Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Before The Results Start Pouring In On This Election Day...

I predict...


I predict nothing.

I would love to be the one to say that sanity will be restored. It won't.

At best, the government will be a better mix than it has been for the last couple of years. Kind of like, "Ew, that broth is bland. Add salt! Ah, that's better."

It's still broth, though. No veggies in that soup.

Don't get me wrong--I do hope that at the end of the day we discover that the people overwhelmingly decided they would like to throw all the assholes out of congress and their respective state governments. That would be the absolute dream result.

We: "Are you an asshole?"

They: "Define 'asshole'."

We: "Oh, you know...the basic, 'we don't want no immigrants here,' 'why can't the homeless just get jobs', 'brown people just live off the government,' etc, etc..."

They: "Yer goddamn right I am!"

**virtual shovel to the face of the asshole, and on to the next**

(Side note: Shovel To The Face is my favorite movie comeuppance. Shovel To The Face, when it happens in a movie, is so physically devastating to watch, which is probably why directors only use that maneuver against bad guys. It stops them cold in their tracks and allows the good guy to get away--it halts the danger. The danger may recover, but the danger will be hobbled.)

But let's be real for a moment and say this: Even if every asshole up for re-election (or election) gets their asses handed to them in the polls today, there are still plenty of other assholes, who were not up for re-election to make trouble, and you better damn well believe they will make trouble.

So let's not cry any tears, of joy OR pain, over how it goes today. Let's understand that IF we do this thing, if we vote to get rid of assholes, that this is just Step 1 in a long recovery. Just like dieting, or, well, recovery, there will be times when we relapse. There will be times when we fail to quash some asshole in a state government position who gets away with some voter suppression legislation, or creates some law about how the carpet in abortion clinics must be a certain color or whatever bullshit they are pulling this week. We know we'll see those folks out there, from time to time, trotting out those old fear-mongering favorites, remixed for a still aging, panicking population made nervous by standing next to a Somali woman in line at Walmart.

We know those fucking guys are still gonna be screaming come Wednesday morning and well into the foreseeable future. 

So don't make the mistake of thinking today, Election Day, is an end to craziness. It's just the beginning.

But we have to start somewhere.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


I was filling out a form yesterday and one of the questions asked why I thought (insert thing I do for money) was important.

The field allowed for 250 words.

Would you cringe at the idea of summarizing your work into a 250 word description? Or do you have a job that is "I do X" with no emotion attached to the process or the outcome?

I went for it.

I used 4 paragraphs, 231 words.

I won't re-post it here, because I work for somebody and as long as I am taking their money, those things are their business and not yours, but there was a tone to that response that I wondered and worried about, after I hit the "Submit" button.

I wondered if I was too emotional, to philosophical, or too...impassioned, in my response. I really laid it on thick, Mission Statement style, and sounded like some shitty corporate weasel trying to make everybody feel good about the work they do at the annual Town Hall webinar. It was a true emotion while I was writing it, but after I sent it I felt a little queasy, like I knew someone was going to read that and roll their eyes so hard they would need help getting their fact un-stuck (never forget your mother's warnings!).

On any given Tuesday *I* would be the one rolling my eyes at the things I said. I would have looked at that and thought, "Oh dear gawd, give me a break. Are there donuts?" and passed it off as, yes, just something people say to underlings in a corporate environment to make them feel like any of this shit matters.

Let me be clear: None of this shit matters. If I stopped doing the work I do, you would not notice. If I had the means, I would retreat to the cabin up north and happily work part time at the local bakery/sandwich shop (which is fantastic, by the way--softest bread, ever, and that bowl of chicken and wild rice soup will keep you warm for days) if they'd have me.

Then I'd be all excited about a job.

I mean, come on, it's bread!

You would notice if there was no more bread.

I do what I do because I have a knack and they pay me well and that's kind of it, which sounds like I couldn't care less, but here's the thing: I'm loyal as hell. I am! Truly. However...my loyalty to my work is actually just my loyalty to my philosophy of work, in general--the current employer is the most recent recipient of my work ethic.

In my roundabout way, that's my means of saying it is OK to have a nerdy, impassioned answer for why what you do is important. If you think your job is dumb, you're probably right. It's dumb. It's not your job that is important, it's why you do that particular thing the way you do it, that is important.

I have been thinking a lot about my job, lately, and how all I do is sit around all day, doing things badly because that's how my boss wants them done, and thinking everything we are doing is crap but, the boss is the boss so that's how we are doing it and stamping my name on this work is making me look like shit. Filling out that form reminded me that...well...it isn't me. I do care. I just...don't care about this current thing and allowing myself to stay stuck in this place is bad for me.

As Quentin Crisp said: “It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.”

As it happens, my boss got a copy of all of our forms, though the boss wasn't the one asking the question. If he takes it as a hint to start a conversation about my future, that would be cool, and would inspire me to stick it out. If not, well...he's got a heads up that I need more. I'm impassioned, damn-it!

Maybe it will help him be less surprised when I ditch this gig and go bake bread in the woods.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Would Call This A Recipe Blog But The Recipe Is At The Top Of The Page And Most Of The Ridiculous Banter Is In This Title

You know how on recipe blogs they always tell that *hilarious* story about that one time they went to that one place and ate that one thing and fell in LOVE with the thing and made numerous attempts to recreate the dish at home and they detail all their failings in a very long, stretched out thing you scroll past while trying to find the actual recipe?

This is not that.

In fact, here's the recipe, right on the top of the blog! Who does that? Oh, and I sort of stole it from the back of a quinoa bag, so, there goes the bit about trial and error. Weird! I added my own touches and got it right, right away!

The Salad That I Live On In The Summer--I like to think of it as a classic Greek Salad plus quinoa and mint, so...tabbouleh, I guess? Make a huge batch and keep it in the fridge. As with all my "recipes", this is really loose in terms of amounts. If you like more, or less, of a particular ingredient, do what you like!

2-3 cucumbers, diced
6-8 large-ish cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bell pepper, diced (any color. You can also use those little snacker peppers if you have them)
1/2 of an onion, diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup Kalamata olives--how ever many you like
1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese, diced (If you do not do dairy, check out some of the cashew cheeses and see if you can find something that approximates the tangy goodness that is feta cheese--we found one at our local co-op that had no soy or sweeteners or dairy. You can also make your own vegan feta, but I'm not that ambitious)

Now...you can add some other cut up veggies to this. It's your salad. I am notorious for chopping carrots and celery into every damn thing! However, the ingredients above make up the classic Greek salad base. They also, very conveniently, help me use up the garden veggies that are in abundance relatively early in the season--those pesky tomatoes and cucumbers! If you have some zucchini sitting around, that's fine, but stay away from the stronger flavored stuff like kohlrabi.

Back to the salad ingredients:

3-4 cups of prepared and cooled quinoa. Do whatever it says on the package! Don't ask me, I have to read the package every time, too.

I have thought about this and found that there really isn't another grain I would use for this salad, but if you would like to try some and get back to me, the comments section is open.

There is nothing quite so satisfying after you've been standing around dicing vegetables for half a day (mild exaggeration) as stirring all the stuff together, so:

Stir all that stuff together.

Now we have to dress this thing, and here is another area where you can be flexible. Assume you'll want around a 1/2 cup of dressing, to start.

Do you have a bottled Greek dressing that you really like?

Use that.

Do you have a perfect Greek Salad dressing recipe that you've been using forever?

Use that.

Do you wish I would just give you an ingredient list for the stupid dressing?


I use:

1/4 olive oil
1/4 lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 TBS fresh)
2 TBS chopped fresh mint (optional, but very nice)

Pro tip I should have given you at the top: Stir the dressing together before you start chopping vegetables and let it sit on your counter so the dried oregano has time to flavor it. In fact, do this if you are using fresh oregano, too. Then right before you put the dressing on the salad, be sure to stir the dressing again and taste it to make sure you love it before you dump it all over those vegetables you slaved over.

OK, where were we? You have your dressing that you love, and you chopped all those vegetables and you slaved over a hot stove for like, 20 minutes, to make quinoa. You let the quinoa cool all the way. You stirred all the veggies and the quinoa together, and you put that dressing you love on top of that and stirred it in.

Are you done?

Sure. Be done.

Put a cover on that and throw it in the fridge. Pull it out in a couple of hours and taste to see if you'd like some more dressing, or salt, etc, on it--it should have a nice, not overwhelming, tang to it, from the olives and the cheese and the lemon juice. If you have found you have too much dressing, cure that problem by adding more cooked and cooled quinoa.

Wow, you're really good at this! You should write a recipe blog!