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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin

What's happening in Ferguson is so bizarre and horrifying I don't even know how to talk about it.  Then why bring it up, Layne? you might ask.  I guess just to show that I read the news and I don't like tragedy and I don't trust authority.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine (a friend who, knowing my affection for the poop emoji, gave me a blob of glowing fake poo for my birthday, so you know she's cool).  We were talking about her brother-in-law, who is currently on a trip to meet his girlfriend's father and ask for her hand in marriage.  I guess the girl is very traditional, so this is important to her, but man.  I am uncomfortable with this tradition.  I recently read a great excoriation of the dumb, terrible song "Rude" in which the author describes asking-for-her-hand as "the retrograde plight of a young man requesting a title transfer." BOOM.  Exactly.  You knock that right off.  Something I am okay with:  both parties approaching both sets of parents and saying, "We have decided to get married, and we would love to have your blessing."  Something I am not okay with:  the boy approaching the girl's dad and saying, "Your daughter is a thing you own, and I would like to own her now." 

There was a great piece on The Takeaway yesterday about "The Black Album," the fictional/real album Ethan Hawke created for his movie son/actual daughter, and I wish so much that this album really existed.  In the letter the dad writes to the son he says this wise, necessary thing:  "I listen to this music and for some reason (maybe the ongoing, metamorphosing pain of my divorce from your mother) I am filled with sadness that John & Paul’s friendship turned so bitter. I know, I know, I know, it has nothing to do with me, but damn it, tell me again why love can’t last. Why do we give in to pettiness? Why did they? Why do we so often see gifts as threats? Differences as shortcomings? Why can we not see that our friction could be used to polish one another?"  Testify, fake movie dad.  

But on the bright side, the people on Youtube who have uploaded the songs that appear on the Black Album are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.  Monetize the crap out of that, ladies and gentlemen!  Ooh, suddenly I feel very patriotic.

John and I took Emmett to the recent Paul McCartney concert, and it was all we could have hoped for.  None of my children are as passionate about the Beatles as I am, which makes me sad.  They like them okay, but they'd usually rather listen to something else.  I've found that sometimes telling them the background to the song helps.  Anyway, Paul McCartney is such a fabulous performer that Emmett was finally able to see the light.  He has watched his shaky, hand-held video of the fire jets in "Live and Let Die" about fifty times.  You can hear me in the background going "WOO!  FIRE!"  This man is 72 and he jumped around and played a bunch of different instruments and performed for nearly three straight hours and it was my favorite thing.  I LOVE PAUL MCCARTNEY SO MUCH.

One of the things we were talking about while waiting to get into the concert was how which Beatle is your favorite is a personality test and says something about what kind of a person you are, much like what Hogwarts house you belong to.  And I think that the Beatles can be loosely correlated with Hogwarts houses--Paul is Gryffindor, John is Slytherin, George is Ravenclaw, and Ringo is Hufflepuff.  Would you agree?  Or would Paul be Hufflepuff?  I think we should have a cross-test that determines which Beatles correspond with which Hogwarts houses to test my theory.  Someone computery:  go do that. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

who wants respect from a ten-year-old kid?

Brothers and sisters, it is so hot in Florida.  There was a shooting at an outlet mall while we were there, and I think it's because it is so hot there that it addles people's brains.  Someone probably snuck in and poached a parking spot that someone else had been waiting for, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know here comes the ambulance.  I think there are places in the world where maybe people just aren't meant to live.  Arizona comes to mind.  Also Greenland.  But what do I know?  Probably nothing.

John and I were the nerdy adults with no children who were tooling around in the Harry Potter theme park, and also I was pushing him in a wheelchair because his knee is still all messed up from his surgery.  If any of you were thinking of renting a disabled person to skip the lines at a theme park, know this:  it is not worth it.  You still have to wait, so you'll have become a garbage person for nothing.  But we had fun, and once again I was reminded how boring our normal, non-magical world is.  Even though the theme park does not have the immersive quality of the books, it's enough to remind you of how captivating they are.  And I am annoyed by people who think that adults should be ashamed to read Harry Potter--it reminds me of this weird guy who was attempting to date my youngest sister last year who said he can't read Harry Potter anymore unless he reads it in Spanish, because it's just too easy, and I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck.  Whatever, dude.  We bow before your superior intellect and so forth.

Did any of you read any of the Borrowers books when you were young?  I loved them so very much, and now I'm reading the first book to my kids and they're all like "meh."  What is their problem?  Aren't the Borrowers actually a super cool idea?  What's the matter with kids today?  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

they took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum

I had a whole big thing typed about how I stopped eating dessert a couple of weeks ago, but people who go on sugar fasts, even weak ones like I'm doing, are usually insufferable.  So never mind.

I finally milked Hazel and Sally last week, and felt very virtuous and provident living-y.  I decided not to get that beautiful blue roan goat.  What with the goats being even more pet than asset than usual this year, I just couldn't justify it.  This also made me feel virtuous and provident.  Also mature.  One of the problems with me is that I have to do so little to feel incredibly self-congratulatory.  Like I ever do anything that's actually challenging or commendable!  But I also frequently feel ashamed at my sheer uselessness, so I think it balances out in the end.  

The thing about Joan Baez is that she has such a gorgeous voice, but she is kind of a downer.  It's like listening to the Civil Wars--you can only take so much before you start eating your feelings. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

leave me the birds and the bees

Should I get another goat?  It is true what you're saying, that I don't need one.  But she is a blue roan!  I know I already have a blue roan, but Minerva is standoffish and I want a friendly one.  I will think about this. 

How do all of you do with difficult intra-familial conversations?  My results are mixed.  I like that my family doesn't yell and fight, but we also tend to avoid talking about Important Topics unless we already know we're in agreement.  And who wants to be in a echo chamber all the time?  Conversely, who wants to be with a bunch of self-important windbags who only want to discuss Important Topics anyway?  Best to not talk at all I guess.  Or only talk like Mayor Quimby's bodyguards: 
Ernie:  "Is there anything fluffier than a cloud?"
Big Tom:  "If there is, I don't want to see it." 
There's an innocuous conversation for you. 

I've got my half-gallon jar of beet kvass fermenting on the counter.  It should be ready by now, but it still tastes pretty bland.  I'm going to give it another twelve hours I think.  Last week we went to Lagoon and during the afternoon when we were all hot and thirsty and whiny Willa asked if she could drink some pickle juice, and I thought, "That sounds sick . . . wait a minute, that sounds great."  So I drank some pickle juice and it cheered me right up.  It's surprisingly refreshing when you're sweating like a musk ox.  Beet kvass is the same way--sometimes it just hits the spot. 

Earlier this week I went to the pawn shop looking for a snare drum for Emmett.  They didn't have one, but they did have a beautiful Seagull guitar that I itched for just a little bit.  I love the pawn shop.  It's such a great slice of humanity in there.  You can get so many wonderful things, and every one of those wonderful things will serve as a constant reminder of the folly of living beyond your means and that you're only one step removed from the pawn shop yourself.  The ciiiiiircle of liiiiiiiife! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

just want your heart, yeah, oh-oh

So it wasn't until I got old enough to start reading cooking and lifestyle magazines that I ran up against the wall that is what most people think of as strawberry shortcake is served on biscuits.  BISCUITS.  Nobody even talked about sponge cake, which is how my mom serves it and is better than biscuits, but worse than the real, true way, which is angel food cake.  And you wouldn't believe how alien this concept is--I've introduced it to scores of people who always look a little crestfallen when I say we're having strawberry shortcake, and then when they eat what I've brought they rave and exclaim with wonder about how wonderful it is, and as my brother-in-law would say:  Let's be clear.  It's not some great talent on my part that's doing it--it's the fact that angel food cake--any angel food cake--is immeasurably better than whatever shenanigans people are trying to pull with those dry biscuits.  I get that angel food cake is not technically a "short" cake from a baking perspective, but come on.  Knock that biscuit crap right off. 

My sister-in-law who is like the internet curator of our family sent me a link to the awesomest song  because she heard it and thought of me and now I am learning it on the guitar.  I don't know if you'll love it the way I do, but you can probably guess why it made Emily think of me. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

bag of blood

We're watching Oblivion with Grant and Emmett (so far very interesting, although with a little bit of clunky dialogue), and last night I went to look it up on Wikipedia, because I enjoy reading movie plot descriptions, and there on Wikipedia's main page is a little blurb that's all "by the way, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is going strong and over 460 people have died," all calm and detached like this is not the beginning of the End Times.  I didn't even know there was an outbreak, let alone that nearly 500 people have died from it.  I read The Hot Zone as an impressionable teenager, and ever since then I have been waiting on tenterhooks for Ebola to truly emerge and just lay waste to every population, human and animal, on the entire planet.  What a nightmare.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I forgive you for all that you ain't

You guys.  I was a poll worker today.  It was fun, if somewhat hot, with a few boring slow patches.  But we got over a hundred voters, which I think is pretty good for a primary election.  I love being involved in civic governance!  And supposedly I even get paid, which is awesome.

There were a few frustrations, though.  It wasn't all peaches and cream.  There was a little gentle encouragement for me to affiliate as a Republican so I could vote in the primary, but I was steadfast and just explained to them that I refuse to be put in a box.  There were a few real cut-ups who made remarks about the President--the "worst president this country has ever had"--and one of them tried to get me to join in with him because I guess he is a jerk who thinks that everyone else agrees with him all the time.  I tried ignoring him, but he badgered and badgered and kept saying, "Don't you think?  Don't you think the machine isn't letting me vote because I talked bad about Obama?"  Finally I just smiled politely with somewhat gritted teeth and said "I'm sorry, but we're not actually allowed to discuss politics." Ugh.  Then the two other ladies who were working with me wanted talk about Kate Kelly's excommunication, and they just kept picking at it and picking at it, making some quite frankly sexist and uninformed comments, and finally I had to shut that down.  I tried very hard to be tactful in my wet-blanket-throwing, but for crying out loud, am I the only one who read my poll worker's handbook about not discussing controversial topics at the polling location?  TACKY TACKY TACKY.  I have many thoughts about this issue, obviously, but that was so very much not the time and place for a nuanced discussion about it. 

I am getting a little bit sick of June.  Gone too much, too much.  I feel like I have done nothing but drive for three straight weeks.  My poor goats barely recognize me, and I haven't even milked them yet.  I wonder if I even remember how. 

I think maybe I can't eat dinner anymore.  It always makes me feel sick and bloated clear until the next morning.  Is this what it means to get old?  How will I eat all the fun things if I have only two meals a day?