Monday, December 31, 2012

he's a man, he's got a man cold

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. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

where you go I go

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

a quick word about another person I hate

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

like the lazy ocean hugs the shore

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

report on pants day

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

is it a black beard?

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

show me how to open a box

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

are there no prisons? are there no workhouses?

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

as long as you love me so

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

I'll state my case of which I'm certain

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

never thirsty, ever drinking

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

this morning I woke up with this feeling

Some things:

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:
Boy, 12-14
Boy, 10-12
Boy, 8-10
Girl, 5-7
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.