Dinner Was Awful, Dear

Becca made supper last night; it was terrible.

Watch Our Shadows Run / Joseph Arthur
Becca and I have seen Joseph perform four times over the past several years. The first time, he was wonderful, and in good cheer, and rocked so beautifully, and his bassist wore a skintight outfit that competed for all our attention, and Becca was pregnant. The second time, he was dour, and depressing, and turned in a passable performance due only to a superb encore, and we were not with child. The third time, he had a pale Norwegian opening for him, and she was lovely nightingale personality and voice, and infected him with enthusiasm. The fourth time, recently, he sang, and played, and painted simultaneously, like in our living room, only someone else's.

And we have seen him each time together, his darkly melodious fuzz a binding ritual. I wish we were seeing him this month, but I didn't have time to invite him for the holidays, and I don't know if he has email, or if he's vegetarian. His latest album, The Graduation Ceremony, is quietly gorgeous.

Strange Negotiations / David Bazan
When I was beginning high school, my mom took a sledgehammer, and bashed out our brick fireplace like Lawrence Taylor on a Sunday. It was a commitment; a commitment to commence the remodeling of our home. When you destroy a fireplace, a fireplace that is the focal real estate in the primary entertaining space; that is a commitment. A commitment to change things; to force yourself into changing. So the remodel began. A remodel which would extend throughout my high school years, and beyond.

1994. Me and Jeremy moving 4x8 sheets in the attic.

Throughout the remodeling, life went on. There were still birthday parties, and luncheons, and many visitors, and many, many celebrations. And we never forgot Christmas, somehow. There were always lights, Clark Griswold lights; billions of lights illuminating the three story skyscraper monument we were constructing. Guess what? Guess who put the lights up?

My dad. And guess who helped?

Us. Me, and my younger siblings.

There may have been an element of risk, as thirty feet is not thirty inches. I think now, I would consider being more...safe.

But the idea of pulling your children into involvement with...everything is one I've carried on.

photograph: Becca Long

Horses / Joseph Arthur
Magdelana helped me put up Christmas lights earlier this week. I wouldn't necessarily call her involvement a huge...timesaver. When Johannes helps me load the dishwasher, and stuffs in not only silverware, but shoes, toys, and books, I would also not call his assistance...invaluable.

But I would not change it, because some things, many things, are not about efficiency. They are about an experience, and a memory. Magdelana's appreciation of our modest lights is highlighted by the knowledge that she helped do it; she did the dangerous stuff with her dad. And her mom was cool enough to stand by offering support, and by making sure she didn't actually get on the roof...

There was nothing dangerous, really...

Contrabanda / DeVotchKa
I wanted a cookie, and I was shopping at Trader Joe's after a long day of work, and I saw cookies. I thought I would buy a package of them. Mini ginger bread men, and I saw frosting. Thought of Becca, and how proud she would be of me if I didn't buy them (I have been known to have an affection for sweet delicacies, and she is a Danish dental hygienist).

I did not get them.

Me, at home: I almost got frosted gingerbread men cookies.
Becca: So did you?
Me: No. I thought you'd be proud.
Becca: Oh man, I love those! Why didn't you get them?

So, disappointment all the way around. Sometimes that's what life is. Pure disappointment, until the next day when we went back and bought them, and now it's after 10pm and I just ate one, and Becca doesn't know, and I'm so pleased with myself, but I know I will be found out, because that's where secrecy gets you.

Where are the gingerbread women? Latent, instititutional gender discrimination.

Calgary / Bon Iver
Becca's dinner, the horrible one:

She is a good cook. We both share experimental culinary productions. I am legendary for integrating corn into my brownies a while back. I thought they were delicious; they got a big fail from all other taste testers. Did I let that get me down? No.  Sometimes ya just gotta try something out.

Which is what she did, with her almost-raw lasagna. Problem is, her attempt to use a carrot-and-apple pulp as the main sauce* was overpowering. I had seconds, out of pity and hunger, and it was moderately palatable, with her successful cashew cheese sauce smothering it. Our kids ate it, for which they should be commended. The remainder goes to the chickens.

*There was also tofu and spinach lurking underneath


I am going to start writing of my bride's successes in the kitchen, for there are many, such as her stunning sweet potato curry. Her dreadful lasagna was not one, and we laughed, and I laughed longer, and then she pretended to get angry and told me I should write about it, which is what I'm doing now.

I did not care immensely for Bon Iver's Calgary when I first heard it, but it magically kept slipping through my iTunes cracks and forcing me to like it. And now, I might be starting to adore it.

Maybe I should give her lasagna another chance.

Wait / M83
The French duo's gorgeous, otherworldly ballad is toasting the world goodnight.

I am so in love with being in love with someone I can laugh at, and laugh at her laughing at me, and just laughing and forgetting why we were laughing to begin with.

Except I never really forget, because I am writing of it now. The annals are written by Herodotus and Homer and me and Margaret Mead.


  1. Gruesomely (in a good way) entertaining, to say the least. I love it almost as much as your last post. Maybe more. I'll have to go to my ranking board.

  2. --Strange Negotiations / David Bazan
    Love the pic of you and Magdelena putting up the lights! We finally got our tree and lights up over the weekend. Koen got to watch us cut the tree, but I wasn't quite ready to take him up the latter with me for the outdoor lights :) As for remodeling, maybe I'd get farther with our efforts if I gave Koen a sledgehammer.

    I guess you DIDN'T "already know how [that no-cookie purchase] would end". ;)

    --Calgary/Bon Iver
    Bon Iver is now responsible for two of my favorite records. As for the lasagna, sounds like Becca's one of those cooks that's not afraid to fail, and that's what makes her cooking great (most of the time). Or maybe I would have been better off staying out of that topic :)

    --Critic Brian's Conclusion
    Entertaining blog! And the pictures are always fantastic.

  3. @Jonny - thanks, Five! Let me know where it ends up on the ranking board.

    @Critic Brian - I'm sure Koen will be climbing soon...and I'll keep my eyes open for baby sledgehammers :)

    How It Ends...tough to beat as their best song ever...nice reference, took me a minute to catch!

    Bon Iver has taken awhile to grow on me, but they've got a beautiful sound that I'm really enjoying lately.

    Any listening recommendations?

    Becca is a wonderful cook, but it's just a lot more fun to banter and give each other a bad time about some of our 'missteps' than heap loads of praise. But now that she's sleeping, I can whisper quietly that she is, in fact, a wickedly intuitive connoisseur in the kitchen. I could go back and forth between her Vegetable Soup Dish and Sweet Potato Curry for a month straight...

    Thanks for your comments, Brian - always appreciate them!


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