And…We’re Back

Well.  That was unsettling.  My mac is back with a new solid state drive/OS.  I haven’t determined whether it’s a whole new personality yet.  I’ll say one thing– I’ll never take it for granted again.

I can’t even…it was like detox.  Cold turkey.  I panicked.  I went through the stages of grief or whatever.  It was not fun–for anyone.  But after a week of disconnection, I realized how computer-dependent I was, and what it means to me.

I may be an old retired lo-tech dumbie, but my computer literally is my lifeline.  It keeps me connected to the people and things that mean the most to me, while isolated out here in the midwest, as it did in the “Vortex”.  It’s how I do business, and where I feel like I still exist.  It’s my means of expression, for whatever it’s worth.  I’m sure no one even noticed my absence, but I did.  Yet, I seem to have survived.  The experience was…instructive.  I had to recall how to use my time offline productively again.  I did some gardeny things, so that’s something.

Where do I begin?  Lots of things went unrecorded and unreported while I was away.  Nothing very significant, except to me, but it was like a time warp, a vacuum.  Purim and some other stuff came and went.  I haven’t figured out how to access my edited iPhotos on my new OS X Photos, so I guess pics will have to wait for another day.

Anyway, good to be back.



Tech Scare PS

Just because I’m stubborn, I took a chance and tried again with the software update.  As before, the install froze up and failed.  This time, I managed to repeat the steps to get out, shut down, and power up, and fortunately I was able to get back in.  I’ve learned my lesson—they can keep their dysfunctional El Capitan 10.11.4!  I’m sure I can continue to manage without it.  I’m just happy to be able to post this.  If anyone out there is familiar with this glitch, please feel free to advise.

Tech Scare (False Alarm)

I had a real scare today.  My computer refused to function or let me in!  I panicked!  So much for Don’t Panic.

Backstory:  I did a totally routine OS X software update download and install, except that for some reason that no one could figure out, the download and installation just quit and froze in the middle.  A couple of shutdowns and restarts later, my computer wouldn’t even let me back in.

Long story short, some really nice Apple tech support guys walked me through the mysteries and fixed it, don’t ask how.   We had a lot of fun talking while waiting for my slowpoke computer to stop spinning its wheels and get on with it.  One guy happened to live in Nashville, so that gave us some things to talk about.  The other was in Connecticut, and went out of his way to resolve my issue.  They all work from home, so they can raise their kids and stuff.

Moral of this story:  I can’t live without my computer.  It’s my lifeline.  Life revolves around it.  I do all my business on it.  It connects me to everything and everyone.  I get most of my info through it.  It’s like an extension of my self.  When I’m cut off like that, it’s like a withdrawal.  And being old-school, I don’t have a whole collection of electronic devices to resort to, like most people.  It’s not like I can just get online some other way.  It just reminds me how dependent I am on technology, and insecure without it.  How did we live without it?   I’m not even up to speed on the latest tech, but what I do use, I depend on.

I did notice, from talking to my techies, that I’m better at explaining and understanding the basic terms, actions, and steps involved in an issue.  I’ll never get all the deep, cryptic concepts and coding going on underneath, but I can at least state the case clearly, understand and follow directions, and keep up, without going all to pieces!  I’ve had to figure out and fake my way through so many baffling computer predicaments on my own, that somehow I’ve learned my way around some things.  Don’t ask me what or how.  It’s a Mystery.

Anyway, thankfully, I’m back for now.  And a good thing, because there are all these crucial food things to post about!   I made a whole pile of mini-Hamantaschen, with apricot, strawberry, and blackberry fillings.  I started the turkey brining, with fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, peppercorns, coriander seed, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves, for tomorrow.  I made a fancy Persian rice pudding with sultanas, rosewater, and cardamom.  I prepared a Persian glaze for the turkey with onions, sherry, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and cranberry juice (instead of pomegranate).  I think I’m outdoing myself again.  Maybe I’m making up for lost Purims.  Maybe Purim is the “new” Easter.  I don’t know, but it’s fun, and keeps me off the streets.

Here are Hamantaschen.  There are about 42!  (After we sampled a few to make sure they were all right.)  You’ll have to use your imagination for the rest of the feast, for now.



Persian Week

It just so happens that the Persian spring equinox new year, Nowruz, and the Jewish holiday of Purim, which harkens back to ancient Jewish history in Persia, fall the same week this year.  What better excuse to combine efforts and cook up a pseudo-Persian Purim!

I’ll be making Hamantaschen (three-cornered filled pastries) tomorrow, then roasting a turkey Persian style on Wednesday, along with appropriate rice and other dishes, with a Sephardic/Persian music playlist.  Of course the obligatory festive drinking will be featured.  On Thursday, E is going to try making real Challah from scratch for the first time, in time for Friday, Shabbat.  It’s her latest adventure!

Ironic–I move to the absolutely least Jewish place on earth, with the most gentile person possible, and end up dusting off my long-neglected cultural, culinary heritage (at least the Sephardic version that I wish I could claim) and sharing it with a “captivated” audience.  She has come to appreciate and look forward to the weekly custom of Shabbat, a new and unfamiliar experience of creating a peaceful atmosphere and sitting down to a festive meal together.  It gives me a good excuse to experiment with recipes I’ve never gotten to try elsewhere.  When a holy day or festival comes along, I just ramp up the atmosphere and fest-level.

E has very painful family associations with mainstream holidays, part of a whole grieving process, so for her, this is a chance for a clean slate and creating new “traditions”, a new “family” and start.  For me, it’s a chance to reinvent a lifestyle not fraught with my own unpleasant associations and memories.  Together, we are creating our own customs that make sense and have meaning for us, minus the stress and negativity.




L42’s Midwestern Almanac

When the mind’s a blank, which mine often is, there’s always the weather, right?

Lest we get complacent, temps are back down to nature’s default setting of 42, with lows expected in the 20s!  Cleverly, I resisted the temptation to plant non-hardy plants outside.  This time of year is so frustrating.  Hurry up and wait.

Yep, I’ve been in Ohio too long.  Mundane clichés and stating the obvious, it’s  the midwestern way.  It’s like being in “Groundhog Day”, only one state west, same difference.  Polkas in the background.  Amiright?  One day I’ll get it right, and wake up, and it will finally be spring.

OK, that’s my daily writing assignment, with random springlike illustrations.

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Asian Erev

Skully and mini-Skully wish y’all a peaceful erev.

All my indoor seedlings are coming up!!

Tonight’s menu is brought to you by this fine Dieselpunk Stout (look at that head), and is Asian:
hoisin/chinkiang/sherry chicken; fresh stir-fry veggies; and soba buckwheat noodles.  E’s excellent homemade whole wheat bread.  Lapsang souchong tea and peach cake for dessert.

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Water is one of those essentials we take for granted in our country, until we can’t.  Here in Ohio, our normal city water is smelly and has so much sediment in it, you can almost eat it.  Blech.  It leaves white crusty residue all over everything.  The quality is doubtful, and we don’t get periodic test reports, as in more civilized places.  So we just have to resign ourselves, and hope we don’t die of something waterborne.

So when our water suddenly and mysteriously turns brown, as it does every so often in this city, my mind involuntarily goes to Flint, Michigan.  The only good to come out of that crisis will be if other cities and politicians are exposed before more children suffer and die.  Usually the damage has been done by then.  But hey, it’s only a bunch of working poor slobs, so they get away with it.

It does make you think.  No matter how hard you try not to take necessities for granted, a water issue never fails to remind you how fragile and insecure that supposed “right” can be, especially for poor folks who don’t have many options or recourse.  You live in a place like Fairborn, or Flint as the case may be, because the rent is really cheap, and the jobs used to be there.  You work hard your whole life for low wages, or you scrape by on social security or a pension, which is never enough to save for moving.  Your credit record has taken severe hits due to circumstances beyond your control, such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, so you don’t qualify for loans.  You can’t afford to go to a doctor, because your insurance is too unaffordable, unless you’re impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid, if Medicaid has been expanded in your state.  (at least Ohio did that much.)  You loyally served in the military, but the VA “promises” of benefits were a lie.  And so on.

It’s a vicious cycle that you don’t even contemplate until you find yourself in this position.  It’s easy to assume those people are lazy freeloaders or did something wrong to deserve this.  It’s how privileged people relieve their conscience and justify their indifference.  They assume they’ll never be in such dire straits, having done everything “right”.  Until it happens to them.  You’d be surprised how many homeless people were once well off and complacent, until one catastrophic event threw them over the edge.  Never ASSume it can’t happen to you.

Anyway, water.  Good water quality is supposed to be a given in our “first world” country.  You’d be amazed at how undeveloped some areas still continue to be.  I’m still having culture shock!  You never take anything for granted in towns like these.  Funny coincidence, they tend to be run by rich religious conservatives who obstruct regulation and don’t give a crap.  And it will stay that way, as long as apathetic sheep perpetuate the status quo, and the disenfranchised are restricted from voting.

Our water appears to have returned to its normal questionable state, for now.  We’re thankful for little things, and try not to scrutinize them too closely.  We’re trying hard to regroup and save for our big move out of here.  We’re under no illusions that our new homeland won’t have issues of its own.  It’s ‘Murica, after all.  That is, until we’re all compelled by Trump to evacuate to Canada.  Where I understand they have nice, clean water.  A big selling point.