Friday, August 31, 2007

I know, I know. Addict.

Getting up at 4 a.m. is horrid, but doable. I even washed the dishes so that my NEW ROOMMATE wouldn't have to wade through them while moving in today. See? Am nice.

It's beautiful here. Just....perfect weather. I took a nap on my favorite couch, and my mom gave me a new purse. Well, new to me. Leather. Spendy but a hand-me-down. Sigh. The best of both worlds!

I had a wet burrito for lunch. It was as big as my head.

Creepy Cardinal is here again. This time he's got a skater 'do--just a tuft in front. So cute.

Today I'm driving here for a party with friends of the family on my dad's side. Then I drive back tonight and crash at my mom's house. Tomorrow a.m. I'll be picking up Gram and driving out to meet up with Mom at Pedro at the cottage. I'll also be joining my sister and the boys (including this one) there.

It feels good to see everyone. I do love it here in the summer.


This is way too early to be awake.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Na na na boo boo?

On this, the last week of One Local Summer and immediately preceding the Eat Local Challenge, I just sucked down 400 calories, one liter's worth, of tart red cherry juice.

(how's that for a messed up sentence?)

I'm heading up to cherry land, though they're out of season now. I put in an order of 20-30 lbs of frozen tart cherries, which I'll can when I get home.

But for now, I'm drinking Moldovan cherry juice.


p.s. I have a date tonight. And one next saturday.

Summer does right by Durham.

Wow. Locopops made national news!

I can hardly believe it! OLS Week 10

Well, temps in the mid 90s sure doesn't sound like the end of summer now, does it? Nonetheless, the One Local Summer challenge is winding up this week, and I'm not entirely bummed about it.

Don't get me wrong; I love eating local food, and I'm eating way more locally than I did at the beginning of the summer. This sort of commitment compounds itself--you buy local, you eat local. You garden, you eat what you grow, by gum!

The issue is more with the blogging about it, the keeping track, the pictures, the extra effort that goes along with actively raising awareness about the positive change that eating locally can bring. I'm a little burned out on the self-imposed requirement of blogging it all.

This last week I made a fantastic ratatouille* made of my canned tomatoes (no botulism! yay!), onions from Hurdle Mills, NC, an eggplant from somewhere (market), a red pepper from somewhere (market), garlic from somewhere (market), basil from the garden and olive oil and dried thyme (lost mine to the drought) from elsewhere. Ate it for dinner one night and breakfast the next morning. No picture. See what I mean? Am slacking off here. August switches into September, the Eat Local Challenge amps up. Traditionally, this is a one-month binge of nothing but local. This year, they're opening up the field a little more, and suggesting pledging at a level of commitment that best fits your lifestyle. Eat 100% locally? Go for it. Write about it. Photograph your local market or garden. Do a weekly meal like I just did. Preserve some food. Sign up for a CSA. Do what works for you.

I love that they've done this. It's way less intimidating for people just starting out, and probably more effective in the long run. Eating local foods may feel difficult, but once you start the habit, it's fun and not hard.

OK. Off to work. Am leaving tomorrow v. v. early (7 a.m. flight) so you may not hear from me. I'm considering (GASP!) even leaving my computer here??

OH, and one last thing. A new roommate has begun the move-in process. Hee!

*spellcheck suggestions: illustrator's, Prattville's and the variants of the two

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

OK, so what would I do about all these dating posts???

Email I just received:

Ms. Stew,

I'm the food writer with Large Newspaper. I'm interested in
writing a story about a family trying to eat local as much as
possible. Jennifer J Maiser, editor of the Eat Local Challenge,
thought you might be able to help me.

I know there is a national Eat Local challenge going on in September,
and I thought an interesting story would be following a family that
may be participating. If I can't find anyone who is participating in
the September challenge, I'd like to find some eat-local focused
families regardless.

Um.....anyone interested? Triangle only.

EDIT: Everyone I know who blogs local food stuff got the same email. HA!

World Without End

First communion? Yes.
Confirmation? No.
Current belief? No.

David, Maria's partner, grabbed me on Sunday when I came into the house for some water.

"Stew, are you catholic?"

"Um....kind of?"

"Tell me about the rosary"

So I did. I dug deep into my repressed conscious and pictured my mom's coral colored beads with their tarnished silver crucifix. I had them hanging on my wall in my last house. I wonder where they are now.

"Well, there's a bunch of beads, 10 in a row, and for each bead you say a Hail Mary. Then there's a space and you say some little prayer there that I don't remember. Then there's a bigger bead, and that's an Our Father. And then eventually when you get down to the cross, there're some other prayers you do. "

I was actually pretty impressed that I remembered that much. What really shocked me, though, is that David couldn't recite the Hail Mary at all.

Hailmaryfullofgracethelordiswiththee blessedartthouamongwomenandblessedisthefruitofthywombjesus holymarymotherofgodprayforussinnersnowandatthehourofourdeathamen

Never did it occur to me that only Catholics would really know that prayer.

So that piqued my curiosity...I looked up the rosary and was pretty fascinated at how complicated that particular ritual is. I just remembered it as a penance for the one time I confessed.

Image yoinked from here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

How did I not realize?

Did you realize that this upcoming weekend is Labor Day? I didn't until I got into work today. No wonder my family's been calling me nonstop! I'm heading up to visit them, which is guaranteed to be both rejuvenating and stressful all at once. WAHOOOO!

I spent yesterday digging around at Maria's house. We got her beds ready for the planting and swapped some seedlings. I had overbought on the brassicas, so the leftovers went to Maria and any of her friends who need them. In exchange, I walked out of there with a slew of her strawberries for the large strawberry pot I picked up via Freecycle, two cauliflower starts, a big ole' red pepper for the eating, and a baggie of arugula seeds. I really love bartering.

Saturday was market day and fall planting time. I ended up planting lettuce, mixed greens, carrots, two kinds of radishes, cabbages, brussels sprouts, walking onions, broccoli something else? I can't remember.

I think I have a date on Thursday with a man who in a former life ran an organic farm and started a CSA. So far he hasn't said "I seen" but just FYI, there are other things that I could use to immediately disqualify him but am not*. The other guy gave me the willies after the first email. And let's face it. I'm snobby about grammar.

*My point here is not in the least that there's any sort of problem with this guy. He's just not at all what I'd think of as my "type."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

For example:

I got a message from a guy via a personals site last night. I was psyched, because he almost sounded like my doppelganger. Educator, my age, my city, huge garden, into birds, two dogs, finds me lovely and interesting, knows what to say to get my attention ("I have figs!"), and not bad looking.


But then from his second message I had to rethink my first impression.

This is where I need your help in determining if I am doing any of the following:
a) Writing him off too quickly
b) having too high of standards
c) reading something that's not there.

The issue:

"I just finished my homework assignment and I seen (my emphasis) you replied."

He used "seen" in that way more than one time.

He's an English teacher.

The second message also had some other nuggets of info that made me hesitate. Nothing I can put a finger on though.

Feedback please, dear friends?

One Local Summer Week NINE

This is gonna be a quick post. I didn't write everything down like I should have, but I can recreate the goodness pretty easily.

Burger: ground beef from Meadow Lane Farm in Franklin County, NC. From the Durham Farmer's Market, so we know it's within 70 miles. I had been having some trouble with local ground beef (too coarse, thus squicking me out), so I was very happy this was a much better texture. The flavor, too, was just pungent. In a good way, that is. It almost approached lamb in its meatiness. Go figure!

Garlic in the burger from the market, too.

French fries (soaked in ice water and then double fried for crispness!). Canola oil wasn't local. Market potatoes.

Sliced tomatoes. I have no idea where these came from, to tell you the truth. Perhaps my co-worker. Maybe they're mine?

Fried green tomatoes coated with some kind of House Autry breader. Tomatoes are mine.

And here we have dessert. Frozen strawberries from Jean's Berry Patch and lemon ice cream from Homeland Creamery.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Take your knuckles for me and rap them sharply on a cutting board, wall stud, tree or somesuch.

My new roommate is signing the lease either tomorrow (there's a question of getting off of work early) or Monday at the latest.


Those coaches were H.O.T. And married.

Today I did some teaching to teachers. That's always a little nerve wracking, because, well, they know what you SHOULD be doing. I'm not sure I even know what I SHOULD be doing half the time. Also, I knew every participant would be filling out a detailed evaluation of my skills based on my performance during the sessions.


I mentioned something about my nerves to the teacher whose room I was using, and she waved it off dismissively. "They're just coaches. Let them cut up, and you'll be fine. Intellectual powerhouses they are not."

Ooooh Kay.

It was fun. I did my little training, acted silly, let them know I was available for (FREE!) guest lessons for their health classes, and boogied on out of there just in time for the crisis pregnancy center to waltz in and set up their fancy dancy equipment for their horribly cheesy "oh NOES THE INTERNETS ARE RUINING OUR KIDS!" presentation.

(Why do THEY have up-to-date laptops and sound systems and projectors while I have three freaking pieces of easel paper, anyway?)

The only real thing that I've been a little disappointed with in this job so far is that the program evaluations to date have been a little weak. People haven't really been giving me the love. Mind you, the people filling them out have been a) probation officers b) youth reporting to their probation officers c) middle schoolers who were being kept from games and made to speak about things that are uncool and potentially embarrassing, and d) people running afterschool programs that are focused on keeping the kids in line through lots of yelling. So I'd been taking those evals with a grain of salt.

By the by, did I mention that this morning I had to be 40 miles away from my house by 7 a.m.? Yeah. I know. That's why I no longer AM a school teacher.

Back to the evals. The health teachers I worked with today provided me with fifty STELLAR evaluations, and many are already putting their rezzies in for me to go to their schools.

Finally getting some respect around here!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In a pinch

Stapling your wrap dress shut to ensure reliable cover for the cleavage works pretty well.

Bad Attitude

I'm going to start with the serious and end with the funny. Deal?

I asked my closest friend Emily to be brutally honest with me about why she thought I so rarely date. She's really good at giving honest, helpful feedback in a way that's not at all judgmental. I'll let you know what she said in just a sec.

I swear I want to date. There just seem to be so many barriers. Some I can identify, and others are just not at all on my radar. I was trying to get at the latter reasons, to see what I can do about them, if anything.

First the ones I know:

I'm a homebody. In some ways it's a very healthy thing--I'm comfortable enough with myself to spend a great deal of time alone. In other ways, not so much. I've been trying to get out more after work, even when I don't want to. I usually don't want to. I've been having a bit of a problem with enjoying myself at all (yeah...working on that via meds and non-medical interventions, so to speak), and I rarely want to interact with others. Boiling this reason down to the essence, I'm not meeting new people on a regular basis.

Second: I have cultivated a pretty bad attitude. Miss Negativity isn't going to be too appealing to others. I'm a positive person in almost every other part of my life, and yet this one is a sticking point. The specifics on this one is that I'm pretty convinced that all the good ones (good=right for me) are taken already. Hence, why bother?

Additionally, though most of this issue has been eliminated, there's a part of me somewhere that doesn't see how I'd be likeable in that way. There are some aspects of my personality that I don't like, and I see them as being SO bad that someone looking to date me would see them as deal-breakers. I'd be happy to list those qualities offline, if anyone is interested. :-) Most of the time I am able to frame them in my mind as mere quirks or even charming idiosyncrasies, but recently they've been coloring my self-image.

I think this might be one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. No dating=feeling undateable. Rinse. Repeat.

And last is that whole pesky depression thing that's been rearing its head recently. I'm working on this one. Even looking over what I've said so far, I can see how it's affecting my thoughts. That's a positive sign, actually, that I realize that my thinking is a bit skewed.

So, Emily's additions. She knows what I am able to identify, so she gave me some gentle feedback. One is that I've traditionally limited my possible suitors by age. I've been more likely to go with the younger men, but men older than me I'd kind of rejected out of hand. I have no idea why. Have adjusted this. Secondly, she mentioned that people are often looking for a specific body type that is not currently mine; in other words, a man's initial impressions of an overweight woman are not based on personality. This, too, is fair. I'm pretty much the same. My first impressions of men are for sure colored by their physique (among other things; I've dated heavier men, but not until they've shown themselves to be excellent to others.) She also thinks my standards are too high. I think what she meant by this is that I'm not really willing to settle.

Those are the issues, it seems.

Therefore. Steps I can take.

1) Get out more. Do you have any suggestions as to where and when?
2) Lose weight. I want to do this too. This weight I've picked up in the last year is excruciating. Mind you, even when I had lost tons of weight a couple of years ago, I had the exact same dating issues as I do now.
3) Up the optimism.
4) Continue to quell my figurative self-flogging.
5) Be open to men I'd dismiss initially. Reserve judgment.

OK. I promised levity.

Here we go:

Taglines of men who have been interested in the profile I recently reinstated. I've kept the original spelling etc. intact for your pleasure.

  • im just an average to ride my horses when its not to hot or easy going,like to hang out with friends and go to horse shows.just a country
  • Thank you for taking time to check me out, I know how prescious time can be. About me? Where does one start describing himself without sounding conceded.
  • I am looking for miss right due to my age.I am fed up with bs and games.Looking for someone down to earth and is not a LIAR.I have never been married but maybe if i meet the right one...
  • Looking for that special lady who is ready to be treated like a lady, Luv to walk on the beach under the moonlight, slow dancing to some great country music with that special one
  • I am looking for a woman that is funny and can take a joke but knows when to be serious. hopefully is not into drama and manipulation but has a sexy and nurturing personality.
  • 58 yr old male Looking for someone who thinks they can get my Motor going again!!! I Am a widower after 30 yrs. I have lost weight since the photo's were taken.

(Oops. Negativity. Must conquer that. Oh: there's a really high proportion of men with mustaches on the list)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Just two things

1) RAIN! RAINRAINRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dark skies, blowing winds, big pouring drops like I've not seen in months. YAY!!!

2) In French the name Hugh is pronounced "Oog"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another problem for solving

Thanks for your fabulous info about the garden plans! Now we have something different.

For the past week or so, I've been almost obsessively licking my lips. Mostly the bottom one. To top things off, there's a small wound just on the inside of my lower lip. I keep accidentally biting it.

This behavior change has coincided with a new med being added back into my mix. It's what they call a "wakefulness promoting" agent, which also is used for adult ADD.

I've tried to use chapstick to make the skin better, but it burns when I put it on, and it doesn't stop me from licking anyway. I also can't stop thinking about stopping.

I'm assuming the licking is a side effect related to the racing thoughts I have before going to sleep. The anxiety is supposed to subside after a bit, but I'm worrying a lot. I am much better able to concentrate, however.

So. Any ideas on how to stop the licking? Anyone have any bitter apple?


One of the things that has annoyed me at my job is keeping in touch with the kids I work with. They're overcommitted and stretched thin in addition to being, well, teenagers. Email wasn't working, and individual phone calls are both excessively time consuming and difficult to track.

So when we met to have a nice, rejuvenating strategic planning session, one of the issues we needed to clear up was how to make our communication effective.

The kids don't check their email hardly ever, but they're on Facebook 24/7 apparently.

And now they have a legit reason beyond just being social. I've made a profile for my organization, and within that profile I made a private group just for the teens I work with on an ongoing basis.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

I never did like math

I have two 4' x 10' raised beds, which totals 80 square feet of garden.

It's fall planting time.

For the last hour or so I've been trying to figure out how to lay out my garden. I have made my own grid paper, listed the crops I want, and listed the number of inches apart they have to be. Spacing information comes from the NC cooperative extension. Any calculation errors, not surprisingly, are mine.

Carrots 2" 36/sq foot
Radishes 2" 36/sq foot
Turnips 2" 36/sq foot
Garlic 4" 9/sq foot
Onions 4" 9/sq foot
Rutabaga 4" 9/sq foot
Lettuce 6" 4/sq foot
Cabbage 12" 1/sq foot

These are the fillers. Cause they can all be shoved into one square foot.

But these other ones confound me:

Broccoli 18"
Cauliflower 18"
Brussels sprouts 20"

Do those 18" ones mean I need to , at least theoretically, have one plant per 9 square feet? That would give it 18" from all sides. That's what it must mean. Wow. Do I really want these big veggies?

Something is wrong with my plan. Tell me what it is. If you'd like, sketch me out a plan and email it to me! (la to the stewie at the gmail)


To do:

Rip out beans
Rip out dill
Rip out (sniff) pink beefsteaks (damn blight)
Till and amend soil in East bed
Till cucumber area of West bed and amend.

Plant as soon as you know what goes where!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I still owe about $20K for this one.

The Role of /s/ Duration as a Perceptual Cue for Gay-sounding Male Speech.

"This thesis is an experimental analysis of the role that /s/ duration plays in how listeners perceive male sexual orientation based on speech. With listener responses measured as both a categorical (forced choice) response and a continual mean 'gayness' score, listeners' perception of a man as gay increased substantially with the longer /s/ durations in word-initial, stressed /skV/ and /spV/ environments. Listener participants heard one of 3 /s/ durations of a man whose sexual orientation had been perceived as neutral. ANOVA analysis showed that listeners who heard the longer /s/ durations perceived the man as sounding 'gayer'. In addition, multiple regression analysis showed that listeners who heard the longer /s/ durations were significantly more likely to judge the speaker as sounding 'gay'."

For the record

Understandably, considering my nickname, there've been some misunderstandings of late with people who are just meeting me (online).


I am a girl of the womanly female persuasion. That means I identify, gender-wise as a lady; physically I produce ova (one imagines) and am theoretically capable of bearing young. I fall to the distaff side.

(It's OK if you thought I was a boy, but people thinking I'm a man won't get me the kind of date I'd like. So. Therein lies the motivation to clarify.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Out with the old

This afternoon I got 18 plants for free.

No seriously, the plant delivery truck guy came into my local Barnes Supply store today just as I was whining about them only having 12 varieties of collards and nothing else for a fall garden. I followed him out the truck to pick out cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower starts when LO! Mister Greenhouse Guy had a half-flat of red cabbage he'd accidentally dropped. He blamed his clumsiness and gave them to me for FREE.

I walked out without any cauliflower yet (though I put in a request), but with a surfeit of other Brassica goodies.

Hm. Didn't realize this kind of thing happened in real life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sing it from the mountaintops, hm?

You know, I was just pleasantly surprised. On a whim, I went over to that website where you can look for dates? The one that rhymes with Snatch Dom, not Tree Dharmony.

I've looked there from time to time. It usually seems like an exercise in frustration because:

a) I'm not signed up and
b) even if I were, unless the guy was signed up, too, you can't contact them. And then there's
c) my not-so-great experiences to date (not the ones where I've become friends with the guy, ahem you know who you are) that make me a little gun shy about the online dating thingy. Oh, and
d) slim pickings because of either
e) the guy seems off in some way or
f) I seem off to the guy in some way or
g) I've already dated the person.


Anyway, today I winked at a few new men, (HI GUISE!), and I'm hoping the clues I left in my profile will lead them to email me off-grid.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saved from the starlings! (OLS Week 8)

Another thing happened on Saturday. Michele decided she needed some 7-pepper jelly and since we were in the immediate neighborhood, we zipped on over to get her some.

On our way, we came across a treat. An untended fig tree! There were birds all over it, and the base was littered with overripe fruit that had fallen off.

I decided we need some. Michele and I picked off the figs that were still attached to the tree and got this:

For my One Local Summer meal this week, I know I was going to have to do something with them. Mmmmmm. Broiled figs with honey and cream.

Uwharrie Mountain Honey- 119 miles
Mapleview Farm cream-16 miles
Figs: 3.2 miles

The main dish wasn't near as good. On the pro-side, I ate some meat. (It had been a while). On the con side, what appealed to me yesterday when I made this (it's reheated), didn't really strike my fancy today.

Pork Chop: "Local" from Whole Paycheck.
Day old bread 3.2 miles
Butter: Mapleview Farm. 16 miles.
Long beans. Um. Farmer's market (I should really pay more attention to who I buy from)
Summer Squash: 0 miles
Onions: Farmer's market. Rougemont, maybe. 16 miles.
Sage: 0 miles

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Local Summer, Week SEVEN??

Friday I gathered an entire grocery bag's worth of fresh basil from a Freecycler who was nice enough to offer it up. I've got 3 plants myself, but only one of them has really thrived. And pesto is the best way I know of to preserve that goodness that is fresh basil.

So I made a quart of it yesterday.

The farmer's market was, as usual, hopping. I've noticed that with the exception of winter squash, there haven't really been any new additions to the merchandise in the last few weeks. Just deletions. I took time to stop and talk to the vendors I could. I bought some ground beef after a nice long conversation with a rancher guy from 41 miles away. (No, I don't know why his website just has equipment on it for sale and no info about the meat.) When I use that beef I'll write up my take on it. There's also some honey I was sad not to be able to buy. A quart from within Durham itself for just $10.

I got some longbeans.

I had Michele over for dinner, and I went back and forth all day over what to make. I had local requesón (ricotta) from SuperCompare, so I ended up making homemade cheese ravioli.

I used Anne's frozen dumplings as the pasta, and figured I'd wing the rest of it. The filling was ricotta, feta and egg. The sauce was garlic, green onion, red frigitello peppers, and long beans in cream from Mapleview Farm. see the pesto dolloped on the sides? Mix that in and it's pesto cream sauce. It was good, but I oversalted it. :-(

The veggies were from the farmer's market, except for the peppers, which were form my garden. The feta was from Chapel Hill Creamery, and the eggs were from Latta's Egg Ranch.

Dessert was a shared key-lime tart from my favorite local bakery and cafe, Guglhupf. Since Michele and I got there at the end of the day, the very, very, very cute bakery boy was blessing each customer's bag with a free cheese danish or two from the surplus they were going to have.

The ice cream was the very best part, though. Homeland Creamery frozen dairy goodness has appeared recently at my local Whole Paycheck alongside the Mapleview Farm ice cream. I picked up some lemon ice cream, and it was way better than the tart.

As Michele put it, it's like a creamsicle, only lemon!

p.s. OOPS! We also had local wine, thanks to Michele. It's from the coast, and is a "dry" white wine called Oleander Bianca. I put "dry" in "quotes" because in NC if it's called a "sweet" wine, that basically means a 1/2 glass could flavor a 2-liter bottle of club soda. The Oleander Bianca was gently sweet, which is pretty much how I like white wine to be.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I am SUCH a sucker.

Every so often something is so cute it makes me cry.

Like this:

Long story

Two guys in London in the 1960s. Buy a baby lion from a department store and name him Christian. Live the high life with it for a year. Lion gets too big. Coincidentally the stars of Born Free run into the lion in London. They hook the two guys up with the Born Free lion guy, who takes Christian out and successfully (as far as we know) integrates him into a new pride.

A year later the two men who raised the cub return:

Did YOU bawl?

p.s. I saw this at Metafilter

My favorite sense of humor

My dear sweet Emily is back from Germany. She got me a little present, which is certain to be hilarious and fantastic. As an example of Emily's sense of humor, she got me a Catalog Man set of postcards a couple of years ago. She told me she almost got me a skull-and-crossbones keychain with the name Dieter on it. I'd have loved that, too.

I didn't get this crazy action game for 2-4 skillful snuffling noses either. But Emily did.

Don't you just love her?


I'm not going in to work today, in anticipation of next week's spate of evening meetings and then a Saturday morning strategic planning session.

Why does 80º F feel so hot to me? I get cold when I sleep in it, provided I'm scantily clad (typical in the summer) and have the fan on.

Today, though, I'm absolutely roasting. ROASTING. I'm also unsure of what to do to amuse myself. I've no plans this weekend other than to make a One Local Summer meal and to mow my lawn. And maybe gather up some boxes to make a new garden bed or two. I could use some mulch (something pretty) for my front yard, and I've got some plans to make a bed alongside the southern wall of my house. Oh, and I missed the Farmer's Market last week, so I want to go there, too.


Anyone have any ideas for fun? Anyone want to do anything* with me this weekend?

*Must be free or extremely cheap as I'm (as usual) broke.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Local Sourcing

So. I called the Old Mill of Guilford, a local grist mill, to find out where they source their grains. After finding out the mixed news that Midstate Mills had mostly NC wheat but no local corn, it turns out that the Old Mill has the opposite situation. Their wheat comes from Montana, but their corn is all local.

Now I know where to get my polenta, grits and corn meal.

I should do a comprehensive list of where to get what products made locally.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Risky Business

The dream is always the same.

I see free firewood on Craigslist, and I imagine what it would be like if I could use a wood stove to heat my house 100%. And then I realize I'd need a truck to effectively carry the free wood. There's always free wood on Craigslist. But it usually needs cutting and or splitting. People get trees taken down, and the services leave them with a bunch of long logs.

So I'd need a chainsaw or else a large number of burly people to help with one of those old-fashioned, two-peopled saws. Even Mother Earth News says to go for the chainsaw option. And an axe. My friend Raymond used to spend a lot of time chopping wood. That's a guy with a gorgeous upper body. They had a wood stove heating their entire 2 story condo.

I'm more of a one-story bungalow person. Two bathrooms would be my splurge.

The wood stove would also work to cook on, too. On the one hand it would be a royal bitch in the summer, especially for canning. On the other hand, I could get used to the firewood smell. Or else it would be really annoying after some time.

I can't imagine doing it alone, though. And how many others are there out there that would do this with me? I was just telling a friend who extremely doesn't understand why this is a dream of mine*, and realized that part of what stops me from taking the plunge is a) not being able to do it alone and b) health insurance, i.e. the lack thereof. I'd maybe try to do it by myself, but not without health insurance.


You wanna know something? Every now and then say, "What the fuck." "What the fuck" gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.

I wonder if I'll do that ever?

For now my reward is a self-renewing subscription to Mother Earth News.

*His response to my telling him some of this daydream: "Or, you could live in the modern world and do as much good as you can stomach."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Over there!

Pssst: I've got a guest post that will be coming up soon over at the One Local Summer blog. So I didn't write here today. It does have some very interesting information about the local flour I've been using.

Edited to add: Uh, this is apparently my THIRD POST today. I regret the error and am glad to set the record straight.

Help me figure this out, will ya?

So I mentioned that this weekend marked a year since I quit smoking, right?

Well, I promised myself a new computer. But now that seems a little LARGE of a purchase. And I don't like the amount of time I'm on the computer as it is. If other people park themselves in front of the TV when they get home from work, I park myself in front of the computer.

I don't know what to do; I'm so cheap, because of what seems like necessity, that often I make these bargains with myself and don't follow through with them. That's probably not a very effective strategy in the long run, but I really feel like I can't afford ANYTHING beyond the norm. Doesn't stop me from buying beer though.

I've also really been wanting a freezer to use for those seasonal vegetables that you can't can very easily. To tell you the truth, I'd much rather have frozen huge batches of sauce from the tomatoes I bought. But I make up barriers. I mean, I've seen plenty of cheap, second hand freezers on Craigslist. They're affordable. I have a friend who has said she'd be willing to help me move it. She and her partner have a truck. There's no real reason not to get it, but I've spent all summer convincing myself it's not doable. Now my reasoning is that I've waited too long as it is, and being single I don't really need all that food anyway.

Another thing I'd like is a new digital camera. The one I have is, poor thing, older even than my computer. I bought it second-hand for a reasonable price, from someone I know takes care of their belongings. But it still works. It works. So I don't get myself a new one.

I'm having a hard time convincing myself to follow through with rewarding myself for a year of not smoking.


Any ideas?

I was right, I think.


Since yesterday was "feel like crap and sit around biding my time for who knows what," today is already much better. Not perfect, mind you, but better.

I went into work late, because I have a late meeting. I still got up at the normal time, though and actually accomplished things. I paid ALL MY BILLS, for one. I hate paying bills. It always seems like such an ordeal. And it never is.

And I did some dishes. Very nice. Not all of them, but a couple of really big things that made it look like a lot happened. Funny how that works!

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I'm reading that book that everyone else is. I'm near the end of it. I promise not to say anything about the content. But you know how with a suspenseful book there's a point where no matter how late it is, no matter how tired you are, no matter how many other things you should be doing you just can't stop?

I'm there now. I only stopped to write this because it's making me a little overwhelmed and I need a distraction. So maybe you *can* stop. I make no sense. Típico.

I've had a crap weekend. I only left the house today to pay rent and buy gas. I was up at 6 (!) and didn't get moving until 9 or so. I harvested worms for a woman from Freecycle who seems to have bailed on me. She's not responded, and I've a paper bag of slithery things near my front door. They're probably not very happy, but I did leave them with a cantaloupe rind.

I worked yesterday, a couple of hours, and then I did manage to do something social. A movie. Which, though excellent, wasn't a movie it's really necessary to see in the theater. I didn't go for the movie though. I went for the company. And that was way better than the movie.

But still, it felt like I'm just biding my time today. Until what, I don't know.

I dunno. I'm in a negative mood. It will pass. It always does, remember? It's good to document it here, even if I'm slightly freaked about the spike in blog views I've seen happening recently. I still think it's important to be open and such, but it's weird knowing this new site is posting all my entries for an extremely local audience. That I don't know.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Still CRAZY...

...after this one year!

August 4th. I almost forgot about it entirely. My mom called and was acting really excited and congratulating me, and I still wondered what she was going on about when I finally remembered.


I don't even care that I'm 30 lbs heavier.

I know, I know...

Believe me I know how non-interesting people find other people's dreams.

Believe me.

I just can't help myself from time to time, though, when I have a dream that seems so beyond the pale that I can't stop thinking about it.

So here it is, as well as I can remember it.

I got something in my left eye. It watered a bunch and then I went to bed. I was at Emily's house for some reason (but of course it wasn't the house she really lives in).

When I woke up the next day, my eye still hurt. I looked in the mirror again, and saw something that looked like a leftover piece of a bandaid wrapper, or the plastic container of a blisterpack, only smaller and not plastic.

Being pretty comfortable around my eyes, I picked out the thing from my eye, realizing that it had been there for a while, and went about my business.

A few minutes later, I stepped back into the bathroom and saw a largish chunk of my brain in the sink.


What ensued was a long battle to get myself to the hospital. Emily had left already, which left me home with her husband and baby. There were barriers galore, including snow, ice, people not knowing where to go, me being unable to figure out what to pack, me losing my bag, not being able to decide about whether to go to the downtown hospital where I used to work or the one that was the closest and had lake views. I had to show a couple from out of town how to get to their parking space, after they told me they'd drive me to the hospital.

The brains were lost at some point, actually flushed if I remember correctly, when my stepfather Pedro determined that the hospital wouldn't need to see this burger-sized lump of brains that came out of my head. I had planned to take it and try to, I don't know...get it put back in?

Anyhoo, this laptop is cranking out enough heat to have me sweating here. I'm even bored with this dream.

Whew the A/C just kicked in. I bet I was just overly hot.

Friday, August 3, 2007


May have spoken too soon about the roomie situation. We'll see. There are some external circumstances that need to be resolved before her decision can even be finalized. The prospect of actually having a seemingly sane roommate really amped me up though. It's felt so undoable that it's hard to motivate to keep. going. already. At this juncture I can either let myself feel beaten down and miserable or I can do that whole dusting off thing.

I overslept this morning, and I'm a little discombobulated still. I have a deadline, and after I get that work done and taken care of, I'll be through for the day. Speaking of motivation, I'll be getting on with that here in a minute.

I've plans to watch movies with a co-worker this evening. He has dogs. Dogs are good. I spent a little too much time yesterday shopping for doggies at rescue sites within, oh, 2-3 hours from home.
This one charmed me, not surprisingly. Not looking for a puppy, though.

I dropped an open can of soda on my foot this morning when leaving the house. I left it where it lay; couldn't be bothered to pick it up. I considered going inside to change my shoes, considering it drowned my entire right toe box, but decided that since it was diet it really didn't matter that much. And besides, they're sandals.

OK, off to do a little writing.

Oh. My lone cantaloupe is ripe. It's teensy--maybe six inches at its widest part. Sure does smell good, though.

Thursday, August 2, 2007



I have a roommate. She's fantastic. I love her. She's a health educator, too. We do almost the identical job in the same community. That might be a little weird, but she's fabulous.

I've invited her to the neighborhood happy hour tonight.


(That's a nice chunk of money I can use for my new computer! Woo Hoo!!!)

(re: the post title? think metaphorically)

My new exercise program

I've been bitching and moaning a lot (mostly internally), about the shape I'm in. Not so healthy! Weak! And yet, I've not gotten my ass in gear.

Hm. Patterns repeating themselves. (Just an observation, not a judgment)

Last night I found myself FINALLY acting in an exercise-like manner. For 15 whole minutes I flailed my arms about wildly with a light weight in between my hands. Since I keep my house at a toasty 80 degrees, I was soon at least mildly sweating.

Another pattern that repeats itself is that I have to like the exercise in order to want to do it. Often that means the exercise is just a means to an enjoyable end.

Like Butter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


My dear sweet Emily is going to Germany tomorrow. YAY!

When I babysat for her a couple of weeks ago, Emily's husband started telling me about this book I should read, and then we talked about Ziggy Stardust a little, cause he was buying himself a copy and what other music did I want?

The last name of the author is:


Nice of them to buy me all that stuff. I thought were were just shooting the shit.

A letter

Where do you source your hogs from? I'm interested in supporting local foods, but I also balance that with companies that use humane farming practices and that don't have big hog lagoons. Could you please let me know the farmer's names and the locations of their farms so I can check it out? I love bacon. I don't want to give it up. I will NOT eat Smithfield (warning, gross picture), so I'd love to be able to use Curtis brand meats for my pork needs.

Unfortunately, Curtis's webpage contact form doesn't work. Hm.