Monthly Archives: July 2008

Raw and Wriggling


When I was little I stumbled across a book in our school library called “How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell. How could I resist a title like that? I took it home and devoured it (metaphorically speaking) in a single afternoon, wincing in delighted disgust at the account of Billy’s bizarre gastronomical odyssey as he ate his way through fifteen worms in fifteen days to meet the terms of a hideous bet.

I hadn’t thought of that book in years, until this weekend.

Katie ate a worm. On purpose. Actually, she ate several, live and wriggling, while I watched with the same revolted fascination I had previously reserved for Billy.

After all, this is the girl who won’t eat a banana if it has even a single speck of brown on the peel, who inspects each and every french fry for irregularities before consuming it, who meticulously picks every last unacceptable green pea out of the stir fry before eating it. Worms? Really?

We were visiting Paul’s Grandpa and Grandma on Saturday, playing in the yard, and I was picking late cherries off of the cherry trees to nosh on while I read my book. They were delicious. I ate a handful before Grandpa appeared to make sure I knew that they were wormy. “Wormy?” I repeated, as the juice dripped down my chin. Grandpa split open a cherry and shoved aside the pit to show me the tiny white worm swimming around in the sticky pulp.

I stopped chewing.

“It’s no big deal,” Grandpa explained, seeing my expression. He flicked the worm away with one practiced fingernail and thumbed the cherry into his mouth. “We don’t spray the trees with pesticides because we don’t want to poison the birds. You just take out the worms and they taste fine.”

I believed him, I really did, but the mental hurdle proved too high for me to overcome. I’d lost my taste for the cherries, probably due to the disturbing knowledge that I’d already eaten six or eight of the little white worms without realizing it.

Katie was listening to all this with undisguised wonder. She popped open a cherry to see the critter for herself.

“Mom, is eating worms bad for you?”


“They won’t hurt you?”

“No. They’re just a little extra protein, that’s all.”

And before I knew it, she had picked up one of the crawlies and swallowed it down, a thoughtful look on her face, an astonished one on mine.

“Not bad,” she said.

I gaped.

“Tastes sort of sweet,” she said.

I goggled.

“Is it okay if I eat another one?” she asked.

I nodded weakly.

Frankly, I’m still amazed. And a little repulsed. However, I just realized that The Worm Incident has given me new ammunition in the ongoing battle to get my picky eater to try new foods. After all, once you’ve had worm, what could possibly be left on the yucky list?

Napkin News Report


Top Story:

After nearly a decade of stay-at-home-mom-itude, Katrina will be reentering the workforce this fall as a kindergarten teacher. Caleb’s kindergarten teacher. In fact, she is taking over the very position recently vacated by her good friend, Jen, who is currently turning her attention to caring for her beautiful new baby girl and homeschooling her sons. Following in Jen’s talented footsteps will not be easy. According to Katrina herself, she is anticipating her return to the classroom with a great deal of excitement and more than a touch of trepidation. Shedding some light on her deep feelings about the matter, Katrina opines: “Kindergarten. Whoa. That’s like…wow. You know?”

In Tech:

After a lengthy application and interview process, Paul has been hired by his current employer to take over the available supervisor position in the User Services department. His previous title of WuSS (Windows Support Specialist) has been replaced by a more respectable SIR (Supervisor of Implementation and Restoration.) It is a matter of note, however, that his wife Katrina has refused to address him as such. The position’s benefits include a higher salary and a bigger office that just begs for a life size cardboard cutout of Yoda to make it complete. According to geek sources, a scale replica of the Battlestar Galactica with working lights would also be acceptable.

Financial Report:

Due to the recent increase in the Napkin Household’s GFP (Gross Family Product), a move from their two bedroom apartment to larger accommodations is under consideration. Meetings have been scheduled with realtors and mortgage agents to investigate the possibility of buying a home, thereby gaining a yard, an extra bathroom, and another bedroom, allowing Caleb space to do his Crazy Pajama Dance without injuring his reluctant roommate. Should the Napkins not qualify for a home loan, their contingency plans involve appearing on Let’s Make a Deal, rendering aid to an anonymous millionaire stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, and discovering an ancient and forgotten genealogical link to the royal family of Zanzibar, complete with attendant inheritance. At the very least, the rental apartment will be traded for a rental house. Preferably one with a giant garden bathtub where Katrina can relax after a long day of show and tell, phonics practice, and preventing acts of bloodshed on the playground.

Vegas Revisited


Usually, the phrase “so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk” is a hyperbole. Not so on the Las Vegas Strip in the middle of July. I meant to bring an egg with me to try it out this time, but you know how tight TSA carry-on baggage regulations have gotten lately. And believe it or not, there’s nowhere on the Strip to actually buy a single egg unless it’s already cooked into a fifteen dollar frittata, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was hot.

Not that the heat was a surprise to Tracy, Regina, and I. This was, after all, our second July trip to Vegas, which made us experts of a sort, if there is a field of expertise that specializes solely in finding great places to eat and shop and indulge in innocent entertainment in a town built mostly around naughtiness.

I suppose we might have been a little naughty, if you count the sin of gluttony, because we ate, and we ate well. Hoo, boy, did we eat. We made a return visit to our favorite buffet of all time at the Bellagio, enjoyed sushi again (several times) at the site of my own maiden sushi experience, Ra, and together polished off four large boxes of gourmet chocolates from famous Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge (it was buy three get one free–what were we supposed to do?) Without a doubt, though, one of the gustatory highlights of the trip was lunch (courtesy of Regina’s wonderful husband, Chris, who paid the bill) at The Mesa Grill, a hotspot owned by celebrated chef Bobby Flay. I had the amazing Barbecued Lamb Cobb Salad and we ordered and split three desserts that defy the powers of my usual catalog of adjectives. This morning I got on the scale to tally up the damage and was pleasantly surprised to see that I didn’t gain a pound! I guess all that toiling up and down hot Vegas sidewalks had its rewards, after all.

We stayed at the luxurious (and I don’t use that adjective lightly) Venetian hotel, possibly the most pampering place in which I have ever parked a suitcase. With big fluffy robes and slippers, fresh flowers in the bathroom, three flat screen televisions (including one you could watch while stretching out full length in the enormous tub), and a panoramic view of the Strip out of our picture window, our deluxe suite made me feel like the rock star I always wanted to be.

And, of course, we shopped. It didn’t seem to matter that everything cost half again as much as it would at home. It was only Vacation Money, after all, so it flowed rather more freely than the real kind. The kids’ favorite purchase of mine was the dice-shaped lollipops I brought home for them. As of this writing, they’ve sucked most of the dots off, and are working diligently at making the rest disappear as well.

Oh, and I’m sorry to disappoint you gambling teetotalers out there, but I did take my turn at the penny slot machine. I lost a whole dollar! At one point, I was up to a dollar forty; I just knew I should have cashed out then. So much for my plan to pay off our student loans with my ill-gotten gains.

I should mention that this lovely and relaxing girls getaway was only made possible by support from the troops at home, particularly Paul, who took my place as pancake-maker, tucker-inner, boo-boo-kisser, and all around nurturer in addition to performing his own duties as spider-killer, entertainment-coordinator, and transportation-provider. Thanks, babe. You totally rock! (And I don’t mean like Wayne Newton.)


Tracy, me, Regina:

The famous Bellagio fountains! I recorded this on my tiny purse cam, so please excuse the tinny sound and the Blair-Witch-esque camera work. I highly recommend seeing it in person:

Coming Soon


There is much afoot at the Notes household, and I fully intend to blog about it. Soon.

However, in a very few hours I am boarding a plane bound for Serious Revelry (The Reprise), so blogging will have to wait for a few days, at least.

In the interim, here’s something for you to enjoy. I’ve been on a total period costume drama movie binge lately, and I’m still not tired of lines like “I want you to live with me, to pass through life as my second self, my best earthly companion.” Or “You have bewitched me, body and soul.” *sigh* I found this video on YouTube, and it’s a great place to start if you decide to go on a binge of your own: