Sunday, December 25, 2016

Manly Things in the Kitchen

Wife: "Dan, there's some man paraphernalia over here [in the kitchen, to clean up/put away]"

Husband: "what kind of 'man paraphernalia'?"

Wife: [looks at items left atop the microwave, where the paper towel roll lives]
"Squirt jars?"

Friday, December 9, 2016

Some Ingredients Not Included

Aldi is a place to find many wonderful and oft unusual items. Knock-off Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a good sign; I'm the kind of guy who isn't picky about the name on the box so long as there's the requisite amount of sugar-per-serving.

DIY almond bark... That's a step farther down the dark alley. It's not like Aldi is Ikea--I expect my plastic-wrapped chocolate to be pre-assembled, even at a quirky discount chain like Aldi.

What separates my encounter with the almond bark construction kit from my other Aldi encounters is that there didn't seem to be any almonds in the package--neither slivered, nor sliced. It was, so far as I can tell, a package of baking chocolate with carefully-targeted packaging, expertly placed among holiday decorating and baking paraphernalia to attract unsuspecting novice almond-bark-makers.
I don't know if that's brilliant or diabolical.

Friday, March 4, 2016


Four blue eyes.

Baby onesies scrubbed with dish soap and lying out to dry in the sun.

The sink full of dishes, then empty, then full again.

Two brown beds (one of them pink) and a play mat with a tiny baby in the mirror and a very frustrating dangling acorn.

An imagination littered with thoughts about history's corpses and corpuses, and a blinking cursor on a white page.

What a small world it was this week. But an infinite one.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


My first year in high school debate (which was, incidentally, also my last year), the topic was campaign finance reform.

It was true, as Thane used to say in his expository speech in those days, that "the way to tattoo something into your audience's brain is to say it over, and over, and over again. The way to tattoo something into your audience's brain is to say it over, and over, and over again. The way to tattoo something into your audience's brain—"

You get the point.

Back to campaign finance reform: there was a team whose affirmative plan had something to do with publishing information about donors. I don't remember the details of the plan. What I do remember was that throughout the 1AC and interlaced throughout the rest of the debate, the affirmative speaker would say, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Also that same year, and also in an expository speech, one of the prizewinners from the Point Loma college team talked about all the microscopic beings who share our bedding, and how to eliminate them. The dryer, she said, was highly effective. As was sunlight.

So it is that what I remember most from that first year of academic policy debate (other than "The way to tattoo something into your audience's brain is to say it over, and over, and over again..."—which, now that I think about it, was actually from the second year) is that sunlight has extraordinary cleaning qualities.

I haven't had much opportunity to put this knowledge into practice. (There was that one time in Dahiyyat al-Rashiid when I dragged my mattress out onto the front porch, to Amber Tracy's chagrin, convinced that it was infected with bedbugs. But I never knew if that worked.)

Until motherhood.

Now I use the sun almost every day (or did, until we found a brand of diapers that holds its own most of the time). And it truly is amazing, wiping out stains so quickly that I think that, if I were able to stand still long enough, I believe I could watch them fade.

Sunlight, you've lived up to your hype.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

life is living in an apartment

I do not always want linoleum floors.
But I keep them clean.
And I smile to see them freshly mopped.

(Also: this)