Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mixed Results

I haven't been doing much of anything interesting for the past week, actually, except hitting the beach and meeting people and gabbing on the phone.

I tried pickling some vegetables, because my CSA has left me swamped with veggies that I can't bear to see spoil.

I'm not sure how good they are, but they are, in fact, pickled.  My thinking is, even if they don't seem appealing now, come winter, when there's nothing green in sight for miles, they might boost my spirits.  A reminder of better weather, for example.

I also tried making tomato sauce.  All I have to say about that is, if recipes are going to LIE, then I really don't know what will become of the world.

To make 8 cups of tomato puree, you don't need a measly 4 1/2 lbs of tomatoes.  You need about 9 lbs. of tomatoes.

Ergo, you don't need 25 Roma tomatoes to make a batch of sauce, you need 50.  If you only have 25, you are, in effect, screwed.

Particularly if you only realize this once you've blanched, skinned, chopped, drained and pureed the aforementioned 25 Roma tomatoes that you have.

Because now you have 4 cups of tomato puree, which you can't use for anything much except a large quantity of sauce, but you don't have enough of the former to actually make the latter.

I made up the difference in canned puree, which you can do, obviously, but as you do this, you can't help but think, "Oh, what in the hell was the point of all this if I'm just re-canning canned sauce?"

And the expletives followed accordingly.

Dostoevsky's Underground Man says that the definition of a human being is "an ungrateful biped who curses."  Indeed.

I'm going to try making mustard next.  I don't know why.  I just see a recipe and I have to make it.  The jams did work out well, though, because whenever I was invited to someone's place for dinner, I brought them one of each, so now all I have left is a nice, reasonable quantity for myself for the winter.

And, as God is my witness, I WILL be making peach jam before fall.

In other news, the third-grade-teacher from hell wrote an apology to my best friend that was about as heartfelt and sincere as you might expect from one of Satan's earthly minions. 

I think it has turned out for the best that I haven't had children of my own.  The impulse to write, "Bite me" and email it back to this woman would have been a bit too much for me to resist, I fear.  And then we would have had to have a parent-teacher conference, facilitated by a school administrator, to discuss the issue.

Apparently, emotional displays make her uncomfortable. 

You know, it's not like my friend walked through the door, suddenly dropped to her knees, hugged the desk and began wailing.  She only started to cry after this woman was a total jerk to her, and even then, she was embarrassed to be crying publicly.

I told my friend that the prospect of even walking into the classroom would have left me stranded in the minivan, face-down on the steering wheel and sobbing to the two kids in the back, "It's okay, Sweeties, Mommy's just gonna need a minute here...".

I say again, best that I did not reproduce.

So, as far as the crappy apology goes, I can only say that I would have had more respect for the woman if she had written to say that she had gotten totally plastered at a faculty mixer the night before and the frozen smile on her face was simply because she feared her head might crack in two at any moment.

Meanwhile, I had a mosquito in my bedroom the other night.  (That's not a euphemism for anything: I mean an actual mosquito, Culicidae).

I tend to get eaten alive by mosquitoes when I'm out in their world and fully awake, so imagine what this one did to me while I was sleeping in mine.

I thought I was going to end up crawling into the street, screaming for help.  Not quite as bad as the time I had over fifty bites on my legs and the capillaries all around each one of them ruptured in an allergic reaction that even the doctor couldn't explain, though.

That was attractive. 

In better news, my best friend's kids have both adjusted to the start of school just fine.  My favorite comment came from the little one, who is just starting kindergarten this year.

Apparently, she took one look at the larger classroom, the greater number of kids, and the increased burden of school supplies and announced with some concern, "I think I'm too little for this."

So that is my new catch-phrase for any situation I regard with skepticism or trepidation.

If only it worked.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."