Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chirrrrrrp Chirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

I am not at Blogher.

It feels lonely here in the blogiverse.

You can hear the crickets.

I really wish I were in Chicago, but then again, it'll be more fun some other time when I can drink, I suppose.

Ummmmmm. Simon is fixing his truck. Boy is reading Harry Potter, when he's not getting into trouble and being grounded from it. Peanut is being terribly cute and singing nonsense songs. I'm being terribly and inexplicably totally and unbelievably tired.



My Aunt sent me two Moo Moos. Hawaiian print and everything. Anyone know what to do to a moo moo to make it wearable in public?

Yeah, me neither,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Neener Neener

Ok, maybe you live in Europe and you got the book before us yankees did, or maybe you stayed up last night to get the book first thing. Maybe you even downloaded the pdf files of the book off the internet.
I say "Neener Neener", because I read fast and I'm done.

Knowing whether you can Trust Snape,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chicken Guts

Warning: Graphic discussion of chicken innards follows.

See, the first thing you have to know about me is that I'm almost, but not quite, completely neurotic. I have all the makings for being the kind of person who wears latex gloves 24/7 and never leaves the house. They (the makings) sit inside my head and make rude or worrisome comments as they see fit. I figure the reason I can claim to not be completely neurotic is that I don't wear latex gloves 24/7 and I do leave the house.

There are exceptions, though. Things that have the little neurosis in my head standing up to scream, and on these things I generally concede the point and let them have their way. One of these is meat. More specifically, raw meat. Actually, raw meat in my kitchen. Gives me fits. Anything the meat looks at, nay, thinks about, must be washed repeatedly with bleach. Back when I was single woman I just didn't bother cooking it; too much work. Since there's been a Simon, and since Simon is a big fan of the meat, Simon has generally taken over the job. And because he's so sweet, and because meat germs are scary, he goes through all the rituals my neurosis require. The "No touching things with meat hands", the "Put that plastic straight in the trash", the "Meaty things are quarantined in the empty sink", and the "It isn't done till the thermometer says it is" rituals. Usually I sit in the kitchen and stare at him while he bustles about the kitchen, ready to squeal if a ritual is forgotten. Sometimes, Simon banishes me.

I've said all that to say this: I have spent two, count them, TWO days gutting chickens. Maybe I can do it because it doesn't happen in my kitchen, but at my friend's farm. She has a tent set up, and tables, and things, all under a tree by her barn. Her kiddos chase the chickens and put them in crates. Her husband sticks them in funnels and slits their necks. Then he dunks them in boiling water- dunk dunk dunk, and sticks them in the Whiz-Bang-Chicken plucker. (The Whiz-Bang-Chicken plucker is a tub with little rubber fingers, and the bottom whirls around and the chickens get plucked by all the little fingers.) He puts them in a bucket of water to wait for us to gut them. We gut 'em and put them in a bucket of water to rinse off and cool. After they've cooled a bit, we put them in ice water to chill. Then we put some guts (livers, heart, neck) back into the chicken and bag it. Then the kids put them in the fridge/freezer.

My friend is the fastest- she can do 5 chickens in 15 minutes. I haven't timed myself yet, but I think I might could do 2. Someone else was helping and she could do 3. It's tricky, because chickens are made with their parts remarkably well attached. You start with the feets. This part is easy. You can't do it wrong, the anatomy is simple, and it goes quick. Then you cut off the head. Also easy. Then you find the trachea and the esophagus and unattatch all the layers of fascia. This is where it starts to get trickier, because nothing is color coded. The esophagus doesn't look that much different from the fascia or the skin. I'm also never too sure, once I find it, how far to carry on with the separating. I usually stop when I get to the crop, which also looks just like everything else, but has the advantage of being an enormously stretchy little bag, which noting else up there is.

At this point you turn the bird around and start on its butt. You pinch the knucker hole closed and cut very, very carefully around it. The goal it to cut knucker out without slicing into the poop chute, which is as easy to slice through as wet paper. Once you manage that, you just pull the intestines out and let them hang into the slop bucket. Then you stick your hand right in the bird. It's warm. It isn't bloody. You feel for the gizzard, which is hard and on the top right in there. You wrap your fingers around that and give it a good yank. This pulls most everything else loose enough that it can come out the bird, but this is where us amateurs are slow and my friend is fast. Some of us like to loosen everything up in there and pull it all out at once with a great slurpy noise. This is a trick. It is also slow. I tend to gently caress the liver and worm it out, hoping I don't break the gall bladder on the way. After that I can just grab whatever's in there and pull. If you've been successful the bird now looks as empty as the one you get in the store. You can see daylight through it. It's lovely.

There can be excitement though, if you cut into the intestine, or the gall bladder breaks. Both require immediate washing of the bird. And then lots of times I break the trachea or the esophagus and I have to go hunting for it. Lungs are hard to get and easily forgotten. And sometimes there are stupid feathers that won't come out, no matter what you do. Nothing like trying to tweeze a dead bird's ass.

Maybe now I've explained enough for you to grab the enormity of the fact that I have done this thing. All of this handling of chicken guts. Raw chicken guts. I myself, who still asks the husband to do the cooking of the meat, have cleaned the very meat itself. I have stretched myself. I have done a new thing. I have cleaned a bird.

Sorry, I do tend to carry on when I'm proud of myself.

Still growing up,

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lucky me.

The other day Peanut slept for eight hours straight. I slept for seven of those hours. We both slept a few more hours after that, once she'd had a bottle. Then Simon was generous enough to let me sleep a little more.

You have no idea what kind of heaven that was.

I look back at that lovely event with misty eyes of longing. God knows what serendipity allowed such a thing to happen. It could be years before she sleeps like that again, but every night I say a small prayer that the lightening will strike twice and I'll get my sleep in one largish chunk.

On another note, I had naively thought I wouldn't need any maternity shirts for this pregnancy. A tshirt is just a tshirt, right? I've been wearing the same 3 xlarge numbers for so long they walked into the laundry themselves, so today I was forced to try on some of my others, the ones sized m and l that I wore pre-pregnancy. It was like wearing cling wrap. Having one's shirt plastered to one's belly is one thing- showing off the largess of one's n1pples is another. I had to borrow one of Simon's shirts. Maybe I'll just keep that up- I balk at spending money on clothes I can only wear for three more months.

going to sleep now, wish me luck,

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's like this.

I set out to wash a few pans. They've been waiting on me to wash them for more than a week (badmombadmombadmom). It's about 4:00.
First I have to get to the sink, so I set about finding homes/washing the crap that's piled there. I hear a hullabaloo in the living room as Boy's guest finally succeeds in pissing the dog off enough to get her to snarl at him. Simon yells at Boy, asking him what the guest was doing to the dog. Boy defends the guest. Simon and I both ask for the dog to be put in the cage.
I remember there's laundry in the washer and go to put it in the dryer, but realize there are diapers in there, so I sit down to fold them. Boy argues with Simon. I ground Boy, tell him to tell his guest "Goodbye" and finish folding the diapers. Boy gets highly upset. Guest leaves. Simon wonders why Boy is grounded.
I put the diapers where they go, then proceed to go off on the menfolk, blah blah blah "solve this problem" blah blah blah. Get mad enough to spit. Return to the kitchen. See the sink and remember what I'm supposed to be doing. See more things in the kitchen that need to be put away elsewhere. Return to the living room with books and baby toys to discover the menfolk sulking and typing and otherwise not solving anything.
I go off again- blahdee blah blah. For a while. End up leaving the room again, returning to the kitchen to discover I still have the crap in my hands. Return to the living room again and manage to put stuff away while I carp.
Back in the kitchen I'm to the point I can fill the sink with water and soap and pans, but even as I do it I know I'm not going to get the damn pans washed before the water cools, and it makes me sad. I hate putting my hands in cold dishwater. It's 4:30.
My memory is shot right now, but if I remember right it is about this time that the baby has a meltdown, which reminds me she needs a drink. I need a drink too. She gets milk and I get water. What I want is a beer.
Simon and Boy come up with some solutions. They are discussed whole-family-style and agreed upon by all. Simon notices it is time to make dinner. He decides to help, being the saint he is, but he'll need a pan, which sends me back to washing.
I get the one needed pan washed, but I have to leave the project for a while to make the tzatziki. And pee. I get my hands back in the water and the baby comes out to the kitchen to cry at me and let me know she's pooping.
I put down the pan and take her out to the changing table. She borders on constipated, and she hasn't sat down yet, so when I take off the diaper the turd is still between her cheeks in a firm little bundle. I try to use the diaper to swipe it safely into custody, but the baby squirms and sends the turd flying. In a desperate attempt to avoid the shit I yank my foot out of the way. Too slow. I now have shit on my foot and a bruise on my heel, because I kicked something behind me. Meanwhile the baby's crying (she hates diaper changes) and I'm laughing and the poo's lurking on the floor, just waiting for the dog to come eat it, or Boy to step in it, or some other event to prolong the excitement.
Boy comes to my rescue and cleans up the poo. I clean up the baby. Simon works on dinner. We're now approaching 5:30 and I still haven't washed the pans. I still can't wash the pans because now I'm getting stuff together for dinner, helping Boy clear the table, getting stuff out of the fridge.
In fact, it won't be until after dinner that I manage to wash the damn pans. The dishwater is, indeed, cold. I never did remember to move the laundry into the drier.
I had wanted to wash the cutting boards and the fancy glasses too, but they're still sitting there cluttering up the counter (badmombadmombadmom). Seeing as how it took me almost three hours to wash four pans, I think it's understandable. Nonetheless, I am frustrated. I like to start a thing, work on the thing, finish the thing. I do not like to multitask in the truest sense of the word. I feel like a failure because the damn house is a fucking wreck. When I really think about it honestly, it's not that I'm not doing things. I'm doing plenty of things. It's just not the things I set out to do, and I get sidetracked easy, and stuff comes up. Life happens.
I stubbornly refuse to believe that this means we have to live in chaos though. Surely if I just drink a little more coffee and try a little harder I can whip this place into shape, right?

dreaming the impossible dream,