Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Venus and Mars Are Alright Tonight

Probably no little green men, but at this point nothing would shock me. 

But then...

Salty ponds may be under Mars' icy surface, raising prospect of Martian life.

So yeah. 
*Waves* Hi! 

Been taking an Instagram break as I haven't been feeling great (just the regular chronic stuff acting up,   not 'Rona) and what was previously a mindless place to scroll through and look at people's silly outfits has lately become sort of mean and attacking. I haven't the energy for people figuring themselves out at the expense of everyone else. Haven't been attacked personally, but can't help but notice what seems like looking for a fight from people that agree with you. Hitting people over the head with your beliefs isn't a good look. I'm not sure anyone could possibly live up to the standards being set to be spared being cancelled, but I don't need to encourage it by being an audience. I have blocked so many people on social media lately, and a good chunk of them are people I'd otherwise agree with if they weren't so bloody strident. Anyway, that's me. I'm still going to work the polls on election day because it seems a concrete thing I can do, rather than publicly shaming people for not being radical enough. You do you, but make sure you take a break from posting to get your ass down to the poling place (or your post office) to cast a ballot. 

I thought about a sign for our car that reads, "Student Driver...and his mother.

In other news, I've been taking Dan out driving. He hasn't got behind the wheel yet (except to familarise himself with the car) but he's studying his rules of the road, learning important things like how to pop the hood, charge the battery, check the oil, and change a flat. There's no way I'd let him loose on the road without simple maintenance skills even with a AAA membership. We've been taking drives through all the different scenarios he might encounter. We've covered merging in various highway situations, driving through complicated construction zones, one-way city streets, country driving, middle lane turns, and all of the things that no one pays attention to as a passenger. He's been able to observe that no one in Omaha seems to know how to do a four way stop, that seemingly no one will yield to the driver in the rotary (they should!), and waiting a full three seconds at a stop sign just doesn't happen. Half the lessons are what not to do. 

Learning to drive Dodge Street with the sun in your eyes. 

We took a drive out to the county where Dan grew up. It was strange, seeing how built up some of the surrounding towns have become in just seven years. We drove past the farm, and the wildlife area. Dan barely remembered it, even though he was nearly nine when we moved. I'd forgotten just how long and tedious the drive was from the city, and was happy enough to get back home. Flashbacks to driving the "Mighty Ford Tempo" through snow and ice to take a sick kid to the doctor an hour away make me appreciate the conveniences of city living-and a new car. I'm glad he had the experience of growing up on a farm, but I wouldn't want to go back. We joke that it gave him a perspective most city kids don't get ("Si habla Redneck!). The drive was a good reminder though that he needs to look out for farm equipment, and deer on the roads. We didn't see any deer, but you know they're there, waiting to total your car.

We didn't get out and walk around town as the county is currently a Corona hotspot. Someone decided to have a party over labour day weekend for 200 guests! Predictably, it has now infected dozens of people and caused an outbreak in a care home an hour away. Sigh, what can you do? The selfishness, and arrogance of people doing what they want to do, and believing what they wish to believe, against all sense and science. It really is a pity because the small rural hospital isn't equipped for an outbreak, and the area is far enough away from the city that they might have got through with minimal impact had people done the right thing. *Sarcastic voice* "But at least we don't have the government telling us what to do like Douglas and Lancaster counties! Mask mandates are for weaklings!" Yeah, alright, whatever you say Hoss.  

The winter garden is planted! Spinach, kale, radishes, rocket-all the typical stuff. I might have gone a bit overboard with the garlic, planting close to 100 cloves. I doubt they'll all mature into bulbs, but if 2020 decides to throw vampires at us, we're covered. I harvested the sweet potatoes grown from a supermarket potato that sprouted eyes-they look perfect. Sweet potatoes need to be stored for the starches to sweeten, so it might be a while before we eat them. I'll report back to keep you updated. I was so stupidly proud of those potatoes, grown from something that would have otherwise been thrown away. There's a rumoured frost for Thursday night, so fleeces and waterproof tarps are at the ready, but if experience is a guide, there's plenty of warm days ahead. Good to be prepared for either scenario though because, 2020. I saw a funny meme suggesting if this year were an ice cream flavour it would be toothpaste and orange juice. How accurate.  

Sunflower status is: Still standing.

Since the start of the pandemic, I've been doing the bulk of my shopping at Fresh Thyme market, a small organic supermarket with excellent produce and great prices. They had early shopping hours for the old and sick, and the people working there would go out of their way to be helpful. Well, they're closing. I'm not surprised, as good produce and organic groceries aren't the sort of thing most Nebraskans are shopping for, but I'm going to be sorry to see them go.  The employees will find work elsewhere as they were all truly top-of-the-line talent, but I'm going to miss them. Omaha will be left with only an even smaller organic grocer staffed by kids that are stoned out of their minds most days (organic weed, undoubtedly and god only knows what else), and I will now need to endure the larger supermarkets (with no social distancing or special hours) for the bulk of my shopping. I'm seriously sad about it, particularly now as our corona cases are spiking and flu season is getting underway. Winter isn't going to be fun. In fairness to the kids at the health food store, given what they have to look forward to, why wouldn't they want a break from reality? 

Speaking of dope...

For the past couple of nights we've had racoons raiding the birdfeeders. A pair, clearly not fearful of humans had the nerve to press their noses against our glass door to see if they could convince us to feed them. We did not. Birds, the occasional squirrel-yes. Racoons? Do I look like Little Edie?! My  neighbour sits out on his patio to smoke (not cigarettes) and told me we had "Sloths or something" coming to the birdfeeders. Poor guy must have thought he got laced dope and was tripping balls. Anyway, the birds are on their own for a bit, and the racoons can go eat out of the trash like they're supposed to. Times are tough. To be clear, we do not have sloths in Nebraska (or North America). 

We also have collared doves in Omaha now-so that's something new!

Some non-dope related news...

We were able to get some exceptionally nice McIntosh apples recently, which seemed like a good opportunity to make applesauce. I only made a quart, so it wasn't worth canning. Applesauce also freezes well if you have the room. I had a friend years ago that would make enough for everyone each autumn, so I never bothered. After she died, I worked out that her "Famous pink applesauce" was pink because she didn't peel the apples first. If you're going to put it through a food mill anyway, that makes sense, but I use a potato masher for mine, so peeling is worth the effort. You want the recipe, don't you?


Peel (or not) and slice 1 quart of apples. Place in a large pot with 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I sweeten mine, but that's entirely optional. A half cup of sugar should be more than adequate, but a quarter cup is also still sweet. Spices? I use a pinch of cinnamon, but if you plan to serve it with meat or savoury dishes leave it out. Ginger, allspice, and nutmeg are also good here. 

Bring everything to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves, then reduce to a simmer until apples are soft. Mash or put through a food mill. Don't use a blender or food processor as it will liquify it-applesauce is best slightly chunky. Return sauce to the pan and cook another minute or two until thickened. Chill. World's easiest recipe, and if you have your own apples, practically free. 

Who will it be in the High Holidays roulette? 

As Rosh Hashanah began, I was a little nervous, but said nothing. In previous years at the holiday's start I've lost family, friends, and a beloved pet that decided to go tits-up during dinner. In the back of my mind, I wondered who it was going to be this year, but I honestly didn't think it would be Justice Ginsburg. I'm sorry to see her gone, and was hoping she'd turn out to be immortal.  Of all the people I've been told I resemble, she was the comparison I took as the greatest compliment. Anyway, we were probably already headed into oblivion as a country, but this is going to hasten it. The words, "Failed State" probably say it all, but go ahead and vote anyway even if it is, as the saying goes, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 

The first debate is tonight. 200,000 Americans dead from Corona. Millions out of work. Wildfires, floods, hurricanes, homelessness, starvation, lack of access to clean water, medicine, healthcare...you'd think there wouldn't be anything to debate because the lack of competence is so glaringly obvious. But yeah, you know how this is going to go. I haven't decided if I have the energy to watch or if I'll just read the transcripts tomorrow. 

At this point an alien invasion doesn't sound that bad.



bahnwärterin said...

this morning, the BW sayd to me: it feels like in a strange science fiction movie.... and now you come around with aliens and life on mars & venus.....
was moved when the newpapers announced the gone of madame ginsburg.
i should go out and collect fallen apples from left alone orchards - love applesauce - apfelmus - and do it in the same style but un-peeled and with a thing called "flotte lotte" :-D
you doing well with your garden - fingers crossed for mild weather!
hey danny - i´m going to have the driving test this month..... i´m very nervous. the words on the truck could be painted on my school car ;-)
oh - and i´m the first one with a racoone hat if they ever show up here!
stay safe and strong and take care for yourself - dear goody! xxxxx

Emily said...

Dan is going to be an excellent driver with you for a teacher! And what better time than now to teach him how to drive. I find that the roads are less crowded because of quarantine.

Sorry to hear Fresh Thyme is closing. If you wake up early and do your shopping during the first hour the other supermarkets are open, you will probably avoid the crowds. I can't blame the raccoons for coming over to your apartment. Word is spreading far and wide about the good eats to be had.

RBG was an inspiration. May she rest in peace, knowing what a great role model she was.

Anonymous said...

My husband has been listening to the Temptation's song " Ball of Confusion" a lot lately. I never payed much attention to the song when it originally came out. But it seems so appropriate. now.

Best Wishes
Gail From Pa.

Vix said...

Sunflower envy!
I've just seen a bit of the presidential debate on the BBC, what a shambles.
Until I read a few American blogs I always assumed apple sauce was something you served with roast pork and as a vegetarian I'd never tried the stuff - I still haven't. What do you do with it when you don't eat meat? xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grocery store closing - what a shame!

On the other hand it's very exciting that Danny is learning to drive; you start them young in the States...I don't think ours can start till they're 17.

As for racoons; they always look so cute to me but I know they're pests. I love that your neighbour thought they were sloths; surely if they were sloths they couldn't be arsed with raiding the bird feeders - that's why they're called sloths, doh....!!

I heard a bit of the debate on the news this morning; Trump just tries to interrupt and shout other people down all the time; he's rude and ignorant and million other things beside but I have to think of my blood pressure....

Take care and stay as safe as you can, Goody.

Polyester Princess said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're still having a tough time health-wise. I'm hearing you on the Instagram issue, although your daily outfits are missed, and I'm sure not only by me! What dedication you have teaching Danny to drive. I wish my Dad had been like you, but he just couldn't be bothered, and I never learned to drive! What a shame the Fresh Thyme market is closing down! I do hope you find somewhere else where it's safe to shop.
The presidential debate was all over the news this morning. Somehow I can't help thinking you'd be better off with those little green men.
That said, Belgium finally managed to form a coalition government, 500+ days after election day. In the interim, we had to make do with an emergency government to deal with the C word crisis! xxx

JP said...

I do love your blogs Goody, one never knows what the next blog or paragraph will hold! As for those raccoons - they’re a saucey bunch aren’t they?

Beth Waltz said...

Agreed, we do seem to be living in a Wes-Anderson-does-sci-fi epic. Methinks a holographic Herbert Lom would be well cast as the U.N. delegate to greet the little green men. The storyline would entail the LGMs arrival to quarantine the planet for contagious stupidity/a.k.a. the arrogance of ignorance.
Ah, defensive driving lessons for Danny! We farm kids leaned to drive on field lanes whenever our feet reached the pedals. I have fond memories of a red Chevy pickup with creep gear: one could get out, pull boxes off the gate, and get back in, while it along the furrows. But then we grew up and tried to navigate the lakefront drive in Chicago at rush hour and learned what real defensive driving entailed!
Among my friends who called to share the news of RBGs passing were observant Jews who told me her death on the Sabbath preceding Rosh Hashana marked her as a righteous person. They sent me to YouTube for Exsultate Justi, John Williams' choral version of the 33rd Psalm, "Exult, ye righteous!" * And, yes, you do resemble Justice Ginsburg in appearance and wit. What a grand time you two could have had, comparing wardrobes and fitness routines!

Bibi Maizoon said...

Probably no little green men but with the way things are going possily new pathogens (as in The Andromeda Strain)? As they say in India "Saab chalta hai!" (Anything goes!)
Oh driving lessons, what fun. No such thing as driving safety or traffic rules enforced here turn signals are used to signal that it is ok to pass on that side!?!
2020 is really starting to wear on people isn't it? October is a big Hindu & Buddhist festival month so lockdowns have been lax but borders are still sealed. PeNepalis are out doing holiday shopping with less than half donning masks. Still no great jump in cases or fatalities though.
Applesauce, yum! Local apples are all we have here from higher up in the Himalayas. They are terrible, mealy & flavorless - perhaps they'd make better applesauce thamn eating fresh.
I did not watch the US debate as I am taking a break from TV. A series of brutal rapes on the lower caste in India is all over the news now. I'm in outrage overwhelm.

Goody said...

Best of luck to you for your driving exam! It must be exciting to finally have that nearing the end.
If you make a racoon hat you should have a matching coat-there was a time that they were popular with college students in the 1920s.

I haven't put out birdseed for the past week but at dinnertime tonight a very brave squirrel came to the door so I gave him a gingersnap. I am such a pushover. I hope word doesn't get out to the racoons. The early grocery hours are ending now that everything is opened back up. Sigh, I'm just hoping for the best. I'm going to stay home for 10 days prior to the election so I don't risk getting sick or spreading anything to people at the polls, and then I'll be isolating for 2 weeks after. I've stocked up as much as reasonably possible right down to shelf-stable oat milk. They'll have to manage, or I'll come out of isolation to a sink with 2 weeks worth of dishes!

You've got that right!

Shambles isn't the half of it!
Applesauce is served with pork here too but it is also a "First food" for babies and has a tendency to be viewed as a healthy treat. Traditionally it would have been a fancy dessert in colonial times served with something like gingerbread (all those spices had to be imported). Sometimes I bake with it-my Christmas cake recipe uses a cup of applesauce to provide moisture without using extra fat. My favourite thing to do with it is baking it in a hollowed out winter squash-but my husband hates it, so that's a meal for when he stays late at the office...if he ever works from the office again!

It is starting to sound like he knew he was infected and went to the debate anyway! I really hope that's not true, but...
If we still lived on the farm Dan could have had a license at 14 (for driving tractors, trucks, etc.) but since we moved to the city he had to wait. They can't get a regular permit to drive without an adult until 16, but lessons can start at 15. He's a responsible kid-he took welding and didn't set the school on fire ;)

Finally, a government! 500 days is quite the wait, but Belgium still managed things better than most places.
I didn't want to learn to drive but we lived in an area without public transportation and my mum wasn't going to be bothered driving me around. I think she wanted me to learn so there would be someone to go out and run errands. Ah well, I don't smoke so I can't send Dan out to buy me cigarettes in a blizzard ;)

Thank you! I do like animals, but I have to draw the line at potentially rabid wildlife.

Yeah, LSD at rush hour isn't fun. I mean, that's how I learned, and it stood me well when I moved to Boston and had to drive while the big dig was going-but still. My husband had the experience of driving the Skyway Bridge at rush hour years before I met him and he hasn't quite gotten over the terror.

At this point, anything goes driving is probably coming next for the US. Rules?! Glad to hear the corona cases aren't jumping by you.

Mim said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling under the weather. I haven't seen the meanness on IG, which I'm thankful for - my Twitter feed is full of people with a work connection, so IG's where I go to see people who like fun clothes and nice food! I have seen the sort of behaviour you're talking about on Twitter; it's probably lockdown frustration leading to people picking fights with those they'd usually be friends with.

Well done to Danny for learning to drive! Must be nice for both of you to get out and about (if not out of the car).

I'm sorry to hear about your supermarket; it's gutting when a small, good shop closes. (And it always seems to be the good indies that shut.)

I'm commenting late, so I guess things are very different in the US right now. I shall just say I hope more people are taking the disease seriously now...

Goody said...

Thank you. It is a drag having one part of my body after another shutting down, but eventually it will subside.
I think there could be a direct lightning bolt from the sky and people still wouldn't take it seriously. Last I checked, people are saying it is a hoax. Sigh, what can you do?

bahnwärterin said...

the racoon fur hype of the 20s is the reason why we have them as neozoon here now - they escaped from farms....... xx

Señora Allnut said...

Totally agree that only an alien invasion could be stranger than current situation. Actually, I think that we've lost totally any risk-assessment skill, so would welcome any aliens who want to exterminate us. Only think on how many people have attended parties and family gatherings!.
Despite evidence, I keep on being optimistic. We've produced some really Fabulous People as R.Ginsburg (I was also hoping she'd turn out to be inmortal). I'm going to re-watch some documentaries on her life and recommend them to friends.
Great idea to train your son to some 'real life' experience as a driver. It's hard to realize that rules are widely ignored in the road! (spanish drivers behaviour similarly).

And I'm amazed by racoons being so daring, and also amazed by your neighbour thinking they were sloths (wow). We're having some wild boars going for a walk in the suburban areas, and eating from the trash bins. Glad to say I've never seen anyone.
Sending you some virtual support and hugs!