Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Making Kombucha Tea

I'm pretty sure I'm making moonshine.

I've had Kombucha tea over the past year, love the taste, and have noticed some good things about it.  My digestive system is improved, and I never worry about getting those much-hyped probiotics.

And yet.

It's EXPENSIVE!  $3.19 - $3.49 a bottle.  And for what?  A vinegar-fruity-like fermented concotion with secret powers, that's what, yo!

I have a friend, Anne, who makes her own.  She offered me a Scoby so I could also make my own, saving all kinds of money.  What is a Scoby?  A Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast.  Or Josh says, "Super Creepy Organism."  It is basically a floating pancake-like "starter" in a gallon of green tea.

So I gathered my supplies and created a special shelf in my pantry:

1) 1 gallon sterilized jar
2) organic raw sugar
3) green tea packets
4) sterilized Kombuca bottles (washed the ones out I had purchased)
5) clean t-shirt, rubber band

I won't go into the whole process here, but let's just say that this brew might kill me.  Tim told me all about the NPR report he heard where there is no solid evidence that this special tea does a thing for you.  Mayo Clinic also says the jury is out on this fizzy crap (I'm pretty sure those were their actual words).  If you make it incorrectly (in plastic, for example), or in an unsterile environment, you can actually breed harmful bacteria.

This may be my last post.

You have to scrub, scrub, scrub constantly while preparing the tea.  And you can't use antibacterial soap!  (Yes, because you are making bacteria) It has to be all-natural, chemical free stuff.  The expense of all the equipment, including that special soap may actually cancel out the price-savings of making my own KomHoocha.

My friends are skeptical.  My boys are grossed out.  But it's like a crazy science experiment that I want to see through to the end.

My recent text exchange with Maelyn on the subject:

Lora: (texted photo) The Mother of Scoby.  I'm scared!  Don't know if I can really go through with making Kombucha...Booch/Hooch.
Maelyn:  Dang.  You went through with it.  If anyone can pull it off, it's you.
Lora:  I'm terrified of contaminants!  It's kind of a big project.
Maelyn:  When can you drink the stuff?  And how do you get the delicious berry flavors?
Lora:  In 8 - 14 days you add the flavorings on a second round of fermentin'.  This is so not in the Word of Wisdom.  I am going to hell.
Maelyn:  It's so cheap though.
Lora:  I don't know if I will stick with it.  It's like having a pet.  We tried that, remember?  Look (send 2nd picture) the first batch.  A Scoby floating in the tea!  I check on it in a week.  Apparently you can very easily get bad bacteria in the jar--then you have to dump everything and start over.
Maelyn:  Is Tim nervous?
Lora:  Yes, but I said, "$3.29 a bottle nervous, baby?!"
Maelyn:  What the hell is a Scoby, and how can you tell when it has turned bad?!
Lora:  Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.  I guess it can get mold.  Crazy.
Maelyn:  Yikes!
Lora:  Holy Scoby!
Maelyn:  (Looking at 3 day photo) Oooh.  Is that mold?
Lora:  Nope.  just the culture.  If it turns green, I'm dead.
Maelyn:  The STRESS!!!
Lora:  Hold onto your Spanx.  The Scoby MOTHER has birthed a Scoby BABY!
Maelyn:  Get OUT.  What am I looking at?
Lora:  Mother at the top, Baby on the bottom of jar.  The babies are the ones loaded with the most medicine, according to witch doctors.
Maelyn:  K.  You are FREAKIN me out.  You might as well name them at this point.  It just can't get any creepier!  I guess if they start moving around with arms and legs...and squeaking.
Lora:  haha!  I feel like we've adopted Sea Monkeys.

And folks, I have not included pictures of the above, simply because they really are kinda gross.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bring on the Boring

Recently I read about the "joys" of Norwegian Realtiy TV:  Slow-paced and well, boring.  It turns out that people in Norway have 1) a lot of time on their hands and 2) lots of money, thanks to oil and gas resources.  This lends itself perfectly to Reality TV--but we're not talking Real Housewives of Oslo here.  Think salmon fishing for 18 hours.  184 hours of a train winding its way to Bergen.  A 30-hour interview with a famous crime author!  Yes, slow and boring!

I'm intrigued.  On our recent trip to Maine, I confessed to Tim that it was perhaps the best trip I've ever taken.  It contained all the elements Mama loves:  crisp weather, very little on the agenda, beautiful scenery, running water and bathroom amenities.  I wonder if Norway would work for me?

Apparently the next big reality show to air in Norway is a knitting show.  Not the "Stitch and Bitch" gossip session you might be thinking of, but rather all eyes glued to the screen wondering when Helgi...will...drop...that...next...stitch.

I kinda like it.

A 30-hour interview with crime author, Hans Olav Lahlum

Thursday, January 31, 2013

More "Old Lady" Evidence

You may recall that in this post, How We Know We are Old Ladies, Maelyn and I listed evidence of such.

Here are 3 more:


I need volume, dammit!


Various "creams and lotions." (Nacho Libre)

and C.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Throw in the Towel

 Isn't it amazing how far we'll go sometimes just to prove a point?

Maelyn and Mike had been married about 5 years, when they started "discussing" laundry.  She got after him for not doing more of it--he, on the other hand, claimed she washed some things too often.  For example, their bath towels.  His argument:  If my body is now clean, and I'm using a towel to wipe away water, when is it going to be a dirty towel?

Maelyn got frustrated, mumbling something about how he'd begin to notice if she didn't do all the things she normally did to keep their place in order.  Mike smelled a wager.  "Care to make it interesting?"

They agreed that Maelyn would only wash her towel.  Mike would throw his in the hamper, when he felt it was in need of a wash.

WEEKS went by, and every time Maelyn would stop and inspect Mike's towel, it smelled fresh!  It felt soft!  How could this be??

Then Mike confessed:  he'd been secretly washing the towel himself, all along.

Ah, the taste of being right, and proving a point.  It's never as good as you think it will be...but that's exactly my point.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get in the Zone

While living on Bainbridge Island, I loved that Maelyn was right across the water in Redmond.  We'd talk on the phone daily, swapping "Mom of the Day" stories (more "Bad Mom of the Day" than good), and ideas on how to maintain some order in our world of chaos.  Maelyn honed in on the method of Zone Cleaning.  She even filled out some 3x5 cards to help me set up a similar plan:

I read the front of the card with excitement--this seemed like something I would really do!  After all, just knowing we'd be simultaneously scrubbing toilets on Tuesdays made it sound almost fun!

Then I turned over the card:


Let's keep brainstorming, Maelyn.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What the Kale?

I invited Kale into my home 5 days ago, and let's just say it's been a long week.

It haunts me, in my crisper drawer, waiting to be prepared.  I've combed the internet for ideas on how to prepare it, but I find myself annoyed by comments of this ilk:

"I LOVE this frozen in my morning green smoothie!!"
"I sprinkle sea-salt on Kale pieces and roast in the oven!  Yummers!!  It's just like chips!"
"Kale is soooo good for you, and so easy to prepare.  Get on the Kale bandwagon, girls!"

You get my point.  The pressure to love Kale finally overcame me 5 days ago, when I purchased the cumbersome bunch at Whole Foods.

The Kale immediately drew attention, sitting in my cart.  Old men winked at me.  Beautiful yoga-clad Moms smiled, their veneers, sparkling, and the clerk said, "OMG.  Have you seen our Kale sweatshirts?!  They are so super cute.  It's like the school 'Yale,' but they put 'Kale!'"


I will cook the blasted Kale today, if only to rid it from my home.  This week has been so nightmarish, what with Kale taking over my home and making itself completely comfortable, and well, pushy:

"I've always wanted to try one of these beds..."

"I don't get why you think Henry James is so hard?"

"Man, do you have ANYTHING good to eat here??"

"I'll be right there--finishing up Amish Mafia!"

"Haha...very punny.  Of course I know 'Greensleeves.'"

"Are you even serious??  I have my permit!!"

"This is the last one--will Tim care?"

(Puffing) "You.  Guys.  Have.  Too.  Many.  Stairs."

"Do you have, like, one of those shower chair things?"

"A little privacy, please!  Is that too much to ask?"

"I just need to run a quick load."

"Dude, you should see my KD ratio..."

"Caaaammmm....Time to wake up....!"

"Come on.  Zac doesn't even wear these shirts anymore."

"I totes need one of these robes.  But with a K."

"What would happen if I let go from here??!"

"Did you change your wi-fi password again?!"

"Is this the only kind of syrup you guys have?"

"Josh totally lost it on me after Black Ops.  I'm gonna need some Neosporin, too."

"So sick of this place.  I can cook myself."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just Stop Talking

Last year Zac witnessed a moment where I just couldn't stop talking, and dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole.  As we climbed back in the car, I said, "I don't know what it is about HER.  Whenever I'm around her, I say too much.  I think it's because her pauses are so long.  Didn't you think she paused for like a really long time?"  He simply replied, "Totes Awkies."  Which, for those of you without the joy of text talking in your homes, means "Totally Awkward."


The above link (sorry it wasn't possible to add the video itself) shows Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) putting her foot in her mouth yet again.  The total awkwardness of the moment is captured perfectly.

I seem to run into this problem again and again.  Either I can't just shut my mouth, and end up saying the wrong thing, or one of my kids does!


Cam and I were in the Vans store looking for shoes.  The employee was super nice, nose ring and all, but had this peach-jello-colored hair.  I couldn't look away.  It was such an odd color, and I was trying to figure out what look she was going for.  I kept making myself look away!  Finally, at check-out, the little voice inside is saying, "Don't mess it up!  Don't mention the hair color in any way!"  I'm handing her my credit card.  I'm signing a slip.  I'm almost done...then...I say good-bye, "I appreciate your HAIR!!"  WHAT???!!!  Oh no.  What did I just say?  Hair instead of help?!  She kind of wrinkled her nose and looked at me, with a confused expression.  So I did what you probably would have done:

I ran out of the store.

Maelyn and I seem to run into bizarre retail situations whenever we're together.  It's bad enough that we know what each other is thinking, simply by locking eyes.  So when we're in a store, trying not to say the wrong thing, it is twice as hard!

We walked into Lamonts, an old clothing store that was on the verge of shutting down in the Silverdale, Washington, mall.  We found a few items and approached the register.  The woman who turned around to wait on us gave us no warning of what we were about to see.

She had hair like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.  What the heck?

Obviously the poor woman was suffering from severe hair loss for some reason or another.  We felt so bad for her.  Maelyn and I kept trying not to look at her, or at each other.  The store was otherwise empty, and the silence was thick with tension.  It was clear that we were both sweating this out.

When we got out to the parking lot, we started firing off:
  • Why not a kicky beret?  You work in a clothing store!
  • How big was the bear that mauled you?!
  • How are we not supposed to say anything?!
  • How about a name-tag that says, "I know.  I don't wanna talk about it."
  • Or why didn't she just say something like, "I forgot my hair today!"

Perhaps this has not been the best example for my kids.

Years ago when we lived on Bainbridge, I was having some large trees planted in our yard.  I had previously met the guy at the nursery where I purchased the trees--his name was Dave.  He had an extreme case of psoriasis, and I just knew Cameron (probably 6 at the time) would not be able to stop staring.  So when I got home, I prepped Cam the best I could.  "Dave is a really nice man who is going to be planting trees for us.  We really appreciate all he is doing.  He also has dry skin, so please don't say anything about it to him."  I went on to explain that Dave probably didn't like talking about his skin.

I hear a truck pull up, a door slam, and my doorbell ring.  Before I can get to the door, Cam throws it wide open and screams, "Hey Dry-Skin-Dave!!  Start plantin' our trees!"


If only he had taken after his dear dad, who seems to say the right thing or nothing at all.  Once a co-worker at the bank walked up to him at her goodbye party.  She rested a cup on her very pregnant stomach, and said, "So, Tim.  Do you know that I'm going on maternity leave?"  His response:  "Really!  I guess that means you're pregnant?"  She laughed, "I'm 8 months along!  You've never said a word about it!"

I trained him right, yet I can't listen to myself long enough to learn.

My Dad has always said if he could do one thing differently in his life, it would be to shut up more often.  I never thought the day would come where I'd be "shushed" by one of my children.  I was on some diatribe about church work when I watched Zac close his eyes, quietly bring his forefinger to his lips and say, "SHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh."  Whak?!!!

It's not like I HAVE to get the last word in.

Really.  I'm totally open to just stopping the madness.

So I guess this is it.

You say goodbye first.