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.

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Pokemom

The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product

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.

 

 

I Saw Things I Liked

I spent the week after Jonas tending to Ur Takses and Mouse’s emotional health (shout-out to the Center for Psychological Services at Divine Mercy University) and its impact on her school attendance. January was pretty much like that. In between times, I alternated between staring at Facebook, staring at Twitter, and trying to teach myself the basics of Continental philosophy for the heck of it.

During this week, I also found a link to Thing of Things most recent Book Post in my e-mail, courtesy of The Browser (the only electronic publication I pay actual money to read, that’s how good it is). Ozy Franks has figured out how to get free books from people, which is like the Holy Freakin’ Grail of cultural criticism in my opinion. I am inspired. Plus I got ideas for communicating with Mouse about elements of the above-inferred emotional distress she’s experiencing.

My new favorite, Hatch Act-appropriate meme about the 2016 democratic primaries:

sandersvclintonmeme

And finally, tonight I saw Beyonce’s new video. Boss-yonce.

 

Jonas Diary, Day 4

We have reached the car, but we have yet to try driving given the 23″ of snow remaining in the road. On Sunday morning, I did some digging in the direction of the car, cleared a path to the garbage and recycling bins, and dug out around the heat pump. As much as I complain about my landlord’s interior maintenance, I have to admit that they do a good job of making the outside look good. The pathway that Mouse and TeenBot fought to create on Saturday was pristine sidewalk when I went outside the next day.

Dino Spouse walked the mile or so from his mother’s place to home yesterday afternoon, leaving his own car for better times. He and Mouse finished the path to my car and painstakingly cleared snow from the sides and front of it. (Mouse has doubtless absorbed my admonitions about the evils of the automotive snowhawk, but at 5’6″ she’s still not of a height or strength to get the snow off the top of the car without something lighter than a snow shovel. I’ll discreetly tend to this myself before moving the car.)

Now I feel safe saying it: the cable and internet connection stayed functional during the blizzard. Thank God. My only disappointment was the way we kept losing sound in the On Demand programs, which led to lots of bingeus interruptus when I tried to catch up on “Into The Badlands” and “War and Peace.” My disappointment on the latter score was even greater when I discovered that no one was showing episode three of “War and Peace” during prime time last night. Worse, the moral effort of sharing the television during the search for same so exhausted Dino Spouse that I lost all desire to watch “Mercy Street,” even though I think it was streaming on PBS’s website in addition to the TV broadcast.