Fermenting Things, Part 2

Well, that didn’t work. My pickled cabbage tastes great, but the stench it emits is such that I’m afraid to try the pickle juice. The kombucha was a lost cause. I let my second attempt (the effort to fix the first attempt) sit too long and wound up with a giant SCOBY and a liquid that smelled like nail polish remover. Nope, nope, nope. I threw the whole thing out and started over last weekend with a bottle of store-bought kombucha and some sweet tea. The new SCOBY is forming now, as the wisdom of the internet foretold.

This time I think I’ll keep the cabbage and the kombucha away from each other. The internet tells me that’s a good idea.

Plugged Back In To Matrix

Never have I so jonesed for a smart phone as I did for my refurbished iPhone 5s after the Blackberry died. Accordingly, my phone was the only one of the four that were mailed to us that couldn’t be left at the doorstep by the mail carrier, and I forgot to take the pick-up slip to work with me the following day, and then I forgot to take the SIM card with me back to the office so I could activate the new phone after my lunch-time sprint to the post office, and then I forgot to bring a paperclip or something similar with me so that I could open the SIM slot and put in the card while I was waiting to pick up TeenBot from his job, and then the lead from the pencil I used to open the slot broke in the phone when I was trying to get the card back out so I could write down its number (the phone refusing to serve up this info until I could offer it wi-fi or a cellular connection to the world). I was in such bad shape that my 16 year-old rightly chastised me for being overly dependent on my smart phone. Happily, I found a paper clip in my car while waiting for my dinner partner to meet me at the Red Lobster last night, and thus I was reconnected to the zeitgeist.

(I trust it will not violate the Hatch Act if I say that I got all weepy listening to the coverage of Hillary Clinton being nominated by the Democratic Party. I genuinely believe I would have felt the same had she been a Republican. I guess it’s like my reaction to reading about women being admitted to combat roles in the military – it just touched a raw spot and made me sob out of nowhere. It feels good to see those doors opening after a lifetime of knowing they were closed.)

Tomorrow I’ll be going to an open house for would-be election officers. The city of Alexandria is offering us “patriotic refreshments.” I assume they don’t mean corn whisky or hard cider, but I’ll go anyway.

Fermenting Things

(Did I say I was using my work phone as a stop-gap until my “new” phone shows up? Ha ha ha ha ha nope. That was before it decided to download a new operating system and never finished. So much for that. Now using Mouse’s rejected iPhone 4.)

Some middle-aged ladies take up running marathons. Some get tattoos. Me, I’ve been learning to make Russian-style sauerkraut (selyonnaya kapusta) and kombucha. I failed at water kefir and half-sour pickles before that. The kapusta is reliably good, plus the juice is a fantastic stomach-settler.

(Yeah, I’m drinking sauerkraut juice. It’s kind of fizzy, actually, so maybe I should call it a sauerkraut spritzer. I wish they sold this crap in the store because it really is magic.)

I followed some instructions I found online for growing a SCOBY and making kombucha. I let the first batch of kombucha ferment too long and got fizzy vinegar. Half of it I used to marinate chicken on Sunday. The other half I am trying to fix with fruit juice and more tea. I grew a SCOBY from a bottle of the store-bought stuff. The SCOBY totally fascinates me. It reminds me of when I saw the placenta after Soldatik was born, only smaller and, you know, not a body part. It’s intriguingly repulsive.

Pokemom

Mouse has finally gotten to hunt for Pokemon. I swapped phones with them* two weeks ago because their iPhone 4 could not run the necessary iOS to download Pokemon Go. Alas, my 4S fell out of their pocket on their very first PokeWalk, ushering in many days of darkness. Mouse got the old iPhone back until their “new” refurbished 4s showed up from Amazon yesterday. I have been using my Blackberry Q10 as a stop-gap and waiting for the Amazon phone fairy to bless me as well.

*I am attempting to honor Mouse’s preferred pronouns. It bugged me a lot at first as a grammar traditionalist, but I’m starting to get a kick out of vicariously rejecting the gender binary.

Uncle Sam’s Blackberry doesn’t let me download Pokemon Go (or any other apps of any other kind), but I think I caught a Pokemon in my comments section:

The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product
The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product

 

Rope-A-Dopamine

I have largely trained myself away from checking my social media while I’m waking up in the morning. That is good. However, I continue to spend an inordinate amount of my screen time at home clicking between Facebook and Twitter like a food pellet’s going to come out of the USB port on the laptop if I do it right. That is bad. It does not contribute to my sense of well-being. Once a day, sure – that’s input.

Star_Trek_The_Motion_Picture_poster
V’Ger needs input. V’Ger, c’est moi.

Once every 20 minutes, that’s messed up. Chain-clicking – that is, reading 20 minutes’ worth of FB updates and then clicking over to Twitter to see what happened there while I was reading my FB feed, then clicking back to FB to see what updates appeared while I was reading my Twitter feed – that’s downright compulsive. It’s better than eating a half a bag of SweeTART Jelly Beans (which is better than eating a whole bag of SweeTART Jelly Beans). But that doesn’t make it good, or even satisfying in the moment.

sweetart jelly beans
Unlike eating SweeTART Jelly Beans.

Did I have a point? No, actually, the point of all this was to make myself stop chain-clicking and finish the 2015 taxes. Mercifully, it worked, and we don’t even owe money this year. Good job, self. Nice going. My next project was going to be installing Water Hammer Arrestors* on the washing machine, but I will need the assistance of another adult-sized person for that since moving the washer-dryer stack unit solo is a bit beyond my physical powers. Maybe I’ll try one for the toilet instead.

*My landlord’s idea of solving our persistent plumbing problems – to wit, the violent knocking sounds that emerge from our pipes every time we flush or use a high-demand water appliance – is to turn down our water pressure. That doesn’t work so well.

 

More

In the midst of more process-building and re-building in my office (October and November have lasted a long time) and parenting at home (Mouse on the mend but still seeing therapist twice a week for the foreseeable future), it has been a month of Improving Literature (my preferred term for self-help books) here in the Dino Nest. This is partially an outgrowth of my reading the month before for the philosophy essay that didn’t happen and partially the result of my Facebook correspondence with a college friend on the topic of self-loathing. Somehow I went from continental philosophers‘ views on fame and the self to revisiting The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique while mentally arguing with a bunch of old Camille Paglia interviews. Then I read When She Makes More by Farnoosh Torabi because I was looking for popular models of new-fangled Salary Mom marriages. What I took away from the book was that Salary Wives are more likely to stay married if they don’t go out of their way to defer to their husbands and that the most marriage-protective way a Salary Wife can keep from being overwhelmed by disproportionate demands for domestic and/or emotional labor is to outsource that sh*t to the greatest extent possible. Thinking about how useful that advice and some competent financial decision-making might have been in my life circa 1996 plunged me into a place where I was particularly open to Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself by Anneli Rufus. And I have to say, it helped. So did Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.