Life pisses in my cornflakes: And writing just got THAT much harder

Now, to be fair, I did not witness the following event. I was at the grocery store, probably trying to decide what in the world a lentil was and where one would find it.

The Players: a cup of coffee, a two and a half year old, an eleven month old, a lap top, and a rickety TV tray.

The Scenario: one can only assume, but I think the coffee was an innocent bystander.

The Result: a six year old lap top computer, cut down in the prime of life.

Sigh. And, I’m not surprised.

I knew something was amiss when I got a text from The Hubs, saying, “What do you say we go out tonight and buy a new laptop? A few of the keys on here don’t work anymore.”

When I got home, I discovered when he said, “a few keys,” what he actually meant was “the majority of the keyboard.” We’ll, except the comma and the backspace. Important keys, to be sure, but not nearly enough through which one can craft a novel.

I’m not entirely sure what I said next. I have a feeling it was somewhat argumentative and not adhering to my grandfather’s admonishment, “Keep Sweet.”

In fact, I have a feeling it was something more along the lines of something you might hear a drunken sailor say.

To which, The Hubs said,

To which, I slammed a door.

2012 is going to go down in history as the Year of Laptop Death. We came into the year with two laptops, one of which just decided to lock up and then shut off, never to turn back on, and one that currently smells like French vanilla creamer. This is also the year I discovered I would rather slam my hand repeatedly in the silverware drawer than watch the children’s program, “Gaspard and Lisa.”

I will, however, borrow on their exclamation of, “Catastrophe!” as I segue into this weekend’s other kick in the face.

So, I decided I wanted to try and make my grandfather’s Salt Risin’ Bread. The recipe I had was written on a slip of paper and in parenthesis said, “The Old Timer Version.” SRB is notoriously hard to make. Evidently, it’s even harder to make the “Old Timer” way.

In short, the night before, you put together a bizarre mixture of sliced potatoes, corn meal, salt, and boiling water. Cover. Let sit overnight.

Why? I don’t know.

But I followed the steps. The recipe, however, made no mention of adding yeast. At any point. I failed to be concerned by this until it was far too late.

In lieu of calling my grandfather, since he’s been dead since 2009, I called my mother. His daughter. The provider of the recipe.

“Oh, I’ve never made SRB,” she reported. “It’s complicated.”

Complicated is an understatement. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, but after an hour of rising followed by the requisite baking, this is what I pulled out of the oven:


Yeah. Salt Un-Risin’ Bread. Salt Sinking Bread. Salt “you could brick in a fireplace with these loaves” Bread.

I should have been suspicious when at my Uncle Bill’s funeral two weeks ago, a whole table full of Southern women confirmed they had never made SRB, because “It’s complicated.”

Back to the drawing board. Those sad, flat little loaves are the perfect representation of my weekend.

But, hey. I’m not going to let it get me down. Three generations of my family, my mother included, can’t make SRB, so I’m in good company! And the laptop. Well, yeah, that’s a real kick in the ovaries, but I’m scrappy. I’m tough. I’m 120 pounds of coiled steel: I may be writing on notebook paper and blogging from my phone, but I’ll get there. Stranger things have happened.

Like, for example, earlier this week at work. I was walking down the hall after picking up my mail, when I felt something fall into my hand. I was horrified it was a bug. It was, randomly, a chocolate chip. I don’t know where it came from. But there it was.

I’ve heard of life throwing curveballs, but not chocolate chips. I’m okay with chocolate chips. Hurl away, life, hurl away!



  1. I betcha anything, there are recipes for salt-rising bread on the internet. I’ve heard of it before, but was never curious enough to try it out. Maybe now I will. And it will be *your* fault.

      1. I did a search and yes, it’s complicated. The most crucial part seems to be corn meal that hasn’t been degerminated. That means finding a natural foods source. Grocery store corn meal is always degerminated. I mgiht give it try later on this year. Have to get through NaNoWriMo first.

  2. There are several important life lessons to be learned here.

    1. (Most important) Lentils are bad for you. They kill your laptop (by proxy, admittedly, but that just makes them sneaky as well as evil).

    2. ‘Keep sweet’ is nothing to do with being ladylike. It’s about always having chocolate on hand for emergencies.

    3. Salt-Risin’-Bread (which I had never heard of till now; I have learned something, therefore today is not wasted – and it’s only just lunchtime so the rest of the day is my own) is obviously not meant to be eaten. You made it perfectly; it’s just that the recipe did not (as it should have) state that SRB is not a comestible but a siege weapon. All you have to do is build a small balcony over your front door and you can drop SRB on door-to-door salesmen.

    4. Anything that happens while your husband was present but you were absent is His Fault and can be cast up to him at any time for the rest of his life, at strategic moments. Correctly managed, this strategy can parlay, for example, a truly dreadful French hotel in the red light district of Paris into a spa weekend whenever you want one. Forever.

    Really enjoyed your post! Go get ’em!

    1. Haha, thank you so much! In response:

      1. The lentils were purchased. I’m still not sure what it is, but feel strongly they can be used as currency during the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

      2. I have to agree; I think “Keep Sweet” maybe be more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. To that end, sweet and salty go together hand in hand. I was salty yesterday. I was the living Ying and Yang of the weekend.

      3. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have let The Hubs toss the cement bread. With this ridiculous hurricane a-coming (and you only use the prefix “a-” when things are really bad), I could have used them to hold back raging flood waters. A levee of sorts. Or, used them to prop up the front porch.

      4. I must agree. I have never been to the red light district in Paris, but I have been to a strip club in Bulgaria, an outing with The Hubs which actually resulted in me getting a new car (not really. But him being on military deployment in Eastern Europe got me the money for a new car. I still have that car. And it’s still awesome.

      Thank you so much for your comments! It really brightened my day!! 🙂

  3. Ah – one of those ‘Yes there is a God and He hates my guts’ moments. Or possibly some sort of karmic boomerang…

    The bread episode puts me in mind of our Medieval Living History group (think SCA but with steel weapons) and its Project X – the reproduction fifteenth century bread oven. Said oven having been constructed, it’s time to fire it up and get baking. All goes well until one of the builders of the oven reveals that the yeast he’s used is (at a rough guess) about seven years old.

    Horrified eyes turn to the oven. What B-Movie horror lurks within? Grimly, the wooden door is lifted away to reveal….

    Well, they look like bread rolls, but they have the consistency of poorly mixed concrete. Rock hard on the outside (the bruise took a week to fade), but liable to explode like a fragmentation grenade when hit.

    So take courage, in the realm of culinary disasters it can always get worse.

    1. You made hardtack…sort of! Just think, the US government used to equip our soldiers with rations of hardtack during the Civil War! Yum! Truth be told, The Hubs and I did one time make hard tack. On purpose. It actually wasn’t half bad; once you soaked it in coffee for awhile. Your story is hilarious, though! That sounds like a lot of fun and something like CW reenacting. I kind of wanted to jump up and yell, “TREBUCHET!” but was at work and didn’t think it to be entirely appropriate.

  4. My sympathies! Our main PC was down for a month & we were able to get a laptop for me, but if this goes, I’m in trouble. I do have another word processor to use (and our PC is back to functioning, yay) but I would cry to lose this. About the cooking – at least you were following a recipe – so it’s really not your fault. I do with with ALL my cooking. I do like the idea of SRB being a siege weapon. That sounds awesome. 😉

  5. Seriously – and not that I normally look for humor in the pain and misery of others – I laughed through this entire thing, comments and all. Actually, I lie like a cheap rug. I often look for the humor in the pain and misery of others. Kid stubs his toe, I pull out the scalpel and suggest amputating his arm. Sister burns bread, I break it into pieces, load it into the desktop trebapult and start flinging it around the house. The dogs really love this. The sister not so much…

    You should post the SU-RB recipe. I think it could would make a nice imprint on my sister’s walls. 🙂

    1. Lol, thanks! I’ll be honest, I’m the same way. One if the funniest things I’ve ever seen was a girl walking down a hill, oddly enough carrying a lizard on a leash. She skipped. Leg went up in the air. She emitted the sound “wooooop” and fell/rolled down the hill. The lizard went flying. She was laughing by the time she got to the bottom. I was almost peeing from laughter.

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