Friday, December 5, 2008
I have to decide what to do about the broken keyboard. It limits me and annoys me not to be able to actually type on this computer. I won't use my work computer to write of personal matters, but one missed key and two troubled keys makes it impossible to communicate the way I'd like to. But what to do? A new computer just feels like an expense to skip, and an effort not to make. That said, I'm sad that I did not write about our trip to Santa Cruz, our school search, or any of the other stuff that we've done lately.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
We almost went to the Obama rally on Monday. As I told my boy, he can tell his grandchildren that he waited in line for three hours to hear Obama speak and then just not mention that we didn't actually hear him.
It was actually kind of fun to be downtown in the midst of the big crowd. According to one article I read, it took a full hour to walk from one end of the line to the other. Wow. There were around 60000 people there and only the first 20000 made it into the area where Obama was speaking. I wish I could find some pictures online to see what it was like on the inside. Instead, I've got some pictures of the line.
Now usually when I get home, the dog and I have a certain routine. I walk in the door and she goes insane, mostly trying to jump into my arms so she can get to my face. I wave her off to the bedroom, saying "Bed, Zelda, bed." She races in, bounces onto the bed, and I come close enough that she can put her paws on my chest and nuzzle my face. She hasn't fully greeted me until she's had her chance to bump her head under my chin. If I'm loaded down with stuff, as sometimes happens, I go into the kitchen and unload while she weaves her way around my feet, shaking with excitement, and then we do the bed routine.
So imagine my surprise yesterday when I come in, unload, and then look around for the dog. She was nowhere to be seen. She'd gone out to the garage and was trying to get into the trunk of the car. Okay, I had brought steak home--but the steak was in the kitchen already. So what did she want in the trunk?
There wasn't much left in there. Hmm, but there was her present--boxed, I might add. I pulled it out and she went crazy, jumping up, trying to get it, licking it. She did not even care that I was there. She whimpered with excitement.
I could understand this if the present was a dog treat. If it had smelled like beef jerky. If there was something about it that said dog. But this was none of the above. So I've decided that the dog is psychic.
At least she is when it comes to a new BASKETBALL! I took it out of its box, took it outside, and oh, she was happy, happy, happy. And after several silent weeks in the backyard, where she never really barked at all, she's back to making furious amounts of noise as she tries to get the ball wherever it is she thinks it belongs.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
But there was an older black woman who had already voted who was so happy to tell me that she'd cast her ballot already and a young girl who told me that she and her mom and her brother and her dad would all be at the library first thing Monday morning and with both of them, the excitement was palpable. It made it real. It reminded me of what a miracle this is. He might win. I still don't believe he will--I think he himself said that if it's possible to screw it up, the Democrats will, and I certainly lean in the direction of believing that. And, honestly, I'm still terrified for his safety. But, oh, what a joy it will be if it happens. For me and for so many others who have and do suffer so much more than I do from the inequalities of our society.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It's not easy to take a picture of a bird while also also providing the perfect perch for her bath-time. Like the dog, she prefers running water, slightly colder than I would have anticipated.
The boy and I are both sick today, with colds and general misery. I do not like having company while I'm sick, and I think I've made him feel worse by making that a little too obvious. But I'm the crawl off in the corner and be by myself kind of sick person and he's the snuggle up on the couch and want attention kind of sick person, and they're really not a good combo.
Took an actual sick day from work but I am still feeling compelled to check email every hour.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I thought when she finally popped the basketball and it lost all its air that she would abandon it as a toy. Nope, it's still her favorite and now she can actually get her teeth into it!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
To write becomes more of a trial when one letter is simply unavailable. Fortunately, I do have a decent vocabulary and have thus far been able to use substitutions. But my, it makes for a painful experience. I wonder if I simply hold the key down for a period of time that is more than one would naturally ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggive, if it would start workin . And sadly, the answer is no. A pity I can't take those letters and ration them out. AR H!
Friday, September 26, 2008
I'm aware, with the bird, that she is a wild animal. That she doesn't think like I think, that her perception of the world is quite different, that her priorities aren't mine and that her feelings are probably not like mine either. She appreciates me as a cushion, she understands me as a living creature separate from herself (I believe) and distinct from the other living creatures (aka the boy and the dog) but I honestly don't know what more she's capable of. Lately I've been trying to train her not to chew on power cords and she sort of seems to be getting it, but she looks at me with a posture that says she's trying to decide if what I'm saying or doing is meaningful to her, rather than any evidence that she actually understands what I'm saying.
With the dog, everything I do has meaning. (She definitely doesn't understand everything I say, but I think that's lack of interest.) But every movement I make, every shift of position, every tone that comes out of my mouth, she's attuned to it all. It makes it remarkably hard to go out for lunch and leave her behind. This dog has me wrapped around...her perfect black ears.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Every time I read an apocalyptic book, I know that I'd be one of the quickly dead. It makes them less fun than other books. But I would share my soup. If we were down to two bottles of water, I'd let my neighbors with the babies have mine. It's not that I'm suicidal--I'm not, not at all. And it's not that I'm crazy generous or all about sacrifice--I'm not spending my free time working in a soup kitchen or traveling to 3rd world countries to build wells. But as misanthropic as I am, I know that there does exist a life not worth living, and it's the one where you put yourself first at all moments. It's not for me. I figure that $20K is toast, and that six years from now, when R is ready for college, we're going to be all about the bargain options. But I decided today to choose that, and it's made me much more cheerful. Probably not so much if it turns out I made that choice so that some greedy Wall Street guys get to keep their billions, but I think I prefer not to think about that potential result. Let's not have a depression this week, k?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I think I've felt since 9/11 that someday we would go back to normal. Whatever normal is. But I've definitely thought that a normal existed that was peaceful, not scary, sort of consumed by the trivial and certainly extremely comfortable.
I'm wondering whether now maybe that world is simply gone. When I visited Seattle this spring, I discovered that Jeremy was of the doomsday camp. He believes that there will come a time when guns are necessary to defend his family and maybe even that stockpiling antibiotics is a smart thing to do. I believed that we'll figure it out; that we're smart people who have managed to overcome adversity and cope with change again and again and again. But now I'm thinking maybe I want to buy some antibiotics and store them in the freezer. Historically speaking, empires fall. Did the Romans know it was happening when it was happening? Did they realize as their plumbing failed that maybe it was going to be gone for a lot longer than they could imagine? Did the dark ages start off slowly or all at once?
For years I've thought that even though my stocks have done nothing (and I do mean nothing, with a capital N), I should just be patient and wait, someday the market would start fulfilling the promises of my youth. But I'm not young anymore and I don't have another decade to wait.
And meanwhile, of course, there's plenty of food in the house, money to pay the rent for this month and the next, and work to do tomorrow morning and throughout the week. So maybe I'm wrong and the comfort goes on. But I'm going to try to be sure and appreciate the sunrises over the next few days.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Came home from the school drop-off this morning and took the dough out of the fridge and it had gotten all crusty, with the top layer turning brown and hard. Ick. I pulled off the outer layer and threw it away and baked the rest but for the first time, it was not so good. It looked great, but was doughy and I could see the lines in the bread where some crusty bits had gotten rolled up in the dough. I think possibly I need to get a new container, one that's plastic with a real lid instead of using a big bowl with a pot lid on top.
And I said it was not so good, but it's still all I've eaten today. About eight slices. Even not so good home-made bread is pretty tasty.
I actually made something great with the bread dough this week. It was sort of a modified calzone. I rolled the dough out into a circle, smeared it with my artichoke spread, sprinkled some feta cheese on top, then folded the dough over. It didn't turn out like a calzone at all--way too crusty. But it was a sandwich with the artichoke warm and baked inside. It was delicious!
We also tried the new sushi restaurant over in Wekiva. It was okay, better than other sushi we've had here, but no comparison to Shogun, which left me feeling homesick. In the search for what I want to do with my future, I can't decide whether good sushi ranks as an imperative or a luxury. But we'd eat there again.
The strangest thing about the restaurant was the overheard conversations. A father and daughter across from us made me want to roll my eyes in sympathy for the teenage rebellion. If my father ever talked to me like that, I too would have been the stereotypical sullen teenager that she was. (He never did; I never was.) A couple behind us actually sent me into fits of giggles with how much like a bad television script of an unhappy couple they were. He actually accused her of saying something a million times and I couldn't understand why she didn't mercilessly mock him for the hyperbole. But he was a bully, and when I saw that they had a small child with them, my giggles faded away. And then there was another couple kitty-corner, and although I didn't hear anything from them, R did. His take was that we were the nicest people in the restaurant, somewhat mystifying since nice would not generally be my first word to describe us. But certainly we were kinder to one another than any of the others.
Still spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I think sometimes that I would be okay not to travel anymore, and then I think about what that would mean. Never to go to Seattle or San Francisco or Santa Cruz again? Never to see the ocean?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Unfortunately, my boy was in much the same state. I found him lying on the floor in the family room, wrapped in his green blanket. He'd been sleepless and gone out there at 2 AM, and he was even more groggy than I was. I took him to school anyway, came home and tried to settle into the workday. Sometimes I need to set myself little goals--twenty emails answered before coffee, one chapter read and then a little outside time with the dog, and I was working in that mode, but not productively. I couldn't get my brain moving. An hour later, the phone rang. I knew before I even picked it up that it was Rory calling from school to come pick him up. I brought him home, settled him in, made him a snack--and suddenly it was noon and I'd gotten nothing done and worse, felt like I wasn't going to. So I took the day as a personal day. And then suddenly it was 5:30. I didn't nap, I didn't think, I didn't write, I did nothing, either productive or unproductive. The day just...disappeared. Well, I read some blogs. Woo-hoo.
I read some of the Palin-Gibson interview and this line struck me as interesting:
Palin: …It kind of cracked me up seeing the list of books that I supposedly banned&one of them was ‘Harry Potter!’ It wasn’t even written or published then.
I did see the list of banned books and quoted it with some doubt in conversation. The list I saw claimed that it was from meeting minutes of the Wasila Library and gave a phone number to call for verification. I wasn't about to call, of course--what a pain for that person to have their number spread on the 'net!--but the thing that struck me as interesting about Palin's statement was her recognition that there was a specific incident pre-1998 that was relevant. Palin was mayor of Wasila until 2002, as I understand it, and Harry Potter certainly was published in that timeframe. So she's conceding that she tried to ban books in 1995? She also claims that it was just a conversation, but the whole idea that the first thing she did as mayor was explore the limits of her power scares me. What would she do as President? What are the limits of presidential power these days, anyway?
Time to go save the cooking parsnips.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I barely knew Mindy. But she's been a friend of a friend for the past twenty plus years. That's a long time.
If we graphed out our friendships and relationships, tried to chart them, I think mostly they would look like tangled spiderwebs. The social networking tools like Facebook and Linked In and Twitter show those threads in all their complicated glory. Right now, it feels like one of my threads snapped on Friday night. While it wasn't one of the threads that keeps my web stable, that holds me up and sustains me (yes, I've made myself a metaphorical spider), my web feels emptier for the loss. I'm sad.
I also feel a little angry. I'm not sure at who or at what, whether it's god with a capital G or simply arbitrary fate. But it seems like my friends are all taking some serious hits this year and--ah, of course. Anger, as it generally is, is a cover for fear. Between Judith's death just a few weeks ago and Jason's brain tumor, the world is feeling like a very scary place. I feel too young for this. But maybe everyone always does.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Maybe because it's that week and memories of disaster linger, I'm feeling really anxious about Ike. I keep flipping on the television for brief moments and then walking away from the nothing that is the news. Just a few minutes ago, I watched a clip on CNN and in the background, a woman in yellow was posing flirtatiously on the beach. I wanted the CNN reporter to run across and get her name, so that we'd know if she was on the list of the dead later. But even the thought seemed overly paranoid. Still, hanging out in Galveston right now seems like a really stupid choice.
My anxiety, of course, is translating into food. There's a bowl of bread dough rising on the counter, and the house already smells of the beef stew I started an hour ago.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
His response: I think you'd be an excellent president. People would hate you but you'd do a good job.
I thanked him for the compliment. He repeated that I really would do a good job, but I'd be despised.
Why do I feel like that was a warm fuzzy?
For lunch, I actually had the steel-cut oatmeal that I'd been meaning to have for breakfast but got sick of waiting for. I'm going to have to try the oatmeal on a different setting of the rice cooker.
2. Nettle tea (I'm sure I would try this, but unless it comes packaged in tea bags in the grocery store, I'm not going to make any effort to try. Nettles hurt!)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (like many others, I have eaten alligator. But not crocodile. Does America even have crocodiles? Yep, I should know that.)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari (Rory will not let me eat calamari anymore--he wants to study squid some day and believes that they are the intelligent animal that will take over the world after human life dies out. But Michelle and I used to make it together in London and it was probably the first truly exotic food that I ever ate. Exotic to me, anyway.)
12. Pho (With Pam in Seattle for the first time. Also had it here in Florida and got food poisoning. Alas.)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (Hmm, an interesting one. I think yes, but am trying to remember when that would be. My life doesn't offer too many street carts. Does the cart outside Home Depont count? It's not nearly as romantic-sounding, but it's a cart, it's on a sidewalk, it's a hot dog...)
16. Epoisses (A cheese I have not eaten? But it's unpasteurized, and I bet that makes it very hard to find in the US.)
17. Black truffle (Not in any real sense. I think I had some in a sauce over ravioli once, but I'm not going to count that since it was such a minute amount it couldn't be tasted. The restaurant was probably Citron, in Oakland.)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (This reminds me of the dandelion wine Michelle and I made in Chicago. Oh, how nasty that was! But I think I've tried strawberry wine at a winery in California, too. Either way, I have this one.)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (Living on Pine Street in Santa Cruz, we'd walk down the alley and pick the fresh raspberries on our way to the beach.)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche (Epcot Food & Wine Festival!)
30. Bagna cauda (This sounds yum. I might have to try to make it.
31. Wasabi peas (Can't say I like them, though!)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (In San Francisco, on the wharf. How cliché can one get? And yet it tasted great.)
33. Salted lassi (Lassi, yes. Salted lassi? I think no.)
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (I'm assuming this isn't tea made with clotted cream, but tea the meal with clotted cream for scones or some such thing. There was a tea shop in London that I so loved--I wonder if it's still there. It was actually on Oxford Street I think.)
40. Oxtail (Maybe at a Korean restaurant? But maybe not, too. I'm calling this one a no.)
41. Curried goat (I have eaten goat, but only Mexican-style, not curried.)
42. Whole insects (Inadvertently yes, I'm sure, but not on purpose, so that's a no.
43. Phaal (Tasted, yes, eaten, not really.)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (Debating whether to cross this one out. For that matter, how would I know how much the bottle is worth if someone else serves me the whisky? If you pay $20 for a glass of whisky, then the bottle must be worth that much, right? And I have tried whisky that's supposed to be comparable to a $300 bottle, but I didn't actually pay that much. This one feels like a trick question. But I'll leave it as I would try it, but probably haven't.)
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin (I think I tried sea urchin in sushi once and hated it. But I'm not completely sure, so I'll leave it unmarked.)
51. Prickly pear (Mexico, with the Thomases.)
52. Umeboshi (I had to look this one up! A Japanese food that I've never even heard of, I'm appalled at myself. But it's a no.)
53. Abalone (As a parent, I feel really quite pleased that my son has eaten a food that I haven't eaten--and this one is it. It's been endangered as far as I knew since I've been old enough to choose my food, but he ate it this summer in California from the sustainable fishery there. He rocks, my boy!)
54. Paneer (I'm thinking this is bread? But I'm going to have to look it up. Oh, it's the cheese--yes, of course I've had that.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini (Probably a sip during an F. martini phase. Never liked martinis, though.)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (not even sure what that means.)
60. Carob chips
65. Durian Michelle and I bought some, all unwittingly, to eat on the train to France. The smell alone made me so sick that we wound up trying it early and throwing it away. Even now, the thought gets my gag reflex going.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (Had funnel cake at Epcot just a couple days ago. It does not belong in the same link as a good beignet!)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong (Every day!)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Another Epcot food! I think that might start to get embarassing.)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. ( I wish!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (I wonder if there is a distinction between hare and rabbit. One wild, maybe, the other not? But I tried rabbit for the first time way back in my first year at college, in Canada, and I'm counting it.)
90. Criollo chocolate (This one actually isn't in wikipedia, but I assume it's crillo cocoa, rather than a brand name.)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa (Also not in Wikipedia. I've got harissa paste in my cupboard for making chickpea stew, but I don't know what the rose part might change.)
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (Kinda, sorta, but I'm voting it has to be the real thing, pure. I had some coffee once that was mixed with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, and it was just...coffee.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So I come online to play some nice soothing video game, and Windows wants to update, iTunes wants to update, the virus software wants to update...and I would like to scream.
For lunch yesterday: black beans (about 1/3 can) with feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, and a vinaigrette dressing.
Ample reasons to work at home?
There's a book called something like, "No One Cares What You Had For Lunch" about writing for your blog, and while I think that's true, I also think that *I* care what I had for lunch. And since no one reads this blog except for me, I can talk about my lunch. Or, in this case, dinner from last night. I made chili for the first time in...oh, maybe twenty years. It brought back good memories, of big pots of chili over the stove in that run-down house in Connecticut, and the chaos of living with lots of people. There wasn't anything specific about the memory--no conversation that struck me, no person who was particularly important, no incident of any great drama. It was just a white stove, a pile of dishes, and curious look into a giant pot. Food wasn't important to me back then. I think I would have preferred to find some other way of subsisting. But now food is one of my great pleasures. Unfortunately, yesterday's chili was...well, the recipe I followed (or semi-followed, which is really the best I ever do) was not exactly appropriate for my young niece or my mom or even my son. My first bite nearly blew the top of my head off. And I like spicy! So I spent the afternoon trying to tone it down. The secret finally turned out to be chocolate. The sources online suggested unsweetened baking chocolate or high-quality semi-sweet, but eh, I had Hershey's syrup for the niece and I used it. It turned out to be pretty good chili. Still with a definite kick at the end but with some sour cream and some cheese, everyone managed to enjoy it, except for Caroline.
I also baked bread. It wasn't perfect, but it was yummy enough and the loaf was gone by the end of dinner. And then I made a tomato and cucumber salad, thinly slicing tomatoes and cucumber and layering them and then drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper. It should have been delicious, but drizzling olive oil works better when you have a carafe. I went straight from the bottle and it was more like a glurp of olive oil. Eh, but hey, it was still tasty. And it looked very pretty! Mom brought brownies for dessert and fortunately for me, they had peanut butter chips in them. If not, I could have munched the entire pan, but since I don't like peanut butter, I managed some self-restraint.