Thursday, December 30, 2010

both hands on the wheel and your shoulders rared back

Let me just say really quickly that we went on a mini vacation this year instead of giving our kids a bunch of stupid presents that they would immediately ruin, and it was rad and I think we're going to always do this from now on. I asked the kids about it this morning, if it was a good trade for presents and if they wanted to do it again next year, and they said, "Yeah, because we got presents anyway!" Which is true, which I knew, and that's how I was able to get away with it in the first place. Also John and I have always been kind of stingy about Christmas, because we don't want our kids to be greedos. So the older ones knew they weren't really giving up anything great, and that they'd get presents from their very generous and groovy grandparents.

I highly recommend.

Unfortunately, John watched Raising Hope the other day and said it's not even funny anymore. This makes me sad. If they could go back to the glory days of the third episode where they take a family picture and the boy eats his own eyebrow, then that would be really great.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

my favorite part is the whistling

Good morning, everyone. Topics for today's discussion include:
1. grave robbery/foraging
2. our irreparably broken school meal program and its implications for America's future
3. seafood pho

1. Some animal has been digging at Skiver's grave, which I think is gross. Whatever it is hasn't hit pay dirt yet, thankfully.

Question: Do you think it might be Faux Rex and Faux Groceries, the small, ugly copies of our cats who have recently adopted our grounds? We don't feed them, and perhaps they are taking matters into their own paws?

2. Yesterday The Hulk (8) was talking to me while he was getting ready for school. Our kids don't eat school lunch, but I do let them eat the Thanksgiving and Christmas school lunches as a treat. The school provides a free breakfast for low-income students.

The Hulk: "We missed Christmas dinner at school lunch. It was on Friday. But it's okay, because it was just like lunch and breakfast combined, and if lunch is mostly garbage, breakfast is ALL garbage!"
Me: "Yeah, well, that's why we don't eat it."
The Hulk: "At breakfast they have 10% apple juice, deep-fried French toast covered in sugar, syrup which is probably just high-fructose corn syrup, and you can get cereal, and on one side it's Trix and on the other side it's . . . " (At this point I had begun interrupting him for the purpose of lecturing and further indoctrination and didn't hear the second cereal choice.)

Question 1: How do my fellow parents out there feel about this? Is it elitist of me to assume that the kids eating the free junk breakfast are also less likely to have parents who are engaged in their education, and are therefore being handed a cocktail of ignorance, poverty and obesity? What chance do they, and by extension, the rest of us, have?
Question 2: How off-putting is The Hulk going to be when his Puritanical zeal for enforcing a strict dietary code reaches maturity? Formula: (current level of off-putting x projected age at maximum scoldhood) + (amount of piety in topical remonstration - own adherence to said code)

3. We were in Salt Lake last night and I had told the kids we could eat out. I wanted pho, but the place we usually go was closed, and they pitched a giant hissy fit when we started to go to a different place. We almost went to Golden Corral, despite my pouting, but it was closed too, so we got to eat pho after all, which tasted great, except for the one fish in the seafood pho (cuttlefish, perhaps?) that tasted like the turlet, and everyone loved it except Superman, who is coming down with a case of the s'poseduhs.

Question: Do you think that pho is more likely to be real food than what can be found at Golden Corral?

In conclusion, watch this video:

An oldie but a goodie. How can I help but love him? Also: that house is rad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

why does baba yaga need both a flying mortar and a walking house? why is she so greedy?

The reason I ask about hummus is that I love it, as I love all porridgey things. I used to make Joy of Cooking's recipe, but switched to Bittman's with roasted garlic added, and liked it a lot more. But my hummus was always really thick, like Adams peanut butter. I didn't mind it, but nobody else was really a fan. Then I went to Hummus Place with Claire while I was staying with her this summer, and their hummus was so much softer and thinner--and it was way, way better. So I made the brilliant deduction that I hadn't been using enough liquid--I know, I'm a one-woman brain trust. I need a federal grant!

So here's a recipe for the cheater's hummus I made last week (cheater's because I used canned chickpeas instead of soaking my own--lazy):

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 T tahini
7 sun-dried tomato slices
1 clove of garlic, minced and sauteed

Drain the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid; you'll probably end up using all of it anyway. Dump everything into a blender. Normally I use a food processor, but the tomatoes require blender technology. Whip it up until it's a smooth, silky paste, adding liquid as necessary. Eat with pita chips. I used to make my own pita chips, but that was a mare's nest, by which I mean a drag. Until I start mass-producing my own pita bread with which to make chips I have already lost control of the ingredient list, and therefore feel no (additional) guilt about subcontracting my pita chip production to Stacy.

In other news, the children and I have spent the last day watching Youtube videos of somebody playing their way through Banjo-Kazooie. Question: how pathetic is this, on a scale of 1 to 10? Answer: NOT! It was a trick question, for you see, Banjo-Kazooie is one of the greatest video games of all TIYEEEEM.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

decaying organic matter

Well, I flew too close to the sun again. I was feeling all creative this morning when I was making my steel-cut oats. Maybe you think it's snobby that I call them steel-cut oats, but they really are different, and if I call them oatmeal you'll think I'm eating oatmeal, and I'm not. If you're the sort of person who likes the creamy, chewy texture with occasional textural pops of steel-cut oats, then nothing else will do. I'm sorry, but it's true.

Anyway, I was feeling creative, and I thought, why not add some germade to the oats? Then I could get all my textural needs satisfied. Chewy, creamy, silky, flavor crystaley . . . all my friends are here! But it was not a success. The germade just made it seem like the oats had started to dissolve and get all gritty. Pass.

Have you ever chewed a piece of gum so long that it dissolved? I have. It was gross.

We watched the Christmas Charlie Brown last night, and I was almost as disappointed as I was by the Thanksgiving special. He is such a whiner. I have to agree with Lucy and Linus that of all the Charlie Browns in the world, he's the Charlie Browniest. I kind of hate his guts now.

How do you feel about hummus?

Friday, December 10, 2010

aebleskiver two plunderschnecht, a good cat

We'll wait for the headstone until the . . . settling . . . takes place.

Superman's says, "I love cats because they're nature." Pinga's says, "I like Skiver in the box."

I try not to anthropomorphize animals. I think it is silly and degrading to both the animal and the human. But I feel a very keen sense of loss about Skiver. He was a grand cat, and a wonderful companion. And if you're the sort of person who believes in heaven (which I am), I'm sure you'll agree with me that heaven would not be heaven without animals. I hope he scopes out a good place for our mansion!

We got him the day after we blessed Superman, because a big fat mouse had brazenly run across the family room right in front of us while we were watching a movie with my sister Aleece and her husband Dave. I am not afraid of mice, but I'll be darned if they're going to be running around in my house, pooping in my Zoom cereal (kidding, I don't even eat Zoom--but I'd like to!) and eating my face at night.

We got him from South Salt Lake Animal Services. He only cost eight dollars because he had been returned by the last family who adopted him because "he wasn't friendly enough." They were obviously idiots.

He looked like a cat I had when I was a little girl who used to bat aebleskivers around on the kitchen floor, so we named him Aebleskiver Two Plunderschnecht.

As soon as we brought him in the house he walked downstairs, found the mouse hiding under the couch, and killed it immediately. To my knowledge, this is one of only two mice he killed. He was more of a bird guy.

My parents never allowed animals in the house, and I thought that's how I would be. But I felt so guilty about keeping him in the cold garage that I caved, and said he could sleep in the house, as long as the food and litter box stayed outside.

We had to give him medicine for his kennel cough, and he scratched the daylights out of my hand. I think most of the medicine went on the floor.

I held him like a huge, hairy baby for at least an hour the first night we had him, and he laid his head on my shoulder, purring happily.

He hated riding in the car, and when we moved here he moaned and growled the entire drive up. We had to shut him in the garage for the first week to teach him that we lived here while we were waiting to get the keys to the house.

There were mice in the house when we moved here because it had been empty, but they disappeared within a month or two. We never saw Skiver catch any of them, but we think just his presence told the mice they'd better clear off.

He loved killing birds. We found feathers on the back porch all the time. Usually starlings.

Superman does not know a life without Skiver in it. They were best friends. Superman used to pack him around like a sack of corn and dogpile on him, and Skiver suffered it uncomplainingly. He put up with untold amounts of abuse from countless babies and toddlers, and he never scratched or bit any of them.

He was huge and glossy and we joked that he was more like a dog than a cat.

Often when I was going to the bathroom he would push on the door with his head until it opened, then he'd come stand next to me and put his paw on my leg, trying to get me to pet him. He didn't understand private personal time.

He started getting sick a little over a year ago. He stopped cleaning himself and his hair turned dull and started falling out. Recently he started having regular accidents in the house and he walked with his back all hunched like his guts hurt him all the time. I picked him up the other day and he started peeing all over the floor. He smelled like there was something wrong with him. The bath I gave him on Tuesday morning didn't help at all.

When we took him to the vet they gave him an injection in a vein in his neck, and he died instantly. I cried, and we curled him in the box that we brought for him. It's the box my red ankle boots came in, just the perfect size for him to be curled up the way he liked to be. We used to say he looked like a hairy croissant.

He was our friend.

Thank you for permitting me to be a little bit maudlin and syrupy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

like a dog . . . hangin' on your lead

If this song ever comes on the radio I can't not listen to it. I love it like one of my children.

I think it was a goodly part of Jimmy Fallon's inspiration for "Idiot Boyfriend." And now you'll be singing it the rest of the day. You're welcome!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold

Aebleskiver post-bath. This will probably be his obituary photo.

Have you ever bathed a cat? If you try it, I recommend that you start on a cat who's so sick and old he hasn't got any fight left, and then work your way up to young, healthy cats.

Skiver is just a disgusting vector right now, and I feel sad that nobody will pet him because he's so gross. He stopped cleaning himself a year or so ago, and this morning he hobbled into our room with his bones creaking and popping and so much goop on his eyes it looked like they had dissolved and run all over his face, and I decided it had gone far enough. So I put him in the tub next to a basin of warm water and started sponging him off. The tragic thing is that he was purring the whole time, probably because it was so nice to finally be touched.When I pet him I just sort of scratch the top of his head and run my hand down his spine a couple of times, and then go wash my hands, and I don't think anyone else even touches him except Pinga when she's trying to steal the heater vent from him. During the bath Pinga kept asking, "What is that smell?" I told her it's the smell of a wet, dirty cat, because it's true. I don't think the bath helped that much, except for the de-sliming of his eyes. He's still pretty rank.

Do you remember what he used to look like? He was like a lush, shiny ottoman! He was a ponderous cat!It breaks my heart. And this is probably cruelly pragmatic of me, but it would be really nice if he would die on his own in the next week while the ground is thawed. I'm having a very hard time deciding whether or not to put him to sleep. I think he'd still rather be alive than dead, but what do I know? I'm not a cat. Yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

he was dirty from head to toe

What really bothers me is that there's no way the mother bear's porridge was colder than the baby bear's porridge. It's a simple matter of thermodynamics!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm movin' out to cherokee

I just heard Kenny G on the radio and it reminded me of this funny story John told me that someone posted on Facebook.

A while ago a guy goes to a jazz concert and afterward he went up to talk to the band. He said, "Hey, do you guys play any modern jazz? Can you play some Kenny G?" And one of the guys in the band said, "Which will it be, buddy, 'cause it can't be both."


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I don't think mushrooms even have eyes

I know I should share more vegetable recipes with you, because I'm just contributing to The Fattening of America right now, but I owe it to you to share this recipe for Salt Lick Bars. I always feel weird capitalizing recipe names.

A week or so ago my friend and yours All8 mentioned that she was making these as a treat for her family, and they sounded so intriguing I googled them and came up with this recipe--the same one that All8 emailed me later that day, because she's awesome like that.

And behold, they are good. I had a little scare with the caramel layer (I blame sucanat), but it worked out and now they are coyly eyeing me from the counter, telling me that it's okay that I keep getting fatter, despite exercising and controlling my food intake.