humor

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

There she is, bro-

ken, lying at the bottom of the stairs.

What a mess. Crap…what the heck am I going to do?

Sighing, he walks down the stairs, carefully stepping to avoid the blood.

He stares at the mangled corpse running through his possible options, I could wait until

night and bury her maybe? Or throw her in the lake. I can’t throw the whole

body though…I need small manageable pieces. Where could I

cut her up? He decides that the kitchen would

be easiest, because there he

could clean up the

blood

easy-peasey. And that way he wouldn’t need to cross through any extra rooms. He drags her straight from the bottom of the stairs into the kitchen. He feels a surge of satisfaction messing it up. This had been her space, her pride and she kept it immaculate. He thought it fitting that he was ruining the spotless white floors with her blood. He grabs each of the many knives in their kitchen one by one, testing the weight. Thank god she was a professional chef. He settles for the butcher knife with its heftiness and perfectly sharp blade. Granted, all the knives were perfectly sharp.

“Thank you, darling. Your OCD has saved me quite a bit of time.”

The knife sparkles as he strikes her.

First the arms:

Wrist,

Elbow,

Shoulder,

Repeat.

Then the legs:

Ankle,

Just below the knee,

Right between the ball and socket of the hip,

Repeat.

Finally the head,

Right where the spine meets the base of the skull.

Perfect, she would have been proud.

He wraps up each piece in trash bags with one of the coffee mugs that she loved to weigh it down. They had tons of them and each one had a cute or funny little phrase or picture. He enjoys matching the pieces with the mugs. ‘Hang in there’ with the right arm; ‘fall seven times, stand up eight’ with the left leg; and so on. He puts her favorite god-awful flowery mug with her head. He then piles all the bags on her perfectly clean granite counter, and walks back to the base of the stairs.

There is a large red stain there, and a challenge. The blood has soaked into the carpet and it won’t come out completely no matter how many times it is washed, but then again someone would notice if it was gone. It was a point of pride for her that rug. Persian, cost a fortune and she pointed it out every time someone was over. What to do? If I bleach it, there’ll be a spot and that looks bad, but I can’t get rid of all the blood otherwise…hmm. He decides to clean the stairs while he’s thinking.

There isn’t

very much blood on the

stairs only on the one where she

gashed her head. Here there is a large,

red, glistening, puddle that has

started to drip down

to the stairs

below.

He goes over the area with a fine toothed comb. He makes sure there isn’t even the smallest speck of blood left. This monotonous task allows his brain to puzzle over the rug and figure out what to do.

A slow smile spreads across his face, he’s figured it out.

Clean the blood with bleach and then cover up the white spot by spilling the paint left over from the living room on it. He hated that shade of blue anyway, it was her pick, and it would clash wonderfully with the rug. He bleaches the rug and then take the leftover paint and gently tips it onto the spot. He tries to make it look like the paint was knocked over and then hastily tried to be cleaned up. When he is satisfied with his work he returns to the kitchen to finish the job.

He takes the packages on the counter and packs them into the trunk of his car. He drives to the lake slowly and without incident. Once there he makes sure no one is around and opens the trunk. He takes each bag and throws them as far as he can in the lake

one

by

one.

He hums the whole time.

Buy the mug int eh picture here!

Grow Up!

Growing up is hard. Everyone knows that. What everyone doesn’t know is about my growing up process. Well, I’m going to change that. I grew up normally as a youngest child. This means that I have been and still am to some extent a brat. However, I have gone through some things that made me grow up real fast, real quick. Luckily, every negative experience I had made me better, stronger, and happier in the long run; so, no need to bore you with them. Instead I’m going to show you how I’ve changed

Things I Don’t Like Then vs. Now:

venn diagram

Spiders are always the enemy.

First Facebook Profile Picture vs. Current:

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1469967_2353752960683_1117218971_n

Notice the progression from cheesy quotes to cheesy pictures of questionable makeup decisions to cheesy pictures of a professional adult with her nephew.

How I Spend my Money:

pie chart 2003

pie chart 2013

To be fair, most of my food/drink cost is still candy.

So there you have it, definitive proof that I’ve grown up. I mean, just look at all those adult things I buy and dislike.

Šaltibarščiai

Šaltibarščiai
(Cold Beet Soup)
1 lb. red beets
2 cucumbers
3 eggs
4 c. buttermilk
2 scallions
Pinch of fresh dill
Salt
Cook whole beets; cool them. Peel and grate coarsely. Peel cucumbers; cut into little squares. Chop the hard-boiled eggs, chop the scallions.
Mix everything except buttermilk together. Pour buttermilk in and stir, salt to taste. Put in refrigerator to cool. Serve with boiled young potatoes sprinkled with chopped dill, or hard-boiled eggs.

Look at that. Have you ever seen anything tastier? If you’re American you’re probably like, “Yes, Julija, of course I have seen something tastier than bright pink soup.” To which I say, “… it’s really good, I swear.”

My mom has been making this soup for us since we were children, and I’ve always tried to get my friends to try it. I’ll talk about how refreshing and cold it is. I’ll talk about how putting hot potatoes in the cold soup adds a whole ‘nother layer of creamy, warm goodness. But inevitably, as soon as they see the bright pink color, they cringe and decide they don’t want any. I never really understood why this particular color was so off-putting. It’s really a lovely shade of pink. In Lithuanian tradition we use beets a lot. So, we also have a cold pink salad called vinegretas and a hot pink soup called just barščiai. I guess I just grew up used to pink food, and thus don’t have the aversion. It’s kind of like a super power. Lithuanians eat some weird stuff, (jellied fish… actually jellied any meat, pig’s ears, smoked eel, and pickled everything) and I have tried everything at least once and liked most of it. I can try almost anything, no matter how strange it looks, because that’s what I have been doing my whole life.

Of course I went through a period where I wanted to not be Lithuanian anymore. I wanted to not eat weird things for dinner and be just like everyone else. Not anymore. Not having Lithuanian food readily accessible for four years made me realize how great it is. I, like the X-men, have embraced my super power. I am a super-eater! I know other cultures have these kinds of things too, and kids growing up in America may feel that they don’t want their food to be weird anymore. But I say, embrace your superpower. Your food is one of the things that defines you, and your culture. So, kids of the world, stand up and be proud of your weird food. It’s probably delicious, and if not well… it builds character.

Varškečiai

Today’s post is brought to you by the Lithuanians Are Weirdly Not Dying of Heart Attacks Association or LAWNDHAA for short.

VARŠKEČIAI

(Gnocchi? Dough pillows?)

2 c. flour

2 lbs. Farmer’s Cheese

6 eggs

2 tsp. salt

Mix together above ingredients, and form into a ball. Cut ball of dough into four parts and form four balls. Roll out dough into snake of desired thickness and flatten top. Cut into 2 inch parallelograms and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. When cooked remove from water.

 This recipe is not my family’s recipe because there is not set recipe, just a general set of  guidelines for how to make these wonderful little pillows. My grandma says that  varškečiai (or selnėkai) are all about the texture. The dough cannot be grainy or dry, but  it also cannot be too sticky. The perfect dough is slightly firm, but springy. As for the  taste, well, they honestly don‘t really have any. They, like gnocchi, are meant to let the  sauce shine. And our sauce… is terrible for you.

In order to make our special sauce which accompanies varškečiai, you need a whole tub of sour cream and two or three whole stick of butter. You put both in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until everything is melted. Then you pour it over the varškečiai while still hot and you‘re done. Our sauce (which we put on a lot of things) is just butter and sour cream melted together. How my family manages to avoid obesity is a mystery to all of us. I always marveled at the fact that this is the only dish I can think of (besides the ones we eat at Kūčios) that doesn’t involve bacon in some way. I have some theories:

  1. When this dish was created the last piece of bacon had been used and since then it’s become tradition.
  2. This is a dish the pigs themselves developed because they were sick of being eaten.
  3. This dish was meant to be eaten on Fridays during lent when fish was too expensive or not readily available.

I’m pretty sure it’s number three. The way I have been raised, Lithuanian and Catholicism is one and the same thing. I grew up thinking that all Lithuanians were deeply religious and that Catholicism was one of the main principles that shaped the country. Although that is fairly accurate, I now realize that I grew up in a community that was all about preserving the Lithuania my grandparents knew. I grew up in a community where communism could not oppress Catholicism and thus it flourished. But in Lithuanian, that isn’t anywhere near the reality. In Lithuania, Catholicism had to grow in concrete and barbed wire, under heavy boots and rifles. It had to grow in dank underground caverns and ‘dangerous’ books In constant fear and oppression. But grow it did, if only little by little.

There is a hill in Lithuania that is completely covered in crosses. People have been leaving crosses on this hill since the late 1800 in order to remember fallen brothers whose bodies were never found. It was never a big deal until the Soviets came along. They bulldozed that hill at least three times. And what happened after the place was leveled? Within days the hill would be covered in even more crosses. The people used this as a sign to the Soviets that they were still there and true to their faith and country. If only in secret.

My great great-uncle was a catholic bishop in Lithuania, and he died defending his  faith. I have seen his face only in museums and books. But he was a minority. Many  abandoned their faith to avoid torture or death. My uncle died for no reason. He did  not inspire a great uprising, or become a saint. He died and was forgotten. That is  until Lithuania was free again. When Catholicism was free again. The people sang of  his faith, and his name has become familiar to many, but he died alone.

I’m considering becoming a rebel and trying the varškečiai with bacon. But then I would have to make them, and they are incredibly time consuming. When I grew up enough to help my grandma in the kitchen I saw how much labor went into each and every little perfect bite, and I developed a great appreciation for my grandma and the varškečiai. After having worked so hard on them each bite was sweeter and more delicious. The work and struggle make them better, stronger. Like a faith grown among weeds.

Sorry I took a break, but look……. things. :)

Hi there! Sorry I took a break yesterday; I was working on a plan for this blog! Yay! I finally figured out a schedule of what I’m going to do (that I’m going to share with you so you can avoid days you don’t care about).

The schedule is:

Monday – Nerdiness

Tuesday –Story Time

Wednesday – Marketing and Media

Thursday – Wild Card

Friday – FOOD!

So, unfortunately I missed yesterday, but today is a new day and story time! This one is brought to you by my family again. Enjoy!

My dad rarely had to cook for us when we were kids. My mom was a typical stay at home mom, and thus it normally fell on her shoulders. When I was about three or four, she planned something that forced her to be out of the house at dinner time.

“Just give them Mac-n-Cheese. It’s really easy, just follow the box.”

Of course it wasn’t that easy for my dad. He read the box and decided that he didn’t need those precise measurements. He knew what a tablespoon was and that was good enough. My dad overestimates his guestimating abilities quite a bit.

I wasn’t actually paying attention at the time the flour was added but I have heard this story so many times from my brother and sister that I feel like I saw every little thing. First, my dad did not put in enough milk. Then, he put it too much butter. Finally, he put in more milk and the “easy” mac-n-cheese had turned into mac-n-cheese soup. Drawing on all of his “vast” cooking experience, my dad had a brilliant idea. When dough is too watery you add more flour, so when pasta is too water clearly you must be able to do the same! The resulting goop looked like no other mac-n-cheese I had seen or have seen since.

Being the well behaved children that we were (wink, wink), we withheld our complaining until after we had taken a bite. The travesty of my favorite dish was somehow gummy and gritty at the same time. It tasted like salty death, and my fork barely managed to free itself from the swampy goo. To this day we don’t let my dad anywhere near the kitchen.