Yay for fun on the Interwebs

Ah, the link post. You’ll forgive me when you see and read these…

Hilarity and awesomeness in this post rooted in mocking a cat lover. Please try to laugh quietly. Not sure you can, though.

An interesting game where you can try to balance the federal budget by honoring your priorities. See how much you can cut, or add, or raise, or lower debt, taxes, spending at this Marketplace Money citizenship game.

And, to round it out, a shocking and adorable and, have I mentioned, jaw-dropping video from a girl and her science project.

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Bears repeating

Peanut went to a birthday party this weekend while I stayed at home and cooked through Butter’s nap. Increasingly, I don’t have time to prep and cook meals so I do it all on the weekend to eat throughout the week.

Though I do this to save time and money, I also do it because I don’t trust most of the prepared foods at the store and in restaurants. Since the 1990s I’ve tried to be more and more aware of how food is made (and of which ingredients). I don’t like chemical tasting food and I tend to buy and prepare foods in their natural states. We try to eat whole, natural, organic foods grown by local, sustainable farms and businesses.

And since I had kids I’ve gotten much more annoying about how careful I am.

So I cook as much as I can. Local, fresh, organic, whole. And I fake it when I need to (we have almond butter sandwiches for dinner at least once a week, not because I’m an About Last Night fan but because we run out of leftovers and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna take my hour of free time during Butter’s nap every day to cook something that might or might not be eaten later.)

On the weekend I try to blend homemade sauces like tahini and hummus, slow cook some vegetarian chili, make lentils and couscous with veggies, pre-layer black bean quesadillas, overcook and mash white bean and sweet potatoes for homemade burgers, prep berry almond smoothies, slice goat cheese and polenta to grill later with marinara, and bake a homemade pizza. The boys will generally eat these things, I have two hands to prepare on the weekend, these dishes don’t take careful spicing or attentive cooking, and most of the items last well through the week. So I sacrifice an afternoon or two to the home cooking gods.

[A friend once joked that a real Top Chef quick fire challenge would be to create something edible in 45 minutes…when you have to leave the prep area every 5 minutes to break up a fight, and leave the cooking area every 3 minutes to remind people about the rules, and leave the food unattended for at least 10 minutes while you run after someone making very poor choices. I would watch that episode a dozen times, were they ever to get that real with their reality programming.]

But making good food for four people is increasingly wearing on me. I’m tired of the work, I’m tired of checking labels, I’m tired of the exorbitant cost, and I’m tired of being such an annoying stickler.

Plus, it’s a pain that my day generally falls into the pattern:
wake to crying…clean a bottom…prepare food…serve food…attend to crying…
clean a bottom…shuffle people into car…serve food…shuffle people into car…
clean up food…prepare food…serve food…attend to crying…clean a bottom…
clean up after food…serve food….clean up after food…attend to crying…
shuffle people into car…prepare food…serve food…clean a bottom…clean up after food…prepare food…fall asleep

I’m getting tired of cooking my own beans to avoid BPA and making my own marinara to avoid BPA and putting everything in washable bags to avoid phthalates and refusing to do disposable to avoid adding to the landfill and buying local and organic at three times the price to avoid pesticides and herbicides and petroleum and child labor.

Then Eric Schlosser goes and writes something new that reminds me why we do this. Pseudofood is killing the planet, killing people, and killing farmers. I want to rip out the backyard, plant a bigger edible garden, write letters to local and national government, run for political office, take on the restaurant and agriculture lobbies, and rebuild the FDA and USDA to serve consumers.

Because what we’re eating now is not food. And the more people who know that, the better the food we get will become. And the less often I will have my kid come home from a birthday party full of modern marvels labeled as food.

[Of this I’m enormously jealous, by the way. I want to go back to a time when a blue tongue was fun rather than a source of stress, and when sugar was fun not toxic. But that ship has sailed.]

Lead alert: juice and fruit

NPR featured a story today on high levels of lead found in fruit and juice for children

Story is available http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R201006101730and an FAQ page here.

The long list of products (including some from Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroeger and big, national brands you know and might buy, like Dole, Del Monte, and Earth’s Best) is available here or beginning on page nine of the legal notice to companies that they’re in violation.

Isn’t it good to know that we can’t trust one stinking company with our food, nor our government to protect us? Good, good times, Corporate America.

random thoughts

Since when did people wanted by the law get to decide whether and how to turn themselves in? Arrest Jackson’s doctor, don’t negotiate with him. You’re wasting space on the news ticker. [okay, that was a few days ago, but I’ve been busy.]

I think the neighbor dog who barks every single day from 3pm to 6pm is an animatronic robodog akin to Weeds‘ Bubbie Botwin’s doorbell. It was barking today, outside, in the same rhythm as every other day despite rather heavy rain. And if it’s fake, I’m even more pissed that it barks every day from 3 to 6.

A CNN contributor has solved the budget crisis in three easy steps. I’d vote for all of the ideas, but I’m probably the only one.

I have to decide pretty soon whether to finish the journal article or the massive reorganization of the novel because I have about a month left of coherent thought and must use my remaining sleep-succored moments wisely. [Also out-dated. I chose the novel. It went way faster than I thought and now I have time to do the article, too. Damnit.]

The fact that tobacco companies are now making nicotine candy with tobacco that dissolves quickly would be freaking awesome if it weren’t so maniacally, diabolically, disgustingly, stupidly wrong.

After two three weeks of rain I’ve decided I can’t live in the Pacific Northwest.

Candyland is not as bad as I thought. Because it involves sitting still. I’m a new fan of sitting still.

Cats are less work than dogs but considerably more work than I want to do.

I can’t handle the lists of foods to avoid and alleged foods to call out as phonies and companies to boycott and chemicals to beware. I’m near fetal already, consumer-position-wise, and I don’t have the energy anymore.

Doesn’t help that these things that seem like good deals are really, really awful. Note that NUMBER ONE is undervalued work done by women in creating the next generation of citizens. take it seriously, because they will vote on what we teach them.

There are only so many random thoughts one can string together before either boring the reader or oneself.

Consider us in that boat together.