30 June 2010

Skills test

As you know, I have been training to live independently for several months and have learned many new skills. A few of note:

1. I have learned how to stay up way past a normal human's bedtime. In the olden days, I would turn in around 10:30, maybe read until 11:00. Child's play. Now? The foster parents have taught me that life (or their version of it) doesn't really begin until 10:00, and the day really gets going about midnight. This makes the getting up at 6:15am to go for a walk kind of tough, but I've done it, almost every day. In other words, I'm seriously behind on sleep.

2. Thanks to Foster Mom's specific and unwavering instructions, I can now make perfect tea:

a. Bring cold water to a boil. For some kinds of tea, we let it sit for a minute after boiling.
b. Add six scoopies of the good loose tea (all measurements are for the big white pot; other measurements become necessary for the blue and red pots).
c. Pour the water over the loose tea; set the timer for four minutes (five if it's the tea that looks like dried eels).
d. Remove the tea holder thingy from the pot; add four sugar cubes and a quarter cup of 2% milk.
e. Stir with a large chopstick, and pour.

3. Alternatively, I have observed that Diet Coke is an appropriate beverage for any time of day or night or activity. I have declined to participate in this rite (and, by the by, completely gave up drinking soda three months ago).

4. I am powerless in the face of Rustica bittersweet chocolate cookies. While I had always suspected this, the valupacks that enter the group home are dangerous to me. The solution seems to be storing them in the foster parents' bedroom, which I don't enter unless invited so as not to stumble upon the redhotmonkeylovesex.

5. How Was Your Day is the most important activity a family can do together, and every family needs to follow the custom. Every day, no exceptions. The rules are easy: when all the inhabitants are in soft clothes at the end of the busy day, someone asks "How was your day?" And then someone else answers, and conversation ensues.

6. If you have a dirty dish that needs to go in the dishwasher, you should just leave it on the counter, because you'll likely put it in the dishwasher incorrectly. This is a rule I've understood for many years, and am unsure how to apply to an independent living situation.

7. Canadian design shows are far superior to Lower American design shows. In particular, Sarah's House is must-see TV.

8. Friends and neighbors dropping by to chat make life civilized and meaningful. So do good foster parents, and I've had the best.


  1. I can help with the dishwasher thing - I've been loading mine for years - You get to put things exactly where you want to, and only when you deign to have company for dinner, will you ever have trouble finding what you washed or put away. One gets used to having things exactly where one left them and learns to put them in the dishwasher right away.

  2. Yes.
    And in at least one episode of Sarah's House, she has perfect hair. (Which looks, believe it or not, just like mine).

  3. when you're back to loading your own dishwasher for a while, I'm sure you can develop your OWN arbitrary and capricious systems. BTW, the BEST tea-stirring chopsticks are the long plastic ones, stolen from Chino Latino. There. I've giving away the secret.

  4. 1. You stocked up on sleep in April. Maybe enough for the whole year.

    2a. For black tea we bring the water to a full boil in the electric water cooker and then immediately cover the leaf. For oolongs or greens we bring the water to frog's eye stage in the other stovetop tea kettle where the fire is, and test the temperature with the tea thermometer (kept right next to the scoopie)(don't forget to turn it off when you're done). We use about 180 degrees for oolongs and 160-170 for greens. We have read avidly the debate about whether to bring the water up only to the correct temp, versus going to a full boil and cooling down. ("Breaking the crust of oxygen") We've opted for the first approach.

    2c. We use a fine mesh basket to hold the tea, so it can move freely in its space as it makes the elixir. We never pack the tea into a little teaball.

    2d. We use 2% milk because that's what we have in the frig. We could also use skim or 1%. We know that full-fat milk and cream are too heavy for tea. We only use milk in black tea. Never in an oolong and never in a green. And we eschew Earl Gray.

    3. It used to be even worse than it is now, if you can imagine that.


    5. I just love How Was Your Day.

    6. Phil will come over and rearrange the dishwasher for you. He's got a system.

    7. Oh, Canada. . .

    8. Can I tell the people about the day you learned to shoot a slingshot with the neighbor guys? (They tried to shoot down an empty Diet Coke bottle using beans, with the garage door as a backboard.) Part of our comprehensive anti-bunny program.

  5. Don't worry. The cookies are safe with me.

  6. Really. I'm watching over them.


As always, civility reigns, but cleverness trumps.

They shall be called my disciples.