‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

sensory overload

I am alive.

And I have nothing.

So I thought I'd tell you all about how things have smelled around here lately. You know, in case you don't have 5 baby chickens of your own hanging out in your livingroom.

They are smelly.

It's the teenagers that are the worst. Two of the babies are 3 weeks old and they are classic teens. They are gawky and clumsy and smelly and I swear if they weren't covered in feathers they'd have pimples. Technically they should stay inside another week but we have had enough. Enough!

You know what else is smelly? Fish sauce. When we were on vacation (we went on vacation) we went to a Vietnamese restaurant and had caramel fish. So I looked it up and lo and behold, it's really simple to make! You caramelize the sugar and add 1/3 cup fish sauce. That's the hard part because when you add the fish sauce to the hot sugar, you have to evacuate the entire neighborhood. It smells like someone lit a hamper of dirty socks on fire.

Studley told my mother-in-law, "it smells awful but it's dinner." I can't believe they ate it. There is no way I would have eaten anything that smelled like that when I was a kid. No. Way.

But enough of the stink! What are we listening to, you ask?

Well last night Chris was playing this total emo song over and over and over again and if I didn't know better I would have been on the phone with the Samaritans. I don't know exactly what the Samaritans do, but there's a sign as you come over the bridge that says "Desperate? Call the Samaritans" and this seems as desperate a case as any. Can't you just picture him sitting in a bean bag chair, in the dark, listening to this song over and over again?

Meanwhile, I'm upstairs wanting to drown myself in the sink.

We don't even have a bean bag chair and he wasn't really even listening to the song. He was doing something audio-engineerish to it. And to do the audio-engineerish thing, he has to play the song even more than I played J. Geils' Freeze Frame album.

It is no wonder audio engineers have all those fork marks in their foreheads.

As for how things look around here, no one has stepped up to be a full-time (pro bono) housekeeper. The house is the visual equivalent of fish sauce.

I trust you will now be more grateful for the next three weeks of silence. You're welcome.

her Troutship

Monday, April 5, 2010

for what ails you

Have you ever noticed how much stuff there is in Chinese restaurants? Bamboo and chimes and flutes and fans and auspicious this and that. It must be working because the Chinese restaurant that made me think about all this has been in town for at least 15 years. That's pretty impressive, considering how hard we are on restaurants around here. They usually leave town in tears after a year or two.

I see their decorations/good luck symbols, and wonder if we'd do well with some sprigs of bamboo at Trout Towers. Maybe a red door. Or a water feature that's not in a hamster cage. There are so many things we could do to luck the place up. But then, what would people think?

Would they think we felt we were somehow lacking? Would they look at our carefully arranged whatnots and conclude that we have skeletons in our Helpful People closet? That our bread is apt to mold? That our mice are anemic?

Same goes for those stone bracelets that look like rosary beads. You know the ones? They're made of rose quartz or amethyst or hematite or something else that's good for whatever your issue may be. I pick them up, run them through my fingers and wonder what they're for. Then I imagine a total stranger pointing to it on my wrist and saying something like "can't keep a boyfriend, eh?" I can totally see myself yelling at an unsuspecting passerby: "I can keep a boyfriend just fine, thank you!" which I would then have to explain to my husband.

I was not raised in a tradition rich in auspicious signs and wonders. However, I have created my own tradition of never telling anyone what I'm afraid of. Did you see Witches of Eastwick? It's a bad idea to answer the question "what are you afraid of" honestly. Putting cures all over the place is like wearing a rope of garlic around your neck. You can't shrug off the wooden stake in your backpack with an explanation of arachnophobia.

I think the answer is in finding enigmatic cures that aren't part of the usual repertoire. We like to keep people guessing. Our cures come and go because everything comes and goes so we have to keep changing our dosage. Right now these cures include:

Two baby chick in the livingroom = hope
Piles of spring clothes on the way into the kids' drawers = growth
Piles of discarded clothes on the way to Good Will = gratitude
Half-eaten apple crisp in kitchen = happiness
Extra family members = community
Dining room floor covered with art supplies = activity

There are more, but they're secret. All I will tell you is that they make it difficult to walk through the livingroom without tripping. Others are filling the chairs and a couple are stashed on top of the fridge. They all have meaning, if you give me a minute to think about it.

And you thought we didn't have all this stuff strewn about on purpose.