Monday, June 30, 2014

#yourtribenotmine

Tonight is the last post of June. I missed a day that I didn't make up while I was on a mini vacation, but I can live with that. I had a shit ton more things I wanted to write about this month, but I procrastinate. The clock tells me it's 3:03 am, so I'll just share a brief snippet of conversation from karaoke this past Wednesday.

I went to karaoke with my friend The Professor. Neither of us had been in a while, and we spent more time catching up than we did listening to people over-sing on the stage. A note about karaoke: Your friends won't tell you when you suck. Neither will strangers. Nobody gives a fuck.

So a couple of drunk barsexuals were trying to make out and stand up at the same time with limited success right behind me. They kept falling into the back of my chair. I told The Professor I hoped they would end the show they were putting on soon, before they spilled my cider.

He agreed, and then he said, "Going back to that conversation about whether men should complain about how they suffer the same issues as women, you know two men would not be able to do that in this bar tonight."

"I'm sure you're right," I agreed. "Probably wouldn't be safe."

He raised his eyebrows and nodded, as if he'd found a loophole.

"However," I said, "that's not because women would get upset with them. It's because men would get pissed off. That's not our problem either. That's on your tribe."

"Touche," he said. "You're right." We both laughed.

He didn't say anything else about it, and I was grateful. So-called acts of sexism directed at men by men really isn't sexism. It might be called bullying or assault or simply intolerance, but it's not sexism.

The end. I deleted everything else I had to say about it, because those who get it are already singing in the choir, and those who don't get it, won't hear the message anyway.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Help is on the way

Sunday night. I've been slacking off here so I could enjoy life outside of words on the screen. My son Drake and his fiance Montana were here this weekend, so I spent as much time with them as possible. We went out for pizza Friday night with her brother and his wife, who is currently in labor with their first child, and Montana's grandfather. Her grandad hates me, but I don't blame him. It's Obama's fault. Entirely Obama's fault. Him and his damn bumper stickers.

(I'm sure he's also responsible for Shockwave fucking flashplayer, which decides to crash every night when I sit down here to write.)

In any case, I don't care if an old man hates me because of my bumper stickers. I don't have that many and the ones I do have are just the tip of my political and social and cultural iceberg. I am his worst nightmare, and I really don't give a shit.

He's a man of my father's generation, and for all I know, if he had lived long enough, my dad might have fed his paranoia with Fox news too, and he probably wouldn't like me very much either -- even less than he did when he was alive. He died 31 years ago though, so he avoided seeing how bad I got over the years.

But even if he had lived and didn't like me, I still would have loved him, just like Montana loves her grandpa. I wouldn't have given an inch, and I would have wished we could be closer, but I still would have loved him.

Back to the weekend. We also went out last night to listen to a band. The lead singer is an old friend of my friend Alex. Turned out, Drake knew him too. Small world.

As often happens, somebody asked me when I'm going to have my housewarming party. I made the face I make and said I wasn't sure, but I'd try to have it soon. Drake laughed, because even though he doesn't live here, he's heard that question before often enough.


When we got home, I confessed I didn't think I'd ever throw that big party. I told him I'm overwhelmed by my to-do list and by the list of jobs I wanted to hire done, but haven't found anybody to do yet. I told him sometimes I look at those lists, and I can't even choose one of those things and just do it, so I sit here and scroll through Facebook and read blogs until several hours have passed and I hate myself, so I eat some chocolate and take a nap. Then I unload the dishwasher or do some laundry or practice music or write a blog post or vacuum or pull weeds or plant my garden or cook dinner, and my list stays there on the kitchen counter looking innocuous like a simple piece of paper does, but weighing on me like a piano on an unraveling rope above my head. It's embarrassing that I can't get more done.

He asked to see my lists, so I showed him. He asked me to show him what work I wanted to hire someone to do, so I walked him through. He said, "Mom, I can do most of these things. Why don't I take a few days and come here and work my ass off and get them done for you? You pay for my gas and food, and I'll do the work."

And then he fixed my ice-maker, which hasn't worked since I moved in. All he  had to do was turn on the water to the line down in the basement, which I should have figured out (except .... overwhelmed), and now I've got an ice-maker.

Then today after church we went to a home improvement store for a couple of hours, made some decisions about a dining room cabinet I want to build out and make into a bar, and bought a new screen door for the widow's walk off my bedroom.

It's a little porch that seems like such a wonderful place to sit and drink tea and read a book, but honestly? It scares me to death. Coraline is fascinated with it. She calls it her "flying place," because she thinks she can fly like a fairy. She thinks I can fly off it too. She says, "C'mon, Mommers. Let's fly!" And she means it. She's sure we can fly just like Tinkerbell. My imagination takes a different turn. All I see is a 20-foot drop to my brick patio. Right now the only thing between her and that porch if the door is open, as it often is in the summer, is a fabric screen held together with magnets.

So we bought a wood screen door and some hardware. When we got it home, it was about an inch too wide, so Drake used the electric hand saw I bought for $2 at a garage sale last weekend (serendipity!) and trimmed both sides by half an inch. Then we painted it to match the house. He didn't have time to install it, but he will next time he's here. With a lock way up high.

While we were doing that, I got out some other paint, taped a brush to the 7-foot strip of wood we'd sawed off the door, and touched up some peeling paint on the porch ceiling. Easier than getting up on a ladder. Then I touched up the paint on the porch floor too. And he cut up the branch that fell off the neighbor's tree last week and damaged the fence, which I'll probably end up fixing too, because it's really easy for people to walk away from houses in this neighborhood.

There's something about somebody else working with me that energizes me. I work better in collaboration, or at least with people around. Maybe it's the accountability. I don't know. I've done a lot of work -- in spite of feeling stuck and overwhelmed -- here all by myself. And that's as it should  be. It's my house. It's my work to do. My responsibility.

But having someone here to work with me, to brainstorm with, even for just an afternoon, doing things I'm not comfortable doing myself or simply not strong enough, damn it .... It felt  good. And it's such a relief that he's willing to come back and help with a few of the big jobs.

For a few seconds, I felt like I might eventually get all settled in and have that big party. At least I'm getting close to imagining it.

That's my weekend. That's why I haven't been writing about vaginas or women's issues or what I want for Christmas this weekend.

It's not easy to admit I can't do it all, but I'm feeling better about it tonight. Maybe I'll be writing about a party sometime in the future.

Tell me what overwhelms you. Does the feeling make you put your shoulder down and get 'er done? Or do you find ways to avoid the LIST and then feel like a failure? I can tell you I'm looking for more of the former in my life and less of the latter.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Musing on life #56




"Life is one big meat market. Online dating is just a picture menu." ~ Coquette

 The quotation above comes from Coquette, my favorite advice columnist. She's brutal, sarcastic, funny, intelligent, kind of terrifying, and unrepentant. I love reading her razor-wire responses to those who dare to write to her for advice.

After I read these two sentences though, I thought, Fuck me. I'm a vegetarian in the meat market of life. It explains so much.

I could carry this metaphor to its ridiculous end, and talk about fish and those that got away, and those I threw back. Or pigs. Or chickens. Or even squids.

But I'll just sit over here and eat my carrot and shut up now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Words of wisdom for cookie-lovers



“Sex is like a Chinese dinner. It ain’t over ’til you both get your cookie.” ~ Alec Baldwin


Oh, Alec Baldwin. Wise and handsome and wearing a suit. Sigh. I've decided you're going to be my imaginary boyfriend from now on. It's probably best if we don't meet in real life though. I'd hate to find out that you're just like all the rest.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recipes for foods I never eat

How'd you like the photo of that guy in last night's post? Mmmmm. Yeah. That's why I don't date.

Moving on. Those of you who don't cook or who hate vegetables won't give a shit about this post. Feel free to jack off to last night's photo or make a late-night run to Taco Bell.

Remember earlier in the month I wrote about buying into my first CSA this summer? I knew I was going to get some produce in my weekly orders that I would never buy at the grocery store, and every week I've gotten at least a couple of things I've never even eaten -- mustard greens and flowers, sunflower micro-greens, garlic scapes, collard greens -- along with vegetables I don't usually buy like radishes and turnips, and the things I do buy, like beets, salad mix, carrots, and summer squash. I'm excited to see what I get each week, and it's a challenge to eat all of it by the time Monday rolls around again.

One thing that helps me is the weekly newsletter where they tell me what everything is. Hey, I would have had no idea what the collard leaves were. They also include a recipe for one of the vegetables. I thought I'd share their recipes for radishes and collard greens, as well as the modifications I made to them. (Seems I can't make any recipe, even for something I know nothing about, without changing it.)

The first one is for roasted radishes. I really don't like radishes the way I've always eaten them, which is raw and salted. I don't like spicy foods so .... radishes. Yuck. They taste like hot dirt.

However, I did find out I love them roasted, which means I've eaten my little bundle of multicolored radishes all three weeks all by myself. Here's their recipe for 

Baked Lemon Radishes

1 bunch of radishes (cleaned, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise)
1.25 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat to 375. Place ingredients in a bowl and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until almost fork tender. Finish with lemon zest and more salt if desired.

My notes: This recipe didn't have enough dimension for me as it is, so I chopped up some fresh rosemary and added that to the mix. Earlier in the season when the leaves were nice (not holey and bug-eaten), I experimented with eating them too. So I cut them into 2" pieces, and after the radish roots were done, I sauteed all of them together in some garlic-infused olive oil. Believe it or not, radish leaves taste good, if you like other cooked greens. I felt pretty bad-ass eating the entire plant, especially one I never liked before.

Also, the radishes shrink as they roast, so I made a serving for just me from 6-7 large radishes. I think roasting would work even for late -season radishes that are too hot and kind of pithy.

The second recipe I just tried tonight. I changed it pretty radically. Here's the original.

Kickin' Collard Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens cut into 2" pieces

Heat oil in a large pot. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble, and return to the pan. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens and fry until they start to wilt. Pour in chicken broth, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until greens are tender.

My notes: You could make it that way, but don't use a teaspoon of black pepper. Way too much. Use your own judgement. I didn't put in the red pepper flakes, because I don't like spicy food. For people who do, I'm sure they add one more dimension that's pleasurable. You could finish this recipe off with hot sauce if you really like a kick.

I doubled the bacon. I don't think I need to explain why. I also used a lean, center-cut bacon so it was meaty. The bacon simmers for 45 minutes, so fatty bacon won't hold up as well.  A ham bone would work too, and add more smoke and meat.

I also threw in a bunch of blue curly kale, just because I had it. I think you could add any cooking greens you want, even radish leaves.

Finally, I didn't use straight chicken broth, and that's what made mine so amazing. I didn't have 3 cups of chicken broth here, but I did have some revved up soup stock I'd made a few months ago for a chicken and wild rice soup (like Panera's). I made too much stock, so I froze a bag of it and hoped it would be useful some day.

So what I used in place of chicken broth was a rich homemade chicken stock thickened with half-and-half. When I dumped the thawed stock into the greens, the half-and-half had separated out and it looked like a curdled mess. As it heated up though, it smoothed back out and took on its original creamy texture.

And, OMG, this stuff was delicious. I'll probably never recreate this recipe, but it was super rich and nourishing. It's definitely soupy, to be eaten with a spoon in a bowl, unless you decide to drain off the broth. Next time I try it -- if I get collard greens in my order again -- I'll probably add some whole raw milk to the broth and maybe some butter. I can imagine adding some carrots too, for a little sweetness. You could put in anything you like in a soup and it will taste fine.

It's no wonder I need to lose weight.

You can make both of these recipes with produce from your local farmer's market or vegetable stand or grocery store. If you try them, let me know how you like them.