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

 

In Which I Find My Personal Brand

I have alluded in the past to my effort to cultivate Ye Blog as an exercise in Personal Branding, through which I might hawk my professional wares and opine on things professional and work-life balance-y. At long last, I have it figured out.

I am a human being, mother f*ckers!

Brands are for commodities and institutions, neither of which I currently am.

Screen-Shot-2012-08-24-at-4.58.39-PM-640x340
Now, she’s a brand. (Picture looted from “The Gloss” via Google Images)

I’m going to just stick with TMI and random musings on life, where I belong.

Mercy

I went to a funeral Monday. It was the first funeral I have ever been to for someone who committed suicide and for someone of age to be my son. I hope it is the last such funeral I ever have to attend. With the recent exception of a beloved cousin and contemporary, all of my dead have exited this life in an orderly manner, having given notice in the form of terminal illness and/or old age. It begins to terrify me that I haven’t lost anyone closer or more out of turn – with every day the odds increase that my luck will run out.

But this is not my main thought. The thing that struck me most during the service was the compassion of the pastor’s sermon and the sympathy for the suffering of the deceased that seemed to prevail among the mourners. The religious tradition I grew up in was not forgiving of suicide. Today, the Church takes a far more nuanced look at the roots of suicidal intent, to a degree that similar sentiments could easily have been spoken at a Catholic funeral. What struck me is the difficulty of striking a balance between recognizing and attempting to ease another human being’s psychic pain on one hand and appearing to accept impaired life function or suicide as natural potential consequences of that pain on the other. Maybe I wouldn’t fixate on this on this balance if I felt that life was its own best argument against suicide? I wonder.

Loss and Wonder

Salary Mom at Zion National Park
Dang, nature!

I was overloading on work and then I visited a bunch of national parks in Utah (highly recommend) and then I came home. I know that the experience of all that beauty was restorative, but I have been playing a lot of solitaire and oversleeping since my return. And falling asleep in front of the computer.

But a friend’s son killed himself Tuesday. How horrible! I am so terribly sorry for my friend and his son’s mother.Whatever ennui or parental frustration I’m feeling as I wait for my nest to empty, it’s a blessing compared to the finality of  losing a child.

 

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.

 

Insomnia or Procrastination?

I spent the better part of this weekend working on applying for a federal job in Michigan that would be awesome. I also spent some time working on an essay that I want(ed) to enter in a contest. I put the desire in tentative past tense because I believe I have missed the deadline for submitting (and presumably first completing) it. My work was leavened with a lot of pleasure reading (The Pale KingYear of Yes, and Reality Hunger), a fair amount of child transport, and an unconscionable amount of clicking back and forth between Facebook and Twitter as though something important were going to happen there.

It is now 2:30 AM on Monday. I have to be awake in four hours. I have given up on weaving phrases from the job announcement into narrative descriptions of my professional experience and abilities. I have not yet had the heart to find my copy of The New Philosopher to see if the deadline has been influenced by the Leap Year. I ought to go to sleep and yet I am awake. It is quiet and no one wants anything from me!

This is not the first time I’ve done this to myself in the past week. On Tuesday night I actually pulled an all-nighter, initially for the joy of being conscious and alone in a quiet living room (Dino Spouse having driven to South Carolina for an in-person farewell to Soldatik before the latter’s departure for Korea) and then out of professional frustration at the backlog of work I’ve been piling up. Wednesday did not work out terrifically well, though I did enjoy my afternoon nap after I fled the office early for fear of conking out at my desk.

Speaking of which, now I am ready to sleep.