I have been having many random thoughts, visits by late-night vignettes, which in the spirit of the holiday I thought I would collect into one multitudinous feast. And so...
Adventures in Cooking!! After all this time, I finally learned how to cook tempeh, which mostly involved simply finding a place nearby that sells it. Actually cooking it is easier than boiling ramen, if that's possible. However, in my fridge my hazelnut syrup (for coffee) is stored right next to my soy sauce. The two bottles look remarkably similar. Having already established that dumping soy sauce on tempeh was a good and honorable thing to do, one day as I was cooking I grabbed the bottle, turned it over the tempeh, and lo - the liquid came out clear. Brown sugar works with chicken, and honey works on potatoes, but hazelnut syrup does not, does not, work on tempeh.
I am currently reading the Bible through from cover to cover, my first concrete linear reading (having a good bookmark helps), although I'm reasonably sure that I've already read all of it in bits and pieces throughout my life. I'm in Psalms, and yes - I'm proud to say that I made it through every word of Leviticus and the long, mind numbing genealogies. Strangely, my biggest struggle was with Job, but only because I've read it so frequently that my mind was spacing out as I went over it again. It doesn't help that I read right before I go to sleep which, while it puts the holy words into my subconscious, also typically turns the last few verses of the night into a hazy slush. But my nightstand lamp went out a few days ago, and I have repeatedly forgotten to replace the bulb. The other night I reached for my Bible, then realized I had no way to read it. Another distraction attempt by the Devil, I mused to myself, lying there in the dark. "The Devil Blew Out My Bulb" would be a great title for a book, though definitely not an autobiography.
The other day I was thinking about manatees and African politics. It occurred to me that most nations form around the ethnic groups they contain - the Vietnamese are a distinct people, the Koreans are a distinct people, etc. The only place this doesn't hold up is the Americas, where the original ethnic groups have been smeared out of prominence, and Africa, which has distinct peoples and country borders that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, the continent having been carved up post-WWII by, I picture, a bunch of mustachioed Europeans in smoking jackets drawing random lines on a big map between glasses of sherry. Now the countries cruise along on autopilot, the status quo too strong to buck. Imagine if everyone just shrugged off convention and redrew the borders to make some sort of sense, or even bolder, if the continent rejected the idea of nations and existed in a tribal state, as in the days of old. It could never happen; someone would start grandstanding for power or money, and there'd be fights and micro-dictators and blood feuds all over the place, the strongest take all. People are so ostentatious. This wouldn't happen if we were manatees. Manatees are always relaxed, never flustered, never irate. They will not even raise a flipper to defend their own young. Manatees would never try to make a power grab. Their motto is eternally "Whatever." We should try to be just a tiny little bit more like manatees, with care.
Today I walked past a log on the beach, a chunk of wood bleached and broken by the jetty waves. On a whim, I counted the rings - 327. I placed my finger on the spot where the tree had been a sapling circa 1680, thinking about what it must have been like. I touched where the first white men came to the coast, the early 1800's. I covered the last part with my hand, the twentieth century, and the part that included me was hardly as wide as my fingernail. It was a clean cut, a tree that had probably been logged. Most of our Oregon forests are in a ~50 year rotation, no more 300 yr trees for the foreseeable future. It felt like such a special piece of wood, but I had to leave it behind to decay.
Maybe this will be the year that I seek out the legendary "Tofurky." Like chai and hazelnuts, it's an Oregon speciality!
Happy Thanksgiving! God bless all you happy readers!