Previously on "Kit plays pretend", we have seen Kit pretend to do things that Kit does for real. They will eat air from an empty bowl, and wash their hands at a toy faucet. I've also seen them get sort of vaguely conversational with a bear, maybe? That's about it.
But TODAY. Today X and I took Kit to a toy store, and my mom gave them a doll and a toy bottle. And Kit FED THE DOLL. Repeatedly and at length. That is an entirely different sort of imaginative play and we were really floored to see them do it.( Cut for those who don't care for baby anecdotes )
What a great day.
Today was my mother's 75th birthday party. Instead of making a traditional toast, I wrote her a poem.
A warm baguette with fresh unsalted butter
Good whiskey served in glasses meant for wine
Fine art and jazz and clothes with flowing lines
I learned appreciation from my mother
Speak from the heart; don't ever silence others
Defend our rights and fight to right what's wrong
Wave signs, wear buttons, sing those protest songs
I learned my activism from my mother
Write eagerly, then edit out the clutter
Read lit and genre, dictionaries, poems
A wall of books will make a house a home
I learned the joys of language from my mother
Immense affection for my younger brother
No matter how we'd argue, snark, and fight
"You'll sort it out," Mom said, and she was right
I learned both love and patience from my mother
Abundant hugs and kisses, but don't smother
Praise every scribble as a work of art
Be honest and respectful from the start
I learned to be a parent from my mother
Find endless ways to cherish one another
Build families from friends through joy and trust
Each day, she teaches that to all of us
Please join me now to toast my splendid mother
Happy birthday, Mom. :)
This userpic has never felt so apropos.
Our plan for Election Day included a plan to make sure we ate dinner, and I am very glad for that, because I haven't managed to eat a full meal since. Maybe I'll be able to eat tomorrow.
I haven't cried. I guess I'm not shocked enough to cry. Or maybe I wasn't personally invested in Clinton enough to be devastated when she lost. I don't know. But whatever it is that's making people cry, I'm not experiencing it. I've been anxious all day in a sort of abstract way, and now I've talked to both my parents—the Clinton voter and the Trump voter—and somehow both those conversations calmed me way down. I can't explain why that's as true of talking to my father as it is of talking to my mother. Maybe because he couldn't actually bring himself to tell me he'd voted for Trump. He said, "Each of us knows how the other voted, so let's just leave it at that." My father's never shied away from a political conversation over a long lifetime of holding contrarian and often outrageous opinions. If even he feels abashed about this vote, maybe there's a little hope yet.
My mother, with six decades of leftist activism under her belt, assured me that this, too, shall pass. I needed to hear that, and hear the sincerity in her voice.
I've been glad to see so many people posting to LJ/DW today. We need spaces like this to get all our many thoughts and feelings out.
I called in sick to work—I am actually sick with a dreadful head cold that just will not go away, which is the other part of why I'm not sleeping or eating well—and spent the day activisting on Twitter. Replicating some of that here just to get the various words out:
I'm really pleased to see so many white cishet people saying "We need to step up". Step 1: LISTEN TO THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY DOING THE WORK. Don't let your guilt or eagerness or habituation to privilege con you into thinking you lead this movement. The movement against white supremacy did not just begin today. It has been around for decades. Respect and follow those who are already in the know. Educate yourselves. This thread
points to a major area where white people need to do the work: talking with our white relatives. I will personally add the caveat that I know there's significant overlap between "my relatives who hold different political views" and "my relatives who are so toxic I can't safely interact with them" and I continue to support people in not interacting with relatives who are not safe to interact with. But if you can have those conversations without significant harm to yourself, do.
I guess it comes back to, again: if you are less vulnerable and marginalized, you need to do more of the work on behalf of those who can't. Challenge your Trump voter dad on behalf of the trans teen who can't safely come out to their Trump voter dad. Speak up in your Trump voter cousin's Facebook comments on behalf of the queer cousin who doesn't read Facebook anymore. If nothing else, you're telling the queer cousin who does still read Facebook (but never comments) that you're an ally for them.
If you can't or won't reach out to that Trump supporter in your family or social circle, maybe you can reach out to their kids. Tell the marginalized teens you know that you're there for them. Tell them directly and plainly. "I see you. I've got your back." If you suspect a conservative's kid is queer or trans, never EVER put them at risk—but do show them extra love. If you're a white parent, put your kid in the least segregated school you can find, and fight de facto school segregation in your city/town. Write letters in support of prosocial children's television. Tell Nickelodeon how much you love those gay dads on The Loud House
. Buy #ownvoices children's and YA books and donate them to school libraries. And join campaigns against whitewashed, queerphobic, and transphobic children's media.
Organizations that are doing useful things:https://our100.org/
and its various signatorieshttps://www.hias.org/http://www.bendthearc.us/https://www.plannedparenthood.org/https://www.cair-ny.org/https://www.lambdalegal.org
Donate if you can. If you can't, sign up for mailing lists and click every one of those petition links when they come through.
Some people are talking about writing to electors in swing states and urging them to break faith and vote for Clinton. I don't see the harm in attempting this, but it's important to remember that electors are ordinary citizens, not public officials, and that hunting down their home addresses or calling them is a really terrible idea and certain to be counterproductive. I think the best way to write to them would be via the state GOP office.
has good info on taking care of your mental health right now.This
is a useful illustrated guide to bystander intervention if you see someone being harassed in a public space.This post
has some interesting post-election thoughts. Not sure I agree with all of them, but I think they're worth reading.The #TransLawHelp hashtag
connects trans people with legal help if they'd like to get name or gender changes before Trump takes office. I've seen recommendations to prioritize getting a passport with the correct gender marker, as that's usually faster and easier than a name change and the passport can be updated with the new name later. Good info on that is here
from someone in the U.K. is lovely and kind.Some wise words
is collecting suggestions on activism for introverts
I picked up Kit from daycare. Their daycare teacher (a Black woman) and I just stared at the babies with teary eyes for a bit. I told Kit, "Reagan was elected when I was two and I got through it. We'll get you through this."
"Really?" the teacher said. "I liked Reagan. I remember my grandma had Reagan things all over the house."
"I was in Greenwich Village," I said. "People had AIDS. No one was a Reagan fan."
And we looked at each other like "nothing's ever simple, huh?" and then talked about how we're going to take care of our kids.
It's horrible but true that there are people who didn't survive Nixon and Reagan and GWB, and there are people who won't survive Trump. All we can do is try to keep our communities together, to support our most vulnerable. Pay one another's bills when we have to. As an EMT once told me, you can't save them all. But you don't stop trying to save the ones you can. And we will keep making art and arguing ideas and having children and otherwise creating things that will live on after we're gone.
I put a post up on Story Hospital about writing goals and deadlines in a time of strong emotions
. It's nominally about NaNoWriMo, since I had a NaNo post to do and I think people doing NaNo are going to feel particularly stressed by the combination of deadline pressure and election fuckery, but it's pretty broadly applicable. I hope it helps someone.
I wish I felt up to writing tonight. I suspect Nathaniel and Algernon would be talking about the raid on the White Swan
This, too, shall pass. Let's do everything we can to make it pass faster and with minimal harm.
Ever since I was a wee child, my mother's traditional cake for my birthday has been a vanilla or marble cake with chocolate ganache and "roses" made from raspberries and sugar-frosted mint leaves. I have so many memories of coming upstairs on my birthday morning to see her hovering over wire racks covered with mint leaves, fretting about whether it's too humid and hoping they'll dry in time. (Of course they always do.) There have been variations--square cakes and round cakes, semicircle cakes for my half-birthday, cupcakes the year I had a picnic party, dairy-free cakes (with dairy-free ganache!) after my pernicious allergy developed--but the soul of the cake has always been the same.
This year we're upstate visiting J's mom, so I made sure to buy raspberries while we were shopping for the weekend, and then tonight after dinner I mixed up a vanilla mug cake and dropped in chocolate chips and decorated it with a raspberry and two fresh leaves from the mint plant on the windowsill.
It was exactly as good as it should be: delicious and satisfying, while manifestly not a patch on the original. It'll last me the weekend. Maybe next week she'll make me the real thing. :)
Also, I got the BEST birthday present: getting to watch our proto-baby squirm and flail around on the 11-week ultrasound yesterday. "This one will play sports," the ultrasound tech said as she patiently waited for the wriggler to wriggle around in the correct way so measurements could be taken. X has been superstitiously waiting to use our chosen name for the proto-baby until it felt right (we've been calling them "Kiddo" in the meantime), and apparently seeing them so magnificently manifestly indubitably alive
was sufficient to flip the "it felt right" switch. So now I get to call them by their name and that is making me very happy. (We haven't decided how to handle name stuff online yet, so for now they're still FutureKid in tweets and blog posts and so on. Hopefully we'll figure that out before FutureKid becomes ActualKid. :) )
If anyone wants to do anything in honor of my birthday, I ask that you do what you can to make the world safer and kinder for my child and everyone's children. Every little bit helps.
Tonight we hosted a Rosh Hashanah dinner for my mother, her inamorato, and my brother (who ended up working late and didn't arrive until dessert--his loss). It was the first my-family holiday dinner hosted by someone of my generation, so we wanted to make it extra special.
The menu:Pomegranate sangrias.
Alcoholic: Sauvignon Blanc + pomegranate juice + honey. Non-alcoholic: white grape juice + pomegranate juice. I just happened to have frozen pomegranate arils*, so I put them in an ice cube tray, filled it with pomegranate juice, and made ice cubes that wouldn't dilute the sangria as they melted. These were a big hit.* Having written this, I think I am no longer allowed to tease my mother about the time she said, "Of course you can come over for dinner, I just happen to have roasted a turkey."Apples and honeys.
This was set out for people to nosh on while we finished cooking. The Ginger Gold apples, from our local greenmarket, were peeled and cut into thick circular slices, and the core sections removed with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. We had dishes of pohutukawa and blue borage honey from New Zealand (brought to us by auntyglory
), buckwheat honey from New England, and Brooklyn wildflower honey from regyt
, whose hive has supplied our Rosh Hashanah honey for years now. We served the apple slices and honey on small dishes laid out on a carved wooden tray, all filched from J's stepfather's apartment in Osaka.
Dinner was served with dishes passed at the table, very comfortable and cozy and informal.Chicken stewed with apricots and autumn spices.
We based this on the Moroccan chicken stew that was such a hit at Arisia. Six pounds of chicken thigh filets from the neighborhood butcher, one yellow onion, a great many quartered apricots, homemade chicken stock flavored with Balinese long pepper and dosed with honey and lemon juice, and a spice mix of sweet paprika, za'atar, cumin, ginger, urfa-biber, ground coriander seed, and cinnamon. We cooked it all together until the chicken was falling apart, and then I shredded the meat by hand and returned it to the pot, where it happily soaked up all the broth. The texture was very similar to pulled pork. We served it garnished with toasted silvered almonds and chopped parsley, with lemon wedges for those who felt like lemoning it a bit more. It was incredibly rich and delicious.Sweet noodle kugel.
A very basic recipe, with cashew ricotta and almond cream + cider vinegar and coconut oil substituting for cottage cheese and sour cream and butter, and Jovial gluten-free egg noodles. It was mostly custard and raisins, with noodles more for the sake of tradition than for flavor or texture. My mother arrived while it was baking and said the house smelled like Cinnabon; I'm pretty sure this was a compliment.Maple-glazed carrots.
Carrot coins with a glaze of maple syrup, Earth Balance, cinnamon (this was a very cinnamon-heavy meal), and fresh thyme (though not NEARLY enough of it; I blame myself). I love this recipe, but it was completely drowned out by the considerably more complex flavors of the chicken. Oh well. It'll be great to snack on.Cruciferous vegetables.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, roasted for half an hour, and garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds. Simple and perfect.Greenmarket salad.
My mother contributed this: long beans, watermelon, pears, micro greens, picked watermelon rind, some other delicious things. It was a lovely refreshing finish to the meal.
Dessert was delayed while we waited for my brother to arrive, and it's just as well because we all ate a whole lot of dinner and needed some time to digest it. Apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.
More Ginger Golds, tossed with cornstarch and sugar and (all together now) cinnamon, topped with chopped oats and gluten-free flour and almond meal and brown sugar and a bit more cinnamon because why not. The directions say "Mix topping with coconut oil until it resembles wet sand" and that's basically what it was still like when it came out of the oven with syrup bubbling up all around it: delicious, delicious sand. Of course we do make twice as much topping as the original recipe called for. Anyway, it was phenomenal, and we had Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean for the dairy-eaters and Soy Delicious Purely Vanilla for me and X, and I had a second helping even though I was super intensely full.
Our agenda looked basically like this:
08:00: X and J get up.
09:00: J goes to the farmer's market. X lets in Angela, our superb house cleaner.
11:00: R gets up.
12:00: EVERYONE EATS LUNCH. NO EXCEPTIONS. (Cooking while hungry is a bad, bad idea.)
13:00: R and J start cooking. X naps.
14:00: Angela leaves.
15:00: R and J take a break. X cleans up.
16:00: R and J go back to cooking. X sets the table.
18:00: R and J take turns showering and getting dressed while cooking continues.
19:00: Guests arrive.
20:00: Dinner is served.
22:00: Everyone go hoooome.
We didn't stick to it precisely--we started cooking at 12:30 because we were all energized, and for a while we were way ahead of schedule so we took more breaks--but dinner was on the table at 20:02. I am very, very proud of that.
My mother and D left at about 22:30; my brother stayed and chatted with me for another hour or so.
I think X ran the dishwasher four or five times. Maybe six, counting the current load. J and I cooked together splendidly, as we always do, and whenever we sat down for a bit, X whisked in, tidied up, and whisked away again. The three of us are such a phenomenal team. We were relaxed and happy the whole time, joking and smooching and smoothly navigating around one another. I don't think a single cross word was spoken all day.
My mother was thrilled and impressed, and she stayed at the table the whole time--no bustling in the kitchen!
My feet hurt and my back hurts and I ate too much and I'm basking in the glow of getting exactly the holiday dinner I wanted.
If you say the word "clafouti"
to me or my brother, we will immediately start giggling. This is because my mother spent several months in a clafouti phase, making every possible type of clafouti: sweet, savory, small, large, for breakfast and lunch and dinner and dessert, clafouti unto forever. We eventually staged a revolt until she agreed to stop making clafouti.
There was similarly a homemade marshmallow phase. (The one I remember best was the savory basil marshmallow, served in a bowl of tomato soup.) And there have been several iterations of the monochromatic meal phase; that one is not so much a phase as an orientation, really. And there's the Simpsons
episode where Marge is hammering tiles on the roof and Homer says "Marge, it's three a.m.! ...shouldn't you be baking?" and yep, that's my mom. (And me. And my brother. And, I suspect, my uncle. In case anyone wondered whether this sort of thing was genetic.)
Anyway, I have been testing this horchata recipe, and recipe testing is perfectly fine and normal, nothing wrong with that, but then I looked up horchata on Wikipedia, and now I'm contemplating horchata cubana
and tigernut horchata
(I love the Spanglish on that page) and Puerto Rican sesame horchata
thinks would be gross and I think would be delicious, like a liquid version of one of those sesame and honey candies) and horchata cocktails and all these recipes
(FRIED HORCHATA ZOMG) and I want one of these machines
and oh god it's a horchata phase
and I'm turning into my mother
I suppose every woman has a moment like this at some point in her life. And at least I recognize the danger of entering into a horchata phase, and I can reassure myself that this is what tagging is for and I can always put the recipes away for a while and then come back and find them exactly as I left them. Which I will totally do. Right.
Unrelatedly, while looking through posts on various recipe blogs, I found the best spam comment ever
on a recipe for Guatemalan oatmeal horchata
. I am in awe.