The Silence, the DMV, and Opinions About Your Marinara

Today, I went to the DMV.

Lest you think this is about to be a very whiney post– it isn’t. I made an appointment yesterday, went a little early to it, and took care of a late registration and a driver’s license renewal, all in under an hour. Hardly any waiting. And the people who helped me were nice. I flew past people without appointments, and by the time I left, the line was out the door and curling around the side of the building. The Olive DMV by the zoo is always busy, I know, but it is closer to me and I’d rather not drive my ancient Volvo all the way to Clovis thankyouverymuch. One more year, and my Volvo will register as a Democrat all on her own.

So, my point? Well, one: Make an appointment if you have to go to the DMV! But the real thing is that I waited for absolutely ever to take care of this stuff. My license expired in May, and I was so nervous about going in and possibly taking the written test that I have been putting it off. There was a convenient side effect, though, and that was that I was able to get my husband to go to the store more often. “What if they card me?” I would ask. “I don’t have a valid I.D.!” And so he would gallop off to the general store and purchase the Blue Moon Belgian White Ale or Pinot Grigio, or whatever. Believe it or not, even during my advanced years, I do get carded if the person at the register doesn’t recognize me. Actually, they do all recognize me at Trader Joe’s, but my husband didn’t figure that out for himself, and I wasn’t going to tell him.

What was I putting off, though, really? Waiting in line? Taking the test? I don’t know. I was being idiotic, and I do this a lot. I avoid checking my emails, or my mailbox at work. That last one is a bad, bad, bad idea because I could possibly miss out on the opportunity to teach a class. I don’t know what I think I’m avoiding. Responsibility? That can’t be it, because I’m responsible for a little girl, you know, and that is much weightier than a stupid trip to the DMV. I avoid going to the doctor to get a refill for my inhaler– again, stupid. Pointless! Downright dangerous, even, since it’s usually hard to tell when an asthma attack is going to strike. I always feel relived when I tick these things off a list and take care of what I need to– so why put it off in the first place? I wish I knew, I really do.

This is my upset kid. She looks how I feel when I have to go to the DMV.

There’s another thing I’ve been avoiding for years and years– finishing a novel. Writing it, not reading it, silly. I can finish almost any novel in a few hours if I have some uninterrupted time. The only thing holding me back from completing this task is whatever nebulous force that keeps me from taking care of other necessary tasks. My nebulous nemesis.

I am about to reveal my big huge nerdy side (“There’s another side?” you’re probably asking). A few nights ago I was watching Doctor Who, and (gosh, I just adore Steven Moffat) The Silence struck a chord. Hm. No pun intended, I don’t think. You can see them, but as soon as you turn around, you forget that you’ve seen them. You can retain a task they want you to do, though. That’s my nebulous nemesis! I forget that I should really go to the DMV or refill my asthma medication, and in its place I have the idea that I’m going to mess my world up by somehow doing it wrong. I’m somehow safe if I avoid it all. Not really, but that’s the message in my brain. At the end of the episode, the Doctor broadcasts (during the moonwalk, no less) one of The Silence uttering something like, “Kill us on sight, since we’re evil and are ruining your little Earthling lives,” or something to that effect and The Silence go away. They’ve been seen, they’re in danger, and they have to leave before the people of the world assassinate them all and promptly forget that there’s a dead alien body on their living room floor.

How awkward that would be during a party.

“Oh, Wanda, what a lovely tray of bruschetta! I say, is that a dead alien on the floor?”

“Bruce, I have no idea where that alien carcass came from! Let me get Gregory to wipe that up.” She turns away and immediately forgets about the alien on the floor.

And then it all happens again, like a sampled loop. You get the idea.

Anyway, I need to somehow interrupt that loop and when I have that negative thought (If you get a refill for your inhaler, you will have to undergo a thorough physical and wait for three hours, and on top of all that, you will get the wrong inhaler, because you are rather incompetent!) there needs to be some sort of circuit interrupter. Instead, when I begin to hear the loop, I should say, “Yes! Let’s do it! Right now!”

Jesus H. Christ, what a frightening concept, but that’s what I’m going to do. All because of Steven Moffat helmed Doctor Who. Yes, I am thirteen. So what?

In other news, Iso and I made pizza. It was fun, and you should try it. It’s like cooking and Play-Doh, all at once. And then you get to eat it. I followed a recipe for the dough– but added a bit more olive oil, since the last time I made it, it turned out a bit cakey. Also, I added a dash of garlic powder and a generous sprinkling of herbes de provence.

The pizza sauce, however, deserves a note, because so many pizzas are banished to the realms of sucktitude by mediocre sauces.

Pizza Awesomesauce

We made a medium amount of pizza dough, according to the bread machine recipe. This means two 12-inch pizzas, and only one of them had sauce, since Iso is at that picky, I don’t want sauce on anything stage.

–14 oz plain marinara sauce (We get Trader Joe’s, and it is really no-frill marinara. Do not use Prego. That stuff is the devil, I swear to God. Why do that to yourself?)

–Healthy pinches of dried oregano, fennel, rosemary, and red pepper flakes.

–1/2 tsp sugar (This is optional, since tomatoes are seasonal. Taste your marinara. Maybe it doesn’t need sugar!)

–Olive oil to sauté

–Large garlic clove, peeled and diced to bitty bits.

In a saucepan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil (best smell in the world). Add the fennel and the red pepper flakes. Stir about. Before the garlic burns, pour in the marinara. It might splatter a bit, so turn the heat down. Add the oregano and rosemary.

Stir over low heat until it begins to reduce just a little. Taste it. Does it need sugar? Don’t put too much. Add a little salt, too, but not too much, because your toppings will likely be pretty salty, and depending on your dough recipe, that might be salty, too. Look at me, being all bossy.

Now reduce it. Stir over low heat until the sauce is less red and more maroon, and there is simply less of it.

Don’t use a can of pizza sauce, and don’t use tomato sauce. Use plain pureed tomatoes, or a plain marinara. Or even diced unseasoned tomatoes, because during the cooking they’ll get saucy anyway. Just don’t use a jar of processed foodstuff masquerading as spaghetti sauce! I sound like my Nona, so I’m going to stop.

There’s no picture, because we ate the pizzas all up. Even my paleo-husband who is anti-wheat. There is no archaeological record of our pizza– except for this picture of the marinara.
No frills marinara. If you can't use fresh. . .

And because I can’t decide which track I like more this week, I’m going to tack on two to the end of this post. First, one from Mr. Simpson. I sincerely hope his new album will be out in the States, or I do not know what I am going to do with myself. I will have to get a Scandinavian penpal or something.

And this other one is from the Sleep Party People guy’s other band. I love the bass line, and I love that odd vocal. It’s almost Indian. Or is it, actually? I don’t know what the heck she is saying, but it is 100% amazing, don’t you think?


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