Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-End Review/New Year Preview

I'm not a resolutions type person, but on the first day of 2008, I took stock and thought about what I wanted out of the year.

Here is that list with comments in bold:

  • Buy a house. I'm sick of apartments. Fortunately, my cigarette- and pot-smoking, loud-talking, door-banging downstairs landlady and her loud-and-constantly yawning and spitting boyfriend have kicked my need-to-buy-a-house ass into gear. CHECK! DONE!
  • Cook at least one meal a week that uses only locally produced food items. This will be easier when I can grow my own little garden, which means I need a house. CHECK. With Fair Shares, we have many all - or nearly all - local meals.
  • Recommit to recycling at home. Since St. Louis doesn't have curbside recycling pick up for everyone, I've become lazy about recycling. This is my dirty little secret. Fortunately, when it's just me living here, I don't have much recycling waste. But, anyway, we bought a recycling receptacle yesterday, and I looked up the guidelines for the drop-off recycling locations. My biggest waste is vegetable and fruit matter. When I buy a house, I'll be able to start composting. RECYCLING - CHECK! COMPOSTING - NEARLY CHECK. I hate to admit it, but I fell off the worm bin composting. BUT, we will set up an outside compost thingie in the next couple of months.
  • Replace current cleaning products with ecologically sound ones once current products are gone. GOOD PROGRESS. Our laundry detergent is always biodegradable now. In terms of cleaning supplies, we've switched to "greener" ones, but I really want to buy some of the locally made, non-toxic cleaning supplies available at Local Harvest. Sometimes I use borax and a lemon to clean, but not nearly enough. Porkchop didn't like the biodegradable dishwasher detergent, so now we're using one that doesn't contain phosphates (good, but I think it's still bad).
  • Knit garments beyond hats and scarves and hand mitts. On my way with the Tilted Duster. CHECK! Tilted Duster done, and I'm nearly finished with my February Lady Sweater.

These are my ideas for 2009:

  • Plant my own vegetable garden! I shared a garden last year, and while it was fun, I wasn't able to tend it very well and my tomatoes didn't do so hot. But we did have lots of chard. Too much chard. Porkchop and I made a list of plants (no chard) and supplies for our backyard garden, and I'm quite excited.
  • Can my own food! A friend of ours in Massachusetts (yes, you E Buz) has inspired me with her canning. For Christmas, I received the Ball Book of Home Preserving, and I can't wait to start.
  • Figure out my career. Really, I need to formulate some sort of plan for growth.
  • House maintenance: paint inside, paint the foundation, finish the drylocking in the basement, put up that additional downspout, fix up the backyard....this list could get quite long.
  • Learn how to knit Fair Isle-style. It is so time to do this.
  • Do more baking! I've fallen behind this past year sadly.
  • Secret project with Porkchop. Maybe more details later.

My motto for the coming year is "2009: Making it Mine." You can use this, too, if you like.

Happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Favorite Thing Today

I am back at work and bored out of my mind.

Oh, there's a lot to be done with building out our new website, but I don't feel in the mood to write queries.

So I'm distracting myself with the green raisins in Trader Joe's Trekking the Himalayas nut mix.

I don't know how on earth these green raisins are so freaking good, but they are one of the best things ever.

All for now...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's a Time to be Thankful, But...

I don't want to complain about Christmas presents, but someone has to stop my sister.

For the past five years or so, our routine has been that my sister buys used clothing for us from a consignment or Goodwill shop (or simply plucks them from her closet), gives them to us as presents, and then we return them to our local Goodwill.

I'm tired of it for real.

This year featured a leather shirt with ruffles. Not only is it absolutely diametric from my personal clothing style, but it's a size or two too small.

I also received this snakeskin-print Guess shirt:

Unfortunately, I'm not into snakeskin-printed clothing.

There was more clothing, including this Western-inspired shirt given to both Porkchop and me. Size it's a Size One, neither of us can squeeze into it. Otherwise, I'd be sure to rock it around town.

Moving on...every couple of years, my parents like to give hats to me and Porkchop. Unlike other years, the ones we received this year are not twins. They are, however, in a similar style. Because we like to coordinate all the time, obviously.

Ah well, we did receive some lovely gifts. Maybe I'll write about those tomorrow.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Isn't it weird that a store selling Jesus action figures and loads of stuff about doing drugs and drinking and having sex draws the line at selling pro same-sex marriage t-shirts?

While the right-wing owner of Urban Outfitters has no qualms about selling all sorts of useless and tasteless crap, apparently making a profit while supporting the queers is just too much.

I've purchased a few things from Urban Outfitters in the past...but no more!

Oh, and keep in mind that the same guy owns don't shop there either.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

With Legs Afire

Oh my gosh, I broke out some step aerobics this weekend after not touching my step for about six months.

And my calves HURT...hurt as in I wake up in pain. When I was in down dog last night, my heels weren't even close to the floor, and pedaling them out was an ordeal.

It wouldn't be so bad, but I don't really have time to hobble around. Things are BUSY!

Besides injuring myself, this weekend was full of cleaning, cooking, knitting, and socializing. Sunday night, Porkchop and I made a super tasty dinner for Suzi and her boyfriend. We cooked up porkchops with black walnuts and apples, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and caramelized butternut squash. Yum!

After dinner, we convened a meeting of the Unofficial Gatlinburg Activities Committee. We and a few others leave on a little trip Thursday night! We're going to hang out in a cabin outside of Gatlinburg for a few days. And when I say "cabin," I mean a 3-story affair with fireplaces, a hot tub, and a pool table. We might take a trip to an aquarium, go snow tubing, and perhaps hiking, but hopefully there will be lots of lounging about in the cabin knitting and playing Scrabble.

I just have to decide what to take for knitting. I don't want to haul along my February Lady (which is just missing one sleeve) because it's too big, and what if the airport security people are asses and take away my knitting? I recently started a Spring Beret (Ravelry link), but I imagine I'll finish it before the trip. Hmmm...what to take, what to take.

Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, December 05, 2008

What was He THINKING?

I had my hair cut last night after a month of forgetting to make an appointment (and when I did make one, I felt like crap on the day of the appointment and canceled).

Things looked okay at the salon, but when I looked in the mirror a few hours after arriving home, I exclaimed to Porkchop that it looks like my hair was cut with a bike chain.

It looks like my hair got caught in something, resulting in one of those bad emergency haircuts with a pair of dull scissors.


So, anyway, back to finding a different stylist. This was only my second session with this guy, so I don't feel bad at all about ditching him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

My Thanksgiving Break

The long weekend ended with this:

Snow! Today! (Yes, that's our house. And yes, we have two front doors. And yep, the neighbor's house is just like ours.)

The long weekend began Wednesday night when we drove down to Jonesboro and stayed with my dad. The next day, we three drove down to Little Rock to my brother's apartment. There, we met up with my mom and sister, who had driven down the day before. Since my brother was on call (tech support) on Thanksgiving, we stayed around his apartment and had a Honeybaked Ham Thanksgiving. Not bad, but not the best thing ever.

After lunch, we explored the area around his apartment a bit. He lives near downtown Little Rock and is quite close to the Arkansas River. A short walk beyond his apartment complex led us down to the river bank.

I walked along the river with a bamboo stick for a while. Because that's how I like to have fun. You can see downtown Little Rock in this photo:

Porkchop and me by the river:

Later in the afternoon, we went down to a lock and dam and walked across the river via a pedestrian bridge. Here's Porkchop at the midway point:

Thursday night, Porkchop and I shared a hotel room with my sister, who drove us a bit crazy. (And kept me awake until 2 am with her restless activity and midnight texting. Seriously.)

So, Friday morning we were tired heads, but we persevered and made chocolate gravy. After a breakfast of sugar and bread, we went to the Clinton library and an art museum. The library is very well done, and I wish I could have stayed there the whole day. Visiting the library of course reminded me of how well things were going at the end of the Clinton administration (job creation! a balanced budget!) and how the current administration made things into a dung heap. [Then, when I became depressed, I remembered how excited I've been feeling about the upcoming administration change. I can't wait to feel like an American again! I've been so disillusioned and disheartened for the past 8 years, I can't remember what it's like to say with pride that I'm from the US. Anyway...end tangent.]

Porkchop and I were both impressed with Little Rock - with the downtown, anyway. There are lots of little restaurants and shops, and it seems so friendly and accessible. And there's a trolley! And bike trails and at least two pedestrian bridges.

Friday night, we dined at Cajun's Wharf. Unfortunately, I wasn't hungry enough for a big dinner, but the gumbo was good. Next time, the grouper is mine!

My dad, Porkchop, and I returned to Jonesboro Friday night. Porkchop and I had to hit the road early to meet Porkchop's parents in St. Louis Saturday afternoon. Why did we have to meet them? Because of this little guy:


Oliver spent the night with us Saturday night, and Porkchop was beside herself with excitement.

Sunday evening came too early for Porkchop, as that's when we returned Oliver to his people.

Also on Sunday evening, we had an awesome dinner cooked by Porkchop's brother and sister-in-law. We had the juiciest, pomegranate-glazed turkey; sweet potato casserole; Swiss chard with pecans; a stuffing of pancetta, cherries, and goat cheese; mashed potatoes; and fruit tarts for dessert. We also played a lot of SingStar (well, I only participated in 3 songs...I listened to many more!).

And that brings us back to today! I had a dental appointment in the morning (yay! no cavities!), and I went to a chocolate tasting in the evening. My CSA sponsored a tasting with the owner of Kakao. The owner explained various processes to us, and we tasted a few truffles (a vanilla-dark chocolate one, a chai flavored one, and one made with Maker's Mark bourbon), caramels, dragees, and toffee. I also purchased some spicy hot chocolate, which I can't wait to taste.

Have a good week!

A Sad Trend

Independent restaurants in St. Louis are slowly starting to shutter due to the "economic downturn."

The latest one is the Pitted Olive on Hampton.

The Pitted Olive was damn good, and I'm sad to see it close. Obviously, we didn't eat there enough (apparently, thinking about their food doesn't cut it...I was just recently thinking about their yummy pommes frites).

So much sadness for these independent restaurant owners...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Too Much Ravelry?

I think I'm looking at too many patterns on Ravelry.

You're probably wondering if there can be such a thing.

But last night I dreamt I ruined a bag of yarn belonging to Ysolda Teague, whose patterns I often mark as a favorite.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Chocolate Gravy for the Curious

Here's a recipe for the Best Thing Ever:

Chocolate Gravy
2 c milk
3/4 c sugar
2 T cocoa
2 heaping T flour
1/2 t salt
2 T butter
1 t vanilla

Heat milk in a saucepan. While heating, mix together sugar, cocoa, flour and salt; stir in enough milk to make a smooth paste. Next, pour this mixture into the warm milk and stir over moderate heat until thickened. Add butter and vanilla. Serve over biscuits.

It's like brownie batter for breakfast - how can you not love it!

There's an interesting little bit about the possible origins of chocolate gravy at the bottom of this webpage. What I know about chocolate gravy is the following:
  • It's yummy.
  • My grandmother made it every Christmas and sometimes during the summer when we visited her in Sasakwa, Oklahoma. In later years, my uncle Johnny made the gravy.
  • There's a diner in Big Flat, Arkansas, that serves chocolate gravy once a year. This "once a year" always falls during the Freeman Family reunion, so everyone goes there for breakfast on that morning. [Note that I've never been to said reunion, but my parents have.] [Other note: Beth Ditto talks about eating chocolate gravy in this interview.]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things Cut Close

It's Sunday night, and I don't want the weekend to end. This is the first Sunday we've had at home together in a long time. Instead of packing the day full, we left plenty of time to hang out in our pajamas and fix a brunch of waffles and sausages. Then we went for a walk in Carondelet Park, did a little shopping, and made dinner (this chicken over rice instead of noodles).

I spoke to my mom earlier today, and she told me that all of my brother's work buddies were laid off last week. His company laid off 500 people nationwide, including 60 people at their headquarters where my brother works. All 60 people were in the IT department (my brother's department). My brother is super worried that he will be in the next inevitable round of lay offs.

I know of a few other people who are being directly affected by this recession. It's really quite scary.

Most of the projects at my center are funded through the next two years, but I'm still worried. It doesn't help when the Chancellor sends out an email announcing that the university's endowment has shrunk by 25% and that we probably won't receive raises this year and so forth.

But, meanwhile....

I've been knitting!

The February Lady Sweater is coming along well:

I also made the Star-crossed Slouchy beret for a coworker's birthday:

I made the beret last weekend. I casted on Friday night and finished it Saturday after our trip to the Laura Ingalls Wilder house in Mansfield. While it was a fun little trip, it was freaking cold. On the way down to Mansfield, we went through a bit of snow! After visiting the museum and the houses (Rocky Ridge and Rock House), we spent the night at Porkchop's parents' house.

This week, we'll see my parents and siblings. For Thanksgiving, we're going to my brother's apartment in Little Rock. No, my brother isn't cooking - I think everything will come from Honeybaked Ham or a similar place. However, we will make chocolate gravy for breakfast on Friday! While making waffles this morning, Porkchop actually said something like, "chocolate gravy is what I really want." Music to my ears! Chocolate gravy is one of the Best Things Ever!

So, that's it! Have a great week! I hope you're not laid off!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


You know what causes me great chagrin?

People who create "tables" in Word by using only tabs. And maybe some line art.

People, use the real Table function!! And maybe real Borders!!

Microsoft has made this easy, so please stop inventing your own crazy-ass "tables"!!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I am Just a Speck of Dust

This is the song currently stuck in my head. I am very much in love with it, and happy that Pandora plays it nearly every time I tune in.

My center is hosting a conference this week, so I've been dealing with some people who apparently don't share the belief that they are just specks of dust inside a giant's eye. I find these people quite difficult.

To stay sane, I've been working on my February Lady Sweater. Here it is Friday night off the needles for trying on.

And here it is today after a few lace repeats:

I'm trusting the designer and other knitters' posts on Ravelry about the sizing. Because the size I'm making sounds insanely small.

Today has been nice, even though Porkchop isn't here. I've been sitting around in my slippers and knitting and listening to music. The only thing that would improve this scene would be a hot chocolate.

Last night, I was craving a spicy hot chocolate from Bailey's Chocolate Bar. Such a bad craving! This hot chocolate is seriously one of the best things St. Louis has in its favor. However, we went over to Suzi's last night after dinner, which meant Bailey's was a bit out of the way. Instead, I stopped for a salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks. I'm usually not a big fan of Starbucks, but I have heard good things about this particular hot chocolate. And they are true! It is quite good!

So, the point is, I would take either a spicy hot chocolate or a salted caramel hot chocolate at this moment.

To switch topics, in yoga news, I am still working on my tripod headstand. This is from earlier this week:

I can now hold my bent knees straight up above my hips. I hear the rest - unbending my knees - is just "icing on the cake." However, this icing distracts me and I fall out. So close! Someday!

I think headstands are particularly difficult for me because I have to learn a couple of things: 1) to trust myself and 2) to concentrate when I'm worried about falling.

So...have a good week! I will be super busy with the aforementioned conference, which makes me quite sad. Have fun without me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another BOOOO Update

The County voters defeated Proposition M.

Had the County voters passed the proposition, a half-cent sales tax would have gone into effect in the County, and it would have triggered a quarter-cent sales tax in the City (which was passed in freaking 1997, but was conditional on a County sales tax). All in all, the cost to County residents would be around $50 a year.

All of this would have allowed Metro to operate on its current schedule, merrily ferrying thousands of people to and from work on an effective schedule.

Now, bus routes will be cut, Call-A-Ride services slashed (can't drive yourself?, can't walk to a bus stop?, too bad for you now!), and waits for trains lengthened.

Because of this, I have two choice words for certain County voters.

The first one starts with F, and the second one starts with Y. Fill in the blanks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



But BOOOOO that Missourians made English the official language at public meetings. WTF??!! Stupid Amendment do these things even make it to the ballot?

Election Day Fever

Last night was filled with restless voting dreams and Keetah woke us up at 5:20 with puking noises, so we went out to vote in the morning instead of after work. We got to the polling place at 6:20 and had what we thought was a short line:

But it still took a little over an hour (well, 45 minutes for Porkchop because of the stupid line system and preference given to people with last names J-R and A-I people nearly lost our collective shit at one point).

I was still very nervous before voting:

My anxiety was not released until I had my ballot in hand and had filled in the Obama/Biden circle.


After voting, I took Porkchop to work and then picked up a co-worker to work at a poll in North County (Pine Lawn). Our supervisor had recruited us to help, and although that sounds unethical, we were willing volunteers.

Said co-worker and I helped with curbside voting. If someone had a physical condition that prevented them from standing in line (3+ hours at one point), we would represent them by taking their ID inside and signing their name in the roll book. Then we would take a ballot to them outside and then turn it in for them.

I had to leave to pick up Porkchop at 3:00, and now we're home. While I felt like I should return to the polls, I also feel like I need a nap. So that's what we're doing now.

We have a long night ahead of us.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Weekend of Good Things

Porkchop and I biked over to Tower Grove Park this morning and rode around the entire park, enjoying the trees in their autumn glory. As you can see, I'm in short sleeves. This weekend was unseasonably warm and led to a nice bike ride (yay!), but also to bad sinus headaches (murrrr!).

In addition to bike riding, we partook of the following this weekend:
  • The wedding of one of Porkchop's cousins.
  • A Hallowe'en party.
  • Dinner at Suzi's.
  • The time change.
For the Hallowe'en party, I was a severed head, and Porkchop was my UPS delivery person:

Ale and Mark hosted the party. They always have awesome costumes (see here for photos of past costumes), and this year they were ghosts...very dapper ghosts. Here's Ale and me:

Have a great Monday! Remember to vote on Tuesday!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, Right, I have a Blog

Sometimes I put off updating my blog like I put off cleaning my desk at work. The result of both is a big mess.

So, mish-mash post covering the past couple of weeks! Yay!

I will start with just a couple of hours ago, when I spent ten minutes working on tripod headstand and very nearly achieved it! I was able to stay up with my legs out at an angle for a few seconds (without a wall, mind you). My excitement was so much, I totally fell over during half bound lotus standing forward bend, which made me laugh because my fall was so complete and comical.

Headstand is something I've been working up to for a while. I've been quite discouraged because bound headstand (which seems to be the most popular) is quite uncomfortable for me. I think my neck is proportionally too long, which makes my neck do all the work instead of my shoulders.

So, tripod headstand is the answer. But maybe I'll also work on Forearm Headstand...because it looks neat.

Jumping back to last weekend, my parents visited and we had a grand time. We went to the Fall Harvest Festival at the Tower Grove farmers market (the last outdoor market of the season - boo!), to the Hill for treats, and to Grant's Farm. While there, Porkchop and I did what everyone must do at least once...feed the baby goats!

I also took my parents to two restaurants I hadn't yet visited: Fritanga and Franco (because the Freemans only eat at places that start with Fr). I enjoyed both, but I'll probably go back to Fritanga first because it has sweet plantains (and it's cheaper and a bit more interesting)!

Now...weekend before that! This is such old news now, but Porkchop and I went to the Obama rally with my friend Jean. Old news, yes, but I want to post my photos and tell our story.

At first, we thought this would be as close to the Arch as we would get:

See the Arch? It's to the right of the bridge and to the left of that big pole thing.

Even though we were SO FAR AWAY, everyone's spirits were high and sometimes we would chant O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA. Then we became a bit concerned when we saw police officers with assault rifles who herded us out of the street and up on to a sidewalk. Then we became excited because we realized it must be the motorcade route. It was!! Obama and his pack came through, and Obama was smiling and waving through the SUV window. It was pretty neat. He was a mere five feet from us.

The line continued to move so slowly, but we made headway. Here we are back at the Metrolink station...finally.

And then we FINALLY made it near the Arch, just as Obama started speaking! I can pick out Obama in the crowd, can you?

We were far away, but we could hear everything clearly and even see Obama (sort of).

Speaking of Obama, OHMYGOSH, Election Day is nearly here!! I am so nervous, my stomach hurts. I have the pre-election jitters...I'm always terrified that something will go terribly wrong in the election booth and I'll accidentally vote for the wrong person. Seriously, my hands are already sweating and I want to throw up.

Okay, back to two weekends ago.

The day after the rally, Jean and I went to the Victorian Day of Mourning at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion, which is only about 6 or 7 blocks from our house. This means the Lemp Mansion (spooky...3 suicides and 2 deaths occurred in the house...I do not want to ever spend the night in the B&B that it now is) and the old Lemp Brewery are also near us. You can see the brewery from our house:

(This shot is from Cherokee, not our house (that would be crazy). Also maybe crazy is that I wonder if there is an entrance to the old caves under our basement. Seriously! There is an area under our basement floor that must be hollow because it sounds so different from the rest of the floor. Porkchop and I have both noted this. I wish there was a real entrance to the caves somewhere - I want to see them so badly! I mean, the Lemps built an auditorium, a ballroom, and a bathhouse in the caverns under their house. And there were roller rinks and beer gardens in other caves! That is some serious cavernage. This is an interesting story about the caves, although it's rather anecdotal and perhaps not true in some points.)

Okay, so enough rambling, have a great Friday!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Well, That Hurt

I just cut my finger while scoring Xes in chestnuts. Supposedly, there is a special tool that will do this for you.

I recommend purchasing that tool.


Friday, October 17, 2008

I Have Two Options

I recently finished a Foliage hat, and since I didn't try it on while knitting it, it turned out a little big.

I think I have two options with this hat.

One is to wear it like this:

The other is to block it, stretch it out a bit more, and wear it in the slouchy beret style:

Right? If it were looser and slouchier on top, it would be très fashionable.

Speaking of knitting, last night I purchased yarn for the February Lady Cardigan. I can't wait to cast on, but I'll most likely have to wait until Sunday evening. My friend Jean is coming over from Columbia to visit and catch the Obama rally, and some might think it a bit rude to say, I can't talk! Must knit!!

Also last night, I ate at a Chinese place I usually like, but this time I felt poisoned! Not food poisoning; my body just felt sluggish and gross all today. Instead of eating my leftovers, I tried to flush my system with pomegranate juice, salad, and an orange. Ugh, I haven't felt so gross in years. I started feeling better a mere two hours ago.

I look forward to again eating good things like these roasted beets that I made last week:

The solid colored ones were from my shared garden, and the Chioggia ones were from Fair Shares. YUM! This was my first time to try Chioggia beets, and they are DELICIOUS. Sweeter and more peppery than the other beets. Amazing.

The morning after roasting beets, Porkchop cooked bacon and scrambled eggs (both from Fair Shares), and I added in chevre (from FS) and leftover beets to my eggs. We also had slices of rye bread and apple butter (again, both from FS). I was in breakfast heaven.

Another food highlight was going to Niche with Porkchop on our anniversary last week. Actually, I was turned off by a couple of things. First, their 3-course fixed price deal is now limited to certain (er, the cheapest) selections. Second, our server raved and raved about a dessert - the Poached Pear Financier, but I was not impressed and therefore disappointed. While the licorice ice cream was awesome, the poached pear and the cake in which it was embedded were rather tasteless.

The good parts about Niche were the pepperdelle with braised lamb (so good!) and the Pacific cod. I debated about ordering the cod's cod. How could it possibly be made amazing? Fortunately, it was amazing and served with a few different sauces: pureed squash, creamed spinach, and a red wine reduction. Porkchop ordered the roasted chicken, which was served with a super yummy polenta (among other things). All in all, it was a good night.

Other highlights of last week was Porkchop's brother moving out (yay!), and me going to see Katie and Beth while they were visiting in Columbia. It was Beth's birthday, and it was a very good day of eating at Uprise, having an ice cream cake, and just hanging out.

Currently, I am missing Porkchop while she's working at Six Flags. Stupid Fright Fest. I can't wait for the second weekend of November when Six Flags is over.

An Explanation

In the previous post's comments, Porkchop references a giant roof-sized McCain-Palin sign.

We actually saw a sign like this on Fyler between Watson and Jamieson. It was HUGE. And on the roof. And they had a giant yard sign.

My only thought is, why?

Why do you need a sign that big? We have a tasteful little Obama-Biden yard do most normal people.

Anyway, if I lived near that house, I would definitely devise a route to avoid it.

On a related note, I hope everyone goes to the Obama rally tomorrow!! The last time I went to a political rally was in 2000. And it was a Bush rally! And Katie and Beth and I were protesting!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Dear John Letter

Dear John McCain,

You are a jerkface.

The more you smirk, interrupt people, and continue to spout off ridiculous erroneous statements, the more I'm sure I will be involved in civil unrest if you are elected.

You were a selfish scumbag before the campaign, and you are one still.

You make me throw up whenever I see your blinky-eyed, self-righteous, angry face and hear your petulant little-schoolboy voice.

With no fondness whatsoever,

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It's so Hard to Let You Go

Over the past six years, we've accumulated three typewriters, all Smith Coronas.

A Sterling:

A Galaxie II:

And an SL 480 (electric!):

I took these pictures today for posting on Craigslist. Because, my friends, this is the first time I've taken them out of their cases in the time we've owned them. Sad, I know.

We picked up the first - the Galaxie II, I think - outside of Toronto on our Canada trip. I was just 6 months out of school and wanted to get back into making zines. On a typewriter! So original! I wanted to make something like Doris, but that never happened. Porkchop used the typewriter once or twice; it sat in a closet the rest of the time.

While at a church sale in Jonesboro, we found the Sterling for $5. It came home and sat in a closet, too.

Then Porkchop's grandfather gave her the electric one. It, too, has sat in a closet.

I was all ready to post them on Craigslist today, but then I put a piece of paper in each one and typed some garbled lines. The Sterling needs a new ribbon, but the funky sorta sans serif font on the Galaxie is quite clear.

And then there's the SL 480. It. is. awesome.

Not only can you do sub and super script with a touch of one key, you can also do bold type. For emphasis! Bolding on the typewriter means that the metal thingie strikes the paper 5 times. You can also do a variety of accent marks.

The typewriters remind me of my high school keyboarding class. Yeah, we learned on typewriters...electric and manual.

Anyway, I don't know if I can get rid of these machines just yet. Maybe I'll wait another 6 months.

Friday, October 03, 2008

When to Absolutely Buy Organic

A member of the Sustainable Table group on Ravelry linked to this guide to pesticides in produce. When you can't get local, sustainably grown food, take this to the grocery store! It's also quite helpful if you're trying to eat more organic produce but are on a limited income and want to identify the most heavily sprayed items. There is even a handy wallet-sized card. The full data set is quite interesting (or sickening, maybe).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Love Nurses

This was the best part of the debate tonight...

Well, that and the cupcakes and playing Palin bingo.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Something that it is Really Irritating Me

I am so tired of being around people who talk about marriage and have no idea they are speaking from a position of privilege.

When they talk about how relationships really change after marriage and the hard work necessary to maintain a marriage and blah blah blah, I just want to say, "thanks for making me feel like my relationship is a crappy hoax."

Apparently, according to these people, Porkchop and I must be stuck in the pre-marriage phase and therefore not really committed or serious about things. And, our relationship must not take any work at all because we're not married.

Marriage, my ass.

Also, next week marks the 8-year milestone for us.

Suck on that, people who make me feel bad.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That Just Beats All

I was just perusing my statcounter (BTW, "how to cancel GAP card" is still the biggest hit), and I noticed a visitor from Wasilla, Alaska.

Wasilla, Alaska!

A town the name of which I wouldn't have given much thought previously. But now it sets off all sorts of alarms and bells and whistles.

Wasilla, Alaska.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Out with the Old, In with the New

The past half week has been big...BIG!

Early in the week, I told Porkchop that we would buy a car on Thursday. So, I took the day off and we went out and found this:

It's a 2007 Nissan Versa hatchback! It has 43K miles on it, but we are happy with it, so please don't question the mileage (it was a fleet car from Enterprise, okay?). Also, we could afford it (well, sort of).

Porkchop's old crappy car is currently in the garage. Hopefully she will post it for sale soon! Who wants a leaky convertible with a big dent in the side and no AC and a driver's side window that doesn't work? Anyone??

After this car excitement, I stayed home for most of the weekend and did fun things like scrape the basement walls.

I also knitted. I finished the guilt hat, which used this pattern. I forgot to take a picture before gifting it, so imagine the pattern in this color:

Pictured is the Foliage hat, which is now nearly done.

Sunday night, Porkchop and I knitted together! So exciting that Porkchop is knitting again (and not twisting her stitches this time)!

Today was a very good day. Well, work was a bit exhausting, but after work was fun.

We had dinner at Pi (for a second time, and we've been pleased both times). I was crazy hungry when we arrived, and I ordered a Schlafly Pumpkin Ale and became nearly drunk off of 2 ounces. In my defense, I hadn't eaten in, you know, 5 hours, and it is 8% alcohol by volume. The beer itself was yummy, like a slice of pumpkin pie.

After pizza, we had Ben & Jerry's, and then we went to the Tivoli for a free showing of The Duchess. The movie is quite good and made both of us tear up. Murr.

Other good parts of the day were waiting for me at home. First, a thank you note from a friend and former co-worker who was visiting in St. Louis a couple of weekends ago. We had enjoyed a delicious brunch at Cafe Osage (in Bowood Farms) while we reminisced about the past and contemplated the future.

Second, I received this kick-ass broadside, which I had been coveting:

It's the Summer 2007 broadside from Silver Buckle Press. If you want one, you can get one here. Mine, however, came from our dear friend Kathy (blog here, and website here), who designed and printed it. Behind me, you can see our first housewarming gift from Kathy, which is part of her Maps series. (At least, I think it is, Kathy should correct me if I'm wrong).

So, all in all, a good day!

This week is going to be weird on campus because we are going into lockdown mode due to the VP debate. On Wednesday and Thursday, you won't be able to get on campus without a school ID. And, our school is encouraging us to work from home on Thursday, and to definitely not stay past 3 pm. I'm a bit torn because I want to see the fuss and the media, but I also want to take advantage of any offer to work from home. Hmmm...

Have a great week!

Monday, September 22, 2008


This day kind of threw up on itself. It began with our director going all doomsday about the financial market stuff, and it just went a bit downhill from there.

But, other things...

Friday Night
Porkchop and I ventured to Forest Park for the hot air balloon glow. Oh my, we were so unprepared for the crowds. I can't believe that many people turn out to watch a couple dozen balloons light up! People were also lighting up there, if you know what I mean. In fact, I was so hungry when we arrived, I felt a bit drugged. Porkchop guided me through the crowds, the fiery balloons, the people taking pictures with the brightest flashes ever, the bagpipers...

When we arrived at the fried food stands, we bought one of everything, thank you very much. Egg rolls, crab rangoons, pork ke bob, a funnel cake. Ugh, but so good!

The best parts of the balloon glow were the fireworks and walking through Forest Park at night.

On her way to Six Flags, Porkchop dropped off me and my bike at the farmers market. I picked up some goodies (butternut and acorn squash, a sweet potato, Yukon potatoes, tomatoes (regular and Sungold), apples, and a raspberry scone), and then I rode back to our house on Jefferson. Yay!

Saturday night, I cooked up some of my purchases. I made a pasta sauce out of the butternut squash (dice; season with sage, salt, pepper; sprinkle with olive oil; roast for 40 minutes on 375; puree with cream and water to thin) and I roasted the acorn squash and sweet potato (my favorite method of dicing and seasoning with chile powder).

Was weird. Keetah woke us up at 7 with much crying; we determined she must have hurt her hind right leg, perhaps when Amanda bathed her on Friday. Getting up early was okay because we needed to get out to the airport to pick up our rental car. We're renting a car this week. You know, for funsies. Actually Porkchop's car isn't suitable to drive at the moment, so we intend on just buying a car this week. I haven't detailed all that is wrong with P-chop's car, but she did recently on her blog.

Blech. I am so tired of cars.

Since we will have a big purchase this week, I'm putting off buying yarn for a while. So no February Lady sweater this week. The good thing about this is that I'm nearly done with the guilt will be posted soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Knit Knit Knitting

I am excited for knitterly things again.

This weekend, I intend to purchase yarn for and start a February Lady sweater. I wish I could buy yarn NOW and start knitting NOW.

I'm also still working on my log cabin stash blanket, and I've started a hat for a co-worker's toddler. The hat is being made out of guilt. I started a sweater for the baby shower and didn't finish it in time, and now - were the sweater finished - the kid would be too big for it. Since it's a guilt hat, it's being made out of very nice Dream in Color Classy.

I also look forward to making a couple more Sweet Baby Caps because they are so darn cute! This time, when I make the baby caps, I'll also make coordinating Saartje Bootees because they are also the cutest.

Oh, and there are so many other things to knit, now that the weather is cooling off a bit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cooking without Photos

We really need to charge our camera battery; posts without photos are no fun for anyone. Especially when I spend a couple of hours in the kitchen and have no photographic proof.

So, you'll just have to believe me and imagine food in your head.

Last night I made this carrot soup recipe (only I added celery and a potato). For an accompaniment, I tackled aloo paratha with the guidance of these instructions. In my opinion, they turned out very well for my first attempt. The carrot soup and the paratha were quite tasty, perhaps because the carrots were from my shared garden and the potatoes were from the farmers market we visited in Wisconsin.

I've found that I do need to take a trip to an Indian grocery for things like mango powder, coriander seeds, and perhaps a more appropriate flour for the paratha.

Last week, Porkchop and I used our CSA butternut squash to make this bisque. Oh so yum! The recipe is on Oprah's website, but do not let that deter you.

Sunday night, we roasted our CSA chicken, along with our CSA potatoes and other vegetables. It was alright...I'm just not much of a "whole roasted chicken" person, and I find it difficult to find motivation or good ideas for cooking them. Let me know if you have any.

After the roasted chicken and vegetables, I made a vanilla pound cake (loaf-size, thankfully). It's quite good...especially with black tea. Yum.

Our food processor is starting to get quite a bit of use. I used it 3 times last night. Once for cutting the carrots, potato, celery, and onions for the carrot soup; once for mixing and kneading the paratha dough; and once for pureeing the soup. I like cutting vegetables for things, but I was short on time last night, so I was in total awe of the processor making such quick work (a minute maybe?) of all of those vegetables.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Semi-Magical Week

When Keetah has had a particularly stinky poop, she bolts out of the litterbox, skitters across the kitchen floor, and then turns back to tear up the stairs. Unlike the nastiness that must have just come out of Keetah, this past week was great!

In summary...

Friday Night
After 7 hours or so of driving, we arrived at our home for the weekend, an amazing lake house a bit north of Milwaukee. We stayed up for a while to talk to Patrick and Chelsey, and then we went to sleep in a bedroom with a vaulted ceiling and a wall of windows overlooking the lake. Nice!

We started the day at the West Bend farmers market. I picked up some tomato jam, which I'll crack open during the winter when I miss tomatoes, and we breakfasted on huge peach and raspberry muffins. Yum! On the way back from the market, we stopped at a cheese and sausage store for cheese (of course), beef jerky, and baby rice popcorn (I haven't been able to find this here in Missouri).

Once we returned to the lake house, Chelsey, Patrick, and Chelsey's dad took us for a turn out on the lake. C and P convinced me to try "barefooting" - you know, skiing on the water WITHOUT the benefit of skis. Seeing as how I've never even waterskied before, you can only imagine how this ended. I think I made 5 or 6 attempts (half in swimsuit only, the others in a wetsuit...which makes a big difference comfort-wise).

I never made it up successfully, but I did walk away with a little cut below my eye, a very bruised right arm (from clinging onto the boat's boom for dear life), and nicely bruised thighs (from sitting in the swing suspended from the boom). Painful, but it was fun. Seriously.

After barefooting, we went tubing, which really was fun. I especially enjoyed seeing C and P thrown off the tube when C's dad made a crazy-fast turn (sorry, guys, but it was fun to watch).

Once watersports were over, we watched C and P prepare food for their little going away party that night. We feasted on guacamole, salsa, chips, more cheese, and burritos.

OH, and wonderful pies! C made a double layer pecan pie, and P made a peach and raspberry pie.

The day started with brunch in Hales Corners with P's parents. A very delightful brunch buffet at the botanical gardens...made even better by P's mom telling stories from P's childhood.

I love parents.

Brunch was followed by a rather sad Brewers game. The loss was quite great...11-1, I think. But, I did snap this fuzzy photo of Porkchop and Patrick by the sausage statues (you know about the sausage race, right?):

(We took our camera on the trip, only to find that the battery was dead. So, this is the only photo I have, taken with my phone).

After the game, we checked out Patrick's kick-ass garden. It's a great example of intensive planting with beans and squash climbing up trees.

Next, it was on to Madison for dinner with our friends Vivian and Carmen. We stuffed ourselves on curries and mangoes with sticky rice at Lao Laan Xang. Mmmmm....

The day started with more food! Breakfast at Lazy Jane's began this very self-indulgent day. After eating, we stopped by Porkchop's (and Patrick's) old stomping grounds: Tandem Press. Then we went to my old stomping grounds: Lakeside Fibers. Good yarn was found and purchased. Then we went to a new stomping ground: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. (Oh my gosh. That's all I have to say. And yum...super-ass yum.) Finally, we went to a place that I want to be my permanent stomping ground, a new cheese shop: Fromagination. Or, maybe more appropriately, BEST CHEESE SHOP EVER. I now adore Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands cheese...I think I might have to order a wheel. It is super fantastical.

After all of this excitement, we lunched at Ian's Pizza (always a winner with pizzas like macaroni and cheese). Our last stop with Patrick and Chelsey was the UW Art Department, where Porkchop checked in with former professors, and Patrick got the scoop on the Buenos Aires printmaking scene.

Much too soon, we had to part ways. Porkchop and I drove back to St. Louis (but first we stopped to pick up some New Glarus Spotted Cow beer and Sprecher root beer), and P and C went back to Milwaukee to prepare for their trip (which has been delayed due to Hurricane Ike).

The Rest of the Week
Went by quickly. Today I started scraping the basement walls in preparation for applying dry lock. It isn't easy. We're scraping off some paint/plaster stuff so that the dry lock can go directly on the masonry. Since we don't know if the paint/plaster stuff is lead-based, I wore Porkchop's respirator. So, while I'm protected, I'm not able to breath in as much oxygen. It makes the work extra tiring.

This evening I biked around Cherokee Street. First, I had a chai and a brownie at Mississippi Mud House. Then I ventured to the other end of the street to check out the Mexican Independence Day Festival. The festival itself wasn't so great...mainly people leaning against buildings while 6-foot high speakers blasted music.

But, fortunately, there were a few art things happening. I chatted with the printmakers of All Along Press. Two recent WUSTL grads started the press, and Porkchop looks forward to printing there and maybe doing a workshop on litho. Myself, I hope to print some greeting cards or other little things.

I stopped in at a couple of art shows - one at Fort Gondo, and the other at the gallery across the street (can't remember the name). There's also an art supply shop opening up near All Along and the galleries. It won't open officially for a couple more weeks, but the owner had it open tonight so that people could check it out.

Many exciting things happening on Cherokee Street! Kakao is also on Cherokee now, so I will have a local truffle supply (although I can't figure out what their store hours are...).

I might have stayed out longer, but I was on bike and I need to buy new bike lights so that I won't be run down in the dark. I had contemplated buying a new bike, but I think my old bike will be just fine after I clean it up. CAMP apparently has a free bike clinic on Thursdays, so maybe I will go there this week for help with a tune-up.

Anyway, that's all! Hope your weekend is super-great!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sweet Dreams

In a dream this morning, I was buying a cookie. A wonderfully warm, just-out-of-the-oven blueberry and peach cookie.

I would like one in real life, please. Because I woke up hungry.

We leave for Wisconsin at 4:00 today.


I'm excited.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Things I Like to Do

Gchat with Porkchop when she is in the living room with the laptop and I'm on the desktop in the little office nook, a mere 15 feet away.

I like Porkchop. A lot.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Come-What-May Day

I wish all of my weekends were of the 3-day variety. This holiday weekend hasn't been particularly exciting, but the extra day makes the thing feel complete.

First, let me tell you that I did a ton of laundry this weekend. Many, many loads. I wanted to get everything washed and start fresh with empty hampers. For example, I washed a small rug that has been in the hamper for over a year. Embarrassing? Yes. But clean now? Also yes.

I've also eaten nearly half of a batch of brownies. Do I love brownies so much? Yes. Am I tired of them yet? No.

This weekend also saw some yarn activity. I worked more on the neverending interlocking balloons scarf (seriously, am I the slowest knitter on this?), as well as my log cabin blanket. While putting away some clean clothes in my dresser, I spied a knitted kerchief and a hat that I never wear, so I ripped out the two items. I wound the yarn into hanks, soaked them, and hung them up to dry. Now I have my favorite Dream in Color yarn and some Manos del Uruguay for the blanket! I hope they dry quickly.

My left hip is killing me today. I think I blew it out during yoga yesterday. Ugh. Also, my abs are so sore, I can't turn over in bed without yelping in pain.

So, no yoga today. Only gentle stretching and yard work.

Oh, the yard work.

I ripped out some very invasive vines and plants that had taken over the area between the retaining wall and our neighbor's fence. During this process, I learned there is a drainage channel that empties from the bottom of the retaining wall into our yard. The water then runs down towards our garage.

The joys of a sloping yard, let me tell you.

Since this is very bad for the garage foundation, I think we need to install a pipe from the drainage channel and direct it out towards the alley (yes, I know the water should go back into the ground, but this sloping yard makes it quite challenging).

As for the water, I don't know where the hell it's coming from. It was gushing out this morning. It doesn't make sense to me, especially given that it hasn't rained recently. I'm a bit concerned, but I'm trying to not get super agitated about it at the moment. My hunch is that it's coming from the neighbor's yard, but I don't know if that makes sense either.

While inspecting the effects of the deluge, I found a big nest of slugs. A big undulating nest of sliminess.

Of course, my biggest concern regarding the slugs is about what will happen when I plant a garden. I'm already imagining slugs over everything.

After stumbling upon the slug nest, I decided to cut my yard work a bit short and take the refuse to the yard waste dumpster. During my first trip, my eye caught the eye of a sketchy-looking guy hanging out at the dumpster behind the corner bar (which is across the side street).

This little encounter made me abandon the other two big piles of refuse and retire to the house. Enough excitement for one morning.

I am now trying to erase from my mind the image of all of those slugs. And I'm contemplating unpacking a box or two.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's One of those Days

At the train stop this morning, Metro employees were handing out newsletters about upcoming service cuts that will occur if additional funding is not received for 2009.

I was so incensed over the cuts, I stepped onto the wrong train. After the Forest Park stop, I realized I was headed to the airport. Fortunately, the Loop stop isn't a far walk from the university, and I hopped on a #2 bus. If service cuts are put into place, the #2 bus won't come along so conveniently.

Porkchop and I are going to the Mizzou-Illinois battle of the bands tonight. We're taking the #93 to it. If service cuts occur, the #93 will no longer exist. This particular bus route had nearly 150,000 riders during July.

WTF? No trains after 8:00 PM? Reduced train service during peak and non-peak times? Reduced service on the #70 (which had over 360,000 riders in July)?

I'm SO angry. And will be sure to attend one of the Metro info meetings.

Anyway, check out the possible changes yourself here.

I'm also angry about McCain's VP pick. I think it's so lovely that Governor Palin is a member of Feminists for Life. What a gross misnomer.

Blech, blech, blech.

But, overall I'm in a good mood! It's Friday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No More Restless Nights

Furniture usually doesn't make me so excited, but I cannot freaking wait for the new mattress to be delivered today.

(Update: Apparently our chest of drawers is on backorder. No one told me! So they will deliver it for freaking free next week. In the meantime, Porkchop's clothes are strewn about in laundry baskets.)

Furniture is boring, so here are a few maybe less boring things...

Porkchop's Birthday
Was fun! Amanda has supposedly drafted a blog post about it, so I won't steal her thunder. I will merely list activities that occurred: lunch at Stellina's Pasta Cafe, a movie, ice cream making, present-opening, dinner at Onesto, a baseball game the following night.

Here is Porkchop contemplating her 29th year as she opens presents:

The Weekend
Was good! In a twisted, cleaning-is-a-good-thing way. I spent most of the day clearing out and cleaning the kitchen and cleaning the upstairs bathroom. Carry a mini fridge to the basement by myself? No problem! Scrub the tub with lemon and borax? Allow me!

Saturday was all cleaning (and yoga), so I made Saturday night a sit-and-knit and eat popcorn (and break a spice bottle full of nutritional yeast on the clean kitchen floor) night. Yeah, remember how I used to knit?? It's back! Yay!

I toiled some more on the never-ending interlocking balloons scarf. Seriously, this is becoming the scarf from hell, but I love the pattern and yarn, so I continue. Slowly.

To lighten things up, I started knitting a log cabin blanket. Hopefully, this will clear out my yarn scraps. Here it is:

Sunday was another work day. After taking Porkchop to work, I went to the garden and cleared out the non-producing tomato plants (so sad! I can't wait for next summer when I can monitor my plants every day and control the soil amendments). I also planted a new row of lettuce, one of radishes, and a half row of brussel sprouts.

At the garden, I also mourned the death of a baby butternut squash. Some Thing cut the squash vine in half! There are a few squash buds left, and I dearly hope they mature. Since our watermelon vines didn't do anything, and the cantaloupe flowers haven't developed into little fruits, all of my vine hopes rest on this one butternut squash. *sigh*

The rest of Sunday was a blur - yoga, a little bit of time at the Festival of Nations, back to pick up Porkchop...and I don't remember what else.

Oh Look
It's already Wednesday. Seven more hours until the Fair Shares pickup! Also, I might even make Wednesday night knitting!

Excitement - our mini Wisconsin trip is nearly only a week away! On the Friday after Labor Day, we're driving up to Milwaukee to see Porkchop's friend Patrick before he says adios and moves to Argentina for a year. A side-trip to Madison is promised. So we hope to see our Madison friends! And stop by Lakeside Fibers.

More excitement - my Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Study Guide just arrived, and I couldn't wait to start reading it! Why, yes, I lead a boring life.

Finally, you should see the stuff Keetah has been carrying up the stairs! She is such the little helper! She totes things upstairs late at night and then meows and meows until we get out of bed and check out our presents. This is what she has brought up so far:

I can only hope she soon starts unpacking boxes and hanging prints.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Happy Birthday to Porkchop!!



P-chop picks me up from work at 12:30 for birthday activities such as lunch and catching an afternoon movie.

In the meantime, I'm doing the following:
  • Admiring how much nicer my shirt looks since we purchased a new washer. I thought this particular shirt was just getting old and worn, but our new washer makes it look almost new. Oh, and when I write "new washer," I mean "refurbished washer purchased from an un-air-conditioned discount appliance warehouse in freaking Barnhart."
  • Trimming my ear hair (discreetly, in my office, and hoping I don't cut my ears). I don't know about y'all, but my ear hair is starting to grow freakishly long. I'm sure my ears will soon start to resemble my dad's in terms of ear hair. Which reminds me of an amusing story. My bald dad recently purchased supplements from GNC that would purportedly cause his hair to grow back. My dad has been bald since his mid-20's, and he hates it, so of course he bought these questionable supplements. Well, would you believe that the supplements worked?! That is, they worked on his ear hair and his arm hair! Now he has these crazy coarse hairs growing from his ears and arms!

That is all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

And You Must Love Us

So...I was just checking out David Sedaris's tour schedule and cursing people who live in New England because of his upcoming numerous readings scheduled for that area. Simultaneously, I was trying to plan a mid-week trip to Madison in October to catch him. And then I kind of gave up, because I doubt that will happen.

I was grumbling about why David Sedaris must obviously hate St. Louis when I looked at Sarah Vowell's tour schedule. Look who's coming here on October 29!!

Yay! We love you, Sara Vowell!

Minor Ramblings

I spent a lot of time driving around this weekend, and that makes me very sad. I hate spending time driving around the city, getting angry at people on the highway, and getting pissed off while waiting at lights with long lines.

Also, I often get driving anxiety and get a little dizzy and can't breathe.


Amanda's dad had a stent put it in on Friday, so he and Amanda's mom each stayed with us at the end of the week (but on different nights).

We made a great dinner Friday night with the flank steak and a tomato jam-type concoction. I also made a yummy blueberry buckle with berries from Amanda's mom. Amanda followed this up with a hearty breakfast on Saturday using items from Fair Shares: pancakes, the best sausage I've ever had, and eggs.

Also, on Saturday, I finally purchased our new bed and bedroom furniture. The bad news is that it won't be delivered until Wednesday of NEXT week. I am so sick of my mattress, it makes me want to cry. Only 9 more nights on it.

On Sunday, I made more good things with Fair Shares items: a Thai cucumber and peanut salad, and a peanut curry with butternut squash.

It is only Monday, and I can't wait for the weekend again. I also can't wait for this Wednesday because I'm finally getting this mess that some might call "hair" cut. It is so long and awful right now.

You know what else is depressing? I'm trying to work out a menu for a conference in November, and I've found that there is no way I can stay within the proposed food budget of $11,000. Isn't that insane? $11,000 would pay off all of my credit card and student loan debts, and there would be money to spare. But it won't cover food for a stinking conference? This world is so wrong.

But, a Good Thing
Yesterday Amanda said that she wants to make peanut butter cookies this week for a co-worker. I pondered, what would peanut butter cookies be like with chocolate chips? We had these exact cookies today at our school's coffee shop. From Companion! Yum!

Also, last week I was complaining to a co-worker about how I find a particular staff member quite unresponsive and unprofessional and generally hard to work with. The next day found an email stating that said person had left to "pursue other opportunities effective immediately."

And Another Good Thing
Thursday is Amanda's birthday. She will be a very old 29.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Food Things

In addition to the CSA and our regular menu planning at home, my life is revolving around food this week.

Since yesterday afternoon, I've been perusing the catering menu for the Chase Park Plaza...trying to decide what to order for a conference in November.

Today, a co-worker treated a few of us to lunch at the U-City Grill. It does serve breakfast diner food, but it is also a Korean diner. I had the bibimbob, which was pretty good. Maybe I'll try the hash browns next time!

An hour ago, a co-worker and I went to the university catering tasting, which is always a big fancy affair with items like duck, lamb, trout, shrimp, other tasty things, and an open bar. Also, we were given a big jar to fill up with candy on the way out the door. The candy is for Amanda. Because I'm apparently a junk food enabler.

Tomorrow night is a staff/faculty dinner, which I didn't want to go to, but my supervisor says I should. The food had better be good because I normally don't enjoy such functions.

All for now!

Oh wait! And this morning was the monthly birthday celebration, so there was fruit and cake to start the day (but I only had fruit).

Breaking Records

While people in the Olympics are breaking all sorts of world records, Amanda and I are breaking records like Most Time Ever Required to Unpack and Fastest Growing Grass Ever and Most Edging Needed Ever.

Amanda and her younger brother like to team up to compete for Most Pop Tarts Eaten in 24 Hours Ever. Meanwhile, their dad has broken Most Soda Consumed in 3 Hours Ever. All together, they dominate in Most Junk "Food" Ever Consumed in Our House.

But, seriously, could the Olympics be at a more inconvenient time? I'm trying to unpack things, but I get caught up in swimming and synchronized diving and gymnastics. Last night, my heart broke for Alicia Sacramone! Poor thing!

Currently, Amanda is in love with Michael Phelps...which kind of weirds me out. But, whatever floats your swimming fins, you know.

Before getting sucked into the Olympics last night, I edged for an hour and a half. And I only completed half of our rather short walkway in the back yard. Before edging, the sidewalk was only 6 inches wide. After edging is completed, it will be regular width.

During edging, I learned that a lot of insects live in our yard. For example, ants had apparently established an egg laying ground on part of the overgrown sidewalk. When I pulled back the dirt and grass from that part, thousands of eggs were exposed, and the ants went flipping nuts. While it was impressive to see the ants get to work and move the eggs, I was little weirded out by it.

Sorry, ants, but that's the sidewalk!

Also, a squirrel destroyed my potted tomato plant. But that's okay because I had already harvested all of its tomatoes. And now I know what I will be up against next year.

Also, I found two little moth larvae near my sweaters, and moth fear has struck me! Currently, my woolen items are residing in the freezer.

Tonight is my CSA pickup, and it looks great! I also ordered some flank steak. We will eat well this week!

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Beautiful Day

When you step out of the house at 7:28 to catch your bus, you get to enjoy the cool morning breezes.

This morning was NICE, especially after the heat earlier this week.

(Although, I must say, it was MUCH hotter in Arkansas...made the heat here look like nothing).

I arrived on campus at 8 am (inadvertently, as I'm still working out my morning bus time), and was happy to have time to grab a chai and a bagel at the library cafe.

During lunch, I went for a walk to enjoy more of this beautiful weather.

I contemplated entering the new university center and finding the office of someone who transferred to a new position a couple of weeks ago. Seeing all of the construction barriers and people in hardhats, I decided against it. Since I didn't know where the heck I would be going, I didn't want to appear foolish and/or get hit with some sort of construction item.

As I was walking back in the direction of my building, I heard someone yell my name. It was the exact person I wanted to find!

Sometimes, things work out perfectly.

Now I know where his office is, and the new center officially opens next it looks like I'll take a walk again later.

This Weekend
I'm building up tomorrow so much, I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Amanda is off tomorrow, and we have plans, plans, plans. There are lots of house things to do, I want (no, NEED) to go to the garden, Cherokee Street is beckoning with aguas frescas and other treats, and we want to look at bedroom furniture. Also, other things. I made a list on the bus this morning.

Speaking of busses, I'm loving bus 11. After the 70 zoo, I'm thankful for a mellow evening ride on a bus that is never more than half full. I'm also enjoying the new scenery. After the first day on the bus, my neck was sore from whipping around, looking at the different buildings and businesses. I still catch my commuter buddy on the evening train, and we reminisce about old times on the Grand 70. However, save for my commuter buddy, I don't miss it at all!

Have a super weekend!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Enough with the Bullshit, Please

I am so glad it is August, as I am ready to retire from this god forsaken summer.

(Please make this autumn arrive speedily and make it not suck.)

While sitting in my dad's hospital room last week (he was discharged this past Thursday, by the way), I used YogaToday's Adi Amar's phrase "let go of that which does not serve you" to let go of headaches, shoulder aches, foot spasms, and eye spasms. (I am secretly in love with Adi, but not so secretly now. My new goal is to go to Jackson Hole and take a class with her.)

Currently, I'm trying to let go of the dizziness, neckache, and stomach weirdness that has been plaguing me since noon today.

I think most of it is exhaustion. And it's hard to let go of exhaustion when it's all you have left.

On Positive Notes
My dad has not hiccupped since the morning of Friday, August 1! That was only nearly 10 days of hiccups!

My poor dad.

I stayed through the week and took him home Thursday afternoon. He was moved out of the ICU on Tuesday, and an endoscopy showed that his bleeding wasn't from an old ulcer. Instead, it was extreme esophagitis caused by acid reflux.

My dad was on Protonix twice a day anyway. Now he has promised to quit coffee.

He better keep his promise.

His Protonix drip in the hospital allowed his esophagus to heal enough so that muscle relaxers stopped the hiccups. He's slowly spacing out his muscle relaxer doses in the hopes of being able to discontinue it without hiccupping.

My dad was also hallucinating in the hospital. While funny, it also made me cry.

I also cried from all of the hospital sadness. Like sponges we soaked up everyone's tales of grief and lamented the deaths around us.

I was most affected by the two elderly brothers who witnessed their other brother die the day after he was moved out of the ICU. We saw the gentleman move out of the ICU, and he died as my dad was settling into his regular room just across the hall. The brothers must have been in their late 70s, and there is nothing quite as unsettling as watching little old men sob their hearts out. Wearing their best farmer overalls, they reminded me of my grandpa and his friends so much, I felt like I knew them and I wanted to take their hands and hug them.

My mom was most affected by the woman whose husband had been on life support for the past 3 weeks. They were about to disconnect him, but his son's arrival (to say a last goodbye) was met with so much improvement, they decided to hold off on the disconnection.

The House
On a more upbeat note, Amanda and her younger brother (who is living with us for a while) moved all of our crap to the new house!

The amount of stuff to put away has overwhelmed me.

So Instead I Cooked
Well, I've unpacked a lot so far, but I also cooked some yummy stuff. Sunday evening, I used my new cookbooks to make an eggplant gratin and a pasta dish with ground lamb and a Greek-style tomato sauce. On Monday, I made chocolate chip-zucchini cookies, and helped Amanda make tortellini with her favorite red pepper-tomato sauce.

For dinner tonight, Amanda bought me some chicken noodle soup and even warmed it up for me.

This neckache has me feeling super-grumpy, but I'm trying to let go of the grumpiness too.

I have to assist at a conference tomorrow. I really just want to stay home and lie curled up in bed.

Woe is me and woe to this summer of discontent.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Damned Bloody Hiccups

Okay, I know you're probably thinking I've been ignoring this blog while I pick out paint colors, plan my garden for next year, and drylock the basement in the new house.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. While I helped pick out a refrigerator last weekend and arranged movers for this Monday, Porkchop has taken over the bulk of moving-related activities while I'm at my parents.

I came here Tuesday night straight from work to be with my mom and my sister (who flew in from Atlanta) while my dad had back surgery on Wednesday. As far as back surgeries go, his was pretty simple. An easy nerve decompression in the lumbar region. As expected, the surgery went without a hitch.

The recovery period, however, has been downright horrible.

First, you should know that my dad has a history of being hospitalized for hiccups. When my dad gets the hiccups, he gets the HICCUPS and they won't stop for 3-4 DAYS sometimes. After the last big spell about 17 years ago (geez, I can't believe I can now recount events that happened so long ago), doctors found that baclofen (er, not checking spelling tonight) works to relax his diaphragm muscles.

Second, you should know that my dad had a bleeding ulcer about 11 years ago. He collapsed one night, and I had to call 911 and my mom and I were so scared.

So, both of these things - the hiccups and the ulcer - were apparently aggravated by the back surgery. My dad started hiccuping Wednesday night and is still suffering. In the meantime, there was a trip to an urgent care clinic Thursday evening for a prescription of thorazine, and there was a follow-up trip to the ER Friday morning. There, they gave him a shot of thorazine and demerol, and a prescription for a different muscle relaxer (because valium can cause hiccups - he was told to take valium after the back surgery).

Therefore, during the day on Friday, we followed doctors' orders and gave my dad baclofen, thorazine, hydrocodone (for back pain from the surgery), and skylexin (spelling? this was the ER-prescribed muscle relaxer). My dad was also taking some cough syrup and mucinex.

The good news is that he would stop hiccuping for an hour or so after having a muscle relaxer or the hydrocodone. The bad news is that he started coughing up quite a bit of black sludge, which we originally thought was stomach bile, but it of course turned out to be blood.

The other bad news is that we apparently over-sedated him (surprise, surprise, considering all of those freaking meds).

I had the early morning shift today, and an alarm started going off in my head around 3:15 that something was totally not right. Not only was my dad SO groggy, but he was incredibly disoriented. I becamed clued in to this when he started pulling down his pants and underwear, as though he needed to use the bathroom, but then he wouldn't respond when I asked if he needed to go to the toilet. I finally had to call for my brother (who was released from being on tech support call this weekend, thankfully) because my dad kept sitting up in bed and pulling off his underwear. By this time, my dad wasn't responding at all to us (and I later discovered that he had peed in the bed). So we called 911, and two wonderful EMTs came out.

We got out to the ER around 4 AM, and after my dad was stablized (his blood pressure and heart rate were LOW) and the old meds flushed out of his system (or, rather, the effects were "reversed" with whatever stuff they gave him), he was admitted to the ICU. And that's where we took shifts today until we were booted out at 9 PM. Visiting hours don't start again until 6 AM, so we will all thankfully get some rest. When we left, my dad was sleeping (although still hiccuping). Tomorrow he will have a CT scan and ultrasound to figure out if there's a benign tumor or something irritating the diaphragm nerve that causes hiccups. If not, I sincerely hope they decide to cut the nerve.

The bleeding in his stomach seems to be decreasing, as his spit-up stuff has become clearer. But there is still a long road ahead. My dad is not an easy patient. This afternoon, when I was on a solo shift, he kept trying to remove his oxygen tube, take off his oxygen sensor, remove his catheter (!!), and I think he was contemplating ripping out his IV because, in his opinion, it wasn't doing anything (but he started to respect the IV more when I told him it was also a protonix drip...I had to tell him this like 5 times, and he acted surprised each much for being more coherent and aware).

So, that's the news from Arkansas. I hope your weekend is going much better!

(Also, send good thoughts to my dad.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not a Real Post, Just an Anecdote


Thanks to all for sending congratulations on our new house! We were there for a couple of hours Tuesday night and killed 2 house centipedes!

So, to explain some details of our house-buying, my name is the only name on the loan, but Porkchop and I are both on the title. We had to do a "quit claim" at closing to add her name. I can't remember how it's specified on the title, but it's the title that ensures rights of survivorship.

Originally, I thought Porkchop's name was dropped from the loan because of her ginormous student loan, but at closing our mortgage officer and title guy mentioned something about how the state of Missouri makes situations like ours incredibly difficult. And then our mortgage officer was very mysterious and said he could explain later if we wanted him to. We haven't followed up on that...but maybe we will later to clear up this mystery.

Anyway, this isn't a real post because I have tons of pictures sitting in the camera at home that I want to share. No, I'm just relating an incident that happened on Saturday, as the shooting pain in my right arm reminds me of it.

After tending to the garden on Saturday, I went to Target to purchase floss. After picking out the floss, I headed to the checkout area. While walking there, I pulled out my wallet to see if I had $4.

I was aware that I was walking by a woman (with a cart) who was looking at the kids' clothing (which is across from the checkout area in this particular Target). I was totally aware of my surroundings.

But, in the two seconds during which I looked down to scan my wallet, I felt something hit me full-on from my right side with a surprising amount of force.

It was a situation in which you're surprised and react with some sort of primal nature. My primal reaction was to emit an "oooof" grunt and look around like the wounded animal that I was.

The woman with the cart was apologizing profusely to me, which I took to mean that she had smacked me with her cart while I was looking down at my wallet.

I couldn't say anything to her. I just looked at her with a puzzled and hurt expression and scampered off to the express checkout lane.

Saturday night, my right hand hurt like hell - like someone had taken a sander to it and abraded it. Sunday morning, I had horribly intense pains in my right hand, and then it was all tingly and weird in the evening. It wasn't until Monday morning that I made the connection between the Target hit-and-run and all of this pain. With how I was walking and the position of the woman's cart, my poor right hand and arm took the brunt of the impact.

I just want to know why this woman had to swing her cart around with such force, like she was running away from a fire and her cart contained her most valuable possessions. Jesus.

Anyway, my right arm still gets shooting pains that hurt like a mother-youknowwhat.