Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't Be Poor in America

My country can be a very odd and unforgiving place. We have politicians and religious leaders saying how precious life is and how important families are, yet they do nothing to ensure their citizens can get subsidized, safe day care or assistance. You have to jump through serious hoops for WIC and food stamps, though the Conservatives and the press will have you believe it is handed out here like candy. Um, no.

We have powerful lobbies that make the unborn child more important than the born child. Why? God says so. Um, no he does not. To apply the Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Murder to abortion is an interesting move, but hey everyone manipulates the Bible for their own interests. See Leviticus and all it's insanity.

One of the more interesting things about America, pointed out to me recently, is the illusion of being free. We all want choice and we do not want anyone to tell us our choice is wrong, but we don't think about that choice and the outcomes and how it affects people. We just want the choice.

Imagine being poor. You have no choice in this country whatsoever EXCEPT, to not be poor. No, I am not kidding. This is how it is presented by politicians of any side and the wealthy and those who want to be like the wealthy. Don't blame us that you cannot make ends me, you need to not be poor. Reality is that choice is for the middle class and up and even that is beginning to stretch thin. I started this post because of an article in The Atlantic that highlights the issue best. When you are poor and a parent you are, forgive my potty mouth, fucked. This country and it's highly touted family values offers nothing to help you because you see, you choose to be a parent. Any other circumstances that brought said child about, well, that is also your problem and why should anyone but family help you. The minority of jackasses that use more kids to get more money from the state, yes the exist, have ruined social programs for those that truly need them. The issue is more gray than black and white, but we have a problem in this country where gray areas are usually ignored or bashed.
And in case you think I am being unfair to the good 'ol USA, you should know that single moms are considered bad for society. The human race can be so disappointing can't it??? But in no way did those asking the question or those polled considered if perhaps the spouse died or you know, walked out on his family.

America does have her positives. Beautiful National Parks, some very kind and giving people throughout the land, opportunities to debate your opinions of all kinds online and at town halls, wonderful places with lots to do and a lot of it free, real food movements and crafts, and I am grateful for that, but we are still a VERY young nation. The rest of the world has seen their Empires rise and fall and some have learned and excelled with how to treat their citizens. We are still the bratty teen who wants her way and will do anything to get there. It is us, the citizens, that pay for the behavior and some of us even model it. This will not do. People need a chance because we are not all born with silver spoons or into loving homes. I am not saying you can love a criminal into being a better person, but why put the single mom who only makes $8.00 an hour into the same group? The USA want to be a world leader, but we are showing the rest of it just what type of world we would build and have and we do it with blind pride and arrogance.

I could list various ills, but why feed the beast? It is important to understand that we need to improve our country and not give in to the illusion that everyone has a choice and everyone has a say. They do not. We do not. But we need to buck the system as so many others have to make it better for everyone. The problem is the system is a much bigger machine than we imagine and I do not know if it will even hear us.


Cheers!
MissFifi



Monday, July 28, 2014

Blanch and Freeze Baby!!!

Our CSA has been quite bountiful. Bountiful to the point where we cannot get through it all and I am not one to waste food. By no means am I a canner so I have decided to freeze some of our food so it does not all end up in the composter.

We get A LOT of corn on the cob, which is nice for summer, but it really is too much for just the two of us as my son has no interest in it as of yet. Last week I had a total of ten cobs and realized I had to do something or else it would just end up getting tossed out. For some reason I was always under the impression it was a hassle to cook, blanch and freeze. I am not sure if I was afraid or did not want to do the ice bath step, don't question me, but it is really easy to do and that my friends, is a good thing.

Freezing Corn from Simply Canning. I chose to cut the kernels from the cob, but you can freeze whole cob if you choose.

Today I had extra cauliflower and it is currently in the freezer waiting to be tossed in a bag for a future use.

How to blanch and freeze cauliflower

I have dried some herbs out already as well. Sage is currently drying upside down in my dining room and the oregano has already been done.

Do you freeze your summer veggies as well? Or do you can them?

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, July 25, 2014

TGIF!

Hope that you all have woken up to lovely weather and are ready for the weekend!

In contrast to the Texas mega-closet story I posted yesterday, it has been discovered that the popstar, Miss BeyoncĂ©,  has been quietly funding a homeless shelter in Houston for the past five years without seeking any fanfare. Philanthropy well done indeed.

This looks like a very tasty Grilled Jalapeno and Lime Shrimp recipe.

It is never too early to make homemade Christmas gifts. This beginner sewing pocket tote from Craft Snob is very nice.

I have been toying with making my own deodorant. We were buying a really awesome homemade deodorant, but it cost $10 every few months and let us be honest, that is a tad pricey. For now I have just been using rubbing alcohol on my arm pits which works for a bit, but it does have a tendency to fail and while I do not think my smell is that bad, I do not want to offend those around me. The Nerdy Farm Wife shares her easy peasy homemade natural deodorant recipe that I may give a go. Her site also has ton of other recipes you can do with flowers.

If you are in the market for a vacation home, hahahahaha who isn't??, Hooked on Houses has five lovely choices from Maine.

And apparently I have been living under a rock for I had no idea that Master Gardener extraordinaire, Margaret Roach, existed and has a blog. Hooray! I ordered her book "The Backyard Parables" from my library yesterday and cannot wait to start reading.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Cheers!
MissFifi




Thursday, July 24, 2014

Money, Money, Money!

The one thing everyone wants, thinks they can never have enough of and something they always need is money.

I can totally relate says the woman who needs to redo her upstairs bathroom with nonworking shower. Haha

One thing I have never understood is people's vehemence towards individuals who have wealth. Sure jealousy is the main factor, but I also don't get the whole "They better be donating to charity with that much money" attitude. People are entitled to do what they want with their money. You want to buy a six pack and a cake for dinner? Ten pairs of shoes? Put it in the bank or your mattress? Invest? Give to the local children's hospital? Go to Italy for a month? Hey, it is your cash, have at it.

Recently a Texas woman's three story, 3000 square foot closet got major press. Kind of freaky that her closet is bigger than my house, but it is Texas. Everything is bigger there to begin with. One thing I am not a fan of is her fur floor. Needless to say I learned a long time ago you will NOT convince someone to stop wearing animal pelts of any kind because you say it is wrong.
She also has a collection of Hermes Birkin bags I would kill for. I have no explanation as to why I love the design of this obscenely priced handbag, I just do. I wonder if they make them in fake leather? Hmmmm...

The reason I am even bringing this woman up is if you read comments in regards to this story, people call her shameful, extravagant, obscene and selfish to name a few things. They are appalled by her obvious display of wealth because it is consumerism at its finest. This is true, but let's put that aside for a moment. In the article they point out she holds fundraisers in her home, even in her closet (God Bless). I am not sure why there is a need to demonize someone who is a big ass Have if I or anyone else is a Have Not. She donates time and money to charity, yet she is still a "rich bitch"? Seems like our wealth anger in this country is pointed at the wrong folks. Shouldn't we be directing our outrage at the Corporations that have awesome legal loopholes known as tax inversions or say, you know, at the government that allows this? Not at the person who builds a 3000 square foot closet.


And for shits and gigs, here are the photos of that humongous closet. In truth it looks like a department store and while I wouldn't wear a lot of the stuff she has, I still think it would be something to behold. To each his own.


Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Rough night.

For some ungodly reason our two and a half year old sleep regressed last night like no one has probably ever sleep regressed before. He cried out for us for about an hour, maybe even more as it is a blur. He alternated between crying "Mama" and "Daddy" after one of us left the room in an attempt to soothe him. I admit I did snap once actually yelling out "Shut Up" from our bedroom because I believed I was about to have a heart attack and needed to die in my sleep.

Exhaustion makes you a horrible ogre of a person. I love my son, I hate sleep regression. All clear? Good.

My husband was and is the better parent. He went in to our son's room, laid some blankets on the floor and held onto our little one's hand until he nodded off which seemed to happen pretty quickly.

Today I am barely able to string a coherent sentence together. Had I left the spelling mistakes in this post you would have seriously questioned if I was stroking out.

I think it is high time that people stop talking about the normal things babies/kids do, like potty training, eating solids, etc.  and discuss these types of incidents more often. From growth spurts to sleep regression to not wanting to eat anything but shrimp, these topics are not on most people's radar until you have a kid and in a panic do a Google search hoping your kids has not contracted some sort of tropical disease. Thank God our friends who have kids have alerted us to specific things that will miraculously come about when they hit a certain age. You think, "not my child", but oh yeah, it comes out of left field, smacks you on the head and pinches your ass. I do hope last night was a fluke and that we will not have a repeat, but from what I read on Dr. Google, it can go on for a few weeks before things go back to normal. God, your sense of humor is a touch masochistic and you have some explaining to do.

Last night got me wondering how people make it with more than two children and are not completely gray or insane. Or as I like to comment, "It is amazing civilization has made it this far." Can you imagine it is 1764 and you have five kids, one is colic and one is sleep regressing and you have to go milk the cows in two hours? My mind cannot even fathom that in any way shape or form. I want him to nap so I can disco nap for 20 minutes and hope to feel refreshed.

I may have posted this before, but I in my sleep deprived state I wanted to share it, maybe again?, because it is hilarious.


Cheers!
MissFifime

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Someone Heard Me

Lo and Behold, I wrote my post lamenting the lack of bees and other pollinators and BAM! It has been a bumblebee bonanza in my backyard. Various butterflies are still woefully absent, but the Hummingbird Moths have arrived and I am pleased as punch.

Hummingbird Moth happily feeding on my Butterfly Bush. That big bulky white thing to the left is our radon remediation machine thingy and common to have in certain parts of NJ.

The only type of butterfly I have seen this year. While it is pretty, I am missing the swallowtails. 

Three bees in a row on the Echinachea. There were more and boy were they all working hard. 

My zucchini and cucumbers plants are still a bust, but that is okay since we belong to the CSA and our veggies and fruits are covered by that at least.

And for a random recipe, here is a gorgeous looking Roasted Cherry Chocolate Tart from Annie's Eats. My husband does not eat any cherries, berries, peaches, not a single stone fruit, so I would never be able to make this yummy looking tart in my home because I would be the one who would be forced, ahem, to eat it all. Such is life ;-)


Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fish for Dinner

Made this Tilapia with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto recipe from FineCooking.com and it was very good.
What were my changes? I used Swai instead of Tilapia and I cooked my fish in coconut oil instead of butter. I also did not do the lemon wedge thing, but that was because I just did not feel like doing do.
Our side was roasted corn. Preheat over to 350 degrees, throw corn in their husks on the rack or in my case, on the pizza stone, for 30 minutes and voila! Tasty corn. My kind of quick and  easy meal.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, July 14, 2014

Where For Art Thou Mother Nature?

Thanks to various things like pesticides, climate change and what ever else we can conjure, I have very few bees or butterflies in my garden. Because of this, none of my zucchinis or cucumbers are growing. I have flowers, but nothing else.

This displease me.

I was going to hand pollinate the zucchini, but the flowers have fallen off already. Aces.

This is the first time since we have lived here, 5 years now, that I have not had one swallowtail butterfly. None. I have not seen any hummingbird moths either. This disturbs me because it is very telling.
Sure the bumblebees are out, but in far less numbers than I have had in the past. Is it because everything is blooming so damn late thanks to the obnoxiously long winter? I don't know. I do have neighbors that use pesticides to keep a perfect lawn and I am sure that doesn't help much. We keep the clover in ours because I like it and heck, so do the bees. I saw two honeybees within the clover and I became giddy.

I don't know. It is weird to have a lovely flower garden and very few pollinators. Disheartening is the word I think that describes it best. I grow a lot of herbs to let them flower so the bees can go crazy. This is a pretty tall and large thyme (??) plant behind my garage that had at least four bees on it when I took this photo.

 Happy bees!

What is also sad is that my Butterfly Bush has been pretty inactive. When I went out before there were just two butterflies on some flowers. They were orange and brown and the only type I have seen in my garden spaces all summer. I miss the other insects I used to see and I thought I would be able to entice them our way due to the flowers, but I guess nature has its own agenda. Bummer. Ah well, I am happy to see the insects I have and having to constantly remind my son to not touch the bumblebees. He has a thing for needing to hold all insects. The other day he walked over to me and my neighbor holding a live wasp. Yeah. Luckily it did not sting him, but we had to explain why walking around carrying one of those is not a good idea. I fully expect him to do it again.

Hope your gardens are flourishing and that what is going on here is a fluke.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Look At My Land

At least my backyard. ;-)

A happy bumblebee on my multi-headed sunflower.



My garden in bloom. That is the oregano down in front. But look at my flowers. I am beyond giddy. We have already begun planning on expanding the garden for next year. Oh yeah, flowers and veggies for everyone!!!

House Finch fledglings in our hanging plant on the porch.


Nature is really something to behold and enjoy. Have a wonderful day!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I AM ON A MISSION

And not necessarily a wise one. Human beings like to collect things. Whether it is comic books, Dr Who paraphernalia, baseball cards, guns or weird cat art, for some reason we have a need to hunt and gather. I am not very good at things like Ebay or Craigslist. I basically suck at bidding and I get lazy about checking every hour for the possibility that someone may have posted/listed something I want.

Until now.

Recently I have gotten a bee in my big ass bonnet to locate a great deal on the following furniture pieces.

Hoosier Cabinet

I want this awesome piece of furniture for my kitchen so I can eliminate most of my upper cabinets and have a place for flour to sift out of because that would make me so cool. Some are wood, some are retro metal, all that matters it is a multi-functional piece of art that would be amazing to own..

Pie Safe


I don't make pies and that is irrelevant to my desire for one of these.

Vintage Ice Box

Where would I even use this? I don't care. We can address that once I have obtained this object. But let me be honest. If I had the money to refurbish one of these to make them energy efficient, I would absolutely put it in my kitchen. Since I am not Warren Buffet, if I got one now I would use it like I would a Hoosier cabinet, for storage. It would add nice charm to the kitchen. Look at the one below, isn't she pretty??



Vintage Medical Cabinets


Ikea has a reproduction of one, but I just can't purchase that. I want the real thing, and no, I am not sure where it will go though the bathroom is a lead contender.

And if I was to actually collect something reasonable it wold be opera glasses. Yes. Opera glasses.



So I have become that odd human being in the world that will stalk Craigslist and Ebay hoping to find the deal of the century like every other obsessive person out there. And while maybe I should be, I am not ashamed. Carry on my loves!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Monday, July 7, 2014

Little Things

Photos to share:

An apartment house in Italy


An abandoned home in Long Valley


A bumblebee on one of my wildflowers


Inside of a El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, Taos, New Mexico


Old Family Wedding Photo (My Aunt Louse is second from the right)

Pets sleeping


Baby Sleeping


Have a wonderful day!!

Cheers!
MissFifi