Breakfast with Jerks: Musings on a #Whole30 Morning

Breakfast with Jerks: Musings on a #Whole30 Morning | Manic MumblingWho eats grapefruit at a pancake house? Actually, who eats grapefruit anyway?

You know what happens when you order grapefruit? You pay three bucks for an orb of sour water pustules on which you must perform delicate surgery with a weird, serrated spoon to excise each tiny bite full of kill-me-right-now.

This is currently my life. A table in a pancake house, smack in the middle of maple and bacon and bakery smells threatening my thirty-days-and-then-some of meal prep and healthy eating and a whole lotta’ pretending I wouldn’t kill someone for a pancake at any moment.

And I normally don’t even like pancakes. (more…)

8 Reasons your kid should travel (without you)

8 Reasons Your Kid Should Travel (Without You) - Manic Mumbling

The first time we sent our children on a trip without us (or any other relative), it was to a weeklong camp near a mountain lake. Our sons were ten and seven years old.

Some were surprised we’d let our younger kid go, but he was ready for an age-appropriate camp program like this. Both boys had the times of their lives, and returned to us scabbed, sunburned and smiling, the younger one with a suitcase full of clean clothes. He hadn’t changed the entire week.

I know. Yuck.

We learned about both boys that week, that they were resilient, behaved well without us around, and could keep track of their own things. And they learned about themselves, experiencing the world on their own, trying new things, making friends, and enjoying plenty of unfettered kid time (in the care, of course, of trained camp counselors). They’ve returned to camp nearly every year since. (more…)

Hot Water and House Mysteries

Hot Water and House Mysteries - Manic MumblingOne morning last week, I was washing my hands in the bathroom sink, the timing of which prompted someone upstairs to yell and pound on the wall.

Our water heater, probably like most residential heaters, delivers water of the precise temperature requested to only one person at a time, with preference to whoever most recently summoned it. Turning on the faucet in one part of the house will result in an either bracing or scalding blast for anyone already showering, possibly also triggering a tirade from a teenager who really should have been ready for school a while ago.

… Which makes me wonder, if we can only ever use one faucet at a time, what brainiac decided this house needed three and a half bathrooms? It’s one of those great mysteries. Like: why is there a cupboard above the refrigerator, all but inaccessible to even the tallest among us? And why do we put stuff there, ever? (more…)

How to enjoy Calgary when any other normal person might just stay inside

When I Googled “One Day in Calgary,” I found a website or two with helpful tips for the person whose aim is to cram a whole lot of stuff into a teensy time frame.

It’s become our modus operandi to do what we can to experience an entire city in one day. We’re busy people. Sometimes a day is all we’ve got.

We had exactly that to ourselves this week before our conference started, and were prepared to make the most of it. My early research was promising. With a great transit system, a citywide cycling path, and a cute downtown area, Calgary looks like the perfect place for one of our everything-in-one-day visits.

…. And then we got up that morning to this: (more…)

My pre-run whine session

Manicmumbling.com, running

Back when I thought this was fun. And my clothes fit better. Photo: Gary Green.

I admit I’m not feeling much into the running thing lately.

And here I just signed up for another half marathon. This one’s in April, and I have to tell you if the registration wasn’t almost as arduous as the actual event, I might not have.

That makes more sense the better you know me.

This particular run is a big deal around here. It sells out in a few minutes. And since I’m competitive about stupid stuff, I get kind of wound up around this time every year.

First thing that morning, I was online, watching the countdown clock and yelling at my family to stop streaming stuff so I wouldn’t have fight for bandwidth at noon when registration opened.

I’d signed up and forked over my money before I even thought about what I was doing. And then I thought “well crap. I should probably train now.” (more…)

I’m clearly not the mom I once was

The other day I entered my son’s bedroom on some errand or another, and realized something important. It had to do with the olfactory impact of enclosing an adolescent and his Axe body spray in a small space with a fish tank and an only halfway clean lizard terrarium.

I realized my gag reflex has returned.

I’m not sure why this surprises me, but it does and I’m kind of sad. I used to have an iron stomach when it came to unpleasantness. But my once desensitized sniffer must have been part of a latent superpower that surfaces when I need it most; like back in the day when I’d decide whether a toddler needed a change by putting his diapered butt right up to my face. When this superpower is fully engaged, I can scrape dried poo off my shirtsleeve with the aplomb of a Ludlum CIA operative pitching a Molotov cocktail at a Russian mafia stronghold and then taking a slow-motion saunter toward the camera with a wink and a hair flip.

I have to tell you, that thought made me do a Google search for something like this:

manicmumbling.com - mom of teens

Photo by Film Frame – © DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved.

But then I stumbled upon this … and it made my day.

(and, well, let’s be honest, it probably more accurately resembles me leaving the scene of an explosion).  (more…)

A Few, Mostly Useless Lessons from the Snowpocalypse

Manic Mumbling - A Few, Mostly Useless Lessons from the Snowpocalypse

Our house. But back in the day, before this stuff started to accumulate.

First, regardless of the title, let’s just get this out of the way: there are too many made up words with which one can describe what’s been going on around here, but probably shouldn’t. To wit:

Snowpocalypse, Snowtastrophe, Snowstruction, Snowmageddon, Snowlamity, Snowlocaust, Snowfandango.

Maybe some of those were cute after the snow started coming. But then it kept coming and then started breaking off gutters and marooning cars. Now we’ve had three days of no school, and yesterday there was five more inches of the white stuff and then freezing rain, and there’s no way any of that’s cute any more. None of it.

I actually love the snow. I do. Sure it’s inconvenient and messy, but this year it came right before Christmas and you’d have to be a sour pit of misery not to notice when your neighborhood looks like it’s auditioning for a Hallmark Hall of Fame special about do-gooders and miracles and fa-la-la-la-la.

But, now it’s January, and we’re socked in and preparing for power outages and trees falling and ice dams, and wondering whether we’re insured for flooding. Okay, we’re weather lightweights, but whatever. I’m getting antsy. (more…)

This year, it’s all about attitude

Manic Mumbling - Resting Bitch Attitude

It’s that time when we’re supposed to reflect and set goals for the New Year. Or if you’re a member of the more cynical set, it’s time to ridicule resolution-makers and people who take up all the parking spots at the gym until February. Depending on the year, I could go either way.

I was looking through some old posts this morning, thinking about what I’ve put out there (more or less publicly, depending upon how much traffic you think this little blog gets) and I’ve realized a couple of things:

  • I’m really good at setting goals that I never think about, ever again.
  • … Nope, that’s it. There’s just the one thing. I like bullet points.
Manic Mumbling - On Flexibility and a Cure for Resting Bitch Attitude

My efforts for the holiday were acknowledged and rewarded #BeMoreMerry

We had a rather interesting weekend, after an exhausting but ultimately satisfying month wherein I deliberately set my sights on NOT resenting all of the holiday fuss and expense and impositions on my time and waistline. Turns out I can generate all kinds of good, yule-tide ju-ju when I set my mind to it, even though I’m predisposed to Grinch-ism. (more…)

Useless Information, Item no. 437: Blog versus book writing

A little trivia about this blog:

  • It started as family travel journal. Turns out, when you take a couple of kids around the world, you may leave grandparents skittish about the lack of daily contact, even if they weren’t terribly helicopter-y before you talked about getting on a plane.
  • It morphed into a sort of therapeutic confession of my parental shortcomings.
  • It may have been envisioned, at one time, as a book platform.
  • Most days it’s just me, procrastinating. Because sometimes more substantial writing projects are hard and kind of a drag and there’s a lot of self-doubt and introspection and who needs that kind of garbage, anyway?

Manic Mumbling - The Writing Process: Blog versus BookMe. I need that kind of garbage. I’ve been neglecting this blog because I’m working on something else. I’ll bet you haven’t guessed, either, but it rhymes with …. with look and …. and hook.

… And that ‘something else’ may never see the light of day, which is hard for a blogger who’s used to immediate feedback regardless of how much whatever I’ve written stinks to high heaven.

So today, I’m back on the blog, taking a breather from 74,000 words of what could be the worst crap ever typed on a keyboard, to hold forth on this thing I’ve now done exactly one time, and not entirely to completion, and on which I am nevertheless an expert.

Ahem … blog versus book: a comparison. (more…)

You wait. I’ll be so dang merry, Christmas won’t know what hit it

Manic Mumbling | So Very Merry for Christmas“Don’t you just get more and more excited as it gets closer to Christmas?”

This was the start of a conversation over scrambled eggs yesterday, December-the-very-first, with our exchange student, Anna. Since I don’t talk much before 8 am, my only reply was to stare at her over my coffee mug, contemplating her sobriety.

Then I thought about the relationship I have the holidays, and how likely it is I’m gonna let this girl way down sometime in the coming weeks.

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know I’m kind of a Scrooge. Want a refresher? Well there’s that tale about our amazing city lights tour – aka the Vomit Trolley Ride of 2004, or the one about how I only do Christmas crafts as an act of revenge, or there was that time I almost came to blows with Santa.

I haven’t any excuse for this hostility. It’s not that Christmas is a particularly dark time of year for me. I don’t get seasonal depression. There’s no trauma in my past. I’m just one of those people who really doesn’t go in for schmaltz. Or shopping. Or crafts, clutter, or empty calories for that matter (except beer, that is. And I do kinda dig spiked eggnog). I’m mostly just lazy. And a cynic. And schmaltz is way less funny than cynicism.

A little research and a consultation with our own kid who’s currently living among Anna’s people, confirmed that Danes do Christmas like they mean it, and Anna appears to be keeping pace with her homeboys. Before December was even upon us, she’d been to two tree-lighting ceremonies and a couple holiday concerts, and had a stack of homemade Christmas cards ready to send. The girl is ready for the holiday. (more…)