bumper stickers for word nerds

This week’s Monday Mission was to compose a license plate or a bumper sticker. I felt like doing several. Because I’m like that. (I’m also late getting this posted. Because I’m like that.)

For more license plates and bumper stickers, drive over to Painted Maypole’s and honk.

Let it mold.

Oh the veggies in there are frightful,
And takeout’s so delightful
And since the leftover soup’s too old
Let it mold, let it mold, let it mold.

Since the fridge door last was closing
The food’s been decomposing.
That old tuna salad’s growing bold
Let it mold, let it mold, let it mold.

When we finally face the blight
How I’ll try very hard not to gag
But if we hold our noses night
We can load up a hazmat bag.

The eggs have all gone rotten
And the tofu’s best forgotten
But as long takeout’s still sold
Let it mold, let it mold, let it mold.

This was a Monday Mission, which called for re-written holiday songs. For potentially less toxic songs, pay a visit to Painted Maypole.

A Toddler’s Guide to Tantrums

Preface – The Fine Art of the Tantrum

Chapter 1 – Know before you Throw: Planning ahead for Optimal Tantrums

    1.1 Timing: How to choose when to have your tantrum
    1.2 Motivation: Why should you consider having a tantrum?
    1.3 Location: How and where to get yourself noticed

Chapter 2 – Warm Up: Revving Up for a Tantrum

    2.1 Whining: A time-tested precursor
    2.2 Pouting: using the lower lip
    2.3 Tears: when to let the waterworks start

Chapter 3 – Vocalizations: what to say, and how to say it

    3.1 “I WANT,” “DON’T” and “NO”: Three standards of tantrum verbiage
    3.2 Repetition: No matter what you say, make sure you say it a lot.
    3.3 Repetition: No matter what you say, make sure you say it a LOT.
    3.4 REPETITION: No matter what you say, make sure you say it a LOT.
    3.5 Wailing, Shrieking and Howling: piercing or eardrum shattering, you’ve got to be LOUD

Chapter 4 – Throwing yourself into things: using your body

    4.1 The Limp Noodle: perfecting your boneless body
    4.2 The Flail: using arms and legs to express your feelings
    4.3 The Foot Stomp: a classic expression of anger
    4.4 The Throw: Tossing objects for greater impact
    4.5 The Throwdown: Throwing your whole body down for added affect

Chapter 5 – Personal Style: Making the Tantrum Your Own

    5.1 Lessons from the Greats: The Tantrum Hall of Fame

Chapter 6 – Consequences: What will happen when I have a tantrum?

    6.1 Frazzled Grown-ups: a guaranteed outcome
    6.2 Time outs & Loss of privileges: What have you got to lose?
    6.3 Will I get a puppy? Debunking the myths of tantrum outcome

This post is for the Monday Mission, hosted by Painted Maypole. This week’s assignment was to write a post in the form of a table of contents.

from behind closed doors

Dear Homeowner,

We regret to inform you that several individuals placed in our care are no longer eligible to continue residence in our facility.

In the uppermost level of the facility, several bagged items have greatly exceeded recommended levels of frost. In particular, the contents of the bag of store-brand Mixed Vegetables have become inextricably melded together.

In the Lower Level, in the departments known as “Vegetable Crisper,” we have become concerned about the rapid degeneration of one Bunch of Celery and several Zucchinis (aka “Courgettes”).

On the Main Level, a large container of Plain Yogurt has only recently expired, yet it is only the most recent such instance. There are several partially used jars of Salsa, Spaghetti Sauce and Various Condiments which should no longer be considered Viable for Consumption. While many are not yet visibly spoiled, our records indicate that these items have been in long-term care far beyond recommended time limits. We have been notified that the opening of the jar of Sweet Pickles, in particular, most certainly pre-dated the birth of your first child.

Additionally, there are many other items whose earthly remains may no longer be identifiable by visual means. There is a glass container which houses, according to our records, what had once been a portion of Canned Black Beans. We consider it advisable that these remains be removed from our premises and disposed of posthaste. Failure to do so may result in additional spoilage and potential generation of new life-forms.

Please remember that while we strive to provided the utmost in Low-Temperature Care, our ability to maintain levels of ick-free storage depends on your upholding your portion of the contract. Should these matters not be resolved in a timely matter, we may consider closing our facilities to further new items.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Your Refrigerator and Freezer

This week’s Monday Mission was to post in the form of a letter of regret. I have done so. Perhaps regrettably. To find more regrettable letters, check your mailbox. Or stop by Painted Maypole.

a chance for pants

    Every time I have the chance
    While some may think it’s whack
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Let the kitchen swarm with ants
    Leave the laundry on the rack
    Every time I have the chance

    I give my work a sideways glance
    I may catch a lot of flak
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Humming lines from Safety Dance
    I’ll type away upon my Mac
    Every time I have the chance

    I’ll not read a bad romance
    Nor journal papers in their stack
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Though others look at me askance
    I swear I’m not on crack
    Every time I have the chance
    I’ll write a post involving pants


These pants are dedicated, in loving memory, to my friend Elizabeth, whose claim that pants was the funniest word in the English language first introduced me to the humorous powers of pants. Your pants will never be forgotten, dear friend.

The form of this post is a villanelle, a style of poetry, and the assignment of today’s Monday Mission. Please pay a visit to Painted Maypole to see who else has chosen to accept this mission. Painted herself has told me that she has a poem up, also with the theme of pants. (Painted penned a poem of pants.)

Today also marks the third anniversary of this blog. It seemed only fitting that it should wear plenty of pants today.


Sevilla Tapas tour

Three glasses of Manzanilla sherry being poured at El Riconcillo, the oldest bar in Sevilla.

I’ve been meaning to share some more stories and photos from our trip to Spain, which was (shockingly) now over a month ago. I have largely given up on sharing a detailed chronlogical account of the trip, so I’ll dive in here.

In Sevilla, my mother and I had the fantastic opportunity to go on a tapas tour with azahar, Sevilla blogger extraordinaire of casa az and Sevilla Tapas. (Yes, you should be jealous. It was an absolutely fantastic evening: the company, the sights and the food could not have been better.)

To make you even more jealous, I thought I’d share with some highlights of our evening. With photos.

We met up with az around 9:30 p.m. on a Friday, after I got Theo settled in for bed. (John was kind enough to be the one to stay home with Phoebe and Theo.) We arranged to meet at a little park near our apartment, which was bustling with folks heading out for dinner, and then walked through Sevilla’s maze of streets and alleys to our destinations. We went to 3 very different places for tapas, each with a distinct charm and menu.

Our first stop was El Rinconcillo, which az tells us is the oldest bar in Sevilla. I loved the decor of the place, which was dominated by dark woods, patterned tiles, and shelves well-stocked with bottles. (Not to mention hanging hams.) We stood at the bar.

Our second stop was Modesto, a more modern, bustling bar-restaurant with friendly waiters and lots of outside tables. (We sat inside at the bar, though.)

Our third and finally stop was La Sal, a charming and elegant small restaurant specializing in fresh seafood dishes. We sat inside at a table by the window.

Peering in through the wide open window of El Rinconcillo from the sidewalk.

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The bartenders wrote the tabs on the bar in chalk. They’d cross out the numbers once the tab was settled.

My glass of sparkling water at Modesto.

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Some olives and az’s beer, and a really big bowl of really big capers.

The Land Squid.

One of the waiters at Modesto gave us red carnations. Az put one in her hair.

Tuna tataki at La Sal. I think the stuff on top was something leeky. The sardines, which az cut in 3 for us to share, are in the background.

The very yummy goat cheese salad with carefully halved (not roasted) tomatoes.

I liked the way this wine rack glowed, but felt a bit awkward about taking a picture of it while there were people sitting at the table in front of it. Happily, we stayed so late (enjoying the food and conversation) that we were the last ones there!

Az also posted about this night, though in a more timely manner! In case you missed her post back in September, check it out: “girls night out.”

If you want to be tormented by photos and descriptions of delicious food about daily, you might want to follow Sevilla Tapas on twitter. (Or join the Facebook fan page.)

This post is trying to pass itself off as a Monday Mission. The assignment for this week was to write a post in the form of a menu. I actually did such a task once before about 2 years ago, and you should totally go read what I wrote before, because I re-read it, and I cracked myself up. (“cereal: it’s what’s for dinner“) Also, go check out the other Monday Missions at Painted Maypole. The illustrious Painted herself has a brilliantly creative menu posted that I would have liked to have written myself!

Monday momentum


This task was completed as part of the Monday Missions. This week’s assignment was to post in the form of a tanga or a nonnet. Like Painted Maypole, the illustrious MM taskmaster herself, I put together a tanka tanga. And like Painted, I’m also hoping I’ll get around to trying my hand at the nonnet.

Spanish toast

A Spanish toast: una tostada con mantequilla y marmelada
A Spanish toast: una tostada con mantequilla y marmelada

Our trip to Spain was full of adventures. We traveled by train, by bus, by air, by boat and by foot and had one rather scary taxi ride. We saw historic landmarks and breathtaking scenery, an ancient palace and some masterpieces of modern architecture, and many more things that I’ll hopefully tell you about soon. Among my favorite memories of the trip, however, are the calm moments we had just enjoying sitting still for a little meal.

In Sevilla, we stayed in an apartment located in a little pedestrian square. A perk of this particular place was that the owner also owned the little bar/cafe down in the square, and breakfast was included in the nightly rate. (I’m ever-so-grateful to az, who helped us pick this place, from among a dizzying array of apartment options.)

Breakfast was served from 7 a.m. till noon. After the first rather stressful morning (during which we found that it didn’t work too well to actually have breakfast downstairs due to the difficulties of wrangling small children out the door before their breakfast, combined with the rush of people breakfasting at the hour of the day coinciding with our ability to get the small children out the door), we found that it was very pleasant to sit outside for a late-morning snack.

The included desayuno consisted of a beverage (such as coffee or cola cao, the Spanish version of hot cocoa), plus fresh squeezed orange juice, and a “tostada.” The tostada was a toasted mini-baguette, which we could get with various toppings. A couple of times, I had my tostada with tomato and olive oil, a popular and tasty Spanish breakfast. Mostly, though, we would get mantequilla y marmelada (butter and jam). The toast was always fresh and hot, and the butter was so sweet and tasty that I rarely added jam. The coffee was excellent, as was the orange juice.

A view of the cafe tables set up in the square.
A view of the cafe tables set up in the square.
The square was shaded by orange trees.
The square was shaded by little orange trees.
The window where we'd order and collect our breakfast. We did, however, need to be cautious as we walked from the cafe window to the tables, as you never knew when a moped might drive along the sidewalk in front of the cafe.
The window where we'd order and collect our breakfast. We did, however, need to be cautious as we walked from the cafe window to the tables, as you never knew when a moped might drive along the sidewalk in front of the cafe.
Phoebe and Theo.
Phoebe and Theo.
Phoebe enjoys the last drops of her hot chocolate.
Phoebe enjoys the last drops of her hot chocolate.
Theo enjoys his crust of bread.
Theo enjoys his crust of bread.

Here’s a little movie of Phoebe and Theo down at the cafe. I warn you that nothing much happens in the movie, but it captures a bit of one of those pleasant mornings.

If I could, I’d go back there in a heartbeat. I’d raise my glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice in a toast:

To the pleasures of a tasty mid-morning snack, sitting in a little outdoor cafe, in a little square, on a beautiful day, in a charming old Spanish city.

(Actually, I probably wouldn’t actually say all of that. But this post was inspired by this week’s Monday Mission, which was to post in the style of a toast. I chose to post about toast.)

we can dance (if we want to)

Today is May Day¹, a holiday which many celebrate by dancing around the maypole. I don’t have a maypole, but I may dance around the living room with Phoebe. Perhaps while listening to Safety Dance³.

As Painted Maypole pointed out last year, the video for Safety Dance features a maypole. (Also Morris Dancing. I probably won’t attempt to Morris dance with Phoebe.)

(You can see slightly better quality video at the MTV site here).

Painted Maypole, who has adopted May Day as her blog’s official holiday, offers a whole host of other May Day activities and photos of her own festivities.

She also entreated us to compose a May Day poem or song for this week’s Monday Mission. I struggled with this assignment, but
inspiration finally struck, and happily without causing serious injury.⁴ Here is my May Day tanka⁵:

    the maypole beckons
    revelers frolicking ’round
    bright ribbons entwined
    you can dance if you want to
    you can leave your friends behind
Dancing 'round the maypole in the video for Safety Dance by Men Without Pants. I mean Hats.
Dancing 'round the maypole in the video for Safety Dance by Men Without Pants. I mean Hats.

¹ Today is also No Pants Day, an event I can’t really get behind with all of its dangerously anti-pants propaganda

² We can (wear) pants if we want to!

³ Safety Dance is one of Phoebe’s favorite songs, and will sometimes ask to hear it over and over again. She requested it at the wedding we went to in March, and cried when she learned we’d only get to hear it the one time.

⁴ I wasn’t sure where to fit this in, but I learned that May Day, as a distress call, is actually based on m’aider from the French phrase venez m’aider, meaning “come rescue my sorry ass.”

⁵ I was introduced to the Tanka form by girlgriot, who stunningly wrote a tanka a day for the entire month of April.