Sense Malfunction

This doesn’t have anything to do with sense, as in common sense–in case you’re wondering if I’ve taken leave of it altogether. No, this pertains to the original 5 senses as defined by Aristotle: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. That 4th one is troublesome. I really started to clue into this when my Advanced Composition professor asked us to write a paper about a smell that brought back a memory.

At first, this didn’t sound like too formidable an assignment. But the more I pondered, the more I couldn’t recall any smells that I would directly associate with a memory. I desperately thumbed through my childhood memories, even of my great grandmother’s bean soup (which I could vividly recall the taste of). Finally, I raised my hand and explained my predicament to my professor, who gave me a variation on the original assignment.

A lot of people would probably consider a poor sense of smell a boon–relief from the bad smells in life. I wish that were true. While babysitting one day, I forgot to turn off the oven until the parents returned from their outing. Upon entering the kitchen, the mom immediately said, “What’s that burning smell?” and discovered that the oven was still on. My nose missed that cue entirely.

Then I got married. To someone with an equally poor sense of smell. We seem to be doomed to never know when milk has gone bad. I can’t tell you how many times I have smelled the milk carefully, poured it on my cereal, and eaten a spoonful, only to discover that the milk was totally rancid. The only thing worse than being unable to smell the bad milk yourself, is getting a shaky, second opinion from someone who also lacks a good sense of smell. So there we are in the kitchen–standing over a jug of dubious milk.

“Well, what do you think? Is it still okay?”

“I don’t know. It smells okay.”

[both peer into container] “I don’t see any lumps.”

“Let’s taste test it.”

“You first.”

I usually end up being the fall guy (girl?). That’s a long way of saying, today I drank bad milk. After I had smelled it. Even though it was an unopened jug.

This doesn’t mean I can’t smell anything. I can smell if the cat litter needs to be changed (probably 3 days too late though). I can smell a poopy diaper (probably 3 hours too late). And a rose (if I stick my nose right up to it). That’s probably why I get a little paranoid about cleaning my apartment–I can’t tell if it stinks!



In Honor of Wednesday

One order of baked eggs, please! I’m not sure what eggs have to do with Wednesday (probably nothing) but they were definitely the bright spot in my cold, gray, strange day (which apparently turns me into Mrs. Seuss). All credit for the original recipe goes to the author of the blog “Epicurean Bliss”, whose post titled “When an Egg Met a Cupcake Tin” caught my attention for the good.

If you know me very well at all, you would also know that my husband is difficult to cook for. Not because he’s a gourmet mind you, but because he wants to eat like he is 6 years old (I’m not being insulting, he would admit this). Mac and cheese, Top Ramen, Instant Lunch, spaghetti, PB and jelly sandwiches. No wine reduction sauces for this man. He’s also just not that into food in general, but when I made these eggs, he HOVERED. He never hovers. He could care less that food is there. I think his brain says something like, “Oh food! Right! I guess I do have to eat it to survive.” Unless it’s cheddar filled little smokies. Or these baked eggs. I only made us 2 eggs apiece at first, but he polished his two off and then asked, “Can we make more?”

My baked eggs were slightly less gourmet than the ones in the recipe, especially since I don’t have ready access to fresh herbs. I made ours with hash browns that I had precooked and minced, sauted onion. Crack an egg on top, cook for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese and black pepper on top (about 2 min. before done) and there you go. Here’s something I learned the hard way–be sure to spray your muffin tin with an obscene amount of spray. You’ll thank me later. I also introduced a friend to these lovely eggs–we made hers with sauted onion and garlic, and a couple little smokies (sliced into coins).

How do you like your eggs?

Japanese Garden Adventure

It is a rare occasion indeed when my husband and I have both the time and money to go anywhere outside Salem for fun. We had enough extra gas money in our budget to fit in a trip to Portland. I had also discovered that today, Presidents’ Day, is free admission day at the Portland Japanese Gardens. What a gorgeous day to be out, albeit a bit chilly!

I conveniently forgot that none of the Japanese maples would have any foliage…since you know, it’s STILL WINTER.

There were still fun things to look at, although none of them were in bloom. Like this bamboo water spout.

Hubby couldn’t resist a karate pose in the Sand and Stone Garden.

I really enjoyed looking at the stone artwork scattered through the five gardens.

At one point I wanted a photo of the two of us (not another self-portrait), so Carson asked, “Do you want me to ask someone to take one?” I said “sure” because I imagined he would quietly ask a kind-looking person to take the picture for us.

Subtle wouldn’t be the word for what happened next.

Carson (loudly): “DOES ANY RANDOM STRANGER WANT TO TAKE OUR PICTURE??”(It really was that loud)

I thought that would surely have scared everyone away, but someone did take our picture. Thanks, random stranger.

The ride back was lovely, with big, fluffy, white clouds.

The Japanese Gardens are definitely on my list to revisit in the summer when everything is in bloom. And when it’s not Presidents’ Day and everyone and everyone’s screaming children aren’t there (which did lead us into a 1 hour discussion on training children).

Have you ever been to the Japanese Gardens in Portland?

put a bird on it!

My friend Holly recently told me about this show called Portlandia, where they make fun of the “bird trend” that seems to have infected everyone. The funny things is, after she told me this, I started seeing birds everywhere. On tote bags, on metal wall decorations…

Truth be told, I hate being part of a mass trending movement, but I really have to make an exception for this “Flock Party Apron.”

The birds are just one reason to like this apron. Also notice the orange birds!! I like decorating with the color orange, primarily because of the influence of How About Orange.

What are your decorating influences?

staying sane

It’s been a stressful and busy last week or so…and this week promises to be the same. I’m not feeling particularly inspired today, but I thought I’d list a few things that help keep me sane on those weeks where the smallest thing might lead to a total teary meltdown. There is something about February with its gray rainyness that makes me feel isolated and uninspired, and I can’t think of anything but unfinished taxes.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying tears don’t precede these “sanity savers”. First, I usually have to remind myself that whatever I’m stressing about can probably wait for 30 minutes while I calm down and step back.

1) Rose is Rose comic strip. I discovered this strip six years ago, and it’s been a good go-to strip since. I love how average Rose and Jimbo’s lives are and how they can find joy in small things.

2) Tension Tamer tea by Celestial Seasonings. I seem to be drinking a lot of this these days. It’s a complex tasting tea that really helps settle my stomach when I’m feeling upset.

3) Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm. If there is one thing I would bring on a desert island, it would be this. I hate chapped lips and this lip balm is very hydrating and I always feel a little spoiled when I use it.

4) Reading my refrigerator verses. I’ll just tell you right now that I am terrible when it comes to the discipline of taking time for God everyday. But I do have verses on my refrigerator, and if nothing else, they catch my eye when I walk past and it’s a quick reminder of the hope I do have.

5) Writing in my journal. I’ve been journaling since I was 9 years old and it has increasingly become a dumping ground for my negative emotions and stress that no one needs to hear about again (since I’ve probably complained about it 10x already).

What are your “sanity savers”?