An OWL! That’s who. This amazing creature was hanging out in a tree near my office. Its a Great Horned Owl. I would not have seen him at all except that there were already a couple of people staring up at him. Beautiful!
I was in the tub when I heard this little ditty coming from Dave’s computer.
“Play that again and send me a link!” I yelled.
Now I need to share it with you, dear readers. Indeed, sometimes everything is f*cked. Hopefully this brings you a small smile too.
Dave and I had a free night this week and I put out a call for people to come over and work on projects with me. Two people showed and it was nice to have people in the house to chat quietly with while I worked. Julian drew a really cool piece on a wooden frame (see above) and the other person made “shrinky dink” ornaments, which I think will also be amazing. I played with bones and other assorted creepy items. I think I already have some ideas about how to make these pieces better, but here are my “first drafts.”
Mom, if you’re reading this, what is the big bone in the second picture? Some sort of pelvis?
On Wednesday night (has it really been less than a week?) I stood in my kitchen feeling very shell shocked. Jenny and I were having the sort of hushed toned conversation I remember my parents and their friends having when they didn’t want to give kids anxiety. She had been explaining to her golden haired sun child why he and his family did not have much to worry about, but their neighbors and some of their friends do.
Then she looked at me and said, “I have no idea how to explain to him why you need to worry.”
“Yeah, it’s hard, right?” I said.
Yeah, it’s hard.
I *look* like every other white person. I can walk down the street with the same privilege as any white woman. I don’t wear any physical markers of my Jewish lineage, but the truth is I’m a model minority and I’m keenly aware, based on experience, of the ways in which my privilege can be revoked at any time.
Like when I was going to the rural elementary school in WV and people would come to stand in between the school and the buses to hand out Bibles and each year I had to decide whether to take one or not. Taking one felt like a betrayal of some core value, but I knew if I didn’t then the people would ask me why and I would have to choose whether to say because I’m from a Jewish family, or because my parents are atheist. I always decided not to take the Bible. I always figured that being from a Jewish family seemed more final. You can convert an Atheist, but I had heard that Christians didn’t want to convert Jews. It always took me a long time to recover my credibility with my peers and for the teasing to stop after I refused. I got pretty familiar with the epithets of antisemitism. I’m not sure if I ever told my parents because I knew that doing so would only cause more attention on my head in a small town where people talk too much.
When I was in high school and I had finally gotten in good with some of the older kids in Charleston’s punk scene. A friend of mine had recently broken up with her boyfriend and was in the phase of dishing all his secrets. She told me that a lot of the guys in the scene were contemplating becoming Neo-Nazi skins. When she brought up to them that they seemed to like me and another girl with a Jewish background she was told that we didn’t count because we were “Cool Jews.” I discovered raves around the same time and made a quiet exit from the local punk scene. I didn’t want to be there when my heritage stopped being cool with them. I didn’t want to be in good with them if they were planning an attack on any of my Jewish friends.
In college, at Marshall, I was waiting in the hall of my friend’s apartment for him to come home when one of the Neo-Nazi skins who lived in the tiny apartment down the hall came slumping by and asked if I could help him fill out a job application to a fast food restaurant. I was a little bit stunned and a lot worried that one of his buddies would come by, but I decided to help. It soon became obvious that this kid couldn’t read, basically at all. I asked him if his friends, the other Neo-Nazis could help and he said they’d all be drinking too much beer. I worried that he’d blame me if he didn’t get the job, thinking maybe I’d sabotaged him. When we were done filling out the form he offered me a flyer and my heart sank. It was to a skinhead concert later that week. Once again the dread welled up, but I decided to tell him I was from a Jewish family. He basically ran away from me at that point and I spent the next several months looking over my shoulder wondering if those guys were going to jump me. It didn’t happen. I moved to California the next year.
Recently I’ve seen some memes on liberal FB groups, Bernie groups, that I’m not even sure people know are originally from antisemitic groups. Things about how the Rothschilds run the world because they’re evil bankers. I can’t help but picture the caricatures from pre-WWII Europe of Jewish money changers with giant noses. Things about how all Jews support Israel and its policies unquestioningly and so are automatically culpable for war and genocide. I know how it could seem like we do. We have family and friends there we don’t want to see hurt, but I know even Jews living in Israel don’t necessarily support the policies of Israel. Just like people in the US, it is possible to be living in a country that you don’t support. I fear that we are being demonized.
Pair this with the dog whistling tactics of the Alt Right, those silent ways of signaling which keep their leaders out of culpability. The way my name could be surrounded on both sides by three parenthesis and signal that I’m a target. On the street I blend, online, my difference is clear. The other day someone told Dave it is stupid to believe that Trump is an antisemite, after all he has a daughter that converted to Judaism and married a Jewish man. When I hear that I hear the local punk scene guys saying, “Yeah, but she’s a cool Jew.” I highly doubt we’re first or even tenth on the list of people that need to worry personally, but we’re on it, and I’m scared too.
Yeah, it’s hard.
My situation is not as immediate as the situations of others, but I’m not without reason to worry personally. I will actively stand with brown, black, Native, disabled, Muslim, and GLBTQ people at every turn. My safety is meaningless if others are in danger. I and other Jews have been raised our whole lives to stand and say, “NEVER AGAIN” and I know most Jewish families were taught to apply that principle universally. I promise that I will not stand idly by. I’ve learned to be ever vigilant and I’ve de-escalated several situations that could have harmed me personally. I will use my personal vigilance and de-escalation skills to protect others. I hope that others would do the same if I needed it.
As this nation transforms around us may we all become warriors for what we know is right.
October 19 was our third wedding anniversary. Yay us! Due to a lot of circumstances we could not both have the day off and we ended up having separate plans in the evening, so we celebrated Saturday with an epic road trip.
I’m a fan of road trips with an arbitrary destination and plenty of adventure, so I chose our destination based on the fact that we had never been there and that there is a restaurant that gets good reviews in the town. (More on the dining in another post.) The winner was Peñasco, NM! And us for that matter. It was a stunningly beautiful road trip. If I had taken pictures of every gorgeous sight I beheld Saturday I would have been stopping us for photos every five minutes or so.
One thing that did take both of our breath away was this beautiful and functional piece of acequia engineering:
The wooden viaduct carries the water over the ravine and into underground passages in the hillside. I’d love to find out how long this system has been in place.
After lunch we went looking for the Harding Mine and we were unsuccessful, but we did spend a lot of time traipsing around in the piñon forest between Peñasco and Dixon. The air was crisp and clear and the piñon were all over the ground. We collected enough for a snack and some pretty rocks as consolation for not finding the mine, then went on our way back to Santa Fé.
We had reservations later in the day, but found ourselves with some time to wander around. Lately, I find myself so tired of the Plaza, which basically means that I will need to have a plan when visiting the City Different in the future. With plenty of museums, galleries, and restaurants I think it won’t be an issue, but it will take a bit more planning. This also may encourage Dave and I to do more exploring in other towns, which is in no way a problem for us. We did wander around the area just outside the Plaza though and I found this fun art installation that I just had to get in on.
We went and got a drink and a snack in an unremarkable, but quiet, hotel bar in the area before proceeding to our next destination.
At Meow Wolf we had a whole new sensory experience which wove performances and interactions into the already astoundingly amazing space. I still find myself a bit at a loss for words to describe what happens at Meow Wolf, but I’ll attempt a few based on my own experiences. I have sat in Baba Yaga’s hut, painted part of a painting that I never saw the end of, received information from a giant raven, learned things about a family that has been transported to another dimension, played a harp with no strings that still makes sound, and spent hours grinning from ear to ear as I discover the layers and layers of art and magic that have been created in this place. I still cannot describe it in a way that I feel preserves the beautiful mystery of the place and entices people who want to know why they should be interested. I’m not sure that will ever change, but I’m going to keep telling people to go and exp
This weekend Dave and I were out and about running errands and such when we found ourselves sweltering and thirsty downtown. Seriously the temperature was up around 90. UGH! After cooling off and using the facilities in the lobby of the Hyatt we began to make our way home to do some chores and take some naps. As we were driving up Central Dave suddenly pulled over and parked. “Uh, what’s up?” I asked. “We’re gonna check out the cat cafe,” he replied. And so we went to Gatos y Galletas.
The set up is a bit confusing the first time you go there. It is required by health regulations that all food prep be kept seperate from animals, so you have to enter through the door on the left first. In the cafe you can order from a menu of food and drinks. Its all pretty standard cafe fare. I had an iced chai and Dave had an iced cappuccino. We also opted to pay the additional $3 to go hang out with the cats because isn’t that the point? The $3 goes to the care and feeding of the cats who are all very cute. My chai was from a pre-sweetened concentrate and tasted as one would expect. Dave reports that his cappuccino was good.
But enough about the cafe, let’s talk about the CATS! Rather, let’s talk about Murphy. Of course I fell for the grey cat. And he is a handsome little bugger. See?
No, we are not in the market for a third cat right now. Two is just fine thank you. Also Soos and Azrael are still working things out. It was fun playing with him though. Dave is a semi-pro riler of domestic animals and he got all the cats very wound up. Apparently they are usually asleep midday, but they were running all over. It was fun to play with them.
I’m hesitant to say this next bit, but this wouldn’t be an honest review without it. I’m not sure this model of cat adoption works for me. The area was too big and, while Murphy was really cute and sweet, I didn’t want to take him out of the environment. He seemed to be having so much fun. The other thing I wasn’t fond of was interacting with the staff person on the cat side. Unlike the normal coffee house experience where you get your coffee and sit quietly and chat with your companion this person was very chatty and not just about the cats. If you go I recommend doing what the other patrons did and taking a seat in one of the outlying areas until you suss out whether the employee is bored and chatty or not.
All in all I say go to Gatos y Galletas. It is a unique experience and playing with the cats is seriously fun. If you fall in love with one or more of the gatos they are all up for adoption and, of course, I encourage you to take one home with you.
The epic recovery from remodeling continues. Sunday that guy I like and I worked on getting my dressing room back in order. It feels funny to say the phrase “our art collection,” but the truth is we have a pretty cool little collection of art that we like by and from people we love. We basically have more than we can hang at one time, which is a lovely problem to have. Our first task was to hang art. After a few hours in which our conversations consisted of the question “Here?” we had several pieces up. While that was going on I was also arranging my epic boot collection and hanging more of the clothing that had been put in storage.
After the push to get some of our backlog cleared we still wanted to prep for the week and take care of lunch for ourselves. For lunch I made soutzoukakia out of ground buffalo and served it over pearl couscous. Instead of dry white wine, which we lacked, I used our dry plum mead. It was super yummy and we devoured it before I even thought of getting a picture. Ah well.
To prep for the week Dave made bread and practiced his shortbread technique. The pantry challenge is still on at 4th Base and so far we have only run out of alliums (garlic and onions), vegetables we eat raw, and bread products. Though we have the freezer about 1/2 empty we’ve still got a lot of food. I’m still considering this a fun challenge though! The only reason I haven’t been sharing many of the results is that I keep forgetting to take pictures. *headdesk*
We are almost out of cheese! While this could be a terrifying situation I’m excited because it means we get to work on developing the 4th Base Creamery. One of the first cheeses we might make is Queso Fresco and when we have more queso fresco we will probably make this “Charred Mexican Zucchini” again (with a few small tweaks). I doubled the recipe and instead of needing 6 tbs to coat the squash I used 2 and I think that instead of mayonnaise I would probably use yogurt or sour cream to bind the cheese. I’m all for full fat food, but this dish doesn’t need much to be amazing.
We also had a couple of failures in the kitchen. Dave attempted a pickle bread to use up some of the copious amounts of pickle juice I’m compelled to save (its so yummy). I tried making savory palmiers from puff pastry that may have been too old to work correctly. Ah well.
We got a whole lot done, but, as is often the case with big tasks, I’m still overwhelmed. My personal mantra right now is “the best things take time.”
Anyone who has been following along with the 4th Base 2016 garden struggles knows that I have all but given up on making things work. Last week I even turned off the watering to most of the rows. The things that are thriving, grapes, mint, gojiberry, tarragon, and chard interspersed with volunteer cilantro, are all still getting water. Because the row of chard is double sided and the second side was empty I decided to try an experiment, I did a fall planting of peas back in early August.
All is not lost! I mean, I knew that already of course, there have been perennial successes, but this is the first thing I’ve planted in 2016 that wasn’t an utter fail. Now that things are cooling I predict about a month, maybe longer, of growth and production. I will be planting fall peas again next year.
With our freezer full and our on-going pantry challenge in effect we are not buying any 2016 chile. It turns out I may be a local now, because this is emotionally difficult for me. *sigh* Fortunately I have a few bags of frozen green and red still in the deep freeze, so we might survive. I keep telling myself “There’s always Bueno.”
In the meantime I’m trying not to hoard the chile we do have. Honestly I don’t keep many recipes involving green chile. For me, cooking with green is pretty intuitive: chopped green on beans, chopped green on eggs, chopped green on pizza, you get the idea. Every once in a while, though, I’ll save something just to remind me to try something new the next time I’m stuck for ideas. Recently I found myself wanting to use up bread and eggs. Bread pudding came to mind, but I wanted savory, not sweet.
Enter Green Chile and Tomato Casserole, with a few modifications of course. First, I used roasted instead of fresh. Second, I used reconstituted dried tomatoes because garden fail and also I have lots of dried. Third, I just used regular bread because gluten free isn’t needed in our house. Even with all the modifications this is some yummy stuff. I mean it would be really hard to go wrong with it, but still, one always wonders.
I also think this is a great template for future savory bread pudding experiments. The formula is as follows:
2 cups bread
4 cups veggies or other flavorful bits6 eggs
1 cup milk
2 oz cheese
I’m thinking I’ll use this template to make a blue cheese mushroom version and probably a french onion version. YUM! What combinations can you think of? Let me know in the comments. ^_^