Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ramblings and Relief and Reviews

This post comes close to being a Random Saturday post, so please bear with me while I jump around from topic to topic.

First of all, my DH and I drove to Amarillo today to stock the larder and to spend some time babysitting the youngest granddaughter while her parents attended a meeting. Until August she lived in the same town with us, but it has been a couple of months since we spent an extended time period alone with her. She is talking nonstop, explaining in detail how things are done and why, and backing up her opinions by citing authority—Daddy, Mommy, or Aunt Carrie—depending on what area the issue falls under. She was so much fun to watch, and she never got grumpy in spite of the fact that she entirely missed her nap. The fact that she was wearing the purple Wallaby I knitted for her didn't hurt my feelings either.

DH and I shopped madly for groceries. I happened to hit several staple items that were significantly, as in $2+, cheaper each than the regular price at home, so I bought extras. Our freezer is now full. Some of the meat items were less expensive because they were in bulk packages, so I broke those down into small, couple-sized freezer bags when we got home. Other items went in the pantry. I was ecstatic because I bought garlic. The grocery here in town has been out of the real stuff for at least 2 weeks! Evidently, it doesn’t take much excitement to make my day anymore. I have makings for 6 batches of chili, 3 crockpots of stew, 10 pork chop dinners, a liver and onion bash, and 6 meals of chicken fried steak, the entrĂ©e that Larry McMurtry ate as an act symbolistique. I tend to judge the appearance of my chicken fried steak by his description.

Side note: Several years ago, I was teaching Out of the Dust to a class of nonacademic track students. If you have not read this YA novel, you should do so. It won’t take long, but be warned, it is written in poetry. I was looking for projects and came across one that suggested students research and compile a cookbook of Dust Bowl recipes from the 1930s. I diligently researched the topic first and found that since we actually live in what was once the Dust Bowl, we are still eating most of these recipes although we don’t shoot that many rabbits anymore. (There was a huge glut of rabbits eating crops during the 1930s. My mother drove dinner to the field to my father and grandfather accompanied by her .22 semi-automatic rifle.) One of those recipes was for “Depression Steak.” Now we call it something else, but we still eat it, and we are proud of it!

Today, we had planned to eat seafood for lunch at a favorite catfish restaurant. (Why do we refer to fish as “seafood” when they are freshwater?) When we drove up, the business name had changed, and the sign advertised burgers and steaks. We knew that the original had a drive-through take-out branch about 2 miles away, so we went there on a cold, windy, and gloomy winter day. We ordered, not getting exactly what we wanted. For example, instead of my oyster and shrimp dinner with salad, baked potato, and roll, I ended up with shrimp (delicious), typical takeout coleslaw, and fries, accompanied by iced tea from a Styrofoam cup. And we had to eat in the car in the parking lot. As it turns out, the original restaurant is still in business at the same location—they just named it something else when they added steaks and burgers to the menu. I was not happy. We have been cutting back on eating out since we retired, both because we have more time and desire to cook and because working does not provide a convenient excuse, so I tend to expect “more” from the experience, particularly when we drove 70 miles.

I finally got an answer on the I-Cord question, sort of. (Notice the smooth transition from one topic to another?) GFTC knitted a sample and came out the same way I did, with an edge that looks like I-Cord in the front, but is not attached in the back. At least I know I’m not crazy. I did wear my Kink today, and it felt really good in the cool wind. I hate wearing coats in the car, so I took a chance and wore a long-sleeved cotton knit shirt, hand knit wool socks, cotton knit slacks, and my Kink. It was a good layer of warmth for neck and shoulder tops, and I loved the way it looked.

Review One: Film on Netflix Watch Instantly. The Botany of Desire about man’s relationship with plants, and I do mean relationship. Featured in the film are the apple, the tulip, cannabis, and the potato. The author focuses on interaction and how it changes both the plant and humans. His thesis is quite thought-provoking, so much so that as I was selecting from the many varieties of apples today (I chose Fujis.), I found myself wondering if the fruits were manipulating me. And I looked for some of those bags of the mixed little gourmet potatoes that are all different colors. I would have bought them, too. The film is based on a book. I will have to see if more plant varieties are discussed there.

Review Two: Audiobook. I was trying to beat the film on this one. Water for Elephants. The official review on Amazon is pretty much on the mark, but I want to Water_for_elephantstell you my emotional reaction to the book. First of all, this is an audiobook that lent itself to that type of performance. Since the protagonist/narrator of the novel is either 93 or 21, depending on where you are in the book, having two narrators who actually sound old and young enhances the experience. I found many of the chapters narrated by the 93-year-old to be quite painful, perhaps because I have had to face the experience of putting a loved one that same age into a nursing home. In fact, those chapters bothered me so much that I almost didn’t finish the novel, but I am very glad I did finish. The circus chapters were very interesting historically, but the brutality brought about by some immoral circus operators and the extreme poverty of life in America in 1931 became almost unbearable in places. However, since I have frequent encounters with a dog who only obeys commands in German, and I always forget that, I found Rosie the elephant, who only understands Polish, to be a sympathetic character. I’m glad I stuck with the painful parts of the book and came out the other side. In fact, that’s rather the point of the whole work, I think.

Now I’m off to eat an apple if I don’t have a conversation with it first.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Have you read ,Botany of Desire? I didn't know it had been made into a film. I found it fascinating!