Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday Random 5: Of Sherlock and More Sherlock

My house is in post Costco shopping chaos. It’s time to fix dinner. But I have things to say. I’m going to step over the box of goldfish and the case of microwave popcorn (I’m tired. The International Man of Intrigue is deployed. I’m feeling accomplished there isn’t a case of Snickers to step over.) and feed my Little Explorers chicken nuggets and write the things.

1. Today, I had a morning. I messaged my friends things all morning like, “I’m killing it!” and “Totally winning at life today!” Most days, I have a timeline for the things I need to do. I give myself generous windows, because life has taught me that things always come up. Today I had a million and five things to do. I planned that most of them would be a stretch to get done before I had to pick the Little Explorers up, and I’d have a car full of groceries and Little Explorers by 1p.m. Instead, things fell into place. It was like I had one of those time turner things from Harry Potter. I snuck little errands in between bigger errands that suddenly had larger gaps between them than usual. I even had time to run home and unload the groceries and put the cold things away, but not the dry goods- see introduction. It was magical. Laura Ingalls Wilder even fell asleep in the car, so I parked in carline at school early and had 30 minutes to read. Bliss.

2. Good thing it was bliss because then it all fell apart. Two of three Little Explorers in the car were already screaming at each other and threatening bodily harm before they were even buckled in. My package came from Gap. One used and ripped and reeking of perfume skirt. Funny. I don’t remember Gap offering used clothing online. My two best friends and lots of other people I love posting pictures from the U2 concert in Kansas City. Someone on a Facebook page said something mean about a group of people and it made me sad and mad because the Facebook page should be full of people that are kind and loving. Then I got sad. I felt sorry for myself for not being in KC. I felt angry that I can’t change people’s minds, and angry at myself for arguing with someone on the internet. We all know how stupid that is, Fellow Adventurers. I looked around at the chaos piled everywhere in my house and I got overwhelmed. I thought, “Why couldn’t the day continue to be awesome.” Then I remembered something a friend who was struggling with negativity said. I decided to try it. Instead of saying, “Why couldn’t the day continue to be awesome,” I said, “I’m so glad I had such an awesome morning so I can let all this little crap this afternoon roll off my back.” You know what, it worked. I’m happy that my friends are at U2, even if I can’t be, because they’ll take pictures and send them to me and I know they miss me. I’m going to feed my Little Explorers and clean up the kitchen, and put them to bed early for extra quiet reading time. I can still get my workout in and I’m sure to sleep well tonight. 

3. So, it turns out it’s been a couple of hours since I wrote #2. A neighbor walked over to talk for a few minutes and then I made the Little Explorers clean up. The house is still pretty chaotic, but I don’t have to step over any goldfish. The workout is done, too, and I’m watching Elementary. I’ve only watched the first several episodes, but I think i’ll enjoy it and stick with it. I don’t like it as well as the BBC Sherlock, but Elementary does have that it puts out more than three episodes every two years going for it. Also, I’m obsessed with Lucy Liu’s eyelashes. I’m pretty sure they're extensions. What are you watching, Fellow Adventurers?

4. Reading anything enjoyable? I’m reading an as yet unpublished book by a friend. It’s brilliant and amazing and I hope it gets published someday. Next up is to finish The Last of August, yet another riff on Sherlock Holmes. This is the second in a trilogy by Brittany Cavallaro. After that, or maybe before, depending on when Amazon Prime feels like delivering to Hawaii, is Moloka’i by Alan Brenner. (The two day Amazon Prime shipping doesn't apply here. The 3-5 days they promise is a FAKE LIE, too, but that's a separate rant.) Moloka'i is for book club, hence the pause on everything else.

5. I just realized I picked at dinner. It’s now almost 9 pm and I’m starving. To have a snack or not to have a snack? That is the question. The answer is probably no, but I’m going to go to bed and read so it stays no. Peace out, Fellow Adventurers.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tuesday Random 5: Good Eats Edition

I know. It’s been literally months. Those months have been some of the hardest for me in a long time, for lots of reasons, which maybe I’ll share another day. For now, I’m happy to be finally pulling out of the mud and muck that was the last three or four months.

1. Generally speaking, being told that I’m going to hell makes me angry at first, then with a little time, I find it kind of hilarious. I have a dark sense of humor like that. I was told several times before the election that I was going to hell if I didn’t vote for Trump. I am generally ok with this. My latest moment of damnation came this morning. A friend tagged me when she reposted something I had posted about raising children of color. One of her “friends” (I use the term very loosely) used the opportunity to go on a racist tirade, laced with sentences like “Black people do this thing.” “I knew a black person that did this bad thing.” “Black people are bad because they do this.” Now, I don’t really enjoy arguing on the internet. I know some people enjoy a good debate. I don’t. At all. But I had recently promised myself I would no longer scroll on by when someone posted something racist or made a racist comment on a friend’s post. I really have come to the conviction that silence at this juncture is wrong. Since I was tagged in the post, I commented pretty succinctly that her words were racist and not ok. Cue more outrage at blacks and outrage at being called a racist. Again, I hate debating on the internet. I’m not going to go twelve rounds with someone who has no intention of giving up her point of view. So, knowing that this woman had gotten her Master’s degree in religion at a well known Catholic source of higher education, I simply said, “That comment was racist. Racism is a sin against God and neighbor.” Cue more crap being spewed as some of my friend’s friends got hot under the collar with her behavior. In the end, this woman’s parting shot was that if racism is a sin, I shouldn’t forget that calumny is a mortal sin. Seriously. This woman has a Masters in religion. I have a Bachelors. I’m pretty sure we both know what calumny is, and sister, that ain’t it. So, anyway, I’m allegedly going to hell for that. Punch my ticket right next to the going to hell for not voting for Trump box. I have no shame for either. 

2. On a lighter note, television. I finished the latest season of Orange is the New Black and Bloodline on the same day. (Look at me using MLA and/or APA style for a change.) That night of viewing was heavy. I had to binge a season of The Great British Baking Show as a palette cleanser. Right now, I’m watching Ozark on Netflix. It’s pretty dark and gritty, I’d say in the vein of Breaking Bad with somewhat less cursing. I’ve been breaking that up with Midsomer Murders and cooking shows. 

3. My Fauxfallo Chicken Dip recipe has neared perfection. It’s a vegan version of buffalo chicken dip, that cheesy, spicy, gooey concoction found on tables during parties. For me, it wasn’t so much about leaving the chicken out- I’d add that back in if I felt the need- but sending the dairy packing, and having a healthier version of a favorite. I’ve worked my tail off the last three months and have lost about 10 pounds so far. I want to enjoy my food, and spicy stuff like this is my favorite. It’s never going to be as delicious and addictive as the original, but this one can be eaten every day and still hits the high notes of the original. The bonus is that Gertrude Bell likes it as well, and she hates everything, including beans. Tell her there are beans in it and I’ll cut you. Here’s the recipe:

Fauxfallo Chicken Dip

1 can of beans. I used pinto because that’s what I had in the pantry. You can use chickpeas or great northern beans or whatever, as long as they’re light in color and mild in flavor. 
1 carrot
1-2 stalks of celery
2ish cups of cauliflower
Franks Hot Sauce

The key to this is really the beans. Drain them and rinse them and put them in a blender with a bunch of Hot Sauce. How much? I don’t know your taste buds. However spicy you like your dip. Turn this into a little hot sauce smoothie. This will provide the creamy texture and the heft of the dip. When it’s blended, scrape it into a bowl. Dump the carrot, celery, and cauliflower in the blender or food processor. You want it to be pretty finely diced when you’re through. Too big and it will be hard to eat because the veggies are raw. Too small and you won’t have any texture or crunch. Don’t like cauliflower? Give it a try here. The peppery taste of raw cauliflower goes well with the flavors of the dip.. Stir it all together and taste it. Add more Franks if needed.  Bam. Delicious. 

Now, listen, Fellow Adventurers, if eating a vegan dish isn’t your jam, feel free to add some sour cream or blue cheese or whatever. Add shredded chicken. You do you. Gertrude Bell likes to eat this on celery sticks. I usually bundle it up in a tortilla with lettuce and call it a buffalo wrap. I'm already looking forward to having it for lunch tomorrow. 

4. I just finished reading a real page turner. I couldn’t put it down until I finished every word. Laura Ingalls Wilder clung to my arm with anticipation. Even Arthur Dent pretended not to be too interested. It Hurts When I Poop is an informative look at the inner workings of bowels. I’d recommend it for anyone who doesn't like to poop. 

5. I actually did finally finish American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Despite the fact that it took me somewhere in the neighborhood of the entire freaking summer to read, it really made an impression. Towards the very end a couple of lines stuck out to me because they relate so fully to my current feelings. “He wondered whether home was a thing that happened to a place after a while, or if it was something that you found in the end, if you simply walked and waited and willed it long enough.”