Thoughts & Essays

The FBI raided Mar-A-Lago yesterday.


Former President Donald Trump said on Monday that FBI agents had searched his Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla., and opened his safe.

The FBI and Department of Justice declined to comment, although Eric Trump said Monday night that he was told the search was related to the possible mishandling of government secrets the Justice Department is known to be investigating after the National Archives retrieved White House records from Mar-a-Lago.

NPR: Trump says FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida

Predictably, MAGA Cultist Twitter, which includes many elected congresscritters, governors, and pundits, had an entire histrionic meltdown over the situation. Marjorie Taylor Green or whatever her stupid name is was all “DEFUND THE FBI” and Marco Rubio was crybabying through several tweets and some idgit from the Florida state congress was yelling that Florida should make the FBI illegal and Kevin McCarthy was trying to be all scary and claiming the GOP would investigate basically everyone when they took back the House*. It was all very dramatic.

(* This is a very good reason not to let the GOP take back the House this midterm. I mean, there are literal tons of good reasons, but this one, I.E., years of time and money wasted on BS “investigations,” ranks near the top.)

It’s important to point out that we don’t actually know what the raid was about. Everyone’s pretty sure it has something to do with those classified documents Trump stole on his way out the door – I think NBC actually confirmed that? – but otherwise, we don’t know anything about it yet. Reasonable people who know how this sort of thing works think it probably has something to do with that, but that there must also be something bigger/related going on, because this whole thing is absolutely unprecedented and wouldn’t have been undertaken all willy-nilly. Like, you don’t just get federal judges to sign off on FBI search warrants against former presidents because you got a wild hair up your ass some Monday afternoon.

We also don’t know what’s going to come of this. Is Trump going to get indicted? We don’t know. Dude’s in a lot of legal trouble, both federally and in a few states, and that was before this all went down.

There’s a non-zero chance we could put a former president behind bars, and that would be amazing. Honestly? It’s overdue. Powerful bastards should live in constant, quaking fear of the consequences of their actions and that they don’t is a goddamn travesty.

As to how likely it is that Trump sees the inside of a jail cell… well, it’s more likely today than it was Sunday, I guess, but I still wouldn’t rank the odds super high.

But just in case, do you remember, the website/newsletter run by Dan Sinker that ran down all the developments in the impeachment trials every day? Well, to cover his bases, he fired up last night. You can visit to sign up for free, and if this turns into a show, Sinker will email the daily developments to you like he did during the impeachments.


Thoughts & Essays

Roe v. Wade, Part II

A few facts about me: I’m about to be 46 years old, I’m on my way to menopause, and I got permanently sterilized about 15 years ago. So the odds of me ever needing an abortion are pretty low. I do have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, due to the sterilization.

I never wanted kids, so I’ve always been very careful. Doubled up on the birth control methods my whole life, and the hot second I had the money and could find a doctor who’d do it, I got sterilized.

I was never super worried about an accidental pregnancy, because I always had the option to terminate it. And now, all of the sudden, I might not.

I live in Oregon, where I still have the right to seek an abortion, if I need one. But… in another four years, I may not have that option. We get a GOP Congress and president, and that protection could disappear. I’m one federal anti-abortion law away from losing that choice.

And that’s assuming Oregon manages to remain a blue state. We’re hip deep in Nazis and other brands of fascist right-wingers around here. We put one foot wrong, and we could suddenly be a red state. There goes my protection.

Another thing I worry about is that, due to being sterilized, any pregnancy I have will be ectopic. These idiot red states are already passing laws that may make it difficult – nigh unto impossible in some cases – to be treated for an ectopic pregnancy.

Wish I’d saved the link, but over the weekend I read an article about a woman who turned up with an ectopic pregnancy in the ER recently, and was left to suffer for nine hours while the doctors consulted their lawyers to see if they could legally treat her. While she waited, the pregnancy “burst” and she almost died.

I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time this weekend wondering if I could talk a doctor into an elective hysterectomy. I mean, I’m not far away from menopause anyway, and I have no use for this uterus. I’m in an extremely “get this goddamn thing out of me before it gets me killed” kind of mood, here.

I doubt my insurance would cover an elective hysterectomy, if I could even talk a doctor into doing it, but I have pretty decent credit. I could get a personal loan, maybe.

I’m telling you all this because, even though the odds of me facing this problem are very low, I am terrified. I am like three steps and some bad luck away from dying right now, thanks to the Supreme Court.

I’m in a very fortunate position, and it’s pretty unlikely I’m going to have to deal with this doomsday scenario. And I’m still scared. Can you even imagine how other people who aren’t as lucky as me are feeling right now?

This is the situation people are in all around the United States, and the Democrats who are supposed to be fighting to help us are reading poetry and hosting singalongs on the capitol steps. I cannot begin to describe the fury I felt at Nancy Pelosi reading a goddamn poem on Friday in response to the Roe v. Wade news.

  • NPR: Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and worry about other rights – “Majorities of Americans say they disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, think it was politically motivated, are concerned the court will now reconsider rulings that protect other rights, and are more likely to vote for a candidate this fall who would restore the right to an abortion, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.”
Thoughts & Essays

How’s HelloFresh been working out for us, you ask?

Back in January we signed up for HelloFresh, which is one of those services that sends you groceries and recipes and turns you loose in your own kitchen.

I think Blue Apron is the progenitor of the groceries-and-recipes method. There are a whole bunch of services that will send you heat-and-eat meals, too. We tried Freshly a few years ago, a heat-and-eat service. It was okay, but the portions were a bit small, the selection wasn’t particularly amazing, and it was kinda too expensive for what you get, we thought.

Back in January, I was on the search for a way to get healthier food into our eating habits. We were eating a lot of fast food, and when we did cook, it tended to be fried meats and tons of carbs, and I wanted something with less frying and more veggies involved.

Also, it had to be relatively easy. My boyfriend and I can cook pretty well – we spent years working in restaurants, for starters, so we’re no strangers to kitchens and cooking methods. But after a long day of work, it hits dinner time and we’re both kind of just done with the day. We don’t want to think about recipes or screw around trying to meal plan and dear gawd please don’t make me spend more than about 15 or 20 minutes trying to grocery shop or I will absolutely lose my mind, especially if I have to go do it in person.

(I honestly did not know how much I hated grocery shopping until I suddenly had the option to do it online. After a year+ of online shopping and grocery delivery, I get positively stabby when I have to go into an actual grocery store and deal with other goddamn people.)

So, after poking around online, we decided to try HelloFresh. We’d done a free trial with them several years ago, and thought it was okay, so we figured we’d give that a go for a few weeks and see what we thought of it.

Our first delivery showed up Jan. 12, and we’ve been loving it ever since.

So, let’s start with the cons.

The biggest downside of HelloFresh is that it’s a little expensive. We’re paying $70/week for three meals for two people, which works out to just a little under $12/meal. HelloFresh’s math says it’s $10/meal, plus $10 to ship the whole thing to you.

Which, fair, considering how fast things have to be shipped. Like, you can’t have meat and veggies sitting around in UPS’ or FedEx’s warehouse for three days before it rolls out.

And $10/person isn’t terrible, especially compared to how ridiculous grocery prices are right now.

But I’m reasonably sure that we could have cooked every single recipe we’ve been sent so far for at least a little cheaper.

The other big con is that sometimes the meat quality isn’t great. I’ve seen people online claiming their veggies were nasty when they got them, but so far ours have been pretty good. We had some slightly withered carrots a few weeks ago, but eh, we were roasting them anyway, so it didn’t matter that much. And the cuts of meat we’ve received haven’t been awful, but neither have they been particularly stunning. Like, they’re fine, mostly. Just y’know. They’re fine. We’ve gotten a couple of shitty pork or chicken cutlets (gristly-shitty, that is, not rotten-shitty).

One teeny little baby con is that the recipes are more work than you might be used to. There’s nothing hugely arduous or time-consuming happening, but you are going to be chopping, dicing, mincing, and zesting things, and mixing sauces, while babysitting stuff on the stove and/or in the oven. That’s no big to us – we know how to kitchen. But for other people it might be a learning curve.

And now, the pros.

These recipes are so good, people, and so easy, OMG. I think the worst meal we’ve eaten so far has rated a “Hey, that was pretty good.” Many of them have been downright amazing. And this week we did a pork noodle curry ramen thing that was out of this world, and so easy it was laughable. My boyfriend said “I think this is the best meal I’ve ever made in my own kitchen.”

Another pro is the lack of food waste. There’s only two of us, and it’s hard to shop and cook for two people without generating a lot of food waste. You end up overeating because you don’t want to waste what you’ve made, and we’re bad at leftovers, so even when we save some, it tends to go uneaten. HelloFresh has cured that issue. We rarely have extra left from the groceries (we do tend to end up with half-lemons or half-onions on the regular), and we’ve had extra food twice, and that was gone the next day both times.

A third check in the pro column has been the experience of cooking together. HelloFresh recipes tend to be a bit on the prep-intensive side – you end up chopping and dicing a lot of fresh veg, mixing sauces, etc., and the recipes tend to come together a lot more smoothly and faster if one person is prepping and the other is cooking. So we end up in the kitchen together dicing and mincing and reading the recipe back and forth and cooking and chatting and it’s just been really nice and enjoyable.

Like, we could do that without HelloFresh, and now that we are doing it we feel a little silly about not having done it more all these years, but the structure of HelloFresh enforces it for us, whereas the other stuff we’d been cooking tended not to require it.

And finally, one more in the pro column – we get to try so many new flavors with HelloFresh. HelloFresh’s recipes tend to favor a lot of Americanized international recipes, and particularly meals that are Indian-, Middle Eastern-, or Asian-inspired, and they are fucking delicious, people. It’s a style of cooking that we haven’t had a ton of experience with, so we’re learning some new things, and trying awesome new flavors, and it’s just been all-around cool.

In summary…

HelloFresh has been an overall win for us.

Like yeah, it’s more work than fish sticks and mac n’ cheese, and it’s a bit more expensive, and the ingredient quality has occasionally not wowed us, but we’re having a ton of fun cooking together and learning new recipes and eating amazing food made with fresh veggies and neat new spice flavors. And doing all that while not wasting a shitload of food.

So 🎉🎉🎉, good job, HelloFresh. You get to hang around our kitchen for awhile.

Thoughts & Essays

Throwback to March 1, 2020

Here’s my Facebook post from March 1, 2020.

I actually still have the Tylenol Cold & Flu I bought. Never needed it. Haven’t caught COVID yet (that I know of), but also, thanks to masking, distancing, and handwashing, I haven’t had a cold or flu in two years.

Wear your masks and wash your hands, folks.

[Image Description, screencap of Facebook post from March 1, 2020: “We went to the store yesterday to get some supplies laid in & [The Store] was completely out of hand sanitizer. As far as I can tell from reading local social media, there isn’t a single bottle of hand sanitizer left in all of [My Town]. There IS, however, plenty of chicken noodle soup, cold medicine, & Kleenex. I feel like a lot of people are about to be REALLY annoyed with their supply choices in a couple weeks when they’re sick anyway & don’t have any soup, Kleenex, or Tylenol Cold & Flu.”]