Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rhubarb + Eyebrows = Total Lack of Couth

Note: I've decided to dispense with the plethora of linkage for now because I don't have the time to blog AND come up with funny links. But they'll be back where appropriate!

My husband and I got our first box of vegetable goodness yesterday from the CSA we joined. For you non-aware types, CSA stands for "community support agriculture," and basically you pay for a subscription at the beginning of the summer, giving the farmer much-needed capital at the beginning of the growing season rather than at the end of the harvest season. Then every week, or every two weeks, you get a big box o' veggies, fresh-picked that morning, from a local farm. Our CSA is about 10 miles from here and, like most CSAs, grows organic veggies. It's fabtacular. (Find one near you here.) They're great programs because you get local, fresh, in-season vegetables that are farmed sustainably by small family farms. Save the earth, save the economy, save yourself from scary carcinogens and neurotoxins typically used on agriculture. Plus, compared to what you pay for organic vegetables in the market, they're a STEAL. And in most places, the fresh organic produce you get from the CSA is pretty comparable in cost to the scary, dingy, shipped-from-some-South-American-country, six-day-old, carcinogen-soaked, non-organic vegetables you get at the market. But I digress.

So our first box is mostly salad greens, as it's so early in the season and it's been such a STRANGE growing season here in Central Illinois so far this year. (Hey, digression #2 for you locals - Central Illinois was one of the birthplaces of organic farming in the US, and has a whole bunch of great organic farms ... plus some organic livestock. Check out the local tastiness here, and you will just absolutely die to get your chops on some of those organic meat cuts from Organic Pastures!) But we also got some lemon balm, some green onions, and ... some rhubarb.

Rhubarb. It's fun just to say it. It's allegedly named for the "Rha" River, the ancient name of the Volga, which was in a barbarian ("barb") part of the world ... at least according to those ol' Romans. But rhubarb and I do not have a great relationship, despite it's tart-tasting goodness and perfect matchiness with strawberry pie.

You see - and I can't believe I'm about to tell this story in print - rhubarb makes me fart like crazy.

My grandmother made spectacular strawberry-rhubarb pies, and for my uncle's 50th birthday, we naturally had his favorite strawberry-rhubarb pies in place of a cake. Well, imagine my dismay when a few minutes after eating this delicacy, I found my guts a-grumbling, my belly a-bloated ... and my farts a-farting. In the middle of a family reunion. I tried to be subtle, leaving the room, releasing gas quietly. But one of my little toddling cousins came over and banged me in the belly with his head as he hugged me, setting off a report like a gun-shot from my tortured colon.

Immediately the head of every 9-and-under boy relative swiveled to face me, as I turned crimson with embarassment. They shortly thereafter discovered that poking me GENTLY in the belly would cause the fart machine to fart audibly. It didn't matter how gently they poked, I farted. I fled, they followed. Then the older boys (including my husband!) got in on this game and started picking me up with their arms around my middle, which compressed the bloated belly and of course led to ever more farting. They would then complain bitterly about my lack of manners!

So I spent the next THREE HOURS with incredible belly pain, trying to dodge a cadre of young and not-so-young male relatives who thought poking me in the belly and getting a fart for their pains was the funniest game ever. And I could only dodge them so fast because, well, if I moved too fast ... I farted.

I haven't had rhubarb since.

But I think I will be making a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I just think I'll make my husband eat the whole thing.

And maybe poke him in the belly and see what happens.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lose the Evidence!

Though many who know me don't believe it, I do have incriminating evidence of past ... well, not misbehavior exactly. I was too goody-two-shoes for that. Past something. The trouble is, I have no idea where any of it is.

It began with my 16th birthday and a copy of the Kama Sutra (I could swear it was this edition!), courtesy of some of my smart-ass friends in high school. They thought it would be funny because I was such a prude. (And allow this prudish pot to call those prudish and NERDY kettles black.) It was. And I was. And I hid it in my band locker until the end of the year, at which point I panicked - note that it never occurred to me to throw the book out! - and hid it waaaaaay back in my window seat where my mother would never find it. How would I explain having such a thing? (It never occurred to me that the truth might work, either.)

So fast forward a good 11 years, and the truth is that that little book has been missing ever since. I even mentioned it to my mother - when they were remodeling their home, including my old bedroom. I was a little worried it might still be there in the window seat, only hiding when I was looking for it to remove it. We laughed about it, and she's never found it. (And she's probably forgot we had the conversation, will find it tomorrow, and call me demanding an explanation.) For all I know, it's hidden behind the false back of some band locker, pleasing generations of horny high school students, or one of my siblings stole it, or it's still floating around my mother's house. Just don't have a clue.

But that pales in comparison to the dirty letter. I was quasi-dating this guy who fancied himself a poet during my first couple years in college, and it was long-distance, so he sent me cards and letters. Mostly sappy crappy stuff, but one time he decided to try his hand at writing something - um - sexy, I guess. Sorta. It was pretty tame as those things go (prudes dating the prudes here), but really kinda painfully, romance-novel-y bad. And he could neither spell nor punctuate, which was the real reason I broke it off. Anyway, the letter was SO horrific (and if I remember correctly, he sent it to me at work so I opened it in an office) that I was just mortified and I panicked. I think I stuck it in a book somewhere so my officemates wouldn't see it. I then forgot about it. Ran across it months later while going through textbooks but - here's the killer part - I have no recollection of whether I destroyed it or whether I put it back in the book ... which means I probably put it back in the book. Which means that either my husband will run across it in 10 years and wonder why I'm saving this poorly-punctuated amateur attempt at romance novel writing, or else that some ex-student of my alma mater is hoarding it against the day I run for office.

And then there was the guy I dated who sent me notes every day. Harmless and sweet, nothing trashy, but every day. I'm sure there were sixty or seventy of them, just one or two lines each. A sort of neolithic version of IMs or e-mails. I remember that when I moved out that year, I tossed the whole lot of them in a box.

I have no idea what box.

Now, when those turn up in another two or three years, my husband will rightfully be irate. Now, keeping two or five or ten sweet, innocent notes from bygone boyfriends is one thing. Keeping an entire series of sixty looks a little ... obsessive.

"Eyebrows, dear," asks Mr. McGee, "Are you still hung up on this guy? You saved SIXTY letters from him!"

"Oh, no - it's just that I lost them, so I couldn't throw them out!" I would reply.

And we won't even discuss a couple of raunchy gag gifts from some close girlfriends for my bridal shower, which are probably in a half-unpacked box that I shoved under the guest bed, just right for the cats to go fishing in when guests are sleeping in said guest bed. Nothing like a little humiliation to go with your side of "I'm not Martha Stewart anyway" housekeeping!

I've lost other things as well, but those tend not to be incriminating, just puzzling. I'm still curious how an entire paper shredder disappeared during my move, and I'm a little bit looking for this cute purse I haven't seen in six years. But the real triumphs of 13 moves, 4 states, and 2 countries in 8 years are the embarassing personal artifacts that have wandered off and may - or may not - still be in my possession.

These problems could have largely been avoided if I had done what normal people do when they're embarassed by something raunchy or tasteless: throw it out. But no, I have to squirrel it away and hide it even from myself, and then forget what I did with it.

In the future, though, when I'm given something too embarassing to throw out, I shall at least store it in a box marked "embarassing stuff" so I know where to find it later. Or so the movers can have a laugh at my expense. Whichever.