An attempt to answer a question.

February 26th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Web - (0 Comments)

The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. It’s a rejection of science. It’s a rejection, really, of the foundation of Western civilization: yes, that paternalistic, racist, ethnocentric approach to knowledge that created the nuclear bomb, the Edsel, and New Coke, but which also keeps diabetics alive, lands mammoth airliners in the dark, and writes documents like the Charter of the United Nations.”

I got called a sadist on Facebook the other day. By a friend. Over Gamergate, of all things. I said I found humor in trolling feminists, and got asked how I “justify my sadism in light of (my) spirituality.”

I spent a few hours afraid that I was just too stupid to answer such a question. I mean, my motivations make perfect sense to me, but how to explain them in a way that doesn’t sound deluded or defensive or jaded?

But then I realized that I could easily answer it — if the audience were different. So I went into a particular chat room and announced, “I got called a sadist on Facebook for saying I think trolling feminists is funny,” and everybody laughed. I didn’t have to give context, I didn’t have to justify, I didn’t have to explain; they all totally understood.

I can troll feminists because feminism has succeeded. Women and men are equals; women are no longer special. They have to become worthy, just like males do, they’re no longer conferred worth at birth by virtue of their gender. This is what the genderlessness of the online community has achieved: everybody gets treated the same way, even if some of them are girls. (This is what Rule 16 — “There are NO GIRLS on the internet” — means. Everyone starts at the same baseline and has to prove themselves, rather than just immediately being granted value for possessing a vagina. There are no vaginas on the internet, either, only pictures of them.)

This is what I did today.

February 17th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Domestic Goddess | Work - (0 Comments)

In which it’s not much, but it’s what there was.

Hitting Snooze

I was scheduled to work a short noon-to-four shift today, which sucks because it’s too cold to walk and there’s no bus so I’d have to take two taxi rides. Which makes no sense if you’re only working four hours, because you’d spend nearly half your income for the day merely getting to and from work. I was considering spending an hour and a half at a nearby coffee shop to catch a ride home from my guy after, but then again, that would cost money too. So I hadn’t really decided yet.

When my alarm went off at nine, I hit snooze and realized my guy was still in bed and freaked out. “You’re–! It’s NINE! You–”

“I took the morning off,” he mumbled.

“Oh,” I said, and snuggled in and promptly went back to sleep. I hit snooze every ten minutes for awhile, then reset my alarm for 10:30. Screw having a relaxing morning with plenty of time to get ready and maybe get some chores done; I wanted to sleep.

When my alarm went off again I hit snooze one last time and drowsed, then got up and showered, dried my hair, dressed, made a latte, and scrambled some eggs with mushrooms and fake sausage. At twenty ’til I got onto the bed and whispered, “Will you drive me to work? Or should I take a cab?”

“Umnphh,” said the bundle of pillows and blankets. “I’ll take you.”

“Okay, thank you!” I told it, then went and scarfed down my breakfast in record time. Cheesy eggs are delicious.

The Walk

There’s a thing they do called “a walk,” which is when highers-up come and, well, walk around the store and tick checkboxes on clipboards. Walks are pre-announced, so the entire store freaks the fuck out in preparation for a few days. Walks of varying levels of intensity happen pretty frequently and are the main reason the weekend workshop schedule ever gets updated on the whiteboard in the foyer.

This is our third walk in as many weeks. When the last one happened, they made one of the returns girls clean the entryway carpet with a RugDoctor, which makes no sense at all because, one, that rug gets cleaned at least five times a week with a much better machine, and, two, there was ice and snow on the ground outside so the rug was lousy with salt and would be so again in minutes. And it was.

But who am I to argue with meaningless busywork. Why not RugDoctor some self-adhesive carpet squares stuck to a concrete floor right inside the salt-strewn entrance of a big box store in Minneapolis in January. Just WHY NOT.

Anyway, today’s walk was several hours late for reasons I never discovered. Which meant that, rather than being over by the time I rolled in at noon, it hadn’t even started.

Because God is good, right before the Service desk was surrounded by a herd of about fifteen corporate nerds in orange aprons and shoes completely inappropriate for a warehouse setting, plus at least as many local employees, creating a veritable crowd of humans staring right at my workspace, a cashier brought me a customer with a suspended revolving credit application and I got to seat myself and my customer at the desk and spend the entire Services portion of the walk on the phone on hold with the credit department.

In which I’m a domestic goddess.

When I got up this morning — and when I say ‘morning’ you should read ‘afternoon,’ because I didn’t get up until twelve-thirty — I already had dinner planned and was resolved to wash the bed linens.

I stretched lightly in bed, then got up and did a few more stretches on the floor. Then I opened the blinds, threw on some sweats, stripped the bed and filled the laundry basket.

In the living room, I opened the blinds and let the sunshine in. Then I booted up my laptop and the cube speaker and put on some contemplative chants. OM, bitches!

In the kitchen, I started up a small sink of dishes, washed the sauce pot, and put the soaking white beans on the stove to simmer.

The sun was shining in such a way that I was also forced to scrub the stove, the refrigerator, the counters, and the sink backsplash. (At night, when I usually do the dishes, the kitchen looks clean, but in broad sunny daylight it revealed itself to be a disaster. Like college kids live here. Ewh.)

So I got out that spray bottle of green stuff that smells kinda good and scrubbed stuff.

I even scrubbed the floor beside the stove, where a strip of greasy dirtiness has been accumulating for awhile. Ewh.

Eyeing the laundry basket in the hall where I’d dropped it on my way into the kitchen, I grabbed quarters out of the junk drawer and hauled the basket of laundry upstairs to the laundry room and got it started.

Then I made myself a latte, because that’s a damn good hour’s work, if you ask me.

I feel fantastic. I’m happy. This is the best. Somehow, the asshole program that schedules my store fucked up and gave me three glorious days off in a row, so I’m actually rested and my feet don’t hurt and I’m not irritated. I popped out of bed happy and ready to clear things off my domestic to-do list, and I’m doing chores because today I can do them with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction rather than fatigue and resentment.

This is how it’s supposed to feel.

No one will ever tell you that scrubbing the handle of the fridge door is profoundly fulfilling in and of itself, because it’s not, and neither is laundry or toilet scrubbing, but it does need to be done and it’s so much nicer to do it happily and easily rather than with that tinge of embarrassment and exhaustion you feel when you’re working full-time and it’s just gotten so bad you have to do it before the plumber comes over even though you’re too tired to care.

As someone who has spent more time unemployed in the past decade than you’re supposed to, I can tell you unequivocally that no, you never get bored of not having to go to work. You do not feel uninvolved or useless — broke, maybe, but not like your life has lost all meaning.

You never get sick of leisure time, of being organized, of being on top of your shit, of having energy to spend on yourself, on what you want. You don’t find that you miss making money for other people at the expense of having clean cupboards, or that you miss being stressed out about work over the enjoyment of your own home-cooked meals.

Anybody who tells you that you need to work in order to feel fulfilled is simply defending the fact that they have to work themselves. Beyond our bullshit shared cultural myth, there is no evidence that anybody likes working, that anybody likes putting their own needs and happiness on hold, instead spending nearly two-thirds of their life attending to a company’s cancerous needs instead.

When you’re working, that fridge door handle gets and stays dirtier because you just can’t be bothered. You do feel bad about it, because it’s gross and lazy to have food stuck to your fridge, but you just can’t afford to let it get onto your radar. There’s just too much stuff like that: the piles of junk on the floors of your closets, the wall in the living room that somebody sneezed all over during cold season that still needs to be wiped down, the linens that need to be aired out on the line before the fold lines become permanent, the fact that the duvet hasn’t been dry cleaned in years because you just never have both the time and the money to get it done.

The friends you don’t have time to really be there for. The volunteering you’re not doing. The creative urges you’re ignoring. The half-assed way you interact with your one and only family. The ways in which you would give if only you weren’t using that energy to get money to pay for the basics of living.

When you’ve never been unemployed, you’re aware of the things you’re not getting done and you feel lazy, like a failure, but you’re so tired and your house has never been that clean so it’s normal for you. You assume other people get their duvets dry cleaned more than once a decade and that they probably have tidier closets than you, but you don’t really know.

But then you spend a few stints being gloriously unemployed and eventually you discover a wonderful thing: a mental and physical place in which you finally get rested up enough to tackle all the stuff on your mental domestic to-do list, and you get it done easily and without strain, and you’re organized and rested and happy and you feel useful and fantastic.

And also resentful, because you know this shit is important, but your culture doesn’t value it. It just judges you for not being able to work full-time and be an excellent housekeeper.

You know it’s important to take care of your linens so that they last a long time and you’re not wasting money on replacements. You know it’s important to cook thoughtful, thrifty, delicious meals and eat at home, for health and financial as well as psychological reasons. It’s important to keep your home clean and coherent and organized, for mental and physical health reasons and because knowing where things are and being able to easily get to them could be important in an emergency.

But nobody will pay for all this stuff, so it’s not valuable. Important, yes, but absolutely not valuable. You’re supposed to do these things on the side, for free, around your “real” job of making money for other people in return for just enough to pay your rent. But everybody will understand if you don’t get them all done, because they’re not valuable to anyone. Except you, and even you don’t care enough to handle it, right?

So work that job and let your linen rot; you can buy new. (Actually, it’s better for the economy if you replace everything all the time, right? Isn’t that the model we’ve decided upon: infinite growth and infinite waste?) Eat frozen dinners and bad restaurant food, and to hell with your health. Try to prevent anybody, ever, from looking into your closets or cupboards; you have every intention of organizing them as soon as you have time, but right now they’re just embarrassing.

Spend most of your waking hours feeling vaguely angry, lazy, and behind on things. Your social life, your creative life, your societal service goals. Hell, you haven’t studied something just to know it since you got hired. Realize that, for example, the Japanese have more savings and less expectation of free time than you do, and proceed to feel guilty about deciding to spend your entire day off on the couch, unbathed, with chores left undone. After all, chores can wait. They’re not valuable. Nobody cares if every house in America is dirty.

If nobody’s willing to pay for something, it doesn’t matter. Period. While organized closets are impressive, they’re not valuable. Society has decided that the accumulation of money under any circumstances is more important than a nation of organized, clean homes with good food and happy people in them. (Some people do pay other people to organize their closets, but that doesn’t do me any good. What I’m talking about is me organizing my closets, which involves no financial transactions.)

I resent that my culture so little values things I think are important. I hate that our laundry isn’t done, that I don’t have a freezer full of homemade food, and that the front closet is a mess. I resent being too tired nearly all of the time to cook and clean to my own standards. I resent working for pay, while the work I feel is important — clean house, good attitude, good food — has no value to my society and therefore nobody pays me for it. So I blow it all off in favor of making money for white men I’ve never even met in return for a non-living wage, a shitty schedule, and a mild but permanent sense of enraged failure.

Do you know how many times you have to be unemployed before you quit trying to tell yourself you’re unfulfilled? Do you know how long it takes to recover from full-time employment (of any kind, from crappy wage-slave jobs to engineering jobs you’re genuinely interested in) enough to feel good and spontaneously do things just because you want to?

Once I took a road trip with a group of home-schoolers. One of the moms told me it took, on average, six months — nearly an entire school year — for any child pulled out of public school to become authentically interested in learning again. After that, given the resources, they’d teach themselves, she said, “because everyone loves to learn. It’s just part of human nature.”

After about six months of post-layoff sloth and debauchery, you start doing chores. Without resentment. For the sake of having a clean closet alone, and not to please those voices in your head that tell you you’re a lazy fuck with shamefully dirty closets. You volunteer to help others not because you’re rich, because you’re not, but because you can do so joyfully. You read more non-fiction, you pick up your guitar one afternoon (the one you haven’t taken out of its case in three years), you bake fresh bread, you simmer pots of beans on the stove all day long, you spend all the time you want with your friends, you actually do your devotions regularly, your sheets are clean. No, you do not feel useless or unfulfilled. You feel like an actual human being. Just a fairly broke one.

And then your benefits run out. You take the first job you’re offered and you’re back on the treadmill, eating bad restaurant food and in your fatigue cutting all the non-essentials. All you can maintain is the job, about a third of your previous social life, and one hobby. Everything else goes, including the volunteering, the cooking, the knitting, the cheerfulness and the dusted ceilings.

Working does not give me a sense of accomplishment. It does not give me a sense of meaning, of usefulness, or of value. It just makes me tired, angry, and a poor member of society (unless you define “society” as that mechanism that wants me to eat restaurant food and buy new linens/consume medical services and have no savings). I’ve had some great jobs, too. Engaging, pleasant, with a learning curve and functional HVAC.

But regardless of the job, you’re still putting much your life on hold in order to make someone else rich. (Once in a great while you’re putting much of your life on hold in order to keep a group of people in your community employed, true, which is for the greater good and therefore of greater value. But most of the time? You’re busting balls to grow some dude’s wealth, and he does not give a fuck about the community the business operates in because he lives somewhere else.)

I make much less than I did at my last job, and I work much more. And not in a quiet newsroom sitting at a desk, either: in a concrete warehouse with shitty lighting. I’m always tired. My feet always hurt. When I’m not at work I don’t want to do anything but sit on the couch, drink wine, and read fiction or watch Hulu. I don’t even want to run to the grocery store with Scott to grab tomatoes and ginger; I don’t want to leave the apartment. (Part of that is the weather, of course — it’s been between minus ten and positive ten for awhile now, which is, in my opinion, shitty cold — but the bulk of it is the kind of fatigue the overwhelmed suffer.) I cook — not enough, but some — because it’s the hobby I’ve decided to have energy for.

Most of my internal monologue is about shutting the fuck up and not being such a horrible baby. It’s about how half the women I work with are older than me and closer to clinical obesity, and how their health is poor and how they work more hours than I do without half — I assume — of the rage I feel.

About how I’m an entitled little twat who needs to check her fucking attitude; how their feet must hurt even worse than mine and how their bathrooms are probably cleaner. How the corporate model basically has bullshit built into it, sure, but everyone else seems to be okay with it. How the fault is all with me and how I’m the angriest person I know and how because of all these flaws I don’t deserve anything better.

And about how I should be grateful to have any form of human social interaction at all, because there’s no other way to meet people in the Midwest in the dead of winter. How I’d never get any physical exercise at all if I didn’t work where I do. How working there takes the place of being in a band in terms of the noise, discomfort, heavy lifting, and performance (being in a good, cheerful, helpful mood for customers and co-workers, when in actual fact you just want to tell everyone to fuck the fuck off because only idiot white people with disposable income think that spending money on 85% of the shit in the store isn’t the epitome of stupidity).

But those last are the lies we tell ourselves in order to get by. I’m mad because that kind of work FUCKING SUCKS and the pay is AWFUL. I’m mad because the environment sucks, the lighting sucks, the noise sucks, the model (of using people like my co-workers and myself to make some fucktards somewhere rich) sucks, and because I and my fat co-workers would probably be much less fat if we just had time to cook at home. I’m mad because these are things we should all be mad about that my entire culture tells me not to even notice, or when I do notice it to blame myself.

Because if I were an inherently better person I’d have more self-discipline, more gratitude, and enough energy to get all this shit done. All the working, all the customer service, all the worship, all the writing and singing, all the cleaning, all the laundry, all the cooking, all the toilet scrubbing, and all the Hulu-watching.

But today? Today was my third day off in a row, and the sun shined, and I have a clean kitchen and clean bedding and dinner’s simmering on the stove and my favorite person in the world will be home soon.

And I want to be grateful for the contrast that makes this gratitude so strong, and I don’t want to borrow trouble from the future — I’m scheduled to work the next six days in a row and I have to be at work at six o’clock in the damn morning tomorrow — but right now, right this moment, life is perfect. I feel good, I’m happy, and the ills of the world — with its shitty weather and corporate greed and toxic American diet — are locked safely outside our cozy little brick building.

We’ll eat homemade food and sleep on clean sheets tonight. We have all the electronic gadgets and entertainment subscriptions we could ever want. We have slippers and fuzzy blankets and a candy jar. We have each other.

Life is good.

In which I watch TV, cook, and hang out online. (WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THIS RIVETING CONTENT, I ASK YOU.)

Hi. Welcome to my day off. It’s pleasantly sunny outside, although the high is still ONLY ZERO DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. I am wearing sweats. They’re grey. The hoodie sports the logo of Scott’s alma mater. Because college sportsball or something. He gave it to me. I have no idea, to be honest, why anybody would have a college hoodie years after graduating, but that’s just me.

OTOH, maybe I should locate and buy an MIU (er, MUM now, I guess) hoodie. Because LOL MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT. I had a navy MIU hoodie with the logo on in gold foil; I wore the shit out of that thing. WHEN I WAS A STUDENT THERE.

I have a pot of quick-soaked kidney beans simmering on the stove. Eventually they’ll become rajma masala. I have a cabbage in the fridge and that’ll become cabbage thoran. I’m also intending to make tomato-onion raita, but we’ll see. I’m out of fresh ginger so I don’t know if it would be worth the effort without it.

I’ll probably serve Scott a steak and a potato. He eats Indian food but there’s a steak in the fridge that shouldn’t be allowed to go bad.

Christmas flowers

I slept until nearly eleven, then got up and rearranged some flowers. As you do when you’re living in a Victorian novel, or, apparently, my life. Had coffee. (I get Turkish-ground espresso at Big Lots, a used food/dollar store, for super, super cheap. Which means I drink fantastic coffee; much better than any of the crap you’ve had at a coffee shop in the past decade.) I ate some leftover homemade kichdi I’d pulled from the freezer the day before.

Then I got my laptop, put it on the lapboard, and settled my fat ass into the couch. HELL YES, DAY OFF. I’m not even going to make the bed or do that load of laundry I should do. I’m going to cook a little, but that’s it. Swear to God. I don’t even care that the garbage needs to go out, because it’s so fucking cold I’d have to get fully dressed to avoid death between my apartment and the dumpster. Fuck that. Been watching old movies on GetTV all day and surfing social media like an asshole. It’s what you do when you have no actual social life.

Wrote a long response to a Facebook post… a girl I knew in college is now a grown-up mom who writes for The Atlantic, and she asked, without irony (I paraphrase), “Why the phrase ‘making their kids organic baby food’ is used to indicate privilege or elitism.” I laughed, because I thought it was a joke, but then I read the responses from other moms she knows and realized that it wasn’t a joke. They were all genuinely miffed that people make fun of them and, even worse, consider them entitled and/or wealthy, when they know how hard they work and how little their portfolios are worth. They’re not privileged! Those blenders don’t wash themselves, nor do those organic bananas buy themselves!

I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote my response for nearly an hour, because I wanted to get the point across (“only an elitist — someone with money to waste, in other words, who wastes it mainly to maintain an identity — would ask something like that, dear”) without sounding like a complete dick. I hope she doesn’t get mad, but seriously: popping an organic banana into a blender because you just KNOW it’s SO MUCH HEALTHIER than, say, a jar of Gerber’s? Really? Do you have any evidence for this at all?

Um, no. No, you don’t. And poor people know this, because they’re not stupid, just poor.

And how can you not understand how wealthy you are? You have: a house, electricity, the money to buy organic bananas, and the time to make your own organic baby food. Fuck yes you’re lucky. One might say elite, even. I personally know moms just as educated who work two jobs and just don’t have the money to shop organic produce or the time to prepare and feed it to their kids.

Eh. I’m paraphrasing a Facebook interaction on my blog. Holy shit. Apparently I don’t have a life.

One of the people in my department at work is transferring to another store, so guess what? I’m working 33 fucking hours a week again. It had gotten as low as 24 and I was really stoked, but apparently that’s over. Again.

I like the people. The work is okay. I FUCKING HATE THE HOURS. WITH A BURNING PASSION. I’m expected to blithely be available from 6AM to 9PM every single fucking day, and to not care when I have only nine hours off between shifts? Are you fucking retarded as well as greedy, corporate America?

I’m hoping my Comcast friend will give me tele-work, because I really don’t want to stay where I am until May even if I am beginning to make friends with my co-workers and they’re all pretty awesome people.

Anyway, I’m cooking stuff now so off I go. I’d write more interesting posts, but I’m just not that interesting these days. You know how it is, first year with a new man, you just hole up and snuggle and coo at each other, and literally no one wants blog posts about THAT.

A day off from my awful retail job.

December 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Life - (1 Comments)

In which it’s Friday for most, but Saturday for me.

I slept until noon, because today is my day off. As I was slowly drifting awake, I planned my day. Here’s what happened.

Intention: Get up, pee, do yoga. Make tea. Make the bed. Dress. Sit and meditate. Sort the laundry. Then have a spa day, complete with mud mask and foot soak. Shave and moisturize. Put on a cute but comffy outfit, and maybe some mascara. Be mindful and grateful and inwardly full in a tidy apartment while looking clean and soft and cute.

Actuality: Get up, pee. Make and drink a latte. (So far, so good!)

Eat cold, leftover curry out of the pan in front of the laptop looking at meaningless shit on the internet. (Um, need to meditate here in a bit.) Put the dishes away and take some broth out of the freezer. (Yes. So domestic!) Sit on ass in front of Facebook.

Let the UPS guy into the building. Sit on ass in front of Facebook. Chat with Embo about zits, burritos, and baking soda online. Move a box that needs to ship, but don’t actually tape it shut or put an address on it or anything. Realize it’s already starting to get dark and you haven’t even made the bed.

Pour a cocktail, because fuck it. Turn on the tee-vee and find an old movie station; marvel at the red lipstick and wish you had lips. Sit on ass in front of Facebook. Wonder if Scott will be able to pick the truck up from the shop tonight so you can get him to take you out to dinner or, even better, go get carry-out, so you won’t have to cook. Sit on ass in front of Facebook.

Consider the things you could have accomplished, shrug, and smile, because you have a cute little Christmas tree, your favorite person will be home in an hour, and you have tomorrow off, too.

You can do chores when you’re dead.

Full English

December 6th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Food - (1 Comments)


This meal makes no sense.

I mean, it’s basically bacon and eggs and toast, which is pretty normal, but then there’s tomato, mushrooms, and… beans? And the toast isn’t toasted, it’s fried.

It makes no sense, at least, until you read some very, very old cookbooks and discover “sops,” which are pieces of (one assumes) stale bread, revitalized by frying in fat, and over which is poured broth or stew or whatever. After you learn about that, the British whatever-over-toast thing begins to make more sense. And so somehow the inclusion of beans begins to almost make sense, too.

Except it doesn’t, really, because what the hell do beans have to do with toast? I mean, why on Earth do the English eat beans on toast? But then you eat a Full English breakfast and realize that HOLY SHIT BEANS ARE GREAT WITH EGGS AND BACON AND FRIED BREAD AND A GRILLED TOMATO AND SOME MUSHROOMS and that THESE BRIT NERDS ARE BRILLIANT.


Now, as a vegetarian, there’s no hope in hell of my ever getting a Full English at a restaurant, because even with the general acceptance of vegetarianism there’s never any fake bacon on menus. (Except maybe in some funky little diner in Eugene, OR, but they’d probably be fucking vegan or some shit and butter is essential for basting the eggs.) So I have to make my own.

This morning we slept right through noon and nearly until two o’clock in the afternoon. I got up and started doing dishes and sent my beloved off to the store for eggs. When he got back we had breakfast and it was GLORIOUS!

And then a couple hours later it was dark already. Which is kind of depressing, but the sleep felt great.

I found instructions for making a Full English somewhere on the internet. Basically, you cook the meat first and then remove it to a plate. (Which is what I do for Ader. In my own pan, I use butter and oil to fry my fake meats.) Next you fry the veggies in the fat with liberal applications of salt and pepper. Then you pull them out and fry the eggs “with a knob of butter,” which you spoon over the eggs to set the yolks. After the eggs are on the plate, you fry your bread in the remaining fat, plate it, add a scoop of simmering beans, and serve.

Truly the ugliest, heartiest, greasiest, most delicious breakfast EVER. Of course, the Brits use baked beans, but I just use whatever I have. Because I’m American. And vegetarian. And I use Ezekiel bread instead of white. And I’ve already bastardized the meal so much that the wrong beans hardly matters.

Point is, the eggs are amazing, basted in fat and butter as they are, and the beans are better than potatoes, somehow, and the fried bread is fucking glorious, and the tomato and mushroom is the most amazing accompaniment, what with being all juicy and tasty, and like I told Scott I could probably eat this meal twice a day for a week before getting bored of it.

It’s still pretty awesome with potatoes, but not quite as good. You really want some white or chili beans to make this bitch sing.

Things to be thankful for.

November 27th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Holiday | Love & Marriage - (1 Comments)

In which there is no irony in this post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night we stayed up late enjoying Christmas movies and adult beverages and this amazing hot spinach-artichoke dip we made somewhere around midnight. It was AMAZEBALLS. (Click the pic for a link to the recipe.)

Then we slept and snuggled until well past noon and had more of the dip, along with a relish tray, for ‘breakfast.’

(The Thanksgiving greeting cards on the table are from our moms. Because family.)

Then we lounged about and enjoyed sportsball (excuse me, that’s SPORTSBALL!!1!, I believe) and classic Christmas cartoons (Donald Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale in the snow!), then we started on making dinner with some potato scrubbin’. We get along great in the kitchen. Here’s the whole day’s menu:

Our Official 2014 Thanksgiving Menu

Stuffed celery, radishes, olives, deviled eggs, crackers, cheeses
Spinach-artichoke dip with baguette

Tofu ‘steak’ for me
Beef steak for Scott

Gravy (meatless)
Mashed potatoes and parsnips
Lemon-garlic Brussels sprouts

Apple crisp with oatmeal streusel
Vanilla gelato

Cranberry vodka and sodas
Tater skins

And since this holiday is about not just gratitude, but food, here’s more food porn:

Scott’s plate:

Gravy (turned out weird but edible) and the mashed potatoes and parsnips, also weird:

Tater skins! OMG so good!

Cranberry-vanilla vodka and soda (again, click the pic for the recipe):

And now, right now, as I write, the apartment smells like heaven because there’s an apple crisp with oatmeal streusel in the oven!

We’ve had a wonderful day, the two of us, enjoying cooking and eating and companionship and so much to be thankful for today. We’re warm and safe and blessed, and have had a really quiet and comfortable day of abundance and each other. Not to mention the polar vortex and that having had the oven on so much has kept the furnace from even kicking on once.

Now we’re watching an old Danny Kaye Christmas Special (Dinah Shore! Lena Horne! Bing! Bob Hope! Jimmy Stewart! Satchmo!) and waiting for the apple crisp to cool.

And so, with full hearts and from a warm apartment, Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!


November 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Weather | Whining - (2 Comments)

In which it fucking snowed.

Fucking SNOW.

And frozen ponds and sub-freezing temperatures. It’s not even Thanksgiving! WHAT HAVE I DONE.


October 26th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which there are pictures.

On Friday I worked for 6 hours and got a flu shot. Then I ate this adorable lunch.

On the way home, I stopped and bought these flowers to go along with the orange lights and pumpkin that my beloved had already brought home.


When Scott got home after work, we went out and got burritoes from Pancheros and brought them home to eat them.

And then the flu shot hit, and there was coughing and chills and aches and pains and I spent the next eight hours wishing I was asleep much more often than I actually was. It was utterly fucking miserable. It was exactly like having the flu and just as painful, it just didn’t last as long. I woke up at around 1:30 in the morning and was completely well, save for some residual muscle soreness.

Saturday we slept in well past noon, had a yummy big breakfast at home, lounged around for a few hours, then went on something of a shopping spree: Namaste Plaza for dals and spices, then a few dollar stores and a discount clothing place for shoes for Scott, Cub for a few groceries, Target for dice and a game.

Our Saturday night looked like this.

Yahtzee! Ten Thousand! Deer in the Headlights! Adult beverages! It was super fun. Scott won every single game we played because he’s mean.

Sunday, I worked from 9 to 1 as greeter at Home Depot, because OH HOLY SHIT I’M NOW THAT OLD LADY SAYING ‘GOOD MORNING’ TO YOU WHEN YOU WALK INTO A FUCKING HOME DEPOT ON SUNDAY MORNING BECAUSE YOU’RE A WEALTHY WHITE FIRST WORLDER WHO NEEDS TO BUY PAPER BAGS TO PUT YOUR LEAVES INTO. (Seriously, though, the astonishing waste of this country. We take perfectly good land, plant grass on it, then have to rake up the fallen leaves (which would otherwise turn back into lovely new dirt) and put them into bags manufactured for the purpose. Good God.)

Yeah, today I was a greeter. I have no idea how this happened, but there it is. I’m that old now.

When I got home I made a pot of chili and a pan of cornbread.


We ate chili and cornbread. And then we took a nap.

The end!

In which there’s a recipe for soup, because I want to know EXACTLY WHERE THIS IS and not have to read a dozen other recipes again the next time I decide to make soup for Scott.

I haven’t eaten chicken noodle soup for a few decades, probably, but I remember the Campbell’s and Lipton versions: bright yellow, thin, with itty bitty cubes of meat. Not really all that great. Certainly didn’t evoke feelings of wholesomeness or profound nutrition.

Then, a couple of months ago, Scott said he thought he was coming down with something and I told him I’d make chicken noodle soup if he brought home a chicken. I mean, wasn’t there that thing once where science supported old wives’ tales and determined that chicken noodle soup really is good for colds?

The resultant concoction, even though I didn’t eat any (because EEWH DEAD CHICKEN BODY), was rich, wholesome, and nourishing. In, like, some sort of profound way. Scott didn’t catch that cold, so the shit really works, and the rest of the pot went into the freezer to be pulled out when needed: the next time he felt under the weather, as something to take for lunch the next day, as something warm and homemade when he’d had a bad day.

Part One: The Stock

In a large stock pot, bring to a boil:

1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large celery rib, roughly chopped, with leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half or quarters
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Several sprigs of fresh parsley (or the equivalent dried)
1 tsp. dried thyme or to taste
A few black peppercorns, cracked
1-2 large bay leaves
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
1 whole chicken, rinsed, about 3-1/2 pounds, gizzards removed
10-12 c. water

Reduce to a lively simmer and allow to cook until the meat falls off the bone, a couple of hours or so. Add water as needed to keep the chicken submerged.

When the bird starts to fall apart, remove it from the pot and let it rest on a platter to cool. Strip the meat and dispose of the skin and bones. Skim the fat from the broth if you want, and strain out the remaining veggie solids and eat them or chuck them.

You can stick both the meat and the broth in the fridge at this point and go drink some wine and deal with the rest of this shit tomorrow or later or when you get back from running errands or whatever.

Part Two: The Egg Noodles

You can use store-bought noodles, of course, and a lot of recipes do call for them, but I don’t really see the point of laming out now when you’re already halfway through making full-on awesome homemade chicken noodle soup. Plus noodles are hella easy and don’t take any time at all. Plus you can say YOU MADE THEM AND THIS ENTIRE GODDAMNED SOUP IS LEGIT FUCKIN’ HOMEMADE, BITCHES.

So, since you’re gonna make your own noodles, you need:

Some clean counter space
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon oil
1 egg

Combine the flour and salt in and make a well in the center. Crack the egg into it. Use a fork to beat the egg and then gradually start incorporating the flour into the eggs. Sprinkle the milk and oil onto the dough. Keep stirring and pulling in more flour until a solid dough forms. The dough will be sticky.

With well-floured hands, knead the dough, incorporating more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the work surface or your hands, until it is smooth and firm and no longer sticky.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for half an hour or so while you do other things, like chop the vegetables and get the herbs and spices you’ll need for the soup.

Flour the counter and roll out the dough using a rolling pin or large bottle. Try to get it nice and thin, less than a quarter of an inch if possible. Slice into noodles and place on a paper towel. (Apparently you can, at this point, place them on a rack to dry and then store them in an air-tight bag in your pantry for several weeks.)

Or, make these (they’re the simplest — fewest ingredients). Or these.

Part Three: The Soup Itself

Re-heat the broth in a soup pot while adding:

1 carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
2 cups diced or shredded chicken meat
salt & pepper to taste

Bring to a gentle simmer. Add your noodles and cook until they’re done, about half an hour depending on their size and thickness.

Adjust seasonings as needed and serve immediately, or cool and freeze to enjoy on a rainy day or the next time you think you’re catching cold.

Note: Apparently this soup is magic and makes people feel better.