Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It's soup, not brain surgery

It's officially fall. I should be in Rhinebeck for NY Sheep and Wool, but since too many people think that being considerate of others is too much of a sacrifice, the festival was cancelled. 

Anyway, we're doing our part and staying home as much as possible. The weather has turned cooler, so my soup-loving husband has started demanding soup. Because I am a monster who twists his words in order to make his life miserable, I made broccoli soup. (We also had a gorgeous head of broccoli from our CSA. This thing was so massive and beautiful that I felt guilty about chopping it up. I am planning to make a casserole with cauliflower and kale tonight, because I love forcing him to eat foods that he hates. Also CSA.) 

Sharing this recipe because it actually was quite tasty. I feel guilty about making ya'll scroll through three paragraphs to get to the recipe, but hey, at least you won't be forced to close an intrusive video or a pop-up asking you to join my email list. Source recipe is at this link, with all sorts of shit to scroll through before you get to the recipe: broccoli cheese soup. This is what I did:

INGREDIENTS (amounts approximate; it's soup):
1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 onion, diced 
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups stock (I used water + mushroom bouillon)
4 cups milk (she used half and half, I prefer keeping that for my coffee)
1 giant head of broccoli, diced into bite-size pieces
6 small carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch
smoked paprika 
dry mustard powder
chili powder 
Big chunk of sharp cheddar cheese, grated (half a Costco-sized package)

Saute the onion in a little bit of butter until it makes you happy.
Add the garlic and cook a bit longer.
Add another whack of butter, and after it melts toss in the spices: dry mustard, smoked paprika, and chili powder. 
Let them bloom just a bit, then stir in the flour. 
Disclosure: I see no point in dirtying another pan in order to make a roux.
Add carrots now if you like them best when cooked into oblivion, like I do.
Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly. (I used a spoon rather than a whisk.)
Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.
Allow mixture to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.
While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli. 
When the giant head of broccoli is in small pieces, dump that in.
Simmer until the texture of the broccoli makes you happy. 
While the soup is cooking, grate the cheese if you aren't using the pre-grated stuff. 
Dump in the cheese, stir until it's melted and integrated.

I was just told that if I ever have to "get rid of" more broccoli, this soup is an acceptable way to do it, but it needs a sandwich as a side. Or maybe the soup is the side. Whatever. I ate the leftovers, so I don't care what he thinks. (Yes, I am pissy. I was watching a livestream on my tablet and he walked upstairs to tell me he was thinking of buying a projection tv thing so I could watch livestreams on a 100" thing. I don't think he even realized he was interrupting something. So he's getting cauliflower and kale for dinner.)

And hey, it's the end, let me share an ugly picture of the soup: 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Realization! And random nostalgia shit.

Tonight was a fundraiser for the Cuyahoga County Public Library. I signed up to attend as soon as I saw the announcement. CCPL is the best, and a fundraiser where I stay home? I'm all in. 

When I added the event to our calendar, I told my husband that we were going to the event and by going I meant that I would pick up ingredients and we would watch the presentation and cook at home. He was on board as soon as he reached the second part of the sentence. Neither of us is a big fan of gala dinners, and you would have to pay us a LOT of money to convince us to attend one during a pandemic. (They showed a few clips of groups and that made me nervous. For all I know the groups may be quaranteams/pods, but that wasn't clear and I don't trust anyone.)

Anyway, I picked up our box of ingredients today. Since I've been vegetarian forever, I saw no point in taking the included chicken home. I stopped by a friend's house and we had a lovely socially distant visit in her front yard. She's one of the kindest people I know, and I need to make an effort to see her more often. 

She laughed at me when I told her that I don't enjoy dinners with people I don't know. She doesn't quite believe me that I don't enjoy making small talk with strangers. Somehow she doesn't see how awkward I feel in situations like that. She asked how we became friends if I don't like talking to people.

Realization: The people I love most are all open about their passions. You don't have to spend much time with them before they tell you about the things they love - their pets, their partners, their hobbies, their studies - whatever it is they enjoy most. I've known for a long time that I don't like people who can't say anything nice about their family, chosen or otherwise, but hadn't made the connection that I love those who are loving. (And I should have - the other day I watched LeVar Burton tell Jacqueline Woodson that he loved her at the start of an interview, and then I told my husband that I love LeVar Burton. But who doesn't love LeVar Burton?)  Duh. 

She LOVES her cats (and books, and her family), and we met when she was looking for a home for a cat that I ended up fostering for a few days before taking him to his new people. He was a loving little boy, but feline ladies did NOT love him. Her girlcats hated him, and Zoey hissed at me after I snuggled with him when he was staying with us. He's happy and loved where he is, but I kinda wish I had forced Zoey to accept him. He's a lumpa lump of purring love, with the softest paws ever, and I miss him.

Life here is mostly the same, current events are stressful because we should know better than to elect toddlers and far too many people don't, but today I picked up books and last night's Quarantine Book Club started with the author saying, "Penises all the way down." Oh! I learned that CCPL will now be using Zoom rather than facebook for their author events. Which makes me VERY happy, because I have Feelings about facebook and avoid it as much as possible. Zoom has its own set of problems, but I'm not forced to witness my father's kool-aid consumption there. 

This morning I left the house (!) to pick up the food at the library, drop off the unwanted chicken, and stop by a bookstore to collect the books I'd ordered. Since recent news has been making me cry, I listened to music that makes me cry instead. Hence the random nostalgia shit part of the title.

My new car (did I tell everyone that I bought a new car last October? Trevor needed a new clutch, and after being held hostage at a local dealership I bought a 2017 Honda Fit from a dealership in Indiana. I called them from the Ohio dealership's office because I do not reward hardball tactics and if you leave me alone me long enough for me to call another vendor I will. I am a knitter, not a doormat.) has a USB port, and I use it. Duh. 

Anyway, I have a weakness for angsty late-90s dudes. (And maybe just angsty singers in general. Hmm.) I won't admit how many times I listened to this song today, but it was a lot. (Hint: I lost count.) I've gone into my personal history before (albeit not recently), so if you care to wander through my ramblings you'll find that my husband and I had a hiatus of a few years before deciding that yeah, we could possibly maybe might actually be compatible or something. This song was released when we weren't together and I was heartbroken, and it evokes all those memories. 

Anyway, I guess I'd rather be sad for personal reasons that I know were resolved than sad about things that I can do very little about. I will still do what I can, but I can't de-program those who have been brainwashed. Facts and reason and logic can't overcome fear, and critical thinking and empathy have become foreign concepts. 

And on that note, I should try to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a brew day, and I should make sure that some of the Special Brewing Underwear has made the journey from the dryer to the underwear drawer. The things we do for the people we love!

Friday, September 11, 2020

September and I'm trying to avoid work

At least a few of us missed that it was suddenly September. (Isn't that a song by the Motels? No? Suddenly Last Summer? Hey, google tells me that it's a Tennessee Williams play/film. Learn something new every day!)

Anyway, it's September. I'm still trying to do 12 things at once. Costco orders via instacart and standard delivery, work, finishing a book, copying down a recipe I want to make that I can't seem to find the tab for, thinking about another recipe I want to make but need to look up because we've ended up with a ridiculous amount of sweet corn in the fridge, drafting this post, trying to avoid twitter because the randomness that it provides is the sole thing that can hold my attention oh hi there you are again tweeps, scowling at a dude I occasionally have to deal with whom I seriously dislike because he changed something he probably should have changed but I feel like I'm being blamed for not having the information that is inside his head, listening to new albums by Oceanator and Girl Friday, time to read another chapter because this book is far too prescient and I'd like to return it to the library today, scowling some more because simpering dude is simpering and I hate it, and oh, I really ought to drink more because I can feel that I'm dehydrated, and maybe I should delete the commas because they make this run-on sentence slightly more coherent and stream-of-consciousness leads to beautiful things like there is a ceramic cow smiling at me except the cow isn't here it was somewhere I was babysitting decades ago and now I don't think anything is smiling at me, I should probably eat something because it's after lunchtime and where's my calendar, wondering if nextdoor has been taken over by bots because all of the "hi I'm xxx and it's nice to meet you" messages are baffling and slightly unsettling, fuck you dickhead, I hate that people with food blogs think I want to hear all about their kids before I look at the recipe that caused me to click their link, and my email inbox is overflowing and I know my voice mail is full but I can't bring myself to clean it out, I should probably do something productive like clean the bathroom or empty some of the boxes that have accumulated by the front door and dear Bob my workspace is a disaster but decision paralysis is a thing and I am overwhelmed with everything that needs done and maybe I'm not actually doing as well as I thought I was.

Anyway, Zoey is very serious about high fives, at least when treats are involved.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

Books and things

We're still here, having ridiculous arguments about how he'd rather me chop up peppers and make burritos than stuff peppers because he'd rather have me do the work of cutting peppers for him but he draws the line at me pre-chewing his food because he's not a Ferengi. Also whether fruit, yogurt, and granola should be consumed for lunch or dinner. And that store-bought tortillas shouldn't be stacked because that causes them to stick together. As if they aren't already stacked in the stores. Oh, apparently I should chop vegetables so he can use them to make lunch because he's incapable of using a knife or something. Except he doesn't trust me when I have a knife in my hand because I am clumsy and might stab him. Whatever.

Anyway, apparently the way to encourage me to read is to give me a new stack of library books. Back in March, I checked out all of the books being held for me right before everything shut down. And then my reading rate decreased. When the library opened for returns/drive-thru pickup at the beginning of June, I only had 18 books to return and should have had at least 25. (Tangent: I caused traffic jams at two different library branches while returning and picking up books.)

Since then, I've been voraciously reading, partly as an attempt to stay below my allowed limit of checkouts. It hasn't really been working, but most of the library employees have been kind enough to give me however many books are on the shelf waiting for me. 

And since returns are being quarantined for at least three days, I have been obsessively refreshing my library account on the day books are due to be scanned back in, because apparently it's reassuring to watch the number of my checkouts decrease. I should do that now, brb. Nope, they're not scanned in yet.

Anyway, I should have been posting some flash book reviews but haven't. Y'all should read these books:
Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid
Docile, K.M. Szpara
Everywhere You Don't Belong, Gabriel Bump
Three Women, Lisa Taddeo
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, Michael Zapata
The Deep, Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes
Friday Black, Nana Kwame Adjeh-Brenyah
Saving Ruby King, Catherine Adel West
Real Life, Brandon Taylor
In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado

I do not suggest reading Station Eleven right before the world descends into a global pandemic. It's an excellent book, but reading about a deadly global flu was not reassuring during the early days of COVID-19. 

...And suddenly it's midafternoon, which means I should start on dinner. Later!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

It's July, and we're still mostly at home

Pandemic update! We are staying home most of the time, and that's fine with me. I will acknowledge that I spent a little bit of time knitting in my car in the library parking lot this week, but mostly I wanted to finish my row. Side note, I was thrilled when the library opened for drive-thru service. Apparently all I needed to get my reading mojo back was an infusion of new library books. 

I wanted to share that my primary issue with being married in the time of quarantine has been resolved: my husband now has his own coffee maker. The other day he said that he expected me to tell him that sharing my coffee really wasn't so bad. No. 

We still have to work on interruptions, as today I was spinning through a poetry class. 60 minutes, 55 of which I was being talked at, 5 in a breakout session when participation was required. He spent 57 minutes of the hour in the basement, but came upstairs and started talking to me during the small group bit. Thankfully I'd muted myself because spinning wheels are not silent, but his timing is still bad. Speaking of which, I need to grab a tiara because one of the eight things I am doing at this very moment is working. He'd asked for some sort of visible signal of when I was working, so I'm taking a cue from Mary Robinette Kowal. Also, she looks a lot like my sister in-law in that photo. 

What else? Since we don't leave the house, there's not much laundry other than underwear and pajamas, and we seem to run out around the same time. So that issue is mostly resolved. I can't say that we've given up on cleaning entirely, but we've found other distractions. Like spinning. Even though the Tour de France has been postponed, the Tour de Fleece is still happening, and I am spinning lots and lots of yarn. This is from the first week:

It's several hours after I started this, and I should probably get back to a book.  

Next day update: A laundry issue! Apparently he's brewing today and has particular underwear he likes to wear while brewing, and it's not clean. Shame on me. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Marital difficulties in the days of working from home...

...aren't all that different from pre-COVID times.

1. Coffee: I don't like sharing my coffee. My coffeepot makes the amount of coffee that I want to drink every day, and I don't like that my husband insists on drinking a cup every day. (It was bad enough when he only demanded coffee on Fridays and weekends.) Clearly this means that he should give up caffeine and leave it all for me, not that I should get over myself and just make more coffee. Duh.

2. Distraction: He has terrible timing. My focus isn't the greatest at the best of times, and it seems like every time I can concentrate for more than 30 seconds he comes upstairs and distracts me. Doesn't he know that I'm trying to do about eight different work tasks while also making a grocery list, deleting/filing personal emails, browsing Ravelry forums, and doing something else that's slipped my mind due to my lack of focus? Oh, yeah, swearing at the local idiots on nextdoor. Keep your cats inside, people!

3. Laundry: Inevitably, the day after I've done laundry, he will announce that something, often the shirt he is currently wearing, needs washed. It's not like we're going much of anywhere, so it's not usually as urgent as in the days before social distancing, but since I'm whining I might as well whine, right? Pass me the cheese, please.

4. Cleaning: Since we've been stuck at home, he's been cleaning and organizing the basement. This sounds like a good thing, right? No. Why? Because he found boxes of my stuff, and is forcing me to go through the piles of WTF from high school. So far I've found a bunch of random notes written during classes, many reminders of our inexplicable love for Mötley Crüe, two suicide notes from the same person (one ending with the statement that her decision was final but we'd talk about it during lunch; facebook informs me that she's still alive and well and hopefully less of a drama queen), and this beautiful piece of found art:

Perhaps someone will recognize this and tell me what it was in reference to.

So yeah. Waaaah. All in all, things aren't so bad. They could be a lot worse. I feel like I've made at least a few good life choices.

In other news, various music is bringing on ALL OF THE FEELS lately. I don't know if anyone cares, but I might ramble on about that in another post.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

I am a squirrel on speed.

Hi there! I keep meaning to document these Interesting Times on this page, but distractions (sourdough quilting cleaning sashiko books feline high-fives) abound. BRB, going to sew for a while. Whee, finally finished the stack of coasters that have been ready to assemble for months now.

Okay. Left you alone for a while while I baked my sourdough and knitted through a virtual happy hour. And then I don't even know. See above re: squirrel on speed. Spent some time today in the Forbidden Room, and found that Zoey missed me so much she curled up against the door to wait for me to come out. Poor lonely kitty. Anyway, the wire shelving I'd used for yarn years ago is now in the closet, and I have space for a glass cabinet that a friend is giving me.

Zoey was very happy that I hadn't been eaten by the Forbidden Room

And now it's several days (weeks? Weeks. Oops.) later, and I'm still scattered. The glass cabinet is in the no-longer-Forbidden Room and is nearly full of spinning fiber. I've made bagels, cookies, pita bread, and many round loaves with Cxaxukluth, my sourdough starter. More dough is rising, and I have starter set aside for peanut butter cookies. Oh, and I have blueberries for a blueberry pie. I've learned how to use the TV as a computer monitor (yay, wifi!), and really need to clean my glasses.

I've read a bit but not enough, and I definitely haven't been knitting or sewing or spinning enough. Found a crate of cross stitch projects that have been sitting around nearly-finished for something like a decade.

How is everyone dealing with everything being shut down? I miss the library, but am otherwise mostly doing fine. Lack of focus is a thing. Which means I should probably publish just because otherwise it will never happen. Also I need to knead some dough!