Monday, December 29, 2014

but without a sweetheart I never get enough

I forgot to tell you guys what the Lodge lady told me to do so I don't break my pans anymore--heat the pan with some water or oil in it, then dump it out before you put in the bread.

How was Christmas for everyone?  Ours was nice.  I love our families and it's good to see so much of them.  Lots of delicious food, good company, all our needs and most of our wants taken care of . . . it's a wonderful life.
I am starting an adventure in January, and if it succeeds I'll tell you about it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

product may stay: lodge enameled dutch oven

6 Qt. Dutch Ovens

You guys know how I'm crazy about my Lodge pans.  I have a few of their frying pans that I cook in every day, and I have two of the enameled Dutch ovens that I bake my sourdough bread in a couple times a week.  Fantastic pans.  Recently the enamel on the inside of the lid of my older pan started to flake off (did I tell you how my Cuisinart just flat out exploded its enamel in the oven? Don't buy Cuisinart) and I was like NOOOOOOO.  So I called Lodge to figure out where I'd gone wrong, told the nice lady about my process (put the empty pan in a cold oven and preheat oven and pan at the same time) and she was like, oh, you're not supposed to ever heat an empty enameled pan because it makes the enamel separate and flake off.  Whoops, stupid me.  Then she said she didn't know if they're be able to replace my pan because of the misuse, but to send them an email about what happened anyway, and long story short, they are sending me a new pan!  YOU GUYS.  I love a company that has this kind of customer service.  Remember when Zappos gave me a VIP account to make up for the terrible pair of Justin boots that Justin wouldn't replace?  Because of that I have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars at Zappos (and have never bought another pair of Justins).  When I boycott, I boycott hard, and when a company earns my loyalty, I am a customer--a vocal customer--for life.  So although I am only one person and Lodge doesn't really need me, they treated me like they do, and that makes me happy.  Product may stay.

Here is their website.

Friday, December 19, 2014

strike the harp and join the chorus

Today I was watching that video where they ask a whole bunch of people the eternal question:  "Lennon or McCartney?"  Everything proceeds as you might imagine, with the results seeming to be fairly evenly split, and then there's a guy that says this:  "As a person, Lennon, but McCartney's (something something about songwriting)" I stopped listening because I was so gobsmacked by AS A PERSON, LENNON.

Remember the part in Forrest Gump where Jennay has that douchebag abusive boyfriend who at one point excuses his outbursts by blaming Johnson for being a warmonger, you know, 'cause the boyfriend is an anti-war protester.  He loves peace so much that sometimes he just has to hit his girlfriend in frustration if there's not enough peace going around.  Well, that guy is a TOTAL John Lennon--full of righteous judgment for everyone but himself.  I love Lennon's music, and there is so much beauty and truth in some of it, but like many of our beloved celebrities, the man himself was not the personification of his art that we wanted him to be.  He was a scold, a hypocrite, and a weenie.  And maybe (maybe) Paul McCartney was a weenie too, but you can't be going around saying that you prefer John Lennon as a person unless you want to be exposed as a jerk.

There's a bit on a superhero-themed episode of This American Life where John Hodgman talks about how he often asks people the other classic question:  Invisibility or flight?   He gets into what motivates people to choose one over the other, and he has noticed a trend--that people who want flight typically want to use it to help other people, while those who want invisibility want to use it to get away with stuff, e.g. shoplifting.  One guy he talks to says that invisibility is the choice of craven masturbators.  What I'm getting at here is that I want people to ask the two questions together:  Lennon or McCartney, and invisibility or flight, and then do an analysis of the answers.  Like, I wonder if there are people who claim to care about peace and love, but really they just want to boss people around and steal stuff, and if that would be manifested in the data.  WHY DO I NOT OWN A THINK TANK?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

mormon musings

I was thinking about coffee ice cream, and how much I like it, and how much Ike loves Mexican Coke (as if he could tell the difference from American Coke in a blind taste test, 'tis to laugh), and I reflected on how as a young girl I was a little bit scandalized that my uncles drank Pepsi and Coke, which although not forbidden by the Word of Wisdom yet have a disobedient air about them for many Mormons.  

There is a behavior not unique to Mormons that is sometimes called hedge building--take instruction such as "dress modestly" and build a nice big hedge around it so it means "little girls who wear sleeveless sundresses to church should be chastised."   (This is a topic for a different lecture.)  The Word of Wisdom has a directive to avoid hot drinks, and the general consensus has long been that that means coffee and tea, which were the standard hot drinks at the time the revelation was given, and so therefore it must be the caffeine that's against the rules, which means for many Mormons that caffeinated sodas are also out--and there's the hedge.  Caffeine is addictive, y'all!  (Aside:  I would really love to see how much caffeine-free Diet Coke gets consumed in Utah, because caffeine or not, there is a serious problem here.)  

Anyway, because of the hedges it took me a while to figure out that drinking caffeine was not indicative of a serious moral failing, and not equivalent to shooting up in a rat-infested, urine-soaked alley.  Likewise, not drinking Coke or Pepsi or Mt. Dew (my grandma's favorite--it helped keep her awake driving home from her shift at the temple) because of the caffeine is a great thing, because soda is not good for us, but it doesn't mean you're more righteous.  Also coffee ice cream is delicious, and if you like the taste of Coke I guess it's delicious too.  So I don't know if I'm just trying to find a way to justify my lack of orthodoxy, but I think I'm for sure less of a self-righteous prig than I used to be.  So on balance I think it's a win.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

just look the other way and I'll disappear forever

I keep losing my mouse cursor thingy on my computer screen, and that's always the time when the touchpad decides it doesn't feel my fingers anymore.  I feel like it's possible that maybe the reason my computers keep acting up isn't them . . . it's me.  Maybe I transmit some weird kind of energy that causes electromagnetic anomalies.  I bet that's it.

I am Rogue, probably!  This is a very exciting development.  In related news, finding such a sanitized picture of Rogue is a little like finding a needle in a haystack.  The image search on her is very depressing.

Last night John and the kids and I all sang a song together at our extended-family FHE, and it was like a dream come true.  I love, love, love singing with my family.  We blend really well, probably because we are all related, and even when it is a "boring song," according to Grant, it is a pretty boss experience to sit there and listen to my children lift their voices in song.  Inch by inch we are nearing my family band goal.  We'll be singing "Don't Shoot Me, Santa" in no time!

Groceries scratched me on the chin the other day because we were trying to hold him like a human baby when he wasn't in the mood.  That's okay, I respect his distance.

The buck goat that is staying with us has the weirdest voice.  It's really loud and high-pitched like he's being tortured all the time, which is going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if he doesn't watch out.  You're not going to have any friends if you don't learn how to chill, fella.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

there are dog- and caterpillars and a copper centipede

Here's how the pie situation shook out:  together, my sister-in-law Emily and I made nine pies.

1. banana cream
2.  chocolate cream
3.  cran-raspberry meringue
4.  lemon meringue 
5.  pumpkin
6.  pecan
7.  maple syrup
8.  apple blueberry 
9.  apple 

The cran-rasp went better than I feared it would, the apple-blueberry was a soupy mess (I should have gone with my gut and pre-cooked the filling like I normally do), the maple syrup one was a nice surprise and with whipped cream it tasted like breakfast, the pumpkin was not a big seller, and it was nice to finally have pecan pie at Thanksgiving, since I've heard that's a thing that people do, I just haven't grown up in or married into a family that observes the pecan tradition.  

The turkey was probably the best turkey I have ever eaten.  Turkey is hard, we all know it, and most of the time we want so badly for it to be better than it is, so we retcon it to make the day seem more fulfilling.  But this turkey was perfection.  We skirted around and dabbled in controversial conversation topics (polygamy; Mormon heterodoxy) and dived deep into others (the terrible primary teacher who singles out my niece for harsh, unmerited criticism; food) and raised our eyebrows in dismay about this and that example of bad behavior.  A good time was had by all.  I love Thanksgiving!  

I was very resistant and grumpy about going to cut a Christmas tree this year, but John talked me into it, because he said it was clearly an important thing for my mom.  So off we went, and we got a good tree, and now it is up and lighted and ornamented and I'm glad we went, even if I do have to sweep up needles for a month.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

in which I rail against american consumerism

I am super cross right now, so get ready.

Last night John and I stayed up far too late having a "heated discussion" about whether or not it is immoral to shop/make your employees work on Thanksgiving (it is).  As always in these discussions, John comes at the topic like a pragmatist, and I come at it like an idealist.  He thinks it's stupid but that stores have no choice, and I see his point--the greedy monsters will just go shopping somewhere else.  But it's disgusting, and I wish it were possible to boycott stores that open on Thanksgiving.  Not all stores--obviously stores that sell essentials have to be open.  But that people can't even wait until the sun sets before they're out buying their thneeds is so gross to me.  And that stores force their employees to work!  I get that there are people who want to work on Thanksgiving, not because they're can't afford not to, but because for whatever reason they don't have an attachment to Thanksgiving.  That's fine, let them work.  And people who want to shop, even though they are awful, should be allowed to shop.  But there should be a self-selected group of people who want to shop on Thanksgiving and people who want to work on Thanksgiving, and they could get together and consume to their hearts' content, and they can leave the rest of us alone while we spend one day a year devoted to something other than trying and failing to fill the emptiness inside that no matter how much we buy or sell it is never enough.

And I don't think I fully buy the line that stores have to be open on Thanksgiving just to make ends meet.  See this article.  If opening your store on Thanksgiving is the difference between survival and failure, then maybe you suck at your job and don't deserve to be in business anyway.

And I am infuriated when the very same people who say the stores have to be open on Thanksgiving turn around and say that if the employees don't like it they should get a job somewhere else.  Give me a break, that is such a false choice.  Working the front lines of retail is not generally the domain of people who have job mobility, and to tell them otherwise is disingenuous at best.  How can you argue that the store is a victim of circumstances, but not the employee?

And if you go shopping for non-essentials on Thanksgiving you are a terrible person, and it's time that you recognize that your choices affect other people.  You are supporting a morally indefensible system.  

Anyway, it may not be possible to boycott all the Thanksgiving traitors, but if you are frothy about this like I am, here is an article I found that lists the businesses that are closed on Thanksgiving.  Good for them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm doing everything all wrong

Please indulge me for a moment.  I know I go to this well often, but our family went to the high school's production of Les Miserables on Saturday night, so you know I'm on a tear again about Marius Pontmercy, Literature's Greatest Villain.  


They sanitize Marius for the musical, which I didn't remember, since the last time I saw it was in high school.  In the musical he half-heartedly protests when Jean Valjean decides to remove himself from their lives to protect Cosette's reputation or whatever.  But even so, it's like here's this guy who has helped countless people, fought valiantly at the barricade, taken in a dying woman's child and raised her as his own, symbolically represented humanity's journey from beast to angel, and Marius is like meh, UNTIL he finds out that he also owes his own life to Jean Valjean and then it's all COME BACK SHANE.  And in the book he's horrific.  Victor Hugo is another one of those authors that I need to talk to--what was his intention with Marius, and to a lesser extent, Cosette?  Are they supposed to be sympathetic characters?  Maybe Victor Hugo and Mary Shelley are up in heaven just laughing fit to bust about how they've created these terrible garbage people for characters.  

What a terrific story is Les Miserables, though.  The musical can't fully explore all the themes in the book, but it does a good job with the time and resources it has.  I would like to talk about this story for a long time, please.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

flying too high like some bird in the sky

Okay, this is the pie list I came up with.  Can I get some feedback?

Lemon Meringue
Cranberry Meringue (Should I cut the cranberries with some raspberries?)

Plum/Blueberry (Which one?  Maybe a mix?)

Strawberry/Chocolate (Chocolate is a bigger crowd-pleaser, but strawberry is less expected)

Maple Syrup

I am not totally opposed to adding another one into the mix--the obvious choice would be to do both strawberry and chocolate cream pies, because I really want to do that strawberry one--but is it too summery?  And is that too many cream pies?  I do a chocolate pie with bananas, but I think people probably want a traditional banana cream pie with vanilla filling for Thanksgiving, would you agree?  And what about the crusts?  I've looked through and decided that they are all probably good in a traditional pastry crust, except for maybe the pumpkin, which might be nice in a gingersnap crust.  And I know chocolate pie in a chocolate crumb crust is good, but sometimes it feels like too much chocolate.

Monday, November 17, 2014

what is urinetown? urinetown is here

Welp, at least one of the goats is bred.  The buck arrived Saturday morning and didn't waste any time.  He is a sweet, good-tempered boy, too, so hopefully that will carry through to the babies.  Goodness knows Sally's kids don't need any more crazy.  

I have begun my pie preparations for Thanksgiving.  But I am so hung up on flavors!  Here's what's planned:  

1.  Apple 
2.  Lemon Meringue 
3.  Banana Cream
4.  Pumpkin 
5.  Maple Syrup (from a recent Cook's Country magazine--looks totally intriguing) 
6.  Chess? (maybe too similar to the maple syrup pie)
7.  Rhubarb? (where to find rhubarb this time of year)
8.  Pecan? (I don't know if John's family even likes pecan pie) 

Do we need eight pies? There will be thirty-some-odd people, some of them children and babies.  I usually cut pies into eight pieces, so that would be enough for almost everybody, children and babies included, to have two pieces.  Will people eat that much pie?  And what about the flavors?  You have to have apple, lemon, pumpkin, and banana cream, but the rest are all up for grabs and other than the maple syrup one I'm not feeling jazzed about any of them.  Chocolate cream pie is boring.  As John says, that's what you give to children who don't like pie.  It's a cheater pie for palate-deaf babies is all we're saying.  HELP ME.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

you can tell me when it's over

So I am going to be very surprised if someday I don't lose my eyes to a horrific mystery infection.  My hands are ALWAYS in my eyes, rubbing them, dabbing for some infinitesimally tiny speck of gunk or eyelash, and it'll be my eventual undoing.

I think our cat food is poisonous?  Groceries is sick and has been barfing, which I know he does sometimes, but this isn't recently gobbled food, it's bile.  And now neither one of the cats will touch the Costco food.  Werry suspicious.  So I bought a bag of Iams today just to see, and Groceries ate it and so far hasn't barfed, but I did make him go outside just in case.  I hope I don't have to take him to the vet, because they'll be all "Do you want to give your cat a $300 blood test to find out what's wrong with him, or are you a garbage person who wants animals to suffer?"  Look, I love Groceries, and I put up with all manner of shenanigans from him--burying his poop in the bathmat!  Pooping in the bathroom sink!  He's got the location down, just not the procedure.  I wonder if we could train him to go in the toilet.  But like I was saying, I love that cat, and the kids do too, and John doesn't dislike him, which is saying a lot for John.  But I don't know that I want to spend, like, a ton of money on him.  I want to spend even less on Rex.  I'm not proud of myself or anything, but it's important to be honest.

Last week I was driving in town, and I kid you not, somebody was running their sprinklers!  And I was like "DUDE!  It's November, what is wrong with you?"  It's his property, and it's legal I guess, but boy was I judging him.  The people of Utah are going to keep doing dumb crap like this right up until the last drop of drinking water goes ploop onto somebody's lawn and then the water wars will begin and there will be bloodshed for sure.

I dressed as a newspaper for Halloween.
Get it?  I'm black and white and red all over!  It would be better if the boots matched the suit, but we're talking about a costume party here, not an inaugural ball.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

prego, prego, anywhere you may go

I worked at the polls on Tuesday and loved all fifteen hours of it.  We were pretty busy all day, so the time went quickly.  They fed us lunch but not dinner, which I think is mean.  We got sexually harassed by a nasty old man who joked about his Viagra falling out of his wallet if he got out his photo ID, and how we all wanted to see his Viagra, and it's like, since when do people want to tell everyone about their erectile dysfunction, or pretend they have it?  Because BONERS FUNNY HAR HAR.  Gross.  But mostly people were well-behaved.

We helped the magic neighbors make apple cider yesterday.  Wendy bought a case of lemons, so she threw some in to the apple mix to see how it tasted, and it was like the most refreshing lemonade of all time.  Two thumbs up, would purchase again.  We've got all of our cider done for the year, thank goodness.  Preserving the harvest is kind of a pain in the butt, and unless you grow your own fruit or get it from your neighbors for free it's not exactly a money-saver.  My poor little eyes bulged when I realized how much our six quarts of grape juice cost us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

honey's sweet, but it ain't nothin' next to baby's treat

A partial list of the emotions I experienced while driving home from Ogden:

1.  angry about the practice and justification of polygamy
2.  crying with maternal sentiment about my children and how one day they will all be gone
3.  nervous and hopeful that when they go on their missions my kids will teach doctrine rather than culture
4.  embarrassed about how cheesy Neil Diamond's lyrics are to "Forever in Blue Jeans"
5.  irritated by the family who refuses to let anyone in the ward visit them, and then complains about how nobody in the ward helps or cares about them
6.  crying about "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" because it reminds me of my grandpa who died two years ago and used to sing it all the time
7.  needing to use the bathroom

I'm just saying that maybe I have menopause.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

so we strapped a cannon to Bootstrap's bootstraps

Last week I was making a double batch of Dutch oven bread and had to call into service a Cuisinart pan that I've only used to make soups and whatnot.  The enamel exploded all over the oven while it was preheating, which was not very cool.  

I finished Frankenstein, and it is a sad book.  Have any of you read it recently?  Do you hate Victor as much as I do?  He is rotten, and it infuriates me that he never acknowledges his own culpability, not just for the monster's person, but also his boundless bitterness and rage.  It sounds so trite to say "He just wants to be loved!", but it's the truth.  It's too bad that Victor was grossed out by his creation, but it was his creation.  He was responsible for the care and feeding of it, morally as well as physically, and he blew it, and he deserved death and ruin so I'm glad he got it.  If he couldn't fulfill his responsibilities to the monster then he should have destroyed it as soon as it came to life.  I feel sorry for the innocents that were destroyed by association with Victor, and their deaths are on his head, a fact that I don't think he really ever accepts.  Ugh, I hate him.  And Walton, the ship's captain, is basically in love with him, partly because he (Walton) is classist and aspirationally elitist.  He's a whole other can of worms to examine on a therapist's couch.  I would love to sit down with Mary Shelley and pick her brain.  What was her intent with Victor Frankenstein?  Was she trying to create a sympathetic hero or a villain?  

We have pressed about thirteen gallons of apple cider in the last week.  It is so amazing and I feel super provident.  We have six more boxes of apples we need to do, but they're all golden delicious, and a single-variety cider is not a good cider.  We need to get our hands on some nice spicy apples that somebody wants off their tree.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the town so nice they named it twice

Today was the last day of school this week, and our fall break has begun, which basically means four nights we can watch movies instead of two.  Double the pleasure, double the fun!  I tell you, I could watch movies and eat treats with my kids until the cows came home and I would count myself among the most fortunate of women.  This is how I know I will have poor health and die early.  'Cuz I just love sittin' 'n eatin'!  But we can't live forever, you know?  So I may as well have fun with what time I have on this miserable rock.  Just kidding, Earth, I love you!  Don't kill me with a supervolcano.

We're not going anywhere exciting for fall break because 1) cannot afford and 2) sick of going places.  Remind me to feed my mom's cat.  I got our bass back from the guitar store.  They were helping it to not buzz because it is a cheap bass and has some high frets.  While there I took a closer look at the dulcimer Ike discovered and has been begging for ever since we dropped off the bass.  I thought about it because who doesn't want a gentle giant of a child who plays the dulcimer?  But it seems like kind of a dumb idea and maybe a little gimmicky and until somebody convinces me that I need it I'm staying out of the ren faire department.  But I did buy a guitar while I was there because I want there to be a guitar at my parents' house and who wants to be the nerdlinger who hauls their guitar everywhere they go, like "Oh hi, here I am with my guitar just in case you want me to perform for everybody and make this gathering all about me like usual."  It's a beaut, too--mahogany!  It makes me think of incense, but in a cool, woodsy way, not a hallucinogenic mushroom and dirty shag carpet way.

Did I tell you that I dyed my canvas trench coat with the same dye I used on my armchairs, and that it worked like a charm?  Well, it did.  Just stirred it around in my roasting pan for a half hour and then washed it.

Our elephant heart plum tree finally produced something this year, and boy, was it worth the wait.  These plums are so big and crisp and sweet and juicy, and so deep red that it looks like blood on my cutting board!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

we pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot

Recently we had a big group of people over at our house, and one of them--first while complimenting the buffet/sideboard in the dining room, then again while admiring the view out my kitchen window--affected a sing-song, lispy voice, the voice that people use when they're making fun of gay men.  I was irritated by this, because it's mean and weird, and also because it implies that to see beauty in a well-made piece of furniture or a country sunset is GAY.  And GAY IS BAD.  So irritating.  And when I think about it, it seems like this happens a lot.  Is it just in my imagination?

Also a few weeks ago someone told a joke that involved gay horses who eat "haaaayyyy" and I was like are you being serious right now.  I told him to be careful what jokes he tells in my house, and he said, "Do you think a gay person would be offended by that?"  I guess I don't know for sure, but it seems like they probably would.  And I think the great rule of comedy to punch up, not down, is in force here.

So is there something about me that makes people think, "She seems like she'd be cool with making fun of gay people," or are they just obtuse?  Because what party isn't made better by the addition of tired stereotypes and dumb, bigoted jokes?

Frankenstein is certainly a product of its times, is it not?  There are so many groany lines when he's talking about his cousin/surrogate sister/wife-to-be Elizabeth, like how she was most attractive when she was "continually endeavoring to contribute to the happiness of others, entirely forgetful of herself."  Frank, you had me up until "entirely forgetful of herself."  Let's remember, shall we, that Elizabeth is just coming off a bout of scarlet fever--which Mother Frankenstein caught and died from--so maybe it would be cool with y'all if Elizabeth did a little self-care for a minute?  And he is so snobbish and myopic that I wonder if Mary Shelley was even trying to create a sympathetic character?  The people he interacts with sure seem to think a lot about him (as reported by him), and he certainly has many nice things to say about himself, but I'm not on board.  Also he describes himself as an object too much for my tastes, someone whose life just happens to him, and I don't like that.  Stop sandbagging your culpability, Frank!  I think by the end of this book I'm going to think that the monster has got a pretty good idea of what we're really dealing with.

Okay, serious question:  Wolverine vs. Freddy Krueger?  I think the first thing to figure out is does Wolverine have his powers in the dream world?  If not, then the situation is very grim for him.  I'm not entirely conversant in the cosmology of the Nightmare on Elm Street world, since I've only seen the third one at a slumber party when I was little and I was pretty upset about it for a long time.  But I bet Wolverine could take Freddy, if just because good always triumphs over evil, except in the real world where good people get cancer and bad people just keep on doing their thing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

is your figure less than greek

Things are going badly in the basement. I can't get any heating vent technician-type people to return my calls, and it's almost like they want me to go away. I will not. It's such a silly little thing to replace the air ducts and I know they could do it because that's what they do anytime they put a new furnace in. They're just being obstinate and lazy. Since I was being held hostage by the heating people and the missing Ikea shelf hardware I painted the dresser the boys used to stack their clothes on and near. Now it is mustard-yellow with gray handles. I haven't decided what I'll do with it yet, but it's too nice a dresser to give away--all the drawers are dovetailed and it is rock solid. One of the ladies from ward choir came in and saw it and exclaimed, "Oh, I LOVE your CHEST!" Old ladies are great.

 Have you ever read Frankenstein?  I read a very abridged graphic novelization of it when I was a child.  It was pretty cool I guess.  I am going to read the real thing now, and see how I like it.  Seems like the right thing to do at this time of year.  We've broken open the Halloween playlists on Spotify and Pandora, and it's been rainy and gray the past few days and I am digging it.  I was so mad about how long it was taking to get to boot season--it was in the high 80s last week!  Barf, not what I want from fall.

In the end, none of the children were willing to sing with John and me at the recital.  But they did sing for my parents, which is a step forward.  Even Emmett and Ike, who normally are huge stinkers about it.  They're all such show-offy attention hogs, I don't understand why they won't add singing to their list of things they're willing to do in public.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

it's a long way to tipperary

It started out as just buying shelves for the boys to put their clothes on, since they are apparently incapable of PULLING OUT A DRAWER and PLACING THEIR CLOTHES INSIDE. That is a very difficult task. I went to Ikea and wandered through the showroom and then spent at least half an hour propelling myself around on one of those flat cart things while I waited for John to call me back and give me his opinion of Ivar vs. Gorm (we went with Ivar). And I figured, as long as I'm turning that room upside down, why not finally patch the walls and paint it at the same time? And why not paint the dresser the boys refuse to use and turn it into a visually striking, weird piece of functional storage furniture? And what about that window molding that we never put on? Let's do that too. And now I'm thinking I'll call a HVAC guy and see if there's anything that can be done about the stupid heating pipes all over the ceiling. One thing always leads to another in an old house. Stupid house. Last week I made grape juice and realized what everyone else has realized before me, namely that grape juice is only worth it if you get your grapes for free. I dried some nectarines, which are gone now. I made eighteen pints of salsa. I made some sad sourdough bread from my start that hasn't quite recovered from being neglected in storage this summer. I spent so much money on produce and wore myself ragged pretending to be provident. But it all tastes good and I guess we will be thankful this winter. I have a guitar recital on Saturday, and my family is going to sing with me (for "family" read "John and Willa, because everyone else is a jerkface"). I am excited, because I love singing with my family. Last Friday we played along to that Killers song I talked about in my last post, Grant on bass, me on guitar, Emmett on drums (snare and pillow), and it was AWESOME. My family band is coming true!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

we used to laugh now we only fight

I don't know if it's because so much time has elapsed since the last time I tried them, or because I was eating them at ten o'clock at night, or because my palate is slowly maturing, but these Chocolate Lucky Charms I just ate were disgusting.  That sucks.  They had such an ethereal glow about them in my memory, and now they're just another Twinkie.  Serves me right for eating them I guess.

Here is the song I'm listening to this week:

Dianna Agron's lip-syncing is fully the worst; most of the time she looks like she's just mouthing the words instead of actually saying them, and that peeves me.  I have listened to this song probably about a hundred times since yesterday, much like any given toddler with patient and indulgent parents.  I think it creeps my family out.  SHUT UP FAMILY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT'S LIKE BETWEEN ME AND MY MUSE.

Monday, September 15, 2014

and their empire crumbled 'til all that was left were the stones the workmen found

Brothers and sisters, I am of the opinion that "rinse and repeat" instructions are part of a plot to sell more shampoo, making more profits for Big Soap, sending more chemicals into our water, turning more and more of our fish into hermaphrodites.  Sad.  Since I am growing my hair out I've stopped washing my hair so often--also Ken Jennings said we wash our hair too much in his very fun and useful book--and I can go three days between washes, as in wash Monday, not Tuesday, not Wednesday, wash Thursday.  And I used to feel like I had to rinse and repeat, but then one day I decided to try just one wash, and my hair behaved just fine.  Maybe even better.  So I have thrown off the shackles of rinse and repeat, and I HAVE NEVER FELT SO FREE! 

So last week in Utah a young black man was shot multiple times in the back by the police, and maybe he was being weird and dangerous with his not-real samurai sword, but maybe he wasn't.  Who knows?  The police say he lunged at them with the sword, and witnesses say he was running away, so once again we have incompatible stories and it sure is weird how many people are getting shot in the back while they're supposedly attacking.

Hazel got hurt last week--we're not sure what happened, but her right front knee is swollen and she is limping terribly.  I think it was probably the horrid bucks, crashing around like idiots as they do.  But they have gone to auction and good riddance.  They made us a sweet $349 smackers too, so good job us for raising them and good job them for being good-looking I guess. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

and he told us of his life in the land of submarines

A couple of Mormon things to beef/exult about right quick: 

Beef:  I don't know if it's churchwide or just in my building because of router problems or something, but the church's website is ALWAYS down on Sunday, so when I want to access the online curriculum for my lessons it's all DOESNOTCOMPUTE and it makes me incredibly frustrated.  Come on, guys.  Don't act like you're going to embrace the technology revolution and then not support it.  It makes you look incompetent.  

Exult:  There was an announcement yesterday that some of the talks in the upcoming General Conference may be not in English, but in the speaker's native language.  This is exciting to me.  I will miss the accents, because English always sounds so much cooler and smarter to me when spoken by non-native speakers, but I think it will be good for people to be able to give their talk in the language they're more comfortable in, and good for the Anglos to have our ideas of English's supremacy challenged for a minute. 

Because I listen to the news, not because I am interested in football, the sport of violent, drooling meatheads, I heard about the Baltimore Ravens terminating Ray Rice's contract, which is some of what he deserves, but I hope there are people around to protect his wife just in case he goes home and takes it out on her, which seems very likely.  Gross. 

Saw some lovely comments on a news article today, telling some girls who'd been sexually abused by their father for eight years that they needed to forgive and forget.  Awesome.  Love to see the compassion for predators that is so uncommon in our society.  Everyone is gross. 

You know, I started out this morning in a pretty good mood, but now I'm mad. 

John and I finally got around to watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this weekend, and it was a fun, quirky show, but I was not seeing what was so awesome about the Ramona person.  She was like the alt-Bella Swan, a paste wax person who somehow captivated the attention of everyone around her, despite colorful hair being her only sign of being edgy or interesting.  Almost every other character, main and supporting, was much more fleshed out,  and I wonder if it's because they want us to realize that Scott is projecting his fantasies onto a girl without knowing anything about her.  Maybe they want her to be a blank slate.  Hard to say. 

I started reading Rebecca  to Emmett and Grant last night.  I hope they will be patient. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm bleedin' out, I'm bleedin' out for you

Some days I feel like the world is too broken to ever be fixed.  Shall we assemble a brain trust of good folks like you and me to fix some problems?  Let's get started: 
1.  Education reform and its effect on socioeconomic inequality.  For preliminary reading, consult this heartbreaking post over at BCC and/or "The Teacher Wars" by Dana Goldstein
2.  Ebola
3.  ISIS
4.  Predation and exploitation of children

Education reform?  Bleh, what a mess.  I don't have any answers here, other than I try to be involved in my kids' education, because involved parents make for better schools.  Beyond that problem that's easily affected by the fact that I'm in a good district and have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom who has time to be in the schools, I'm lost. 

Ebola, well, for one thing you're going to need worldwide access to clean water.  And seeing as how in Utah we're still pooping in our pristine drinking water, I suspect that not everyone understands that water is a finite resource many don't have access to.  

I think that (3) and (4) could both be solved by some kind of death ray controlled by a telepathic drone, which deploys in the moment the perpetrator begins his/her act of violence--I'm not advocating for Minority Report-style pre-crime stuff here, just for the act of violence to not be pursued to the criminal's desired endpoint. How far away are we from this kind of technology? 

Thoughts?  Suggestions? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

you don't even know

I'm sick of people saying that "Fancy" is the Song of the Summer.  "Fancy" is a fine song, but there is a certain sound, or mix of sounds, that make a song Song of the Summer-worthy, and "Fancy" is missing some of those elements.  Just like last year, even though a lot of people liked the bland, repetitive "Get Lucky," it still wasn't the Song of the Summer, the catchy, retrograde "Blurred Lines" was.  On this all reasonable minds agree.   But in the cases where they admit that not everybody is grooving on "Fancy" they are all like, "But the only other choice is 'Rude' and nobody wants that," which is true because it is a steaming pile.  But those are not the only two choices!  It makes me ever so cross that nobody is talking about what the actual Song of the Summer is, or should be--the only real choice:  "Classic," by MKTO.  It is the best of all the offerings; punchy, bouncy, fun.  Summer in a box.  I can't vouch for the awesomeness or lack thereof of the video--upon first glance it seems that there are some twelve-year-olds playing poker and drinking?  And hitting on their friends' sexy moms and older sisters?  The white one makes weird growly faces while he sings which is off-putting.  When he's not making stupid faces he looks like my cousin Max's secret younger brother (compliment--Max is handsome). 

It's too late now anyway, because we're closing in on September.  Too bad for all the people who've listened to the wrong song all summer.

Remember "Starry-eyed Surprise?"  That was a summer song that merited its title.  I just wish more people would consult me before they just hand out "Song of the Summer" cards all willy-nilly.  There needs to be order and reason to this process, folks. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

and they all have pretty children and the children go to school

OKAY OKAY OKAY.  I have so much to tell you.  First:  for our Start of Term Feast last night I made some frozen butterbeer and it was amazing (said in David Allen Grier's voice from that episode of Bones, or Dave Kroll's voice from his PubLIZity sketches).  Do you want the recipe?  I'll put it at the bottom.

Second:  the county? state? not sure, but whoever it is came and widened the road in front of our house to make a turning lane, and I'm interested to see if it actually makes the road safer, because it looks a little bit like it might exacerbate the limited-vision dog-leg problem, but I am not a road person and am therefore not a trustworthy source.  Anyway, they ripped a big chunk out of our driveway for some reason, even though the road didn't even come any further into our driveway than before, and yesterday they came and poured cement, so one part of our driveway is super nice and smooth, and the rest of it is still like an old lady lives here and doesn't have money to pay for a new driveway.  This actually describes what is really happening, only replace "old lady" with "my family." 

Oh man, I just fell down the internet rabbit hole on Dave Kroll, and I am weeping about his Cats are the Worst bit.  I don't know why, maybe I'm just in a good mood--TRICK QUESTION I AM IN A GOOD MOOD because I had the best day at the D.I. today while I was waiting for my car to get serviced.  I found a skirt and a dress and a shirt and they are all HAWT and also I found two of the Pyrex mixing bowls that came so highly recommended in the recent Cook's Illustrated

Third:  The children started school today and they all got up on time and looked handsome/lovely and were ready for the bus with time to spare, and ever since then it has been so blissfully quiet, and I have done two loads of dishes, plus the car servicing and D.I. successes I mentioned earlier, and a guitar lesson, and I ate proper portions for my lunch and I LOVE THIS DAY.  The end. 

But before you go, here's the butterbeer recipe:

Frozen Butterbeer
serves 4

1 C brown sugar
1/2 C water
1/2 t butterscotch flavoring
1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt

Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar in the water until it has completely dissolved, then let it cool completely.  Add the butterscotch and vanilla and the salt.  Once the syrup is chilled, fill a blender with ice and pour the syrup over it.  Blend until smooth, then pour into glasses.

1 pint heavy cream
1 7 oz. container marshmallow creme

Pour the cream and marshmallow creme into a bowl and whip to desired stiffness, adding vanilla and sugar to taste.  When the topping is ready, spoon it onto the top of each glass of butterbeer.  Serve and enjoy. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

come and knock on our door, we'll be waiting for you

My cookies got a red ribbon at the fair.  Frowny face.  The kids all got blue ribbons on their pickles, the chickens had a mix of blue, red and white ribbons, and Karl the rabbit got "4th" written on her tag.  Willa really wants to show a goat next year, so I suppose I should support her in her farmerly pursuits.  But that means walking and training and whatnot, which requires consistency and patient continuance in well-doing.  That's a drag, but it's hard to overlook the fact that our goats would SMOKE the competition.  There are some sad critters bumping around in that barn, most of them obvious mixes and it's like, what kind of rinky-dink popsicle stand are we running here?  Sally would clean house if we took her, if only we could get her to walk on a leash.  We might have to start with a baby because Sally is just too cuckoopants to perform. 

We ate some very good brisket from one of the food huts for lunch--do you find that it's almost impossible to find good brisket?  Everybody says they make great brisket, but so far I've only found two people who aren't lying.  Why do they have to lie?  Why don't they just stop making brisket?  There's no shame in admitting that you don't know how to do something.

I like the idea of yoga very much, but every time I try it I feel simultaneously bored and hopelessly inept.  I think that shows that my body desperately needs the flexibility and stamina that yoga would give me, but boy is that ever a steep learning curve.  But even more than the physical aspect I think my mental state would benefit greatly from regular doses of yoga.  I feel somewhat frenetic and unbalanced.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin

What's happening in Ferguson is so bizarre and horrifying I don't even know how to talk about it.  Then why bring it up, Layne? you might ask.  I guess just to show that I read the news and I don't like tragedy and I don't trust authority.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine (a friend who, knowing my affection for the poop emoji, gave me a blob of glowing fake poo for my birthday, so you know she's cool).  We were talking about her brother-in-law, who is currently on a trip to meet his girlfriend's father and ask for her hand in marriage.  I guess the girl is very traditional, so this is important to her, but man.  I am uncomfortable with this tradition.  I recently read a great excoriation of the dumb, terrible song "Rude" in which the author describes asking-for-her-hand as "the retrograde plight of a young man requesting a title transfer." BOOM.  Exactly.  You knock that right off.  Something I am okay with:  both parties approaching both sets of parents and saying, "We have decided to get married, and we would love to have your blessing."  Something I am not okay with:  the boy approaching the girl's dad and saying, "Your daughter is a thing you own, and I would like to own her now." 

There was a great piece on The Takeaway yesterday about "The Black Album," the fictional/real album Ethan Hawke created for his movie son/actual daughter, and I wish so much that this album really existed.  In the letter the dad writes to the son he says this wise, necessary thing:  "I listen to this music and for some reason (maybe the ongoing, metamorphosing pain of my divorce from your mother) I am filled with sadness that John & Paul’s friendship turned so bitter. I know, I know, I know, it has nothing to do with me, but damn it, tell me again why love can’t last. Why do we give in to pettiness? Why did they? Why do we so often see gifts as threats? Differences as shortcomings? Why can we not see that our friction could be used to polish one another?"  Testify, fake movie dad.  

But on the bright side, the people on Youtube who have uploaded the songs that appear on the Black Album are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.  Monetize the crap out of that, ladies and gentlemen!  Ooh, suddenly I feel very patriotic.

John and I took Emmett to the recent Paul McCartney concert, and it was all we could have hoped for.  None of my children are as passionate about the Beatles as I am, which makes me sad.  They like them okay, but they'd usually rather listen to something else.  I've found that sometimes telling them the background to the song helps.  Anyway, Paul McCartney is such a fabulous performer that Emmett was finally able to see the light.  He has watched his shaky, hand-held video of the fire jets in "Live and Let Die" about fifty times.  You can hear me in the background going "WOO!  FIRE!"  This man is 72 and he jumped around and played a bunch of different instruments and performed for nearly three straight hours and it was my favorite thing.  I LOVE PAUL MCCARTNEY SO MUCH.

One of the things we were talking about while waiting to get into the concert was how which Beatle is your favorite is a personality test and says something about what kind of a person you are, much like what Hogwarts house you belong to.  And I think that the Beatles can be loosely correlated with Hogwarts houses--Paul is Gryffindor, John is Slytherin, George is Ravenclaw, and Ringo is Hufflepuff.  Would you agree?  Or would Paul be Hufflepuff?  I think we should have a cross-test that determines which Beatles correspond with which Hogwarts houses to test my theory.  Someone computery:  go do that. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

who wants respect from a ten-year-old kid?

Brothers and sisters, it is so hot in Florida.  There was a shooting at an outlet mall while we were there, and I think it's because it is so hot there that it addles people's brains.  Someone probably snuck in and poached a parking spot that someone else had been waiting for, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know here comes the ambulance.  I think there are places in the world where maybe people just aren't meant to live.  Arizona comes to mind.  Also Greenland.  But what do I know?  Probably nothing.

John and I were the nerdy adults with no children who were tooling around in the Harry Potter theme park, and also I was pushing him in a wheelchair because his knee is still all messed up from his surgery.  If any of you were thinking of renting a disabled person to skip the lines at a theme park, know this:  it is not worth it.  You still have to wait, so you'll have become a garbage person for nothing.  But we had fun, and once again I was reminded how boring our normal, non-magical world is.  Even though the theme park does not have the immersive quality of the books, it's enough to remind you of how captivating they are.  And I am annoyed by people who think that adults should be ashamed to read Harry Potter--it reminds me of this weird guy who was attempting to date my youngest sister last year who said he can't read Harry Potter anymore unless he reads it in Spanish, because it's just too easy, and I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck.  Whatever, dude.  We bow before your superior intellect and so forth.

Did any of you read any of the Borrowers books when you were young?  I loved them so very much, and now I'm reading the first book to my kids and they're all like "meh."  What is their problem?  Aren't the Borrowers actually a super cool idea?  What's the matter with kids today?  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

they took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum

I had a whole big thing typed about how I stopped eating dessert a couple of weeks ago, but people who go on sugar fasts, even weak ones like I'm doing, are usually insufferable.  So never mind.

I finally milked Hazel and Sally last week, and felt very virtuous and provident living-y.  I decided not to get that beautiful blue roan goat.  What with the goats being even more pet than asset than usual this year, I just couldn't justify it.  This also made me feel virtuous and provident.  Also mature.  One of the problems with me is that I have to do so little to feel incredibly self-congratulatory.  Like I ever do anything that's actually challenging or commendable!  But I also frequently feel ashamed at my sheer uselessness, so I think it balances out in the end.  

The thing about Joan Baez is that she has such a gorgeous voice, but she is kind of a downer.  It's like listening to the Civil Wars--you can only take so much before you start eating your feelings. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

leave me the birds and the bees

Should I get another goat?  It is true what you're saying, that I don't need one.  But she is a blue roan!  I know I already have a blue roan, but Minerva is standoffish and I want a friendly one.  I will think about this. 

How do all of you do with difficult intra-familial conversations?  My results are mixed.  I like that my family doesn't yell and fight, but we also tend to avoid talking about Important Topics unless we already know we're in agreement.  And who wants to be in a echo chamber all the time?  Conversely, who wants to be with a bunch of self-important windbags who only want to discuss Important Topics anyway?  Best to not talk at all I guess.  Or only talk like Mayor Quimby's bodyguards: 
Ernie:  "Is there anything fluffier than a cloud?"
Big Tom:  "If there is, I don't want to see it." 
There's an innocuous conversation for you. 

I've got my half-gallon jar of beet kvass fermenting on the counter.  It should be ready by now, but it still tastes pretty bland.  I'm going to give it another twelve hours I think.  Last week we went to Lagoon and during the afternoon when we were all hot and thirsty and whiny Willa asked if she could drink some pickle juice, and I thought, "That sounds sick . . . wait a minute, that sounds great."  So I drank some pickle juice and it cheered me right up.  It's surprisingly refreshing when you're sweating like a musk ox.  Beet kvass is the same way--sometimes it just hits the spot. 

Earlier this week I went to the pawn shop looking for a snare drum for Emmett.  They didn't have one, but they did have a beautiful Seagull guitar that I itched for just a little bit.  I love the pawn shop.  It's such a great slice of humanity in there.  You can get so many wonderful things, and every one of those wonderful things will serve as a constant reminder of the folly of living beyond your means and that you're only one step removed from the pawn shop yourself.  The ciiiiiircle of liiiiiiiife! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

just want your heart, yeah, oh-oh

So it wasn't until I got old enough to start reading cooking and lifestyle magazines that I ran up against the wall that is what most people think of as strawberry shortcake is served on biscuits.  BISCUITS.  Nobody even talked about sponge cake, which is how my mom serves it and is better than biscuits, but worse than the real, true way, which is angel food cake.  And you wouldn't believe how alien this concept is--I've introduced it to scores of people who always look a little crestfallen when I say we're having strawberry shortcake, and then when they eat what I've brought they rave and exclaim with wonder about how wonderful it is, and as my brother-in-law would say:  Let's be clear.  It's not some great talent on my part that's doing it--it's the fact that angel food cake--any angel food cake--is immeasurably better than whatever shenanigans people are trying to pull with those dry biscuits.  I get that angel food cake is not technically a "short" cake from a baking perspective, but come on.  Knock that biscuit crap right off. 

My sister-in-law who is like the internet curator of our family sent me a link to the awesomest song  because she heard it and thought of me and now I am learning it on the guitar.  I don't know if you'll love it the way I do, but you can probably guess why it made Emily think of me. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

bag of blood

We're watching Oblivion with Grant and Emmett (so far very interesting, although with a little bit of clunky dialogue), and last night I went to look it up on Wikipedia, because I enjoy reading movie plot descriptions, and there on Wikipedia's main page is a little blurb that's all "by the way, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is going strong and over 460 people have died," all calm and detached like this is not the beginning of the End Times.  I didn't even know there was an outbreak, let alone that nearly 500 people have died from it.  I read The Hot Zone as an impressionable teenager, and ever since then I have been waiting on tenterhooks for Ebola to truly emerge and just lay waste to every population, human and animal, on the entire planet.  What a nightmare.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I forgive you for all that you ain't

You guys.  I was a poll worker today.  It was fun, if somewhat hot, with a few boring slow patches.  But we got over a hundred voters, which I think is pretty good for a primary election.  I love being involved in civic governance!  And supposedly I even get paid, which is awesome.

There were a few frustrations, though.  It wasn't all peaches and cream.  There was a little gentle encouragement for me to affiliate as a Republican so I could vote in the primary, but I was steadfast and just explained to them that I refuse to be put in a box.  There were a few real cut-ups who made remarks about the President--the "worst president this country has ever had"--and one of them tried to get me to join in with him because I guess he is a jerk who thinks that everyone else agrees with him all the time.  I tried ignoring him, but he badgered and badgered and kept saying, "Don't you think?  Don't you think the machine isn't letting me vote because I talked bad about Obama?"  Finally I just smiled politely with somewhat gritted teeth and said "I'm sorry, but we're not actually allowed to discuss politics." Ugh.  Then the two other ladies who were working with me wanted talk about Kate Kelly's excommunication, and they just kept picking at it and picking at it, making some quite frankly sexist and uninformed comments, and finally I had to shut that down.  I tried very hard to be tactful in my wet-blanket-throwing, but for crying out loud, am I the only one who read my poll worker's handbook about not discussing controversial topics at the polling location?  TACKY TACKY TACKY.  I have many thoughts about this issue, obviously, but that was so very much not the time and place for a nuanced discussion about it. 

I am getting a little bit sick of June.  Gone too much, too much.  I feel like I have done nothing but drive for three straight weeks.  My poor goats barely recognize me, and I haven't even milked them yet.  I wonder if I even remember how. 

I think maybe I can't eat dinner anymore.  It always makes me feel sick and bloated clear until the next morning.  Is this what it means to get old?  How will I eat all the fun things if I have only two meals a day? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Luke, I'm your father. It is useless to resist.

 Last night Grant and I went to the Neon Trees concert while John went with the other kids to a family wedding dinner.  So Grant was the cool kid hanging out with his mom.  It was his first real concert, and he got pretty bored with the opening acts and especially the interludes between bands.  I think he was a little weirded out by the idea of jumping around and sweating and shouting lyrics with a bunch of strangers.  But he loosened up eventually and we had a great time.  Good enough that he said, "When I get a phone and a car I'm going to come to places like this by myself so I can meet girls."  As though I'm not a good wingman!  Girls love boys who go to concerts with their moms.  And yea, verily, it was a great concert and there was much rejoicing.  Seeing a band live is always a crapshoot--the sound quality is really unpredictable, and I pretty much hate the live version of any song.  But Neon Trees is a good gamble--they sound terrific live.  Would do business again.

Now I'm off to girls' camp and it's a cold, rainy day.  Should be a party.  Is it too braggy to take my guitar?  I hope not.  I don't want to play for everyone/anyone, but tinkering around the campfire is a big part of the reason I got a guitar in the first place.  Plus it's been two weeks since I've practiced and boy, does it show.  I'm going to sleep in my car because I live in privileged circumstances that afford me the freedom to not sleep in a tent if I don't want to. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

my heart's on fire for elvira

Last week we were in Mexico.  We ate all the tacos.  We drank so much soda pop.  I bought the biggest glass mixing bowl I have ever seen.  We found a dead seagull at the beach and Grant spent about twenty minutes trying to fling it into the ocean without touching it.  I bought another calavera (the black one is the new one). 

I don't know how "authentic" these terra cotta skulls are--I suspect they're just a silly touristy thing, rather than something that people actually use when celebrating Dia de los Muertos, but I love calaveras so much.  The painting is so creamy and colorful, and I love what the designs symbolize.  I love the tradition of Dia de los Muertos and would like to research it more, since it dovetails nicely with some of my Mormon beliefs.  I love that the guy we bought the calavera from went into an elaborate lie story about how he paints them all by hand, back at his house, and tomorrow is his painting day, etc.--which is why all the calaveras in all the shops look exactly the same, don't you know.  I realize that I'm tempting fate by buying another one because before long people are going to be like, "Oh, get her something with skulls on.  She's the skull lady."  And they'll try to give me skull kitchen towels and skull salad tongs and skull napkin rings and skull dishes.  Just stop right there, amigos.  We're going to keep doing things the same way we always have, which is with me being the one who decides what comes into this house. 

Where on the scale of cultural appropriation have I landed with the purchasing of the calavera things?  Hopefully closer to the "creepy, but I see where you were going" end than the "you are a malignant harvester of other people's identities" end.

All our baby goats are born now, and they're all boys, harrumph.  One of Sally's is a roan and we may leave him intact for future siring needs.  If so we'll call him Tyrone.  The others are all bound for the auction or the chop, and I'm not even going to name any of them this year.  None of them have captured my heart like Tex or Roger.

The lazy chickens who have never laid any eggs finally started laying while we were gone.  So either they were just really slow developers, or they were eating the entire egg plus shell, or they were too traumatized by last year's skunk attack to start laying before now.  Who knows?  At least they're finally earning their keep. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm over my head and it sure feels nice

I am soldiering on in my guitar studies, which I think is brave of me.  Not brave like going to war, or brave like Gwyneth Paltrow reading rude comments about herself on the internet (which is also like going to war) but brave in the way that making yourself do something hard that you're not good at and letting other people see just how not good at it you are is brave.  That was a confusing sentence.  Anyhoodle, I am trying to play "I Don't Want to Know" by Fleetwood Mac, and it is just a fun little song.  Fleetwood Mac is an interesting band to me, how they were able to turn their personal turmoil into such compelling music.  I don't know how they did it.  I remember once Craig Kilborn said during his stint as host of the Daily Show, "Stevie Nicks--everything that was wrong with the seventies in one rapidly-expanding package."  That was mean-spirited of him.  She does sing a little bit like a goat sometimes, though.

What ever happened to Craig Kilborn?  What is he doing these days?  I had a crush on him during college because he was so tall and handsome and bratty.  What if Stevie Nicks is a real witch, and she has cursed Craig Kilborn's career because he said that mean thing?  I would not put it past her--she wears a lot of black, you know.  Did people ever accuse Johnny Cash of being a warlock?  Or did he bypass that because SEXISM? 

Friday, May 23, 2014

running down the gutter with a piece of bread and butter

I started growing my hair out because I was sick of my A-line bob, and then I thought why not grow it out and donate it to Locks of Love, and now it's just past my shoulders and the road to donation stretches interminably before me, winding into the distance.  My hair is in a really ugly, awkward stage, that as I extrapolate its future appearance using current data sets (what it looks like now, with a few more inches imagined on) becomes more unflattering by the day.  I can take some frumpishness for the little children, but how do I mitigate it?

I noticed today that I accidentally keep dressing like Paula Deen.  Not sure what to do about this, because summer dressing is hard.  How do you stay cool and stylish at the same time?  Because, in case you didn't catch the subtext, dressing like Paula Deen is not a personal style I want to adopt.  There is a certain kind of woman of which Paula Deen is a prime example.  Big hair, fake nails, heavy makeup, orange-ish tan, flashy jewelry, tunics in loud colors like turquoise and coral with white capri leggings.  Apple-shaped, brash and bawdy, these women are a colorful, exciting ingredient in the great stew of humanity, but it is not in my nature to be one myself.  I would concede that I am brash and bawdy in my own way, but not in this particular way, this way that makes me think of Arizona and Florida.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

tell me that you've heard every sound there is

Yesterday I tried to have a nap when I got home from my errands, and I'm not going to try to justify midday sleeping to you guys.  That's not why I'm here.  I'm here to complain about the six telephone calls and multiple texts I got instead of the nap I wanted so badly.  What gives?  Normally early afternoon is a dead time and I can do what I want, boohoo! 

On Sunday a guy who was speaking in Sacrament meeting was talking about the David and Goliath story, and read a verse in which David describes Goliath as an "uncircumcised Philistine," and Grant turned to me and said, "UNcircumcised?"  One topic led to another, and that's how we ended up discussing female genital mutilation in church, ta-da!  And last Friday Willa asked me what sex was, so we had that discussion.  I feel very effective for tackling so many tricky subjects in such a short time.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

to lead a better life, I need my love to be here

I worked very hard yesterday, moving the rabbits (boo) and the chickens (boo) into the chain-link-enclosed section of our back yard that used to be the garden, before I found my new straw bale garden religion.  I threw heavy cinder blocks around on the ground in an attempt to get them to release the bricks of rabbits feces that had been compacted in the holes.  I swapped two heavy sections of chain link fence so the gate would be on the other side.  I moved some heavy pots and heavy bags of potting mix.  In sum, I did all the heavy things.  And I was worn out.  Last night Grant was begging to watch a few more minutes of Avatar, and I told him I was so tired and needed to go to bed, and he asked incredulously, "What did you do?"  As though the idea of me doing anything to the point of physical exhaustion is incomprehensible.  Man, that kid is so blunt.  He maybe needs his face slapped for being so sassy. 

Yesterday afternoon I went shopping for a tomato ladder since my cages are too fat for the pot, and at the IFA they had chicks that are already in the Skeksis stage, so they could go right outside with a heating lamp.  I bought four.  We put them in the little chicken coop I had emptied earlier, and when they get big we'll throw them in with Brad and Penguin (the current, eggless chickens).  Sally is bagging up, so I guess we'll probably have some goat babies in the next few days.  The bees have made the craziest labyrinth of honeycomb in their hive with no regard whatsoever to the orientation of the frames.  That's cool, bees.  You do you.  I'm just glad they've got a place to call home and that they seem to be thriving. 

Today I found a bunch of snails in my front garden and threw them onto the road to be smashed.  My life is very cool.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

you look like a drunk on the go

Well, the guitar recital is over and done with and I'm glad to be on this side of it.  My mom recorded my song on her phone and then sent it to my sisters, and I didn't see it until afterward and it was pretty much one of the worst songs I've ever heard.  Barf, barf, barf.  I was cringing and covering my eyes and ears while watching it, and Grant said, "Yeah, you sang flat.  You always sing that song flat."  Thanks, son, for the kind words of encouragement and whatnot.  In the interest of full disclosure, John says it was the compression of texting a video that made it sound so horrible, and that aside from some anxiety-related flatness at the beginning it was very good.  But also he is my husband, so he could be lying.  But also we are very honest with each other, so maybe not.  Ugh, I just am totally grossed out.

Last night we had a youth activity in which we divided all the kids up into four groups and gave each group a box.  Inside each box were ingredients and a recipe for either an appetizer, a side dish, an entree, or a dessert.  Each group went to a different house in the ward and cooked their dish, then one hour later we met back at the church to eat the results.  I did the menu because last time we did something like this we ended up with a bunch of casserole-type things made with noodles and various kinds of canned cream soup, and I was hoping for a better experience. We had bruschetta, pork tenderloin, roasted cauliflower and green salad, and molten lava cakes.  Some of the kids made squick noises about the pinkness of the tenderloin, but I assured them that it was normal.  Well-done meat is an abomination and they may as well learn it now.  I don't mind telling you I was a little frazzled trying to figure out how to get a meal prepared for thirty-something kids and their attendant adult leaders in an hour.  But we did it, and I was so impressed with how great everything turned out.  Aw, these kids today.  There's hope for society yet.