Thursday, May 31, 2007

Moving on

So I caved. Just for 30 minutes though. I got home from a 12-hour day that will be followed by another one, and then a weekend where I'll work both Saturday and Sunday, and it was in the 80s inside my house. I can't take that tonight.

For less than 30 minutes I switched on the air. It got down to 79 and I've turned it off. It's still warm enough that lolling starkers is comfortable, but I'm no longer sweating while sitting still.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Would you take on a long-term (academic year) dogsitting gig, if you wanted a dog but were scared to commit?

What about if it was all expenses paid?

What if you'd be doing your very good friend a favor?

What if you already knew the dog and really liked its temperament?

What if you are DYING for a dog?

What if you know it plays well with others?

What if it looked like this?:

I'm possibly doomed.

This is the breed...

Thank god for screens

That title up there might just distract me for a second from my original thought for a topic. I'll come back to it.

Look up there, for a second, to the post title. What do you say when you, ahem, don't cotton to the idea* of deities? I went with the non-capitalization, feeling like it's preferable to something acutely awful like "Thank Goddess." I don't know why the alternatives bug me so. Thank Deity. Thank goodness. Thank the lord. Thank heavens. There's just not a secular option that I can come up with. (Thank goodness is the closest, but since it's probably finding its roots as a substitute for the word 'god' I've decided it doesn't count as secular.)

Anyhoo, back on topic.


I've decided to delay turning on the central air for as long as humanly (Stewly) possible. I have ceiling fans in almost every room, and it's still getting cool enough at night that it's not entirely unbearable. And really, I'm not home for most of the day.

Remember, I'm also the one who, when my past roommate moved out, opted to set the thermostat at a nice 60º F and just wear sweaters. I'm hardy that way.

It's been getting up to 90º during the day now, and I'm employing all the right tricks to keep the house cool. Nonetheless, it's a muggy 80º inside. Doable.

I wonder when I'll break.

*Did I use that phrase correctly? I can't readily find an online definition.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Uh oh....

I'm having DIY hair urges. No worries, not yet. I managed to use an eyebrow razor to try to undo some of the heavy sides left over from an ill-advised, last minute visit (three months ago) to a supercuts-esque chain "stylist."

I cut my finger a little in the process, looks like.

I have an almost overwhelming urge to get a couple of sets of those eyebrow razors and just hack and hack at the back of my hair until the front is long long long and the back is well, scraggly and uneven, but cutely so.

But really? I want to DO IT MYSELF.

Besides a Flowbee, can you think of a way to tackle this? I want to teach myself to cut my hair. It's a waste of money to pay someone to do it, and I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with learning a new skill.

What's the worst thing that could happen? I make an appointment at Syd's and ask for a shorn head because that's all the hair that's left? Bah. I've done that. (Actually? I really, REALLY love that haircut you see when you click on 'shorn head.')

Editor: In context, doesn't this have the potential to make me sound a little, well, mental?? (I can say that. You can't. Unless you can. You know who you are.) Will talk to the expert about it next time I see him.

You mean you're not SUPPOSED to bleed?

Whoops. I just hit 'enter' instead of 'tab' to switch fields, and so as I write this the word's already out that I've posted. Except I haven't. Just the title.

Anyhoo, my lack of coherence is leading to another bulleted entry.

• No, I didn't leave my house yesterday. Why do you ask? (Not actually true, but felt like it.)

Supercompare is fun and the men are cute. A baby actually works in supercompare much as a puppy does elsewhere.

• My purchases at Big Lots are inspired and usually unplanned. Not the best place to go if you're trying not to accumulate things, because a) cool, limited audience items plus b) extra cheap prices = buying things you normally wouldn't. This, is one example, anyway. As I'd always expected, this is little more than a torture device. Maybe the armpits will fare better than the bikini zone has, though, as they are more accustomed to having the hairs ripped out by the roots than other sensitive areas on me are.

Taquería Lopez, which my friend Phil reviewed recently, hit the spot after Supercompare. The baby in my life chowed down on chicken and cucumbers, the mumma had chicken tacos and some homemade jamaica, and I ordered off menu, nothing major. Just veggie tacos. "I don't care what you put on them, but cheese and guacamole would be a good start." What I liked the most about the place was the condiments bar. On it was (at minimum): totopos, salsa roja, salsa rosa, nopalitos con rábanos, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños with onion, lime wedges, cucumber slices and a number more sauces that I couldn't identify. Way worth going again.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ah, what to do today?

I read a nice bit of advice today regarding going out and doing things alone.

However, the most important thing is that if you are dependant on friends coming to be able to do things, you will spend your life missing out on things you want to do. Friends are great when they're there, but they can't always be there - never, ever, get into the habit of not doing things you want to, just because people aren't interested or flake out at the last minute, or whatever.

It may seem like little things - but over the years, they add up. Once you've gone to this concert, lower the bar and start going to similarly no-friends-interested things you are merely tempted by and are not to-die-for. It doesn't cost you time with your friends, it just means you get to do more - being effortlessly independent is simply a better way to live. (From here)

This resonates with me. There are a lot of times I don't have access to friends, either because they are busy or because I am feeling uncomfortable calling around.

I'm going to try this. Now I have to figure out what kind of things to do.

Off to check out the Independent's events calendar...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quick note

• Today is Jamie's birthday. Go tell her happy birthday!

• The farm sitting will not be happening, though I am on a list for future reference. The woman had 40 responses, and will end up using her in-laws, whose property abuts hers, and who changed their plans in order to help out.

• It's poison ivy season again. Last year when I was traveling to Michigan, I broke out in a huge patch of nastiness on the back of my leg. In fact, my littlest nephew said to Pedro last weekend "Hey, remember when Aunt Nen had poison ivy?" Today I have just a few bits of it, on one leg and on one hand, and on a couple parts of my belly.

• I'm going to a pig pickin' today, taking some deviled eggs.

• When I called Michele just now to see what she was wearing, we narrowly averted a potential wardrobe gaffe. Instead of both of us wearing jean skirts with burgundy shirts, I will be wearing a turquoise-ish shirt with a casual linen skirt.

K, that's it. Bubbye.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Crossover happened last night. That means that any NC bill that didn't get a vote in either the house or the senate is essentially dead until next session.

NC Senate Bill 948, a bill that would allow raw milk to be sold legally in this state (and which I had not even heard of before this morning), passed despite MY SENATOR voting against it. (I think. It's hard to tell from the website exactly what happened and why. He voted aye once, and nay once. The nay was about 4 hours after the aye, which is what is making me conclude that he voted against.)

I'm not sure what made him decide to eventually vote nay. I had enough faith in my legislators that I already wrote him about it to THANK him for its passing. Then I saw that there had been some votes against. So I looked up my guy and checked out his voting record. Hm. Looks like I have a follow up email to write. I wish I had heard about this bill before the deadline had already passed.

Apparently some of the debate about the bill was spirited. Sen. Kay Hagen, of Greensboro, sponsored the bill, and a prime objector was Bill Purcell, a retired MD. Senator Tony Rand, of Fayetteville, shared some fond memories of his cow, Lucy. (More audio commentary is over at this blog.)

At any rate, some other bills I like that survived crossover include one to create parity in mental health coverage. Here's hoping that it passes the senate too. Another house bill that survived is one that requires NC school districts to enact a policy against bullying in schools. The sticking point on this bill is that the protected classes include sexual orientation. I still don't understand why anyone would think it's OK to gang up on ANY class of people.

Unfortunately, some bills I liked won't continue to be considered.

HB 879, (my personal favorite), which would re-establish comprehensive sex ed in the NC schools, died in committee. That just means that there wasn't enough support for it yet to make sure it would pass a vote. If a bill is voted down, it's a lot more dead than if it just doesn't make it out of committee. My lobbyist sources (as well as my house rep) tell me that there was a lot of misunderstanding about what the bill meant. Apparently there was some kind of BS going around that the bill would take abstinence out of the school curriculum entirely (!!). It's good news, really, that it got as far as it did. I thank all of you who did contact your legislators about this bill. When it comes up next session, I'm hoping we have more of an educational push for the legislators.

NC also voted against a bill to prohibit corporal punishment in public schools. Nice.

It amazes me how much stuff goes on that people never really hear about unless they are paying close attention to the goings on in the government. It's not possible for a typical citizen to keep up with the bills being introduced; there are thousands each session, and well, we have lives to lead.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's all in my head

A lot of times, anticipation is more fun than an actual event.

Just now I wrote an email in response to this Craigslist ad. It has me giddy, like a little girl, or like a teenager with a crush. I love the thought of me, an apron on, wispy tendrils of my hair escaping from my bun and sticking to my sweaty forehead.

The apron is cotton. And it's where I'm putting the eggs. A goat nips my butt, and I turn around and scold her. (Nevermind that the goats and the chickens probably are not in the same section of a barn.)

ACTUALLY doing this scares me. I'm sure it's a lot of hard work. 90 chickens??? That's a hell of a lot of eggs to find. I explained in the email that I have two specific places to look to for technical support. Jamie, of course (not that I've even asked, but of course she'd be ok with a slightly panicked phone call about eggs) is one. My aunt, a livestock farmer, would be the other one.

What do you think??

Meanwhile, I've got to go pick up my newly-inspected car, which needs neither a timing belt quite yet nor any other major work done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And also

I guess I'm kind of grumpy. I don't want to try and figure out what damn lesson plan the person here before me used. And I don't want to go try to warm up to another bunch of damn kids who don't really want me there!

(someone has a bad attitude today)


I picked a large baggie of peas today to take for lunch. I am eating said peas. Raw, like I like them. Usually. Because these? Aren't sweet. They're kind of bitter, occasionally chalky and always reminiscent of furniture polish.

A good quarter of them are not edibly podded, either. That's more than I realized. If they're picked when small (i.e. snowpeas sized), there is no difference between how they look and how the edibly-podded peas look.

The peas I planted that actually DO have edible pods are kind of icky tasting, especially if you actually let the peas grow. And they're stringy and tough, besides.

Needless to say I won't be saving these seeds.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Yesterday I turned on my PDA only to find that the screen was so dim as to be barely legible.

Fuuuuuck. It's the only way I maintain some kind of handle on my schedule. I never got the hang of a paper organizer, and with my bad memory I HAVE to have some place to record everything that I do or plan to do. Otherwise I'll call a person twice for the same reason, not even realizing I'd already done that.

(That's normal, right?)

I'm still recovering from my extended period of no income* so the thought of shelling out money for another PDA is kind of appalling to me. Luckily I have very basic needs: a) it needs a calendar, and b) it needs to sync somewhere on my computer.

After about 20 minutes identifying what the superbasic-est, most cheaply available PDA would be for me, I did a price search.

Jeepers!** It's like, $100!

So I remembered that at one point I had had a brainstorm (which I would have entered onto my to-do list to follow up on, if my damn PDA had worked at the time) that I should be doing some trouble shooting about the situation, just in case the PDA wasn't really dying.

(It was a long-shot, borne of utter frugality)



*aside: remember my glee at filing various and sundry insurance claims and health savings account expenses? Yeah. I didn't bank on them BEING REJECTED.

**Who knew? Etymology is fuuuun.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Or maybe I'm just boring/bored and trying to sound all erudite and shit to hide it.

I've been thinking a lot in the last few days about identity, but also about minutia. I really like learning about the different minigroups that people can feel a sense of belonging about.

Maybe that's why I like Craigslist.

Just looking in one section tonight has provided me with a ton of interesting new information about the different appeal people find in animals.

Humans feel a LOT of emotion about their pets. That's not new to me. Most of the postings here are about finding new forever homes for their babies. Posters worry about their pet's mental health. There's also a fair amount of activism. Marketing, too. And who knew that there were fake pet scams?

This listing is just sad. I wonder what's going on? The desperation pet owners feel is just so touching to me.

I've heard of crazy cat owners, but not this. Odd? I'd say so.

I've decided not to look up what sugar gliders are, because really, I'd prefer to fantasize over what they might be.

Finally: some randomness that caught my eye:

* Horse hair pottery made from your horse's hair *
Chicken-eating Bulldogs must go
Aren't Quakers supposed to be real peaceable? I wonder why these ones are so aggressive.
Perhaps the best dog name ever.


I think that my Mom once had a narrow pad of paper that stuck on the fridge and was labeled "Chopin Liszt"

I have a new nextdoor neighdog, named Alistair. Very cute to have him wander up and nose me. His dad worries Alistair will pee on my garden beds. I'd be OK with that, if it keeps the cats from shitting in it.

● On Saturday at work I got: ear seeds, a massage and a geranium.

● My nephew, in explaining to me where exactly the deer's position had been, said: "You know Grandma's cage? Well, take twelve paces towards the lake."

● My step grandmother on my Dad's side, aged 97, is soon to leave this world. May she not be in pain in the meanwhile. And may there be all the Coca Cola she should want.

● The local rollerskating club I have a rather distant connection to has a slogan on their cards: "Drama free skate club"

● I like pointers

Raw milk is to pasteurized as a Tillamook cheddar is to Velveeta.

Benadryl is the only thing that works.

Friday, May 18, 2007


This is my boy Harold. He's got balls.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


So...not much commentary on yesterday's post, eh? That's fine. I'm just really glad I have found something to stir things up just enough to get me changing the things I need to change.

So, on that note, I woke up today, had a small coffee, took my meds and crawled back in bed.

PSYCHE! OK, yeah I did crawl back into bed, but only for a few minutes while drinking my coffee. Then I got up, put on running clothes, and did day two of the C2-5K program.

I got home, and before you know it I was caught up in garden plans. I did a ton, and it was hard work, man. I hauled and raked and hoed and cultivated and shoveled and flipped. For almost 2 hours of sweat, grime, and sneezing. (I'm not working today)

Garden update:

• My peas aren't what I wanted, but they're fine. It looks like I got something more like snow peas rather than sugar snap peas. And I also got one misfiled pea seed, cause I have some non-edible pod peas at one end of the row.

• The radishes are HUGE and probably should be just cleared out now.

• Thinning the chard was a very good move. What's left is thriving.

• The beets, which are not planted very neatly, are doing well. Nice greens on them, and once I pull the radishes which are sharing their space, I bet they'll have more room to develop and be happy.

• Beans: have buds!

• Tomatoes: various stages of development. One of the Extreme Bush plants I grew from seed is doing particularly well, and it looks like the Indian Stripes I thought were goners will probably pull through. I treated a minor case of aphids with an application of some insecticidal oil. We do have some flowers, people, which bodes well. Tomato pests scare the crap out of me!

Cukes are fine. They're not extremely quick growth, though, so they're still kind of boring.

• Peppers: another slow growth plant. There are buds on the big plant I got at Barnes Supply over near my house.

Cantaloupes and straight neck squash: I can't remember which is which, because Sharpie apparently fades quickly in direct sunlight. And I'm not sure if I am supposed to thin them or not. For both crops, Jamie and I planted three seeds in the corner of one of the beds, and all three came up and are thriving. So um yeah. To thin or not to thin?

• Current stock of herbs: rosemary, oregano, sorrel, winter savory, thyme, spearmint, garlic chives, peppermint, dill, basil, regular chives, parsely, sage.

• I planted the raspberries, and it does look like I've got a stock of wild blackberries, as well.

• The green onions look like tiny chives.

Random thoughts: Fainting goats for sale, I'm wearing shoulder pads today. I think I saw poison ivy in my yard and whipped out some Round Up. The robins are extremely happy to chomp on the worms I uprooted when hauling compost. I didn't change shoes to garden and so had to hose them off. But not after I tracked in a ton of dirt accidentally. I wonder what's for lunch? It's past one. I like watching mockingbirds divebomb starlings and grackles. It's kind of cold out today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And a chorus of angels sings...

Today felt really good.

I wasn't tired. At all. I concentrated fabulously, I got tons done, and I was exceedingly clear-headed in doing so. No anxiety messed with me, nor pervasive feelings of inadequacy. There were some not-so-great moments, and no moments of extreme giddiness.

I'm depressed.

You see, today is what normal is supposed to be. Some ups, some downs, and overall pleasant.

Now that I'm home from work, I'm not immediately escaping to my bed and shutting out the world, as per usual these days. I'm actually out on my front porch enjoying the pre-mosquito late spring evening, finally matching the song sparrow to its song. My nose is itchy, cause allergies absolutely BITE, but I'll deal.

What is the most fantastic, though? Is that I'm. Not. Tired. Today I was not a walking zombie!

I have been SO TIRED for the past several months. Just dead exhausted, barely coherent, not able to concentrate, muddy-headed, stupid-feeling and overall incapable of day-to-day functioning.

Unable to cook, unable to clean, unable to do anything beyond sleep, wake up, shower, dress, and get myself to work. I've been putting all my energy into work, so that I make a decent impression and all.

This isn't even close to the worst I've ever been depressed, and it feels like it's just a few changes away from being done with. You know, changes like exercising, eating healthier and, um, a slight medication tweak.

I made the meds tweak today. HUGE difference.

(I feel compelled to add that no, it's not the placebo effect, because we're not talking about a medication that takes weeks to work. And though I'm not hiding the name of the med that has helped me so much, neither do I want it up here on the blog. Feel free to email me. Talking about depression openly is one of my goals in life. Stigma reduction and all that.)

Oh, and p.s.? I had three lengthy visits yesterday from someone (or maybe plural?) at Alticor in Ada, Michigan. They got here by seeing what sites had linked to one of their websites in particular. Do you think I'm going to get taken out some evening when it's dark?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


The good news: I did Day One, but it was after work instead of before.

The bad news: I am wide awake, it's late, AND I have to get up realllllllly early tomorrow. (Have to leave for work at 7 a.m.!)

More good news: The gardening swap is working out well. I gave the microgreens from thinning my swiss chard to my neighbor with the same last name who calls me "cuz." In exchange, she gave me spicy, yum arugula, a castor bean plant*, a raspberry bush, a peppermint plant and a tour of her yard. Oh, and some oregano for the baked kibbeh** I made for dinner.

*Neighbor Callsmecuz said she got the plants because GWB told people not to grow it. Looking at the website I linked to describe the plant, I can see why he'd want not to have it all over the place. But, really? That plant does scare me a little bit. I'm not sure I want something that poisonous in my yard. After all, someone might use it to load a Bulgarian Umbrella, and, MAN, I want nothing to do with that! Imagine the scandal!

**I used beef instead of lamb, and didn't use a recipe at all. Basically you take bulgar and make it soak up water. You mix it with raw meat and onions. Saltyish. I added oregano, mint and a teensy bit of sorrel for tang. Next time I'll either add more sorrel or some lemon juice. You smush 1/2 the mixture into a well-buttered (with butter) pan. Then you spoon over it some more onions (sweated) a small amount of browned ground meat, and toasted pine nuts. Then you put the other half on top. Bake until done and nicely browned.

The best laid plans...

My alarm didn't go off today. I set it earlier than normal so I could get up and do Day One of the couch-to-5k plan.

Um. I'm late for work.

Not happening

Monday, May 14, 2007


May the 4th was 9 months not smoking. W00t! How did I forget?

In that nine months I've gone up, oh, two to three clothing sizes, which puts me distinctly in big girl territory for the first time ever. Oh, I've hovered on the edge before, yes indeedy, and now I have teetered over onto the other side.

Back when I was last almost plus-sized, I ended up losing 35 lbs and was truly skinny for a time. Circumstances were such that I needed exercise quite badly for other reasons, so I was working out 30 min twice a day. As a project, I also signed on to an eating plan, and over the course of a number of months I went down about 35 lbs.

And then I got laid off at my last health education gig and hired on at Evil U. And that job sucked. And I stopped exercising. And I ate Chik-Fil-A every day for lunch. And, not surprisingly, I gained weight. Since Aug 2005 I've gained 50 lbs. That is a TON! It's 15 lbs more than I had weighed before.

Sucky, huh?

It's actually not too, too bad, though.

Cause this not smoking thing? It's worth this weight. It's worth feeling crappy about my body size. It's worth having to buy all new clothes.

I'm scared, but it's coming up on the time where I now need to make the next change in my life. I seem to be motivated by not wanting to feel shitty. I feel shitty now. I feel ugly, weak and messy. I'm isolating myself.

So far in the last year I've a) gotten a much better job b) quit smoking and c) developed two really cool hobbies. I need to remember that that's a goodly amount of stuff! I have this tendency to be an all-or-nothing gal, usually tending to the "or nothing" side of things.


Things left to work on: exercise, weight, partner.

( here seem to be more tolerant of fatties than of smokers. also? i may have reached the age finally where they've gone through the inevitable divorce! there are more men on the market here than the last time i checked!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Um...I bet you're as sick of my whining as I am of feeling like whining. That said, this is day way-too-many-in-a-row of This Sucks.

I almost wept for real in a role play at the training today, where I was playing a women with an intellectual disability* who had to tell her mother about the breast lump she had found. The woman playing my mom, an older, rural African-American woman, was way too empathetic ("It's okay, baby, we'll go to Dr. Jones's and you'll be good."), which almost made me lose it right there.

*This is apparently the new term for what more recently called "developmental disability" and prior to that "mental retardation".

In other news, my mattress edges out from the back wall during the night, leaving a space perfect for me to lose my pillow and/or Snoopy.


Finally, I don't really feel like saying anything. So I might go quiet for a bit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


When I lived in NY, I didn't know many people. In an attempt to meet people and be a little more engaged, I decided to take a community college course in American Sign Language. Now, mind you, I was depressed, undiagnosed and miserable at the time, BUT the experience really sucked. There were only a few people in it, they were weird, and it was really beyond basic in its level. I think I eventually stopped going.

Another time I tried a salsa dancing class. I think I may have written about this before, and I've certainly told many of my friends about the horrible teacher. She was kind of "woo" and seemed to take way too much pleasure in showing off rather than actually teaching. There were a lot of unnecessary flourishes. And she smelled really rank, too. I won't name her, because who knows who might be friends with her!

Anyway, I'm attending a training for work tomorrow at the state's headquarters for community colleges. In looking up directions, I got distracted by course offerings. They kind of fascinated me!

Some examples and my gut reaction to them: (Please excuse how the descriptions are cut off...that happened because I copied and pasted. I can't easily fix it)

Recommended Hours: 160
Maximum Hours: 192

This course will enable the student to develop work skills necessary
for the removal of quality crabmeat from the whole crab, to learn to
develop speed and dexterity required to move the product quickly,
to develop individual personal hygiene and sanitation practices, to
understand and comply with Department of Environment, Health, and
Natural Resources regulations, and to become knowledgeable of the
seafood packaging and marketing process.
My response: whoa. I never ever thought about the need to have that level of training!
Recommended Hours: 30
Maximum Hours: 36

The student will learn to utilize computers to prepare screens for
data input, display error messages, enter data accurately and with
speed, verify data entered, and update and maintain data files.
My response: I feel really, really sorry for the people who need to take this class. (That's kind of mean, I know, but it's at least a genuine feeling)
Recommended Hours: 180
Maximum Hours: 216

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the principles
and concepts of lean manufacturing including but not limited to
Kaizen, 5s, value stream mapping, Takt time, Paka-yoke, pull systems,
line balancing and Kanban. Students will participate in simulations
of old and new lean manufacturing practices. Upon completion,
the student will be able to compare old and lean practices with
respect to total production, time to make first unit, rework, scrap
and work-in-progress.
My response: I hope this one has a language prerequisite!

Recommended Hours: 12
Maximum Hours: 14

This course is designed to prepare people engaged in the health
or mental health professions to cope with their own roller
coaster of emotions and to recognize and respond appropriately
to those emotions in others. The focus of the course is to prepare
participants to be able to create a healthy emotional response in any situation. Included in this course is an examination of the source of emotions and an exploration into healthy ways of coping with irrational fears, negativity, and anger.
My response: Hmmmmm. I wonder if this one is cheap? And can you imagine the people taking it? Anyone interested in infiltrating? This could be fun to get a group of friends to go to!

Recommended Hours: 15
Maximum Hours: 18

This is a course of study that introduces students to the new
philosophy of quality. It will focus around a three-program video
series, "Quality or Else," that provides a candid, incisive
exploration of quality-what it means; strategies for achieving it;
examples of successful implementation; and their profound,
far-reaching economic and political implications for businesses and
industries vying for successes in this new "age of quality".
This is a standard off the shelf copyrighted program that must run
under this title.
My response: I love their disclaimer at the end. The "Or ELSE" kind of turns me off, too!

Recommended Hours: 260
Maximum Hours: 312

Students will learn all of the skills necessary to secure an entry
level position in the commercial upholstery field. Students are
taught the entire process, from tearing down the old piece through
rebuilding the frames, up to the restoration of the piece.

My response: This is one that sounds cool, but is probably really boring after about two classes.

Recommended Hours: 33
Maximum Hours: 40

Desairology: A specialized field in which a cosmetologist or
funeral attendant is instructed in the proper styling and make-up
application of the dead.
My response: Everything you'd ever need to know and a number of things you won't!

If anyone wants to browse the other offerings, here they are!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Your chocolate is safe with me!

I have two squares left of the 800 grams worth of chocolate bars I got at Christmas time. I have no idea how they lasted that long. Actually, I even gave a couple of them away. Hm.

Local Pops

Food and Wine, June 2007


Carolina Popsicle Star

Summer Bicknell, owner of Durham, North Carolina’s wildly popular Mexican popsicle stand Locopops, gets many of her ingredients—rosemary, jalapeños, figs—from an organic urban garden tended by inner-city teens. "We bring pops out to the kids, because a lot of times they’ve never tasted what they’ve grown," says Bicknell. The Tennessee native didn’t grow up with paletas (Mexican popsicles); instead, she sampled one for the first time as an adult in Nashville when she was working in information technology. That taste set Bicknell on a new path. She found a paleta-making mentor in the Mexican town of Tlazazalca and spent three months following her through markets, learning how to choose fruit and balance flavors. Bicknell opened Locopops in a small storefront in June 2005, selling paletas in both traditional Mexican flavors, such as mango-chile and tamarind, and quirky ones like honeydew-lavender and chocolate-rosemary. Earlier this year, she and business partner Connie Semans opened a shop in Chapel Hill, and they’re planning a third for downtown Durham. Since frozen desserts don’t usually do well in cold weather, Bicknell tried to close Locopops in the winter, but fans protested; now the shops are open year-round (2600 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, and 431 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; 919-286-3500). —Amanda McClements


Has anyone reading this ever tried the Couch to 5K program? I think I'm interested. Scared, but interested.

Ticks and Teeth

The purported tick I pulled off of my head last night appeared in my dreams. I woke up (in the dream) to discover my entire right shoulder and face was covered in blood. Ruined a top I had on. My mom was there, but I don't remember why.

Then in another dream, JeniQ's man, Mister Bowie, showed his face as my friend/lover/date. I, too, always had the hots for him when younger, see. But then, in this dream, he opened his mouth. Now, the Mister is known for having either scraggly, gray teeth or oversized veneers, as seen above. In THIS dream, his teeth were so nicotine-stained as to be fully chestnut brown, and black at the edges in-between the teeth.

Monday, May 7, 2007

This again

A friend of mine once told me that he suspects I feel emotions more deeply than most.

I think he's probably right.

It's great when it's joy. I can look at a flower or a bird or my garden and be utterly restored and filled in the moment with an intense swelling of pleasure. When the emotion is utter capitulation in the face of seemingly endless loneliness, though, like right now, sucks.

Sheesh, I sound like a drama queen. I'm sick of crying, though. Between that and the way more frequent allergen-induced nose-running, I'm getting raw. At least the zit that was hanging on outside my nostril has healed though.

Oh, but I think I had a tick in my hair. I picked something off of my head, but I seem to have lost it in the bed. I brushed my hair out over the white sink, but I didn't get any tick falling out.

And my washer broke mid-cycle. I had to haul out the wet, soapy clothes and bail out the water when I got home today. The clothesline broke under the weight, and so the clothes are on cycle two in the dryer. Soapy and dryer. Better than mold, I suppose.


Are you game?

As a girl, my favorite books were first Nancy Drew and then later on Agatha Christie's different protagonists won me over. I adored playing Clue.

I think it has to be the romance involved in trying to figure out whodunit . (As an aside, I also love how this genre can be spoofed) One of my major personality characteristics is a tendency to live inside my head, and this type of mystery gives my imagination something to dwell on.

For years and years I've been wanting to attend a Murder Mystery evening, but the opportunity has yet to present itself.

So. Anyone want to help plan a party? I'm thinking 12 people max, and I don't want to do this alone!

New Lifers

I birded a lot this weekend. Since I was with some premier birders, I saw a lot more than when I go alone. Thus, I had many, MANY lifers! I'm hesitant to even list these as lifers, since I didn't personally identify them. I'm kind of anal that way. But the part of me that likes to see the list grow dictates that I put these up.

American Black Duck
Northern Harrier

Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Blackpoll Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Hooded Warbler
Swamp Sparrow
Orchard Oriole

Looking around, I see that I don't have an actual life list anywhere online. It's in my smaller Sibley's and my Birds of the West Indies field guides. I'm going to post it here and put it on the sidebar for me to update. Nice!

(Boring for YOU!)


Here are some of the birds I saw this weekend!!

Coming back home:

Indigo Bunting

Hooded Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Just passing th

Black-throated Blue Warbler

American Redstart

Blackpoll Warbler

The Hooded Warbler and the Blackpoll warbler were lifers for me. There were a couple more, too.

I have to go take a shower now, but soon I'll update and add a list of the other birds we saw, lifers and not.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Jean Jean made a machine

Ah! Very nice day. Woke up tired and, not surprisingly, swollen puffy in the under eye region. Drank coffee, dressed, drove to berry patch, picked with a couple of friends, and then stopped off on the way home at a wildlife observatory to bird a little. I apparently have had a new crop of allergies begin. Symptoms: contact dermatitis on the inner forearms (contact with plants?) and the ever present sneezy/runny nose.

It was about 10 by the time I got to the birding zone, so the birds had mostly settled back somewhere to chill, but I did see some interesting species.

Bald eagles, close up, for example. Juvies, though, so not quite as striking as the white-head you normally think about. Also saw some Black and White Warblers, and an Eastern Kingbird. A male Eastern Towhee with his crest raised ZWEEEPed and his mate across the trail zweeped quietly right back at him, through a billful of food. That was pretty cute.

Came home, napped and put off the processing of the fruit. The 12 POUNDS of strawberries and the three of rhubarb!

Got up, chilled a little more and then washed, bagged and froze 8ish quarts of berries. Another went to strawberry rhubarb jam, currently cooling, and I froze two quarts of rhubarb for later pies. There's half a shoebox full of berries left in the fridge. I'd guess it's about two quarts worth. I'll be free on Sunday, so maybe I'll get to the pie then.

I feel a lot better, but am still annoyed.

Talk amongst yourselves

So, sadness: to display or to stifle*?

555-fouh fouh fouh fouh-- Give a call, we'll talk, no big whoop.

My gut feeling is to let the tears flow and accept them, when possible. I've not ever been real successful at stemming tears, but I am excellent at feeling bad about crying.

Crying feels uncomfortable to me when I'm doing it, and frequently afterwards as well. I don't get the relief that some people claim. I do get annoyed, though. It also makes me want to hide.

When I was at Al's memorial service last weekend, I didn't feel concerned or pathetic or anything about crying. And the tears *really* streamed. Maybe that's because everyone else was crying, too.


*assuming one is home and not in the boss's office or on a date or something

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Over and over ad nauseum

In advance: Sorry to be such a bummer drag.


Patterns in my life that don't seem capable of being changed really mess with me. I don't know. When I used to be depressed all the time, I didn't have much time or energy to deal with, you know, the things that actually make you fulfilled in life. It was more about keeping the head above the water. So now that that part of my life is (hopefully) pretty much gone and definitely NOT an issue now, I get to focus on the real meaty problems.

I've done a really good job getting myself out of habits like telling myself I suck. I don't do that anymore. Nor do I always blame myself or take responsibility for every single thing that ever goes wrong. I don't apologize for being me, most of the time, and I don't assume that what other people like is what I should like.

I'm scared to say this, which is probably why I should say it. As much as I think I try to fix the things in my life that aren't like I like them, I think I maybe just kind of fool myself into thinking I'm trying.

Maybe I don't do what I need to do.

Or maybe I'm getting depressed? Sigh. I don't know. I'd say not, and usually I can tell the difference. This isn't "I suck, there's no way out, i suck and I wanna die." This is "Oh my god I'm sick of my situation, and I feel like I'm doing all the right things, but when the hell are these two, three sticking points going to change?"

But, uh oh, I did just catch myself having spiral thoughts. You know the ones that go kind of like this: Well, it's really just that I'm not dating. Wait. And also that I don't have a house, and that I'm a bad money manager cause I just don't CARE and that well, who would want to date someone this fat, even if she is as nice as I am (OK, so not all is lost. I still have a pretty healthy view of my internal goodness. Just not the external. Because my hair sucks and I am out of shape, and all of a sudden my formerly perfect skin has gone all blotchy and riddled with weird lumps....oh and did I mention I've gotten fat?). And my, I'm not a very good worker, am I? And look at how lazy I can be. Oh my am I lazy....and my brain is just so SLOW. I can't remember the questions i want to ask the kids, and it doesn't really flow and I'm killing the plants, and I eat the damn peas before they're big enough. What's with the cracks in the radishes, anyway? And yeah, you look ugly when you have to wear the clothes you have; buy yourself something new instead of relying on some woman's freecycled clothes that are all dumpy.

That, my friends is kind of what my brain on depression looks like. But that's only 10% of me at my worst.

I still don't think I'm depressed now. Believe me, if anyone knows, I do. This is temporary and by tomorrow I'll be happy again, willing to go forward. I'll be proud of who I am, and what I do, and I'll lament those poor souls who have never met me and will never experience a bout of giggles with me.




Recently having had an unrequited crush, I've been brought back to think again and again and again about how I am so fucking lonely. I sleep with a fucking Snoopy I got as a child. And it soothes me. That is SAD. I meet about one single man every, oh, year lets say. (I know that's a complete exaggeration, but suffice to say I've not dated since the early 1990s. There's something fundamentally wrong with that).

And that, my friends, is my demon. It hides away most of the time. But occasionally, like now, because of this boy I like who doesn't like me, well, it smarts. It smarts even more than just feeling lonely, because now I have the feeling not only of having lost out (the rejection part doesn't really bug me), but also because now he's going off the market.

Right now it feels like I'll never, ever find the companionship I want. That I need. It feels like that was my last chance ever. I was telling the man involved just yesterday that I'm in a great place now. Good job. Great friends. Hobbies I love. Causes. why can't that last piece just fall in?

I'm feeling like making a deal with the devil. I would give up...oh man, tons of money? birds? gardening? internet? food???... if only I had someone to share the rest of it with. Everything feels really out of control right now.

This is one of those posts that I'll look back on in 20 years and wonder how in the world I could ever have been so damn angsty.

But in the meanwhile, I'm crying here. I've been crying once a week or so about this for some time. I hate it. I need to clean my glasses and take some sudafed, now that I can't breathe.

There're strawberries to be picked tomorrow, though.

Crazed Weekend

Thursday, May 3rd 2007

7:30 a.m. Go to Jean's Berry Patch and pick, like, $10-15 of strawberries
9:00 a.m. Wash and process berries. Freeze many. Make jam. Buy rhubarb. Make pie. Not necessarily in that order.

Friday, May 4th, 2007
8:30 a.m. work
6:00 p.m. stop work
8:00 p.m. Rod Stewart concert, if my boss picks my name in the drawing and gives me two free tickets. I have one person who thinks they can go with me, but let me know if YOU want to go, in case that falls through!

Saturday, May 5th, 2007
7:00 a.m. Report to Mason Farm Biological Reserve to participate in the Spring Bird count 2007 with well-renowned local birders and friends.
11:00 a.m. Scoot home and shower.
12:30 p.m. Arrive at work (So far I will have driven ~50-60 miles)
5:00 p.m. Go to Maria's house with tent, sleeping bag, binoculars, change of clothes for hiking and etc. Party. Party. Party. Sleep over in tent.

Sunday May 6th, 2007
7:00 a.m. Bird with Maria, her partner David and some others. I can't remember who all she said.

I think I'm supposed to do other stuff on Sunday too, but I don't remember what!


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I love one of Asheville's house reps.

Good news! We won!

For details:

See below the letter an advocacy organization sent me this afternoon.

I was there in the legislature, and it was fabulous. If I can take it, tomorrow I'll write up my impression of the politicking that went on...

Hello Stew,

We don't know if it was the 10,000 E-mails you sent, the thousands of phone calls you made, or the dozens of you who showed up at the hearings, but one way or another YOU made it happen!
Today, May 1, the House Health Committee passed HB 879 -- Modify School Health Education Program!

For the first time in a decade, a bill to bring REAL Sex Education to North Carolina Students is making progress in the House. After the meeting we heard reports from the committee members that they were overwhelmed by the number of phone calls and E-mails they received in support of this essential legislation.

THANK YOU for making today a success.

However, today was only the first step in the journey that a bill takes to become a law. In the coming weeks as this bill is heard elsewhere, we will need the same support and enthusiasm you showed for this first hearing! We know you can do it!

What comes next?

Today the health committee referred HB 879 to an Education Subcommittee, who will review it and make a recommendation to the House. If the committee's recommendation is favorable, the full House of Representatives will decide on this bill before the end of the month.

Some time in the next week we will ask you to contact the Education Subcommittee. As soon as we find out when this bill is scheduled, we will ask you to attend. Look for E-mail from us, and take action whenever and however you can. For right now, share this E-mail with a friend and make sure everyone is in the know about sex ed in NC!

House Bill 879 is YOUR Sex Ed bill and you guaranteed its passage through today's tough health committee meeting. With your continuing hard work, North Carolina students will almost surely get the education they need and the information the deserve to make healthy, lifelong choices about their lives and their bodies!