Saturday, June 19, 2010

strawberry gardens at the hilltop

I've been meaning to pass along an update on what I feel has been an exact reenactment of the banking and financial dowfall; and, it's happened right at my dining room table over the last few weeks. The kids, along with one of the kids from the old neighborhood, have taken to playing Monopoly. Before I get to the details I'd like to point out a few of my feelings on this 'game'. First, nothing good ever comes from a game of Monopoly. Nothing. In the history of mankind, never has a game ended cordially with a good round of handshakes and utterances of "good game, good game, good game." By it's nature, the point of playing is to crush the life from every other being at the table - preferably with extreme prejudice. Second, you always have players who are up for a bit, down for a bit, middlin' for a bit, and then eventually out. But, you also have the one hack who always has about $200 on hand, who manages to always miss Marvin Gardens (with a hotel) and your killer row of the cheap shit just passed 'Go', and who ends up either in jail repeatedly are hitting Free Parking just as he's about to be eliminated...I hate that guy. He'll be around all night acting as some kind of property lawyer while begging and borrowing his way to the inevitable 3am finish.

Right, back to the story. The kids vaguely play according to the rules - those rules being a roll of the dice, moving your men, buying things, getting $200 when passing go...and that's about it. They play a truly free enterprise version of the game beyond those basic steps. I'll be cooking in the kitchen and G. is exchanging a piece of property with L. because he wants her orange juice and doesn't want to get up and walk to the kitchen. I've got kids mortgaging property that can't be mortgaged because they have houses or hotels on them (you have to pull those before you mortgage), you have one kid offering up a utility of $500 to another, money supposedly being exchange for property, railroads being gathered via the use of picking or not picking Chance/Community Chest cards, and overall unregulated credit default swaps. Even though it might seem a joke, it isn't. They have no sense of what's actually happening nor any inkling of the results - they are in it purely for profit and hell be damned. In the end, one will win, a bunch will get pissed off and throw the board on the floor, and they'll play again tomorrow. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

As it's the end of the berry season I gathered a flat of strawberries from the farmers market and spent a chunk of my afternoon making two dozen half-pints of strawberry jam. I'm not sure why I felt the need but berries will do that to you. We go through a lot of jam in the house and if I can make it by hand with a little effort, why not? If I'd got myself in order a few weeks ago I could have made a triple berry jam with strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries but my potential energy was just that. I was able to get a 12 lb. flat of for $40 from one of the farmers so each jar - minus jars, etc. - comes to about $2.

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