleach wipes. Lots and lots of bleach wipes. I get a moment of reprieve just after the mess has been dealt with, when I know I won’t be cleaning up again for a minute, and in that small moment I have some peace. But as time goes by and I hear that familiar sound, it all comes back, and I’m thrown back into the ring. Me v. Baby Girl’s Diarrhea. And the D-word is winning.

She had her one year checkup yesterday, and I thought, oh good, some answers! Little did I know that her Doc would say, “Normal!” Like she says to everything—I’m beginning to wonder if maybe she is a fraud. It seems like every ailment I come in with, she says the exact same thing. How can this be normal?! And then she tells me, Toddler’s Diarrhea. Really? She’s one; she’s barely a toddler! Plus, not that I would say that every child who has diarrhea has a bad diet, but I’ve tried really hard with her food intake! She never even really had refined sugar till her first birthday!
I can count on one hand how many times she’s had extremely watered down apple juice, and she hasn’t even had that for two months at least. Arg. And here’s the best part. What do I do? Nothing. Don’t change anything, it should just go away on its own in the next few weeks—FEW WEEKS, meaning three? THREE MORE WEEKS! Oh gee, thanks, that’s awfully helpful. Meanwhile, I'll just continue with my pseudo-house arrest, since I never know when she's going to explode.

Whoever came up with the word diarrhea anyway? Who would take such a pretty word and turn it into such an ugly thing? It sounds like a mixture of two very beautiful women’s names: Diana and Rheannon. Who decided it was a good idea to make that mean . . . well, you know what it means. Really, I think if I’d come across that word without the association, I would have thought it would make a really nice name. But don’t worry, I’m not that cruel. I’m not on a crusade to change semantics. Especially since I absolutely hate that word now and forever. Hate, hate, hate it.

My final conclusion is this: there are some things that only belong in the toilet. Big epiphany, huh? But seriously, no human being should be made to clean this stuff up, and yet I do. Every day. Why can’t we just digest everything in our food? Why must we get stomach bugs? Ugh—I know these questions will never be answered to my satisfaction, and yet life goes on. And one day, baby girl will go poo poo in the potty, and I will give her a sticker or a piece of candy and this torture will be over. One day I’ll look back on these diarrhea chronicles, and I’ll laugh. I’ll say, “Sweetie, you were one messy baby!” and we’ll both have a good chuckle, and baby girl will say, “Moooom. Stop it, gross.” And I’ll say, “Yes, it was gross, honey. It was really, really gross.” And all of this will ameliorate into that one humorous anecdote. Okay, I’ve said my piece. An end to the potty talk, and a solemn promise—no more.

August 23, 2011

Mind Games

I have an over active imagination, a la Anne Shirley. And so, I have fairly graphic dreams on a regular basis—ones that I can’t get out of my head, that seem so real that I wake up believing they actually happened for a minute. Sometimes these dreams are wonderfully pleasant, others are horrifically not-so-pleasant—you know, those heart-pounding, wake up sweating with a scream on your lips, sort of alternate realities. I know I’m not the only one who has them. But out of all of those dreams, that we aptly name nightmares, there are two types that truly and deeply disturb me. The first, I assume, is a result of my affinity for crime/police shows. What my grandma refers to as the “put ‘em up/shoot ‘em up” shows. From which my subconscious harasses me in my restful state with running away from terrible killers, who usually wield axes, for some reason.
This is the most common nightmare I have, although there have been, on occasion, the even more disturbing cases, in which I am the crazed murderer. I think this cannot be a result of my instinctively violent nature, but rather a product of my admitted imagination. I cannot help but to look at situations from all points of view. From these unnerving episodes, I wake with a jolt, out of breath and scared out of my wits. Eventually, I realize that it was another nightmare, and, knowing my safety is secured, I try to go back to sleep. And for a time, maybe fifteen minutes, every time I try to close my eyes and sleep, all I can see is a blood covered ax and all I can hear are curdling screams. As a kid, I would think of open fields and wildflowers with the summer sun shining high in the sky when I had a nightmare. I still use that trick, although it takes awhile for my mind to beat out the bad. I always assumed that these types of nightmares were the worst I would experience.

However, when I got married, I started having occasional nightmares that, believe it or not, leave me more disturbed than these murderous blood baths. And that is . . . (wait for it) . . . the cheating dream. In these, I am always left with the same perspective, my own. And my husband always plays the same part—the cheater. I hate to admit this because I feel in some way it’s painting my marriage in a terrible light. Like these dreams could be perceived as some tell-tale heart beating beneath the floorboards, announcing that I’m insecure or unhappy, neither of which is true. Last night, I had a particularly awful one, where my DH had a secret girlfriend near his office who he would visit every week. At a work function, a co-worker of his let it slip, and I pretended like I already knew, which of course, I didn’t. So, when I confronted him about it later, he very nonchalantly confessed, like it was no big thing, and flatly refused to stop seeing her. This nightmare was so vivid and real, that as I woke up, I lay in bed for awhile, struggling with the idea that I was going to have to leave him when I really didn’t want to. I’ve woken up from these dreams crying, they seem that real.

Although the circumstances have been different (once he wanted to marry a friend of mine, that one was really awful), he always acts the same, like why can’t I understand and just get with the program? Like he’s not the one with the problem—I am. I wonder if this somehow stems from one of my English classes in high school where I learned that Percy Shelley believed that monogamy was repressive and when his pregnant wife wouldn’t entertain the idea of having an “open marriage” as it’s now called, he left her—said she betrayed him. He was hurt that she wanted to limit the love of which he was capable to give, some nonsense like that. And she was so overcome with grief that she jumped off a bridge into a river and killed herself. I remember being sort of disturbed by that story, and I can’t help but wonder if all these years later that story is what haunts me, rather than some latent fear that my marriage is not on sound footing.

What’s weird is that these dreams didn’t start until after I got married. Like my mind knew when to flip a switch that would really get to me. I mean, I dated, I had boyfriends—why didn’t I have cheating dreams then? Was I really just so convinced of my boyfriends’ devotion that my mind would never have thought of a cheating scenario? Or is it really that I’d never cared for someone as much as my husband. I’d never been in a relationship before where I really felt like life would not be worth living without him. Perhaps that was the trigger. Like my subconscious knew how much actually experiencing (well . . . in my head) that situation would devastate me. It’s funny too, because I never worry about my DH cheating. I seriously never do. So, it’s like my nightmares remind me that it’s possible. And if you look at it that way, then maybe my subconscious is really doing me a favor. Because after I wake up from this horrible, unthinkable situation, I am so relieved and thankful to realize that it’s not true. That instead, my DH is the exact opposite: loyal, devoted, loving, and coming home to me every night. Maybe in the end, it makes me appreciate him more, literally makes me remember what a great person he is, what a wonderful husband and father and friend he is. How’s that for a silver lining? So there—bring it on, mind, bring it on.