Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eating clay

From BabyCenter.com:

"Finally, some studies have found a link between severe iron-deficiency anemia and cravings for non-food substances such as ice, paper, or clay (a condition known as pica). If you do have these cravings, don't give in to them, and be sure to tell your healthcare provider."

I like how they have to tell you not to give in to your cravings to eat non-food substances.

"Hmm. I could go to the doctor. Or I could just eat this clay."

(Don't worry - I'm not craving non-food substances)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

subject: re: I don't regret it, but I both rue and lament it.

To: Ken

I lifted my temporary boycott of Northstar* tonight. I may never return. At the very least, the boycott is back on. 

To: Alice

Oh dear, what happened?

To: Ken

Aside from the insultingly bland mushroom stroganoff (Ryan made a better mushroom pasta dish two weeks ago, out of stuff from our freezer and powdered milk), it took them over an hour after seating us (at 6:25) to bring us our mains (~7:40).  

To: Ken

Also the french fries were far too salty and far past done. 

To: Ken

And they burnt the toast that came with the stroganoff.

To: Alice


*The temporary boycott was because the last time we went, the waitress was so condescending and awful when I asked her to point us in the direction of the hostess (it was super hard to tell the difference between all the girls in peasant blouses and dangly earrings) that I walked out. The place has notoriously snotty waitstaff and this was sort of a camel breaking straw incident, however, I was willing to try again. This time it wasn't the waitstaff so much as it was the slow kitchen.

This happened at a restaurant in the Fall Creek neighbourhood of Ithaca, New York called Northstar Public House, a place I used to love and frequent regularly, but it has sadly fallen from my graces. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Secret Shame

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my shameful preference for British crime dramas. I'd like to come clean today and bring up another fascination of mine:

Agony Aunts, also known as Advice Columns.

I read them for, well, a number of reasons. Number one, I am a voyeur. Other people in my major and I used to joke about it in college: anthropologists are just legitimizing pathological voyeurism. I don't read celebrity magazines but (I imagine I am having the same kind of shock-horror reaction that those are designed to solicit). Celebrities are boring and I don't really think it's right to take an active, unsolicited, interest in their personal life. Advice column advice seekers, however, are literally asking for judgement, so it's fair game.

Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I don't even read the advice given. This is particularly true of the long-winded and often boring Cary Tennis, who never seems to actually give advice, he just suggests, over and over again, that there isn't much we can do anyway about anything, so just continue existing. I'm not saying it's not good advice, one just doesn't need to read it over and over again.

Prudence from Slate is usually pretty good, except when it comes to anything that is outside vanilla sex problems. But we all know who really should be fielding sex questions and that is Dan Savage, who is mine and probably everyone else's favourite advice columnist.

Today I read the Friend or Foe column by Lucinda Rosenfeld. I'm pretty sure that it's just a performance art piece, because her advice is often so poor. Right now, it's fairly subtle, but I imagine that it's just going to get worse and worse until finally, it's just her answering, "I think you should probably just kill yourself." to everyone who writes in. The idea is that it will be so gradual that no one will notice. Slate's pretty much entirely troll bait anyway. Here's an example of her shitty advice, this one in particular caused a huge stir, but I don't think it's really all that much worse than what she normally advises, it's just the situation was so extreme.

Today, she advised that someone to try talking to their single-mother cokehead best friend and roommate and asking them nicely to make sure not to do coke in the house, after apologising for calling the roommate a junkie. To be fair, I doubt Lucinda has ever spent anytime with a cokehead but there is such a thing as a cocaine asshole which is a very special kind of asshole that can only be created by the careful and steady cultivation of a coke habit. This asshole is not your friend and they do not care about you, although they are in possession of the body of your friend, so it is hard to disconnect the two. They should not live in your house and they should not be allowed to drive your car nor should they be trusted with the deposit on a house (I speak from personal experience). You can feel badly for them but feel bad for the person that they were not the person they are. If you think about it this way, it makes it less painful for you because it is easier to see that their poor behaviour is inarguably not about you, it is about them and it makes it easier to forgive them when/if they finally stop doing cocaine and start attempting to be not an asshole again.

I digress, although, the above is exactly what I do, in my brain, when I read advice columns. I think about the people involved and come up with my own conclusions. I do it over morning tea when Ryan has left for work early or I do it while I'm eating my lunch. Sometimes, if the advice seeker is really crazy, I tell Ryan about it and we both throw up our hands and say things to each other like, "People are idiots!!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Maple Sugaring and Monkey Bread

This weekend we tapped the maple trees on Casey's farm. We're hoping to get 100 gallons of sap, which will mean about a gallon and a half of syrup for us. If all goes according to plan, anyway. It is so amazing - the syrup tastes like Casey's woods. Much better than the storebought stuff and that stuff is pretty awesome. I don't know what we are going to do after next year's season, when we most likely will not be living in the northeast anymore.

I also made monkey bread this weekend for the first time. It is something Ryan's mum used to make when he was a kid and we found the recipe in the Kind Arthur flour book.

I made bagels last week and they turned out pretty well - I need practice. I will make them again soon and post pictures/instructions, but right now I have to get ready for the dentist.