The Tale of the Sweet Potato Pie that Wasn’t Meant to Be and May Not Ever Be

Rushing. Being distracted. The kid demanding yet another slice of bread with nutty topping.

You know what I mean.

Today was a day of sweet potato tragedy. First, was the discovery that many of my sweet potatoes had been sitting for a bit too long in unfavorable conditions. The merely wrinkly could be overlooked but those whose squishy liquid innards sloshed and churned in my hand could not. I convinced myself the remainder were acceptable. After all, I was more concerned with testing my new Instant Pot than with the results themselves or their quantity.

But soon I was in a quandary. As they cooked, I wondered what the end result of the sweet potatoes should be. A quick meander on the internet proposed sweet potato pie. After a simple process of finding a recipe that contained only ingredients I had (in other words, excluding evaporated milk and no more than 2 eggs), I began the preparations.

First disaster occurred during my first use of my new Oster Versa blender. I had purchased the unit with the food processor attachment. The pie crust initially formed as it should then suddenly was paste. It would not be until near the end of this adventure that I would realize I had the blender set to the wrong speed and perhaps added a tad too much water. Regardless, I shrugged off the malformed and sticky crust as irrelevant. This is not a dish for a restaurant, just a use for some sweet potatoes on the cusp of decoporealization.

Then, for the batter. I had placed every single ingredient into the Versa blending jar, including solid instead of melted butter in the trust that the blender would assist me with my little “solids” problem. I grabbed the carton of eggs from the fridge, opening them and promptly hurling the last two eggs to the floor.

I started at the gooey mess oozing into the tracks of my sliding door in a state of numb shock. Deep and penetrating questions filled my mind. Is this potato pie meant to be? Followed by What deity controls pies?

Do pies have meaning?

Do I have meaning?

What is meaning?

Questions then quickly deemed unresolvable and the pie deemed a failure, I began to clean up the mess. As it turns out, sticky raw egg possesses some phenomenal properties in regards to eliminating stubborn grunge built up in sliding door tracks.

Slowly this discovery bolstered my confidence. I was able to recall that there are vegan substitutes for eggs. Once the door was cleaned I examined several options online. I opted for a bit of flour and a couple small handfuls of tofu.

It blended into something smooth and creamy in the Versa. I poured the beautiful silky mixture into my lumpy and craggy pie shell and placed it in the oven, setting the timer soon after.

I don’t know what is happening there in the oven.

I only know something either beautiful or unspeakable awaits… For me.

The stare

The sky was so cloudy it was impossible to tell it was cloudy. It was simply a solid sheet of dark grey and black, except for one spot where the moon was visible. The wisps of cloud formed a harsh scowling face that glared down at me with the luminous cylopsian eye of an angry god.

That was my morning.

Empty

Once upon a time

there was a little man
he sat upon his rock
and stared across the sand
Once a day he looked
across the empty waste
and every other evening
he gazed up into space
Once upon a time
those grains of sand were stars
and every morning they glitter
and remember what they are
But the little man just sits there
tears across his face
for he knows he is alone
in all of time and space

The Reversal

So, about a decade or so ago, my soon to be spouse had something of an identity theft problem. It wasn’t a true case of it, it was in fact a situation in which Social Security accidentally assigned the same number to two different people with the same name. It took years to straighten out, and even now some records get mixed up. It was annoying, horrible, caused much emotional and financial distress and even just a few years ago a man came to the door for mortgage documents to be completed, for that other person who lives across the country.

However it never involved me before today.

I get a call from someone who believes I am someone named, shall we say, F saying there is a legal complaint against me, the spouse of… my spouse. That this number was the number F had left to be reached at.

So I go ballistic, demand details, holler about identity theft and how I’m going to take care of this once and for all. The line gets disconnected in the middle of this. I call back and leave a voicemail demanding an explanation, because I’m going to take care of this by God. I look up all the information I can about these people, where they live and work and try to call them but fail because of the time. I call the person who called me again, still furious, demanding that they call me back because I have the contact information they need, etc…

Anyway, at some point I look up that number and discovered it is a scam that tries to convince you that you have some legal claim against you, tells you to call some other number with a fake case number who then tries to extract your credit card info and threatens you with court.

WHICH I THINK IS HILARIOUS. I mean think about it, without even realizing it I was yelling at them, practically threatening THEM with legal action… I mean, damn… Hahahahahaha!

Exposed

Once I participated in a Spencer Tunik art installation. Being part of a crowd of 2000+ naked people was just an incredible experience. So relieving, so liberating. You could just see bodies, not whatever their bodies were hidden with. You could see there was nothing to be ashamed of in your own body. That you were normal, that everyone was normal. There were no lies. Every bulge, every scar, all perfections and imperfections were exposed. It was practically transcendent.

But you can’t do that with your mind, right? There’s no way to take the clothes off… you just have to go by their word. So there is always that suspicion there, that they’re just being nice. They are lying. They are exaggerating to make you feel better. And some of them are. Some of them aren’t… and they have the same problem. They can’t see you, either. And words just aren’t enough. But I bet if you could take the clothes off…

Assumed knowledge: bathing edition

So have you ever thought about things that seem like common sense, but aren’t? For example… how do you bathe with oil?

People talk about taking a nice, hot oil bath after work. You see pictures of women with their dry hair pinned up while they soak in the bath. So… I assume they are not showering before they seal their own filth on their body with oil. Or does the oil cleanse in its own way?

After all, the Romans bathed with olive oil right? So much oil that they scraped it off their skin with a piece of wood. Was their hair just greasy all the time?

Mixing oil and soap of course seems to defeat the point of either.

One would assume one’s mother and grandmother would be consulted, but I feel their answer would be tradition, not a legit explanation.

Experimentation may be required. I did experiment with coconut oil when I tried the no soap, water only experiment… however because of the solid nature of the coconut oil I had difficulty applying it without over applying it in the shower, and I only bathed with the oil once. It did not prove to be effective for controlling body odor.

Thought exercise: Respecting beliefs

If a Wiccan believes that magic is possible, including black magic (which is implied by the Rede to exist, but is not to be used by Wiccans) is there ever a case where it would be valid to charge a Wiccan for casting black magic? Of course, it would be easy for a naturalist such as myself to dismiss the case of magic itself harming someone, since magic has in no way shape or form been proven to exist. It is more complicated if you believe in magic, perhaps. How far does respect for beliefs go?

What if a religious or spiritual group made it well known that they were casting a curse of some kind on someone? Can/does it cross into harassment?

What if both parties believe magic is real? What if only one does?

Of course, we see terrible examples throughout the world and throughout history of what happens when magic, society and law mix. But I simply wish to point out a kind of double-think that seems to get ignored.

I invite anyone who believes in magic to please respond.

This old article has been making the rounds again, got me thinking about the topic again: Student Expelled for Casting a Spell.

For Sport

Drama and trolling on the Internet is what happens when inactive humans discover that have a new means of alleviating their boredom. “Dance for me, my internet puppets! Dance! Do you not realize that none of you are real? Only I am real, and I demand to be amused!”

Reality TV, social media, forums, blogs… what is the difference, I wonder sometimes.

Your Online Clothes Matter

I’ve used various avatars deliberately for years, to confuse my gender. To confuse people about my politics. To confuse them about my hobbies. It’s really easy. If you want to have a conversation with someone in a political party opposite your own, take on one of their icons as your avatar (be sure of course of what they’ll see if they bother to click on your profile), and then try to talk to them like a rational human being instead of being on attack mode. You’ll be surprised.

Pretty much remove anything that indicated you are female (do not use your first or middle name, and remove anything references to anything “obviously girly”) and everyone will simply assume you are male, whether the person you are talking to is male or female. This is useful if you simply just don’t want to deal with any sexist nonsense directed at you personally. Bonus points if a female feminist tells you you can’t understand her point of view because you aren’t a woman… and you only get the points if you weren’t trolling or trying for that response.

If you wish everyone to hate you except for gunlovers or various stripes., post an actual picture of yourself holding some kind of gun. It doesn’t really matter what the gun is, it just has to look like either a real handgun or rifle. It has to be a home-made type of picture. It doesn’t count if it’s a movie shot, or video game shot or anything else that looks like a professional photo. Once you have that picture in place, you will be assumed to be a redneck, from the South, some kind of hypocrite, or a member of the Tea Party or some combination thereof. And people who like guns will probably assume you are a close Christian friend of their’s even if you never met them in your life. Unless you’re in a Libertarian community, then all bets are off on that.

And you can totally have fun with this and really mix it up by posting contradictory avatars and profile/post content.

So, when was the last time you didn’t judge someone on their clothes?

Today’s Lesson: Hire a Plumber and Make Him Use Code Words.

So yesterday was a pretty annoying day, though I got stuff done. However, I learned a very important lesson that it is vitally important to share with all of you.

First, some background. Lots of phone calls, driving around, and appointments yesterday. I had a turkey that had been defrosting in the fridge for a long time and I was afraid it was going to go bad. I was a huge turkey, annoyingly huge. My plan was to practice deboning a turkey and then turning it into nuggets. If so much had not been going on on Wednesday this would have been a highly pleasurable activity. I was looking forward to it, but I knew it would involve a lot of frustrating work. I also knew I’d have to do this at night when the child was asleep because raw turkey was going to get everywhere. Seriously, this turkey was twice the size of my roasting pan. I need a large dissection tray for a bird like this. I ended up laying it on a towel.

So, after all was said and done last night, the child got an accidental nap and was refusing to go to bed. I decide to go ahead with the turkey processing.

Isn’t coming out that great, mostly because I’m rushing just to get it done… after everything that day I just wanted the turkey processed. I’d have roasted it but we just had had roast turkey so I knew it wouldn’t get eaten. Thus, I wanted to make and freeze nuggets.

I make mediocre nuggets… but towards the end, the dishwasher starts flooding. A clog!

It’s a disaster in the dishwasher. The cheese I’d used to make mac ‘n cheese for lunch it turns out makes awesome glue. All the dishes are literally covered in speckles of hardened on cheesy stuff that seem to only want to come of with individual attention to each and every one with a fingernail. Turkey residue is draped over everything. Meanwhile the last of the nuggets are burning…

I do everything I normally do to unclog the drain, but it isn’t working. It’s clear I need to take the protective grate covers off the drain and GET IN THERE. However, I’ve never been able to take them off, even when I bought the house they were not removed because I have no decent screwdrivers. For some reason I have never remedied this.

So, my countertop is covered in nasty rawish turkey and cheese smeared dishes, putrid greasy water is all over the floor, in a towel and on my clothes… and I finally discover that a screwdriver/flashlight thing my mother got me a few years ago works on the grate screws.

I was so naive. So… young. Innocent.

I miss the old me.

What I saw in that grate cannot be unseen. And it wasn’t even the clog.

It was thick, very thick. It was mushroomy. It was highly textured. It came in colors. It was starting to grow a skin-like membrane on some of it. It was… too horrible to be described. I just want to somehow UN-eat everything I’ve eaten in the past 5 years. I couldn’t even vomit, it was too overwhelming. A picture seemed inappropriate, it was that horrible. I stared into its creases and realized I no longer wanted to live. I wanted to cry but no tears came.

……….

……….

……….

It took me hours over two days to get the dishes clean of that stuff. I soaked the dishwasher and grate overnight with washing soda. It didn’t unclog, but it surely helped. I stuck my hand……… into that stuff. Eventually the dishwasher started working again. It’s almost….. sane again. Clean. Healthy. Safe.

Almost.