Thursday, October 16, 2008

If you're not outraged...'re not paying attention. This classic bumper-sticker nugget has long been a bone of contention between my mother and me...I think it's quite accurate, and she--well, I suppose she thinks it's accurate too, at base, since her argument is essentially that, since she can't function in a constant state of outrage, she's rather just not pay attention.

I can see her point. Right now I'm definitely pushing my threshold when it comes to's gone well past outrage into sickened horror, really. Probably, since I already don't eat fast food or industrial meat, I could safely have forgone the additional emotional burden of reading Fast Food Nation right now. Too bad Jacob gleaned it out of a box at the Thursday night auction and now I'm stuck reading it, sucked in and tangled up as it unveils new highs of awful.

Of course, I would have had plenty on my mind without worrying about schoolchildren eating the shit of diseased cattle processed by exploited illiterate illegal aliens and whatnot. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and a certain amount of (hopefully benign) parental neglect, I am finally beginning to feel like I actually understand the basics of the US economy and the banking system. Unfortunately, it's even more criminal, short-sighted, moronic, and, well, fucked than I suspected it was, only now I have the joy of understanding the mechanisms by which I and my loved ones in perpetuity have been fucked up the ass. My understanding has not yet, however, reached a level where I actually feel like I know what, if anything, I can do to protect myself and said loved ones from the clusterfuck, and so I feel obligated to persevere.

Because, you know, it wasn't enough that my mom has cancer, I haven't slept for more than four hours in a row (and usually much less) in well over a year, half my house is completely disarranged due to remodeling, I haven't been able to breathe through my nose at night in over a week, there's nearly a bushel worth of apples rapidly decomposing on the kitchen counter, and the check engine light just came on in the Subaru AGAIN (we just spent over a grand getting the other car back up to snuff, mind).

The hilarious part of all this is that I'm so used to being, as I put it to Mamma, "Six feet under and sinking" that at the moment my mood is predominantly hopeful--the remodeling didn't make enough progress for things to get cleaner, but it did make progress, the cancer is retreating rapidly without any of the standard, harmful allopathic "therapies", Evelyn's sleep habits are once again shifting from ludicrously awful to merely bad, and, most importantly for a dork like me, I'M LEARNING. Oh boy, upgrade me to "six feet under and rising"!

I really like learning, and I particularly like learning that promises to actually improve my life. I get really, really pissy when my access to said learning is blocked, which has been one of my biggest problems as a parent--reduced time means a reduction in time I can spend reading and dicking around on the internet learning new things. Last night was a really pissy time. Then Evelyn went to sleep and miraculously let me get up, and I proceeded to spend the next two hours watching this video series, which I highly recommend you also watch. I'm still working through it, mostly because of my utterly assy cable internet.

So, to sum up, watch the videos, including the video I linked to a few posts back, and read the news with a critical eye, and if you start to get completely dysfunctional thinking about a world full of malnourished children, old people freezing to death in their own homes because they couldn't afford to heat, families rendered homeless by foreclosure, etc., etc., then do what I do: remind yourself that, failing all else, it sure isn't boring.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yay fall

God, I love fall weather. And fall food. And that giddy pre-holiday, busting out the cool-weather wardrobe, starting to think about cocoa feeling.

Yesterday we started a 3-cabbage batch of plain red cabbage sauerkraut. We still have more cabbage though (by the time we're done, god only knows how much sauerkraut we'll have made, but we love it, and other people turn out to love it too when it's real and crisp and not canned or chemicalized), and I want to try some of the stuff from my deeelightful new book Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz. So the next batch will have dill weed and celery seed. Not caraway, though. After 25 years of disliking rye bread, last year I finally figured out that I like rye just fine, thanks, but I really don't like caraway. Which makes it one of the very, very few flavors I don't like...usually I dislike a food based on texture, and very little even at that.

So anyway, yay sauerkraut. And also I wanna make kimchee, so on Thursday at the swap I'll try and get a couple heads of bok choy off of a friend who's an organic farmer. Need ginger, though. I want to try freezing ginger...I hear it works well, and I love ginger, but generally don't use it often enough to keep fresh on hand, which has been very frustrating. And also also I wanna make some other fermented veggie, though I vascillate between a turnip and carrot mix vs. a beet and carrot mix. The beets sound lovely, but--and I know this is a bit silly--they'd dye the carrots red too and then the mix wouldn't be as pretty. Also, the author said that a batch of fermented turnips he made was one of his more popular experiments.

Obviously, this book has me...haha...all in a ferment. It's a really wonderful book...exciting, practical, readable, personable, and with a huge heart. What other book would start a section on winemaking with a recipe for "hooch", guest-written by a guy who spent 18 years in prison making booze on the sly? (Hint: it involves fruit cocktail and trash bags). Sandor wanted to make it clear that you don't need fancy equipment.

Also fall-ey is the fact that we've got fun stuff to go to every weekend of October...harvest fests big and small, mostly. I've actually lost track. Dang, do we ever need a calendar. I really, really meant us to have one this year, but we never actually bought one, so my list never got transfered and never made it past June...though I tell ya what, even what I did was enormously helpful and got referred to often. I just can't find a calendar that's everything I want. Which, considering the huge number of calendars out there, is pretty deeply lame.

Jacob magically made a drawer in the kitchen out of what used to be a fake drawer and some hardware he collected off the side of the road. Genius! So now we have a drawer for our maglite, LED headlamp, and batteries (and matches and candles once I get them in there). Happiness. Also, now that they're put together enough, I have confirmed that all of our gallon and half-gallon jars fit upright in the bottom drawers of the new cabinets. That revelation got an enthusiastic round of the Halleluia Chorus from me, much to Evelyn's amusement.

Eeee, I feel positively chirpy today. I swear I get Seasonal Affective Disorder in summer. I love fall so much. On the downside, chirpy doesn't make for coherent reading. So I'm'a gonna stop now.