Saturday, November 30, 2013

just snap your fingers and I'm walking

Hey all.  How was your Thanksgiving?  Mine was good, if severely lacking in pie options.  There was a Key lime that was the best I've ever tasted and so my wrath was abated somewhat, but other than that there were a lot of bad things happening, pie-wise.  No banana cream, a store-bought French silk, other disappointments I choose not to discuss in mixed company.  I accept that not all people share my testimony of pie, but that doesn't mean I'm not right.  I can't help it that they're ignorant savages.  I made three pies, none of which I got to eat.  An apple pie for my sister, who was hosting her in-laws, which she cooked at her house because my oven was full of a turkey--more on that later--and then a raspberry pie and a bananas Foster cream pie for our friends.

I cooked a 32-pound turkey that we bought from a 4-H neighbor child and it was 1) incredibly expensive and 2) moist and delicious and flavorful.  The flavor was a bit gamy, and therefore off-putting if you are a fan of the standard "I know there's something in my mouth but I'm not sure what it is" taste of turkey, but I loved it.  My mom said it tasted like fish, which I know sounds like a compliment but was not.  Agree to disagree!  I also made 77 rolls.  It was a big day. 

We bagged a Christmas tree yesterday.  Every year I get closer to saying screw this noise and just sticking some branches in a bucket, but I guess we mainstreamed it one more year.  I would really love to try a Quakey, but I think maybe the tree permit only allows evergreens?  I would hate to go to jail for violating the terms of a tree permit.  Do you think the BLM has their own jail, and if so, do the inmates get coveralls in that rad minty green color?  Is the jail in the mountains, and is it a log cabin?  Might be worth it . . .

Over the past few days we've been making fun of Black Friday shoppers and loudly vocally shaming anyone who would go shopping on Thanksgiving because anyone who would make another person work on Thanksgiving Day just so they could buy their stupid thneed is immoral.  Just want to throw that out there.  I don't care if you go shopping on Friday, even though it makes me feel claustrophobic to think about it, but Thursday?  The actual day of Thanksgiving?  You are a monster.  As a wise man once said, if a piece of crap took a crap, and then that crap threw up, and that throw up then took a crap . . . that is you. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

no one else around believes me, but the children on the block they teased me

Okay.  Surely, surely this guy is trolling us.  I refuse to believe that he is for real with these pie rankings.  On what planet would someone seriously rank peanut butter pie above apple?  Peanut butter pie, are you kidding me right now?  Bean pie, lolwut?  French silk higher than any of the cream pies?  Who has ever had a French silk pie worth talking about?  Not me, that's for sure.  French silk is such a lazy pie, because it knows that it doesn't even have to be that good for people to be all, "Oooh chocolate marph marph marph."  They can't even tell if it's a good pie or not because they've already told themselves it is.  I like chocolate, love it even, and French silk leaves me cold.

 What do you think is the most egregious error in this list?   I don't think I can even pick just one.  There are so many offenses that every time I think I've decided on the worst I read another one and my jaw drops anew. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

no song unsung, no wine untasted

This morning when we woke up John started singing "I Dreamed a Dream," and it set me off on a tear about how much I hate Marius.  SO MUCH.  So much.  I wish he were real so we could all watch each other's videos in heaven, and he would see his, with his unexamined life of selfishness and privilege, compared with Jean Valjean's life of sacrificing himself for others, and then when the movies were over and we all saw what a monster Marius was we would SHUN THE CRAP out of him.  And he can take Cosette with him to go live with the Thenardiers, because Marius and Cosette caused Jean Valjean far more emotional anguish with their shaming and casual disregard than those two villains did.  I am so mad right now. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

you keep thinking that you'll never get burned--ha!

Last night at planning and zoning I found myself once again in a conversation with a person who doggedly insisted that Hooters is a fine restaurant with great wings.  WHY DO I ONLY KNOW HOOTERS CUSTOMERS?  And they're always so pleased with themselves, like they're sticking it to The Man, fighting back against the narrow-minded prudes who are offended by the bastion of good taste that is Hooters.  Look, liking Hooters does not mean you are open-minded, or progressive, or "sex-positive," or whatever garbage you're telling yourself . . . okay, it might mean you are sex-positive, I'm not going to work my way through all the possible meanings contained within that genital wart of a term.  But to my point: I have not yet encountered a Hooters defender who doesn't let drop this gem:  "Their wings are great!"  Right.  RIGHT.  And I'm sure that's why you go there, instead of, say, all the other places that also serve reheated garbage food.  Nothing to do with the boobs, I'm sure.  Here's the thing:  Hooters is a place where knuckle-dragging meatheads drool over their idea of the perfect woman: subservient, cosmetically enhanced, and bearing trays of the most American of American foods.  If you eat at Hooters, you think women are objects, not people.  It's as simple as that.  What was most bizarre to me is that this man is a husband and father--a father of daughters, even.  I'd always assumed that the Hooters clientele is composed mainly of bros and Matt Foleys.  But nope.  I am baffled by his cognitive compartmentalization.  Whatever.  He has the right to be a tacky pervert and I have the right to call a spade a spade. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

you gotta know that this is real baby, why you wanna fight it

You know how sometimes you get up and you get going on your day, and you start making lunches and doing laundry and washing dishes, and then whoops, it's eleven o'clock and you haven't showered yet?  And maybe I am just a gross dirty person, but when I'm in that situation, showering sounds like a total hassle, like it's a step backward in productivity or something.  I'm sitting on the couch right now in my sleeping/"exercising" clothes, and I'm having the devil's own time convincing myself to go and wash my body.  Boy, the major grievances that are part and parcel with life as a middle-class American, do you feel me? 

Today on my mosey I listened to  a bunch of the "Spanish in 180 Seconds with Senor Nance" podcasts I've downloaded.  I learned all manner of tenses, and my brain is bigger already.  Grant finally has Spanish again, and he has the same great but scary teacher I had in junior high.  Last night I told him "Vamos a hablar solamente en Espanol ahora, si?" and he looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.  So no career in the foreign service quite yet. 

I bought a bunch of little bowls and saucers at the hardware store yesterday, and have called all my sisters and sisters-in-law to try to convince them to buy some as well, because I feel so strongly that everybody should have nice white dishes.  I don't know what I was thinking when I bought butter-yellow Pfaltzgraff for my wedding dishes.  DUMB.  I got rid of them when we moved here and bought white Homer Laughlin stoneware from the D.I., because if you keep your eyes open, every once in a while there will be a glut of matching dishes, like a restaurant was offloading an old service.  I also bought a bunch of flatware yesterday because the set we got as a wedding gift was hideous, and it's taken me this long--fifteen years, you guys--to get all the way out from under it.  Bleh.  Be careful with your wedding registry, I guess is what my message is.  White dishes, classic lines.  No toaster ovens. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

he looks like one of those guys . . . he looks like a mormon!

Seven pies in one week!  I feel sort of proud about it.  And if you add the six mini pies I made from the scraps, which of course I do, seeing as they require the same amount of effort but in smaller packages, then it's thirteen.  Because 7+6=13.  And although I came close, I didn't kill any of my family in a stress rage, so it looks like I'm pretty much ready to go into business being a pie lady.  I cannot see a downside here. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

still not sure who is the wrecking ball and who is the building?

Okay, what do you guys think about this pie chart

I have some disagreements, for example the strawberry-rhubarb.  It enrages me that people refuse to just make a rhubarb pie--they've always got to dilute it with those stupid strawberries.  Look, make a strawberry pie or make a rhubarb pie, but stop acting like rhubarb needs a helper.  Nobody puts rhubarb in a corner!  I am puzzled why apple pie is the only one for which a double crust is preferred.  And then they prescribe a crumb crust for the lemon pie, but whatever. 

All in all, I like this little chart because it is cute and makes me think about pie.  And I can't believe I've never thought to make an apricot pie!  What a tragedy!  I will remedy this next spring. 

And now I'm off to the kitchen to start baking some pumpkin. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

being told to throw my hands up in the air

I'm getting a little tired of people using Jenny McCarthy's Playmate "credentials" as a reason to discredit her anti-vaccine stance.  How is that any different from Sarah Michelle Gellar, an actress, telling us that we should vaccinate?  How is an actress inherently any more qualified than a Playmate to advise the nation on health issues?  Jenny McCarthy's advice is wrong (and dangerous) because it's wrong, not because she's either a willing or unwitting participant in the objectification of women.  Call her a sellout if you want, but you can't say that her opinions about vaccines are wrong because she's a big-breasted blonde.  There are plenty of big-breasted blondes out there who still vaccinate their kids, and plenty of flat-chested brunettes who don't.  What if a big-breasted blonde is telling us to brush and floss--should we ignore her because no one can be both buxom and correct?  How can we say to not take advice from celebrities on one hand, and then turn around and ask Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jeff Gordon to shill for pro-vaccine?  Eloi and Morlocks alike have access to both incorrect and correct information.  How about if instead we say don't take advice from people who are wrong? Seems simpler to me.

This article and some of its comments were what prompted me to say this.  I agree with the sentiment, but when you cite science as the reason we should vaccinate, you can't use such an unscientific basis as a history of nudie pics for dismissing your opponent.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ranch dressing running through my veins

Like all Utahns, I love ranch dressing.  Unlike some Utahns, I am picky about my ranch--they are not all created equal.  Begone Hidden Valley, Kraft, and your demon kin!  You are not the dressing I am looking for.  There is a moderately famous local restaurant near me that has splendid ranch dressing; thick, creamy, savory, perfection in a cup.  John shares my affinity for this dressing and I have given it to him as a birthday present more than once.  But then a few years ago I called the restaurant to beg them to share the recipe and they said, "Oh, we just make it from one of those packets."  Que decepcion!  Packets do make a better dressing than the stuff in the bottles, it's true, but it still feels like a cheat for a restaurant to be making packet ranch.

I have tried for years, literal, actual years to find a dressing recipe that tastes like ranch, but every recipe has just made me sad.  And yeah, supposedly I should be eating viniagrettes instead of creamy dressings, but sometimes I just want ranch, goshdarnit!  So I gave up that quest and just started looking for ready-made dressings whose ingredients didn't make me look sadly at my children, thinking about the tumors I was giving them. Lately we've been eating the Simply Dressed brand.  It's in the refrigerated dressings in the produce department.  It tastes quite good and the ingredient list is manageable.  We all like it.

But possums, there has been a miracle.  I checked out Ina Garten's How Easy is That from the library, and though she is syrupy and wasteful (her recipe for chicken stock is offensively, egregiously so--maybe they can afford to throw away three chickens' worth of meat in the Hamptons, but around here that is called food), that woman has never steered me wrong, taste-wise.  I have made enough of her recipes here and there over the years that I trust her.  So when I saw the recipe for buttermilk ranch dressing with Bibb lettuce I knew there was potential.  And I was so, so right.  I want to eat a hundred of that salad.  My long search is over and I'm thinking about dousing some greens in that dressing right now, it is so good.  Ina, I thank you for this superb ranch dressing.  Readers, the recipe can be found over here on the Food Network website, so you don't have to buy the book or even check it out from the library.  As Ina would chirp, how easy is that? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I was bearded when bearded wasn't cool

I am making five pies this week, but not all for me so don't be calling my cardiologist (I don't have one anyway, neener).  I'm test-driving a new crust recipe because mine is crap at blind baking.  I got it out of our community cookbook, and it's from a lady who was a fixture in our town, and whose house I lived in for a year when I was in first grade--when my parents got married my dad was house-sitting while she and her husband were on a mission.  She is in a nursing home now and doesn't remember anyone.  Her name is Muriel and she was friends with my grandma.  I like the name Muriel, and you just know some hipster parent is trying to bring it back.  Because it's awesome and hipsters have a knack for finding and ruining awesome things.  I hate the word hipster, because it's such a hipsterish word, but so far I haven't thought of a apt replacement. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

mr. heavyfoot puts on his pants

I got a glimpse of my future last night. I went along with one of the sister missionaries to do some music for the nursing home, and you know how when people start to get on in years they lose their filters and just say whatever they're thinking?  It's very refreshing.  And when their minds start going it gets even more unvarnished.  Anyway, there was one lady who kept asking people if they were wearing shoes or boots (she was wearing boots), and saying "You need to get some boots.  You can't be in the in crowd if you don't have boots.  Shoes won't work to be in the in crowd.  You need to go get some boots.  You've got to have boots in the wintertime." So I talked to her about how boots are the best ever and keep you from having cold ankles in the winter, and she worked that into her routine as well.  You guys, she is my boot sister!  I will be like her someday, only with more swearing and hitting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

yeah, I'd like you not to

In one of his books, I think "Me Talk Pretty One Day," David Sedaris talks about the difficulty of learning a foreign language as an adult, and how he is so jealous of babies, because adults just say words over and over to them, trying so hard to help them understand.  I sympathize.  I would love to learn how to speak Spanish better than I do, and am frustrated that I lack opportunities to learn.  But Ike told me that the new neighbor lady across the street told him when he said hello to her at the bus stop that she doesn't speak very much English, and I was wondering how long before I can approach her and ask if I can follow her around all day and have her describe to me in Spanish what she's doing: "Estoy barriendo la acera," and I would reply, "I'm sweeping the sidewalk."  YOU GUYS IT WOULD BE AMAZING.  And not at all awkward, I'm sure.  Then maybe they will also let me pet their beautiful German Shepherd.

Monday, November 4, 2013

you'd know what a drag it is to see you

I just got done at the school--every Monday I go out there and volunteer for an hour in Ike's class and an hour and a half in Willa's class.  The rewards are manyfold:
1.  I get to keep tabs on how things are going in their classes.
2.  I get to do something valuable that helps both the teachers and the students.
3.  Even if I don't accomplish anything for the rest of the week I can still put a tick in the plus column because:  I totally helped some kids learn.
4.  Most three-day weekends affect Mondays, so I don't even have to be there every week.  Ha!

As you can imagine, the kids who are doing poorly are also the kids whose parents are not fully engaged in their education or their care and feeding.  Some of them look and smell like they live in the hyena house at the zoo and it makes me want to find their parents and choke them.  But I just smile at their cute little neglected faces and ask them how they're doing and try to make sure their interaction with me is positive.  I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm a hero and you should bow down and pay obeisance to me because I selflessly give to my own children's school the same amount of time it would take to watch one movie.

Willa's class is a sack of bobcats and I don't know what is her teacher's problem.  Discipline is arbitrarily meted out and the class just bounces back and forth between Loud and Very Loud in amplitude, with randomly selected children being given punishments that vary in severity according to a metric whose logic escapes me.  Not impressed.

When I was repeating my script to one of the kids in Ike's class today I got to the part where I say "If you don't know a word I will read it for you," and the kid said, "Like that would happen."  Confident!  He then speed-read the passage and even though he made way more errors because of this, he still blew everyone away word-count-wise.  Looks like somebody's parents value education . . .

Here's the part where I hubristically criticize other people's parenting methods.  We know some parents who micromanage their kids' Halloween candy intake, but allow them to run rampant in other people's houses, kicking balls at the walls and ceiling, punching and screaming at each other and their parents, destroying other people's belongings, and basically making everyone's lives miserable.  It's impossible to have any kind of a conversation around them because it's total mayhem and everyone keeps looking at each other, wondering how bad it has to get before one of the other parents can step in and bring things under control, getting more and more annoyed with the two people who are actually responsible but are blithely ignoring the atrocious behavior of their spoiled little monsters.  Like they have chosen a completely hands-off parenting style EXCEPT in the rigid control of once-yearly sweets.  Such a weird place to draw a line.  I imagine it's somewhat confusing for their kids.  And now one or more of my own children is going to do something unforgivable because I got on my high horse.