Friday, January 29, 2010

my experiment in making tamales

As you can imagine, making tamales by myself took a coon's age, and I probably should have checked the cooking time and started earlier. My family is used to eating between 5 and 5:30, so by 6:30 they were self-mutilating and cannibalizing.

I have all this ground beef, like I said, so I have to come up with a variety of applications for it to prevent mutiny, because a little bit of hamburger goes a long way. I thought a ground beef tamale filling would be just as good as shredded beef, because I have yet to eat a shredded beef tamale that isn't powerfully dry. Even my cherished Ricardo's has problems in that area. I bought corn husks and everything, because I am way authentic, and for "authentic," read "too ignorant of Mexican cuisine to know if the corn husks can be swapped."

The masa, which looks dry and gross, but is instead soft and moist like fluffy mashed potatoes. In my opinion, here is where the major failure/success of the tamale occurs. A dry masa is the very worst thing and makes magpies eat the eyeballs of kittens.

Spreading the masa onto the corn husk.

Spreading the filling onto the masa.

Tying the tamale.

Putting the tamale in the steamer.

Tamales in the steamer basket--counting tamales and spinach, that's two uses I've found for it!

Nine years later, the tamales were done and we got to eat them, along with some (crappy homemade so mad why can't I find a good recipe) chili verde, guacamole and sauteed cabbage. So colorful!

And here's my manky flan that tastes better than it looks.

This meal was a thundering success--everyone except The Hulk raved about the tamales, and Captain America ate four pieces of flan. I love it when food turns out better than you hoped.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

and having gotten through the editorial no doubt I must have frowned

Name that song! And once you've googled it, go and listen to it. It's a great song.

Once upon a time, a year or two before we moved here from Lehi, I was toodling around on the internet, watching Strong Bad emails, searching on the MLS for houses with acreage, and I came across an article written by a journalist who had purchased a calf in hope of following its path from pasture to plate. It was both riveting and revolting. When I finished reading I was so shocked and educated that I decided that feedlot beef could no longer be part of our regular diet. But hark! Luckily, I am the granddaughter of cattle ranchers on two sides, so I called my dad, told him of my concerns, and asked how I could get some grass-fed beef from my grandpa. And this is when my dad and I had our first disagreement about food. Because corn is what makes the beef fatty and juicy, which is the taste Americans have come to know and love over many years. Grass-fed beef is a good deal tougher. My dad didn't understand why I would want that, and I know he was suspicious of the assertion that corn-fed beef is partly-to-mostly responsible for a panoply of maladies that are being visited upon us; superbugs, water pollution, obesity, heart disease, locusts, blood rain . . . the list goes on.

My path to being a boring food scold didn't start with that article, but it certainly gave me velocity and intensity, and what I can't suitably explain to my family is that when I read something like The Omnivore's Dilemma, or watch King Corn, or walk down the aisles of shelf-stable food at the supermarket, the place my brain goes to--immediately--is The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. To a world so toxic that there is no remaining plant or animal life, other than humans in various stages of starvation, searching for increasingly scarce canned goods and hiding from the marauding bloodcults who roam in packs, raping and torturing and devouring, literally eating, anyone they find. This is the only logical endpoint I see for a civilization that refuses to live sustainably, feeding cows grass, chickens and pigs grain, and people food.

But like all humans, I am weak and inconstant, and I recognize that my lecturing and pearl-clutching is both off-putting and hypocritical. My poor family is so tired of talking to me. So I'm sorry, dear readers, that this is another tributary of my Rome topic (as in, all topics lead to this one) of The Law of the Harvest (not the one where the Master escapes and opens the Hellmouth, but the interpretation of "you reap what you sow"). But I figure you've had opportunities aplenty to bail, so if you're still here you must like hearing my voice almost as much as I do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

being kind does not mean being a doormat

I don't know if you guys witnessed the proper trouncing that thick and soft cookies received at the hand of medium and chewy, but it was good and just. Thick and soft cookies are for people who like dry cake that tastes mostly of uncooked flour.

Now on to matters of greater import. I'm getting my hair cut because I can no longer coexist with this nonsense atop my head. My barber for ladies suggested that I look on the internet for some pictures to bring, so we'd be sure to be thinking about the same thing. I feel stupid hunting for pictures of celebrities, because it starts feeling like Octomom/restraining order territory when you're purposely emulating Reese Witherspoon, but hey, she pays people a lot of money to make her look good, so it's probably not a bad way to go. Which is to say: look at these and tell me what you think.

Or there's this. I'm not certain that my hair will stay all curly and ringlety if I cut it short, so maybe this would be a better option (the far left picture).

And don't start telling me about her underbite. She's not for everyone, I know. But sometimes she's really pretty and I sort of love her raccoon eyes. It reminds me that I'm going to buy some liquid eyeliner and do raccoon eyes for a date with John one of these days. He'll be thrilled, especially if I wear the leggings. He loves it very much and is not at all embarrassed when I dress crazy.
What I'd like most is Sigourney Weaver Alien 3 hair--the ease! the simplicity!--but I do sin in my wish.

Also: I took Skiver to the vet today because he's been acting really sluggish, not eating, losing weight, and his backbone is starting to really protrude. The good news is: they don't know for sure what, if anything, is wrong with him. But! We can spend a cool hundred fitty to find out. I said nay and got him dewormed and on an antibiotic for his cough (which: what?) as well as a dewormer and CD&T shots for the goats. Goodbye, eighty dollars!

Monday, January 25, 2010

in which I overreact to that stupid lady who emailed me

I got an email the other day from a rude woman who lined me out thusly:

". . . I am seriously disappointed that your phone number is not provided in this listing! I am interested in talking to you regarding my purchasing options of your goat's milk products. Please contact me ASAP at [redacted]."

Her disappointment was such that she had to use an exclamation point! The sticky wicket here is that I don't sell goat's milk products and never have, nor have I ever advertised that I do, which she could easily have found out by actually reading the listing that infuriated her so. But in googling her name I have discovered that she is an avid composer of religious poetry that is exactly as good as you would expect.

now I know what an endorheic lake is

Ground beef. Did you know that when you buy beef by the quarter or side that a goodly most of it ends up in ground beef? I did. That's why my parents don't buy beef that way anymore. They have reached the stage of life in which they can go to the butcher and buy only ribeyes, if they get a mind to. Lacking my parents' disposable income, I choose to cut costs by buying in bulk. Remember that picture I took of our freezer filled with beef? This one?
Well, the bottom two shelves are all ground beef. I'm making tamales with ground beef filling this week, so we can keep John's body composition at 70% water/30% Mexican food.

Friday, January 22, 2010

product may stay, I guess: agave nectar

Agave nectar has been getting a lot of bad press recently, and I didn't know how much of the criticism was sound, because I had neglected to do adequate research when it came on the market. I failed you, gentle readers! I apologize for my lapse in judgment. From my conversation with Wholesome Sweeteners--the company that manufactures the brand of agave I use--and from the limited information I was able to find on the processing of both agave nectar and corn syrup, here is what I can tell you (and I am way simplifying this):

I ignorantly thought that agave nectar was sap from the fleshy leaves of the agave plant (like aloe vera gel, only sweet instead of . . . whatever aloe vera gel tastes like). The agave nectar I use comes from the Agave tequiliana plant. Starchy juice is expressed from the core, filtered, and heated to turn the complex sugars into simple sugars, and becomes syrupy. The syrup has trace amounts of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium in it. This does not hold true for agave nectar that comes from other varieties of the Agave species.

From what I can discover, high-fructose corn syrup is even more highly processed and contains no trace minerals. I try to skew our family's diet toward the less-processed side of the spectrum, so although I feel like the packaging is misleading--imagine that!--I would put agave nectar somewhere below honey and above HFCS (as Michael Pollan would tell us, if it has a label, it's probably not food).

Sugar is sugar, and moderation is important, of course, and we're not going to get into sketchy propagation of the blue agave plant for commercial use compared with corn's monocultural global domination and the effect of each industry on biodiversity. Here's my verdict: if it's something you'd ordinarily use corn syrup for, then agave nectar is, in my extremely uninformed opinion, a reasonable substitute. It's sweeter, though, and your agave marshmallows will give you a headache if you swap it 1:1. Speaking from experience.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

book review: the lacuna

Unlike her other books, which instantly engulfed me, this left me largely disappointed and unaffected until the end. It's mainly told through journal entries, with a great many letters and news articles (some real, some created) dispersed throughout. The protagonist Harrison Shepherd is not very identifiable for some reason--and I wonder if Kingsolver meant it to be that way. He is a cipher, and as his stenographer/archivist says, he seems almost a shadow in his own story, that "he wrote as if he'd been the one to carry the camera to each and every one of his life's events, and thus was unseen in all the pictures." Intended or not, I was unable to become familiar enough with his character to invest in it, and I found myself very bored by the the newspaper articles, as well as his correspondence with Frida Kahlo.

The first section of the book is engaging, and the end picks up steam because of its all-too-recognizable similarity to the current state of the world. I share the feeling of seeing a grim fate hurtling toward me without the power to deflect it. Late in the book Shepherd is decried as one of the most dangerous people in America, because of his associations with Communists--as in, people who believe that workers should own their means of production--and I assume that Kingsolver was drawing upon her experience of being similarly denounced. The issues the book raises about distortionist media, xenophobia, abuse of power, infringement on civil liberties, manipulation of an apathetic public, and the human penchant for cruelty and self-absolvance are of course weighty, and for that reason I'm glad I slogged through the tedious parts. I find myself too often, as the quote goes, "involved in the thick of thin things," and it's good to be forced to consider life outside the narrow scope of my own experience, and to be presented with the sins and errors of my own people.

So, I'm glad I read it, but it's not going to replace The Poisonwood Bible or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in my affections.

blue steel? ferrari? le tigre? they're the same face!

My fellow mothers out there know that it's hard to get your makeup on in the morning, and somehow with the many stops and starts and interruptions I've made myself look like Jocelyn Wildenstein today. On the plus side, my face goes awesome with my Russian spy coat. I look like one of those scary ladies who yells at the help.

Can we talk about something for a minute? I'm trying to be nicer these days, I really am (even though I screened a call yesterday from someone I really didn't want to talk to because every time she calls she wants something). But I have a real problem with Giada De Laurentiis, and yesterday there was an ad in my BH&G pimping her new line at Target, so now I have to say something because they brought the fight to me. I'm not saying I'll never buy any of her stuff; as with Rachael Ray, if it's good I'm willing to give it a shot. But I'll have a moral quandary about contributing to her utterly confounding and perplexing celebrity. I do not support her as A Thing, because:
1. she refuses to shut up about her famous dead grandfather
2. she won't stop smiling like a fourteen-year-old with Vaseline on her teeth
3. she is so weird when she's cooking, like she's afraid of mussing her makeup and not looking pretty, which she needs to get over, because . . .
4. she looks like a bobblehead of a mantis

Remember when Calista Flockhart was famous and in all of her pictures she was doing that weird thing with her lips that made her look like a chimp? I think what happened to both Giada and Calista was that they made that stupid look for some picture, and decided that it made them look Exotic and Alluring, so they've Blue Steeled their way through every picture since.

Sorry for the pettiness, but I'm a petty person.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

you been schooled in the arts of romancin' me

I was thinking about how boys these days look a lot like girls, which is not a crime or anything; it's a free country and all. It just doesn't work for me personally. And I was harrumphing about the Kids Today with their Rock Music and their Long Hair, until I remembered this:

Our good friend Billy could teach the youth of today a few things about androgyny. Great song, though.

Get off my lawn!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

if nothing else, I will get the drapes hemmed

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I regret to inform you that I did not promote non-violent social change in any way other than by tubing and playing foosball. My children promoted violent social change when they whitewashed each other and Captain America head-butted The Hulk, giving him a goose egg. I may have promoted pacifism and conflict avoidance by bailing on our tube ride and leaving Aleece to suffer the wrath of the straight downward drop by herself.

We had a good time on our mini vacation provided generously by my parents, and delved only shallowly into such controversial topics as farming, unworthy boyfriends, and the perceived inclusion of garlic in everything I make. We almost came to blows about our differing beliefs regarding appropriate thickness of sugar cookies, though. All I know is, it's really hard to fit a 2:1 frosting to cookie ratio if you have a big fat cookie, and that's like the entire reason to even eat a sugar cookie. Thin and crispy forever!

The kids have been sent home from school because of a snowstorm-induced power outage, so we're going to have a relaxing day of sitting around thinking about the chores we should be doing. I think it's got to be chili for lunch and dinner. And spoon bread, which I will be left to eat on my own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

why are you wasting my time with banjo kazooie?

Okay, here's the thing about James Bond vs. Jason Bourne. We don't need to get into the Freudian reasons for why I might find these particular characters so compelling. I think we can simply agree that though Bond is very suave, mano a mano he would lose to Bourne, because he is too reliant on gadgetry. In general Bourne is more improvisational and can adapt to his surroundings and use them to his benefit. Now, this analysis breaks down somewhat when one examines specific Bonds. I think a Sean Connery/Timothy Dalton Bond would be a far more formidable opponent for Bourne than a Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan Bond. And Daniel Craig, being a post-Bourne Bond, would therefore probably be the greatest challenge. I have no opinion regarding Poor George Lazenby, Child of Tragedy.

Why is there no video game for this?

As John so succintly put it just now, "Can Bond's charm and flim-flam machine overcome Bourne's sheer killing power? Because Bourne can do like fifty damage."

there's no emoticon for what I'm feeling!

Here is where we are currently sleeping. It's like having a fireplace in my bedroom! Now if I could just figure out a way to cook in there . . .

Last night John came home from his basketball game to find me a damp, snotty mess of emotional wreckage, because I had just gotten done watching Food, Inc. (finally!). You know how this is my "all roads lead to Rome" topic, so I'll try to not get too preachy. But the fact that people can't afford to eat fruits and vegetables, that we pay for junk food even when we don't buy it, that the people who police the industry are the people who advocate for it, that there is terrible abuse being suffered by both the animals and the workers, and when you extend this realization to other industries you find that no matter what you eat or wear or do you can't spend a dollar without supporting corruption and oppression? That is very discouraging and disheartening.

Just as nutrients become useless when they are divorced from the foods in which they occur, people will not make moral decisions when they are not subject to the consequences. They will always choose efficiency and profit and exploitation over responsibility and sustainability and humanity.

Why are we like this?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

every age I have seen out as a baby

As you can see, I'm still neck-deep in this blasted project. I think with John's help I'll be able to get the rest of the carpet out tonight, and then I can move on to the fun part of buying new drapes and rugs. I'm pretty sick of it, so here is some cheese talk about my Gouda project.

Wax melting in a double boiler. For whatever reason it never got as hot as she said it had to so we probably have all kinds of unwanted bacteria running around in the cheese, waiting to infect us and cause us gastrointestinal distress.
You dip the cheese into the wax carefully so as not to Johnny Tremain your hands. I do the edges first. Then the top and bottom, which is trickier.
Fill in any holes with the brush. Captain America is feigning interest in my project so he doesn't have to go to bed.
Look at the fires of Mordor bubbling away beneath my cauldron!
I like this picture because it shows my attention to quality, and also I look like one of those ladies in that Robert Palmer video.
Still feigning interest . . .
Still dipping . . .
Still fires of Mordor . . .
Here they are with the traditional inauthentic red wax coating. Now I have to flip them every other day for the next three months to a year. Maybe we'll crack one open at Captain America's birthday party and see if we die.

Back to the carpet mines.

That sounded gross.

Monday, January 11, 2010

this grips me more than would a muddy old river or reclining buddha

Tonight we were shopping at Costco and I found a pair of leggings to wear to bed. I've always eschewed nightgowns, because I have no need to be strangled in the night and left with cold bare legs, and lately I can't even deal with normal pajama pants. They creep up! And then I have to try to work them back down to my ankles using my toes, which just makes the other leg creep up, and before long I'm too angry to fall asleep. But leggings, now . . . they stay put. Even if I do look ridiculous. So I found these Costco leggings, and they're meant to be used as activewear or something. They're "performance base layer" leggings, as though I'm going to be using them for a purpose other than defragging my mental hard drive.

The only problem is they're sort of fleecy, which will cause them to not slip into the bed as smoothly as I would like. The MEN'S leggings were nice and slippery, and they had a helpful man-woman size conversion chart (a large woman is a medium man, for those who are playing at home), but there was a weird insert in the crotch that would for sure give me polterwang, so I didn't buy. But thank goodness for the insert! We wouldn't want the performance base men to have decreased motility! That reminds me--John's insurance company does not cover birth control, but it does cover Viagra, which . . . you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get more wrongheaded than that.

But the leggings--I'm excited to use them. I have another pair from Old Navy, and I tried to buy some more, but you know how Old Navy always stops selling the things you like, so I was stuck with the fleecy Costco ones. I'll be warm and they'll stay put, so that's good enough.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

that's too much cologne

If there were no other reason to order from Baker Creek, you should do it just to get some of their beautiful seed packets. Their catalog is a work of art, and each seed packet is like a jewel. But their turnaround time is so lightning fast, and each order they get is like a tiny dart in the cyclopean eye of Monsanto . . . it's a way to fight the good fight and eat well doing it.

Traci and Edna will be kidding out sometime in April, right during the time in which if you want your garden to be anything worth sneezing at you spend all your waking hours grubbing in the dirt like a displaced Southern heiress. I hope I haven't lost my goat midwifery skills. Because Cyclone shoots blanks now we missed out on babies last spring, and although I missed them, it certainly made my garden maintenance easier. I'm not sure what to do about potatoes--they're tremendous fun, but I don't know if I have a place for them, since I ordered one of every color of tomato that Baker Creek offers. Pink, red, purple, orange, yellow, green, striped and white. Multiply that by two or three plants of each variety and it's going to be a color wheel explosion up in there. It may take up most of the garden just to do tomatoes, because I learned last year that they really don't like being crowded. Can you stand the anticipation? It's a good thing I'm so busy with my bedroom or I'd have all the plants started already, and then what would we have? Leggy, gangly teenagers of plants that would get culture shock when I threw them into their rumspringa garden. They'd start doing drugs and having unprotected premarital sex and I'd find them dead in a ditch somewhere.

I'm going to make Skiver a vet appointment. He has been very sluggish and lethargic lately, and his backbone is much more prominent than it used to be. I'm sure that's due in part to his weight loss, because he lets those freeloading car-ruining carny squatters eat all his food, but then today he pooped in the house--in the bathtub, even--something he never, ever does. I feel partly responsible, because he was meowing at me, and even jumped up on my bed--which he knows is a throw-outable offense--but I wasn't in tune with his body enough to put him out, and I really think he chose the tub because he knows it's easy to clean. Poor little bugger. He's getting on a bit--I think he's probably about eight or nine years old now. But surely he's not ready to die of old age? I've never had a cat make it this long without being run over or shot, so I have no gauge. He's the best cat of all the cats I've ever had!

Friday, January 8, 2010

bedroom wallpaper: good riddance

The wallpaper is gone. Now if I only had some primer that hadn't been frozen I could get to the more rewarding part of this project. Here is the view from my bed (which bed will soon be painted gray):
You see that I decided to lose the paper from all four walls. I think it's best this way, and it came off lickety-split, so there were no curse words said or thought that wouldn't have already been said or thought about the sociopaths who invented wallpaper.

Along the top of the walls all around the room is a tole-painted detail that I am not sorry to paint over.
Here is a close-up:
Ruth was very artistic and ahead of her time, but tole-painted furbelows are thankfully consigned to the dustheap along with themed kitchen decor.

Yesterday in an attempt to get dinner taken care of early in the day and leave the rest of the day open for scraping and swearing I cooked a roast that a neighbor had given us last year while casting aspersions on its quality. I barded it, since it came without any fat, and hoped for the best.
Once it was cooked, we sat down to try it out . . .
Me: That meat tastes like it's gone bad. Don't eat any more of it.
Superman: But it has lots of things I like!
Me: Do you like throwing up for a long time?
Superman: No.
Me: Then you'd better stop eating it.

We ate cold cereal for dinner.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

which lazy man's way out will get me a prettier room?

You should see the embarrassing garbage I've been feeding my family the last three days. But I feel justified, because even my mom who manages her time wisely thinks that it's hard to get a project done AND cook.

I have three walls mostly done, and now I've reached a decision point. I really like the gold damask wallpaper on the ceiling and one wall of my bedroom, and was thinking of keeping it. But a few years ago in a fit of shortsightedness I tore a section of the damask wallpaper out of the corner. I can put up chair railing and do a two-tone sort of thing with the top half of the walls one color on three walls and damask on the fourth, and the bottom half of the walls all one color. Maybe that would look stupid. And which is more work, taking down another wall of paper, or putting up chair railing? I think maybe the chair railing. I am pretty set on keeping the wallpaper on the ceiling, though. It's so unique.

I think I'll see how difficult the damask is to get off and make my decision.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

as much as I love red lake #40 . . .

I love peanut sauce, okay? It's sort of like butter, in that I will make something solely to serve as a conveyance for the condiment. But I don't know what it is about shelf-stable Asian foods--yikes! I think you can get ladies' polio just from reading their labyrinthine ingredient lists. I looked at a bottle of peanut sauce the other day, trying to find some words I understood, and decided, "Screw this noise. Making my own."

I found this recipe that I really like, with these instructions: leave out the 1/4 C of water, first of all, because you don't want peanut soup--at least not right now. Add both the rice vinegar and the fish sauce--a teaspoonish of each, adjust to your own moon sign. I haven't done the other variations, but I'm sure I will.

bedroom wallpaper: the reckoning

You know how permeable leather is, right? How when a cow is out in the rain, before long her guts are sloshing all around in a gutwater soup? And the gutwater soup leaks down through her permeable leather stomach out onto the ground? No? Not permeable, you say?
Well, wallpaper, especially the wallpaper in my house, is like leather. You have to soak it and soak it and soak it again with a water and vinegar solution before you can make any headway. So you might want to try an acid the next time you're trying to get at a cow's insides without using one of the prefab points of ingress.
After you've soaked the wallpaper two or three times with your spray bottle (because the vinegar ate through the nozzle in your two-gallon yard sprayer because you didn't rinse it out, lazy dummy) you can scrape away at it ever so carefully, and it just comes away in stupid little shreds that make you so mad.
So when you finally get a strip to come off that can be seen without the aid of an electron microscope you feel almost giddy.
Look how it begins to flourish!
And two hours later you have this!

Only sixteen to twenty more hours to go and the wallpaper will be gone!

Monday, January 4, 2010

fix it

One of the things we did at our New Year's Eve party was write resolutions. Let me set the scene for you: Dave went to my parents' house at about 9:30 to go to bed and left Aleece here to finish the party. Justine and her date left at about 10, probably to hang out with people who weren't Justine's stodgy married sisters. That left Aleece, Claire and Nate, and John and me. Aleece and John were both obstinate killjoys and complained loudly about being made to write down their resolutions, so their privileges were revoked. So Nate and Claire and I were the only people who participated, which is why Nate and Claire will inherit my millions once I pass from this life.

I used to just write resolutions because that's what everybody at my parents' party was doing (no friends my age, meow!), and once the paper was folded and the envelope sealed I promptly cast them from before my sight. Then one year I set a more studied and introspective goal than "fix everything I'm doing wrong"--I wanted to learn to make a really good loaf of whole wheat bread, and I wanted to befriend someone new. Nailed it! Plus, the girl I made friends with had a recipe for tomato dill bread that you can't even imagine. Bonus!

I feel good about my resolutions this year; they're challenging, but not dauntingly so. Reading the things I'm supposed to, being nice to people, doing my exercise, that sort of thing. I think I'll improve as a person, which is why we're here, after all.

By the way, if you love apples like I love apples, you'll also love this site that edumacates you about the myriad varieties of them. It tells you the parentage of each variety, which would have been very helpful to me on Christmas Eve, and might have prevented me from purchasing the dread Sonya (parents: Gala and Red Delicious, boo), which tastes like a banana--fun--but is soft, mealy, mushy and all too much like its hated Red Horrid parent--not fun, die die die. There is no reason for a supermarket Red Delicious with its aspirin peel and bland spongy interior to exist.

To sum up: what are your goals? To eat more apples, perhaps?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

welcome, welcome, sabbath evening

So, we're currently driving my dad's "outfit," as they call personal motorized transportation 'round here. Our car is "in the shop," by which I mean "in the parking lot of Baugh Automotive," because of the cat-in-engine-fan-belt-detached-blood-everywhere-also-there's-an-oil-leak-would-you-take-a-look-at-that issue. Hey! Speaking of cats--Emily told me a story tonight! Her brother or cousin or something--not an important detail--got into his car one morning, and he had left the window down the night before. He's driving along and rolls up the window, and suddenly, WHAM! A cat jumps onto his face! It had snuck in through the open window. The cat's going snarl, hiss, rake-the-face, rake-the-face, and he's frantically trying to claw it off his head and rolls his car I think three times is what Emily said. Don't worry, he's fine now. Neat, huh? It's like the raccoon in the dumbwaiter that pounces on Shelley Long and starts chewing on her neck in The Money Pit.

But back to my more boring story: we were driving home from a family do this evening, and I heard Pinga make a coughing sound. "She's going to barf!" I cried, and grabbed the red disposable cup my dad had thoughtfully left in his cupholder. Boom under the chin it went, and we didn't get a single drop of vomit on my dad's upholstery. I knew she was brewing up a hurl because she sat quietly on my lap and snugged me for about ten minutes tonight--such uncharacteristic behavior is a dead giveaway.

I was going to go have lunch at Gourmandise tomorrow afternoon with a friend, but instead I think I'll stay home and do barf laundry. It'll be a good way to get back into my role as a parent instead of a codependent self-destructive behavior enabler.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

there's a place we long remember, nestled 'neath these mountains tall

Reasons I love living here:
We had a snowstorm the other day that didn't bury us, but it was enough to block in our mailbox and John's car. We were out merrily shoveling, since the mail individual refuses to engage with our box if there is the slightest skiff of snow in front of it, and a neighbor of ours came past with his plow and scooted all the snow right out of the way. It would have taken us at least another hour to do it on our own, so we were grateful. This morning John ran up to Lainie's store to buy some emergency French toast bread (it's got to be challah or cheap white to get the best custardy texture) and Lainie handed him this booklet that she had stapled and highlighted for us to make sure we got our kids signed up for soccer, since we have missed the registration date many a time.
I stopped at the Honey Jar to get a beeswax lotion bar and a pint of Bear Lake honey, and Peggy gave us a doll crib that her son had found at one of the apartments he rents out.

Reasons I don't love living here:
I've mentioned the wad of stray cats that are squatting in our garage, right? This afternoon we were leaving to go bowling with my family and John suddenly said, "Shh! What's that noise? Why does the car sound like that?" He turned off the engine and we heard this sullen "Rrroooowwwwwrrrrr . . . rrrrooooowwwwrrr" sound. I exclaimed, "It's a cat!" We popped the hood and found the beast all tangled up in the fan belt, so John had to get a bean pole and poke it out of the engine. It ran off much the worse for wear with a nasty mangled leg, leaving a gobbet of fur and possibly tissue (I didn't explore beyond taking a photo) on the driveway, and we got to tow our car to the mechanic. We're hoping he will relate his extremely poor choice to the rest of the cats, so we can avoid it happening again this winter.