Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Introducing Hell's Kitchen

It's a cooking blog, managed jointly by myself and Antiprincess at at I Shame the Matriarchy (link over there in the blogroll---->)
Featuring recipes, cook-talk, complaints about the price of toys at Williams-Sonoma, and any other cooking-related stuff.

Feel free to ask questions, answer questions, leave recipes (which might even get tested if they look good), indulge in any sort of cooking related fun.

Hell's Kitchen

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The News of My Demise May Be Premature

Well...Wordpress appears to be on vacation. Maybe I'll keep posting here until further notice.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'm Moving!

I am moving to Wordpress. My new address will be:
Because It's Personal
That is: http://becauseitspersonal.wordpress.com
This is the last and final post here. Au Revoir! Auf Weidersehen! Sayonara!
Bye y'all!

The Toot Household Felines

Molly isn't our only cat, she's just the only one #4 can play with, because for some inexplicable reason, he's not allergic to her like she is to our other 2 cats, Junior and Morgan.

Junior, aka BubbaKitty or "You sorry-assed cat do something to earn your keep!"
He is a laid-back nip-head (or pot-head, if the nip happens to be potted)with an inperterbable countenance and no tail. Yes, he has no tail. We have concluded that a cat's sense of ambition is centered in their tail, because Junior has none.

Junior, in an uncharacteristically noble pose
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Hey..whuzzat?
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Morgan is technically #1's cat, but since he has moved into town and Morgan is unfamiliar with traffic situations, and used to being outside most of the time, we kept her. She is different from Junior, being graceful and elegant, and imperious.
Her perch is atop a post on our patio, where she is out of reach of the dogs and can look down on her fiefdom with haughty disdain.
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I'd always wanted a siamese cat. They're pretty and talkative and (theoretically) trainable. Junior's not trained, since he lacks the ambition to move more than 2 or 3 yards before flopping over and rolling in the dirt. He's like a 2 yr old that way. Because he's tailess, we got him at a significant discount. He's worth every penny too. He watches the birds to make sure they fly, he holds down the driveway to keep it from just folding up and rolling away. He informs us when the food bowl is empty, or when the food that is in the bowl is of inferior quality and needs replacing with lox and cream cheese. He fertilizes my flower bed with vigourous frequency,which makes weeding an adventure. He adores catnip. I always keep him a big nip plant available for him to roll on, nibble (or gnaw), or just be near for comfort and security. When he has been partaking of the nip, he gets goofy, all floppy and compliant.

Morgan is dignified. She has no patience for Junior and his redneck mannerisms. She, however, is also fond of the nip, and has been known to stand on her head in it. Not that anyone was watching, of course. She will occasionally sneak into the house and seek out the one spot where she is least welcome, and hide there for the entire day. This would be #4's bedroom, and she perches on his pillow, looking smug. Then I have to wash every single thing in his room. I oughta make her do it except she lacks opposable thumbs and would have trouble with the door of the washing machine.

Good cats, both of them. Each entertaining and worthy in their own special way.

I love it when things work out the way I planned.

Remember this?
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Now it's this:
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And this:
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Wow..it's so quiet here.

O! The Children! Think about the Children! or...not. I say not. They are ALL (Yes, I said ALL. All 3 of them!) With the grandparents for a few days ('Til Thursday, possibly Friday.) It's Spring Break week in East Bumfart, Georgia. Thanks to my mother's need for help doing spring yardwork, my father's desire to get that 200cc Honda engine installed in a self-manufactured go-cart, and #4's desire to fish, they are all 4 hours away in East Alabama. And I am here, just me, the dogs, and Sweet Daddio in the evenings. What to do!?

Well, the house is a mess. I'll clean it up. The carpet (in 2 rooms)despertely requires some sort of cleaning. I'll do that as well. Snow peas require picking.

Yes! I said snow peas require picking! They are needing to be picked! I have snow peas to pick! I must pick snow peas! And eat them! Yes!

I'm mulling over the OmegaMom concept with Northern Girl(whaling season). I'm also mullng over Hells Kitchen with Antiprincess (I shame the Matriarchy). Recipes, folks, and cooking/household advice. Soon the address and linkage will be up, and you can read and be amazed (or not).

Yesterday SD took the day off from work. It was also #1's first day on his new job, working in the mill where SD works, only SD isn't his immediate supervisor (which would be awkward if he were). SD advised #1 to call him "SD" or "Mr. Toot" instead of "Dad", to avoid tension amidst the other personel. #1 said he enjoyed his first day. They put him to work seaming rolls of fabric (it has to be done perfectly or the material will rip within the machine, and that is a very bad thing indeed) and he apparently caught on very quickly. THen they had him doing nasty dirty physical grunt work (probably a rite of passage sort of thing) and he cheerfully did that as well. Once you've worked on a high speed printing press, you tend to not be bothered by grunge.

SD and I played golf, on a most perfect day for such things. It was 80 degrees, partly cloudy, no one much was playing so we didn't hold anyone up without slow pace. There was no one to see me play badly so I wasn't embarrassed or self concious. SD played well, too. The one time someone was watching he drove the ball right up to the green, within about 6 feet of the hole. I just made absolutely sure no one was watching me at all. I can't drive a ball to save my life. The whole thing was fun, relaxing, and I got to spend 2-1/2 uninterrupted hours with my favorite person. And eat lunch at The Blue Moon. I had a rare filet sliced thin with horseradish-thyme cream, baby greens and tomatoes on grilled bread. Yum. I mean really. Yum.

So today, it's rainy and breezy and I'm going to stay inside (except for when I go pick SNOW PEAS!) and clean.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Monday Melee

The Monday Melee

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
That's hard. I feeling fairly optimistic right now. Oh I know...the guy down the way with the huge chopper bike that gets off work at 11 pm and roars through the nieghborhood like he's the only one who can hear it.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
Awards ceremonies. When are they gonna have one (besides the Nobel Peace Prize and even that's dubious since giving it to Yasser Arafat) honoring someone for outrageous decency?

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
My right shoulder. It hurts.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
#1, for having the courage to step out and accept a job from his father.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
Hm.This one's hard as well. Ok. I am creative. I can take an idea and totally run with it.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
New flooring in the living room and office. Currently it has white (!) carpet. Well, ok, carpet that is supposed to be white. I want it up and out and replaced with a light oak laminate. In fact, I want the whole downstairs with light oak laminate. now.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Chicken Recipe for Vera...

because you know you want it.

Chicken Fingers
however many chicken tenderloins you need (I fix 2-3 pounds, but then I house heathens)
Buttermilk- oh...2 cups or so, enough to cover the tenderloins in a bowl
flour,cornmeal, seasoning salt (like Lawry's or your favorite blend), black pepper

*cornmeal, not cornbread mix. Yellow cornmeal. Or white but yello's better because I say so.*

Put the chicken on to soak in the buttermilk, for an hour or so.
Mix together equal parts flour and cornmeal, season to taste (be generous, it takes more seasoning than you'd think. Like, a 2 teaspoons per cup of flour mix)

In a dutch oven, or deep skillet, melt 2 inches of shortening, and get it hot. You know it's the right temperature when you stick the handle of a wooden spoon in and bubbles foam out of it.

Pull each tenderloin out of the buttermilk and shake off the excess, then roll around in flour mix so it's well coated, and drop into the hot oil. Cook 5 or 6 tenderloins at a time, being careful not to overload the pan because it will bring the temperature of the oil down and make your tenders greasy.

Cook until nicely brown, and put on a roaster rack in a 300 degree oven, to keep them hot until you're done cooking them all. It's ok if they aren't done all the way through, because they will continue to cook in the oven.

Serve with honey mustard:
honey, mixed with mustard...about 1 pt honey to 3 parts mustard but you can play with it.

As for seasoning the flour mix- I never do it the same way twice. Sometimes I use seasoning salt and pepper. Sometimes I add ground red pepper to give it a kick. I'll rub dried oregano into it, or italian seasoning blend. Garlic powder, onion powder, once I used a package of taco seasoning mix. That was pretty good.

Omega Moms Untie!

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The Original Omega Mom over here has announced the beginnings of a New Wave of Motherhood. She, and I, and all who march with us, raise our sticky mitts in the air and announce NO MORE! No more competition! No more popularity contests! No more fretting because size 6 is dim memory and someone has a better haircut than we do!

Alpha Moms, you can have your SUV's and androgenously named children and Blackberries. You can blow your Talbot's wardrobe out your tight little Pilates ass. Take your charts and schedules and personal chefs and Go....A....Way.

We, the Omega Moms, will rejoice in our crock pot meals, our children's stained and wrinkled clothing, and our joyful and spontaneous approach to motherhood. We reject that Alpha philosophy of Junior High, and will debrief our husbands whenever we want.

You in?

Happy birthday #4!

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From the minute you were born, having you areound was the most natural thing in the world. You came into our lives peacefully, and have been making up for it ever since. When you get off the bus, you start hollering, all the way up the driveway and into the house MOM! I'M HOME! WHAT'S THERE TO EAT?

You have your favorites: That sheet, the one that's just barely hanging on, thin as gauze yet you maintain steadfastly that it's warmer than any blanket.
Chicken fingers. What do you want for dinner? "Chicken fingers." How about a hamburger? "chicken fingers." You must eat a vegetable. "Ok. carrots with ranch dressing and chicken fingers"
HotWheels and MatchBox cars. You must have a thousand of them. And no repeats! Go figure!
Old Loony Tunes cartoons. Yes indeed, those marvelously improper cartoons, especially since your brothers showed you the one where Bugs Bunny gets out of the shower and briefly drops his towel, showing the world that, in spite of his occasional dressing in drag, he is indeed a man bunny.
And, building toys: Legos, Magnetix, Duplos, Blocks, bricks, sticks, anything you can stick together to make something else.

I love to go into your room and smell that boy-smell. Part soap and part poop, part crayons and part...whatever the fuzzy stuff in the cup under you bed is.Fruit punch? I dunno.

Sometimes you ask for something, and it's never what you'd expect from an 8 yr old boy. "Mom, my room needs planets, lots of them, and a sun, and asteroids." Happy to oblige, thanks to NASA and their photos, a printer and some small sticks, there are planets in your room.

"Mom I want a birthday cake" Ok, happy to oblige. What kind? Ice cream cake? Chocolate? "I want a plain vanilla cake, with vanilla icing, only make the icing red and yellow." No ice cream cake? "Plain vanilla." I guess your life is so exciting you need something to settle you down a bit. Plain vanilla it is.

SOmetimes you talk too much, but you know this already because your teacher tells you on a very regular basis. "Mom, I can't help it! There's just so many words in my head and if I don't get them out my brains will fall out!" Honey, I know the feeling.

You are a remarkable reader. You like Calvin and Hobbes (which is a little scary), Hank the Cow Dog, Absolutely any science book you can find, even attempting my college biology text, bless your heart. They tested you for giftedness at the school. Of course, I'm the one who's gifted, for having you in my life, but alas, they said you weren't. I tried not to get my feelings hurt, because of course I think you're the smartest 8 yr old around, except for Kevin, who's parents make him do an hour of math every afternoon after school, but I'd rather see you roll in the dirt and eat crackers in the afternoon than sit at a table and do long division.

Your favorite new toy: That huge box.
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Sometimes the best things in life really are free.
Happy Birthday, sweet boy.
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Chicken for Vera

Lemon chicken- can be baked but much better if grilled, or you can use the seasonings with a whole chicken to roast.

Take your chicken, breasts, legs, a whole chicken,rinse and dry very well, and rub the pieces (or whole chicken with the skin on)all over with olive oil

Slice a couple of lemons, fairly thin. Leave the peel on.
Chop a very generous handful of fresh oregano or marjoram- at least 1/4 cup
Chop very fine 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
Crack a couple tablespoons of black pepper
Kosher salt

For pieces: lay them on a pan, sprinkle generously with the oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Then lay 1 or 2 slices of lemon on each piece, and leave it there for, oh...30 minutes or so, perhaps while you get the grill lit and hot. When the grill's hot, lay the chicken lemon side UP, grill for 8 minutes and turn, being careful not to let the lemon fall into the fire (they will be tasty), 8 minutes more. If you have a grill basket, this is a good way to keep from losing the lemons into the fire.
Alternately, you can broil, putting the rack low in the oven, turning after 8 minutes.

For whole:
Slip your fingers under the skin over the breasts, legs, and thighs, to loosen it but be careful not to rip it.
Mix the seasonings together, and stuff small amounts of it under the skin, rubbing it around so it's distributed evenly.
Slip lemon slices under the skin- figure on 1 for each thigh and leg, 2 for each breast. Any left over stuff up inside the body cavity. You can do this with leftover herb mix as well. Roast at 450 degrees for 18-20 minutes per pound of chicken. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting up.

Food

Great Bleeding Slab of Beef
you need 1 London Broil, 3 pounds or so,about 2 inches thick, because it makes amazing steak salad the next day.
Mash up 4-6 big cloves of garlic, good and smashed
Rough chop a good fistful of fresh rosemary. Get it from the produce section if you don't have a bush. 1/4 cup or so, after chopping
Lots of cracked pepper. If you don't have a grinder, buy whole black pepper and crush it between 2 skillets. Alot, like 1/4 cup or so. I guess you could buy coarse ground pepper, but it's got more flavor if you crush it yourself.
Kosher salt. you ought to have this in your pantry, so go ahead and get a box if you don't have one.

Smear the mashed garlic all over the beef, both sides. Sprinkle the rosemary, pepper and salt generously on both sides. For some reason, kosher salt isn't as salty as table salt, and it adds a nice crunchy texture, so be generous with it.

Grill over a medium hot fire, 7-9 minutes per side depending how thick the meat it, to get it medium rare. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing. It'll be juicier if you do.
If you don't have a grill, get a skillet really hot, and throw in a little olive oil. Then sear the meat about as long as you would if grilling it- 7 mins per side.

Twice baked potatoes are good with this, and you can fix them ahead of time:
Bake however many potatoes you need.
Cut off the top and carefully scoop out the middle, putting the stuff in a bowl.
Mash the potato stuff up with a fork, and add (per potato you baked):
1 heaping spoonful of sour cream
1 heaping spoonful of butter
2 heaping spoonfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
some garlic powder (1/4 tsp or so per potato, or however you want)
chopped chives
salt and pepper
Mix all this together and scoop back into the baked potato shells.
Then sprinkle them with ground red pepper (paprika, or cayenne, or chipotle, whatever) and baked for about 30 minutes.



Ren- summer dessert:
Peach cobbler- not as sweet as most Southerners make it
6-8 fresh peaches, peeled and cut into chunks (OR 2 cans of water-packed canned peaches, drained)
Toss the peaches with 1 tablespoon of sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or not, if you don't want to)

Get your favorite biscuit mix (bisquick, whatever)
2 cups biscuit mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon (more or less) cinnamon
1-1/2 cups milk
1 stick butter, melted

Put half the butter in a casserole dish, and stick it in the 400 degree oven to get hot while you do every thing else.
Mix the dry ingredients together, stir in the milk and half the butter, stir well to make a batter. If it's real thick add a bit more milk, if it's runny like pancake batter, add a bit more biscuit mix. It needs to be thick but pourable.

When the pan is good and hot, pour the batter into it, on top of the butter. It will fry a bit around the edges. Put the peaches on top, spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, if it's turning really brown around the edges but the middle's not done, cover the edges with some foil.
The batter will puff up and cover the peaches. It's good with vanilla ice cream or (my preference)whipped cream.
It's also really good for breakfast the next day, warmed up and milk poured on top.

A question

If I use a FedEx box to UPS something, will it explode? Or will they just charge extra?

I suppose it was inevitable...

I've run out of things to say. Requests, anyone? Ask me anything you want, and if I want to, I'll answer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm not a bee, or a wasp, I'm a snail

Great. Just great. Just when I was starting feel comfortable in my own role as wife and mother and poop scooper, a new label comes out that only serves to highlight my inferiority.

Alpha Moms
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We all know them. The last place I lived was slam full of them. These are the hyper organized, SUV driving mothers who's children are in soccer,ballet,flute and piano, karate,swim team. They are the moms who run home businesses, have a housekeeper and maybe even a personal chef, but not for baking brownies, that's their job as Alpha Mom. They are wealthy enough that their home business is just for 'fun money' to pay for trips to, you know, Those Places. Bermuda, Bahama (come on pretty mama) Key Largo, Montego,(baby why don't we go down to Kokomo, we'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow). They don't have jobs outside the home, usually, because they are far to busy being Alpha Mom, and hubby has a good job to pay the way.

I'm not an Alpha Mom. I'm not even Beta...Delta maybe. I have this hopelessly old fashioned idea that kids should have time to play. It's important, in my world, for 8 yr old boys to lay in the back yard and stare at the sky, or to cross the road into the woods to build a fort out of bits of dead trees and bark, and decorate it with found objects (a deer skull, advertising signs). I want my children to understand that being a driven individual isn't necessarily the healthiest lifestyle. Ambition is great, it gets you ahead and I'm all for that. But one does not have to be BUSY all the time. I also think the kids at the school would rather eat Oreos than homemade sugar cookies with little pink hearts drawn on with royal icing. (I know this, because I tried it. Trust me, they'd rather have Oreos.)

The concept of "playdates" kind of saddens me. I recognize the need to scheduling in advance, since often friends live across town or have both parents working, so I get that. But, whatever happened to running across the street to see if Bubba can come out for a game of dodgeball? I think it may have gone the way of aprons and family drives through the countryside (My parents called it "going out to join the Wild Bunch, and I despised those road trips with an all consuming passion)

Alpha Moms have always been around. They're the ones who make homemade cookies for school parties, who chair every committee, who run just about every event at the church. They have Daytimers and Blackberries to keep things straight, and their days are scheduled down to the last minute, from the time they get up (5 am, so they can get laundry started, dinner in the crock pot, cookies in the oven, and berries on their children's organic granola breakfast)to the time they wash down the xanax with a glass of mid-grade chardonnay (10 ish, or later).

I wonder when, if, they'll burn out, or if they're just that type-A personality who must must Succeed Or Die Trying. I worry that the media, who is marketing to these people (apparently they buy more than the average jane), are setting a standard that is unreachable for ordinary, middle class, just trying to keep their head above water type folk. Like they have for women physically. Now, we're supposed to be a size 6 AND spend all day flying around like a bee on speed?

Well, USA Today is acting as tho this is a new thing, these Alpha Moms. They're not new, they just have a name now. And more power to them, if that's what gives them a sense of accomplishment. I predict the pendulum will swing back the other way with their children. I have no intention of allowing their frenetic activity make me feel guilty for my apparent laziness.

Don't get me wrong, I admire (to a degree) their dedication to their children, their organizational skills, and their willingness to serve on committees. Someone has to do it. I just don't feel the need to go there. And, like with what size I'm supposed to be, I don't buy into the media hype that this is how I'm supposed to behave.

Pass the chardonnay, willya?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Must See

Schocking
You must, truly. Just....Go.

I'm a guntoting Stepford Wife with Slipknot on my iPod (well, not really)

SO I'm writing this new post and getting this flow of ideas down (Thank you Mrs. F, for teaching me to type), when I'm interrupted by the need to get #4 to the doctor (he has pinkeye...grrr). We go ,eat lunch at Chik Fil A, get eyedrops and come home. I read what-all I've written and boy howdy does it ever come across as sanctimonious. So I'm not going to post it because I sound like I'm pigeonholing everyone and I get the top spot. Gag.

The truth is, most of the time I am dazed and confused. I wander around in an intellectual wasteland populated by gun-toting children who listen to Slipknot...oo that sounds bad too. The guntoting child is not the same as the one with appalling taste in music. Plus all the ammunition is locked away in a safe. OK that's better. Anyway, my life is rich and full, well stocked with interesting, opinionated people, but I am so busy figuring out the best way to roast a chicken today or making sure I get the shirts out of the dryer before they become permanently wadded and have to be washed all over again, that I forget to think about loftier things.

I forget that women are suffering. I forget that I'm supposed to beat myself with a stick just for relying on a Man (of all things!). I mess up and shave my legs AND put fake tanning lotion on them. I enjoy myself. I'm not supposed to enjoy myself, not when I am oppressed, me being white and female and fairly wealthy. (Just the other day I asked SD to oppress me some more, and you know what? He did! He's taking a day off work and got us a tee time! Shocking!)

See, I'm so deluded I can't even take anything seriously. How could I possibly think serious thoughts whilst operating under such? I can't! I'm a Stepford Wife (only not thin). That reminds me...I'm not supposed to like thin people either, because they have Thin Privilege which I still haven't figured out. I've had no shortage of approving smiles from teh Patriarchy, and I'm anything BUT thin...so where's the privilege? Oh. Silly me. I'm not supposed to like approving smiles. They are Oppressive. (SD! Oppress me, you fool!)

I am bothered by some things I see. Renegade Evolution is constantly getting bashed over the head for her lifestyle/career choice. While I admit it's not the life for me, it works for her, on many levels, and it pains me to see her treated with such contempt. She has been nothing but gracious to me, and I have learned that if you treat her nice, she'll be nice back. She's quite willing to allow you your opinion (she knows how I feel about her line of work), if you allow her her's.She'll also be ready to put the smack-down on you if you cross her. Thing is,she's treated like some sort of posterchild for How Not To Act by the feministas. How she acts is her business. They say her porn is used to abuse women. Well. So are baseball bats. Why aren't they screaming about that? What about football games? Isn't SuperBowl Sunday supposed to be the day with highest domestic violence incidents? I guess it's easier to pick a target like RenEv, who's particular brand of pornography isn't exactly Miramax popular, that to take on the Real Patriarchy: NFL. Chickens.

The fact is, no one knows anyone in the blogosphere as well as they think they do. I've never met anyone (with the exception of JerseyChick, whom I've known since before Al Gore invented the Internet)that I 'talk' to in blogs. Chances are some of the folk who I like online, I'd not like at all in person. It doesn't matter, because I only know one bit of them, that one bit they are willing to expose. Same is true of everyone else. You don't know me except for what I choose to allow you to know. Some of you probably wouldn't like me one bit. So judging a person's life based on a tidbit of information that they choose to show is like that story of the blind people feeling the elephant "It's a tree. No it's a snake. No its a cowhide." No one has the complete picture about anyone, so condemning someone based on a fragment? That's silly and shortsided, not to mention immature.

Say it isn't so!

Vera Venom is making noises about ceasing, quitting writing, because the whole backstabbing feminist thing is getting to her.

I understand her point. It is why I choose not to participate in such discussions, because strife causes pain, and I am opposed to pain.

Howver, Vera has a terrific voice. She writes well, she's interesting, and even though I don't agree with much of what she says, I always enjoy it. She's civil in an arena where civility has taken a back seat to inflammation.

Isn't that what it's about, getting alternative opinions, learning other folks' perspective and respecting their story?

The only problem I have with Vera is that she's on Wordpress. Wordpress dislikes me, and I dislike it. I try to logon, after jumping through their silly little hoops, and still Wordpress growls at me and spits sunflower seed husks on my shoes. How rude.

So Vera, if you're reading this, I will respect your decision should you choose to turn your attention elsewhere, but I won't like it.