Mamacita says: Our country’s founders were adamant that it NOT be ruled by a king, hence the limited terms, lack of regal protocol, and very necessary checks and balances. America has no king. America has no ruler at all; it has a system of elected temps who are supposed to represent their area’s population, and which are supposed to change every few years to prevent apathy and elitism. To proclaim himself a supreme ruler of any kind, with authority to do whatever he wants, is a violation of what America is. He has declared himself above the law, and an exception to the boundaries set in the Constitution. He is a travesty and a shameful joke with no punch line. He has no morals, no ethics, no sense of shame, no propriety, no learning, no humor, no schema, no literacy, and no knowledge of America and what it takes to be a proper president. He’s a nasty piece of work, inside and out. He’s just nasty. Shame on all who still support him.
“This, too, shall pass” is a statement that brings comfort to many of us. It’s a really old adage, originating in ancient Persia. Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln quoted it. “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ It will, you know. As long as we are wise and cautious, and put our selfish wants aside for a while, this, too, shall pass. It will pass even despite selfish, childish people who demand their rights and privileges in the very face of their grandmother’s death sentence, but it will take longer. Every person who ventures outside without a mask, and for frivolous purposes, is both a murderer and a victim. I applaud the nurses who are blocking the streets. I’m somewhat surprised that the militant people who are demanding their rights haven’t mown down anyone who gets in their way, though. I’m glad, but I’m surprised. The kind of people who make demands in times of crisis are the very kind of people who wouldn’t think twice about driving over a nurse who was trying to make them see reason and yelling “Yee HAWWWW” as they did it.
Mamacita says: Why are people these days so darned helpless? As I re-re-re-re-re-re-re- read my super old YA novels for the kazillionth time, it impresses me again that almost every pre-teen and teen in these books knows how to cook, sew, and clean a house. Male and female, these kids knew how to do the things everyone should know how to do but hardly anybody seems to know these days, especially kids the same age as the kids in these books. 13-year-old Beany takes her turn cooking for the entire large family, a full week per month. The Melendy kids canned and preserved food. Katie Rose’s mother trusted her to feed and care for a big family while she (the mom) was gone for a few months. Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace knew how to cook from garden to table, preserving along the way. Even the poorest of families raised kids who knew how to take care of the house and kitchen. What happened to us? Why are so many people so helpless now?
Mamacita says: Happy Easter, everyone.
What? Oh, oops. . . . .
Here. This is more like it. I do love those vintage Easter postcards. Mom used to buy the Easter Ideals every year, and I loved the poems and pictures. I hated growing up and finding out that those baby kittens were probably going to eat those baby chicks. I would also hate to have to tell you all how old I was before I realized that the bunnies weren’t really responsible for all those eggs.
But ultimately, this is Easter to me.
And isn’t it wonderful that so many of us, with so many different beliefs, can hang out here in the Blogosphere and get along great and love each other without having to constantly proselytize and try to sway each other to our own beliefs?
Oh, sure, those people are online too, but I don’t pay much attention to them.
Lately, there’s been a lot of meanness in our country, but I refuse to believe that the majority of people are represented by Donald Trump and Mike Pence and their brand of Republicans. The backlash against these criminals, their minions and their horrific behaviors has proven that most people – at least, the educated people – definitely do not approve. It’s a good feeling, because if I really thought the majority of people thought that those two and their cohorts were even in the least bit a good idea, I’d have to move away. Which, most many days, doesn’t seem all that bad to me. . . .
It’s the people whose beliefs are quietly lived every day, the people who show me by example what their values are, who get my attention.
And who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? If you don’t believe me, just look around for a minute or two. Think of your family.
And if you’re alone, look in the mirror.
Happy Easter, dear internet people. Eat chocolate. Smile. Have some eggs. Rejoice over something.
It’s a good day for rejoicing. . . .
Mamacita says: So, y’all want to learn how to bake homemade bread? You’ve come to the right place. Wash your hands. We’re going to bake enough bread for you to have some, freeze some, and give some away.
Now, get out the largest bowl you own. Put about 1/4 cup of yeast in it. Add a tablespoon of sugar – MUST BE REAL SUGAR, no fakies. Put in a cup of warm water. Not hot; yeast is a living thing and you don’t want to kill it. Your bread won’t rise if you murder the yeast. Mix it up well. Let it fester and rise (it’s called “proofing”) for about twenty minutes. It won’t smell very good. It’s also fun to watch. Bring in the kids.
To the smelly yeast in your very large bowl, add five eggs, 3/4 cup of melted butter or vegetable oil (depending on the state of your health), one cup of sugar, 5 teaspoons of salt, and two cups of milk. Any kind of milk will do (except chocolate), and it doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit sour. Open up a 5-pound sack of all-purpose flour and dump in ALMOST all of it. Start stirring, and this will take some time. Get it mixed together as best you can with a big spoon, and then dip your hands in that remaining flour and start mixing with your fingers. If it feels at all dry, add more water or milk. If it feels too goopy, add more flour. No two batches are the same, and you have to just sort of play it by ear, with bread. Once you’ve got a bowl full of right-feeling dough, set the bowl in the middle of your very clean kitchen table to rise. Don’t let it rise on your stove; sometimes, it overflows and you really don’t want that sticky dough down in your stove’s burners. Set your oven timer for an hour, and go do something else.
When the timer goes off, check your dough. It should have risen quite a lot. Don’t worry if it seems to be climbing out of the bowl; that’s a GOOD sign. Poke the dough with a flour-covered finger; if it doesn’t pop back up, the dough is ready to be kneaded.
Dump all that leftover flour out of the bag and onto your clean kitchen table. Turn the dough out of the bowl and right into the pile of flour. Coat both hands, and the hands of any helpers, with flour, and stick them into the big lump of dough and start folding it, pushing it, folding it again, pushing it again, for about fifteen minutes, or five average songs. (What, doesn’t everybody knead bread to music? Well, you ought to!) When your dough doesn’t “pop” when you squeeze a little piece of it, it’s ready to put into the pans. (The kneading’s purpose is to get all the air bubbles out of your bread dough.)
Then, divide your dough into loaves, the size of which will depend on the size of your bread pans. Your loaves should not touch the sides of your bread pans. Make sure you’ve buttered your bread pans well before you put the dough in them. Shape your dough as you wish; many people get all artistic and make braids, etc.
Let the pans sit for about a half hour. The dough should almost double in size. If it doesn’t, don’t panic. Yeast is very weather-sensitive, and sometimes your bread won’t do anything dramatic until it’s in the oven.
After a half hour, turn your oven on to 350 and let it pre-heat. THEN put a few pans of dough in; my oven holds four pans at a time. Set the timer for 30 minutes, and go take a shower or something.
When the timer goes off, check your bread; sometimes, it needs a few more minutes, and sometimes it’s done! Flick the top of a loaf with your fingernail; if the bread is done, it will sound kind of hollow. Remove the pans and put in another batch. Don’t forget to set the timer for your second batch, too.
When bread LOOKS done, it’s probably done.
Let the hot bread “set” in the pans for about fifteen minutes, and then turn it out onto a clean dish towel to cool. Don’t wrap it up until it’s cool, or it will sweat and be damp. Some people like to brush butter on the tops of the loaves, and some people like the dusty feel and taste of browned flour on the top of the loaves. Do as you wish there.
If your bread didn’t rise very much, don’t panic. Eat it anyway; it will probably taste great. If your bread rose a LOT, don’t panic either. Give it a chance. Sometimes the best-tasting bread is the goofiest-looking.
I was looking through my jewelry box tonight and I found my Girl Scout stars and badges and pins. I was a Brownie, and then a real Girl Scout, and I absolutely loved it until sixth grade, when Scout Headquarters decided to mix ages and put together all-new troops with various levels in each.
This sucked, so I quit. All the older girls quit. It meant we could no longer go bowling, because the little kids had to be watched and taught. It meant the end of our going for the badges because we were expected to help the little girls earn theirs. It meant we could no longer hang out in the Public Service kitchen downtown and cook stuff, because the little kids had to be watched and shown how to do everything. And watched.
We were being used as babysitters and we didn’t like it.
That Public Service kitchen was awesome. We had loved going there, even though our scout leader’s idea of teaching upper elementary girls to cook consisted of “how to read the instructions on a box of cake mix.” I was genuinely shocked to discover that there were girls my age who didn’t know how! I mean, seriously, how stupid could they get? Yes, I was compassionate even in my youth.
Twelve-year-old girls who had never cracked an egg. Twelve-year-old girls who didn’t know how to measure water. I was horrified. I’m still horrified.
I still have my Public Service pin, too. I’m almost afraid to ask, but does anybody else out there remember. . . . Reddy Kilowatt?
As a lovingly handled my pins, I remembered my last contact with the Girl Scouts. It was years ago, when my daughter was in lower elementary school. I taught in a small rural K-8 school, one of three middle schools in a large system, and the only one that was wayyyy out in the country, miles from any kind of business. Next door on one side was a cow pasture. On the other side was a cemetery.
There really wasn’t much of anything for the little girls to do, so I thought about becoming a Brownie leader and organizing a troop of Sara’s friends and classmates, meeting every week right there in the school so their parents wouldn’t have to drive all the way to town, and re-creating the fun experience I’d had as a Brownie, myself. We were so poor that I was cutting up my dresses to clothe my own children for school, but my time would be free. I’d been giving to the United Way for years, and they would pay for supplies, etc., right?
It didn’t happen.
I called Girl Scout Headquarters and asked how one went about doing this. The woman I spoke with was ECSTATIC that I wanted to be a Scout leader. She proceeded to tell me that my list of girls would be waiting at the office, and oh, I should find a meeting place in town because that would be central, and oh, I needed to find a business to sponsor us, and oh, when could we start selling cookies?
I had a few questions. The first one was, what list of girls? I had a list of girls, well over twenty. “NO NO,” she said. “We have a waiting list of girls. Your own daughter may join them, of course, but the rest will have to be put on another waiting list.” I could feel the pulse begin to pound in my neck.
My second question was, what do you MEAN, a business to sponsor us? I’d been giving to the United Way for years; I thought that was paying for Brownies, etc. in my community. “Well, no,” she said. “The United Way doesn’t pay for anything concerning the individual troops.”
My third question: Where is all this United Way money I’ve been donating, believing I was sponsoring scout troops, paying for craft materials, refreshments, etc, actually going, then? “It all goes to Corporate,” she replied.
My fourth question: Am I buying carpet and wall art, and paying salaries, for Corporate, with my donations? Why am I buying carpet and wall art and paying salaries for an organization that then tells its individual troops they have to solicit businesses for craft supplies and refreshments?
“Um, if you’ll give me your name and phone number, ma’am, I’ll have someone call you tonight.”
You do that.
Later that night. . . “Rinnnng.”
“I feel there has been a misunderstanding regarding your desire to be a Brownie leader?” I’m hoping, so, yes. “We already have several lists of girls who need a leader, so we’re hoping you’ll agree to do that. They’re all in town. When can you start selling cookies?”
I prefer to lead a troop out in the country, right in my classroom, immediately after school. I have a list of over twenty little girls. If your town girls want to join us, they’d be welcomed.
“I’m afraid that wouldn’t work out for the girls on our lists. They all live in town and really prefer a central meeting place. When can you start selling cookies?”
Again, I’d be happy to include some of the town girls in my troop, but I have twenty names of little girls right here already in the school building. Doing this here is part of the deal.”
“I’m afraid that isn’t possible. We already have lists of girls right there in your town. When can your new troop begin selling cookies?”
I don’t live in town. I live out in the country, fairly near the school. The little girls on my list all live out in the middle of nowhere, and after school in our building would be perfect for them, and for me. Now, please tell me about soliciting a business to pay for what I thought the United Way covered.
“I hope this won’t in any way compromise your opinion of the United Way, ma’am. The money they collect is all sent to central office; they don’t support individual local Scout troops. Local Scout troops must ask a bank or store to sponsor them.”
Then why are the Scouts on the list of local supported United Way clubs and agencies?
“Um, ma’am, why don’t I have a United Way representative call you and explain?”
A frantic woman from the United Way called me the next night, but I wasn’t interested.
I give to many local charities, agencies, and clubs, and I donate my time and skills to various agencies all the time, but I do not give to the United Way. I had never been so disillusioned in my life. I feel that all those many years of giving to the United Way was money wasted, since it didn’t go directly to children. I do it all individually now.
If anybody can explain all of this to me, I’d really love to hear it, because even though it was years ago, the memory still makes me furious. Is it still like this? Please say no.