Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm not your only friend but I'm a little glowing friend

Every time "Major Tom" comes on the radio my children make a lot of noise about what a stupid song it is, and they won't listen to reason, even when we listen to "Space Oddity" and I explain the relationship.  MY CHILDEN DON'T UNDERSTAND AND ARE NOT INTERESTED IN MUSICAL GENEOLOGY.  But they like "The Day the Music Died" okay, and they love the part in "Birdhouse in Your Soul" that talks about the countless screaming Argonauts.  Maybe it's just that "Major Tom" takes place in space?  I get that--space is boring to a lot of people.  Ray Bradbury's space stories were usually not as interesting to me as the ones that took place here on our third rock from the sun.  Once you get onto another planet it gets interesting again--oh, have you read the perfect, tragic "All Summer in a Day"?  Broke my heart, it did.

I guess I'm just a terra firma kind of gal.  Which reminds me:  the ocean.  Fascinating, but I do not want to be in it.  We went snorkeling in Florida once, and the stress of imagining myself drowning or being eaten by a shark deflated whatever small enjoyment I might have gotten from staring through cloudy water at malnourished coral.  And by the way, my brother-in-law saw a nurse shark a few minutes later, so that was the end of that activity for me. I'm so thankful for people who are not paralyzed by a crippling irrational fear of open water who will film its breathtaking wonders for me to enjoy from the comparative safety of my parlor. 

I checked out a few books from the library to keep me busy on my flight.  I've started "The Bone Lady," in hopes that it will be like an episode of Bones, but so far no luck.  The tone is a little weird, possibly affected.  I guess I should just read Kathy Reichs's books. 

Two days, possums.

Friday, January 25, 2013

that reminds me--is pea soup good?

I think it's time for us as a nation to seriously consider deep-sixing the term "baby-wearing," and to force the people who insist on using it to explain themselves every time, until they resign themselves to just say, "I hold my baby a lot."  The practice of baby-wearing is not something I have an opinion on.  If you like it, be my guest.  But you've got to stop with the stupid terminology.  Likewise "attachment parenting."  If you do it it's probably a great idea for your children.  But I'm not going to respect you or your opinions if you imply with your terminology that you are needy and codependent.  When my babies came home from the hospital I gave them a bottle of half cream, half blackstrap molasses and they were on their own from then on.  Are you really going to tell me your way is better? 

We saw an enjoyable Pringles commercial last night.  I think it had something to do with Pringles being full of explosive flavor or something, but the main thing is: stuff was exploding off the grocery store shelves.  It was making a giant mess!  As an American, I like it when things explode, so this commercial really spoke to me.  I'm not more likely to buy Pringles, but I admit that I am more favorably disposed toward the Pringles brand now. 

Last night we had roasted chicken (from the generous people at Appenzell) for dinner, and for some reason I decided that mashed potatoes would be a good idea.  I usually don't care much for mashed potatoes, which is unlike me--you know how I am about porridgey things.  But I'd almost always rather have potatoes cooked any other way than mashed.  I think my uncharacteristic decision was driven by the abundance of delicious pan juices--I just had to make gravy with them, rather than put them into the stock pot with the bones.  With an Appenzell chicken you want to use everything but the squawk.  They are pasture-raised and therefore much more flavorful (and expensive) than a store chicken.  They're worth what they cost, don't get me wrong.  But it would be a lot easier for your typical Mormon to follow the "eat meat sparingly" advice in the Word of Wisdom if we were paying the real cost for it. 

My favorite supper these days is cauliflower soup.  It's so easy and fast, and the taste and texture are sublime.  And you can make it with whatever vegetable you want!  Here's how I make it: 

Cauliflower Soup
(Serves 8ish)

2 heads cauliflower
1 quart chicken stock, more if needed
salt and pepper
1 C grated cheese of your choice (optional--sharp cheddar is a good one)

Clean the cauliflower, cut out the stem, and break it down into large chunks in a large soup pot.  Pour the chicken stock over it, salt it, cover it, and bring it to a boil.  Lower the heat and steam until the cauliflower is tender, 15-20 minutes.  Puree in the pot with an immersion blender, adding more chicken stock if necessary.  If desired, add grated cheese and stir until it is melted--I usually use a variety of whatever I've got in the cheese drawer. Serve with toasted crusty bread. 

It's so easy it can barely even be called a recipe!  I've done this with cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, with and without cheese.  It's not very different from the way I do winter squash and zucchini.  I'm going to try carrots, parsnips, probably rutabaga and celeriac.  Just fill the pot with the vegetable or vegetable mix of your choice and off you go.  The possibilities are endless! 

By the way, the reason I think my bees are dead is because it's been wickedly, bitterly cold here, and I didn't really think about that or the fact that the bees would be too cold to get to their food until we'd already been in the single digits for a week or more.  Apiarist of the year, coming through! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I wasn't looking, but somehow you found me

What is this?  Just an ordinary couch.  Nothing special.


It is my couch.  My laundry couch.  This is where the laundry baskets live whenever we don't have company.  When we do have company the laundry baskets live on my bed.  It's not the best arrangement, but it beats the heck out of folding laundry until my hands fall off.  And those of you with advice about how if I just do it as it dries then it never becomes an insurmountable pile, you guys can shut up.  I am a free spirit, and I refuse to be constrained by your squarish concept of industry and propriety.

But back to the couch.  You may notice that there are no laundry baskets on it in the picture.  That, ladies and germs, is because I folded all the clothes this afternoon, and put the socks and underwear in the socks and underwear baskets.  I threw away a whole bunch of socks as well, filled a couple of bags for the D.I., and generally made some very good progress.  I was hoping to get some insight into a personnel problem I'm experiencing, and decided folding laundry would be a good way to put my mind into a receptive state.  But then I watched "The Spy Who Loved Me" and unfortunately received no wisdom.  I did get annoyed with the way the movie couldn't decide if Barbara Bach was a hardcore professional spy or a weak-minded female who needed James Bond's protection.  She was a bit inconsistent as a character.  I wonder if saxophonists get tired of playing the seduction riff on movie soundtracks.  At the end of the movie the Marine Corps band or something starts singing a Broadway-ish version of "Nobody Does it Better," and Grant queried in disgust, "There's singing in James Bond?"

I bet my bees are dead.

And a last item, a sad item:  Traci has passed away.  I think the combination of cold and age were too much for her.  I don't know if she missed Hazel and Sally, or just their warmth, but she fell asleep the other night and didn't wake up.  So the last one of our original goats is gone.  She was a good goat, despite her terrible udder and weird lumps.  She kept everybody in line, and I'm sure she's the reason our herd is so quiet and mellow.  I will miss her.

Friday, January 18, 2013

under the shade of a coolibah tree

Lots of times when I read Lucky or similar, anything that talks about what various pieces of a celebrity's (or "public figure," as Jodie Foster would more tastefully put it) outfit cost, I feel a little bit nauseated and think "How can they spend that much money on clothes?"  It makes me feel morally superior, because I can't imagine being able to sleep at night knowing that the food bank has empty shelves while I go out clubbing in my thousand-dollar pants.  But if I look down into my heart of hearts, I know that if I had the funding, I would find a way to dispose of it pretty quickly and pretty selfishly.  So many shoes and purses and foodstuffs.  I have eaten almost all of the mukhwas that Tipsy brought me from India, and I can assure you that I could drop a cool hundred on that stuff tomorrow.  It is the best I have ever had, so soft and chewy and flavorful, with little nonpareils in it, and you know I am a sucker for nonpareils.  So we learn that I am not better than other people.  

I hope we finally get to see The Hobbit this weekend.  Both Grant and Emmett have read the book in preparation, but we've been so busy that we haven't had a chance to see it yet.  I will probably need a Stadium Pal for it--excuse me, I mean a Stadium Gal.  Three hours!  So self-indulgent.  

Have we decided, as Americans, that we don't hate Gwyneth Paltrow as much as we used to?  I don't, but I think it's just because I don't hear about her as much as I used to.  

We are having short ribs for dinner, and I am looking forward to it immensely.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

oh, it's being hit on the head lessons in here

I am very excited for this year's goat kids.  Both of the bucks are blue roans, so maybe we'll get a Bobcat-looking one.  Oh, Bobcat was such a gentlemanly fellow.  I am so pleased that we still have his line in our herd--he is Hazel's grandpa.  I hope we get some nice long legs and ears this year, and better temperament.  Our nicest kids last year were all bucks (OH TEX I MISS YOU not really I have moved on), and the one girl whose name I must admit I don't remember right now was a pill. 

I told the mayor I want to be on Planning and Zoning--he seemed happy that I was interested, I guess because everybody they've asked has said no, because they don't enjoy the repercussions of unpopular decisions.  I am okay if people hate me--I figure, I hate them, why shouldn't they hate me back?  But I think my views are pretty closely aligned with the other residents of our town--except for the ones who want to sell all the farmland and turn it into tiny-lotted subdivisions.  Them I don't agree with.  What are we supposed to eat when all the farmland has been turned into stucco monstrosities?

I have about eight pairs of shoes sitting on top of the buffet waiting to be returned.  I've been trying to find some sandals to wear with a new dress, and I have almost given up hope.  The ones I like the best are unfortunately on a platform that narrows  at the bottom, making them incredibly unstable.  Boo.  I put on another pair yesterday, and said, "Emmett, check these out."  He looked balefully at them and said, "Those are so ugly."  Boys.  So dumb about shoes.  Maybe I will find some in Australia! 

I saw this and had one of those ironically amused/quietly enraged reactions.  There is a lot of food for discussion here.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

hey, what's this in the weeds

Hazel and Sally are away on their romantic getaway with some buck whose name I think is Cheviot, and a fancy, expensive buck named Gecko.  Sally gets the expensive guy because her conformation is better than Hazel's.  If my calculations are correct they were just coming out of estrus and needed to be taken up a week earlier, but news flash:  I suck at my job. 

There are so many ugly leather couches in the world.  Why do people keep buying new versions of them?  Can't they see how many there are in the classifieds, being unloaded by their owners who have realized to their horror that they have terrible taste? 

If I didn't have access to a fire in the winter I think I would become so depressed I would kill myself.  I really do.  On the bright side, maybe it's finally cold enough to kill the pine borer beetles in the Uintah mountains.  I hear it only has to get to -50.  

Have you ever eaten pink beans?  I think you ought to try them.  They are very good in a ham-and-bean type of application.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

that's just how it's got to be

During my trip to Australia I am also going to Tasmania, and the place where we're staying has resident platypuses.  DID YOU READ THAT?  Resident platypuses.  I can't even speak.  Don't worry, "platypuses" is an accepted plural.  As is "octopuses," in case you were wondering. 

Yesterday it was very snowy and the roads were terrible, and a young man wrecked his car into one of the telephone poles in front of our field and drove his car into the ditch.  He was unharmed, but his car was a mess.  It was very exciting for my children to watch the action with the police and the tow truck.  We don't get too much excitement out here, apart from that meth-head or group of meth-heads who are going around stealing everybody's stuff and camping out in empty houses, starting fires and leaving garbage and drug paraphernalia and blood all over the place.  So, not too much of a big boy. 

I think I'm going to read a book about Dolly Parton.  She is very interesting to me.  I started reading a biography of Patsy Cline when I was young and it was so depressing I had to stop.  Now that I'm older and better acquainted with how horrible the world is I could probably get through it. I don't think Dolly's story is nearly so dark, crossing fingers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

you want to know who lost world war z? the whales

I read an article on Slate the other day about the infamous Song of the South Disney movie, and it had a link to watch it on Youtube, so I did, because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.  I love the Brer Rabbit stories, and have Joel Chandler Harris's complete Uncle Remus collection.  We had a tape of Song of the South when I was little and I listened to it all the time.  I realize that the whole Brer Rabbit oeuvre is problematic, and I hope liking those stories doesn't mean I'm a racist.  I just have always loved folktales and trickster myths.  I also grew up with the story of Little Black Sambo, and although the names of the characters are terrible, I don't think the story itself is racist.  I guess it shows my white privilege, but when my mom used to tell us the story and sing the songs the race of the characters was not something I ever thought about, and I didn't figure out that those names were rude until I got older and encountered nasty racist people.  I was simply impressed that a little boy was brave enough and clever enough to outsmart all those tigers, and loved the idea that tigers could turn into butter and be eaten with delicious pancakes. 

Anyway, there are definitely some gross, eye-rolling bits in that movie, but I've seen worse in movies that are not nearly as vilified.  And is Song of the South really vilified, or is Disney just being sensitive and careful?  Uncle Remus seems to be squarely in the middle of an Uncle Tom/Magical Negro role, but those roles are still all over the place--that doesn't excuse it, it just seems to be very arbitrary which movies are considered controversial.  On the whole, the black characters come out of it smelling like roses, and the white characters not so much.  The main antagonists are these horrible little hillbilly boys--white--who are dirty and rude and shove their sister in the mud and want to drown a puppy.  And Johnny's parents are awful. I actually started hissing when his mother came onscreen, she was such a horrible shrew.  

So I don't know.  The movie teaches a good message, and I can understand why James Baskett was given an honorary Oscar for it.  But being white, I don't think I get to say whether black people should or should not be offended by it.  I know I was pretty irritated that the black people were portrayed as being quite content to do all the work and live in sad little huts while the white people lazed around in fancy dresses in their mansion--why is idleness shown as a reward?  Why do parasites have more privileges than workers?  Sometimes I feel very like that Marxist Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on the Simpsons. 

I made kouign-amann over the holiday break, and it was not great.  I guess it takes more than once to master it.  Mine was more cakey than I wanted it to be--the one I got from the pastry shop was more of a croissantish thing, like a palmier.  But I don't know that I want to set out on a quest with this, because:  so fat. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ev'rything is satisfactual

I don't have much to say, but I cried last night reading one of the World War Z stories to John.  It was really touching, you guys!  I still have a few more pages before I finish it, so I will have a ten cent fine.  But it's worth it.  I might even buy a copy for home use, so we can get all prepared for the End Times.  Because it's actually quite a practical book.  I guess I'm going to save up for a Shaolin spade. Not really!  I think I'm probably better suited to the trench spike. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

what is it with libraries?

You will not believe the injustice.  I went to return/renew some books yesterday, and the librarian told me she couldn't renew World War Z:  An Oral History of the Zombie War because there was a hold on it, and it's due next Tuesday.  What the crap?  I had a hold on World War Z for FOUR MONTHS, and only just barely got it right before Christmas, because the last jerkface who had it hoarded it.  I'm super T.O.ed. 

Why do the libraries seek my downfall? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

thoughts on january 2, 2013

Peeling oranges seems so onerous after peeling clementines.  To look upon peeling an orange as a chore, that's cute, right?  Not dripping with an attitude of privilege?  Just checking. 

I loved the Christmas break, but being all by myself in the house this morning was not too shabby either.  It was so quiet. 

I have not made any concrete goals for this year.  I tend to chafe at the restraints of a goal as soon as I set it, and in the end it does more harm than good.  And since if you're not progressing you're regressing, by this time next year you can expect me to be ten pounds heavier, 15% more sedentary, and have embezzled funds from three major charities. 

Our plumber is also a skilled upholsterer, and I would love him to fix my parlor couch and the two upholstered chairs I keep underneath the dining room window.  They're all a very feminine shape, and I think it would be fun to see them in a deep walnut-brown leather.  Contrast!  It's what makes the world go 'round, next to love of course.  

Groceries has chased marbles around the living room for the last two nights, and we think he's trying to get down to his fighting weight because there is a mouse in our house.  It got away from him the other night, and I think it wounded his pride.  Now he's grabbing stuff out of the marble maze box and just leaving it all over the rug.  Cats are jerks.