I can bend the pole

When I was 8 or 9 years old, I was in a huge-to-me university production of Momotaro, that Japanese folktale also known as Peach Boy.

In one scene, Momotaro demonstrated his strength by bending a pole, and, thrill of thrills, I was chosen to eagerly exclaim that I, too, could bend the pole.

For some reason, I never saw the actual pole until that very scene on the first performance night. And for some reason during all of those rehearsals, nobody had told me that the actual pole was going to be basic mattress-grade styrofoam.

Yup, I, too, could bend the pole.

If you, too, want to show off your Momotaro-esque strength (that’s a word now), try this:

1) Make fists with both of your hands, then push your hands together at the knuckles. I’m sure there’s a specific name for that stance, but I don’t know what it is.

2) Call your best friend over to pull your arms apart at your elbows.

3) Didn’t work? No? Call over your favorite caretaker to try.

4) Didn’t work? Ah. Do you know why?

Here, read all about it or ask your favorite biology teacher to explain it.

Blender Applesauce

If, one afternoon, you’re feeling particularly impatient and can’t possibly wait 45 minutes or so to make applesauce on the stove top, grab this recipe. You should be inhaling fresh applesauce in about 15 minutes.

Blender Applesauce

What you need:

  • 3 tart apples
  • ¼ cup honey

What you do:

  1. Peel apples.
  2. Cut each apple into 4 pieces.
  3. Remove seeds.
  4. Put the apples into blender with honey and add a small amount of water.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Eat applesauce immediately.

Pick your favorite apple snack ideas and get ready!

Yes, I’ll take the minutes for this meeting

At the start of your next office meeting, wait and listen while everyone harrumphs and pulls out their latest gadget for playing games taking notes.

Then, as harrumphlessly as you can, take out your i-Wood.

Open it up, find the chalk, and smile expectantly at the friendly person in charge.

So simple, even children can use it.


I think children are meant to use it.

Made in Germany, wanted in Japan!

[rasselfisch.de via Swiss Miss!]

Mollie Katzen’s Made-in-the-Pan Chocolate Cake

Remember Crazy Cake?

If you gallop to the kitchen as soon as your classes are done for the day, then you could probably start inhaling this one-pan chocolate cake about an hour later. You need only one pan!

The only problem I can see with this recipe is that it’s easy enough to bake and eat nearly every day.

Wait, did I say that’s a problem?


Mollie Katzen’s Made-in-the-Pan Chocolate Cake

1¼ cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or white vinegar

Do you have all of those ingredients measured and ready to go? Great! Now trot over to Mollie Katzen’s site to read the directions.

Easy, yes? Oh boy…….

Two Two Peka

Any Topeka, Kansans out there?

One of my 8-year-old boys came to class wearing a sweatshirt with “Topeka, Kansas” written on it.

Always on the lookout for more personalized conversation starters, I brightly asked if he had ever been to Topeka.

Instant confusion.

“Been…to…Peka?” he asked.

I slowed my talking and deleted excess words. “To Topeka?”


New try.

I helped him connect the words on his sweatshirt to the location on a big map. He understood that.

Oh good!

Next, I pointed to my shirt, pointed to Tokyo on the map, and said, “Tokyo, Japan.”

Nods of understanding.

I pointed to his shirt and asked, “Topeka, Kansas?”

“No no no!” he suddenly cried, bright eyes indicating he seemed to finally understand what I was asking. “UniQlo!”

That clothing store?

Well, grin.

Two cups of coffee and a faded black hoodie

True or false? Coffee will “re-dye” your faded black clothes.

Just add two cups of strong coffee to the rinse cycle!


I did that.


And my clothes came out smelling like strong coffee, so back in they went for 2 more washings until the coffee smell was gone. The coffee “dye” was probably gone by then, too.

RIT probably would have worked better, yes?

Oooh, nifty idea I just came up with: Go ask your parents for 2 cups of coffee and some of their old black clothes. It’s time for a science experiment, coffee versus RIT!

P.S. Have you been to that coffee spa in Hakone, Japan?

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