Thursday, January 21, 2010

Comfort in the everyday

So it's been a bad news week.  I realize many people, including some whose opinions I respect, are delighted with the results of our little election on Tuesday.  I'm not among them.  I'm disappointed in the outcome, disappointed in a mediocre campaign by a lackluster candidate, disappointed that it appears Massachusetts has largely decided that obstructionism is the best idea we've got to offer.

On the other hand, I've already got health insurance, so screw you, nation.  Scott Brown "believes in a culture of family, patriotism and freedom." What could go wrong?

And Haiti -- oh, Haiti.  I sent money -- please, you send money too.  Choose a good avenue and send what you're able to send.  But I can't, I just can't, watch the CNN coverage of people having limbs amputated with only ibuprofen for their pain.

Instead, during this morning's news browsing, I watched the CNN "coverage" of a woman who has planned her family's dinners a year in advance.  (Where does CNN find these people?  Why does CNN find these people?)  Yes indeed, she's planned what she'll make for dinner for the next 365 days.  It doesn't appear she sat up drinking on New Year's Eve to get it all done for 2010, either.  (Imagine January and February replete with well-balanced menus and weekend time blocked out for making home-baked treats, March and April with briefer notations and some ditto marks, and May - December with "BOURBON" and "LEFTOVERS" scrawled across them.)  No indeed.  CNN showed her cleanly printed calendar for the year, with the name of an entree in a nice font on the square for each day. 

A year!  People give me a hard time for planning four or five days ahead.  This woman's got color-coded lists cross-referenced to her calendar, the whole nine yards.  I kind of admire it.  I have some pretty involved lists of my own -- for example, there is Recipes To Try, color coded by primary ingredient.  My cookbooks are big three-ring binders, one for meat-based dishes, one for fish and meatless dishes, one for recipes I haven't tried yet.  Each is divided further - chicken, pork, beef, fish, pasta, soups, etc., and alphabetized within sections (natch). I have another binder for baking, subdivided into sections of alphabetized recipes for cakes, cookies, pies, bars, breads... yeah, baby.  I plan meals by going through the sections sequentially, flagging the next recipe in order after I've made the current one, alternating meat and meatless dishes and adjusting the sequence so as not to have too much soup in a row, or something.  Coming up:  pasta with spinach, tomatoes, and gorgonzola sauce; herbed chicken and dumplings; fish stew; cashew sweet & sour pork.

What?  You're giving me that look, I can tell.  Take my word for it, this is a lovely, joyous process for a cook of my personality type.  But laying it all out a year in advance?  Dude, that's sick.  But only because it would deprive me of revisiting my lists every few days, and the lists, they love to be visited.  Especially in upsetting times.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unenrolled, not yet voted, and never so popular as I am right now.

I will not enroll in either of our nation's major political parties. This makes me very popular at election times.  By the way, we're having an election in Massachusetts today, had you heard?

Over the past few days I have had three phone calls from an organization called SEIU that I neither belong to nor know much about.  Some kind of union.  Its representatives have ranged from insulting to gracious.  I have had two phone calls from the American Federation of Teachers, to which Mr. Sandyshoes, a university prof, belongs by default, and whose unread publications fill our recycling basket.  I've had two robo-calls from Scott Brown, and two from his daughter, whose opinion matters -- why?  One robo-call from Martha Coakley, and one call from a live person from her campaign.  I'm polite to live callers from campaigns; most of them seem like nice people.  I've had two robo-calls from Bill Clinton, one from Joe Biden, one from Therese Murray, President of our State Senate, and one from Vicky Kennedy, the late Senator's widow. 

I had a robo-call from the President of the United States.  Him, I put on speakerphone so the girls could hear.  Were he an actor (pause here for Republican snickering), I'd pay to hear him read the phone book.  Him, and Patrick Stewart, and possibly Alan Rickman.  Still, I don't like it when the POTUS makes calls like this.

I had a shameless, repugnant, anti-choice push poll call from Scott Brown supporters.  Of all the calls I received, none could have swayed my vote, had I still been undecided, except this one -- and not in the direction they'd have liked.  

I must say I've enjoyed the resurrection of Scott Brown's nude photo shoot for Cosmopolitan magazine, from back when he was a law student.  Seriously, I have no problem with that. Except, had Martha Coakley posed similarly in her grad school days, does anybody doubt her career would've been finished before it started?  So wait, maybe I have a big problem with that.

I'm headed out now to vote for Martha Coakley and urge you to do the same, if you can.  Looking forward to sinking into obscurity again on my return home. 

Mr. President, you may, as always, call to consult on other matters, but on this, I am done hearing from you, ok?  OK.

Edited to add:  two more calls from Scott Brown and one from Martha Coakley's sister, I think?  (again, whose opinion matters -- why?) since I posted the above.   Sheesh!  Mere hours now till this is all over either way. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

in which my Bean is being impossible and I could really use a break

I'm having a tough time with the Bean.

She's 7 1/2, and she's insane.  She nitpicks and fusses and bitches and whines about every damn thing, and pouts and yells and cries when you tell her to quit it.  Then the next minute she is over the top silly, laughing this screamy, giddy, crazy laugh that goes through my skull like an ice pick. 

There is no middle ground.  She is hell to be around.

This morning, the n-thousandth thing she bitched about before we even got down to breakfast was that her sister didn't put the toothpaste back exactly where she wanted it.  And I said, "you know Bean, if you want to spend your whole life feeling upset about things that don't matter, you're off to a great start" and walked out of the bathroom.  And she said in the empty bathroom, "and if you want to spend your whole life yelling at me, you're off to a good start." 

Good one, Bean. Except:  I hadn't yelled at her.  It had taken every ounce of restraint I can muster before my first cup of tea, but I had not yelled at her.  Believe me, if I'm yelling at you, you bloody well know it. 

I sent her to her room.  Because not only do I not want to spend my whole life "yelling" at her, I don't want to spend one lousy minute yelling at her. She could stay in there all goddamn day as far as I cared, in that moment.  Shoot, she can stay in there till she's 18 and then move the hell out and quit making everyone else miserable.

The Peanut and I came down and made breakfast, and before long the Bean called down to ask if she could join us.  "Are you ready to be around people?" I said.  She was.  She came down and helped get breakfast and apologized for what she'd said.  All was well for maybe 20 minutes, and then silliness mode kicked in full force, and she's making nonsense noises and screaming that laugh again.

I can't stand it.  I have sent both girls outside, and I will throw something out the back door for lunch.  They will need to learn to pee in the woods. 

(Why aren't they in school?  It's a "professional development" day for teachers, so we have a four day weekend with MLK Jr. day on Monday.  Didn't we just have Christmas vacation?  Yes.  Isn't February vacation in just a few weeks?  Yes.)

And please, nobody say "just wait till she's a teenager, ha, ha."  Though it may give you some kind of joy, it's obnoxious and completely unhelpful. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Hot damn, folks, the lovely caprice bellefleur, author of caprice's glob ("not just for the dyslexic"), has honored me with a "Beautiful Blogger" award, which I am delighted to accept despite not feeling particularly beautiful of late.  Sometimes it's good to be wrong.  Thank you, caprice!

Some responsibilities come with this honor:
  1. Thank the person who chose me -- check.
  2. Link to her site -- done.
  3. Put the award on my blog -- voila.
  4. List seven interesting things about myself -- done, without warranty, expressed or implied.
  5. Choose seven other people to be Beautiful Bloggers -- fo' shizzle.

Seven (arguably not so) interesting things about me (with apologies to longtime readers if I have mentioned these things before): 

1.  It calms me to put things in alphabetical or numeric order.  "Shelf reading" at libraries -- going through a shelf of books and reordering them as needed -- puts me into a sort of trance.

2.  Sometimes I crave silence so much that conversation seems almost to cause physical pain.  I was talking about this with some friends last night (most unpainfully), and I'm relieved to know I'm not alone in this. 

3.  I have an M.S. in Geology.  The longer ago it gets, the more strange this fact seems to me.  I was never especially good at geology, though I loved it, and the field trips were awesome, and geologists are some of the coolest people in the whole wide world.

4. I'm a little bit good at a lot of things, but sometimes I wish I had one big talent, y'know?

5.  I once punched a Coast Guard cadet in the face, knocking him right to the ground.  He deserved it. 

6.  I follow more celebrity goings-on than you'd think.  Can you believe it, about Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon?   

7.  I went to summer camp as a teenager and despite behaving badly enough to almost get kicked out more than once, I remember being there as some of the best times of my life.  I wish I could take back some of the stupid stuff I did, but whachagonnado.

Here are some people I'd nominate as Beautiful Bloggers.  (Don't do the award thingy if you don't want to, folks, just consider yourselves admired!)

Maria of Just Eat Your Cupcake is a distinctly beautiful blogger with a distinctly beautiful blog.

Major Bedhead and This New Place are two of my favorite blog reads, and beautiful bloggers, both.

Can I just say here how lovely it is to feel connected to your lives and stories even though we've not even met?  If any of you stopped blogging -- well, don't make me come over there. I'd miss you, is all.  And if it feels weird that I say that, just ignore me and keep on typing.

Jill of Charming and Delightful should add "beautiful" to her many accolades.

Sue of As Cape Cod Turns is a beautiful blogger on a beautiful peninsula.

I don't think Mon of My Montana Blu reads this blog anymore, but she should consider herself a beautiful blogger regardless.

And seventh?  You, babe.  You're looking especially beautiful in this light.

There now... still hate me?