I have finally been stricken with the gomboo that has been circulating. I was beginning to feel very prideful about my resistance, so I guess my defeat is supposed to humble me. But it shan't. I am suffering a less intense version of it, so I am still the healthiest bear in the forest and my record is unsullied. You do get to a point when you're so delirious that your nose running onto your sleeve is annoying and disgusting, but not so annoying and disgusting that you can get out of bed to wipe your nose.
I saw a video the other day of a skit where two girls (one real girl, one guy in drag) were pretending to be event planners, and they were really inept, and it made me laugh, and now I can't find it again. Stupid internet rabbit hole with its non-reproducible results.
How was Christmas? Ours was great, and thank goodness we went light on the presents for the kids, because their grandparents were very generous/undisciplined this year. There is so much Lego. I got Willa the cutest doll you have ever seen--this one--and she loves her immensely. I don't know why those dolls are so expensive now, but if they keep this up I won't be able to buy a full set of them--for Willa, not for me. They are all so cute I can't stand it!
I took care of my parents' cat while they were gone, and I don't think it's dead yet because the food is always gone when I go check on things. She is an elusive cat.
I think I'm going to make gougeres for our party tonight. Joy of Cooking says I can bake them instead of fry them, so we'll try it. I know I don't want to be stuck over a pot of boiling oil while everybody else is enjoying themselves.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I have finally been stricken with the gomboo that has been circulating. I was beginning to feel very prideful about my resistance, so I guess my defeat is supposed to humble me. But it shan't. I am suffering a less intense version of it, so I am still the healthiest bear in the forest and my record is unsullied. You do get to a point when you're so delirious that your nose running onto your sleeve is annoying and disgusting, but not so annoying and disgusting that you can get out of bed to wipe your nose.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
I don't have much of substance to contribute to the discussion about gun policy. I come from a family of gun nuts, and although I do not share their zeal, I do know that there are legitimate, non-nefarious reasons why a person would want and should be able to own guns. To tar all gun people with the brush of crazed, bloodthirsty murderers-in-waiting is inaccurate and unfair. However: I was flabbergasted that the "meaningful contribution" the NRA brought to the table was a proposal to put armed policemen at schools and keep a database of the mentally ill. Surely, surely I'm not the only person who found that ridiculous, with a side of terrifying potential for abuse. Holy crap NRA, talk about misreading your audience. They're gross. Why do gross people insist on ruining it for everybody else, at all times, and in all things, and in all places?
I had kouign-amann for the first time yesterday--I have only recently heard about it, and then it was at two different pastry shops that John and I visited, and I guess somebody's probably trying to make it be the new cupcake. But I don't mind that--I am so irritated by pastry shops that have a bunch of pedestrian crap that I can just make myself, and do a better job of it anyway. I can make cupcakes. I can't--or at least I'm probably not going to with any regularity--make kouign-amann. So bravo, pastry shops. Way to understand your market.
We finally saw Skyfall on Friday night and I loved it so so much. How much do you want to talk about it and how awesome it was, and how Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery, and about how Timothy Dalton got a raw deal, and how it's nice to have a real, no-fooling Bond villain, with stars in his eyes and outsized dreams and aspirations? Javier Bardem really classes up the joint.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Would you like to know about my newest blood feud? Okay. It's with the librarian at Grant's school. She is the worst! I've heard stories about how much the teachers and students hate to go into the school library (which seems like a great thing, definitely the vibe you want at a school), but I had forgotten them, and then yesterday I met her and had a run-in that has caused me to feel angry and spiteful, so spiteful that I would not be sorry if she were fired. It's quite serious. She thinks that she can control who reads the books that people check out from her library! How ridiculous! And it's not her library anyway, I might venture to add. Are not public school libraries taxpayer-funded? I might have to sue. She was so mean to Grant and Emmett (and to me, but that's not as big of a deal). I don't like adults bullying children and maybe tonight I will wish on a star that blackbirds will come peck out her eyes. I know that blackbirds typically peck noses, not eyes, but it's my wish and I'll do with it what I like.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I got a hankering for ham last night, so we bought a ham from our friends at Premium Meat (the best!) and cooked it up. You know how sometimes you just need ham? I am very fond of ham, and I like that it keeps on giving after the first meal. So generous. I usually make bean soup with it, but I think I might do red beans and rice with it this time. I am not good at making red beans and rice, and I have no Cajun background, sorry about that. I think maybe authentic red beans and rice is supposed to be made with ham hocks, but I bet a ham would not be so out of place as to cause the universe to tear. Are trotters the same as ham hocks? I think trotters are the actual feet, hooves and all, and I think hocks have the hoof part cut off and leave a bit more to the imagination. My "Odd Bits" book seems to concur. I think what it's telling me is that shanks and hocks are similar terms, as are pig feet and trotters. Now you know.
I am so excited about Christmas. Even though we're going much more low-key on presents this year, I think the ones we've got are dynamite (adjective, not noun). That's part of the reason I like our vacation years--when you only get one or two presents it's easy to knock it out of the park, which is what Christmas is about, after all: excellent presents. Would you like to eat a Christmas goose? I would like to try one. I don't think I've ever eaten goose. According to some guy that was on Radio West the other day, Charles Dickens basically killed the goose industry with his turkey-buying scene in A Christmas Carol. Boy, Dickens is just the worst. How does he sleep at night, knowing he's responsible for impoverishing countless honest goose farmers? What happens to all the goose meat from the geese they make down comforters out of? Does it go into dog food? Makeup? There are so many questions.
Monday, December 17, 2012
So, as expected, my bishop was aware of Pants Day (and the associated wearing of purple to show support for gender equality), and also as expected, he had heard some untrue things about the event and its organizers. So my wearing of a purple dress was enough to spark a conversation, but because it wasn't pants I didn't have to start out on the defensive about something that wasn't even happening. We had a great talk. I also had a great talk with the woman I've succeeded as YW president, which I don't think would have happened if I'd gone so far as to wear pants. As I commented elsewhere, it was a milk before meat approach, and I think I did a lot more good this way. For my ward, it was the right choice.
I don't intend to formally affiliate with the All Enlisted group, just as I will not formally affiliate with a political party. Too many differences of opinion. But we can still be reasonable, respectful human beings.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I'll report on my experience at church today, and why I think my decision to wear a purple dress instead of pants was the right one, and did much more to further the cause than wearing pants would have, but on a different topic, I saw this article and thought it was interesting and thought-provoking.
Friday, December 14, 2012
I hope you will indulge me in a little faith-based musing. Normally I keep my church stuff over on the other blog, but this one feels like it goes here.
I am a feminist and a Mormon, and please, let's not dust off the old "but isn't that an oxymoron?" chestnut. It was not an oxymoron for a woman to be a wife and also a suffragist, so let's drop that straw man for good, shall we? Advocating for change from within a system, seeking to maintain what you think is good and prune out what you think is bad, is just as valid and honorable as seeking to divorce yourself entirely from something you can't wholeheartedly support. Anyway, in the Mormon feminist community there is a plan for women to wear pants to church this Sunday--something that is within doctrine, but outside of social norms. I'm not going to get into the reasoning, but you can get more information and background than you could ever want from the women over at Feminist Mormon Housewives, where you will find some interesting opinions and some truly idiotic comments. There are also stories on By Common Consent and the Huffington Post, and you can do as much research as you want without me paraphrasing for you. What I want to discuss/navel gaze about is what I am going to do about it.
I have been wrestling with this decision for a number of days, seeking to understand what my motives would be were I to choose to wear pants this Sunday, or a dress like usual. I have always worn dresses, because of social norms, and I look great in heels. That's it. I have no misconceptions that a dress enables me to better worship my Heavenly Father. So I started thinking, what if I did wear pants to church this Sunday? What would I be saying? What would I be supporting? What if I chose to wear a dress? What would I be saying and supporting in that case? I have been puzzling it out, and have decided that the situation is much more complex than I initially thought, and my motives for either choice were not totally pure.
I want to wear pants to show solidarity with my sisters and needle the people who confuse custom with doctrine, but I also want to show that I'm Smart and Progressive and Unique--just like all those other Mormon feminists! Individuality through conformity, essentially.
I want to wear a dress because I think that wearing pants with an attitude of defiance and self-awareness misses the point and distracts from the goal--it's not about you, as an individual. And most of the time I see someone protesting I wonder disparagingly how much they actually know about the cause they're supporting. I usually assume they're just going along with a crowd whose approval they seek, and not thinking for themselves. Also I want to wear a dress so I can wear my new boots.
Maybe wearing pants on a different Sunday would be better, because I would still be advocating for a cause I believe in, but I wouldn't risk being associated with an event about which your rank-and-file Mormon is not very educated. Most people have had a gut reaction about it without examining their reasoning, and I don't want to alienate people who might be allies if approached in a different way. Each case is different, and the approach matters. But would wearing pants on a different Sunday lack the emotional heft that comes from women uniting together for a common goal? Am I being a coward? What if someone else in my ward wears pants and gets more feminist cred than I do?
What I decided is that since my motives were corrupt in either case I needed to figure out what was best for me, in my situation, in the interests of winning the war, not the battle. Our bishop is a wonderful, kind, intelligent man, and I like and admire him a lot. He is very traditional, and believes in top-down revelation. There is not a single decision, no matter how outlandish, he would not wholeheartedly support, as long as it came from higher leadership--but that's the key: as long as it came from the top. For example, he had no problem with the temple denying young women the opportunity to do proxy baptisms if they were menstruating, but as soon as the policy changed he was very supportive. I believe in top-down leadership as well, but I also believe that pressure from outside and people working from within to challenge the status quo play an imperative role in effecting change for the better. I think it's terribly naive to think that pressure from within and without the church have not affected the church's reversal of the priesthood ban or their changing position on homosexuality. And, by the way, I'm pretty sure that the campaign of shock and dismay that I and my fellow feminists waged on the sexist and archaic proxy baptism policy was a motivator in the policy being changed.
So, knowing what I do about my bishop, what effect would my decision to wear pants have? I think--I'm almost certain--he would be fine with me wearing pants, but not with me being associated with a "cause," if you will, especially a cause that is considered by many to be attempting to disrupt the sacred nature of a Sacrament meeting by staging some kind of protest. Currently, I am the Young Women's president of our ward, so I spend quite a lot of time with the 12-18-year-old girls. I get the chance twice a week to share my worldview with them, to show them that their gender does not determine their worth, to inspire them to value knowledge and achievement and kindness and strength. If I sow seeds of uncertainty, if I give the bishop a reason to question my judgment or my fitness as a YW leader, I might be jeopardizing my opportunity to give these girls what they need. So I think for my particular situation, my particular ward and bishop, the right decision is to wear a dress this Sunday. I feel a little wistful, but I intend to win this war.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
The fruitcake experiment was a sack of bobcats. My mom mentioned that you need a pan of water in the oven, and I wondered if she meant a water bath, since the cake cooks for so long. Nope. The water bath, in case you were wondering, makes it so the cake cooks for an hour longer than it's supposed to, deceives you on the toothpick test, and then the bottom part of the cake is gooey and uncooked. So I scraped all the uncooked bits together and mashed them into a fresh foil-lined pan, and cooked the cake--with the pan of water next to it this time--for another two hours. What the flip? (As we Mormons say.)
The ruined/salvaged cake is wrapped in foil sitting in the fridge--as recommended by my grandma, although she just keeps hers in the fruit room. From what I've tasted of it it seems like it's just gingerbread with fruit and "nutmeats" in it. I will taste it on Christmas Eve and see what I think. I will try the Joy of Cooking recipe next. It looks to be more like a pound cake. I just think there has to be a reason that people have been making fruitcake for hundreds of years. It can't all be Anglophilia--although that is a definite factor in my case. Whenever I watch the George C. Scott version (the best one, I will not hear otherwise) of A Christmas Carol I always drool a little bit when the Cratchits bring out the plum pudding--that first bite looks amazing! Although Bob is kind of a jerk about it, savoring the pudding and dragging the whole process out, not telling his wife whether it's good or not, while she anxiously awaits his verdict. And what's with Mrs. Cratchit being so needy? If she made the pudding and likes how it tastes, then Bob can stuff it. Maybe Bob should make the pudding if he's such an expert. But it does look good--moist and custardy. And yet, I know I would most likely hate it. Maybe I should make a pudding and see what it's really like. Probably disgusting. But I have all these British cookbooks that are going to waste!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Darnit, Google. You're killing me here.
I'm so sad about my friends Andy and Ray. If you need me I'll be over here weeping into my laundry basket.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Children, today I am going to acquire supplies to make a fruitcake. I have never made or tasted fruitcake, and I think that is shameful. I haven't actively avoided it, but my grandma is the only person in my family who has ever made it, and I've never been in the right place at the right time to have any. John is horrified by my plans. He has become incoherent in his attempt to describe to me how gross he finds fruitcake. He says it's the cake equivalent of kidney and liver. He says if you like your fruit to be aged and rotten, then fruitcake is for you. Ha! He is delightful. I'm going to do it anyway.
I saw a thing about glasses that change color when someone puts date-rape drugs in your drink, and it depressed me to have to think about date rape so early in the morning, but it also made me realize that Mad-Eye Moody would probably never get date-raped. The flask, people. This is what I'm telling you. The flask is your friend. And right now I am having nightmare visions about my sister, who is in college, and my children, who will someday be in high school and college. And now I'm feeling murderous rage and contemplating revenge scenarios. It's been a roller-coaster morning already!
Sitting here thinking about life and stuff, I wonder if I've done a good enough job of impressing upon my children that most people are completely untrustworthy and are only waiting for the right opportunity to betray you and do you harm. I will ask them about it when they get home from school.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
John's boss told him the other day that it's not Christmas in their family without the Jim Carrey version of the Grinch. Shall I tell you what that did to my estimation of their family, or do you already know? Imagine how you would feel if you saw an ambulatory creature composed entirely of Cool Ranch Doritos and Hawaiian Punch vomit and pinkeye discharge--that's what I think about that movie, and about people who "can't have Christmas without it."
I have half of my forced labor cookies scooped and sugared. Because I'm making sandwich cookies, that means I have to make twice as many cookies, stupid of me, but I'll tell you that the teeny-tiny cookie scoop I bought for this purpose is the cutest thing ever. I don't like great big honking sandwich cookies, because the filling just squishes all over the place. Two bites max, or it's indecent. I'm kind of sick of "indulgent!"-sized cookies in general. We don't need cookies the size of pizzas.
Here are movies I am excited/nervous about:
1. Les Miserables--they had better not mess this up. The music had better be beyond reproach, and the cast better not have any cutesy ideas about revolutionary interpretations of the characters. Nobody wants to hear a Beatles cover; it just reminds them that you're not the Beatles. Oh, I just remembered how much I despise Marius's piety and Cosette's inconstancy. A pox upon them!
2. The Hobbit--to have this separated into three movies is beyond indulgent. It is gluttonous and bloated, and I am incensed about it. It probably just means we have oodles of time to spend on the non-essential, uninteresting character of Beorn. What is the word for when you introduce a character, acting like it's going to be a huge deal later in the book or in other books, and then you never get back to it? That's what Beorn is. But! It is still a great story and I love Martin Freeman because he is as cute as a bug's ear. I maintain that the cartoon Gollum is way scarier than Andy Serkis's Gollum.
He gives me the jibblies.
We got our tree set up and decorated--I let the kids do all the ornaments because I am very nice and definitely not because decorating the tree is a nuisance.
Monday, December 3, 2012
1. We had a white elephant gift exchange last night at a family party, and the end result is that now Willa has her very first Barbie dolls: Beach Glam Steven and Rosie O'Donnell. I am so pleased about this. John said of the Rosie doll, "You're not going to try to sell it on ebay?" (It was new in the box, mint condition, y'all.) But I said, "It's a fully clothed Barbie with a realistic figure. Why would I not take advantage of that?" Beach Glam Steven has been re-christened Nate, because he looks like Travis's friend Nate.
2. The other day I ironed the ribbon bookmark in my Book of Mormon, and you would not believe how it has improved my mood. I cannot abide a messy ribbon bookmark! There's one in our new Grimm book, and believe me, I am watching it like a hawk.
3. Groceries is fully healed and is again the sleek, ponderous cat which once he used to be.
4. I guess we are going to buy our Christmas tree this year. The thought of packing up and driving in the mud out to the rear end of nowhere to cut down our tree when my parents aren't even going to be around is distasteful to me. My sister Aleece already made the plunge and found a tree on which the ornaments can hang unimpeded, which helped me make my decision. I refuse to buy one of those perfect cone trees that are so full you have to sort of mash the ornaments into the branches.
5. Our rabbits are the crappiest. One of them died on Saturday, and seems to have been attacked by the others. Hopefully that leaves two of the same gender in that cage, and we won't have any more dead pink rabbit babies. Probably not. Probably there were two males attacking each other over a female, and now we'll have even more dead pink rabbit babies. I regret getting the rabbits. But Ike claims to love them, and he does take fairly good care of them.
6. Do you have any great book recommendations for these ages and genders:
I'd like to get them something they'll love and want to read more than once. If you have a recommendation for Man, 40-45 as well, that would be neat.
7. I found my passport! I have been just sick about it, and I had a lengthy nightmare about it the other night, in which I turned my house upside down in my search, and I found a whole bunch of passports belonging to other people, including John's mom and our friend Richard, but I did not find my own. But later that day I thought I'd better check my jewelry box to make sure the local thief hadn't taken any of my valuable jewelry (of which I have none), and there was my passport in my jewelry box. What a relief. Now I am going to see a platypus for sure, and hopefully pet one if I can find one that is kept by a crazy person.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
There's been a rash of robberies hereabouts in the last little while. In our little town, where everybody knows everyone else. The circumstances of the robberies indicate that it is someone local doing it. So that's neat, one of our own violating our homes. They have stolen a motley assortment of things, but the main thing they're after seems to be painkillers. So don't bother coming here, thieves. The strongest stuff we have is ibuprofen and vanilla extract--although we might have a bottle of Nurse McCready's Surgical Bruise Lotion somewhere.
Here's the story I want to tell you (sorry to those of you who have heard this before): Some years ago we were at a recording studio, and we were talking about Harry Connick Jr. Some idiot friend of one of our friends said, "Let me tell you who the next Harry Connick Jr. is: Michael Buble." I almost choked him to death. I'm still angry about it all these years later. Look, Michael Buble is fine. I don't hate him. His vocal style is a little off-putting at times (his enunciation of "holl-a, joll-a Christmas" is enraging), but his voice is quite nice. But to pretend that he is at all comparable to Harry Connick Jr., that he's even in the same zip code, is ridiculous. It makes me see fire. You do not compare a crooner, however charismatic, to a composer/arranger/singer/musician. They're just from different disciplines; both of them singing jazz music is not the only metric we should be using. There is nobody out there like Harry Connick Jr., at least not that we've heard about. Does everything he touches turn to gold? No, but I'd like to see Michael Buble try to play, let alone compose, something like "Come By Me." Bleh, it's just an infuriating argument. I have seethed about this silently with occasional vociferous flare-ups (most recently on Thanksgiving) ever since that conversation, and finally the other day I was able to come up with a proper comparison, one that would have actually made sense for that knuckle-dragging buffoon to make: Michael Buble is the next Mel Torme. Not as dominant as Sinatra, but ardently beloved by his fan base, which is not insignificant by any means. There's nothing shameful about being the next Mel Torme. I will now put this ugliness behind me.
You should know that I gave up on my book. Thanksgiving killed me. I sometimes feel like I should have more energy, and then I wonder if I'm malnourished or depressed or just lazy. I fear just lazy. But the Thanksgiving prep was too much for me to do and stay on top of my word count. I will shelve my efforts and take them up again after the holidays. NaNoWriMo should take place in January or February, is what I'm getting at, when there is nothing to do except contemplate a voluntary medically-induced coma.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I should already be going to bed right now--twenty minutes ago, in fact, but I am so tired and glum that I can't quite get up off the couch quite yet. I cleaned the office today, which means rather than organize I just threw a whole bunch of stuff away. Organizing is so hard, you guys, and a goodly portion of it belongs in the category I will refer to as John's Hoarded Garbage. Ugh, Willa is so much his daughter. Every time I threw something away she'd come running in at the sound of the thunk against the can, all, "What was that? Can I have it?", and I'm like, "It's the purse I had ten years ago that got a bottle of lotion spilled in it, no, you can't have it." Hoarders all. There was a sound board that we have lugged around with us through multiple moves, a sound board I don't think I've ever seen in use, and John's telling me we shouldn't throw it away "because it still works." Do you know what "still works" means in John-ese? Let me tell you. It means if someone opened it up and soldered the broken slider, THEN IT WOULD WORK. He actually said that to me. I told him I refused to let him get sick enough that throwing his precious away would cause a mental break, so I was just going to put it in the garbage BECAUSE IT IS GARBAGE. He is a wonderful man, but I've got to stay right on him, or we'll be those people with trails through the mountains of garbage in their house. It's not like I'm a great housekeeper, so we're on a pretty slippery slope as it is. That's why John and I are so great for each other. He sentimentally hoards and I gleefully discard; I am a lazy pig and he keeps our house from falling into total disarray, while cleaning the kitchen sink to operating theater standards.
In other news, I have lost my passport. I haven't told the government yet, because I'm still hoping I'll find it somewhere in this black hole of a house that devours passports and shoes and nylons and chef's knives and children's coats. That's part of the reason I cleaned the office today, because maybe the office ate it. But no luck. I'll give myself one more week to find it, then I guess I'll have to apply for a new one. It really is stressful being a scatterbrain.
Do you feel like the Arabian Nights stories are as vital to a well-stocked library as Grimm's Fairy Tales? I will hear arguments for and against.
Do you keep a lid on your butter? I have to, because otherwise it starts tasting like the spice cupboard. I had one of these glass butter dishes for a while:
but then it broke, and then its replacement broke almost immediately. So then I was keeping the butter in a Fiesta sugar bowl that looks like this:
only in persimmon, and the handle, which had already broken a long time ago, came apart again, and also the lid started to get mold on it, even though I washed it every time I mashed a new stick of butter in it. My life is indeed a sea of hardship and woe. Yesterday I bought this butter dish:
I think it will work better than the sugar bowl because the butter won't be touching any unglazed portion of the piece. We'll see. It's in a new color, which I like. I like that Fiestaware. I get irresponsible around it.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Hey howdy hey, possums. How did your Thanksgiving compare to previous Thanksgivings? Ours was grand. The turkey was terrific (very important), there was a superb stuffing, the gravy was wonderful, and the pies went over well. If memory serves, chocolate chess went first, then pumpkin, then banana cream, then lemon meringue, then apple, then rhubarb. I was shocked that pumpkin was the second to go--John's family has never been into pumpkin pie. That's why I only made one, because I didn't want to be lugging it home and getting all plump on the leftovers. Sooo plump . . . But there you have it. The pies turned out nice, and I think I made the correct varietal decisions. And the bamboo steamer baskets I bought three years ago and use for pie carriers have held up wonderfully. It's like one of my best purchases ever. I might even buy some more. To think of some small steamer baskets and mini-pies contained within almost makes me lose the power of speech from its cuteness. Because see, the genius is that the basket protects the pie from misfortune while still allowing it to breathe instead of sweat. Another thing I do that I think is smart is I buy my pie plates from the D.I., because they are the old-style Pyrex, with a simple lip and that's it, and they only cost a buck. As long as nobody has used them as a bedpan or to cook meth, then we're going to be laughing all the way to the bank. Although glass is non-porous, so maybe we're fine either way.
I wonder what Cape buffaloes are like in person. Are they aggressive or docile? If any of you know a Cape buffalo breeder who had too many calves this year you could let them know that I'd love to have one, as long as it's free and can live with goats.
I had to take Groceries to the vet last week. I hate how the vet doesn't even ask you if you're on board with the various remedies and unguents with which he is plying the animal, and before you know it, boom, one hundred and ten dollars. So I've been putting some kind of gook in his eye (he has a scratch on his cornea), and putting amoxycillin and some sort of anti-vomiting medication down his throat, and he has been pretty good about it, but then today he came in limping and I'm like, "What the crap, Groceries?!" He's going to have us in the poorhouse. I'm going to keep an eye on him for a few days and see if he gets over it. He'd better, is all I'm saying.
Also, I bought a turkey on Saturday because even though I ate a lot, a prodigious amount of turkey, it wasn't quite enough, and we had Thanksgiving Second Generation last night. Baked potatoes instead of mashed, leftover gut dressing from my mom (we threw it out), and I made an apple pie. I cooked the turkey from frozen and it worked like a charm. I threw some salt and garlic in the cavity once it had been cooking for a few hours, and it was all flavorful and tender and juicy. So much easier.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Well, we spent the weekend with a severe case of "Dumb Ways to Die" earworms, and I took the kids to Idle Isle for dinner on Saturday for restaurant therapy because John was gone again, because nothing says Christmas like your dad being somewhere else, amiright? Stupid Christmas.
I have decided what cookies to make for the cookie thing, and I think they are muy sabrosa. I'm not going to tell you what they are yet, because I don't want you to steal my idea. Stop stealing my ideas, you guys!
I also have all my pie decisions made. There were some strong contenders in the testing pool--including a surprisingly robust showing by dark horse Apple Cider Cream Pie (I expected the children to hate it, but Grant was a huge fan--he placed it above the Butterscotch Meringue)--but alas, I cannot make all of the pies I sampled. I am very careful about messing with Thanksgiving traditions, so there weren't really very many open slots for new pies. Here is the Thanksgiving 2012 set list:
double crust, 1/3 tart, 2/3 sweet
the Herd way, with filling and crust baked separately
3. Banana Cream
Sue Watanabe filling, 1/2 of a banana pureed and blended in, bananas sliced onto the bottom of the crust, because banana cream purists require that bite of banana
4. Chocolate Chess
I was thinking there was no way this would win me over, because I am so in love with Chess Classic, but then my children hoovered the sample up like it was going out of style, even Emmett, who hates pie (is obv. a communist), and I realized that this could simultaneously fill both the chess and chocolate cream categories.
5. Lemon Meringue
I think I use a different recipe for this every time, but I think I'm going to use the Joy of Cooking recipe.
I want another fruit pie, and another double crust pie, and rhubarb is the business.
The new pies that didn't make it on the list were all good enough that they can be made again, but not for Thanksgiving quite yet. I'll put them on the farm team for a while, and if they show their mettle they'll be drafted to the big leagues. I feel bad about the lack of a plain Chess pie, but it's just the way it has to be.
If anybody was wondering, I am still incensed about Pyrex's redesign of their liquid measuring cups. I started hoarding the old style as soon as I saw the monstrosity they had wrought.
Friday, November 16, 2012
This is my favorite thing I've seen for a while.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
1. Life in the CIA is way sexier than I ever imagined. Maybe it's actually a front for an international escort service?
2. This is a very interesting article. Especially this statement: "What is emerging from the best research is that the old nutritional mantra—burn fewer calories than you consume—is correct in the thermodynamic sense but useless on the individual level." The older I get the more I realize the truth of this, both for me and for other people.
3. I'm trying to think if there's an adjective that makes a person seem more useless and worthy of mockery than "socialite."
4. Some lady on NPR, can't remember which one, said that "gif" is the word of the year, but she pronounced it with a soft G, like Jif peanut butter. Whaaaa? The G in it comes from graphic, shouldn't it be a hard G? That's how I say it. That's the right way.
5. What is with my cats not eating kibble that spills on the floor? Sometimes I eat food that falls on the floor, and some animal that licks his own behind thinks he's better than me?
That is all.
Monday, November 12, 2012
We have entered the choice and precious time of year in which I am often able to eat pie for breakfast. What a wonderful world.
On Friday we had a master class in blood-drawing. One of our neighbors is an EMT, and also raises racehorses, so he came and taught three of the members of the Goat Consortium how to draw blood without killing our goats. We have to have their blood tested to make sure they're healthy before we can breed them. We watched him do Wendy's goats, then we came to my house and I dug around in poor Hazel's neck for a while until Mike had to do it for me, but then I was able to poke it right in Sally's vein and get the blood we needed. Exciting! Every day I learn more things that make me dangerously and deludedly self-assured in medical emergencies.
Have you started listening to Christmas music yet? I did a little bit during the weekend, but I'm still not quite ready for a steady diet of it. It's pretty and all, but sooner or later you're going to run into some dummy oversinging (except Mariah Carey--that is not oversinging, that is good and true), or the radio station will play the Aaron Neville version of "Please Come Home for Christmas" instead of the Eagles version, or they'll play that awful Band Aid colonial vanity piece, or heaven forbid "The Christmas Shoes" with the elfin urchin choir, and then you're mad and wonder how our society went so wrong. It's treacherous territory.
Here's my current proposed pie lineup for Thanksgiving (I AM SO EXCITED TO EAT TURKEY I CAN BARELY STAND IT):
I am the only person in my family who likes this pie, because it is so much. But I want to give John's family a chance to taste it and maybe gain a testimony of it.
I'm leaning very traditional in my pie tastes this year. Sometimes you don't want apple-cranberry or apple-pear or apple-mangosteen-lychee-Brazil nut. Sometimes you get sick of all that crap and you just want a plain old apple pie, dangit, is that so hard? Apple seems like one of those pies that you really miss if it's not there, but also you don't choose first, because you want to try all the others first. We take apple for granted, is what I'm saying.
3. some kind of cream
Probably banana. I was thinking about banana-chocolate, because I feel less inclined to hew to tradition here. Is this a culinary misstep?
Because you have to have pumpkin.
What are your thoughts? Should I add more to the lineup? Less? Modify the list?
Along the subject of turkey, yesterday in church I drew this picture:
Friday, November 9, 2012
Cookies I have attempted:
1. Chocolate Meringues
These would have been better if I had continued beating them, and if they had been vanilla instead of chocolate.
2. Gingerbread Palmiers
These were messy and irritating. The ones on which the molasses syrup did not burn were good.
Today I'm going to try a spiced pumpkin sandwich cookie. It's supposed to be a carrot cake sandwich cookie, but I don't like peeling carrots and Emmett is at school. I worry about this sort of thing. I like Christmas cookies to make me think of Christmas, but there comes a time when you're like, "The next person who brings me a spiced pumpkin anything is going to be fed to the crows." There must needs be moderation in all things. I don't even know why I'm making these cookies; I hate cakey cookies. Those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are so rarely what I want, and even then only if there are no other choices. Except maybe snickerdoodles--ooh, death is not an option: snickerdoodles or pumpkin chocolate chip? I might just go without.
I bought a book of Grimm's fairy tales from Costco the other day, and we are really enjoying it. I think fairy tales are so instructive, and such a good conversation starter. Fairy tale people are crazy!
It's time for me to start deciding on pies for Thanksgiving. Plus I still owe Bart (the guy who takes care of our tiny field even though it's a huge pain in his butt) a banana cream and Jake (a boy in our ward who bought a pie at the trek auction) an apple. I'm for sure going to try a chocolate chess pie, and maybe a regular chess pie, because that was a transcendent experience for me. Suggestions?
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
A small prayer for this morning: Please oh please smite our elected officials with the Stick of Cooperation, the Stick of Bipartisanshipfulness, and the Stick of Being Cool to Us. And if anyone refuses to serve the best interests of their constituency out of sheer cussedness, smite them with rickets or dropsy.
I got 1000 words typed in my novel yesterday, and it's starting to be not quite so sucky.
On Sunday our YW lesson was about managing time wisely, and there was a good piece of advice in it: each day, make a list of the things you need to accomplish, in order of importance. If you only get a couple of things done, or even just the first thing, it's okay, because you worked on the most important one. First of all, sad for me that that was such a useful piece of advice, as it was along the lines of "Put your garbage in a garbage can, people. I can't stress that enough. Don't just throw it out the window." Secondly, I've done it the last three days, so I guess I'm all better now. What a relief!
I'm trying out recipes for that cookie party--you know the one. The one we can't talk about. But I decided I'd go this year, even though I was decidedly underwhelmed by the other entries two years ago, the year I made the Millionaire's Shortbread. Right now I have some chocolate meringues in the oven. They don't look or taste promising.
It is a gorgeous day outside, and I'm so happy that we have gotten a little bit of fall after all. I was pretty miffed when it looked like the week we spent sweating in California was the only week of fall that Utah was going to have. Lousy winter. It had better be a prodigiously snowy one, or there's no sense in even having it. I don't need all that jazz of freezing in the winter if I'm just going to be parched all summer.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Remember a while ago when I talked about how Mormons name their kids super weird things? Maybe you didn't believe me.
So, it's not the most hilarious video I've ever seen, and the accents are off, but I very much enjoyed the girl whose hair gets progressively bigger with each Mc name. And the names are even more insane than I thought. I love my peeps, but sometimes I wonder about them . . .
Now, go vote!
Monday, November 5, 2012
I broke it to the kids today that CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED. Weep, wail, gnash teeth! Not really. I just told them that we're doing a trip instead of presents for Christmas because we're saving up for a new car. We'll do a book and a small present, and then head off for our free week in sunny Park City or something like that. We did this a couple of years ago and loved it, and since John and I don't want our kids to grow up to be greedy S.O.B.s we have typically been pretty restrained in our gift-buying, so the kids are happy with either option. We have got to get a new car. Charlie Tuna is just getting too squishy for poor little Ike. Oh, Li'l Brudder! He's almost as tall as Emmett, probably outweighs him (I think his bones are made of iron), and I think maybe part of the reason he's so FREAKING HATEFUL in the car is because he is miserable, and seeks that all men might be miserable like unto him. Maybe he just needs more leg room.
Haircut on Friday. I'm sick of the standard bob and am probably going to get a shag-type thing. I will most likely regret it, but Catherine is wise and will lead me back onto the straight and narrow if I ask for something terribly unsuitable.
My novel was just under 3000 pages, but then I hit a wall and realized that I could not possibly finish it in first person. So I have gone back to the beginning and am doing third person, and am up to 500 words, which is not even a full page! Brava, me. You guys, I am so embarrassed about this book. I hate even talking about it. My mom asked me what it was about and my face reddened. So far my mom and John are the only people to whom I've confessed my subject matter, and neither of them seems very impressed, if that tells you anything. They both half-raised their eyebrows and said something like "Oh, interesting" in that voice that means "Oh, dumb." And it is! IT IS SO DUMB.
Are you so excited for Election Day? I am! I love it. I love wearing that little red "I Voted" sticker the entire day. I have my voter info pamphlet all rolled up in my purse, with my candidates circled in orange Sharpie. And no matter who wins tomorrow, we can be thankful that all of the problems will soon be fixed. I'm sure of it.
It does not seem possible to me that it's 69 degrees in my house. It feels more like 60. Oh, I feel so bad for all those people without heat. Just hearing about it makes me feel panicky. Being the pessimist that I am, I could never be comfortable thinking that someone was going to come along and help me in a disaster. What I'm always thinking is that a disaster is all it would take for society to completely unravel and turn into tribes of vicious brutes. I'm a day person!
Friday, November 2, 2012
I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. I'm excited about what I've got so far. Don't get me wrong, it's way stupid. But I have an extremely vociferous inner critic, and this writing exercise is to help me learn to push through the embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy. Shut up, Inner Layne. You don't know my life.
I just went out and picked some beets and Swiss chard, and I don't know if you've looked at the calendar recently, but if you did, you'd see that it's November. I guess I must be the best gardener of all time. I can't find the garlic, though. Do you think the chickens would have dug it all up and eaten it, or is it just dissolved? Who can say? These are the little mysteries that give variety to my rural existence. I ate a Honeycrisp apple the other day and it was not exactly terrible, but it was one of the least enjoyable apples I've had in a while. What's going on? I thought that Honeycrisp apples were supposed to be the hot new sexy thang. Pfft. It tasted like a Granny Smith, all spongy and one-note sour. Thank goodness our Honeycrisp tree died. I just hope the Cameo doesn't end up the same way. I've always really liked the Cameos I get from the store, though, and if an apple tastes good in such less-than-optimal conditions as the grocery store, it's probably a safe bet.
Next Halloween I'm going to buy Nerds and Junior Mints--they were woefully underrepresented in the candy haul this year. Willa got over a hundred pieces of candy, and most of them were Kit-Kats. I used to like Kit-Kats a lot more than I do now. What has changed? Maybe I just eat better chocolate nowadays. A Toffee Crisp is better, isn't it? Foreign candies taste better and have better names, we all know it's true. I guess America is good at other things. Sigh.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Goodness, the hurricane pictures are incredible. What a terrible mess.
The apple cider vinegar is sick. I hate it. It is nauseating. I wonder if I contaminated it because I covered it with a towel that had been used to cover bread in the past. I've read that bread towels ruin cheese, and I bet they ruin vinegar as well.
We have no more goat babies. Sally and Hazel are bleating mournfully, and Traci is like, "More food for me!" I decided to sell Sophie because she was not warming up to us at all. Sally, as kookoopants as she is, at least has come to like me and seek affection, but Sophie is as standoffish as ever, and exudes irritation any time I touch her. So, they're off to the auction this morning. I wish them well. I wish for them a quick metamorphosis into white packages, rather than being lonely, neglected ditch eaters. Now I must learn how to draw their blood so I can have them tested for disease and then bred. Oh, the earthiness of my pretend farming. The other day we were talking about women who've had their babies in odd places, and how frightening it must have been for the people who had to help with the delivery, and I was thinking to myself, "I'd rock that so hard." As long as I had iodine, I could cut the cord with my purse knife and tie it off with the dental floss I also carry in my purse, then dip it in the iodine (note to self: put vial of iodine in purse). Just like a baby goat! I have a plan and just enough knowledge to make me dangerous.
I am making some sugar syrup for the bees this morning. Do you say "surup" or "seerup?" I hate "seerup." Is it regional?
Do any of you want a rabbit?
I think the window has closed on me being able to make a swamp thing costume for this year, but maybe I should get started anyway, for next year. I bet it's going to be pretty labor-intensive.
I spent a lot of money at Costco yesterday. I think I was internalizing the hurricane coverage and subconsciously hoarding for our own coming disaster, which will most likely be an earthquake followed by liquefaction of the Greater Salt Lake Metropolitan Area. I hope John is working from home that day.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Whoever told me that rabbits from the same litter can't have babies was dead wrong. Upon reflection, though, I think what that person actually told me was that sibling rabbits won't fight, not that they won't have babies. But anyway, there were two dead baby rabbits in Karl, Sugar and Bubbles/Rainbow/Allie's cage on Saturday. Nuts. That means we need either another cage or to get rid of at least one rabbit, since I think we dare chance keeping two of the same gender in the same cage without fear of procreation. You never know, though. I hear rabbits are very prolific.
This morning I was brushing Willa's hair, and she was whining and carrying on like always, because there were little bits of dum-dum in it this time. THANKS, BISHOP. Have I told you of my passionate hatred for suckers? They are the worst candy, and they always, always end up in hair, on faces and hands, on walls and upholstery and carpet . . . HATE HATE HATE. Every exam room in our doctor's clinic has a drawer with a bin of suckers in it, and he always gives at least one to every one of my kids, usually two or three, and I just want to slap him. Maybe he should try brushing Willa's hair for a change and see if he still feels so generous with the suckers.
Just say what the product does:
1. Fat Boy
In closing, I would like to share with you the picture that my friend Jill sent me a minute ago. She may have heard once or twice about my otter fetish (not that kind of fetish).
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Last night I dreamed mostly about shoes, which was nice. I dreamed about a pair of dark pink high-heeled open-toe wedges, sort of crocheted. Trust me, they were cute. But then I had a dream about a zombie invasion and it was highly unsettling. It was the last dream sequence before my alarm went off, and I woke up with a pit in my stomach, which I feel dumb about. It's like, "Really, Layne? You realize how unlikely this scenario is, don't you?" But the heart knows no reason. Do you think bulletproof glass would work to keep zombies out, or do the windows need to be boarded up, old-school? I would think the bulletproof glass would be better because it can't be pried off, but if you have windows the zombies can see you, and maybe they'll just rip the windows right out. It would take a while, but zombies never get tired, so . . . I'm on the fence about bulletproof glass, I guess is what I'm saying.
I realized that I forgot to wish my sister a happy birthday two weeks ago while we were in Disneyland, so I'm making her a cake this morning. I'm doing the chocolate birthday cake and white mountain frosting from Bread/Butter (which is how I have decided to shorten that name). It's a study in contrasts, especially with my black cocoa powder, and I love it.
The vinegar project is weird and slightly gross. I think the pineapple vinegar is going to be fine, but the apple cider vinegar makes me suspicious. It's very thick and mucosal, and resembles a number of things both edible and not.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
There is a billboard on the way to my house that advertises high stakes bingo, and the lady on the billboard who is pretending to be surprised and delighted by her imagined bingo wins has way overtweezed her eyebrows. Ladies: stop doing this. It looks dang stupid.
How did you like the debate last night? I thought it was fine. Our kids like to point with their fists and imitate each candidate telling an imaginary moderator that what the other one is saying simply isn't true.
Are you so excited for Halloween? Are you dressing up or being boring? Grant wanted to be a viking, but that didn't work out, so he's going to be one of those guys that tries to sell you fake watches. I told him he has to wear long pants under the coat so he doesn't look like a flasher. Emmett is being a ghost, Ike is being a harbor seal, and Willa is being Rapunzel. I made a freaking AMAZING wig for her. Thanks to Jenny for the inspiration. Thanks to Jenny also for the inspiration for John and me--we're going as Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I think I'm going to make meat loaf in the shape of severed feet for dinner. It's a good time.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Well, I saw this in my in-laws' paper the other day, and I'm not sure how to feel. Notice the date--TWO DAYS after I posted my grand idea. Do I sue this "Chip Samson" person for kifing my intellectual property? Or do I slink away in humiliation that I share sensibilities with the author of "The Born Loser"? 'Tis a conundrum, to be sure.
We harvested our honey today, which means we opened up our hive and saw that the bees have almost no honey, not even enough to get themselves through the winter, and they stopped building comb right about the time that I added all those new bars so they would have enough space to build on because they were going so gangbusters. Freaking bees, what is their problem? So now I'm going to have to supplement them all winter with sugar water, or maybe I'll buy some honey and feed them that. I'd feel better about it. Brian gave me one of their combs--a double bar the bees had glued together and filled with honeycomb. We smashed it and put it in a jar, and right now it is dripping down through the plastic mesh in the nifty jar connecter Brian invented. We took a bunch of pictures that I'll show you sometime when it's not after ten o'clock at night and the camera is not all the way in the kitchen and I'm in my bed with my hair brushed and lotion already on my feet. Some other day!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Oh my gosh listen to my great idea, listen to it right now: from now on, every time somebody wants to buy ad time for a political candidate they have to match it with an equal payment on the national debt.
That way we're not messing with the political process, because the richest/most popular/best connected guy still gets to be president like always, but the swift, sure growth of the national debt will be slightly impeded!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
If you can tolerate prodigious swearing, including the F-word, I would like you to read this article. I liked it and it made me smile.
I read and think swear words a lot, and this is why when I am an old senile lady in the nursing home I am going to melt everybody's ears with my foul language.
I intend to make some apple cider vinegar one of these days. I've been collecting apple cores and uneaten slices for a week. They'll probably be hard cider all on their own if I don't get cracking, so I guess I'll sacrifice some whole apples to the cause. Why am I making cider vinegar? I don't know. It's not necessary, and it will probably be disgusting. I do a bunch of stupid stuff.
For example: I need to make some soap. "Need" meaning there's this expectation that we have soap in the house, I have become accustomed to a certain level of quality, and to buy that quality is rather expensive, so homemade it is. How lame is a person who is a soap connoisseur? That's as bad as having a favorite bath mat. But the fancy stuff smells so good! I have a bar of peony and poppy scented soap that is running out and I'm so sad about it. Do any of you know someone who refuses to use soap? I do. Supposedly it washes away your important body oils and keeps you from absorbing Vitamin D, and there are probably other weird reasons that people use. As a culture we are probably too obsessed with sanitation, but I'm a fan of soap. I guess I'll keep using it. I had a coworker who was worried that deodorant causes breast cancer, and I thought she was so insane. Eh, she's probably right. But until Tom's of Maine figures out a formula that actually keeps me smelling fresh and clean instead of like a gas station men's bathroom, I'm going to take my chances with the mainstream stuff. You do realize that we're all going to have cancer eventually, right? I can almost guarantee it.
We're going to a corn maze tonight for mutual (weekly church activity with the youth 12-18). I can barely do mazes from above, so I don't have any idea how people do them from inside. John and I did one when we went to Leeds Castle, and I basically just followed him around. The maze for the Tri-Wizard Cup? The Labyrinth (David Bowie version or Original Recipe)? I cannot even imagine.
John watched "The Help" last weekend, and this morning he said, "You're probably never going to watch that movie, are you?" Sadly, no. I'll probably read the book eventually. People seemed to like it. But my movie tastes lean toward the anxiety-inducing, action-packed, nonsensical, or comedic. I am not artistic. I like a good romp or a good scare. No thinking! Books are for thinking. Movies are for escaping and eating popcorn doused in delicious liquid carcinogens (that's where my cancer is going to come from, if you're wondering).
I just read that the moderator for tonight's debate plans to ask follow-up questions if necessary, rules be damned. Zounds! What next, answering the question that was asked, instead of the question you want to answer?
If I read one more breathless article about a CEO or similar who gave up their high-powered, fast-paced life in the fashion/technology/political world and bought a farm in upstate New York/Massachusetts/Sonoma Valley where they raise alpacas/heritage pigs/heirloom tomatoes I am going to barf. There is no virtue inherent in swanning in on clouds of money and buying some estate, most likely from the family who went bankrupt trying to farm without the clouds of money. Shut up, all of you. Stop turning our farmland into Park Slope. Hipster farmers are just the worst. That is not farming. What I do is not farming. It is a hobby.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Grant: "Can I have a thigh?"
Me: "No, I'M going to eat it."
Grant: "But you already ate one thigh! Why do you get two thighs?"
Me: "Because I need it."
Grant: "So do I!"
Me: "Do you shed copious amounts of blood every month? Does your uterine lining slough off once a month? Because if not, then you don't need it as much as I do."
Grant: "Do you think that's a good subject for the dinner table?"
Me: "Menstruation trumps Growing Boy."
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Hi, everybody. Long time no see.
While we were gone to California my one remaining grandpa passed away. He got quite sick the week before we left, and the day he passed away they got the test results back confirming that he had West Nile virus. He was a character, and I hate driving past his house and not seeing him sitting out on the driveway, but it is a blessing that he can be with my grandma again. He was so lonely without her. Oh, he was such a funny, funny man. In addition to being a rancher he drove a school bus for many years, and carried a paddle with him inscribed with the words "Board of Education." Ha, that is funny in light of our recent discussion about paddling. But in his defense, there are eighty-plus students on a school bus, and you can't see what they're doing most of the time. He took no crap. And he was beloved all the same, because he was just as generous with affection as he was with discipline. Every time I smell Old Spice I'll think of him. Darnit, this is a sad stage of life.
On a happier note, we had a wonderful vacation. We saw tide pools teeming with critters, spent much time in Disneyland (some highlights: Emmett threw up on the pavement between Star Tours and Buzz; Jenny and I ate Monte Cristo sandwiches and did not regret it for a second; we went on the infamous, terrifying Mickey's Dumb Wheel) and arrived home safely at three o'clock Sunday morning. I wouldn't want to go to Disneyland every year, but every four years or so is just right.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I just do not understand how it is that there are teachers who suck so bad at discipline that they have to paddle their students. Do you sometimes feel like the South (and Texas, which Beckster informs me is not the same thing--though they both love paddling, so Beckster, are you lying to me?) is a totally foreign culture? I've got to think the South (and Texas) has some powerful weak parenting if this kind of nonsense seems necessary.
Women, we need to stop freaking out when someone uses the term "forcible rape." I keep reading capsy comments in the vein of: LIKE THERE'S ANY OTHER KIND. Yes, there is another kind of rape, and many, okay, some people who use the term "forcible rape" are just trying to differentiate between non-consensual sex (forcible rape), and consensual sex involving a person who is cognitively incapable of understanding the ramifications of their decision to have sex (statutory rape). Let's listen to some of their other comments before we decide they're part of the War on Women. A fire-breathing overreaction just delegitimizes our other complaints.
Let me tell you about yesterday. I woke up, and the kids were awful and Grant has been starving the goats for days, and we were combing hair, reading scriptures, having family prayer, shouting and backtalking and arguing as the bus made its inexorable approach from our neighbor's house to ours, and I spat bitterly, "THANKS FOR THE GREAT MORNING, YOU GUYS. I REALLY ENJOYED IT," then as sincerely as I could muster "I love you! Have a good day!" as they scrambled to catch the bus before it left. Then I cried on my bed for a while because John was going to work and leaving me with two days' worth of dishes, and I feel like I've been the only one doing dishes lately, and I've got PTA with horrible meetings and copies to make all the time and no president-elect, and as the YW pres I've got to figure out how to turn my girls into the warrior goddesses they're supposed to be, and I can't eat sweets like I want to because they give me multi-hour, medication-impervious headaches and I still haven't dared to go get a new IUD because I'm afraid that I'll go into an anemic coma (is there such a thing?) on my first period, but I called both Emily and Sarah's gynecologists, because I want a woman doctor to discuss my neurotic irrational fears with, and my ob/gyn who delivered Willa is okay, but sort of skeevy, and OF COURSE neither of them is accepting new patients, and then I ruined one of my new shirts by splashing it with the hot chocolate that I didn't even get to drink, and meanwhile, I keep gaining weight, even though I eat sensibly, have increased my activity, and NO LONGER EAT SUGAR SORT OF, and believe me when I say that I was ready to self-mutilate yesterday. But then I texted John (after he'd seen my morning crying jag and fielded a number of dramatic, tearful calls from me about each new lousy minor setback ) about the shirt:
Me: "You'd probably like to know that the hot chocolate from this morning just splashed all over my shirt and ruined it."
John: "I'm gay."
He couldn't resist the opportunity to make such a hilarious joke and bring levity to a (for me) nightmarish situation. Because think of the retelling! "So like the day isn't hellish enough, TURNS OUT MY HUSBAND'S GAY. Like, my self-pitying caterwauling became so offensive to him that I actually reversed his sexual orientation." The adding of insult to injury was too tempting, and John was killing himself laughing about it. And it did what it was designed to do, sort of. It got my mind off how much I hate my body and my life and the entire world and universe, and reminded me that my husband is funny and a great catch. He speaks my love language. Hope he doesn't leave me for somebody who doesn't mysteriously keep getting fatter and fatter every week.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Is there anything better than scrambled eggs done correctly? If there is, I don't want to see it.
Bart is planting our field today, so John and I had to go pull a bunch of rocks out of the field last night. We were un-miring our rocks! Har har har, Sabbath humor. Little rocks are not a problem, but in plowing this year they unearthed a Craters of the Moon-type scenario in one section of the field, with rocks ranging in size from grapefruit to watermelon. I wish I'd known we had them, and I wouldn't have spent so much time over the years driving down the road to my grandpa's farm and picking rocks out of his cow pasture.
I'm feeling pretty victorious right now, because I made some extreme-strength window cleaner (1:1 vinegar and water, squirt of dish soap) and got the horrible hard water stains off our parlor window. The sprinklers spray it every time, and since Utah water is so hard it's basically sliceable, my window was a sight. But now it is beautifully clear.
I have eaten about six ripe tomatoes out of my garden. All the rest I've had to poach from my mom. Now it's going to start freezing. I think this is disgusting. I guess we'll have to eat fried green tomatoes tonight, just so I can feel like my entire garden wasn't a waste. Every year we do this. I overplant and undernurture. But it's not my fault the tomatoes aren't ripening.
I don't know why it is that I roll my eyes about intricately-decorated cake pops and precious interior design but love Disneyland so much. I hate fakery and artifice! I don't know what's wrong with me. Look, I'm a simple woman, with simple pleasures. I like it when things are pretty and clean and people are well-behaved. I like when my kids gasp with wonder when they walk through the front gates. I like Indiana Jones. I can't help myself! We tried to take my sister Troy to Disneyland with us a few years ago, and she was all, "No, thanks. I don't like that kind of vacation. I like going to Maine." Barf. As though she's above Disneyland. As though she even knows what she's talking about, since she was about thirteen at the time. As though you can't like both Maine and Disneyland. So then when she went with Claire and Nate last year and had an amazing time, obviously, I really rubbed it in. Oh, she wants to go with us now, now that she knows what she's missing. But she's still unwilling to drive there, so she won't be joining us. Maybe she just hates my kids and doesn't want to be with us. Her loss! ANYWAY, my point is that even Troy, who is like a mini-me of my mom and parrots all her opinions, likes Disneyland. We'll see if she's so uppity about driving to California once SHE has four kids.
It might seem like I am having a fight with Troy through my blog, and nothing could be further from the truth. I'm merely nagging Troy through my blog. She doesn't read it anyway, so we're cool.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the apocalypse is nigh, for there has come into the world a child whose parents have given it the name Hunzlen. HUNZLEN. I ask you. I am extremely opinionated about names, and have categories for them, some of which are: That's Not a Name, That's a Noise; Stripper Names; Emasculators; and Freaking Mormons. In a Venn diagram, Hunzlen would go on the overlap of the That's Not a Name, That's a Noise and Freaking Mormons circles.
Here is a funny story about how much the Berenstain Bears suck. I like the ones from back when they had beady eyes and the illustrations were old-timey, but I am on board with this guy about all the other books in the series. Plus I love, like, really love, when somebody becomes passionately angry about something so mundane as a children's picture book. I think, "Hey! He's like me!" And then, when they defend their position so cleverly, e.g. "Their faces bear no indication of thought or emotional presence," it is one of my favorite things.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When Tipsy was here this past weekend (which was a lot of fun, even if I did feel like I had to cram in as many conversations as possible before she left) she brought me some presents from India (I'm not sure if she has Greek heritage, and therefore how suspicious I should be that she came bearing gifts; however, none of the gifts was a big wooden horse), one of them being a package of that after-dinner fennel seed mix that you get in Indian restaurants, and I'm afraid it's going to be gone before the week is out, because I keep eating it and eating it, and just typing about it makes me want to go eat it some more. The fennel seeds are sort of soft and fried tasting instead of having a sugar coating, and there are cute little red and silver and pearly dragees mixed in, and a number of other seed things that I don't recognize. So now my problem is how the crap am I supposed to find that exact mix of mukhwas (which is what the internet told me it is called) without going to India? I will not rest (figuratively) until I find it.
Today I must make salsa. We are getting very low, and I'm afraid Grant will riot if we run out. I'm not looking forward to the scalding and peeling part. Tomatoes are kind of a pain that way.
I was just thinking about pumpkin pie, and I think this year I'm going to try not cooking my filling quite so long. When my mom does it it's sort of a loose custard, and even though it makes the bottom crust soggy if you let it sit, it tastes better. The way I cook it is too firm, and you know how pumpkin can be a little oppressive if you don't reign it in. I say this as a person who loves pumpkin.
I don't understand parents who won't let their children read Harry Potter, because of the occult subject matter, but do allow them large swathes of unmonitored, unfiltered time on the internet. Look, I don't have all the answers. But statistically speaking, your kid is probably not going to become a warlock. He is, however, very likely to develop a taste for pornography. And you're definitely going to get a virus, so good luck with that. We have some friends who've had to flatten their hard drive three or four times because of the sites their son visited, and they still don't have any virus protection or filters. Whatever. Agree to disagree!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
I was going to make chicken pot pie for dinner today, and then I was like, "Idiot! You can have chicken pot pie anytime! Tomatoes are a fleeting wisp!" So we had BLTs, but really whenever I say that I mean BTs. The L is stupid and just dilutes the flavor. It is a waste. I will accept (melted) cheese or avocado or spinach in its place, but the true sandwich is the BT.
I'm buying a book that uses superheroes to teach physics to children. I saw a thing about it on a blog, and my mother heart told me to buy it for my kids. They will be brilliant now, so you'd better bring it if you're going to beat us at the science fair. Lie. My kids don't do the science fair, because of the part where they'd have to start working on their project sometime earlier than the night before the fair. And also I don't do my kids' homework, which means: no science fair. Look, we've all been to science fairs, and we all know that a bunch of those kids were only marginally involved in the project. I just feel bad that their parents have to lie and live vicariously in such a stupid way. I guess it beats cheerleader moms and football dads trying to recapture their glory days through their children. I am so prejudiced against cheerleading and drill team and football. Probably because I am such a big nerd. I have a lot of opinions about how people ought and ought not to raise their children. I hope they work for my kids, or I am going to look super dumb when Grant is thirty and living at home and teaching himself guitar once he wakes up at eleven, Emmett has joined the new Hitler Youth, Ike is a Brony, and I'm raising my grandchildren because Willa has joined a commune of Wiccans.
Sometimes when I'm listening to the Friday News Roundup (I love Moises Naim! He reminds me of that puma on Creature Comforts who wants to eat fresh meat. I hope that doesn't mean I'm racist.), and they're talking about the Middle East, I wonder if the panelists just tell their brains "Run Middle East diplomacy discussion program," and then go into some light REM sleep while they have the discussion, and then an hour later when they've all said the same things that we've all been saying since dirt was invented, the panelists wake up and go on with their day. I really wonder.
I have eaten so many plums today you don't even know.
I had to speak in church and I was worried I was going to wet my pants.
Disneyland in two weeks! I think we'll try to sell our wethers before we leave. See how I have to stop calling them by name, so I can get the emotional distance required to sell them? I hate this part. But I'd rather them be white packages than forlorn, lonely little ditch goats that nobody loves. Oh, Tex! Buddy! I don't even care about Oweth. He's weird. But Tex and Qui-Gon are such dear little boys. Batman Flowers is sweet, too, but he's getting sort of ugly. I'm very shallow.
I keep getting terrible Charlie Horses, so I guess it's time to up my banana intake. I love that colloquialism. Isn't English fun? That's another thing I've done for my kids--increased my incidence of Charlie Horses. I hope they understand how selfless I am.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Haven't I been saying this? I swear I have. Obviously I have some problems with a few of the points in the article (for example the continued assertion that skim milk is lower in calories and therefore healthier than whole, as though calories are the only concern and are all created equal), but I think a tax on large sodas is a much better idea than a ban. People are going to find ways around bans, and with a tax you'd be helping people to make better choices while generating revenue. Maybe you could even use the funds generated to pay for diabetes research and care, so it's basically like health insurance for people who like pop. In enormous cups. I don't drink pop, but I do like those big cups because they make such great puke bowls for the car.
One last point about health care before we leave it for happier topics: in light of the recent discussion about women's reproductive care, do you guys at least understand why I might feel extremely wary of giving our government any more control of my life? Because we can't guarantee that our elected officials are always going to share our values. And when decisions are made and legislation created there is always going to be a bias toward the interests of the insurance companies, or whatever entities exist to perform those duties. Is there any way to achieve the goal of having everyone covered for the appropriate care, without having the government be the administrator of it? Am I even making sense?
Okay, no more heavy stuff for a bit.
A few years ago, when skinny jeans were coming into style, I was digging in my heels and talking about how they were just mom jeans, which at that time they were. I was around for the previous invasion of tapered pants, and it wasn't pretty. But iteration by iteration they were modified and updated, until they finally got cute. There are legitimate reasons to wear skinny jeans. I own several pairs myself, in colors even, and though they emphasize my saddle bags a bit, they are acceptable, and I don't look like I haven't been shopping for five years. SO IMPORTANT. Being a mom is hard, because you have this very delicate line to walk between dated and trying too hard. Nobody wants to be a frumpy sadsack, but nor should they be the mom who refuses to age gracefully. I will be excited when those awful Bedazzled-looking pants are over. Ugh, they are so gaudy and hideous. I just hate the sight of them. I am generally not in favor of the hard, overdone approach to beauty.
We decided not to get a steer. They're so much money and work, he would turn our goat pen into a manure soup, and the pen's not big enough for him to get the exercise he needs. We really emphasized the negatives (twelve gallons of water a day, even in the winter) when we talked to Grant about it, and I guess we crushed his dream. But he could see that it was going to seriously cut into his valuable Doing Stuff time. If goats were better supported we could show Tex, because that guy is a dreamboat. He is seriously the handsomest wether I have ever seen. Hubba hubba! Some doe would be lucky to have him, if his business hadn't been smooshed. As it is he's just going to be handsome white packages, which is so sad. I wish I could keep all of them, but can you imagine? I'd be the neighborhood cat lady, only with goats. Let's be honest, eventually I would let them in the house. I'd start talking to them like they're people, asking their opinion on what stocks I should invest in, then I'd lose all our money, and John would divorce me or have me institutionalized, and then my kids would grow up without me, and they'd turn into horrible people and probably steal the Hope diamond. How sad. All for the want of a horseshoe nail, you know? I guess we'd better sell them.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Should we take on health care today? Yes, let's. This is not going to be a cogent argument or anything. I'm still trying to figure out what I think. It's probably going to be boring and wrongheaded.
I'm toying with the idea of thinking that health insurance should be mandatory up to 18, maybe 21, and optional after that. I like the idea of letting adults decide if they want insurance or want to work out a payment plan with their doctor. But then we have to be willing to accept the consequences of that decision. Do we turn people away who can't pay? If they can't pay for health care, how would they pay for insurance? Hmm. I'm not sure how to work it out. If health insurance is mandatory and taxpayer funded, I know that I don't like the idea of having to pay for gastric bypass surgery or repeated trips to rehab. But what if somebody else doesn't like paying for my IUD, or for Ike to have a plastic surgeon sew up his nose instead of an ER doc? We all have different ideas of what is and is not necessary care, and if we're paying for each other's care we're going to start thinking we get a say in what care gets provided. I don't like that. I think that anytime you give somebody money, once the money leaves your hands you don't get to decide how it gets spent. You can use your frustration from giving your sister rent money that she spends on getting an ombre dye instead and use it to guide your future decisions, but that money's gone. Next time don't give her money, or write a check to the landlord. If the money you donated to USU's English Department gets spent on the athletic program, then next year don't give them any money, and tell them why. We think that money buys ownership, but in the case of other people's agency it just plain doesn't. But that's not going to stop us from thinking it, and that's where I think we might get into real trouble; when somebody else thinks they get a say in what our health care needs are. But is that very different from how health insurance is implemented today? We already are always up in each other's business. Already employers think they get to tell you how to spend the money they keep back from your paycheck to pay for your health care. I think I'd rather get a bigger paycheck and I'll pay for my own birth control and mammograms before 50, thanks. I wish individuals had more bargaining power with insurance companies. And of course I wouldn't be smart with that bigger paycheck. I'd just spend it on shoes and Charolais calves and then wring my hands in dismay when Grant tears his braces off eating a Sugar Daddy.
John is a smart guy and a good guy. I trust him to not tell lies, and he says that in his experience, countries with socialized medicine have excellent preventive care, often superior to the standard in America, but once you develop any expensive condition it gets very difficult to receive treatment. But that's one man, and maybe other people have seen it work differently. I know that stories are not statistics. Has someone else coined that phrase? If not, I want credit. Stories are not statistics, you heard it here first.
It's a mess, true enough. I want people to be taken care of, but I expect them to do their part, however small it may be.
Any ideas from you guys on how to fix it? Just one little change you think would help?
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I try, you guys. Really I do. I try to suppress, but sometimes the politics just come barfing out. Sorry, but this post is a total downer.
I know that people love to turn abortion into a wedge issue, because it's an easy way to differentiate one side from the other, and also serves the handy purpose of turning people into one-issue voters, keeping them from researching further into the platforms and asking in-depth questions about just how each candidate plans to implement their plans for A Better America Today or whatever. I don't like abortion. I think it's awful. But I also think that if you find yourself further right than the LDS church, and allow for no cases in which it may be an unfortunate necessity, then you might need to rethink your position. Looking merely at the lack of a rape or incest clause, I am horrified that someone would think they get to tell a woman who has had this monstrosity done to her that she has no choice about whether or not to carry the baby to term. How do you become the sort of person who can say that? And being the suspicious pessifeminist that I am, I am terrified by the idea that if there were a law that an abortion could only be performed in the case of rape or incest, someone might have to prove she was raped before she could obtain an abortion. How would that play out? Would the perpetrator have to be found, charged, prosecuted, and convicted? How many weeks along would she be by then? I don't like the potential there for women and the contents of their uteri to be considered property of the state. Hey--ask Ceausescu how that worked out for him! Yes, the focus should be on the rapist and bringing him to justice. But there will always be rapists, won't there? There will always be the powerful abusing the weak, and to deny the weak the dignity of governing themselves is to perpetuate the abuse. A good step toward ending abuse of women might be to recognize their status as equal, sovereign beings, and to stop denying them a voice in the management of their own lives. So, even recognizing that there are women who would choose an abortion for reasons I might consider selfish and immature, I think I have to put myself on the side of "safe, legal and rare." I hate slogans, especially when it's life and potential life at stake, but that's the most succinct way I can sum it up.
Now! Vaccines. Recently I was talking to someone who said she'd been putting off getting her child immunized for kindergarten, because she'd been talking to another woman who doesn't vaccinate her children, and she was nervous. People. There is not a nice way to say this, so I will just be blunt: I am not convinced that a woman whose toddler's teeth are rotten and falling out from being put to bed with sippy cups of juice and Kool-aid, whose house is a treasure trove of highly-processed manufactured food, with nary a fruit or vegetable in sight (except in their plastic form as decoration), has done the necessary amount of research to make a well-informed, educated decision about what we should and shouldn't be putting in our bodies. I am pretty careful about what goes into my children, food- and otherwise, and yes, I was a little skeeved out by the idea of slamming my kids at such a tender age with so many vaccines and their multifarious questionable ingredients, and yes, I think the vaccine schedule and contents could do with closer examination, and yes, vaccines have side effects, sometimes unimaginably horrible ones. But I read both sides and talked to smart, thoughtful people I trusted, and decided I preferred our chances with the vaccines. I made what I felt was the best decision for our family. I support everyone's right to do likewise, or even to make an uninformed, ignorant decision. But I also think that when your decision has the likelihood of impacting countless other people, potentially lethally, as refusal to vaccinate does, then we have a right to be protected from you, Typhoid Mary. Form an isolated community of like-minded individuals and have at it. Maybe you will develop immunity and the rest of us will rue our short-sightedness. But until then stop compromising our herd immunity.
Here's the article on Slate that got me yelling about it today.
How are you guys, anyway? How is school going? We have settled in and the kids are already pushing the schedule for bus readiness to the utmost limit. My yearbook chairman bailed on me, and I still don't have a president-elect. I sent a letter home with the students today, and I refrained from addressing it "Dear Leeches," but it was hard. I have to keep reminding myself that it's possible that no one knows how desperate our situation is. I certainly didn't until I was called into service by the girl who did it before me. I suppose it's okay if they sin in ignorance. But I'm still mad, and if anybody acts like they are so busy, busier than I am, then they'd better be able to back that up with facts.
Now. Feel free to lambaste me in the comments and show me where my reasoning is flawed. I'll never learn if people don't disagree with me.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Do yourself a favor and read the reviews for the hilarious product "Bic Cristal For Her Ball Pen." I can't decide which is my favorite, but "a pen strong enough for a man, but made for a woman" is up there. I think maybe the brain trust in Bic's marketing department didn't think this one all the way through. It's not really the best year for marketing that can be construed as pandering and sexist. The womens, they are on edge a little bit. One might even say hysterical.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Blessed first day of school. Boy do I feel good. I'm full of energy and I think I'll go buy that cotoneaster that caught my eye at the nursery the other day. I hear bees and birds love them, and I have found that birds are kind of fun to watch after all. My grandma was very into birdwatching, and when my stepmom gave me a bird feeder for Christmas I filled it right up and have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it. If you give them food, sometimes you get fancy birds with red and yellow and blue feathers! What a time to be alive.
Last week was our county fair, and I loved every second of it. I love that the whole area emigrates en masse to the fairgrounds, and you run into all your friends and neighbors washing and grooming their animals. Ike entered Biting Martha, and she won fourth place, but Emmett got a blue ribbon for both his eggs and his pickles. We're trying to decide if we want to take on the crushing responsibility of showing a steer next year. Goats would be easier, since we already have them, but they're still so new around here that they're really just for looking at, and we'd hate to lose our family's slot in the steer barn! It's a primo spot, too. But oh, the many days of expensive hassle, and then you try to sell them for enough to recoup your costs, and off they go to the knacker man. One of my young women was saying on Sunday that while she was taking care of her pig on the last day, there was a little boy across the aisle from her who got in the pen with his pig and sat down next to it, and he was petting it and sobbing, "I'm going to miss you!" Isn't that sweet? That's what Ike would do. He'd probably make us buy the animal back and put it out to pasture for the rest of its natural life.
I'm irked that they're splitting The Hobbit into three movies. That's pretty indulgent, and I'm afraid that they're going to waste my time with a whole bunch of songs and poems. At least Beorn is better than that nut Tom Bombadil.