Monthly Archives: April 2009

All Tuckered Out

Although we didn’t do many things from the Weekend List, we accomplished quite a bit this weekend. And made more work for later (awesome!).

Things started off with working outside for a few hours Friday evening. We planted the remaining raised bed with tomatoes, peppers, basil, tomatillos, marigolds, and other flowers. Things continued early Saturday morning with planting squash and melons, clearing weeds out of the yard, and cleaning up the junky stuff on our neighbor’s retaining wall. We took the afternoon and the evening off for leisure activities such as reading and watching baseball.

Oh, we also made our magical rice and chorizo dish…will have to post that recipe someday.

Here is the newest raised bed:


And here are the melon and squash, safely tucked away in toilet paper rolls. I lost one butternut squash to a cutworm yesterday, and I don’t want to lose any more. I know we have a lot of melons and squash for the square footage of this bed, but I plan on growing them up. The next step for this bed is to add on to the trellis.


This morning we slept in a bit, made waffles, and then went back to work in the yard. This time we planted along the previously junky retaining wall. Lots of flower and herb seeds went in, as well as purple coneflowers.

After a lunch break, we went back out for more. And things took a turn for the worse. I was clearing some weeds out by the garage in the hopes of planting more conflowers. This turned into us clearing off dirt from the long-away forgotten brick border around the garage. Could look nice again, eh?


Unfortunately, we found this at the other end of the garage:


That’s not just a shadow, it’s a ginormous hole along the foundation of the garage!! Those bricks in the foreground? They have nothing supporting them underneath!

Fortunately, this answered our question of what to do with all the dirt and debris that we cleared off the brick border. Unfortunately, this thing gives me a headache. The slope and drainage is really weird in our yard, and I wish it could just fix itself.

This is how we left the abyss today:


We took out the bricks that were just hanging in midair, and we uncovered more of the hidden brick border. But, geez, we’re tired.

So, is this a sinkhole or what? We’re even more convinced that our house is above one of the area’s many caves.

On a happier note, Keetah loves the outside so much! The whole yard is her all-you-can-eat salad bar:


Keetah was also busy this weekend doing some calculations and watching TV:


Such hard work! She has also been hanging out with Porkchop:


Buddies!

Have a good week! I am sort of glad for work tomorrow so that I don’t get sucked into neverending yardwork.

The Weekend List

Y’all, I am STOKED for the weekend! The only thing that could make it better would be Porkchop and me not working today.

Here is our list of possible weekend activities:

  • Plant things. This is a for-sure activity. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and tomatillos MUST go into the ground tomorrow. We have had a sad development in our plant raising – it appears that the biggest tomato plants and many of the pepper plants have developed bacterial leaf spot. Probably because I didn’t put a fan in the bathroom to allow for proper air circulation. It sucks. BUT, the squash and melons are sprouting like gangbusters. They are big and amazing, and I can’t wait to plant them!
  • Bike ride! Also a for-sure activity. I want to bike somewhere for Sunday brunch, and Porkchop wants to bike downtown for a Cards-Cubs game.
  • Baseball game. See above. (I am dragging my feet on this one because I was just at a sporting event last weekend! And you know how I feel about these things!)
  • Earth Day festival at Forest Park.
  • Herb sale in Webster Groves.
  • Greater St. Louis Book Fair.
  • Make waffles. Because we received maple syrup in our Fair Shares pickup, and it would be a shame to not crack it open right away.
  • Eat more Salume Beddu‘s mostarda. This stuff is a revelation! It’s described as an “Italian chutney,” and it’s full of dried fruit, mustard seeds, and chile flakes. It’s spicy and not-too-sweet, and it’s my new favorite thing. We also received this in this week’s share. Fortunately, I’ll be able to pick up more as needed once the Tower Grove farmers’ market starts up (opening day is May 9!).

I’m sure I left off something! It will be a super-fabulous weekend! Enjoy yours as well!

A Semi-Frittered Day

I am unsure how to feel about this Saturday.

There were outdoor plant-related things I wanted to do, but it drizzled throughout the day, leading to an idle afternoon. Rarely do I spend a Saturday afternoon reading and knitting, so it was kind of a welcome break. It’s just hard for me to feel okay about sitting around.

However, with the work we did yesterday afternoon and evening, I don’t feel too guilty.

Porkchop and I had doctor appointments in the early afternoon, and neither of us returned to work. It was too darn nice outside! Instead of going back to my drab office, we enjoyed treats from the CWE Gelato di Riso and then went home to do yardwork. Yay yardwork!

Last summer, I noticed that the hardwood mulch in the front flowerbed was….sick, not right, and gross. We could pick up large sheets of mulch; the individual pieces were stuck together with weird white stuff. For the past 8 months, the flowerbed was a blight in my eyes. In fact, I trained myself to not look at it because I hated it so much.

Yesterday after the doctor and gelato, I decided to finally get the mulch the eff out of here. It was more work than I anticipated! There was SO MUCH weird white stuff.

The stuff resembled a mixture of latex paint and mold. And, we think that’s what it was! Our hunch is that the rehab people were painting the eaves and dropped a big paint bucket. Instead of cleaning it up, they just dumped a bunch of mulch on it. My theory is that mold then grew because the stuff couldn’t dry out (or something like that).

Anyway, most of it is now gone! The bits that are left shouldn’t pose a problem. After removing the grossness, we spread out new, healthy soil and compost. And we planted pretty little flowers, which we hope will stay alive and thrive.

I wish we had taken a before photo for comparison, but I didn’t think about it.

Here is the work in progress:


The area in question is really small, but the new soil and compost make a big difference. We have two surprisingly healthy azalea bushes, and one that is struggling. We removed a lot of paint mulch mess from around it, so hopefully it will get better.


Keetah surprised us and came out on the porch to supervise our work!


This outing showed a lot of braveness on her part; she’s very cautious in exploring new things. Her heart was pounding the whole time. Especially when she was on the steps and cars were whizzing by:


So, with all of the work done yesterday, I feel sort of okay about doing nothing this afternoon. However, we did need a break this evening. Since the rain had stopped, we decided to go for a little walk around our neighborhood. We ended up at the Map Room, where we enjoyed sparkling orangeade and snack-size cheesecake.

The people at the Map Room are super-nice, and they have a great selection of drinks and desserts. We look forward to going back! Indeed, once it is cooler weather again, I know I will be there for some spiked hot chocolate.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

FB Complaining (Or, Jesus!)

Earlier this week, I finally joined Goodreads. I realized that I’m starting to forget what I’ve read, so I appreciate having a place to track my books.

But I know it will be only a few months until I stop updating my Goodreads account. Just like my Ravelry projects page, I imagine I will abandon it at some point.

With Goodreads, Ravelry, and Facebook, I’m starting to feel overstimulated and overexposed. And I don’t even Tweet or Blip!

The main problem, I think, is Facebook. There are so many status updates, and many of them annoy me. But I can’t just skip the annoying ones and move on! I read them and my blood pressure goes up…my forehead frowns and I sigh.

So now I’m taking steps to alleviate the problem. If you only post about what your kid is doing, I’ve blocked you. Whenever you publish a quiz result, I block that quiz application (Hey people, do you know you don’t have to publish your quiz result! I take quizzes without publishing my results because although I find it humorous to learn my Crayola crayon color is cornflower, I know other people don’t give a rat’s ass, and I don’t want to overpopulate their homepage feed.) If you post updates every 5 minutes regarding what’s happening on the Apprentice, I’m blocking you.

I only wish I could block ALL updates from some people. Because I don’t really care if someone with whom I haven’t spoken in 12 years becomes a fan of Jesus, yet it still shows up in the sidebar highlights feed.

Which brings me to a tangential point….

Jesus and God have Facebook pages.

I would like to know who took it upon themselves to make these pages…because I don’t think it was divine creation.

Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? Did someone ask WWJD, only to have the answer be “create a Facebook page”?

(By the way, God has more fans than Jesus. By nearly 300,000.)

Sometimes I think I should create a new Facebook account. To start fresh with people who are REALLY my friends and with whom I’ve had meaningful interactions, and leave the other account for all those people I never spoke to growing up and who have now donned rose-colored spectacles with which they view the past.

I wonder if Jesus and God feel the same way. Of course, they’re probably a bit more forgiving than I am, a bit more ready to excuse others’ transgressions and whatnot.

Waiting, Waiting

So, I’m waiting for Porkchop to return from a trip to Columbia. She and her brothers are there visiting their dad in the burn treatment center. You see, their dad had an encounter with some propane last night, and the result is second degree burns on his head and arms, along with a smattering of third degree burns. These are bad burns, but it could have been much, much worse.

It will take some time, but it seems like he will be okay. He might even go home tomorrow! Which seems crazy after looking at the photo Porkchop sent me of his bandaged head.

Poor guy. A bypass, a kidney transplant, stents around his heart, and now this. He can’t catch a break.

Other Waiting
To me, spring is all about waiting…waiting to realize the potential of carefully laid plans.

First, we were waiting to go to Chicago with Porkchop’s niece. We hit the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Mitsuwa Marketplace, and IKEA.

This was my first trip to the Field Museum, and I would like to go back. SO MUCH STUFF! My favorite section was the Plants of the World, especially after reading about how the glass and wax specimens were made. Amazing!

We saw Sue, of course:


And we saw the artists-in-residence…two brothers exploring their theory of a new optical reality. Which meant tracing things on curved paper. Like this:


Actually, it’s a lot more complicated than just tracing. It’s about splitting the focus of your eyes and capturing the “ghost image” on paper. It’s pretty neat – there’s an article and clip here.

Porkchop and I agreed the brothers strike one as being from the late 1800s/early 1900s. “We’ve got this new-fangled easel contraption…”

So, after Chicago, we were waiting on sprouts. And guess who peeked out of the ground late last week?

Spinach or lettuce (I can’t tell at this stage).


And onions.

Then we were waiting on the Blues to clinch the playoffs. And guess what happened Friday night at the last home game? That’s right! They won!

Porkchop and her younger brother were the happiest, especially after we got to shoot pucks down on the ice after the game.

Now I’m waiting to plant tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and basil. And for our trip to Portland to see Kathy before she moves to Peru! So many things to await!

I also look forward to baking more fun cookies this weekend. Monday night, I made these chewy amaretti cookies:


Quite tasty, although the almond paste makes me feel weird, as in allergic weird.

Hope your week is going well…Keetah says hello to her friends!

Do Not Compromise

The Iowa news started me thinking about a conversation I had with a co-worker after the VP debates in October. I was complaining about how Biden was being totally unclear and weak about the gay marriage issue, and my co-worker said something like, “well, it seems like there should be some sort of compromise. I mean, if there isn’t gay marriage, maybe there could be something else.”

I looked at her with mouth agape as she nattered on about how you can’t always have the full deal at the beginning, but maybe compromise is the way to start.

Let me be totally clear: I WILL NOT COMPROMISE.

As long as one group of people can have a certain set of rights, I will not settle for something branded under a different name with different rights specified.

HELL NO.

It’s easy to suggest compromise when you’re in the group that has FULL RIGHTS!

A lot of people ask if Porkchop and I have had a commitment ceremony and are often surprised to hear that we haven’t. Y’all, a commitment ceremony doesn’t mean a damn thing without the legal rights that accompany an officially recognized marriage. We are committed to each other already – we don’t need a ceremony for it!

I’m not going to settle for a stupid-ass ceremony that won’t do crap for me except maybe allow us presents like a mixer. A mixer doesn’t stand up in court! A mixer won’t give us legal protection over each other or tax benefits or parental rights!

I am glad for Iowa, and now I’m super-pissed at Missouri and the federal government and lots of other things. ARGH!

As Iowa Goes…

So goes the nation?

One can only hope! Yay for the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional!

I didn’t enjoy living in Iowa, but perhaps we should have stayed. Stupid Missouri.

Chocolate Chip Cookies are Back!

A few weeks ago, I had the urge to make chocolate chip cookies, and I used the recipe my mom always did…the one on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip package.

Unfortunately, the end result was nothing like I remember! The cookies I made were much too buttery and flat and generally not what I wanted. I still ate them, as did others, but I was so sad and disappointed.

Luckily, I can always count on the Smitten Kitchen to post exactly what I want. I made this recipe last night, and I’m so much happier! The cookies aren’t flat, and the butter doesn’t overpower the cookie-ness! Next time, I just need to make them smaller and I’ll be back in childhood.

Smitten Kitchen writes that this recipe is much more akin to the original Toll House recipe, so I can only surmise that someone messed with the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip package. Stupids!

Anyway, I’m glad to have the chocolate chip cookie back!