Monday, April 30, 2007

Love letters

If you live in NC, PLEASE call and email the following people about NC House Bill 879, which would bring the state back into my good graces by legislating COMPREHENSIVE sex ed for our youth.

There's a key house health committee meeting tomorrow at noon, so hop on it, and pass it on!
(n.b. the chair is no longer Rep Wright as the link says but rather Rep England)

Here's the bill and
Here are the contacts:

Chair Rep.England 919-733-5749
Vice-Chair Rep. Earle 919-715-2530
Vice-Chair Rep.Justus 919-733-5956
Vice-Chair Rep. Rapp 919-733-5732
Rep. Barnhart 919-715-2009
Rep. Goforth 919-733-5746
Rep. McAllister 919-733-5959
Rep. Wilkins 919-715-0850

When you call, just identify yourself and tell the person
answering the phone you support HB 879 -- Modify School Health
Program and you hope the representative will as well. It's that

If you want to email all at once, drop me a comment or email and I'll forward an email I got from a local agency that will let you email everyone without having to look everything up. OK?


This is my exchange with a legislator about HB 879:

Dear Representative Fulano,

When you enter the Health Committee meeting this Tuesday you will be
given the chance to save thousands of lives and protect the health of
all North Carolinians.

House Bill 879 -- Modify School Health Program will protect North
Carolina's young people throughout their lives by arming them with the
information to make healthy lifelong decisions.

This bill preserves the abstinence-first sex education that reflects
North Carolina's values while supplementing that curriculum with the
facts students need to stay healthy as they grow.

Furthermore, this bill empowers parents by leaving the decision about
their children's sex education up to them.

This is the best piece of legislation I have seen in NC in years. I am a
strong, strong believer that our children need information about sexual
health that will help them throughout their WHOLE lives.

Providing our kids with information about contraception and other sexual
health matters does not mean in any way that we are condoning youth
sexual behavior. Access to information also doesn't mean that kids are
going to BOOM! start having sex. What this bill DOES mean, however, is
that when our kids do make the decision to become sexually active, they
will be armed with information about how to keep themselves healthy. We
hope they choose abstinence, and we encourage that.

Thank you VERY much for your consideration.



I believe in local control of local situations. North Carolina already
has a mechanism that allows local units to carry out comprehensive sex
education programs. Through that mechanism, Stew County and Neighbor
County already have programs.

-Rep. Fulano


Thank you for your response. As a NC and Stew County citizen, *I* believe that our children deserve accurate information about contraception and STD prevention.

I do understand the importance of local control, but certain public health issues should be law whether or not the locality approves. From a public health perspective, that only makes sense. If Stew County decided to tolerate asbestos or lead levels that were higher than is safe, I'd be asking you to change that law. Abstinence-only sex ed puts our kids at risk by giving inaccurate or insufficient information about health issues that are tough to talk about at home.

And just as a point of interest, my (considerable) experience with Stew County schools has been that even though they jumped through all the necessary hoops to have comprehensive sex education, nonetheless teachers and educators are SCARED to give kids this information. Unless NC law explicitly states that it's OK to give this health information to teens, the fact is that teachers won't.

Giving out information about contraceptives won't cause kids to run out and have sex any more than giving them information about heroin will cause them to run out and shoot up. This is positive health information that will serve them their whole lives.

Please reconsider.



Me! ME! ME! ME! meme

Ma belle Michele posed these questions for me. I will now answer them. I've been putting this off due to the PELC, which is now over. I'll write about that in a bit, but my mom said she's getting bored with reading about what I eat, so here's a little variation for once.

1. You've been in the Triangle for about 10 years now. What made/makes you stay?
Truth be told, it's a combination of reasons. Inertia. Comfort. Good weather. Cool people. Nice community. Jobs in my field. Central location. What I don't love: being away from my family. Sprawl. McMansions. Subdivisions. Homeowner's associations. Faux morality. (Those last things are probably issues elsewhere, too, so: meh)

2. Why did you get rid of the Bug? (Heh. I've always wondered.)
It was a lemon-assed POS that was fun to drive but the most unreliable POFS that ever limped its candy-assed POFS-ness across central NC. Ask me how I REALLY feel about it!

In the bug's short time with me:
a) its entire (manual) transmission had to be replaced to the tune of what would have been ~$6K (it was just barely still under warranty)
b) its cooling system failed, but in a boy-who-cried-wolf kind of way, so that I almost f-ed up the whole engine.
c) the battery died twice. no lights were left on.
d) it stranded my roommate more often than his own car did. Said roommate only borrowed the car a handful of times.
e) its corners were impossible to judge, which left me running into things from time to time. I am a firm believer that a car should feel bigger than it is.

I could go on. I won't.

3. What other blogger would you like to meet in real life and why?
That's tough! I'd say either Kitchen Witch or the Peaceable Imperatrix. Both are very kick-ass women that I feel a kinship with. I am way more about meeting people for real relationships than bowing at the feet of the famous. Ya know? Note that I've met (or will meet soon) everyone on my blog roll other than those two.

4. My dad's given me a timeshare week. I call you up and ask you where you want to go. What is your answer? (Assume vacation time is not an issue.)
If we're talking mainland US, then South Texas. Some of the best birding in the country is there, and I'll likely not ever go there for vacation otherwise. Considering that you just might have no interest in going to HELL, though, other choices would be in the western US, cause I've spent little to no time there. If we're expanding to other areas, I'd definitely want to go tropical. Africa has cool birds. So does Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America. WAIT. Cuba. CUBA!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a dream of mine. CUBA CUBA CUBA! (I bet there's not really any timeshares in Cuba though that are on your plan. Heh.)

5. If you had to opportunity to move back to a large city, would you?
I'd say definitely maybe. It would have to be the right situation and the right city. I'd have to be a) making a shitload of money at something I really like to do and b) have some kind of access to green space and a community garden. There's a lot to be said about cities (mass transportation, interesting things to do, cool diversity, exploring, the world seemingly at your fingertips...), but I'd say I'm for sure moving closer and closer to the Prairie Stew persona. I think I'd be much more likely to live outside a medium sized town and keep some land.

Great questions, Michele! Thanks. It was fun...

So if you want to play along and now be interviewed by me, please leave me a comment or send an email saying: "Interview me."
* I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
* You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
* You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
* Then others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions and so on.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

April Salad

In brief and random

I'm about to make a tortilla española for brunch, and then start some pizza dough. I have some smoked mozz and asparagus to use up today! (Sauce? Pesto from Marianne? Or tomato sauce I canned last summer? Hmmm. Choices)

Weekends, when I'm at home, are way more food-centric.

Oh, and look how cute my radishes are getting! I have peas, too!

The Gray Catbird has come to visit my suet feeder. Cutie...I love his mews.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Today was an almost total loss on local foods, as I kind of expected. I unexpectedly ended up not staying at my own house Friday night (NO, it was nothing like that!!) and so didn't have a chance to eat breakfast at home or even to grab a cheese sandwich to take along with me. I was then out at a park for a fundraiser for work at lunchtime, and came home just in time to grab a nap, some cake and some bacon before heading out to a memorial service for my friend K's father, who died on St. Patrick's day this year.

The family held a huge, catered event, wedding-style, and close to 100 friends and family came out to celebrate dear, sweet Al. Thank goodness they put huge boxes of kleenex on each table. I was sitting at the kids table, and well, we almost emptied ours by the end of the DVD slideshow Al's boys had put together. Not a dry eye in the house, and yet laughter pervaded the room as well. Al lived and died by his newspapers, which came up again and again as friends and family came up to speak at the microphone. I loved hearing more about the man who meant and continues to mean so much to a woman who has been there for me more than half my life. (Sniff! Seriously, tomorrow my eyes will be swollen shut from crying today!)

I sat with my K during the open mike, held her new(ish) baby, and met another friend's new fiancee. The last time I saw many of the people at the wake (cause really that's what this was) was at K's wedding. I was hoping (isn't this kind of just WRONG of me? But I'll admit it, I was hoping) that the extended family would have prepared the kick-ass kibbe that K had at her wedding. After all, it was one of Al's fave dishes. (Clearly mine, too. OMG, yum)

I've linked to Alfred's obit before, but I wanted to actually get the info up somewhere more accessible than a paid classifieds service, so here's a cut-and-paste. I'm going to absolutely lose it when any of my parents go. God. I. Can't. Bear. It.

Alfred Salim Nemy, of Raleigh, died Wednesday March 17, 2007 in Rex Hospital, Raleigh. He was 76 years old. Born in New Kensington, PA on December 27, 1930, he was educated at Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon) where he received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Metallurgy and Material Sciences. During his years at "Tech," he fell in love with and married Dorothy Gerlach, a marriage that lasted 52 years. Nemy began his career in 1955 with a summer job at Batelle, the global science and technology enterprise in Columbus, OH. From there, he joined TRW, Inc. where he would spend the next 17 years supervising, among other things, the metals and material sciences lab for the development of jet airplane engines. Moving from scientific development into corporate management, TRW enrolled Nemy in a Harvard Business School intensive management program and promoted him to develop and foster a cooperative business partnership between TRW and Mitsubishi Japan, which lasted over five years. In 1973, Nemy left TRW, to join Valve Castings Company as President of the steel foundry in Columbus, OH, creating a new operation for the production of investment- casting of industrial valves for parent company IU International. Nemy joined Rockwell International's Flow Control Division in 1975 managing a plant in Raleigh, NC. With the success of this operation, Rockwell promoted Nemy to Vice-President and General Manager of the Rockwell Draper Division, a textiles branch of the conglomerate based out of Greensboro. He spent five years turning the division into a financially successful operation. In 1980, Nemy was hired as Senior Vice-President of Operations for Precision Castparts Corporation in Portlant, OR, which returned him to his original field of metals and material sciences. Following a three year stint with PCC, Nemy joined Keeler Brass Company in Grand Rapids, MI, the leading manufacturer of furniture hardware and automobile parts, where he spent six years leading the company as President and Chief Executive Officer. After successfully turning the company around, he planned to retire, but was recruited by Doehler-Jarvis/Farley Industries of Toledo, OH as Executive Vice- President and Chief Operating Officer of their plant which he ran for two years. Finally, in 1992, Nemy retired to North Carolina with his wife. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Gerlach Nemy of Raleigh; his sister, Selma Hardy of New Kensington, PA; his brother, Philip (Sally) Nemy of Monroeville, PA. Also surviving are four children, Tom Nemy, Dr. Joan (Joe) Meehan Colatuno, Philip (Kathy) Nemy, and Karen (John) George; seven grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Kelly, Kedrin, and Emily Meehan, Natalie and Teddy George, and Madeleine Grace Zotnowski-Nemy. Mr. Nemy was preceded in death by his parents, Salim and Azeezy Shamey Nemy; his sister, Edna Nemy; his brother-in-law, James Hardy; his niece, Cherie Nemy. A celebration of his life will be held April 28, 2007 in Raleigh, NC. For details of the celebration, please contact the family at 919-676-xxxx. Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fish fish fish fishies!!

I just ordered some seafood guides from this website. Now I'll know what I can buy without feeling too too guilty. If you live near me I'd be happy to hook you up. I ordered 25 from the Southeastern US region, 25 for a national (US) list and then 5 of the Central US (for the family).

Finally getting some good food around here


The lingering smell of bacon in my kitchen is playing softly off of the heady scent of cherry-almond buttermilk bundt cake.

That's how you reward a lawn mowing job well done!

Bacon smell comes out with a shower, right?


Sometimes I think I should just never think before I do something.

Today I emailed my neighborhood listserv to offer up my extra seedlings to anyone who wanted them. Before I realized exactly what this would mean, I also asked the whole neighborhood if anyone else would be interested in a veggie swap.

And then I listed my entire catalogue, including descriptions of the varieties I chose, lifted directly from the seed company.

The first person to email me back was the president of the neighborhood association. I half expected a "YOU CAN'T GARDEN IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD THE GRASS MUST BE LEVEL AT ALL TIMES" email, but then I remembered that I live in the best freaking urban neighborhood that exists. He basically said, great idea, Stew!

The next person asked if we were related, ha ha ha, because we share the same last name. She is interested in the swap AND came over just now to pick up some seedlings. She's got berries, people. Fruit. I don't have fruit! It was kind of frightening all that we have in common. She has WORMS, too!

Since then, I've had three others email me interested in the swap. It looks like next year I'll have to put in more peas. Half-serious question: anyone have an idea about ways I can barter my veggies?



Food today so far:
Sunflower bread
Bacon. (bacon bacon bacon bacon)
Diet Cheerwine

Southern Biscuit flour
Reconstituted dried cherries

Mucky Mucks

Yesterday at lunch time, after my sunflower bread breakfast, I found myself in our state legislature, awaiting a house committee meeting. I ran into one of my best friends, who works for our state LGBT advocacy group, and glommed onto him.

I went to show my (and my agency's) support for a new bill being introduced into the state house which would change the standard for sex ed in the schools back to a comprehensive approach, thus casting aside all this abstinence-until-marriage nonsense. It's a great bill!

The meeting was first pushed back an hour and then eventually canceled. I'm not sure what that means politically, but the extra time I had in the legislative building meant I accompanied my friend and the intern working with him to lunch.

Yes, lunch.

But it's the LEGISLATURE! Surely there's an ag lobbyist making sure that the food in the cafeteria is locally sourced, right?

I went with that possibility. I chose the items that, if not local at least COULD be. I had fried catfish, coleslaw and a biscuit. There were actually quite a few options out that could very well have been local. Lots of cabbage, for example, and pork ribs. Lotta pork in this state. (I slay me!)

After eating, I decided to do a little sleuthing about the matter; the state forestry placemats (paid for by private funds!) were encouraging. I asked around and talked to the guy who did the ordering for the cafeteria. I explained the PELC and why I was doing it, and I asked him if they got local ingredients, being the state legislature and all?

Sysco. Ouch.


Dinner was cabbage, mustard greens and asparagus. The cabbage was raw and squeaky, yum! (I'm serious. I love the squeak). The mustard greens were garlicky, and the asparagus was just straight up.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I can has cheezburger?


I'm having problems staying on the Eat Local Challenge food. I need to figure this out.

I had a mishap with some sausage that kind of threw me off of meat and messed with my field peas. That's fine. I can get over it.

Eating locally is not a problem. Eating on a budget is not a problem. Eating locally on a budget isn't even the problem!

It's my job. I work 30 minutes from where I live. I work (what I consider) long, odd hours. I can't skip home at lunch to whomp up something from my stash. I go to events like lunch meetings that are catered. Working with kids means we often provide them with food. Pizza is a frequent visitor to my work world (both onsite and at other agencies.)

The problem is also my lazy. I've been relying a lot since I went back to work on convenience foods. I've not been cooking during the week. Breakfast has been coffee and a PB&J. Lunch: baby carrots, cookies, crackers, cheese, salad or soup. Dinner: cheese and crackers or takeout or a sandwich or a homemade frozen dinner...I avoid making dishes.

Switching gears to making all my food is part of the problem. That requires planning and a willingness to eat what doesn't necessarily appeal at that very second, no matter how well-prepared and gorgeous it may be. It also means I have to actually cook. I love cooking. I just don't love cooking when I HAVE to.

I had all of these grandiose ideas about what I can make with my local food, but I haven't done it yet. Y'all even gave me great ideas in the comments a couple of posts back. STILL I have done nothing!

Here's a sampling of the great ideas I have had:

Potato salad. Yum. (I have mayo after all!)
Indian cabbage
Cole slaw
More curtido
More pupusas
Hard Boiled Eggs
Peach cobbler
Bacon sandwich
Bacon and eggs and toast

I just don't WANT any of it. I want convenience. Even if that means chopping off a block of cabbage and eating it as is. I've been known to do that. Maybe I'll do that for dinner tonight. It DOES make a pleasantly squeaky feeling on your teeth.

Sheesh I'm a brat in some ways.

Oh, and I have some more challenges coming up. A date on Friday night (!!) and first a work event at lunchtime on Saturday and then a funeral/memorial service that evening at dinner time.

I'm very frustrated and feeling pissy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Not sure how I feel about this

I'm apparently a creature of habit. All I want for breakfast is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I know that last May I found some local peanuts, but I haven't seen them in my recent forays. I skipped breakfast today, and then when lunchtime rolled around I really didn't want my potato and gravy or my asparagus. I was hungry, but very annoyed.

I wanted a salad with baby greens, Krab, onion, sesame sticks, grape tomatoes, carrot shavings, green pepper and blue cheese dressing. With crackers. I love Krab.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Driving home after work today I began to feel vomitous, to the point where I decided to speed quite egregiously to get home more quickly. I've been in bed since then, and I decided to eat whatever the f*!$# I felt like I could stomach. That was a couple Maria cookies and some milk. The cookies are not local, but at least they went down and stayed there. What I really want now is to just fall asleep.

I wonder if the sausage tasting gross to me in the field peas is related to my feeling now like I'm going to puke?

Nah. Probably some virus. But I'm NOT going to eat that anymore.

excuse me my tummy rumbles now bye


We have a problem.

The field peas with smoked sausage I brought for lunch today is disgusting. It's the sausage. Which I vow never to eat again. There goes $4.59-ish down the budget black hole.

I should have known better. Sausage skeeves me out sometimes, and other times it's my favorite meat choice. It all depends on the experience. This one was, um, ew.

Oh god. What am I going to eat for lunch????? I live 30 minutes away from here.


A coworker just came to my office and clued me in to some pastries that were in the conference room for everyone to enjoy. They were large, chocolaty things that were studded with walnuts.

Upon further investigation, I found out that they were "Chocolate Chewies" from a local patisserie.

I'm totally counting them as both local and free. Do you think I'm cheating?

Recipes, anyone? Ideas, even?

So. Here I am with a nice list of foods I can use in the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge this week.

In addition to the foods I bought, I have:

• various and sundry jams
• raspberry honey 'creme'
• asparagus galore
• eggs
• mustard greens
• onions (am running out though. eek!)
• dried cherries*
• apple butter (LARGE quantity thereof)
• oregano
• sage
• parsley
• rosemary
• hot peppers
• thyme
• garlic chives

Here's where you come in! I'd appreciate any and all suggestions for meals made just from what I have, especially some kind of cake or sweet that will last a few days.

Remember that oil and spices** are free. (Sugar too, cause come on, I'm not a pioneer)

Thanks. My brain needs input from you, because I'm thinking very 'inside the box' with the ingredients I have.


*Mom brought them for me from Michigan, where they are local; i'm including 'local' to mean if it was purchased close to the source, as long as nobody made a special trip just to get them. Since I brought the cherries back from an already-planned-trip to visit my family, these are fair game.

**Be liberal with your definition here, so then I can make decisions based on my conscience. I don't want to limit your ideas too much!

EDITED to add: I always forget that this is a "Pennywise" challenge. Let me add the cost of the other ingredients I have.

Jams $5 per jar. If I end up eating more than one jar in a week, I'll count more.
Raspberry Honey Creme: Um, this was a gift, so I'll exempt it.
Asparagus:I probably have about $5 worth of it.
Eggs: I have remaining 1.5 dozen, which, at $3 a dozen is $4.50 (if I use the turkey or duck eggs Jamie brought me, I'll add those in separately.
Mustard greens: $2, I think Jamie said.
Dried cherries: also a gift. In real life I didn't pay for these, so I won't count them as costing anything
Apple butter: same. Thanks Phil!

So....add $16.50 to my total of $36 and get: $52.50. Add $9.34 to that (yesterday's meal cost) and we're up to $61.84.

If I don't stray from my already-purchased foods, I'll have $6.16 to spend on other stuff. If I find myself running over the $68 limit, I'll probably start subtracting out proportionally the food I don't actually eat (i.e. will i REALLY eat 5 pounds of potatoes this week? um. Probably not. So if I eat half of them, I'll subtract 1/2 of what they cost ($4.19/2= ~$2.10) from my running tally, which currently includes the cost of the whole, enormous bag.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dinner Day One

Y'all? I kicked ass. Tonight for dinner I served Jamie the long-promised pupusas and curtido, along with some fortunate locally-prepared (at SuperCompare, natch) chicken sausage.

The pupusas were like this:

•Corn meal masa, wet enough to not crack along the edges.
•Interior: Red serrano pepper with green onion and fresh mozzerella cheese from the Chapel Hill Creamery.
• Formation: grab a raquetball-sized chunk of masa and form into a ball. Stick your thumbs innit like a pinchpot, and spoon some of the sauteed pepper/onion mixture onto it. Then put a slice of the fresh mozz in and squeeze/pat it between two sheets of saran wrap. Shape into a pancake
•Fry in a lightly oiled cast-iron pan.


Oh, and then I took advantage of the supremely golden pan drippings (left after Jamie so expertly made the chicken sausage) by making some gravy that I'll be very happy to put on some of my local potatoes soon!

Sigh. Eating locally on the cheap. Heaven, but hard work!

Pennywise Eat Local Day One: Groceries

I just got back from the Rey De la Comida, which proved itself in last year's eat local challenge as the Rey of Local Foods. Jamie is totalling up our expected expenses for the day, so by the time I catalogue the groceries I got I can give you an estimate for what we spent. (We spent $12.34 $9.34 each today (edited because we didn't eat some stuff we thought we were going to). That's (edited:) NOT!! over our limit for the day, but that's because we each had one small and one medium Locopop. That totals $3 each out of our daily total today.)

OK. At the grocery this afternoon I spent EXACTLY $36. My total budget is $68 for the week, or $9.71 a day, but I figured if I just think about the total I spend it would be much easier than fleshing it out daily.

So here's what I bought:

•Southern Biscuit Flour, 5#
•Red Potatoes (can you believe it???)
•Hayes Star brand Field Peas (dried) Apparently these come from the Carolina Plantation Rice company and are actually cowpeas. (This is according to a civil war reenactors website...take it as you will!)
•McLib's Southern Dumplings (pasta!!)
•12 pack of Diet Cheerwine (decadent!)
•Curtis thick-sliced bacon
•Maola buttermilk
•Maola Skim milk
•Canned Peaches Margaret Holmes
•Smoked Sausages from Stevens Sausage Company, which looks like it uses the "animals-savoring -themselves" marketing plan.

I'm in the process as we speak of soaking the field peas. Then I'm going to toss some onion (Jamie's garden), serrano chile (frozen from Maria's), and smoked sausage into it. Cook it overnight, put it in the fridge and package it up for lunch tomorrow!!


When your life revolves around food

Jamie is here still, and we're having a BLAST. (Well, I am, at least. And Jamie is probably not too freaked out or she'd have left by now. Heh.)

I have a lot to tell about what we've managed to pack in so far, but suffice it to say our activities have revolved around food, gardens and farms.

Oh, and goats. Baby goats. Baby goats who nibble. Baby goats who nibble noses and fingers and suckle them (both the noses and fingers!). Baby goats who are exactly one week old and so soft and clean and sweet that you don't even want to eat them!

Today is the first day of the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge. We split a 5-egg omelette filled with green onions, local feta and asparagus, accompanied by hot cornbread for breakfast. The cornbread had my blueberry-lemon jam and a local apiary's 'raspberry creme' honey to top it. The eggs and onions are from Jamie's, the feta from the Chapel Hill Creamery, and the asparagus from Maria (and likely from Jamie as well: we have asparagus coming out of our ears here!) The cornbread is from a NC self-rising cornmeal, and it turned out decently for once! Oh so frequently I end up with my cornbread way too dry.

Need to take a shower. There's more to tell, but I have some seeds to buy and some plants to bed.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

tap tap tap tap tap tap

My bed is full of:

a) clean linens, including duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases
b) pillows
c) non-clothed comforter
d) my $5.99 tailored bedskirt (charcoal tweed)
e) just-washed mattress pad

Poor Jamie has NO idea that one of the reasons I invited her up here was to help me with the housework. (Mom: don't have a cow. I'm kidding) Seriously, though, I do need to put my bedskirt on the bed and rotate the mattress. I can't do it by myself, because the bed is too damn BIG. So yeah, Jamie will come in handy.

I could really go for a nap, for some reason. Maybe it's because it is absolutely glorious outside, which gave me the inclination to go run my hands through the compost bin to see how everything is cooking. It's going's such a nice smell in there! It smells like wet woods.

I was slightly wigged to see a metric crapload of ants living in or near the bin. But really, no biggie. I highly doubt that ants at the far edge of the property line will encourage the other ants to come in and swarm the kitchen, as they have before.

More interesting than the ants are the BIG, FAT woooooorms that are thriving in there. I think they're mostly from the JeniQ load of papershreds that needed more of a compost bin scenario than another trip to her wormlandia for a final breakdown. They've taken over and really plumped up! The worms in the bin are fine, but there's something really exciting about BIG worms. If anyone ever goes fishing and doesn't want to buy bait, well, you know where to find me!

Jamie will be here in about an hour, I'm guessing. I had better get rid of my headache before then.

Off to take an analgesic of some sort....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Online Gem

I've had a post about Craigslist and Freecycle bouncing around in my head for months. I doubt I'll ever get to it.

So here's an example of why I love Craigslist.

Furry little bunches of EVIL

If I thought that my Indian Stripes were dead and fried from the accidental "hardening" process that went too far, well, I didn't realize the damage that a squirrel could do in two seconds.
But at least there are some other cool things going on. Shall I do a tour of my first garden EVER? OK, I knew you'd say yes, because, well, I'm really the only one with any say-so now, aren't I?

The healthy tomatoes (blurry!)

The repotted and hopefully-will-recover-Indian-Stripes (very blurry!)

The "did-these-die" beans I'll have Jamie look at. They were the most vulnerable to the freeze we had. I covered them with clear plastic, and hoped for the best. I can't tell if they just look scraggly or if they're a wash and I should replant.

Radishes marking beets. (Bull's blood)

Family heirloom irises I've been lugging around for years despite them never having bloomed before for me. BUDS!!

Peas. Only one inch of topsoil!!

And finally: English Sorrell in the pot Myküll gave me for my birthday. Notice that the plant to the left (very blurry) is even blooming!

Someone needs a new camera that focuses close up. Hm.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Gang Presence Checklist
To be used as a guide only

1. Is graffiti showing up in your neighborhood or school?

2. Has any graffiti been crossed out by other graffiti?

3. Do some students or young people in the neighborhood wear noticeable
“colors,” bandanas or tattoos?

4. Do some students or neighborhoods display behavior that may be gang
related, such as meeting in groups?

5. Do some students or neighborhood kids flash hand signals?

6. Are drugs available on or near schools or neighborhood?

7. Has there been a significant increase in physical confrontation or “stare
downs” in the last year?

8. Are weapons increasingly present in the community?

9. Do students use or have beepers, pagers, phones?

10. Have there been “drive by” shows or displays of weapons?

11. Have there been any “drive by” shootings in the neighborhood or near the

12. Has the truancy rate noticeably increased during the past year?

13. Have the number of racial incidents increased in the community and/or

14. Does the community have a history of gang presence or activity?

15. Is there an increasing presence of “informal” social groups with unusual
names such as “SUR” or “East Side”?

16. Have your children come home with bruises for no reason?

Why would anyone name a gang "Save the Trout"?

This evening I get to learn all about gangs in the Eastern region of the county I work in. A woman I've met in the course of this job claimed to me a couple of weeks ago that it's not so much that there's a gang problem, but rather that the recent "brownification" of that community has made the old guard nervous. She's a total outsider, though, so I have no idea how to judge her supposition.

I'm wondering if any gangs they'll talk about tonight will be attributed to the increase in the Latino population in this state (400% from 1990 to 2000, the fastest-growing state population in the US for that time period. I can cite, but I don't much feel like it.)

I know nothing about the topic, and I'm looking forward to hearing what the service providers and community leaders will have to say.

Oh, and Wikipedia has a commentary on my post title. I don't care what they say; Salvatrucha still means "Save the Trout" in Spanish

Do you think I might get waxed because of this post?


Last night in my dream, the rest of which has disappeared, I had beautiful, long, loose braids.

They were luxurious and came down to about where a cap sleeve ends. Down to the armpits, maybe is a good way to put it? When I've tried braids before (and it's been ages since my hair was long enough) they have to be really tight, and then they still slip out. It's just the nature of my slippery hair.

I liked the change. It makes me want to keep growing my hair.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

having a moment


i bet i get my period either tomorrow or in about 14 days.



(lack thereof)

(i'm glad this passes. it always does.)

(is there an emoticon for welling eyes and a sticky outy lower lip?)

(how about tears?)

(no, nothing specific happened. it's just general angst)

204 Million dollars for FY 2007

I tend to avoid talking about things that are divisive, because I find arguing tedious and annoying. So I won't mention how fucked up the Supreme Court's decision today is.

Instead I'll focus on something that people agree on. We don't want our teens to be getting pregnant because they're not yet physically or emotionally ready to handle the consequences.

Here's where the cognitive dissonance comes in, though.

The US Government has pumped and wants to continue pumping lots and lots of money into abstinence-only education.


What if I want to have sex before I get married?...Well I guess you'll just have to be prepared to die. And you'll probably take with you your spouse and one or more of your children with you --from abstinence-only educational video No Second Chance

Well, y'all. I guess I need to be prepared to DIE.

TO DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update on the Moxter

First, I asked Ols if Moxie really had her toenails painted or was it just a mirage of some sort in that second picture--no mirage. Her Aunt and Aunt who live next door gave Moxie a pedicure.

Here's the news, straight from Ols's mouth

Unbelievable news last night -- the pathology came back. Not cancer. Not at all. They were shocked, I was shocked... it was some sort of nasty granuloma inflammation from hell due to a mysterious cause -- could have been a bug or spider bite, could have been "trauma" (i.e. from rough housing with Pop-Pop in the park).
Holy crap, am I relieved.

Thanks for your help!!

Ruh Roh

Miss Jamie will either love me or hate me after this weekend. See, I didn't have to go to work until late today, which gave me some time to get things here in order. More than anything I needed to put away clean clothes.

But in order to do that I had to find some room. Cause, um, my recent (girth) expansion has left me with clothes that do not fit clogging up the closet. Now, however, they're in Jamie's closet, waiting for her to pick through and see what she wants. When I first went to see her I did the very same thing and she was able to salvage a ton of goodies. Her closet is what might end up hating me. The selections are probably mostly too big, but I've got a couple of surprises in there that just might work.

Props to JeniQ, who did a Craigslist run for me since it was right by her house. I am the proud owner of the t-shirt you see above. Free.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

She's got it, alright!

People, we have a crisis on our hands, and I need YOU to help.

See this cutie??
She had part of that brown ear taken off recently.

(loud whisper) CANCER

Her name is Moxie, and she's my friend Ols's fave doggerson. I'm thinking that a dog that is THIS cute....

....really needs a lot of people and other doggies and kitties ON HER SIDE to make it through.

Are y'all up for it? Can you get behind loving up for the clear post-surgical recovery of a handi-capable* dog in an Elizabethan collar??

All's you gotta do is think about MOXIE. Tell your animal companions about Moxie. She's a winner, darn it. Hug your dogs and cats, Folks.

Here's what Ols has to say about Moxie's condition:

I think that she is going to be fine. Her ear reconstruction looks great, hardly noticeable -- perhaps a little bit smaller, but the doc did an amazing job. She is totally normal, healthy as a horse, so I am very confident that whatever it was, it was locally invasive and they got it right out.

We love her!

*Ols's words here

Penny Wise

I just spewed about 6 straight comments to Jamie's blog when she wasn't looking. That means I needed to write something up here so that I can get all the things out that I need to say!

I'm really excited these days about what is going to be happening at home; I have fun plants in, I got a lawnmower, I've got another Eat Local Challenge coming up. This time it's a week-long adventure on a budget. People always say it's too expensive to eat locally these days, but I'm thinking it's not as bad as they say. Jamie is using a $144 for 2 people budget. I guess that puts me at $72 for the week. I can do it! I'll exempt spices and coffee, but everything else will be LOCAL. Since I'm going to be at work for lunch I have a feeling it will be tough to do, but I'll survive.

I had a ton of fun at SUPERCOMPARE; among other things, I bought some locally produced corn meal masa to prepare for the week. I've got ideas about what to make for the week; my protein will be almost all egg and cheese and milk. Bread is doable, as are veggies. I have a feeling that my lunches will be egg-salad sandwiches (homemade mayo, y'all....)

I'm going to be getting some of my produce from my friend Maria's garden; I hope to barter for it. The KILO of NC-produced masa I bought for $2 will go to two things; pupusas on Monday when Jamie is here and I'll also make some fresh corn tortillas the way the Mayan women showed me. I'm thinking anyone would be willing to trade their excess asparagus and arugula and frozen serranos for homemade tortillas, right? Thanks Maria!

Really, I'm overjoyed.

Jamie is bring her doggo; I've been needing some doggie cuddles. I hope Silver puts up with me!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who cares if it's wobbly?

I just mowed my lawn with a 21"5 horse power Murray gas-powered push mower. My hands are shaky from the vibrations, so it's kind of hard to type.

It's certainly hard to figure out where to put the commas among all the descriptors in that first sentence.

I also picked up a FREE weedwacker, which so far I have not been able to get to start. I am not sure why, but I don't really care. I'll take a look at it later

For now, I feel so powerful! I pull a cord and VROOOOOOOOOOM! I push the poor limpy little baby mo-mo (commas?) along and it does its job, chomping up the grass, chewing it all up underneath and drizzling it back out below once it's nice and pasty.

When I get a minute I'm going to need to turn it over and figure out how long before the back wheel falls off and whether there's anything I can do to patch it up.

Oh, it's fun to accidentally mow over small, hot pink stuffed animals that have made their way into your yard. But I will try to avoid that from now on.



All hell seems to be breaking loose.

An old-growth tree fell on my coworker's car in the parking lot about an hour ago. High winds.

A friend of mine with close ties to Virginia Tech University is likely slightly freaked about the incident there. Then again, he probably doesn't even know about it yet, since he's in the path of the Nor'easter that has been wreaking havoc along the coast knocking out power everywhere.

I wonder what's next?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Things I considered buying at SUPERCOMPARE today

• Chocolate, vanilla, sherry, anise or pistachio-flavored gelatin (not-Jello-brand)
• Cow head (whole)
Epazote, fresh
Chayote, fresh
Del Valle pear nectar (but the guy sampling it addressed me in English. I said "No thanks, y que pena que siempre se supone que no hablo español...")
Nance, frozen or canned (especially interesting, as I have a friend with that last name)
Tomato-juice hair soap
• Local Panela
• Local sausages


Of all of that, I did buy ONE of those things. Which one do you think it was?

Public to-do list #2

Birding nope. a) overslept and b) rain
Bills done! (but go back to the electric company, because their website is timing out)
Jamie's room: make bed, clean off potting table, sweep, swiffer and mop
Kitchen: unload dishes, clean out fridge, trash out, sweep, swiffer and mop
Bedroom: wash sheets and duvet cover, put on the damn bedskirt, rotate mattress, shoes off of the floor, clean laundry away,

Aw screw it. I'm just going to start cleaning.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Know what?

(Don't you DARE say "chicken butt" lest I smite you telepathically)

I am pretty sure I killed my Indian Stripe tomato seedlings, while trying to harden them off. I had dumped them outside for the afternoon (not for the first time) and accidentally left them out overnight. I wasn't too too worried, since it only got down to 47º that night. So I left them out for the day, not realizing how sunny it was going to be. By the time I got home from work the foliage seemed burned and was shriveled all to hell. A couple of the seedlings may have survived. I only need two healthy plants, so cross your fingers. I am bummed, though, because I was going to give the others to Maria, whose seedlings also perished somewhere along the way this spring. Luckily I still have the other variety, whose name is currently escaping me.

Jamie's visit (next weekend, wooo HOOO) is going to coincide with a couple of neat things. It's Earth Day weekend, so all sorts of earthy events are going on. Too many, actually. Why can 't people spread these things out so you can do all of them!!

Anyhoo, we'll be going on a tour of local farms (small, sustainable agriculture), including two different dairies: cow and goat. It's a good thing, because Monday Jamie will begin the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge, so we'll have some scrounging to do. We'll be going over to my friend Maria's house, and I'm thinking we might be able to barter some produce off of her if I offer her some of my other tomato seedlings. Greens are in season, so if we buy some buttermilk from our third local dairy (warning, Moo), we can use it for a ranch-like salad dressing with my herbs. The leftover buttermilk will go towards biscuits.

Another of the farms we'll visit is Maria's brother's, where I will propose a barter. Translation for turnips, anyone? A lesson for lettuce? Condoms for collards?

My plans for the yard now center around buying a powered lawnmower. I just can't take the stress of not being able to cut the grass if I miss a couple of days. There's no pushing that reel mower through a week's worth of growth when it's rained.

I just missed buying a well-maintained, well-priced mower on the cheap from a Craigslist ad. It was in a subdivision behind Trader Joe's, so I could have made one trip for goodness. But the mower sold out from under me! Ah well.

I hope to see good birds tomorrow. We're in migration season now.

I'm starting to wonder if I actually have a COLD now rather than allergies. I'm exhausted, everything itches, I occasionally cough, I can't sleep, and my face and head now feel full. My throat was hurting, but does no longer. I've doubled up my meds, using Allegra D along with the genaric Flonase I got in Athens thanks to Julie, all on my doctor coworker's advice. (I love having doctors as coworkers. It's just SO easy when you want to vent about stupid things like post-nasal drip. And I didn't know you could combine those two meds. Rock.) But my hankie is just soaking wet, nonetheless.

I'm really tired of thinking about my symptoms so much. Boooooring.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I know it's really bad form to write about work. So I will. Cause I am occasionally the queen of bad form; just ask my mother. It's all good, though, which is why I'm going to write about it.

One of the things I appreciate about my career path is that in a position like mine I am out of the office working in the community quite frequently. In fact, my boss just said last week that she hopes not to see me very often. In the six weeks that I've been working here, I've made about, oh, 50ish new contacts who work at other human services organizations. So that 50 does not count either the kids I work with regularly, their parents, or my direct coworkers.

The county I work in is very large and very spread out, compared to my prior jobs. There are 20 high schools, as compared to four in the county I used to work in. That means that the human services community isn't very tight knit. There are discrete groups of people who work together, but not everyone is connected to everyone else. A long term goal of mine in this position is to create an information-sharing council of youth-serving organizations. Such a group would benefit from knowing the services and programs other organizations provide, thus maximizing youth support and minimizing overlaps in services.

Anyhoo, all that is really beside the point; I was meaning to talk about one of those discrete groups of new colleagues. There's a very large youth-development agency here that has a big staff of people who work with youth outside of the schools. I'm collaborating with said group of people and a few other organizations to plan a big county-wide youth event for next fall. We had a meeting on Wednesday night, and I was floored at the conversations these women (cause it's mostly women, face it) had with one another. It felt more like a slumber party than a gathering of professionals. Now, do NOT get me wrong; these women are very professional when in a more work-like setting. It's just that they are good enough friends that there's a certain fluidity to their work/life-on/off switch.

All that background just to tell you that as soon as they had a chance they were drilling me about my relationship status. My short explanation of "the-only-single-men-I-meet-are-10-years-younger" met with an absolute buzz of problem-solving activity. They are going to FIND me a man, damnit! Did I care if he was divorced? No. If he smoked? Well...(I didn't get into it). Did I have a "preference"? (Huh?? Clarification: Do you date black men) No, no preference.

The only real limitations I put on were that he be 1) catless and 2) not socially conservative.

So far I have a date with a financial planner (FP) who wants kids immediately. The woman who knows the FP called her fiance to arrange a time/place/situation for all of us to go out. The fiance's only comment was "Is she skinny? Cause he won't do with a woman without some meat on her bones!"

I like him already.

(Except he likes to stay up late and is very muscular/big. I'm more prone to be attracted to a whippet-shaped man. These are minor issues)

Almost done

The financial stuff that's been worrying me for ages is almost done. ALMOST DONE!!! WAHOO!!!

• efile for NC and Federal taxes. I qualified for free online Turbotax. That's cause I'm po'.
EXPECTED RESULT: ginormo refund
• Forms for my health care savings account for 2006.
EXPECTED RESULT: ginormo reimbursement check
• Reimbursement forms for a spendy prescription that they thought wasn't covered by insurance but actually was.
EXPECTED RESULT: mildy ginormo check should come

To still do:
• papersign my taxes in a couple of days
• print the PDF of my tax returns and file away with W2s, etc.
• photocopy and mail in all reimbursements

SWEETNESS: It looks like all my reimbursements will just about cover my credit card debt, so my almost year out of work will be a wash. I'm still out my entire savings, but at least I won't OWE.

Next step: Roommate

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Soy Ploy

I got these free in the mail yesterday. I was supposed to, via their marketing instructions, "spread the Soyjoy" by eating one and giving two away. It's better for them that I ate two and plan to toss the third.

Blech. Why I even finished the first makes me scratch my head. Let's blame it on my being hungry and not very....awake. They're sour and bland at the same time, with a texture kind of like an extruded, soft-in-a-bad-way, tightly-"crumbed" biscotto. (Yes, I went there.)

p.s. don't let cheap mangos get overripe. They lose both the tang and the sweet, becoming just bland. Or maybe that's because they had to ripen here at home rather than at ALL on the tree.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Allium cepa

I have to admit, I'm pretty sure this could be me:

Please forgive me. :-)

Thanks for pointing this my way, Crazy John!

A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter

Whoa. This is really stupid, and yet I've been hoping to run across it for months now. When I walk I sometimes chant along to this.
Now I'm kind of bummed, though.


La Peaceable Imperatrix had this on her blog and it intrigued me. I'm just putting it here for posterity's sake, as I haven't had a chance to actually look at it or process it yet.

OK, so having looked at it a bit more and then re-doing it, the only difference is in the first category; instead of Easy Rider, I came up as Go-Getter the second time. I think the first one is the one that's more like me.

Don't they always say that your first instinct is correct?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Taking my own advice

On my to-do list for today at work is to create a one-hour lesson about stress reduction.

As I write this, I am exhausted from poor sleep (allergy-induced) and facing some unexpected barriers at work. The combination has set me off so that I am once again feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending lists of things I need to do. My nose is bleeding again, too.

I just told Pinky in an email that the only thing I want to do right now is to curl up with Snoopy.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Duffed Dup

Today I finally tried using a neti pot.

Oh, ok, it wasn't a real neti pot; I made do with a bicycle water bottle (sorry Marc, I think it's yours, and now it's been in both of my nostrils). I've had sinus problems since early December, when I began bleeding outrageously at a county auction while visiting Jamie. Nothing major, just dry, itchy and occasionally swollen.

Spring allergies have had me wiped out and itchy. I had heard great things about the neti pot, but just couldn't bring myself to, well, stick a tube in my nose and force water into it, hoping that the technique would NOT leave me feeling drowned, but rather just freshly cleansed. I did want to rinse out all the yuck that people tell me is up in there, like pollen and other sinusy goodness.

So disappointing!!

I neither feel better nor are my sinuses clearer. Nothing unseemly rushed out of my nostrils, and I have to admit, half of what was motivating me was that gross/cool feeling I get when I watch a surgery or something.

It was basically just warm, slightly salty water running out of one nostril while I gently forced it into the other one. Not horribly unpleasant, but definitely not the cureall I was hoping for.


Has anyone else done this with better results? Am I just expecting too much, too soon?


Roller skating was fun but HARD!! I struggled with balance, confidence and sore shins for the first several laps. Midway through, though, basic confidence returned, the sore shins mellowed out, and I really began to enjoy myself.

Best of all, though, was watching the other skaters. It kind of reminded me of when I go/went salsa dancing. There was just some amazing talent out there. It did feel at times as though I had stepped back into 1979, but with current music.

I kept thinking that someone needed to do a documentary about roller-skating subculture. I wonder if they call it rollerdancing? If you want to check out the scene, here's a link to photos from various skating events.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, because I had my endorphins all hyped up. And then I had a gruesome dream that my mom came skating with me. I told her it was slippery, she smiled kind of shyly and moved gingerly to the 'wood' and then WHOMP! She fell to her right, hit her head on the rink and knocked herself out. I had to ask people to call the ambulance. Her head was bloody.

I'm glad that didn't happen to me.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Long overdue

My recent spate of Do It Yourself projects has been fun, educational, uplifting and fulfilling. One project seems to flow into another, which then leads to a third, until I am barely able to finish one thing before I come up with another.

Yeah, I haven't told you about the worms yet.

Instead, I've been planting, watering, covering with plastic and praying that weather doesn't screw everything up, and then there's was a day trip last weekend to see the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker (success!), and it's also time for migration plus that pesky job that's financing all of these projects takes up SO much time, oh but I need to visit Maria and Emily and don't forget to hang out with other friends tomorrow and then I want to go roller skating tomorrow night, but then I find out that there's kind of a "see and be seen" vibe, and I have nothing cute to wear because I have changed size, but that's ok because at least I'm still not smoking, and besides don't you think that things will change a bit this summer with me being so active and anyway I'm sure I can find something that will work and let me skate without drowning in my own sweat, but OOOhhhhh, I can make a new t-shirt that says something cool, and do you think they still make those iron-on letters that are psuedo-velour in the Cooper typeface family*?


Here's a very, very truncated overblown version of making the worm bin, gathering the worms and feeding them.

I bought 3 storage tubs from the drugstore, and brought them home. I drilled areation holes all over two of them, and only on the upper sides for the third. It actually was a lot harder than I expected it to be, because the drill kept cracking the plastic when it would punch through . My friend Ryan called midway through the project, and I invited him over. He took over the drilling job for a bit, but got annoyed/frustrated/worried/concerned/notreallysure about the cracking, and I finished it up.

See Ryan drill. Drill Ryan, drill!

That was on a Friday. On Sunday I went to visit JeniQ. That was the first I realized that I had bought the wrong kind of bin. They should have been opaque rather than translucent. Worms like it dark. Duh.

JeniQ gave me a small box full of about a pound of worms, which rode home in my trunk. I lined one bin with a sheet of newspaper, as Jeni told me to, so that the worms wouldn't just fall down through the holes. I stacked that bin into the one with no holes on the bottom. The third bin went into the shed for later use.** I tore up newspaper into shreds and covered the worms with it, and misted the whole thing with water. I closed the box up, put it away and went in to sleep off my yuck tummy.

The next morning I checked on the worms, and it looked like they had tried to commit suicide by drowning. You need to maintain a moist but not drippy level of humidity in the bin, and I guess I had overdone the water. The bottom bin had collected some puddles, and in the puddles were a couple of biggish clumps of worms. I think they must have crawled through some of the holes in the sides of the bin to get down there, because the bottom layer of paper was intact. I added more paper to make it less wet, and gave them some food to see if it would mollify the wormies. It did.

The worms are alive and well, so far. They live under my house in a crawl space, which I hope will shield them from temperature extremes. It's dark and confined, so I think they'll be good.

*I'll let you know what my t-shirts will look like when I finish them. I'm really hoping that they turn out well. I bought three t-shirts, some iron-on letters and some glittery fabric glue. I have plans for two of the shirts, but am VERY open to suggestions for the third!

**The third bin will come into play when I want to "harvest" the worm poop, a.k.a. castings. I'll line that bin with a layer of paper on the bottom like I did with the first one. I'll stack the full-of-worms bin into the new one and put them both into the bottom bin. Worms move to where the food is, so I'll put food in the new bed, and the worms will scooch down to the lower bin. That will leave their poop in the top bin, ready to spread all over the garden.

UPDATE: JeniQ told me that "the wood" is roller-skater slang for the rink. I was going to make a t-shirt that said "I [heart] wood" (Jeni's joke, not mine, but I'm the one silly enough to wear it). Somehow when I made my test shirt though, I neglected to realize I'd be using up the only W in my pack. So now I have to come up with TWO t-shirt designs. Here's the first:

Friday, April 6, 2007


•I bought a florid housecoat at Rose's, which I am currently wearing, despite it being ass-cold out. Now I just need some curlers and a scarf. My other purchases included 2 black and 2 gray men's "A-shirts" and generic Benedryl. Emily threatened to buy me a striped, terrycloth, sleeveless romper. I actually wanted it, and I would have bought it if only they had my size. :-(

•I will consume oodles of home-grown asparagus (Maria's) soon.

•I had two lifer birds today, one by sight (Louisiana Waterthrush), one by sound (Eastern Screech Owl).

•When I went over to Emily's house after a nice long walk at Maria's, Emily fed me. She feeds me well. I had her leftover Chicken Tikka Masala and some flourless chocolate cake from Passover. (Drool)

•The baby that screamed all night when I babysat did the same thing for his parents for a week straight after breaking me in. I saw him again today for the first time since then, and he pretended he had never cried in my arms until almost puking. Damn flirt.

•I repotted my Indian Stripe tomatoes today, burying their skinny little stalks way down deep in the starter soil. Roots will grow from those stalks, making for a healthy beginning.

•My doctor talked gardening with me on Thursday morning after diagnosing me Extremely Not Crazy. $200 is a hefty sum to pay to find out that you should plant your squash in the corners of the beds and let them trail on the lawn for space-maximization (I think I may have made up that word...lemme check. Nope. But it does sound made up.) It's good advice nonetheless.

•I'm being dined (but not wined) tomorrow a.m. by the local ACLU, who seem to think I have clout in this town. Buah ha ha. I already told them I have neither influence on bigwigs nor interest in taking on a cause, but they offered brunch anyway. I made the boundary clear, but I'm still worried I'll end up volunteering for something. Sigh.

•I'm planning on going roller skating (<----that link is worth clicking if only for the music) on Sunday night with JeniQ.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Congratul8ons 2 me

Today I'm going to reward myself with this and maybe this*.

Any other ideas?

*That second isn't so much of a reward, though, as it is a way to fool myself into thinking I've eaten something on a long plane ride


We're supposed to have lows below freezing (31º, 28º, 24º, 29º) for the next 4 nights. And of course I gambled and planted beans. Cause really, when you have temps in the mid-80s for days on end, you don't think about winter coming back.

OK, so if I lose the beans, that's fine. I don't think they've even germinated.

But I have lot of other things in there too: green onions, beets, chard, radishes...

Is there ANYthing I can do to save them? I have a translucent plastic shower curtain and also could maybe cover up with other things. Electric blanket? (just kidding on that, if only because I don't have one)

Monday, April 2, 2007


I always thought Tori Amos was black, for some reason. I have no idea why or what that means. I wonder how many other musicians that I think are black aren't. Or vice-versa. Or whatever other race/ethnicity.

Oh, I realized the other day the reason why I blog. Primarily it's because I have nobody to tell the little ins and outs of daily life.

Anyway, enjoy this:

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Outside Brown


I'm alone in a hotel room right now. There's wireless, cable, a free full breakfast (waffles!), and even a pool. It's amazing what registers as luxury to me.

Maybe I feel so pampered because it's FREE. I have a king sized bed (did I mention cable??), six pillows and a dorm-sized fridge. I don't have to even think about when to get up, because someone is going to call me at 6:30 a.m. Then I'll go to a training for work. I'm going to teach people how to quit smoking, apparently (BUAH HA HA HA HA--almost 8 months, though, people!)

I'm full to the rim*. The training tomorrow is in the BBQ capital of the world, and the hotel is across the street from one of the elder statesmen of 'Q. It happens to be open on Sundays, unlike its more well-known and revered brother, Honey Monk's, AKA Lexington #1, AKA Lexington Barbecue.

NCBBQ is a serious topic, and some people just don't get it. Eastern vs. Western, chopped vs many things to consider. And then there's the slaw: red or white (warning: bad midi version of Dixie--and scroll down to the explanation of slaws. I've never had yellow slaw)

Here's a primer
. I'm falling asleep I'm so full. I'm super glad I knew to get the outside brown**. My order was a BBQ plate: coarse chopped, outside brown, red slaw, fries and hushpuppies. The hushpuppies were just 'eh'.

Hm, though. Maybe I should have gotten a fried pie, too.The sugar might have woken me up. Except even the sweet tea wasn't even enough for that. Ah...sweet, sweet barbecue.

I hope they cater the training tomorrow with BBQ. And I'm going to get some to go, too.

*Jerry: name that 70s commercial tagline!
**My friend Maria helped me move the rest of the dirt today. When I told her about my imminent trip, she clued me in to the lingo. "Outside brown" is the smokiest part of the pig... crispy, browned skin clinging to chunks of meat.


Load dishwasher
Run dishwasher
Clean filthy counters
• Clean off surfaces...make some order, already!

Put away clean clothes
Wash dirty clothes
Pick up shoes
• Wash bedclothes
• Find resting places for extraneous surface crap.
• Vacuum and then swiffer and then mop.
• Install new bedskirt
• Rotate mattress

Living room:
Remove stack of recyclable paper
• Take bedding off of couch
• Swiffer

Extra bedroom:
• Turn table back into a desk after stint as germinating table
• Move desk stuff off of bed
• Put sheets on bed

Get last seizure med refill
• Make a call to doc for a new script.
• Find a lab to get thyroid levels checked

Mow lawn
Plant radishes
Plant beets
Plant Swiss chard
Plant onions
Plant beans?
Feed the worms
Repot the sorrell into the Myküll gift pot
Water the bed
Turn the compost pile
Move dirt
Move bed frame to sunny spot

• Do taxes
• Do 2006 Health Savings Account reimbursements (BTW, I don't care what the savings are. I am NOT organized enough to make this work my way. Never AGAIN.)
• Pay rent
• Pay bills
• Deposit paycheck
• Collect 1/2 of past water bill from deadbeat former housemate (Yeah right. it's only ~$20. I should just write that off. I emailed him about it over a week ago with no response. I get the feeling he's going to "stick it to me!" I feel pretty bad for him...not even willing to pay his past debts.)
• Find new roommate, trying not to be as freaked out by my last bad living experience as much as I was with my last bad job experience...

• Get bashed in side fixed (mom, this is what you can't bug me about. the anxiety about not having done it is out the roof as it is)
• Fix the windshield
• Take in to see why the maintenence light is on
• Figure out when to get the timing belt changed
• Figure out where to get maintenence done in this new town (Honda owners, any ideas?)