Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Greens and Comment Vivre

Salad greens: it's either feast or famine, isn't it? We either eat them as soon as they come in the house and then pout when there aren't any more. Or we let them sit in the refrigerator and become a little rubbery before throwing them into something to get them used up before slime sets in. But the radishes I'm eating as soon as they get out of the ground. I've been sauteeing the greens with olive oil and garlic. No one likes them but me so I get to be greedy. The radishes themselves are very mild as we haven't had any warm weather to speak of.

I've been thinking about the global economy and fiction. I aspire to shabby gentility. I am a semi-intellectual who enjoys the simple life. To maintain this way of life I look for ways to not be consumed by the effort of making a living. I want to nurture my family, have some contact with both art and nature, and be in my community. Working is a good thing (social contact, learning, validation, feeling useful, paying bills, insurance) but I have little ambition and if I could do less of it I would. I hear about the current state of entry level jobs and the steeply rising cost of education and the growing wealth gap. All of these things make me think that it is hard to be a young American person now and not be ground down by the economy. It sounds harder than in the past, or is that golden age thinking? I hope that my kids will be able to find joy in the cracks somehow. But I'm not sure how to advise them. Fiction factors in because it can be a comfort against the large existential dread of considering these forces out of my control. I realize there is a particular kind of fictional development that pleases me, a happily-for-now description of friends and family and resources that allow for a rich life lived under the radar. I wonder if it is a complete fantasy. Perhaps in the long term. But I do believe it's a state that can be found in short bursts.

A vigorous article from David Simon on the future of the American economy and society. I appreciate his identifying a core question, are we all in this together? We are, and none of us get out of here alive.

Kat went to her schoolnight concert last night. I still can't believe I agreed to this back in December. It just seemed like a world away at that point. I told her I would pick her up at 11p, hell or high water or endless encores be damned. Happily their encores were many but were wrapped up before the hour of doom. I picked up a very happy, excited kid.

Notes from a few days ago that I may as well throw in here:
As Shalini once said, the secret to happiness is giant underpants. I bought some extra large the other day and have never been more content with my underpinnings. Good thoughts and good books to her wherever she is.

Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer or transformer. Hindu trimurti, three aspects of the divine. Although according to linked page it is not a current form of worship but something from the past. Brahma is not now widely worshipped according to that site. News to me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


No sprouts. Bun planted a beautiful little viola plant and Kat planted basil and thyme starters and an onion that got carried away on our countertop.

This could be very important. Burnt Butter Caramel Slice recipe. But on the greener eating front I have been eating skinny asparagus and radishes out of the garden and it is wonderful. Lettuce is coming in and kale is starting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Honey to fur

There is an art project that is photos of naked humans covered in honey. I've heard the images are lovely. But all I can think is - what a waste of honey. sigh.

My deadlines and challenges are resolved for the moment. Car fixed right on time. Mom here and gone again. Low stress as these things go. She was delighted with the progeny and the dog. As much as that woman likes dogs I am glad we had one for her enjoyment. I was also glad to have the days off and now am getting back in the notion of work.

Borrowed a mower and got my yard and the neighbor's done. Before the rain which made me feel smug as a bug in a rug. Now to acquire one of these contraptions for my very own. Do I want an electric with a cord? I can't afford an electric without a cord. First I will go see if there are any scratchndents at H. Despot.

Our 7th grader's band concert sounded good last night. Even the 6th graders sounded tuneful. I am convinced that Kat's band teacher knows what she's doing. What an interesting gift, to lead and teach and get them all making actual music. Bun is signed up for percussion as her place-holder next year. Hope she finds something she likes when she tries the different instruments in June.

Dog hair was piling up in every corner, guess it was time for the spring shed. We took her out back to brush. I started plucking out loose fur from her back legs. It was a bit like plucking a goose. The undercoat was ready to go.

Planted seeds with Kat yesterday 4/21 and I will write it here so I can find it again if needed. Wildflowers are in the pot on the back patio. Mint and cilantro in the patch to the right of the front steps. Can't find the basil seeds. If the seeds are going to sprout they should do so in 12-16 days. Keep watering and give up if nothing's showing by May 7.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Releasing anxiety. Mentally opening my hand to let a handful of dry leaves blow away. I sent an email that made things awkward for a manager Monday. I cut the weeds away from the compost bin when I got home as therapy. Went to work with my little anxiety vulture on my shoulder. My supervisor ran interference. I have been assured that it's settled now and we are moving on. Okay, vulture, you can go now. Maybe it wants lunch.

Revisiting my discomfort with this position. I do not have the education degree or background that my teammates have. I have skills and knowledge as an experienced IT and admin support person which supposedly compensates. But I worry I'm really going to embarrass myself or the group.

So many to dos. It's a todo do-se-do. Thinking about going to bloodbath and beyond to do some panic buying before my mom gets here. I have some inquiries about borrowing a mower. Time for the first mow of the year. We'll have to buy one after that no matter Nod's objections. I wonder if we'll get furnace filters replaced this weekend. I need to buy a shovel to move compost around.

As part of the square dance I am dropping my car off for oil and transmission fluid change tonight. It popped out of cruise control on the highway last weekend and started a 'check engine' blinkfest. Nod got the codes run at the auto store and it looks like it's related to dirty oil/transmission fluid. I see there is no putting off that oil change til later.

Cat has been waking me because hungry. Must start feeding her at night because I don't want to spend my last 90 minutes of sleepy time fending off the sharp toothed nibbles she uses to remind me she's hungry.

Rainy weekend to come. Mom is bringing 2# of green chile so we'll have stew. Collecting culture events and indoor things for options. Baseball in the rain doesn't sound very appealing.

Typo of the day: Norte Dame. Which reminds me that it took until this spring for me to realize that Kanye West naming his daughter North means that she's North West in full. I like to think that this means I am suitably unplugged from celebrity culture. (As well as slow on the uptake.) I still like that first name. It strikes me as more substantial than Apple for example.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Bun launched into 11. No pictures this time but the fete was good. We hit the weather just right and the kids had a good time. I bake a mean cupcake and said that might be a good summation for my tombstone. But too many letters of course so not possible. Cupcakes! is a good caption and while I would laugh to see it in the cemetery I would not actually pay for it to be inscribed in stone. I told Nod that I would go for an old-fashioned hand pointing up. I like the ambivalence. Sure it means 'gone to heaven' but maybe it could also mean 'watch out for that pigeon' or 'up yours!' or 'just a minute'.

More bouncing yesterday at the trampoline playground. I had a headache return after one rough landing. But it was just an ache, spirits stayed high. It was almost as much fun watching the kids jump after I was done. Rosie was telling me that we have mirror neurons that fire when watching other humans do stuff. So I think I was getting the sensation of leaping by just watching. In addition, the sight of bouncing mammals is objectively entertaining, see baby goats, et al.

My relationship tango has become more straightforward. I've gotten reassurance and am feeling like the bonds are all in place.

The headache is invited to go away.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bounce watch

Bouncy house reservation was clinched last week. Now we watch weather reports and hope for a calm day. Winds rattled the windows last night as a front moved past. Nothing dramatic here but the weather monkeys were excitedly covering hail and so forth out to the east. Nod and Kat called us outside to see the bats whirling. Wonderful to see them against the twilight sky.

7th grader finished her podcast on factory farming. Her teacher and classmates had a hard time getting through it. I am proud of her and will not listen to it. She asked me to look for cage free eggs to dye. I found the last dozen white cage-free eggs at our nearest store on Friday. Whew. We eat a lot of eggs and I am happy to pay for at least a big barn for the dang birds to be in rather than cages. That said, I have read accounts of chicken barns and know that even cage-free isn't a guarantee of any quality of life. The eggs I usually buy are from La Ferme du Bonheur (= Happy Farm!) in Missouri. Market compassion to me, meat industry. Find a way to scale good treatment. I know that misery is cheap and that's why we have it. Let's go for less miserable!

Tulips now and redbud trees. The daffs are fading. A neighbor's lawn has little grape hyacinths sprinkled through it. So cute!

I am now a true believer in the pie plate antenna. Years ago I scrounged up a flexible wire antenna for our over the air, cheapass tv needs. It was strung up with one end on the curtain rod and the other arranged on the stereo cabinet. I read about the antenna and thought it would probably not make a difference but what the hell. One disposable pizza platter later and I have one end of the antenna attached to a halo and tacked to the wall. We are getting everything with eerie clarity. In addition we now receive some other stations we missed earlier: 3 PBS stations that don't come in well and 4 more religious stations. I wish I could exchange the religious ones for one decent PBS reception.

This weekend will be 11 y.o. bday and then my mother arrives the next weekend.

Finally opened a pkg of miso that I think has been in the fridge since xmas. It smells just fine and the Vegetarian Miso Soup was dynamite. The recipe was a starting point. I soaked dried mushrooms in steaming water and used that for broth. I stir-fried some cabbage and onion with ginger and added that for greens. Next time I'll put seaweed in it but it was a surprisingly satisfying soup without either the bonito flakes or the seaweed. Veggie Girl agreed with me.

Monday, April 6, 2015


A poem posted at 3quarksdaily reminds me of my resolution:  ring.

I Saw Myself

I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then I heard
”ring of bone” where
ring is what a

bell does

by Lew Welch
from Ring of Bone, Collected Poems 1950-1971
Grey Fox Press, 1979

I found a turtle carcass on my holiday. We went out to a lake to see the greening, the returned buzzards and such. Nod was scheming for fishing spots. He doesn't actually have the patience to fish but he loves to try and figure out where the best spot to catch a fish might be. The wind was cold but the sun compensated us for it. I caught sight of a white shell underside on a hillside. The skull and leg bones were around it, all very clean and without connecting stuff. The skull is quite snaky looking. I brought it home, shell and skull, and am still having second thoughts about removing it from its ecosystem. It's lying now by our yellow tulips in the front.

Complicated relationship tango at the moment. People I want to keep involved with. I want to keep the correct tension with both other players. I won't block but may deflect.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Eleven pipers piping

Bun turns eleven next week. I just met with her teachers to renew the IEP so she'll continue with enrichment classes in middle school. Her teacher said he was happy she would be going on to be with a larger gathering of her peers at middle school, meaning more gifted kids. I thought that was a nice idea but it doesn't match my impressions of middle school. Personally I hope she can skate past the more distressing experiences and bond with some other kids who like school.

Our bday party planning skills continue to be fairly lame. I called about renting an inflatable jumping castle but not til this week. I can guarantee cake and ice cream but bouncing may be scheduled for another date.

I have declared a day off tomorrow. There will be marital canoodling. There will be coffee. More to be decided. I intend to have a long list of options so I can pick and choose and feel like I am having a thorough day of not working.

Just learned that "2 cas de beurre" in a recipe in French means 2 Tablespoons of butter.
c.a.s = cuillère à soupe = T  The corresponding teaspoon abbreviation is cac (cuillère à café). Ah diacriticals! Do I wish I was eating some lamb stew with red wine and dumplings? Yes, I do!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Just fiddled with template but can't get it to go right. Imagine that the header says Pimble Nundit. Just for April 1.