The Cult of Insta-Pot*


There are two types of people in the world: those who have never heard of an InstaPot, and those who devote their lives to all things InstaPot.


Hal won’t open the pod bay door.

Few appliances have the following that this pressure cooker has.

(Or any following at all. Take the toaster, for example. It’s pretty amazing, and yet, you don’t see whole online communities devoted to a four-slice with darkness control.)

Yet, this electric pressure cooker has 1,010,000 videos and hundreds of thousands of channels on YouTube. There are recipes from chocolate cake to placenta. Admit you just bought an InstaPot, and the person you’re talking to will say, “I love mine! I just made Thanksgiving Dinner for us and the Army Base next door in forty minutes!

I own an InstaPot. I bought it to cook dried beans without having to soak them for a week. I even used it for that, once or twice. (Once.) (Four years ago.)

I have used it for other things. Lending it to other people who thought they might like an InstaPot, for example!

Maybe you have to have an InstaPot gene. There are definitely people who use theirs all the time. Or maybe they don’t, and they just tell people they do to justify spending $100 or more on a gargantuan pressure cooker with more controls that an Airbus.

I feel like this is the year to become a Bride of InstaPot. But first, a few questions…

  1. What’s a good way to remove shrapnel and treat 3rd degree burns?
  2. How fast will an ambulance come for an InstaPot emergency?
  3. Do you have the number for a good reconstructive surgeon?

As I write this, I’m making hard boiled eggs. I should be making them in the InstaPot. Boy! Talk about your wasted opportunity…

JK – I’m making them in the InstaPot, and I’m having clenching pains in my chest because my cat is fascinated with the hissing sound and the steam coming from the top.

I really want to use this. I mean REALLY want to. But, I feel like I need some support and encouragement. If you use an InstaPot, and you’re not carried away using it for crazy stuff, AND you still have eyesight, hearing, and all 10 fingers, AND your cats are okay, please leave your comments! (It’s a tall order, I know…)

I am in no way compensated by Instant Pot, Instapot, or any other pot 😦

Happy New Year!

*Officially it’s called an Instant Pot. It’s for cooking. Which is much less fun than what it sounds like. But, the people who own them and worship them call them Instapot. Now you know!


One Toy to Rule Them All



blog stretchcvr

Ideal for those “handsy” elected officials!

Forget all of those other bloggers’ holiday gift guides. They’re full of dirty, dirty affiliate links anyway. This is the only thing you need this Christmas.

It’s the only thing anyone needs in their lives, period.

Behold! The Stretch Armstrong Octopus.

I never even bothered to learn his name. Assuming it is a him, I mean, that’s a fairly masculine face, but you never know with an octopus, right? Or maybe I’m just projecting a gender because it looks so… unhappy? Constipated? Annoyed? I’ve got to think a female toy licensed by Hasbro would have more of a soft pleasantness.

Which brings me to the soft pleasantness of this octopus! Yes, you could use his head as a truncheon, but his body is irresistibly squishy and supple. I hardly want to stretch him because – aw, who am I kidding?blog stretchy oct

Oh yeah, it’s as gratifying as it looks.

The human version of Stretch is leaden and laborious by comparison.

blog stretch human.JPG

“I heard that!!”

Yeah, I said it.

blog first oct face

blog 2nd oct faceblog 3rd oct faceDon’t worry, it’s still fun to fold a cleft-chinned blonde guy into awkward positions. Some things never get old!

The octopus is also petite and lightweight. Take him anywhere! Everywhere!! Don’t let “society” keep you apart. “They” will never understand – just ask Nikola Tesla.

Happy Holidays, everyone! XO

It Is Right to Give Him Socks and Booze


blog socks n bz

Father, all-powerful, and ever-living dad, we stress out always and everywhere to buy you gifts. There, I said it. We worship you, we give you thanks, but you have a stack of Applebee’s gift cards gathering dust on your desk. Your closets burst forth with Henley sweaters.

Dad’s getting up in years, and it’s time to switch your gift ideas from durable goods to consumables.  If your dad has three hot lather machines on his bathroom counter, and he’s still using the one from 1976, this is the year to give socks and booze.

That’s what they USE.

All winter long, my parents drink and warm their icy feet. In the spring (okay, August), they shed their fuzzy footwear which is now full of holes (presumably from staggering around the house with a scotch), and the process begins anew.

Don’t get me wrong, they are NOT alcoholics, or even heavy drinkers. They don’t even drink! They’re just cold and oldies in the Midwest, is all. They need to take the chill off.

Step inside their house on a day like today (“Bitter cold and damp,” as my dad would say) and you will feel as if you just got off a plane in Equatorial Guinea. Don’t be confused by the oil refining equipment. We thought my dad might take it up as a hobby many Christmases ago…

As I’ve said before, it’s cold here. The weather outside is frightful, so stay in and drink, is our motto. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at our Eastern European ancestors. Poland’s primary export is drunken old people falling down at weddings on YouTube.

Spoiler alert, dad, you’re getting more of the same this year. Ah, who am I kidding? My dad doesn’t read my blog.

blog dd



Halloween is Here!


When I grew up, there were maybe half a dozen Halloween costumes, and they all involved borrowing an adult’s clothing. There was the hobo, the witch, the vampire, the 50’s teenager, the scary insurance claims adjuster… and the ghost.

Now, of course, costumes abound. Your kid can be the poop emoji! Yes, there are a million other things he or she could be including inspiring historical figures, clever foods or household items, costumes that pair with one or more family members like the cast of Ken Burns: The Vietnam War… but face facts: your kid can be a poop emoji and that’s the thing they MOST WANT TO BE.

So, my kids are going to be Nyan Cat and the Pumpking from the computer game Terreria. If you don’t know what those things are, you’re not alone. It’s going to be a long night of, “Oh! A… rainbow cat? And… um, Sleepy Hollow…?” But I’m not complaining because they’re making their own costumes this year!


Sort of. I have to be the procurement committee. A seven year old can’t very well make his own spherical pumpkin head, can he? I mean, last year, when he wanted to be the world’s most obscure Minecraft character, I had to make him a Wither Skeleton head out of a box and many tiny squares of black and grey tape. Now, that head holds his collection of Nerf weapons, so at least I got some mileage out of it.

blog dual purpose

When I see it here, it looks like a lot of weapons…

This year, the only options for a wearable pumpkin head either cost $70 on amazon, or took a whole month, papier mache, and an airbrush to make. Then I had a flash of inspiration…

LOOOOOOK WHAT I FOUND IN WALMART! Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

BLOG pinata

A seven year old boy with a pinata on his head at a Halloween party? What could go wrong?

See the resemblance? blog pumpkorn

So, with time ticking away to Halloween night (actually, Halloween night, day, and two more nights – another reason I’m glad I didn’t make my own papier mache head!) I only have to find light-up stabby boomerangs, a purple cloak, vine arms…

blog pine

(“So it’s pine garland? What’s wrong with it? Why are you crying?!?”)

And a skull pin. No problem-o!

Hey – if you’re in Muskego on 10/31 to visit the legendary Haunted Garage, don’t forget to donate a dollar or a food item to the food pantry! I’m reminding you so these very nice Halloween enthusiasts don’t have to. REMEMBER: canned food, or ghouls will torment your immortal soooooouuuul! (Or, cough up a dollar. No freebies!)

Blog Haunted Garage.JPG


I am Groot!


It’s that time of year when the leaves start falling.

The leaves on my houseplants, that is. See, they go to “camp” all summer – I repot and fertilize them and leave them out on my deck. Some of them don’t make it. They cry and turn yellow, and by the time I bring them back in, it’s usually too late. That’s how I “weed out” my houseplant collection. Bwahahaha!

Blog hotmess

Feed me, Seymour!

Most of them thrive in those long, sun-soaked days and rainy afternoons. And I get a little more elbow room in here. But, turn, turn, turn… the nights got colder and it was time to bring them inside.

I guess I got used to neglecting them. School started, there was a book fair in there, and I was busy. In the middle of last night, I heard a crunching, rattling sound. It was our cat trying to euthanize my poor dragon tree! The leaves were brown and crisp: perfect for a 4 AM gnash.

This morning, I took a closer look at my poor plants. Oh, the herbacity!

There was only one thing to do: round them all up and put them in the shower in the sunny bathroom. I gave them a good spray, knocking off the dust and letting them drink deep.

Normally, I schlep them to the kitchen sink, water them and let them drain. When I do that, the cat thinks I’m serving him a salad course, and I’m sure he hasn’t read up on which house plants might be poisonous to pets.

Now that they’re all in the shower together (and dripping!) they’re a bit more intimidating.

BLOG plantshower

Semper ficus!

Who knows when I’ll put them back? They look so happy. And heavy…

The Birchbark House


birchbark house

Some time ago, I wrote several posts about the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series. My sister, Ann, had the wisdom to save that collection and hand it down to my very lucky daughter.  We read them together.

I didn’t know, however, that Laura Ingalls was only slice of what’s available…

This summer, I was wandering around the children’s section of the library and I found Louise Erdrich’s “Birchbark House.”

I’m a huge fan of Erdrich’s books. How did I not know about this?

Truth be told, I checked it out for myself, not knowing if I would foist it on my daughter.

She’s into the whole horror scene, and the books I recommend tend not to be “cool.” So I read it. It was amazing, and I forgot how much I loved Erdrich’s writing. But, I kept thinking back to those happy-ish Little House books, and that scene in “Little House on the Prairie” where they watch the Indians “ride away” (wink, wink),  and Laura cries because she wants an Indian baby for herself. (!!!)

I just had to show my daughter there’s another side to that part of American history. So, she read about the baby girl in the very first pages and what happens to her. (I won’t give it away. Are you crazy? You need to read this for yourself!) Then, we had a long discussion and she asked some very hard questions. And now, we’re kind of hooked…

This weekend, we’re off to find the other Birchbark books, “Game of Silence,” “The Porcupine Year,” “Chickadee,” and “Makoons.” I can’t wait to have another series to read with my kid. I can’t wait to see what happens.

If you have a favorite historical series, please share it! ~ Thanks!!


Hope in a Jar


Check out this righteous herb, man

This morning, a good friend and well-meaning person told me their hairdresser knew the cure for Type 1 Diabetes. I had to run to my car before she finished talking, or I wouldn’t be responsible for my actions.

Why do people licensed to cut and color hair think they have medical training superior to any other hospital or research facility anywhere in the world? For the last 18 months (since my son’s diagnosis), I have had a deluge of advice either directly from hairdressers or their clients about its “cure.”

Hairdressers: you need to stop. We have laws against practicing medicine without a license because it can kill people. So, the next time you’re backcombing someone and want to tell them evening primrose oil cures cancer – Shut. It.

That goes double for people selling shakes and supplements from their garage. I know you mean well, and you would LOVE to feel personally responsible for curing someone – even better if it’s a child – of a lifelong medical condition.

YOU don’t want to cause any harm (like the emotional trauma resulting from spending lots of money on some flaky concoction that hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of making any difference in any human’s physiology), but the company that makes the product you sell has no such scruples.

“Tell them – ha ha ha – tell them if they drink this, they won’t have to take any more insulin!”drunk-i-love-lucy

Now, really… how does that even sound? Would you go up to an amputee and tell them Vitameatavegamin will grow their limb back?

Oh, am I being hostile? Sorry.

But I think if a company is going to make such a claim, they should be responsible for researching and providing proof that the product really does what they say it does. And I’m not talking about an endorsement from a customer/entrepreneur who said they had plantar warts that looked like melanoma and now they don’t have them anymore. I’m talking FDA approval.

Next time, instead of just smiling and nodding at these “product representatives,” I’m going to ask them to provide references, research studies, and a monetary guarantee that would cover any unforeseen medical side effects from the use of whatever they’re selling. I want that shit in writing.

Maybe then, people will think twice about what it really means to offer hope in a jar.