Start the day

Usually, I lie in bed and light up my phone. I flex my spine some and read first, Heather Cox Richardson* and then scroll around twitter for forty minutes or so (saving wordle and Spelling Bee for later).

But now that the House is governed by corrupt cretins who call themselves republicans but are really anti-government Christo-fascists or straight-up nihilists, I’m gonna have to set limits.

There will be a lot of gaslighting. Pissing in the wind. Obstruction. Projection. Faux outrage. Performative legislation — and by that I mean the passing of bills that will die in the Senate and that they KNoW will die in the Senate (well except Boebert who may not understand how a bill becomes a law).

Great use of our tax dollars.

Remember how they passed a bill to dismantle the ACA — what was it? Seventy times? Even seven times would have been disgraceful. And THAT, my friends was a version of the GOP that today would be considered “reasonable.”

Let the jerks huff and puff and mischaracterize everything they do. One hopeful friend believes their bogus Ben Ghazi-style investigations will backfire big time, screwing them in 2024.

Is “bogus Ben Ghazi style” redundant? Of course it is.**

I’m mostly worried about the debt ceiling. If it isn’t raised, the U.S. will default on its loans. Established in 1917, the debt ceiling has been raised nearly 100 times and almost always without a fuss. However, the extremist-GOP reps plan to use the vote to extort concessions such as cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

I haven’t delved into what exactly those repercussions would be both because I kinda don’t want to know and because my brain shuts off when I hear words like “currency” and “interest rates.” But it’s pretty clear that defaulting would be catastrophic.

Once upon a time, we could assume that such a maneuver was a bluff. No more. This right-wing extremist party is prepared to burn it all down.

Time to learn about yet another arcane government procedure: the discharge petition.

Anyway, all of this is by way of saying, right now (and maybe for the next two years), I cannot listen to as much news.

Jim Jordan — a walking jabberwocky of bile. MTG — puffed up with her newly exalted status and perhaps benefiting from a consult with a stylist — but still a dumb Nazi. McCarthy! Trump ass-licking shameless SINO (Speaker In Name Only) empowered (briefly?) to do shit that will hurt us all. There are too many more sickening folks to name. I don’t want to hear from any of them.

So today, I left my phone off initially. I tossed treats around the backyard for Finn to find. We do this “nose work” most mornings but unlike most mornings, I joined him outside. Drank coffee under an umbrella. It was almost 60 degrees.

Phone went on later and it was to listen to a talk by a Buddhist nun.

I will leave you with a minor but pleasing piece of synchronicity. A couple of days ago, I discovered the account RacialEquityInsights on Instagram. Took a screen shot to remind myself to go back later and take a listen. A few hours later, in an email listing out the “homework” for my call-group’s next anti-racism conversation, there were a handful of videos listed from this very site. Ta-dah!

Now you can check them out too.

* Heather Cox Richardson’s daily letters to an American, if you don’t already know, are excellent summations of the day’s news. She’s a historian too, so whenever something relates to events before, during, or after the Civil War, for example, she makes concise and informative comparisons. If you were to listen ONLY to HRC, you’d stay informed. I have a couple of friends who safeguard their mental health by doing exactly this. You can pay for her Substack publication but I get a daily email that I don’t have to pay for. It is more than sufficient.

** The GOP’s plans to investigate anything and everything Biden is why, by the way, I am celebrating Garland’s appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate the documents that recently surfaced in Biden’s former office and his Wilmington home. The House will NOT have access to info regarding an ongoing investigation (no matter what they say).

One blend, one box, 3 cloths

Sometimes I get intimidated about the fact that people actually read these posts. Forgive the blindness imbedded in such folly, but I know I’m not alone in this weird double-take.

For instance, I want to post more about anti-racism again and about my book, now titled The Weight of Cloth, but part of me wonders — who am I? Well not about the book, which I am amply qualified to speak about, but about more general issues of structural racism.

I’ll get over myself. Have no fear!

So here is a simpler kind of post. Show and tell. And really, a chance to note recent gifts.

ONE BLEND. A blend of exotic spices prepared by a friend was one of my favorite gifts this year. A pinch flavors a big pot of stock on the stovetop at this very moment. It turns out that I committed to trying new-to-me flavors this year before even recognizing the thought. A resolution? Yes, and a discovery — that the better resolutions might be those that you adopt before even making note of them. No forcing.

Another Ottolenghi recipe. Ripped from the book PLENTY’s cover. This is my creation tho — both the food and the photo. And yea, it was tasty!

ONE BOX. Those of you that follow my cousin Ginny Mallon will recognize her artistry on this repurposed cigar box. I LOVE IT. When she started posting them on Instagram this fall, I knew I needed to give one to my husband for Christmas. Him being a Cancer was the excuse, my adoring them, the real impetus.

And since Ginny wouldn’t let me pay her, I received a gift too!

THREE CLOTHS. The first is a close up and finished. The second is almost ready to be bound. And the third is a close up of one that feels like I will never finish it. A progression of sorts.

All I want to say about them today is how liberating I found Jude’s recent comment about how she doesn’t see ugly (or something like that). I was referring to a quilt not shown here. I’ve always worked with ugly and messy, maybe even taken a tiresome pride in the fact, but this feels different. It gives me staying power.


Whiteness means it’s snowing!

What whiteness is not, is a meaningful racial designation. It goes to status, not ancestry.

A footnote to an essay in WHITENESS IS NOT AN ANCESTOR led me to pmpress blog, where I found a post titled, The Point is Not to Interpret Whiteness but to Abolish It. It was written in 1997 by Ignatiev. Two quotes from that post follow.

David Roediger … has insisted that whiteness is not merely oppressive and false, it is nothing but oppressive and false. As James Baldwin said, “So long as you think you are white, there is no hope for you.”

Whiteness is not a culture. There is Irish culture and Italian culture and American culture—the latter, as Albert Murray pointed out, a mixture of the Yankee, the Indian, and the Negro (with a pinch of ethnic salt); there is youth culture and drug culture and queer culture; but there is no such thing as white culture. Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.

Back on a learning curve and you, lucky readers, get to come with me!

Meanwhile an important take away from a 30 minute audio clip on Safe Space Radio, is that learning about racism for white people can consist of BOTH the heartbreak of acknowledging harm generally and mistakes personally AND ALSO embrace the need to feel like we are decent human beings. This felt like an important jiggle forward for me.

Thank you Ellen and Doris for directing me to this resource.

Thank you Belinda for recommending the book.

Face flashback and two notes

First the notes. A friend let me know that there are two kinds of persimmons; oblong /sweet and squat / savory. So the squat persimmon that sat on my kitchen windowsill could’ve been cut into wedges (while still firm) and tossed into a salad. Next time, I’ll know.

Second, I found some cilantro and so decided to modify the Ottolenghi recipe for a Sweet Winter Slaw. It was plenty good without the lime juice (used rice vinegar) or the macadamia nuts (I substituted pumpkin seeds). I skipped the tropical fruits and mint.* Served with a creamy potato leek soup, it was delicious.

And now, faces. They can speak for themselves. It’s not EVERYONE that graced this past year, but quite a few. They all make my life better.

So Happy New Year to them and to you!

Adventure at H Mart

At this phase of life and the pandemic, going to H Mart in Burlington counts as an adventure. Lots of other people had the same idea today — packed parking lot, busy fish counter, many, many vegetable and noodle buyers.

I wanted to get the ingredients for this delicious looking Ottolenghi salad (above) — to try something new. I managed to buy red and Napa cabbages, but forgot cilantro and limes. Oh well! Next time. Maybe if we go at 8 am on a regular weekday, it’ll be less crowded.

The good news is that Asians as a rule wear masks.

How fun it was! The exotic dragon fruit, the wall of tofu, mushrooms of every variety. I picked up some pumpkin-colored miso, a pack of soba noodles, a huge bag of rice, some potstickers, and star anise. Also: soy sauce, Korean BBQ rub, and rice vinegar.

The star anise imparted a spicy fragrance to the car on the way home. Lovely!

I bought a couple persimmons three weeks back (shown in the bin above) but they rotted before we could eat them. Oops! I know from my research that the enslaved made a delicious molasses from them. And a woman in Wegman’s who stopped me to ask where I’d gotten them, told me she eats them raw and unadorned. “But let them get good and soft first.”

It’s been friend catch-up time. I can motor along in my life (my fairly isolated life) and forget how good it feels to connect. Even before the pandemic this was true.

Today I was treated to pix of two new grand babies. A few nights ago, there was a really nice 70th birthday party (everyone tested beforehand). Tomorrow: lunch with two friends, one of whom I haven’t seen in person in years! Monday, I’ll see another friend who has been busy driving to upstate New York and Vermont to see her grandchildren.

I’ll close with a photo and paragraph about Pele.

“The ambition should always be to play an elegant game.” I like that.