Category Archives: cooking

(Sis)turmeric Love

Little sisters. Such copycats.

Abigail, whom you may remember from her infamous chicken foot stew, has now jumped on the turmeric bandwagon. And, as usual, one-upped me–by mixing her turmeric into a kale-and-almond-butter-based smoothie. Will I follow suit? Most likely not. Yes, it looks delicious. Yes, it packs a bigger nutritional wallop than my simple “yellow milk.” But I’d have to get the blender dirty. This is an insurmountable obstacle for one such as me.

My other sister Lily has also joined in the turmeric craze. She’s on day three of drinking it every day. That the both of them are now imbibing the “magic yellow” (and not the urinary kind) makes me very happy. I get to credit myself with improving the health of 75% of my siblings. Or is it 63%?

Anyway. I have three. Two are drinking turmeric. You get the point.

Now if I can just get my brother on board I will ensure the longevity of my entire family line. Our blood–tinged slightly golden–will flow through the ages.

I will also ease my mathematical struggles. Statistics were never my thing,

As for me? I actually stopped drinking the stuff a few days ago. I know. I have no willpower. I have no consistency. I have no dishwasher! I hate washing the pot. That yellow scum is a bitch to get off! If I hadn’t killed my Gaffers and Sattler with the wrong kind of soap back in October we might be having a different conversation right now. As it is, I think I’m back to just taking a multivitamin.

And saving up for a Bosch. That’ll really improve my health.

photo

Bricked In

Snapshot of this moment: I am sitting in the breakroom at work, surrounded by tupperware containers and an assortment of old condiments. I am eating a peanut butter sandwich with homemade jam. It is delicious. Still, someone forgot to order paper towels, so I am using a tissue as a napkin. This lack of basic supplies has taken an already bad mood and made it worse.

My boss asked earlier if I might be willing to work a fourth day every week. We are, she said, woefully short staffed. Taking a deep breath, I told her yes. Yes, although it will take my already scant time with my daughter and make it scanter. Yes, although this job numbs my brain and makes me, at least occasionally, hopeless for the whole human race. Yes, because we need the money and that’s a fact. Times are tough. Comparatively so, at least.

And they’re about to get tougher, at least for one small girl at my house.

This morning, when MJ–in a repeat performance of incredible endurance–cried about my going to work, I told her, “you know my great, great, great grandmother had six kids. And she had to work building bricks out of mud every day. Just to put food on the table.”

“Out of mud?” MJ replied.

“In the cold.”

“Whoa,” said my daughter, suitably chastened.

This story, I should add, is true. Or true-ish. The ancestor in question did spend some days making adobe bricks in exchange for food when living with the Mormons in Utah. It’s a small detail in an exciting and hair-raising tale, but it may not be totally accurate to portray her as solely and purely a brick smith. Still, her road was hard– her husband’s, too. I figure if they could survive starvation, wolf attacks, Indian abductions, and the shockingly ill treatment of the early Mormon leadership, then certainly I can survive working an extra day in high end retail until my husband is working again.

So maybe I told the mud brick story for myself.

And maybe it worked.

Still, I shed a couple of tears into my Trader Joes pretzels as I sat here. Fortunately no one was here to see it happen. Also, I happened to have a tissue to hand.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

20140204-121205.jpg

Mellow Yellow

Turmeric milk. Yum. Ish.

I’ve started drinking it every day. I know it’s an eccentric habit, but, considering that a friend of mine recently tried to get me to start drinking my morning urine–and I considered it–I think I’m actually getting less weird by the day. Perhaps the yellow spice will even help with that. It cures so many things–depression, arthritis, inflammation, cancer–that my overweening eccentricity will surely decrease with consumption as well.

I’m making a recipe I found online. By accident, really. I was reading Facebook, and one of my friends was struggling with something, and someone posted that she should try turmeric milk, and the next thing you know, there I was sipping a cup. Because, you know, why should there be a new-age cure I don’t try? Even when I don’t have the disease. Haven’t you heard of prophylactic dosages? (And if you think I’m talking about giving an aspirin to a condom you need to break out your dictionary app.)

I’ve been trying to get Mike to drink it, too. He has a bad back, lots of stress, and a cold. Who’s better qualified for help from a nutritional panacea? Still, you’d think I was offering him, well, a cup of my morning urine. I’m getting about the same reaction. Oh, he drank the first batch, alright. And the second, albeit with greater reluctance. But now that he’s back out of bed he seems to think he’s past his need for my ministrations. When, today, I offered him a cup, he turned his nose up at it. Literally. Sniffing imperceptibly at his foolishness, I poured myself his serving as well as my own.

But I couldn’t finish such a giant helping. Turmeric’s good and all, but not two cups worth. Even when I added prodigious amounts of honey.

Still, I believe that, with this new regimen, my already excellent health is going to improve . Too bad I will smell like a to-go container of sag paneer. Is that even a curry dish? Whatever. You get my point.

At the very least I will not smell like pee.

Bottoms up!

photo

Salt And Pay-Per-View

A couple of nights ago I ate a jar and a half of pickles. In one sitting. A jar and a half. Admittedly, it was spread out over three episodes of “Girls,” but still. That’s a lot. Enough to make me wonder, at the time, if there is such a thing as saline poisoning. And, if so, whether I had contracted it. Turns out I was fine–just really, really thirsty. A bottle and a half of Gerolsteiner later I was as right as rain. No worse for wear the next morning, either. If salt bloats me I am unaware of it. Having eaten such ginormous quantities of it, I believe I’ve become immune to its water-retaining properties. I could ingest it the way a deer does–right off of a salt lick in the middle of a frozen woods–and be completely fine. Except for the hunter gathering me in his sights.

At least I’d die unpuffy.

All of this is to say that I’ve not written in ages. But after the pickle incident I knew it was time. One can only, after all, watch so much TV–especially when such ruinous culinary conduct accompanies the endeavor. I have, since my last post, consumed not only many high-sodium foods, but also six seasons of Sons of Anarchy, half a dozen episodes of “Downton Abbey,” and an hour and a half of “Girls.” Before I start watching–or should I say shooting up–whatever brilliant entertainment comes next, I’ve got to break the cycle. I am becoming a TV junkie. A VOD fiend. The Sid and Nancy of Amazon Prime.

You may say I’m being hard on myself. After all, I’m just doing what most people do, right? This is the American Way! I work hard, I have a plethora of responsibilities, my days are full and dizzying. This gives me leave to vegetate at the end of the day. I’ve earned it. I have sold, clientelled, fundraised, cooked, cleaned, shopped, swept, laundered, counseled, bathed, and entertained. I have played “babies” with my daughter for hours. I have read multiple dinosaur books. I have walked the dog, fed the cat, made the bed. I have stain-treated, book-clubbed, bill-payed, friend-helped,  thank-you-card written,  photo-uploaded,  battery-charged,  filter-changed,  customer-service-called,  paperwork completed, password updated, breakfast-dish-washed, lint-filter-cleaned, and toilet-scrubbed for dozens of waking hours. I have fulfilled my responsibilities. No one in my charge has gone unattended. I am done.

The last thing I want to do now is concentrate. On anything.

So I watch. And watch. And man, it feels good.

But then I think of my readers, the few, the quirky, the persistent. And the historians, the ones for whom I claim to write. And my daughter, for whom I really do. And I know I need to put. Down. The. Remote.

For just five minutes.

So I have done it. Bravo! I will again tomorrow, if I can. And the day after. For if I don’t I’ve left nothing behind. Nothing. Except some empty jars, a crumpled napkin, and the scattered palpitations of other peoples’ stories. Rape? In the servants’ quarters? How could it be???

Anyway. I’m back.

And now I’m going to go watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire. Just one. Heck, I’ve earned it.

Pickle, anyone?

To Done, 12/1/13

  • On early shift. Woke up at 6:30 with MJ. Gave her breakfast, read half of “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs.” Played six rounds of Candyland. Won more than I would’ve liked.
  • Fed both animals.
  • Put in a load of laundry.
  • Did breakfast dishes.
  • Said good morning to Mike. Apologized for forgetting to make his coffee.
  • Still didn’t make it.
  • Swept part of living room.
  • Stripped bedroom sheets.
  • Put in another load of laundry.
  • Showered.
  • Got dressed.
  • Went to put on makeup. Found cat in the toilet, where he finds his happy place.
  • Took cat out. Dropped him on floor.
  • Realized toilet was filled with pee.
  • Tried to clean up. Promptly stepped in cat-wet floor in stocking feet.
  • Realized I did not have time to change.
  • Said goodbye to Mike and MJ and ran out, cursing cat, in wet-footed haste.
  • Worked from 10:00 AM to 6:30.
  • Raced home.
  • Changed clothes.
  • Put MJ to bed.
  • Had quick dinner with Mike.
  • Washed dinner dishes.
  • Switched laundry again.
  • Worked on raffle tickets.
  • Checked weather for the weekend. Worried in spite of good forecast.
  • Wrote 23 e-mails re Saturday’s fundraiser.
  • Made a double batch of candycane cookie batter for same.
  • Talked on phone to girlfriend about her romantic problems. Her boyfriend is allergic to her cat. Told her I am allergic to mine. Or at least my feet are.
  • Put batter in fridge.
  • Checked weather for Saturday again. Still worried.
  • Wrote 21 more fundraiser-related e-mails.
  • Shooed persistent racoon away from front porch so dog would stop growling.
  • Walked said dog.
  • Checked child.
  • Put cat in back room. Away from all toilets.
  • Left pantyhose soaking in Woolite.
  • Checked weather.
  • Went to bed.
  • Worried some more.

Picture 3

To Do or Not To Do

Who says grownups don’t have homework? We’ve got a shitload. And there’s no blaming the dog if we don’t get it done.

I’ll speak for myself. I can’t catch up. If life were a graded class I’d be scrambling for a D.

These days, with work added in, I feel unbelievably swamped. Because everything now must be squeezed into the four days when I’m home. Or the parts of those days, that is, when MJ is not demanding my undivided attention to make up for my absence the rest of the time.

Which boils down to about, oh, forty minutes a day. Into which I try to squeeze the numberless quotidian duties of a modern mom, wife and homeowner. Plus:

The fundraising. It’s always on my mind. Always. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Or the committee chairmanship. How, I ask myself, will I raise thirty thousand dollars for my kid’s school? How? I lie in bed at night worrying. Plotting. Despairing. When I finally fall asleep, I dream about car washes, bake sales, ebay auctions, bank robberies. Only the latter is effective. Because it’s carried out by three-year-olds, with sticks for guns. Riding on bananas. Who’s gonna say no to that?

Then I wake up. And we’re still at zero.

Anyway. Then there’s this blog. I love it. But it’s an obligation, too. Self-imposed, but aren’t most of them?

Next: the garden. Jesus Christ, what a time suck. A while ago, in a fit of impatience and shortsightedness, I had Mike tear out the sprinkler system. Now everything has to be watered by hand. Every other day. Because it’s 150 degrees out there. Plants wilt easily. So do people. It’s a drag. And it takes seventeen hundred hours. I hate it. But I hate looking at bare dirt, too.

Next: the lunches. If we don’t pack those the night before, the morning is a disaster. Even under the best of circumstances our days begin frantically. God forbid we should add in one more task. Especially one involving mayonnaise.

Then there are the phone calls. To friends, family, insurance companies, tax assessors, veterinarians, doctors, handymen,  exterminators, board members, possible fundraising connections, old acquaintances whom I’ve been promising to call for years and haven’t and now they hate me.

And don’t forget the straightening. And straightening. And straightening. And dishwashing, laundry, bathroom cleaning, garbage emptying, sheet changing, doghair sweeping, toy picking up, dusting, organizing, mealmaking and melted-crayon-scraping.

Once all of the above is done (hah!) there’s the book club assignment. “Gone Girl,” at the moment. I like it. But I hate it more. Especially as it has to be done by Wednesday, and I still have 100 pages to go. Each of which will drip with venom, duplicity, and perfidy. Good for the outlook! Next book: “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

Speaking of positives. There is one homework assignment I love. It’s the postcards to Myra-Jean. These are crucial now. They are the sole reason she no longer bursts into tears when I tell her I’m going to work. They actually make her glad. Glad I’m going, so she can look for them. It’s that easy. Or so it seems. It probably isn’t. But it’s helping.

And guess what? I like drawing them. I do it the night before. It relaxes me. Crayons are a cooperative medium. Unlike life.

Anyway. I imagine her face as she finds them, her tapered finger pointing as she sounds out the letters “O-W-L,” her delight at the image of a favorite planet, her soft smile as Mike reads my words. This makes me happy. I need no dog here. Nothing to snatch away this highest and most pleasurable of tasks: the lightening of my daughter’s day. I love it.

And it makes me feel better about everything else that’s been left undone. At least I’ve got my priorities right.

That and thirty grand will get me a decent night’s sleep.

IMG_0835

Happy Meal

Happiness is:

  • Hating your new co-workers a little less.
  • Coming home to find your daughter still awake, even though it’s an hour past her bedtime.
  • Being so excited to see her that you almost break your nose on her head as you embrace her.
  • Her being so happy to see you that she doesn’t even notice the collision.
  • Lying next to her in her wee bed, your feet hanging over the endboard, talking about her day.
  • The way she says, over and over again, “Mama. You came home.”
  • Her new painting–almost miraculously beautiful–of Mina and an octopus.
  • Finding that not only has your husband prepared dinner, but the plate waiting for you is covered with paper towel then plastic, so you will not ingest hormone-disrupting chemicals after microwaving.
  • Knowing that, since said husband is going out, you can eat the aforementioned plate at the table like a zombie while binge-watching “Orange Is the New Black” on your laptop.

It is incremental improvement, even when this seems impossible.

It is knowing that you don’t have to work tomorrow. Or you do, but at home. Your favorite place of employment.

IMG_0784