During the time Sister Madly spent in their employ, Utopia obtained a reputation of small-time intrigue, from back alley business deals to Kinder Egg transactions, to smuggling contraband inside of Russian Nesting Dolls. In spite of these rumors,* Utopia decided to venture into the seedy underworld of Alpaca Sweaters.
* Sister Madly might have been responsible for spreading those rumors.
Now Sister Madly knows that there are certain risks one takes when fraternizing with the Knitting Demimonde, from products of questionable origin (i.e., “Made in the Hinterlands”) to defects in the sweater itself:
As with all art, beauty is in the mind of the beholder. Clearly this was not a Backwards Flag; this was something deeper: a masterpiece of hypoallergenic fleece symbolizing the all the hardships a weary Knitter endures during a strong, eastern wind in the Hinterlands.
Eastern winds contribute to sweater-wearing, after all.
But Management, bereft of soul as is their wont, cast aside Sister Madly’s magnificent critique in favor of a far greater concern over why the whole of West Michigan refused to show their patriotism with a Backwards American Flag Sweater in the middle of July.
After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, Management concluded that the only way to rectify this horrible situation was to bundle the American Flag Sweaters with matching American Flag Mukluks, thus revolutionizing the fashion industry, winning a Nobel Prize, and retiring to a luxury hut in the Maldives. And no doubt they would have done just that, had it not been for a slight deficiency in Old Glory.
Let’s see if you can spot the error:
This sent Management into the throes of an existential crisis.
* Sister Madly apologizes for the graphic language.
While nobody could deny that the Flag had American roots, it would have, perhaps, behooved Management to have been a bit more specific when placing the order.
Upon being promoted to Marketing Director a few seconds prior, Sister Madly was enlisted to find a way to promote the Confederate Mukluks in a positive light, as Utopia would rather utilize the errant Mukluks than complain about the product- Knitters, as you know, can be particularly cutthroat.
Not wishing to be shish-kabobbed on the nearest knitting needle, Sister Madly pitched her usual poppycock: Sweetest Day was just around the corner, after all, and what better gift for your sweetheart than this knitted ensemble depicting America’s Civil War?
Then again, why not bundle the Sweaters with a full-length mirror (gilded frame optional) as the Flag would no longer appear reversed in this reflective apparatus? As for the Mukluks, they could easily be marketed to some disgruntled butler as cheeky little dusting cloths- knitted Mukluks clean up dust almost as efficiently as they create it.
Sister Madly even enlisted herself as visual aid, modelling the lovely* ensemble in a beam of sunlight.
* In marketing, even the most hideous of products becomes ‘lovely.’
But even as Sister Madly pitched this most excellent campaign, the sight of her posing most artistically in the latest Civil War Couture*- thus violating every city ordinance in the process- was enough to convince Management to donate the ensemble to the local shelter down the street. Utopia, despite its questionable reputation, was nonetheless generous with its clutter.
* Sister Madly also apologizes to the lady passing by the window during this unfortunate exhibition: you didn’t deserve to witness that.
WILD MUSHROOM STEW
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 16oz wild mushrooms
- rainbow carrots, chopped
- pearl onions, peeled
- baby potatoes, quartered
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 cup Marsala wine
- 3-4 cups veg or mushroom broth
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire (vegan substitutes here)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp marjoram
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- salt/pepper, to taste
- oil, for sautéing
Sauté chopped onion until translucent
Add garlic; sauté 1-2 min
Add spices; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with Marsala Wine; 2-3 minutes
Add tomato paste; mix
Add potatoes, carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms; stir to coat
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; cover
Simmer until veggies are almost tender, stirring occasionally
Uncover; simmer to reduce/thicken
Add Worcestershire; mix
Adjust seasonings to taste
THEME SONG: Quiet Americans, Shearwater
An Invisible Red Thread
Who are Destined to Meet
Regardless the Time, the Place
Regardless the Circumstance
The Thread may Stretch or Tangle
But it will never Break.
~ Ancient Chinese Proverb
1.) Salfi Farooq
Love doesn’t Make
The World Go ’round ~
Love is what Makes
The Ride Worthwhile.
~ Franklin P. Jones
1.) Michael Kiev
3.) Michael Kiev
I Wonder ~
How Many People
I’ve Looked at
All My Life
And Never Seen…
~ John Steinbeck
1) Laura Williams Photography
2) Jeremiah Morris
3) Alex Baker Photography
4) Albert Wu Photography
5) Laura Williams Photography
It’s been said that eavesdropping is the epitome of bad manners, but the truth is that in every conversation that ‘doesn’t concern you,’ there is a wealth of beneficial information. Sister Madly is proud to say that she now knows the ins and the outs of a Jetta engine; how to cheat at cribbage (she doesn’t know how to play, but she knows how to cheat); that the Earth is flat, by golly; and that anyone can be hired as a phlebotomist without the least bit of know-how.
No doubt it is a comfort to you to know that Sister Madly needs neither experience nor a Bachelor’s Degree to stick a needle into your veins and drain you of your life source. Degrees* and experience are the sort of things reserved for important jobs, such as dog-walking and waiting tables at the local tavern, and woe betide he who applies for these professions without them.
*Degree ‘in any field’ according to the dog-walking Ad, which is good news for Sister Madly’s neighbor who doesn’t know what to do with that BA in History.
Since the moment of her conception, Sister Madly has had a strong disinterest in any career remotely related to the healthcare field. To date, it remains a contender for the last career field she’d ever consider along with politics, trigonometry, and some lingering questions as to what it is that the Department of Sanitation does all day. So when the Happy Phlebotomist embarked upon his recruitment campaign for Phlebotomy Inc., it was all that Sister Madly could do to keep from silencing him in unspeakably creative ways.
But as he stood there with a malicious good cheer that showed all of his teeth, Sister Madly decided that it would be totally unfair to dismiss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without hearing all the details. Perhaps there was a less hands-on position available, like personal assistant to the Head of Phlebotomy (known as ‘P’, no doubt) as a sort of Moneypenny Dreadful. So she asked if the position would require her to deal with people. Directly.
And with blood. Directly.
Yes, that was all it took to silence the Happy Phlebotomist, but it was without satisfaction. The look on his face was the same horror that commonly results after witnessing a ruthless desperado tossing chocolate bunnies through the propeller of a plane. He was completely incapable of accepting the idea that anybody would not want to pursue this fabulous profession- just absolutely fabulous.
“Are you saying that you can’t stand the sight of blood?”
And people, yes. Is that a problem?
Admittedly, Sister Madly did stretch the truth a bit: it’s not blood in general that she can’t stand, it’s her blood in particular that is terribly upsetting. As living creatures who often find themselves bewildered over the proper way to eat an Oreo, we each are entitled to this life-sustaining nectar in our veins; she’d just rather see your blood splattered across the pavement than her own.
It’s a personal preference. Like how lunar dust tastes better than coffee.*
*Again, Sister Madly is guilty of stretching the truth: lunar dust IS better than coffee, make no mistake.
There is, however, a practical side to her refusal: being a phlebotomist requires a certain finesse that Sister Madly tends to lack- you know, sticking a living someone with a sharp, pointy object in such a manner that not only causes the least amount of pain, but ensures that the someone survives the ordeal without thinking of the term ‘lawsuit.’ It also requires an unholy amount of precision that is sure to snap her sanity in two if not alleviated by eating the nearest couch.
And what about natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and spontaneous combustion? What if she sneezes in the midst of a job? She is not a dainty sneezer- you have no idea how close she came to blasting this world into oblivion last allergy season. Or what if she suddenly gets bored? Sister Madly tends to move onto another activity at the mere thought of boredom, leaving the previous one unfinished. That behavior can’t be good for business, just leaving people with needles jammed into their veins while she sits in mop bucket playing the jaw-harp.
But the Happy Phlebotomist heard none of this. Instead, he handed her a business card, told her to think it over, and to apply online. Also, there is a cat who lives in the parking lot.
Where does she sign up?
*It was later noted that, when recruiting the male species, the mention of the kitty was replaced with the mention of a sandwich shop across the street.