Underboob and Vegan Cooking

I am not a good cook. That’s a lie. I’m an awful cook. There are fires and the possibility of stomach pumping. With this in mind, it does seem odd that I would sign up for a meal delivery service. Let me explain.

I am tired of eating frozen vegetables. I need fresh food, healthy food. I need healthy food for one person. I need healthy food for one person with detailed instructions. Meal delivery systems! I choose Purple Carrot. I would like to be able to say it’s because I had some noble vision of sustainability and global freedom from servitude for all livestock, but it was because they offered the largest discount to sign up.

I won’t review the service. If you want my opinion then you can ask. However, I want to share the spectacular disaster that I am in the kitchen. Some background, these kits come with all the ingredients portioned, grouped, and labeled and have a recipe card that includes photos. This story is about Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Drizzle.

Step 1– Heat the oven to 425ºF. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. Rinse, trim, and peel the root vegetables. Cut them into 1/2 to 1/4 chunks, carefully spread them on the heated pan in one layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Roast (and get to work on the rest of the recipe), undisturbed, until they’re golden brown and easily release from the pan when gently pried with a spatula, 8-12 minutes. Once they can be turned, toss them every 5 minutes until they’re tender and browned all over, 10-15 minutes more. Remove pan from oven.

What actually happened: Find pan. Coat with oil. Put in the oven. Rinse roots veggies and remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Remove cat again, rinse veggies cat was licking, wash hands. Decide you will need wine. Open a bottle and let it breath. Peel carrots. Remove cat from counter and wash hands. Peel sweet potato. Yell at cat for licking the turnip. Rinse and peel after washing hands. Start chopping veggies. Grab towel and wave in front of smoke detector. Return to kitchen, call cat an asshole, remove him from the counter, wash hands, and rinse veggies cat was licking. Take towel and step stool to smoke detector and remove battery. Turn heat on oven down and open a window. Chop remainder of veggies. Get pan out of oven and too late remember that the pan is hot. Call yourself a moron. Take a swig of wine straight from the bottle. Put veggies on pan with salt and pepper. Put in oven and forget to turn heat backup.

Step 2– Rinse the quinoa in a strainer and put into a small saucepan with 1 and 3/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

What actually happened: Look at your strainer and realize there is no way to rinse that without all the quinoa going through the slots with the water. Skip that part and put directly into the small pot. Put on stove and forget about it. Realize that the temperature of the stove was turned down. Shout profanity, drink some more wine, and turn up the heat.

Step 3– While the vegetables and quinoa cook, rinse and juice the lemon into a bowl. Rinse, dry, and destem the kale. Chop the kale and toss in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of oil, and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale between your palms until it’s tender and a deep green color, 1-2 minutes.

What actually happened: Completely ignore this step for no good reason. Perhaps due to all the wine you drank. Wash all dishes from prep and congratulate yourself. Have some more wine. Skip directly to step 4.

Step 4– Mince 1 clove of garlic, put in small bowl with tahini, 2 tablespoons hot tap water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk or stir with fork until it’s as smooth as possible. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, toss the kale and quinoa together and divide among bowls. Top with roasted vegetables and drizzle with tahini sauce over everything.

What actually happened: Hunt through kitchen for the garlic. Realize the asshole cat is running around the house with it in his mouth. Wrestle away from asshole cat. Wash garlic and hands and start chopping. Mix with tahini and ask Siri to explain to your ignorant ass what tahini is. Realize you never tossed the vegetables or checked on the quinoa. Turn down heat on quinoa and decide veggies will be ok. Stare at the lemon and wonder what you are supposed to do with that. Read instructions and become grateful it’s not asking you to do something obscure like zest the lemon. Realize you skipped step 3. Swear loudly and drink some wine. Take quinoa off stove and go to step 3. Realize halfway through cleaning the kale that your largest bowl is not big enough. Decide you can work through this and add the quinoa. Spray quinoa all over the kitchen trying to mix with kale. Tell yourself you don’t need all those carbs anyway. Remember that the veggies are still in the oven. Take them out, turn off the stove and decide they look edible. Attempt to divide kale/quinoa mixture and come to understand this is more than 2 servings. Dig out storage containers. Put leftovers in fridge and hope you like this recipe because you are going to be eating this for days. Find your largest glass and fill with more wine. Plop down on the couch with bowl of food, huge glass of wine, and eat.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

Things I learned:

  • My cat is an asshole
  • Cooking with a cat ensures good food safety
    • you wash your hands and the food often
  • I can’t multitask. I need to do things in order or I forget about them
  • What tahini is made from
  • Apothic Dark pairs really well with tahini
  • The people that write the instructions have no comprehension of my dysfunction

Lost in Translation

When I was originally developing my warped ideas with J. I had the idea that at some point I should do a podcast. It stemmed from my ongoing frustration with the limitations of Google Translate. At the time I was receiving emails in Spanish and my limited high school training wasn’t up to the task of colloquialisms. The message would be cut and pasted into Google Translate with varying degrees of success. I thought that reading some of them along with a stream of consciousness commentary would be entertaining.

Of course, this got me to thinking and that is often a bit frightening. It was a twisted path that ended pondering literature and just how different it reads in the original language. The belief that writers choose their words deliberately is an argument I have had with every teacher and professor that wanted me to debate symbolism. So much of what we read has been translated. Anyone who has studies language knows there is almost never a direct translation, especially in abstract concepts like sky, wind, love, or home. I started to wonder how different many books would be if they were read as intended.

That took me back to Google Translate. And my apologies to Google, I know you are doing your best. This is a direct translation. Word for word. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting podcast? However, if we wait for me to find motivation, purchase equipment, learn how to use it, and actually post we will all be collecting social security. Maybe I’ll get there, but why should you have to wait?

So here is a passage of Proust. The passage in French, then the same passage as in the English printed version, and last the direct translation, per Google, of the French to English. I think it’s best to read them aloud. If you, like me, can’t speak French Google does have an audio function. Enjoy!

Original French:

Mais à l’âge déjà un peu désabusé dont approchait Swann, et où l’on sait se contenter d’être amoureux pour le plaisir de l’être sans trop exiger de réciprocité, ce rapprochement des cœurs, s’il n’est plus comme dans la première jeunesse le but vers lequel tend nécessairement l’amour, lui reste uni en revanche par une association d’idées si forte, qu’il peut en devenir la cause, s’il se présente avant lui. Autrefois on rêvait de posséder le cœur de la femme dont on était amoureux; plus tard sentir qu’on possède le cœur d’une femme peut suffire à vous en rendre amoureux. Ainsi, à l’âge où il semblerait, comme on cherche surtout dans l’amour un plaisir subjectif, que la part du goût pour la beauté d’une femme devrait y être la plus grande, l’amour peut naître – l’amour le plus physique – sans qu’il y ait eu, à sa base, un désir préalable

English Print:

But at the time of life, tinged already with disenchantment, which Swann was approaching, when a man can content himself with being in love for the pleasure of loving without expecting too much in return, this linking of hearts, if it is no longer, as in early youth, the goal towards which love, of necessity, tends, still is bound to love by so strong an association of ideas that it may well become the cause of love if it presents itself first. In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses the heart of a woman may be enough to make him fall in love with her. And 50, at an age when it would appear—since one seeks in love before everything else a subjective pleasure—that the taste for feminine beauty must play the larger part in its procreation, love may come into being, love of the most physical order, without any foundation in desire.

Google Translate English:

But at age already a little disillusioned with approaching Swann, and where we know just be in love for the pleasure of being without requiring reciprocity too, this rapprochement of hearts, if not as in early youth the goal towards which tends necessarily love, still has united however by such a strong association of ideas, he can become the cause, if present before him. Once we dreamed of possessing the heart of the woman we were lovers; Later we feel has the heart of a woman is enough to make you love. Thus, at an age when it would seem , as especially seeks in love a subjective pleasure, from the love of a woman’s beauty should be the greatest , love can be born – love the most physical – not that there was, at its core, a preliminary desire

VWW- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

  1. the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
  2. an expression of thanks
  3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

That is the Merriam Webster definition of Thanksgiving. However, in the USA we treat it less of a day of gratitude and more of an expression of all the things that are detestful about American culture. I know that seems harsh, but let’s break it down.

First there is the food. Not only is it a prim example of how much abundance we have but also the level of gluttony we are capable of performing. And it’s a point of pride. We gather around a table and try to one up each other about how many calories we can consume. In what other situation is it socially acceptable to brag about the number of servings we stuffed into our gullet? Or how many piece of pie we can eat?

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Then there is the sin of sloth. After consuming enough food to feed most families for a week we then waddle over to the sofa to participate in our favorite thing. Watching other people be athletic. Traditionally it’s football. However, if they keep expanding the season I predict we will soon have the option to watch baseball as well. No matter. So long as we can sit there and marinate in the tryptophan and shout at the television.

While we are watching that television, we can also prepare for the worst part of this holiday. Black Friday. Just a few short years ago there was an outcry because the stores were opening earlier and earlier. Some of them are now open on Thanksgiving. I find this heartbreaking. It was one of the last secular holidays where everything was closed with the small exception of gas stations. Thanksgiving was for everyone. Now it’s for everyone who doesn’t work in retail to shop.

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Who are we kidding? Soon we will be sitting in a line ordering pizza with an emoji on our smart phones.

And shop we do. To the point of violence. Every year someone gets seriously injured at a big box store on Black Friday. Not even 24 hours after we were pretending to be thankful our citizens head out en mass and do battle with each other over material goods. This under the guise that we will graciously give said items as gifts to commemorate the Christian savior. Someone who was purported to preach that we love our neighbor. Just not the one who also wanted to buy the Dr. Dre Beats headphones.

What happened?

Of course, we tell each other a fairy tale about Pilgrims and Native Americans, but I think we all know that the truth is far from the social studies lesson taught to us. So let’s not even go there unless we are gonna’ be honest about the horrible things our ancestors did. OK?

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It could have ended much differently. We should remember that.

Abraham Lincoln was the first to set a date (the last Thursday in November) in 1863 to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” after the civil war. Prior to this each state had a different celebration. FDR changed it to the third Thursday in November in 1939 as an attempt to bolster holiday spending during the Great Depression. That wasn’t popular so it was changed back in 1941.

So how did it go from a day of gratitude to a day of gluttony, sloth, and violent consumerism? How did we become so vapid and narcissistic that we can’t take a day to look around and say, “I’m doing pretty good. I’m glad I have the things I have?”

Some of us are so removed that we don’t even know where to begin. So let me tell you my list. I am thankful for:

  • My house- for keeping me warm and safe
  • Air conditioning- during the summer there is nothing so decadent as not being sweaty
  • My Job- It was a long, hard road but I finally found where I fit
  • My debts- yes, really! Because it means I have (or had) credit and a resource of funds not available to so many, even if I misused that privilege.
  • Being fat- In our culture it’s frowned upon, but I have access to an abundance of food while others go hungry
  • My car- it gives me freedom and mobility that is denied many even in our own country.
  • My savings account- I have money in the bank and it makes me wealthier than many people in the world
  • The First Amendment- I’d be in jail or dead with out it because, wow, can I run my mouth
  • My friends- I always know that there is someplace I’m not weird or that I am, and it’s embraced
  • My pets- they keep me company and I am affluent enough to afford to care for them
  • My health- fat I may be, but I am healthy. I’ve been seriously sick, I’ve seen disease. I’m so grateful I am healthy
  • Clothes-I have too many and there are too many people who don’t have enough

It’s not an extensive list, but it’s a start. I have a house, electricity, plumbing, a job, a car, and some money in the bank. While I still struggle, as many do, in our economy and there are many things that need to be fixed, I try to remember that on a global scale, I am wealthy. Then there are the intangible things that make me rich. The people in my life, the experiences we share. There is no way to wrap that up in ribbons and bows. It can’t be bought at any price. maybe we can put the fork down, step away from the TV, and look at each other and just be happy we aren’t alone, cold, hungry, and sick.

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Baron Von Fruitrooster Can’t Manage People

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Everyone has had this manager

 

Your employees suck because you suck as a manager. That’s the cold hard truth. Sorry cupcake, but it’s not that they are lazy, stupid, or don’t want to work. The root of the issue is that you don’t know how to motivate people. If no one gives a shit then that is a direct reflection on you as a manager. You want people to be responsible? Show them that they matter, that the work they do matters. Treat them with respect and dignity. Shut your damn pie hole and listen when they talk.

Do you need to manage them with write ups and progressive discipline? That says more about your failure than it does your employees. Managing by paper trail is the way of the passive aggressive tyrant. You obviously haven’t trained them or they would do it correctly. Either that or they have no incentive to perform.

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Please corporations, realize this is truth!

A true leader raises up the staff. Leaders don’t step on the backs of their workers, they stand in the back ground smiling and cheering them on. You should be a coach not a dictator. These are grown ass people. They work harder than you do. They make less money and their lives are harder than yours. Because of them your life is easier. Be fucking grateful. Say thank you, give them credit, and show them that the work they do matters and that the company gives a damn whether or not they are happy and healthy. Learn the names of their spouse, their kids, and their pets. Ask them about them. Put their birthdays on your calendar and say Happy Birthday. It’s cost you nothing but means the world to someone making just over minimum wage working a 12 hour day so you don’t have to.

Allow them vent their frustrations without judgment. Take their advice. Tell them what you expect from them. Give them the tools they need to succeed. Hold them to a higher standard and encourage them to reach beyond their comfort zone. Be humble. Apologize. You will be amazed at the results.

Continue to ride your ego and stomp around on your inflated power trip and reap what you sow. High turnover, complacency, call outs, extended break times, the bare minimum, and a group of people that constantly need to be monitored. It’s your team, they are your responsibility. If they suck, you suck. Stop you bellyaching and step up your game.

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You want better people? Be a better leader. Can’t do that? Get out of the way and let someone who can show you how it’s done. Just ask anyone who has ever worked for me. You have nothing but gripes about your team. I have loyalty. People that will follow me if I ask. You can’t get people to follow you out the door at five o’clock on a Friday. My team has solutions, yours is just more problems. Face your inadequacies and do better. Not only will your team improve, but so will your work day. Or maybe you are just so overcome with the tiny bit of power and control that you need to make others feel bad to give yourself a boost. Trust me, the team doesn’t care. They have bigger things to worry about and have no time to waste on your insecurities. You are a slimy selfish bastard and the tragedy is that people like you are everywhere

 

 

VWW-Lalochezia

Lalochezia:

the emotional relief gained from using abusive or profane language.

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Ah, profanity! What joy it does bring to my life. And release. Yes, there is something about letting out a strong of curses that is incredibly cathartic.

Stubbing your toe isn’t as bad when you can exclaim “Shit, Damn it!” As opposed to a restrained “Oww!” Though personally, I have found that the profanity doesn’t increase with the severity of the injury. At a certain point you plateau and swearing no longer provides an effective outlet. Breaking an ankle, lots of swearing. Smashing head with resulting arterial bleed, no point. I think it has to do with the adrenaline released into your bloodstream.

Now for everyday stress there is nothing like profanity to provide you with a little reprieve from the mass of humanity surrounding you. Someone cuts you off? Call them a selfish motherfucker. Bob waits until the last minute to inform you he dropped the ball on the big project? Go in your office and call him a cock juggling douche canoe. The company declares there won’t be any raises or bonuses this year? God damn mother fucking son of a disease riddled whore!

Does it fix anything? No, of course not. But it does allow you a reasonable way to release your anger. Then you can take a deep breath and get on with life. So go on everyone, let it out. Get creative. It’s gonna’ make you feel just a little bit better.

 

Harridan Hissy Fit

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I’m showing early symptoms of becoming the cranky old lady that shakes her cane at random people and calls them whippersnappers. I feel like it’s too soon. I am only in my forties. That’s only the halfway mark. I shouldn’t be symptomatic yet.

I’ve found myself commenting negatively about the college graduate generation. Millennials? Is that what they are called?   I thought that was just a slip of the subconscious. Like all those times I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out. It wasn’t really me. It was a combination of repetitive auditory input coupled with a stimulus. Add in a bit too much stress and the weak and flawed human reverts to its classical conditioned responses, despite lots of effort to overcome. However, the reaction can no longer be discounted as rote since I am often completely baffled by their behavior. Nope. I am not part of the youth culture any longer.

The symptom of greatest concern is my inability to deal with new technology. I found myself thrusting my phone at a random teenager in the food court because my app stopped working. I didn’t even introduce myself. I just walked up and said “You’re young. Help me.” They did. And they were incredible gracious about it too. But that isn’t the only time. These incidents are becoming more and more frequent with each passing day. Here is a short list:

  1. I had a breakdown because I couldn’t figure out why a document suddenly changed font type and I couldn’t change it back.
  2. A file that I needed to edit was in .pdf and I had no idea how to edit it. I told everyone in the office they had to listen to my profanity because I was channeling Samuel L. Jackson.
  3. Google Documents doesn’t allow you to merge cells in a table. No one under 35 thinks this is a problem.
  4. An intern submitted a document with all the bullet points in a table. When I converted it from Google to Word I couldn’t figure out how to correct the formatting.
  5. I spend far too much time on websites looking for the sign in link. Why do they hide that? Why can’t it always be in the same place?
  6. I don’t understand why all the checkout machines can’t be the same. Why do they ask so many questions? Just take my money.
  7. Why do stores need to email me coupons when I check out. Can’t they just give them to me in the bag?
  8. If we can have WiFi why can’t we employ Tesla’s wireless electricity system?  I want to be done with the Gordian knot of cords that lies behind furniture in every room.
  9. Why is setting up a video conference still so challenging? The Jetsons made it seem like it would be so much cooler than it is.
  10. I declined a key less entry system because I couldn’t understand how it worked and I was afraid of locking myself out of my smart home.
  11. Windows 8: The icons were in the same place for 25+ years, Microsoft decides to move them for no damn reason, tells no one. Bill Gates is still laughing at those of us trying to locate the Control Panel. I just gave up on adding a printer.
  12. Everything needs to be touch screen or nothing at all. I forget which piece of electronics needs a controller. Try adjusting the volume on your TV using your finger or pointing the remote angrily at the tablet to change the YouTube video. It gets confusing!

I am becoming obsolete!

The downward spiral to fiber supplements and adult diapers is imminent. Soon my driving will terrify people. I’m not ready!

Where are you People Working??

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Every morning as I leave my house at seven (realistically, it’s closer to 7:30) I see people out on the street jogging. When I get home at 6:30 (closer to 7) the alien dog will drag me through the neighborhood for my daily allotment of fresh air. I see the same people either out running again (why?) or participating in some form of leisure activity.

Where the hell are you people working?

I start hitting the snooze button at 5:30 and drag my sorry ass out of bed by 6. Shower, coffee, feed the beasts, take out trash, attempt to look presentable, and dash out the door. I eat a granola bar in the car. I may or may not get to work by 8. Seriously, I am pretty low maintenance.

So if you are still out jogging at 7:30 that means you have to finish your run, shower (please, I hope you are showering), get dressed, and commute. How do you do that? Does time move differently for you? Or do you have a job that starts later than 8 or 9 AM?

OK, lets explore that possibility. How do you then get home and involved in an activity before I do? Does everyone but me work part-time? Are they all underemployed? There are far too many of them to all be stay at home parents, especially in this economy.

Please, please, please explain how this works. I want to have time to exercise and have fun before collapsing on the sofa.

Aliens Stole My Peach

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    I lost a peach. It was in my bag when I left the house. I am 99% sure it made it to the car. I made a pit stop to the 24 hour Wal-Mart so I wouldn’t have to stop after work. I get to the office and the peach is gone. I searched the car. No peach.
    Aliens came while I was in Wal-Mart and abducted my peach. I imagine them in the mother-ship gathered around the peach that is sitting on a platform under a harsh white light. They stare at it, they probe it. Ponder for a moment the confusion that is inevitable as they, just like humans have, wonder why it is fuzzy. Such a strange object for the humans to carry. They couldn’t possibly divine it’s purpose.
    I’ll never get it back because they returned it to the parking lot and by that time I had left. I know there is some really baffled Person of Wal-Mart who got in their car and found a peach. That poor soul has probably been living on processed food for so long they were terrified by the sight of it. They must have thought it was some liberal, pinko plot by the left to indoctrinate them into their godless, tree hugging, gay lifestyle by randomly leaving healthy food in the car. But I miss my peach.