Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday Domestic Stuffs

So here we are on Tuesday, and I haven't been posting my usual domestic stuff.  I have excuses.  Last week was rough on me; I did something probably stupid to my lower back, and it took three days for whatever it was to pop back into place.  That's why I spent so much time goofing around at VP and not posting here, by the way.

Then, over the last few days, we've been having thunderstorms.  (No, fortunately, purely natural in origin.)  Whenever there's a disturbance in the atmosphere, we lose Internet because satellite up here is crummy.  We'd switch to a different method, but the others are all worse.  The burdens of living in the boonies.  *sigh*

On a more positive note, I have lettuce.  Unfortunately, they've grown tall rather than wide.  I think it's time and past I started harvesting them in earnest; then I can put in something else in their place, like maybe some more peppers of different kinds.  What I really need to do is get ready to plant my fall crop of snow peas and other tasty things--though that'll have to be outdoors; they like colder temperatures.

I look back over my posts from the past year, and I see we're coming up on berry season again.  I'm really looking forward to fresh berries.  While we don't live where we did last year, there are quite a lot of raspberry vines and blackberry canes around here, too.  I put in an order with the same farm that sells organic blueberries--obviously, under a new identity, and I hope they won't recognize me because that would be awkward--so there'll almost surely be a day in the near future where I'll be doing nothing but sorting, packing, and freezing blueberries (and taking care of Squish, of course).

...Looking back, I see a lot of ambitions I never followed up on.  While I recognize that it's good practice to dream big so you'll always have something to work on, I feel kind of lame for not following through.

And I've been working on this stupid knitted blanket for a year and a half now.  I get a pass because I'd misplaced the book that had the pattern I needed for a lot of months there,'s still embarrassing.  How am I ever going to supply my whole (expected to be huge) family with socks and sweaters and things if I can't do better than twenty rows of twenty simple stitches a day?  And that doesn't even count the time I'll need to spend sewing, embroidering, and mending...

I'll get it done.  I just need to panic for a bit so I can get that out of the way.  The next phase is where I break it out into manageable tasks, but I'm not quite ready for that part yet.  I have to flare off the emotional excess first.  I'll be fine in a minute.


How I served His Lordship today:

Fell awake at 3:30 and decided to just roll with it
Made coffee
Washed my hair before anyone else got up
Fenris Walkies
Squish care (all day)
Greenhouse maintenance part one: Opened it up, harvested lettuce, vinedressing
Picked up some garbage outdoors and canned it (raccoons are brats!)
Peeled, rinsed, and soaked lettuce
Unloaded and reloaded dishwasher (we used a lot of dishes last night)
Chopped lettuce and mixed with romaine for salads
Loaded crockpot for pinto beans
Worked on updating cookbook
Made breakfast and washed dishes
Baked bread
Cleaned master bathroom:  Shower, toilet, and sink
Cleaned baby's bathroom:  Tub, toilet, and sink
Made lunch and washed dishes
Ground pork and made Italian sausage
Washed grinder and dishes from that
Cleaned stovetop thoroughly--disassembled, cleaned the surface and grate, checked the burners
Ground beef
Packed beef for freezer
Made supper:  Soft tacos, refried beans, Mexican rice
Greenhouse maintenance part two:  Watered, weeded, closed it up

Laundry:  Light-colored cold-wash clothing, baby towels, bath towels, burp cloths, grubby towels

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fate's Temptation

It was a fine, crisp morning.  Thor was enjoying his fifth cup of coffee and third helping of breakfast, and Jane, meantime, was buried behind her laptop.  In all, an ordinary start to what looked to be an ordinary day.

But then, Darcy's voice rang through the flat--how did the woman manage to sound both cheerful and dour in the same two syllables?--to let them know that their privacy was fully and irretrievably invaded.

"Helloo," Darcy chirped, sitting to the breakfast table and moving Jane's untouched plate before her.  She reached for Thor's great pile of bacon as well, but stopped short as Thor's face promised destruction.

"Good morning, Darcy," Thor greeted her.  Jane echoed his greeting, albeit the words half-spoken as she made the numbers tell their tale to her.

"I didn't expect to see you so beardy this morning," Darcy said, her expression unutterably smug.

"I don't understand."

"The jig's up," Darcy said.  "Everyone knows you're a girl."

Had a man spoken such words, Thor would have parted head from body right then.  However, his upbringing stayed his hand, and he settled for thundering with his voice alone.  "How dare you speak so to me?"

Jane looked up in alarm.  "What the hell?  Darcy?"

"Hey, take it down from eleven, Thor."  Darcy covered her ears.  "It's not me saying it.  It's the comic-book people."

"Hold on," Jane interrupted.  "What comic-book people?  And when did you get here, and why are you eating my eggs?"

Darcy took a great forkful of eggs before answering.  "Well," she said.

"God, you're gross."

"Seafood," Darcy smiled.  "Anyway, you know how you licensed those comic-book people to do stories about you like Captain America and stuff?"

"I remember many such," Thor said, trying to suppress his annoyance.

"You said Marvel could do it," Jane reminded him.  "DC wanted to do it like you and Loki were boyfriends."

Thor shuddered.  "My own brother, no less.  What is wrong with these people?"

"Anyway," Darcy repeated.  "Marvel just announced that they're going to give you a makeover.  And a sex change.  Because they want a girl in the Avengers.  They think you're not appealing enough as a man."

Thor felt his blood pressure climb, and he almost summoned Mjolnir to him.  "They may come and try to make me a woman," he growled.  "And I will return the favour."

"But you're a really cute girl.  See?"  She took out her eye-phone and showed him an image.  Then she snatched it back quickly, lest he crush it in his grasp.  "Slow down there.  At least they're giving you a full shirt.  Most of the girls they draw are, like, in bikinis."

"Misogynists," Jane muttered.

"Who is responsible for this?" Thor demanded.  "I will have words with him."

"No," Jane said sharply.

"Why not?"

"Because when you say 'words', you really mean 'beat the living hell out of'."

"Yes, and?"

"That's illegal, Thor."

"Then how do you settle matters of honour?" he asked.

"I don't know, write petitions, arrange boycotts--"

"Smash their car windshields," Darcy added.

"No," Jane said quickly.  "Thor, you can't just go fight people because they insult you."

Thor shook his head.  "You permit people to insult one another and do not allow them to avenge themselves.  And you say Asgardians are barbaric."

"Well, you might be able to fight the guy behind this," Darcy said.  When the other two looked to her, she smiled.  "You'll never guess what I found while I was reading up on this."

"Please, enlighten us," Jane said impatiently.

Darcy pushed a few more buttons.  "It looks like someone isn't as dead as you thought he was."

Thor took the eye-phone from her and nearly dropped it.  "Loki...?"


"He is alive..."  Thor felt, in rapid succession, confusion, elation at his brother's survival, confusion again, and then hurt.  "And he set this in motion?"


"Why would he do this to me?  What did I do to him?"

"Oh, who knows with him?  He's such a bit--"  Darcy stopped short as Thor looked to her again.  "--ter, angry person," she finished lamely.

Thor put down the eye-phone lest he break it, and turned to Jane.  "Jane, I must go and find him.  This is a debt that must needs be repaid."  He rose from the table and declared ominously:

"I will have words with my brother."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top Seven Excellent Reasons to Just Do It!

Now, I realize I'm a newbie wife, but at this point I've had a baby and moved several times and weathered a lot of garbage, so I think this puts me at a fairly advanced rank.  Even if it didn't, I'm not going to hold back when I think there's something valuable to be shared.

Right now, you might have noticed that story shared at HuffPo and other places about the husband who sent his wife a spreadsheet cataloging how many times in the last month he'd propositioned her and how much success he'd met--and, if not, why not, according to her.  She promptly reposted this to Reddit, seemingly unaware of the fact that it makes her out to be as much a frigid bitch and a liar as it does him a wussy little passive-aggressive weenie.

...Now that I've got the point-and-laugh out of my system, let's move on to a different lesson to be learned from all this.

The thing is, there's a problem when you only feel good to go a few times a month, and none of them in the same week.  It's not just a problem for him, or for the marriage, but it's also a problem for you.  When we're young and healthy like the wife in the story, we should have at least a passing interest a few times a week.  (In fact, that's something guys complain about, that the frequency of sex seems to go down after you get married.*)

Should.  But so many of us don't.  There are always so many reasons why "now is not good"--some genuine, some only existing in our heads.  And it's those reasons that are only in our heads that cause most of the problems.  As with any self-delusion, the only way to get over it is to act like you're already over it, which means that sometimes, maybe a lot, we should just do it.

If the mere fact that your husband comes to you and you only for the thing he needs--in fact, the one thing he can't hire someone to do for him and shouldn't--isn't enough to get your feet in the air, then let's go over some other really good reasons that you might not have known about.  I'm not going to appeal--much--to your nobler sentiments; I'm just going to appeal to secondary reasons that the feminists don't want you to know.  In no particular order...

7.  He'll like you better.  No, seriously.  Over and above the purely psychological effect of you doing something nice for him, the release of various bonding hormones from orgasm will literally make him want to be around you more and be nicer to you.  This isn't to say that you should be manipulative or have fantasies of turning him into your puppet, but it's something to keep in mind.  So unless you were a complete idiot and married a player (who is historically self-centered and probably broke his bonding mechanism), this is a consideration.

6.  You'll like him better, too.  Sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.  You are as much liable to the bonding processes as he is.  Furthermore, you're more likely to find him attractive, even if he's objectively less so since you got married.  The mind tends to follow the body.

5.  You might just enjoy it.  While we're on the subject of physical "helps"--God is merciful to give us fleshly inducements to do the right thing--there is a dirty little secret to female sexuality that we only ever hear about in cases of rape: what they call "bodily betrayal".  It's where you begin to enjoy the stimulation, regardless of whether you invited it or not.  While it's a horrid and confusing thing to happen during rape, it can be used to our benefit in a marriage; you might not have started out wanting it to begin with, but you end up having a really good time.

4.  You'll want it more.  You know how they say you shouldn't go on a crash diet because it can screw up your metabolism?  That will make your body go into famine mode, and you'll find you need fewer calories to maintain your current weight, so you lose the ability to lose weight.  Well, sex is the same; if you put yourself in famine mode, your libido will downshift to match the apparent availability.  This is pretty common after childbirth, actually--and there are so many other factors that you may misattribute your lowered libido to fatigue or lack of attraction or whatever else is going on.  The only way out is through; just do it, and you'll find your appetite going back up.

3.  You'll feel better.  "You need to get laid" is not just a myth.  There are all kinds of lovely things that sex does to the body, especially in us women--attitude adjustments, self-image improvements, mood stabilizing--that you need to keep in mind he's doing you a favor as well as himself.  We women are especially prone to depression and the fanatical need to get people's approval; sex helps fix that.

2.  It'll help him stay the course.  By this I mean that getting it from you helps him not go getting it somewhere else.  This is not to say that men have no moral agency or that it is only and ever the wife's fault if her husband goes tomcatting.  However, this is a nasty, ugly world full of temptations, full of loose morals and rationalizations, and full of women who would be only too happy to prove that they're better than you by stealing your man.**

1.  Because God said so.  If being a Christian doesn't matter to you in any kind of practice, then you can skip this part, but to me, this is a huge and important deal.  Part of the purpose of marriage is to provide a legitimate release for the potent force of human sexuality (yes, among many other things, but stay focused).  As such, we are commanded--husbands and wives--to not deny each other.  Get over the notion that your body is your own; it's not.  Get over all your self-focused attitudes, in fact.  You can't be a Christian if you reserve things for yourself.  Give it all to God.

God is good and patient, and He put in place ways for us to reap subtle rewards for doing the right thing, both here and Hereafter.  He knows we're not always strong enough to do things only because He said, so He has given us these temporal mercies.

And maybe, if enough of us do what we should do, other women will follow suit, and we won't have to listen to unbelievers crowing about how God's plan is such a horrible, horrible thing.

* My husbands says that when you marry a whore, she regards it as retirement, so this is no surprise.  What did you think she was if she was willing to get down and funky with you in exchange for dinner and a movie?  But that's beside the point.

** Don't let's pretend this is anything else.  Women get it on with other women's husbands because they want to prove superiority to the cheated-on wife.  Men can pat themselves on the back and crow about how they "still got it" and are all manly and attractive and Gamey and stuff, but the truth is that they're being used as trophies.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday and Fried Rice

It's Monday!  And I get to do my job!  That's the best part of Monday: I get to work.

Well, you may remember the picture I posted a week ago of something in a skillet.  That was actually fried rice.  Yep, I've put together a recipe for fried rice.  It's a great way to use up leftover rice, tastes good on its own or with the usual main dishes, and it's really rather easy.  I'll share the recipe now; you can multiply it as much as you need to.  (I have to make larger batches of this because His Lordship just scarfs it down.)

Quick Fried Rice

2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1/4 c. frozen green peas
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. cooked rice (any grain works)
1/4 c. soy sauce

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, then add the onions, carrots, and peas.  Saute the vegetables until tender, then shunt them to one side and scramble the beaten eggs in the sesame oil.  Once the eggs are cooked, mix it all together, add the rice, and pour soy sauce over it all.  Cook until heated through and thoroughly mixed, with a little crisping on the bottom.

The texture changes with what kinds of grains you use or even if you mix them, so experiment until it's how you like it!

Anyway, let's--

No offense to the Almighty.

All righty!

How I served His Lordship today:

Made coffee
Fenris Walkies and took mail to mailbox
Squish care (all day)
Greenhouse maintenance part one:  Opened it up, watered, vinedressing
Made breakfast and washed dishes
Cleared kitchen countertops and cleaned them thoroughly
Baked bread
Made bed
Worked on some research for His Lordship*
Made lunch and washed dishes
Cleaned microwave
Cleaned stovetop
Cleaned sinks
Disassembled toaster oven's interior and cleaned it thoroughly
Swept floors
Did reading while feeding Squish
Packed away outgrown baby clothes for storage
Folded a bunch of laundry
Spray-painted piggy bank
Sorted underwear drawer (no, I'm not describing the contents)
Made supper:  Pineapple chicken, long-grain rice, and salad
Washed dishes

Laundry:  Burp cloths and baby bibs, kitchen towels, random bits of clothing 

And now I retire to knit, enjoy a movie with my husband, and relax for the evening.

* ((Actually, it's not so much research as clerical.  LoA needs some extra clerical help for his business right now.  I consider that to be part of a wife's job, since he's self-employed.))

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday: End of the Line!

Today is going to be a short day, because this afternoon we're going to a barbecue.  It's a Bring Your Own Meat affair, so I'm providing baby-back ribs and homemade BBQ sauce for us.

The thing about inventing your own recipes is that you have to be bold and daring!  You have to step out of your comfort zone and take risks.  Different ingredients sound like they might not go well together--sour cream and ketchup for stroganoff?--and they may smell like the devil's outhouse while they're cooking, but then they come out tasting like the dessert course at the Wedding Feast.

Seriously, Ratatouille had that right.  Cooking is no job for cowards!  Like anything else in life, you'll never know if you don't grow.  That's a huge part of why (some) men* do so much of the innovating compared to (most) women: They overcome their risk aversion.

It's something I still struggle with, occasionally.  I find something I want to do, and then I catch myself hesitating on the brink of trying it.  I have to remind myself that I'll never be able to do it if I don't, well, do it.

Speaking of growing, the Squish is now mobile. She doesn't get far, and she still executes the most spectacular faceplants sometimes, but she has crawling figured out.

How I served His Lordship today:

Made coffee
Fenris Walkies
Greenhouse maintenance part one:  Opened it up, watered and weeded, gathered lettuce
Squish care (all day)
Made breakfast
Made barbecue sauce
Washed up all those dishes
Bathed Squish
Got out Fenris shampoo and tick repellant
Chased Fenris
Wrestled Fenris
Bathed Fenris and applied tick repellant
Tried in vain to prevent Fenris from jumping in mud puddle
Stupid dog
Beauty treatments** and shower
Made lunch
Pre-cooked ribs

Laundry:  Dark-colored clothes

And now it's off to the party.  Have a great Friday!

* Let's not mess with the apex fallacy today.  More men may innovate than women do, and most innovations may be male in origin, but most men do not innovate, either.  I'll deal with that subject some other day when I'm not so busy.  It has room for expansion, anyway.

** I did a lot of painful things to myself, but I feel like I look better.  I also painted my toenails red.  Why do men like red toenails so much?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday: Return of the Sun

All the ugly gray weather has cleared up, and while it's humid and muggy from all the evaporating water, it's still nice to have the sun back.

But then again, isn't a day basically what you make of it?  I mean, granted, you can't control everything, and sometimes there's just going to be awful things that overshadow everything else, but the last few days haven't been like that.

Yesterday, I didn't post my list of things I did.  His Lordship wanted my help with some things, so I didn't have a lot to report.  I'm not complaining; it's good to be needed.

It just sets my schedule back, that's all.  I have some feedback to send back to Castalia House that I have to put together, among my usual things.

Anyway, FORWARD!

Not that kind of forward...

How I served His Lordship today:

Got up and made coffee
Greenhouse maintenance part one: opened it up, watered and weeded, vinedressing
Fenris Walkies
Squish care (all day)
Made breakfast and washed dishes
Baked bread
Made bed
Swept hard floors
Mopped hard floors
Vacuumed carpets
Made lunch and washed dishes
Cleaned master-bedroom carpet
Worked on promised feedback
Read while feeding Squish
Sorted my sock drawer (no, really!  It needed it)
Started supper:  lemon-mustard baked chicken, mashed potatoes, succotash (with red bell peppers)
Greenhouse maintenance part two:  watered, checked vining plants, closed it up
Ate supper and washed dishes

Laundry:  Light-colored clothing, baby clothes, another round of baby blankets

And other than some knitting and whatever entertainment His Lordship wants to do, that's it for tonight!

The Story of a Story: A (Sort of) Comic