Monday, July 27, 2009

Plum Good

a recipe for Plum Butter

On a very warm evening at almost bedtime, take the kids up to the garden and pick:

5 quarts small, golden-pink plums

where by "picking" we mean allowing the fruit to fall into your hands. If you have only brought a 4-quart container to the garden, bring back the rest in your skirt. It feels sexy to be so old-fashioned.

Leave the plums out on the counter all night if you don't have enough room in your fridge and/or don't want to make room. Make a halfhearted but doomed attempt to keep the fruit flies away by covering the plums with your last clean dish towel.

In the morning, once you have cleaned enough dishes to make the kitchen one (or more) step(s) above a toxic waste zone, rinse the plums in a bowl of water. Discard any that are rotten, hard as rocks, half-eaten by your children, or otherwise unacceptable. Telling the kids to pick up the windfall plums from the ground beneath the tree results in less than perfect results.

Put the plums into a stock pot or, if your husband has absconded with your largest stock pot (including lid) and then conveniently forgotten about it, your biggest soup pot. Add a bunch of


—not enough to cover the plums but enough so's you're not at all worried about boiling dry. Other recipes call for specific amounts of water; they're too scientific by far. Consider adding cinnamon as the recipe demands and instead get an avante-garde wilde hair and add

about 1" fresh ginger root, grated

Nod in a satisfied manner and bring to a boil over high heat. While you're waiting for water to boil, go push your son on the big-kid swing, the one he can't get onto or off of without your help. Remember the plums after about ten minutes and rush into the house, leaving the three-year-old on the swing, to turn them down. Race back out to the swing fearing tragedy, but Rhone's just fine, swaying away under the Madrona tree.

When you can get back to the stove, simmer the plums about 10 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid because by now it's turned a lovely, tropical-sunset pink and you are sure it's plum full of flavor that you don't want to lose. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dilapidated plums against the bottom of your plastic colander until only a few skins and the pits remain. Turn those into the compost and return the squashed plums, along with the reserved sunset juice, to the stove. Add about a

cup of sugar

Simmer all day, returning to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. Worry about burning, but it doesn't. The mixture slowly turns from that lovely pink to a deep orange-y mauve, the color of expensive lingerie.

As evening approaches and cocktail hour feathers in, as you're wishing you had some light fresh summery drink instead of the redundant, fattening fridge full of beer, look to the plum butter. It's thickened to an applesauce consistency; you just want a little more reduction so it's easily spreadable. Dip out a quarter cup or so and combine it in a cocktail shaker with some vodka and ice cubes. No, you're not that much of a lush; add some San Pellegrino and shake well. Be sure to have a towel handy because shaking sparkling water results in a shocking mess, especially in the hair.

Take the drink outside to enjoy with the kids, who are slurping on homemade apple juice popsicles. It's got a nice fizz, but the plum butter really needs some more sugar. Oh well: waste not, want not.

Get distracted making dinner for the kids and leave the plum butter on the stove, heat turned off, all night. Tomorrow morning, bring it to a good boil and stir constantly for five minutes to kill anything that might have started to grow in it. Shake your head slowly, incredulous that you learned this from a chef.

Reduce the plum butter a little more, adding

another cup of sugar and
about a half cup of honey

Taste it. When the tartness has diminished enough that it doesn't immediately make your salivary glands burn, decide you're sick of dealing with it and it's good enough. Scrape the entire mixture, now the color and texture of a mohair sweater you once owned, into a one-quart container, put it into the fridge, and forget about it.

Sweet Summertime in Photos

A couple of pictures from recent days. Here's a sunset from earlier this week, when Natasha was here for an incredibly lovely visit:

This picture of Jezebel was taken by Susan at her house a few weeks ago; April's holding Jez.

And here are the kids drinking from the hose:

A Striking Balance

There's something about the sound of Gabe's old truck charging up the driveway, the smell of the gravel dust he leaves in his wake, that feels incompatible with my computer keyboard. It's the wrong century. The last glimpse of the primer-orange fender going around the bend up by the rusty garden gate: it feels timeless. Or rather, it puts me into time, gives me a connection backwards to 1966 when that truck was new. And further still, to any time and any woman who's watched her husband drive out of sight and then turned, cinching her robe belt tighter around her, back into the house unnaturally quiet with still-sleeping children.

It's not yet 7 am and the air is still a little cool; it's gonna be a scorcher. I love saying that. Birds are singing in the Douglas firs and the kittens are playing around my nervous feet.

Speaking of kittens and birds, Jezebel came inside yesterday and walked up to me, holding something and saying "Poop. Poop. Poop." I thought she'd picked up a piece of dog poop, but instead the thing she brought to me was a fully intact dead bird. (Not sure why "poop.") She showed me where she'd found it: right on the patio by the back door. The kittens are already bringing down birds and they're only 12 weeks old.

Cats are predators. So why do they kill birds and then not eat them? I'm sure they would eat what they hunt in the wild, if they weren't being fed; so then why do they still hunt at all? Instinct. They can't help themselves. Killing is something predators do whether they need to or not.

Is that so different from mankind? We feed ourselves through agriculture now. Why then do we still hunt? Why do we have bar brawls and wars? Just to satisfy our predatory instinct?

At the basest level we are animals. We might try to forget this, but it's pure animal instinct that draws us to each other, that connects us sexually and perpetuates our species. In intimate relationships we must draw heavily on those instincts sometimes, let our bodies speak to each other when hearts and minds fail, in order to maintain that connection. Yet in other aspects of our lives we try to distance ourselves from our roots, rise above instinct and bestial impulse. Where is the balance between where we come from and who we want to be?

The driveway dust settling on my keyboard is part of a balance between past and present; wrapping my arms around my ribs and watching the truck drive away instead of twining those arms around my husband to keep him here is part of a balance between present and future, desperation and hope.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cherry Clafouti

In the freshly rinsed bowl of your previously dusty KitchenAid, whip until frothy:

4 eggs
3/4 C sugar

If you have only three eggs in the basket, send your eldest daughter, Noelani, 10, down to the chickenhouse to check for more. When she returns saying there aren't any, sigh and throw your hands up. The damn chickens are laying in the blackberry brambles again. But don't discard the idea of making the clafouti. Your friend Kelly, who's visiting for the afternoon, volunteers to go double check; she returns with one egg. Noelani blushes.

While the eggs and sugar are beating, wash out the cast-iron skillet which was used for hash browns this morning, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the eggs are frothy, add:

1 C milk
1 T Cognac or rum
2 tsp vanilla

If you are out of vanilla, dump in plenty of extra rum for good measure. Gosling's spiced rum is nice. Blend, then add:

3/4 C flour
pinch of salt

Do not let your three-year-old son add the salt. His idea of a pinch involves all five fingers and the palm. Also, even though he may have dragged the step stool in from the bathroom to help you, do not allow him to work the controls of the KitchenAid. This recipe does not intend for the flour to be airborne.

Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Do not overmix or the clafouti will be tough. As it turns out, the kids will not eat it even if it's not tough, and certainly the chickens won't mind toughness when you give them the kids' leftover helpings, but you'll enjoy it more if it's tender.

Into the cast-iron skillet, dump:

1 pound cherries, stems removed but not pitted

If, ever since you carefully weighed the cherries on your dad's old-fashioned balance scale and found you had just enough, your children and houseguest have been nibbling on the cherries, to the effect that you no longer have just enough, add a couple handfuls of blueberries to make up for it. Or just bake a skimpy clafouti, who cares?

Pour the batter over the cherries and put the clafouti in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Forcibly separate your son from the controls of the KitchenAid. Make some attempt to clean up from the experience--well, at least put the milk away. Leave the Gosling's out, you may need it later.

When the timer rings, turn the oven temperature down to 350 and set the timer again for 30 minutes. Go on with the making of dinner and the trying to keep the three-year-old and one-year-old away from sharp implements; simultaneously, try to keep up an adult conversation with Kelly and observe whether Noelani is doing her chores.

Serve dinner, which takes only a fraction of the time to eat that it did to make. While cleaning up, answer the phone; it's your sister. Excuse yourself to Kelly and wander outside to chat for a moment. Ask about your sister's boyfriend and compare notes about your mom.

Bow out of the conversation with a promise to call again soon when you notice the three-year-old trying to pick up a kitten by its tail. Take him back inside the house to distract him from animal abuse; immediately notice the strong and lovely scent of baking. Your son does too. "Mom, is the cake done?"

Tell him, "When the timer rings, we'll check it." Look up quickly at Kelly's sharp inhalation of breath. "The timer! Oh shit! I turned it off quite awhile ago!"

Spring to the oven and snatch out the clafouti. It's a dark golden brown on top, with the dark red cherries showing through like polka-dots. Perfect. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, July 20, 2009

And If I Spill Your Blood

What connection
or coincidence
causes me to look up
from coffee and computer
just as the buck picks
his way across the back yard?

In some future moment
maybe I will need
to regress
to this cove of quiet,
the deliberate lift and place
of each hoof, folding
cantilever legs
supporting some greater weight.

This fall when a black
crack! brings down a deer
to fill our freezer,
will I look into those glassy
eyes with recognition?
Of what?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bleu-Green Potato Salad

I made the most kickass potato salad last night. Fortunately for me, none of the kids like it, so it's mine, all mine! They can have PB&J or tuna for lunch and I will eat a pint of potato salad.

I'm not regressing to my old job here, so you're on your own for quantities. Make it look right and don't forget to taste it! A lot! Add more of whatever until you've got a flavor you like.

Hmm, I think it's easiest to write this recipe in the style of Joy:

Bleu-Green Potato Salad

Boil in heavily salted water until tender when pierced with a fork:

whole, skin-on waxy potatoes such as Red Bliss or Yukon Gold, not russets

Meanwhile, combine in a large bowl:

radishes, sliced or diced small
a shitload of fresh dill, chopped
finely chopped celery, if you're into it
chopped pickles
lots of crumbled blue cheese
bacon bits, if you so desire

When the potatoes are done, drain and then cool them with cold water. Cut them into small-ish cubes and add to the bowl. Add:

sour cream to coat everything well
kosher salt and lots of black pepper

Mix together, taste, and adjust seasoning. Add more dill, salt, and pepper if you like. If the flavor is just a little flat, splash in some

sherry vinegar

or other acid to your taste. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled. Duh, refrigerate leftovers.

Parts of Speech

Rhone:"Mom, I have a question."
Me: "Yes, Rhone?"
Rhone: "Mom, you need to get me some popcorn on the ferry."
Me (laughing): "Rhone, that's not a question, that's a demand."
Rhone (without missing a beat): "OK. Mom, I have a demand."

Raspberry Honey Lavender Jam

Oh. My. Gods.

5 C fresh raspberries, washed and thoroughly smashed
1 C honey
2 tsp Pomona pectin + appropriate calcium water as per instructions in the box
4 stalks fresh lavender flowers

Follow directions on the Pomona box (see earlier post). Makes 5 six-ounce jars of pure summer.

Just Call Me Caroline

Completely out of the blue--it's been several days since we've read one of the books in the My First Little House series (picture books adapted from Laura Ingalls' books)--Rhone said to me this morning: "Mom, I'm Laura, and Pa's at work, and you're Ma, and Nani's my big stister Mary, and Bella's my little stister Carrie, and Ty can be our good old bulldog, Jack."

I'm going to take that as a sign.

Caroline Ingalls, How Did You Do It?

The difficulty level fluctuates. "Captain, we have a fluctuation in the difficulty level!"

Some times, like now, this is a pretty fantastic life. Eight am, I have coffee and am sitting at the kitchen table watching the chickens scratch under the bird feeder, where a goldfinch is having his breakfast. The sun is shining and the house is quiet except for the kittens wrestling in the mud room.

Other times, the responsibilities are overwhelming and I miss Gabe so bad and the kids are driving me insane and I just want to burst into tears and run away. Yesterday early afternoon was like that. Jez woke from a very short nap, crying and cranky as usual after nap, and Noelani brought her out to the garden and tried to hand her off to me. I had barely started weeding the empty bed where I planned to belatedly plant some potatoes, and had just been looking around in the garden at all the other things that needed to be done up there. More raspberries to pick. Tomatoes to stake. Grapes to whack back.

I slouched out of the garden and gathered the kids to me, sitting on the grass on the side of the house next to the huge pile of crap I'd removed from the van earlier: tons of wet camping gear from the rain at Burning Beast Sunday night, plus clothes, shoes, and the other usual car detritus (I'd vacuumed the van out that morning). I proceeded to inform the kids, specifically Noelani, just how much work there was to do and how I was not able to keep up with it all and feeling overwhelmed.

"Everywhere you turn your head, there are things that need to be done. Here's this pile of stuff to be dried out and put away. There's the garden with more berries to pick. The front yard is strewn with toys, clothes, and Jezebel's discarded diapers. [She still hasn't stopped taking them off every few minutes.] The kitchen's a disaster, the house is a mess, and there are piles of dirty laundry everywhere."

Noelani sat quietly and looked at me. I'm not sure what she thought I was trying to tell her. I didn't realize until writing this that I wanted comfort: I wanted someone to say "It's ok, you're doing your best, you're doing a good job [ha ha], you'll get a handle on it, don't worry." Noelani didn't say this, and I guess that's best; when you're down to having your 10-year-old reassure you that you're doing a good job, that's pretty low.

I keep thinking of two books: Little House in the Big Woods and Little Altars Everywhere. Laura Ingalls' Ma could raise three kids AND keep house, make clothes, grow veggies, cook, clean, milk the cow, make butter and cheese, and a zillion other things in the middle of nowhere with no friends, no family, no help, no blog, and no relief in sight. Here I am 150 years later and I can't do half that shit.

When I look around with that overwhelmed feeling like I can't breathe and the kids are screaming and I don't know where to start or how to do it, I think in fear of the mother in the other book: Vivi. She washed away her housewife and motherhood stresses with plenty of gin and pills. Ok, don't freak out, I'm not doing that, but I still feel like I've got to keep a death grip on my basket or I may drop it.

(In the book, Vivi has a breakdown and is sent to an institution; she later refers to this as the time that she "dropped her basket.")

What am I saying this for? Just documenting the difficulty level fluctuation? I don't know.

In other news, Gabe bought a truck. It's a 1966 Chevrolet pickup truck which has recently had all new everything put in: new transmission, brakes, and new engine with just 15,000 miles on it. The clutch is so tight I can barely shift, and overall the tranny is just about the exact opposite of the Tortuga's, which means it'll take some getting used to.

The Tortuga's for sale, and we've had quite a number of bites on it so far. Of course, we had to get the diesel leak fixed first. That's costing a grip. It's still in the shop getting that done, so of course I can't show it or sell it til we get it back; on the other hand, we can't pay for the repairs til we sell it. Catch-22.

Gabe stayed in the city Tuesday night and will stay tonight too. He's sleeping at Terrill's, which is very convenient to the new shop. But last night when he drove home in the new truck, audible long before it was visible, the kids went running up calling "Daddy, Daddy!" before he even had the door open. Then they wanted to sit in back.

Oops, quiet morning's over. Jezebel's siren call.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

At Least the Lavender's Prolific

Rhone showed me the blackberry patch he and daddy discovered yesterday. These were the directions: "It's right over here, right by where Daddy was peeing."

Rhone: "Mom, can we pick some blackberries right now?"
Me: "No, not right now."
Rhone: "But why not?"
Me: "Um, because we don't have any buckets."
Rhone: "But we can use our mouthes* as buckets!"

*In Rhone's language, "mouths" is a two-syllable word: "mouth-es."

I passed on those blackberries, but picked two more quarts of raspberries today. There were a lot that were not quite ripe. I'll pick again Thursday.

Why, in the light of blackberries and blueberries, do we not have any redberries? There are plenty to choose from.

Made more jam today; moved to larger size jars and made five pints. Why less than last time, even though I started with the exact same amount of berries? Who knows. These are the mysteries my life has boiled down to.

Oooh, boiled down. Maybe I cooked it longer. Hmmm.

I want to experiment with jam sweetened with honey instead of sugar. It'd be cool to do an all-Vashon jam. Speaking of that, I'm wondering about keeping bees. Should talk to Matt. Just a few more creatures to add to the menagerie.

I've been using Pomona Pectin to thicken the jam and I like the results. It's made with citrus pectin, and partially activated by calcium powder, which is included. For some reason this means you can use less sugar and/or different kinds of sweeteners--you can even use Splenda (gross). So honey would work. I'm interested in the cost difference between local honey and sugar, and is that worth it? May make another small batch of jam tonight to experiment. Maybe I'll add some lavender, it's prolific and needs to be harvested now anyway.

Right now, gotta get dinner on the table. I traded Noelani: she doesn't have to scoop the dog poop today if she'd watch the kids until dinnertime. So I'm dragging it out, but it smells done. Shit, gotta go.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Do-It-Herself: harder than I'd expected

I remember putting together Legos at the kitchen table with my mom. Hours and hours, we'd pore over the instructions, heads bent together. Sometimes Mom would do homework while I worked on a space ship, interrupting her chemistry equations for help.

It turns out I owe my mom a huge debt of thanks. Tonight I "helped" Noelani put together an Erector set race car. The agony of frustration, the blood pouring from my tongue as I bit it again and again, the desperate need to just get my hands on the pieces and put them together quickly and accurately! I learned how difficult it is to sit by and help only when asked: hold this wrench, find that piece. To let her do it herself. Wow, thanks, Mom!

Oh, and by the way, the Erector Set people oughta sue Ikea. Once a person has put together a house worth of furniture with that fucking little Allen wrench, he or she has no desire to ever see another little plastic bag of hardware, especially not for entertainment.

Finally, what's the name of the wrench that usually comes as a [wrenchnamehere] on one end and a box wrench on the other end? Is it just plain "wrench"? (Spanner, anyone?)

G'night, sleep tight, oh let's not worry about the rest of that phrase.

That Buzzing Sound

At the kitchen table, not fully light out yet. That low-pitched buzzing, sounds like a far-off neighbor's weed-wacker, is a hummingbird feeding three feet from me.

I got up early to work on the computer in complete quiet, and I have to say, I kinda like it. I've never been a morning person, but lately there are just not enough hours in the day and I've decided I'm being too indulgent by sleeping in til 7 or 7:30 every day. Gotta get more stuff done! So this morning when Ty woke us up barking his head off at 5, and I couldn't get back to sleep right away, I rolled out of bed to try it out.

The kittens are wrestling in the mud room beside me. Outside, the chickens are bawking up a storm, the hummingbirds are feasting with that motorboat buzz, the goldfinch is enjoying its breakfast, and it's so warm already that I just now realized the window is open. As soon as I drink a little more coffee I will head up to the garden to pick some grape leaves for Gabe, who needs to pickle them for the food he's doing for the Burning Beast festival tomorrow.

It's been a pretty slow week. I tried (and failed) to catch up on all the laundry. I picked 5 quarts of raspberries Tuesday and made 19 jars of raspberry jam Thursday. Gabe and I went on a date last night, which was great; we ate dinner at Gusto Girls (reasonably good) and then had a drink at the Hardware Store. We're old. We were home by 11.

Time to get moving.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First Jam

The tiny "tock" sound
of each jar sealing
peppers my quiet kitchen;
each elicits a small smile.
The canner lid chatters
above a hard boil;
it doesn't matter
what century I'm in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Big Brother Is Reading My Blog

Just published the previous post. When I hit the "publish post" button, I get sent to a screen that says "your post has been successfully published!"

For the first time today that screen had an added feature: an advertisement directly related to the content of the post I'd just published. Jesus Christ in a fucking phone booth. Pen and ink is better.

Laying it on Thick

Thankless, tiring, frustrating day today. Jezebel is potty-training at her own insistence (she won't keep a diaper on even with duct tape). This sounds great but what it means is me sitting on the bathroom floor reading books several hours a day (while other children, dog, and kittens get into unknown trouble). And me cleaning poop off of the floor (when I find it...).

Sometimes I want to get in the car and just drive, and keep on driving, and keep on driving. See if I can be someone else for awhile. Then I realize I'd still be driving a minivan. Fuck.

Got really high praise on a new poem I submitted to my poetry criticism list today, from a poet I respect a lot. No, you will not see the poem on this blog or anywhere else. But I wanted to say so about the good critique I got, anyway. Maybe poetry isn't as popular an art form because it's too hard to share your poetry with people. If I were a painter and I did a painting about hate, for example, no one would really know it was about hate unless I explained it. Poetry has the distinct disadvantage of utilizing language as its artistic medium. It's too honest. If the poet obscures her meaning in metaphor, the poem is shit. If a painter disguises her meaning in oils, it's art. The more paint, the better.

Pea Salad

It is Monday morning after a long 4th of July weekend and I feel as though I have been months away from writing complete sentences. Spent the whole weekend chasing after kids and dogs and cleaning up poop. I'm sure someday I will look back at this time wistfully, with nostalgia, but right now it's a bit overwhelming.

Right now I'm sitting at my kitchen table. It's strewn with coffee cups and half-eaten bowls of yogurt which the kids have abandoned in favor of badgering Natasha, who's gathering her things to go home after staying Saturday and Sunday nights.

The weather on the 4th was so wonderfully hot and yummy, I could hardly believe it. April and Katie Wright came out in the early afternoon, and then Lee & Kelley joined us later, as well as a couple we don't know well, Jenise & Michael--Jenise had been a Student Assistant many times at CC classes.

I made a pea salad to go with the bbq (Gabe brought homemade brats and bacon burgers home for the occasion). I like making deep Americana dishes when Natasha's here, because it's way out of her realm of experience and I always love to surprise her with how good it can be. I bought a huge bag of English peas at the farmer's market--actually, we traded sausages and bacon for them!--and Saturday afternoon Natasha, Katie, and I sat in lawn chairs shelling peas while April played in the wading pool with the kids. It was domestic enough to make most people sick, but I loved it. Dogs underfoot, French music coming out the front door, and the vacation-nostalgia-inducing coconut smell of Katie's SPF-4 "sunscreen" (yes they still make it in oil form!).

We blanched the peas in boiling water until they just floated, then rinsed in cold water. I cut some sharp Tillamook cheddar into small cubes, and Natasha sliced radishes and chopped a shitload of dill. Instead of mayo I used just enough sour cream to coat everything very lightly, added some salt and pepper, and that was it. Yum.

Yesterday morning Gabe made red flannel hash with local beets, and poached fresh eggs to go on top. (Don't get me started about the golram chickens yet, I am not happy with their production.) It was much cooler and a bit cloudy yesterday, leading into today's weather, more cool and more cloudy. Feels like any other year's pre-July-4 weather. Mother Nature is all shook up, for sure.

Today I hope to catch up on laundry and housekeeping, and hopefully pick raspberries and make a pie with the blueberries I have from Costco--I was hungry when I was there, so we're a bit overstocked. Noelani's coming back from her dad's later today. I miss her!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We Be Jammin

Couple of great quotes from the kids yesterday:

Rhone, having fallen pretty hard on his rear end, subsequently wouldn't stop wailing about it. Finally I said "Honey, come on, you need to stop crying. You're OK." He replied, sniffling: "But--Mom--I need you to kiss my butt."

And then, from Noelani, out of the blue: "Mom, do you have to go through some sort of ordeal to become an adult?" I immediately answered, "No, honey, the ordeal starts after you become an adult."

I later asked what she meant, and she explained she'd been picturing some sort of diaper-changing, whiny-child-enduring test. Gabe said I should've told her that if we had to pass that sort of test, there'd be far fewer humans on the planet. Ain't it the truth.

The weather's been fantastic and we've been enjoying it. I felt the first real pull of the Island yesterday: I had planned to go into the city to go to Costco, but as the day got warmer and more beautiful that seemed less and less appealing. Finally I fessed up to myself: did I really want to endure the four-hour "ordeal" of taking the ferry, Costco, and more ferry, when I could just stay here and bask? No way. So, we're out of juice. They'll live.

The new kittens are adorable, but still don't have names. Noelani is considering Jasper & Emmett from Twilight, Jazz & Blues (my suggestion), and Page & Squire as her top choices. Although I suggested the musical names, I am now pulling full force for Butter & Scotch. Will keep you up to date on this matter of pressing concern.

N and I have plans to make jam today. Could be a whirlwind of awfulness; I am instead hoping for good mother-daughter bonding. Maybe kittens will wind up named Jam & Jelly. Or Natural & Disaster.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You Fucking Dumbass

Blogs that your friends and family read are not really so good for when you want to call people names. Not if the reading "public" knows the name-call-ee in question. I need a secondary blog that no one reads to fit into this one like a puzzle piece. Only anyone reading both would actually understand my life.