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.