May 12, 2005

Dominoes, a pack of cards, a painting of the war.

My hippie sensibilities have been inconveniencing the hell out of me lately.

The first problem is that I've been reading French Lessons by Peter Mayle, an excellent book lent to me by my excellent sister. The author is an English transplant living in France, apparently because of the food. Every chapter so far involves needing to take a trip down to the town of Something-les-Something for the annual Whatsit-or-other festival devoted to some unsuspecting foodstuff. Chicken in one place, frog's legs in another, cheese here, snails there. Delightful anecdotes about a heated argument over how to prepare omelets. Do you start to see the problem? I'm five chapters in, five chapters of mouth-watering descriptions of apparently incredibly delicious food, and the only thing mentioned that I could theoretically eat has been truffles (which I don't shun on moral grounds, but merely despise as a matter of taste). I'm coming to the conclusion that the life of a vegan foodie is a lonely one.

The second problem is that I recently got a $15 check from BART for my shortchanging-change-machine problem, and happened upon the idea of spending it here. Yep, more ear jewelry. Something plain and restrained that I can wear to work, but maybe a little brighter and more exciting than my 3-year-old almost-black bloodwood. I found a few woods listed on the website that looked nice. Holly? Mahogany? Padauk? Cherry? Maple? There's a chance you're now seeing a problem here also: most of them are endangered hardwoods. Mahogany is banned for import by international treaty because cutting it down involves clearing rainforest. Cherry is apparently overharvested and underreplaced. Holly might be acceptable despite being extremely slow-growing, but this particular holly comes from South America and harvesting wood in South America is fraught with rainforesty problems. I can't find anyone to tell me that maple is sustainable except people who are in the business of selling it, and the best I can find on padauk is that it's theoretically possible the plantations growing it are replanting responsibly. In short, armed with nothing more than the continent of the wood's origin and my internet research, I can't in good faith buy any of it.

I'm having a bad week for self-pity. I want to trade in my attitude for a callous and irresponsible one so I can have exciting food that I didn't have to make and wear gorgeous jewelry that came from halfway around the world. You could make me a lifetime supply of accessories out of one lousy branch of one tree that fell down by accident anyway, and four legs or two or beaks or hooves or whatever, you're going to die. Why is it up to me to care how it happens?

Right here is the place where, as soon as I remember, I will post the picture that I took on Sunday of me wearing the beautiful beautiful elephanty ear weights from Singapore that Michele gave me for my birthday (speaking of gorgeous jewelry that came from halfway around the world). The picture is at home, I am at work, and apparently I've been leaving my brain in some completely separate location lately. It's probably hanging out with my perspective and motivation, smoking Cuban cigars and eating cheeseburgers.

Right here is where I remember to actually post those pictures. Picture one, in which I'm so thrilled about earweights that I've become slightly blurred. Picture two, in which I am no less excited but am slightly closer and much clearer. Picture two is the one where people who get squeamish about great big hangy ear holes should not click.

weights 001.jpg weights 003.jpg

Posted by dianna at May 12, 2005 11:33 AM

ok, so i know this isn't a novel, but i bet with a little imagination you could pretend it's one. chapter one: arrowroot slurry meets mellow barley miso: a love match. (actually i don't know what those things are. maybe they fight. hey, it's your plot.)

i can't help you on the wood thing, i guess, so i'll just get back to eating my dodo egg omelet.

Posted by: didofoot at May 12, 2005 11:53 AM

and also i know you weren't looking to cook for yourself, but isn't that why you gave us $20 for jacob lo these many years ago?

Posted by: didofoot at May 12, 2005 11:54 AM

I have that cookbook!

It's a giant pain in the ass. Everything in it is incredibly delicious and takes three hours of exhausting work to prepare. My sister and I used to use it as a sourcebook of recipes for special occasions and never ever at any other time. It's quite tasty.

I gave you $20 for Jacob? Was he on sale, or was that a down payment and did I default on the rest of my payments? You're not going to repossess him, are you?

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 11:59 AM

want to see the picture of you wearing the earrings! want to seeeeeeee!!!

jacob gave me $20 for a table once. no, wait. i gave jacob $20 for a table once. if jacob wanted that table back for $20, i could probably give it to him.

Posted by: michele at May 12, 2005 12:26 PM

earrings that you can hide things in?!" grah! i want!

also, i like the dymondwood ones with the pretty multi colorness.

Posted by: michele at May 12, 2005 12:29 PM

Jacob doesn't want a table back. I can promise you this. We have an embarrassing problem with excess tables in our house already.

The only problem I have with the pretty multicolored dymondwood things (well, besides the wood business) is that they have to be glued and lacquered to hold them together and they won't act like wood anymore with the comfyness and not smelling. And the only problem I have with the stash plugs is that I don't have many things under 7/16" that I need to smuggle around. Maybe I should start dealing drugs in very small quantities.

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 01:13 PM

Oh, and mellow barley miso is a seasoning that doesn't do anything for consistency. Arrowroot is a structural ingredient with almost no taste. They won't fight. They have no choice but to coexist peacefully.

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 01:40 PM

but it's his grandfather's table. it's like an heirloom.

Posted by: michele at May 12, 2005 01:42 PM

Yes, but we don't have an heirloom-sized house. We have 4 rooms and a bathroom, and each of them has at least one table already. The bedroom has a table and a cabinet and a giant array of shelf things, the living room has a table and an entertainment center, and the study has two desks and two tables, or maybe one table and a stack of crap. No matter. No more tables. One of them isn't even ours.

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 01:46 PM

you forgot the kitchen.

Posted by: michele at May 12, 2005 02:03 PM

It's a kitchen. It has a kitchen table. I thought that was self-explanatory?

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 02:13 PM

oh jeez. I'm sorry I gave you a book that makes frog legs sound succulent and delicious.

I'm also sorry I gave you a beautiful and space-consuming coffee-table, which, for the record, is made partly from koa, which is not from a continent but from hawaii, except that it's not anymore because it's extinct now.

next up: a book about saltines and a cat chair made of hemp.

Posted by: katie at May 12, 2005 03:16 PM

No wait! I just checked! Koa's not extinct, it's merely endangered! And it's being replanted so it can be used for ukeleles!

Plinkplink whew.

Posted by: katie at May 12, 2005 03:25 PM

Katie, you are personally responsible for everything. Yes! You! You are the one!

One thing that retroactively irritates me is how much interesting meaty and dairy-y food I missed out on during the 19 years in which I ate meat. I could have had frog legs with no moral conflicts, but didn't. Nor did I have Livaron cheese, which it sounds like I would really hate, or snails or whatever-the-heck else. This book is just making me wistful. On the plus side, reading it on BART is making me more inclined to go home and cook interesting things instead of stuffing the first thing into my mouth that I find. I'm trying those spinach triangles with filo dough tonight. Mmmm.

Dear Katie: if you give me a book about saltines and a cat chair made of hemp, I will thank you by making you a loaf of oil-free, grain-sweetened raw oat and fruit bread. I'm sure it will be thrilling. Do you have A Year in Provence also?

Posted by: Dianna at May 12, 2005 03:31 PM

hey, i have a jacob table too (she says, much later). it's not an heirloom, but either way it's mine all mine now.

Posted by: didofoot at May 12, 2005 04:48 PM

Michele, there are pictures here now. See?

Posted by: Dianna at May 14, 2005 08:14 PM

grah! they look so heavy! but super cool. good thing you told me there were pictures now because i had totally forgotten. it is like a present for me too, to know that they are loved.

Posted by: michele at May 15, 2005 12:25 AM

They are heavy. They feel lovely. It's kind of pinchy to get them in in the first place, because one of them has a really small gap to squeeze the ol' earlobes through. All things are possible with lubrication, though. Aren't you glad to know that?

Posted by: Dianna at May 15, 2005 12:43 PM