Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And then we came to the valley of the kale chips, and Lefties must needs go through it

It's that time again. Every lefty in suburbia, your correspondent included, is signing up for a CSA share, and making self-congratulatory references to it on our blogs (check!). We are rededicating ourselves by the thousands to the purported deliciousness of kale, the alleged culinary uses of kohlrabi and the idea that we actually will carve all those spring radishes into interesting, edible table art.

But snark aside, I think CSA shares and urban farming are great, and those of us who can access and afford them should throw our support behind them. In addition to the good vitamins and minerals, all that righteousness gives our hair and skin a healthy shine!

My CSA comes from next door-- beat that, locavores. Our neighbor Charlie operates Rad Urban Farms, a farm composed of small, local growing areas mostly in backyards that are capably farmed by Charlie. The produce is shared by the owners of those plots and a few others who, like me, have no land but like to google for kale recipes and support sustainably, locally grown food.

But the thing about seasonal food-- and I know I'm not the first to observe this-- is that we aren't used to eating what grows where we live, when it's ready for eating. Everybody wants tomatoes and raspberries, but these don't grow in New England in the spring. What does have a long growing season in this part of the word is the dark and leafy green.

Which brings me to the kale chips.

Last summer, when the kale was abundant and I didn't want to make another pot of soup with it, I made kale chips by roasting it in the oven with salt. It's not that bad. Really. Salty and crunchy, and doesn't really taste like much. Even Audrey ate some. But at one point I spied Scott looking down into the bowl of kale chips, and his expression was that of a man with a long and tiring life ahead. A life of travails and hardships. A life where the women-folk would bake tough green leaves sprinkled with kosher sea salt in the oven and offer them as "chips."

At least I never tried to make kale muffins. (But this woman did: So here's to a more productive search for new kale recipes this year, and possibly even some palatable solutions for collard greens that do not entail 19 hours of slow simmering with hammy boney things in the pot.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The children are already so much more attractive than me. I mean I.

I want her haircut. How bad is it that I want my hair to look like my three year-old's hair?

Ladies, beware these dream-boat eyes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Toddler Interrogation 101


Me: (entering kitchen to find puddles of water on the floor) What happened here?

Audrey: It happened by Calvin!

Whether she was scapegoating her brother or just reporting the facts, the question was dumb. My wiser friend Leah already told me that it’s pointless to walk into a room and ask, of the elder child, what has just happened or why someone else is crying or how these charges appeared on your Mastercard. As if she was simply going to confess! As if you could tell if her denials were true! As if preverbal Calvin even knows what’s going on!

Perhaps in these scenarios, as in business negotiating, my most powerful tool is silence. It’ll get me at least as much information as asking what happened and maybe, just out of curiosity, Audrey will reveal how that water got on the floor.

Or not. But I'm pretty sure I know how the apple core got into the drawer under the oven.

Longest video upload EVER, but Gramma Jean needed to see this.

Morning, Kailua Kona

Sending out our love to the old man, who is having less fun than you might think on the Big Island. I'm not saying this merely to make myself feel less oppressed by Boston winter; based on his generally sleepy-eyed look over Skype, I can see that he's working hard and battling jet lag and would rather be here, hearing the crunch of Cheerios instead of beach sands underfoot.

Come home soon, babe. We miss you.

And no, that's not a third nipple above Audrey's navel; its a temporary tat. One of about six she is sporting right now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Me Talk Nerdy One Day

Out and about this Sunday, listening to They Might Be Giants, “Science is Real,” I made some comment to Scott about the lyrics and had what I’ve come to think of as a Resident Nerd moment. Like Resident Alien, only pertaining to things like TMBG lyrics and puns off the names of famous mathematicians. I’m not a science nerd and I’d never pass for one, but in the years I’ve been with Scott, I’ve picked up some of the lingua franca and it makes me feel kind of pretend-cool. Nerd cool.

You may want examples, if you are yourself a nerd and like to situate all things with proofs. And if you are not, these are useful terms for everyone to know and bandy about. I accept your gracious thanks in advance.

Power-Cycle. Means to turn something off, then on again. You can use this expression when talking to Tech Support people, to establish credibility and reassure them you are not one of those dopes whose device is not working due to its Turned-Off-ness. No-ho! You have already power-cycled that sucker, and it ISN’T working.

Pop the stack. This is not just technical jargon, it’s like speaking Nerd Jive. A stack is a programming term that refers to a stack of code or something that all goes in a certain order, kind of like a conversation goes in a logical order. To “pop the stack” means to jump back in conversation to something you were talking about previously. Which you have to do all the time, of course, and now you have a name for it! If you do this a lot but do not say (or recognize) that you are “popping the stack” it’s just called Asperger’s Syndrome.

Frob. This is such a useful verb that if you aren’t using it already, you must begin immediately. It means to twiddle or fiddle or jigger with something, and it’s an actual word derived from the more formal frobnosticate. Look it up, geeks-- I’m serious. I can’t claim that I’m a regular reader, but I know what it is, and I sometimes read it. If you tell a nerd that you came across some piece of information on, it’s as good as flashing a police badge at a crime scene-- gets you right in. Same as “power cycle” with the help desk. Check it out.

These terms are not just my coquettish ways of getting Scott’s attention, although they do have that affect too. I actually find them helpful in real life. And once in a while I come up with my own nerdisms, like when I compared the heat of my annoyance with someone to that of “a collapsing sun” and Scott fell into a swoon.

“That’s nerd talk,” he said, all breathless and flushed.

I try.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow piles grow, sanity erodes for Arlington family

We are socked in by snow. Again! And there's an even bigger storm coming tomorrow. I simply don't know where we, or any of our neighbors or anyone in this quadrant of the country for that matter, is going to pile more snow. I'd like it if everyone could be safe at home, but I'd also like it if the kids weren't so penned up and bored. I've relaxed pretty much all of my rules for indoor play. Go ahead, run up and down! Pull all the cushions off the couch and build Fort Knox with them! Watch a little more (wince) t.v. (Hey, it's PBS, okay?) Eat the crayons. Scatter the crackers on the floor. Stand on your head. Stand on MY head. It's a snow emergency.

Frequently Asked Snow-Day Questions:
Is Daddy coming home yet?
Will school be closed again tomorrow?
What's for dinner?

Soon as he can, I hope.
Your guess is as good as mine.