Monday, June 30, 2008


Wow! Nice, new facility...larger desks, great use of natural light, and we're on the 3rd floor, so I'll be trying my darnedest to use the stairs for exercise. Naturally, since I started packing up my desk today, they had to bump the move at least a week, but we certainly have something to look forward to. There's a nice retention pond on one side and our main break room opens out there, so I look forward to lunching on the grass. It borders I-95 and the main view is Baptist South (hospital) on that side, but I think I can block that out.

We really do need the new digs; we're getting too big for our current facility and all-hands meetings are an exercise in claustrophobia where the break room turns into a sauna because of all the bodies. Still, a tiny part of me wishes the money they spent on the new building could've gone into our paychecks instead, like in a cost-of-living raise. With no overtime opportunities in the foreseeable future, it gets me thinking about a 2nd job again, though I know how unrealistic it is for me to hold down 2 jobs and maintain my sanity, especially sans full meds. Nose to the grindstone...

A good place

Nice weekend. Puttered on the computer quite a bit, neglected the apartment (except the kitchen), and took care of me. Why can't I remember what I did on Saturday? Laundry in the morning...then what? Must be having a lackolithium moment...did quite a bit of computer trolling, and I'm glad I did, because we lost cable this morning, so Internet and phone are soon to follow, and we can't pay it probably for 2 weeks :( Alexa turned me on to another crafty site with great resources for inspiring little ones: MotherRising...also a rather amazing account of life lived 1 block from 9/11/01. Seriously gives you perspective, makes you think...

Did quite a bit of cooking yesterday, and am happy with my new stove :) Made a bunch of wheat bread from scratch, a lil-of-this-lil-of-that soup that surprisingly wasn't a failure, and some oatmeal cookies for the week (with a hint of banana because I was low on regular oatmeal, but had 3 packets of Banana bread flavored oatmeal left).

  • Planting and harvesting: still just the catnip. Quite impressed with myself, the attention I'm giving said plants, not letting them wither from neglect. Wish I could say the same for the aloe. Everybody's sprouting but the spearmint, which is odd; those were Burpee seeds from this year ala Target. Going to shove Jobe's sticks into everybody this week. Gave the plants their first dose of real sun Saturday on the back porch, only to nearly drown them when the afternoon rains hit. So they're back up front for now.
  • Preserving: 2/3rds of the soup and bread I made yesterday went into the freezer :)
  • Prepping: yesterday was clean as you go in the kitchen, and I'm more comfortable in that room now. This week I hope to deal with the aloe and go through the bookshelves at least; not having cable will be a big help in this endeavor.
  • Cooking: mentioned above...also planning to try white bean burgers later in the week, and I have to bake a cake for a worker's birthday tonight.
  • Managing: reserves are LOW...have to do a shop tonight :(
  • Local food systems: WIP

We move into the new building for work this weekend, get to tour it in a couple of minutes. Should be fun!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Not knowing where to start, in the task of educating myself for possibly owning animals and growing things on a smallish patch of land someday, I'm finding the Internet to be a nice jumping-off point. Farmlet recently documented quite graphically, the process of slaughtering a beef cow on their property (CAUTION: when I say graphic, I mean graphic!). On the chicken front, Throwback at Trapper Creek, has just documented the killing process for their broilers (also graphic). I'm not one to get grossed out by that stuff, and it has me seriously thinking about where I want our food to come from, and how I need to be more diligent about shopping at Native Sun for now. Husby bought Winn-Dixie milk the other day, and after what I've read about dairy that has rGBH added, I'm having trouble drinking the stuff.

Anyway, Throwback at Trapper Creek is an absolute gold mine of information...very educational, it's a firsthand account of living on a working farm in the Pacific Northwest. Livestock and gardening and the multitude of tasks required to maintain a zero-mile lifestyle where food is concerned. I'm looking forward to trolling their archives, but right now, some free-range egg salad is beckoning...

Friday, June 27, 2008


Holy cow, but I was wired yesterday...definitely need to take a good look at what I've been eating. Today's quite a bit better...I always feel a little raw after a good flying crash like that though, so today's weekly team meeting better be short and sweet...but I'm back on track, actually working on sites and listening to myself. And feeling better. Man, that's nice.

Don't know what the weekend holds...projects, no doubt...we have so much "stuff" in our little apartment that needs to be looked through, reorganized...and it's frustrating to see stuff I'd like from the garage at Mom's (like the two natural wood cabinets that stack one on top of the other...they'd be great for a makeshift pantry and place to keep kitchen appliances within easier reach, like the blender, food processor, etc.) and know that we don't have the room for it in our current sitch. So maybe digging into the apartment a little more will help us find the room...who knows...I keep trying to downsize and end up adding more furniture. Self-defeating or a step toward real organization?

Changed up the baby blanket pattern...found it in an old Creative Knitting mag, a standard rib of K2, P2 for 10 rows, then P2, K2 for 10 rows, and repeat...but I could tell I don't have the patience for that, so I did the first 20 rows and now I'll do it in stockinette until the last 20 rows. Stockinette may be boring as dog snot for some people, but it's exactly what I need right now.

Speaking of boring as dog snot, I still hate my haircut. Been enjoying new uses for bandannas though, to get it back from my face after work.

Got a new stove, and all 4 burners work! Sweet! Also wearing an old pair of capris that used to be uncomfortably tight and instead fit nicely, that's a nice feeling. Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Struggling to focus...

I'm in an odd, dark place today. Business is slow, so I got a half day yesterday, but it doesn't appear to have done me much good. I miss my lithium. I know it's a big part of why I always, always have to have projects going of late. Can't sit still, and feel massively guilty when I do. Have to be reading, knitting, tidying, planting, can't be just sitting it's even possible to sit quietly in that house, because a TV is always on. Time slips away from us, while we lay comfy in our rut. I'm not comfy, and he isn't really either; his guilty comments belie his outward laziness. And it's not entirely laziness, his head hurts some most days...but am I enabling him by being soft when he's hurting? I wouldn't want to work if I had daily headaches either, don't know how Dad did it for so long. No, I do know, he felt the obligation of doing right by his family...but times have changed and I'm just as capable if not more of handling to big breadwinner status. Makes me tired though...

He knows things have to change. Some complex resident left a note on everyone's door about how he's been burglarized 4 times since moving here in February. While I feel little sympathy for the guy, because anyone stupid enough to continue replacing his toys and still getting burglarized has to eventually catch on to the fact that it's the cool toys that are bringing the burglars back...why would anyone in our tiny-assed apartments need a 40-inch, flat screen LCD TV in the first place? Dumb ass. Guy obviously didn't do his homework before moving here, or he wouldn't have picked the lousiest complex on the access road to move into; I mean, my complex truly is the bastard stepchild of all the complexes on the Southside access. And the carjackings and thefts have gotten worse of late. So maybe this eye-opener will help prod Husby...he's been sleeping with the knife out, and didn't want me doing laundry after dark last night. About time our complacence got a jolt. That guy getting pistol-whipped one building over from us was a nice wake-up call too. The hard part will be finding the patience to make the changes we need to landlord would look twice at our credit if we tried to move right now, never mind that we just signed a new lease. We have some work to do.

Anyway, I miss my lithium. I'm definitely scattier without it, and at loose ends. I've been sleeping hard and waking up disoriented. Missing Dad. Don't know quite how to make all the changes I'd like to...think, list, plan, one at a time, be kind to myself.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


There's something about the ebb and flow of a work week. If I haven't planned properly for the basics, the little things like packing lunches and actual dinners, the week goes to heck fast...and with me only being on half my Paxil and no Lithium, it's a crap shoot as to how well I handle the ebb and flow anyway. So with little dough to start the week and even less viable meal ideas in the ole cabinets and fridge, we're fading fast. I'm going to make a list this afternoon for essentials and get back on track. In just one week, I got really used to having things handy and eating decent, healthy meals and without that, I'm at loose ends and back to my crappy habits. Hence the Skittles reference, and the presence of soda twice in my diet in the last 2 days. I didn't really miss it when it wasn't part of the daily regimen, so what propels me toward the carbonated sugar water when I'm slacking? Worth a ponder...

Been trolling the foodie blogs again, getting some neat recipe ideas...worked the baby cardigan again last night and was forced to use my own ingenuity a bit...the pattern got confusing about halfway in, so for the heck of it, I jumped onto the website for the magazine to see if there was any errata associated with that particular pattern...and naturally found errata for about 12 rows before where I was...ACK! So I'm bagging the idea of buttonholes for now and concentrating on getting the body, in its three parts, up to the size it's supposed to be, because the pattern left out a frickin' 15-row repeat...and while I'm sure baby shrugs may be all the rage, I'd rather have something a bit larger. Can always add snaps down the line...when I get around to affording a snap press, that is...another one for the wish list...

Monday, June 23, 2008


When Tim Russert passed, my second thought, after a rather poignant sadness, was that at least now Dad would have someone to spar with, a solid voice from the left side of the aisle to counter his right-winged opinions. Now I get to work and hear about George Carlin. Dad loved that guy, and he was quite open about using language properly; he removed the stigma from things like the 7 words you can never say on TV, and Cyril and I were raised early on Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Never mind that Carlin died of heart failure, same as Dad...I'm going to be a little sad all day now. grr...

Handfasting was lovely, made me cry...I'm definitely getting used to Florida weather too, because while I was certainly sweating a nut in the great outdoors, I wasn't uncomfortable. Man, it takes it out of you though; we did stop at Chamblin's on the way home and unload those books (to the tune of $94 credit - SWEET!), but we were pretty useless afterward. I guess I needed a weekend like that though...well, that and I never should've had that one beer; I fought dehydration headaches all weekend as a result.

Independence Days Challenge update:
1. Plant something - yeah, well, at least more stuff's sprouting...
2. Harvest something - just catnip still, but again, the Big Boys are begging for attention...
3. Preserve something - not really this week, but dipped into the stores of the frozen Chicken n' Dumplings, and it's sure nice to have a little something set aside...
4. Prep something - Chamblin's purchases: Better Homes & Gardens Complete Book of Gardening (hardcover edition from early '80s, I think) and the Crafter's Choice Complete Stitch Encyclopedia...really nice, thorough volumes on both subjects, priced at a song.
5. Cook something - pretty much failures on this front, but at least I'm trying...FarmGirl's Blueberry bars just aren't my cup of tea, I guess; and I tried a Honey-Wheat bread recipe (from Panera cookbook) that I found online, that was also kind of disappointing...never trust a bread recipe that says you only have to proof it for 30 minutes. I should've known better, I mean, I've read enough of FarmGirl's advice on bread baking to know better now (on breads I trust her implicitly, as she's an artisan bread baker who's working toward having her own bakery). Live and learn...
6. Manage reserves - running out of reserves to manage :(
7. Local food - No change

Watched Whale Rider a couple of times on Saturday night (freakin' LOVE that movie), and that and the handfasting got me thinking about religion and my heritage...pulled out The Apple Branch again. My faith's been in a dry patch, and while I may talk of Summerland, I don't know that I actually believe in it - I'm too much of a realist. But the alternative - there being nothing after death - terrifies me in a rather crippling fashion, so I'm going to do some more reading and thinking on it.

Knitting mainly the baby cardigan still...started shaping the armhole areas...a little daunting, but I'm still in the zone on it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekend :)

I'm turning a corner where moving is concerned, and it's bound to help me organize my thoughts better in the coming days and weeks.

We got a new air-conditioning unit yesterday, digital thermostat and everything. Nice! Hopefully they installed it correctly and we won't have the problems we had with the old unit (refrigerant leaks, lack of energy efficiency - having to run the sucker at 68 F to feel cool). So far, so good.

Day trip to Stephen C. Foster State Park tomorrow for a handfasting of friends...I'm looking forward to the trip and seeing the gang. I really want to get those books out of our trunk, so I'll be encouraging a trip to Chamblin's this weekend too. Also need to drop off recycling, break down the Big Boys, and do some cooking for the week. I printed out fresh pages for menu planning and revamped a household notebook last night, which I'll begin implementing this weekend. Found a list I made a while back, the title of which was "How to Get Our Farm." I'd forgotten about it, but it had some good ideas for getting started. Think I'll put up the corkboard this weekend, and start posting some stuff for motivational purposes. That 2-year decision I'm implementing re: our move could easily slide us into a rut, so I'm looking for ways to avoid that and maintain a positive outlook while trapped in this weird state (talking about Florida, not being metaphorical here...). Onward and upward...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


After a year, Dad being gone doesn't necessary slice into my heart first thing in the morning when I wake up's more subtle. My first site at work this morning was for an electrical engineering firm in Millinocket, Maine...there must be papermills up there, because I remember Dad talking about Millinocket as part of his territory. Adding insult to injury, the company name was the Cyr Group, which reminds me of Cyril and proves a) that I'm just not cut out to cut someone out of my life completely, don't have it in me to write someone off , and b) it is possible to miss someone and love them and still want to punch them square in the face.

Lovely, stress-free thoughts for a Thursday morning...

In spite of that, I've been in a good place lately...probably irritatingly cheery to those around me, but I'm not complaining. If I'm bipolar at all, it's mild...I don't have serious insomnia or find myself scrubbing the floor at 3 a.m. But I'm definitely on an upswing lately; work is ok, home is a big warm fuzzy, the stuff I'm growing is actually green, the cat's healthy, the car still works. I try not to take stuff for granted, but it's just as important to occasionally look around and be thankful, especially when things deep down are actually quite hard. Hurricane season means the barometer makes Husby's headaches more constant, which makes it harder for him to look for work, and our financial sitch is scary. But you get up in the mornings, feel the breeze on your face, and press on...

Hemmed one of my skirts last night for the wedding Saturday...didn't want to cut off the excess material even though it was 7 inches too long, so I just hemmed it, and it came out surprisingly good. Main knitting lately is a baby cardigan in white Encore in a basketweave pattern. Tomatoes coming along nicely, but I definitely need to thin them in the next day or three, or else they'll start tangling...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Craving spinach and strawberries

We want what we can't's earmarked for very specific things over the next 2 weeks, so no frivolous expenditures. Spinach and strawberries certainly aren't a frivolous expenditure, but they aren't a necessity, alas...

KICKING myself for going back on my word re: buying only Native Sun produce...Publix greenleaf is ok, but I was seduced by the smell of the peaches too. Never mind that I live next door to Georgia and the damn things probably came from California...they only smelled good; the flavor was nonexistent and the consistency was hard. Really disappointing...and it's ironic because I looked at the oranges too, but decided against them because any orange on sale in June has to be too tart to enjoy...but oh, peaches are "in season" so they must be ok...guess again...

An easy answer to the social stigma issue of using a cloth hand towel at work would be to leave it in my desk and walk back from john to desk with wet hands...

Progresso plain bread crumbs contain HFCS and straight corn syrup above and beyond the ingredients of the actual bread. WHY? I am so going to get back to baking my own loaves on the weekends...

But not tonight...gotta wash out some clothes (use the new drying rack!) and prep for bill paying later in the week...

Monday, June 16, 2008


This weekend...where'd it go? I'm trying to remember what I got accomplished, and it's not coming to me easily. It was a pokey weekend. I've been hitting the sack at a decent hour, which means my brain wakes me up at an ungodly hour. So I took a 2-mile walk on Saturday, paying close attention to my gait, duck-footing it a bit to accommodate how my body oughta be walking if my feet weren't so flat. Not only was it a lovely walk, my lower back never made a peep!

Independence Days Challenge:
  1. Plant something—Let's face it; I live in an 800-square-foot apartment with too much furniture and questionable use of a porch. Planting ain't gonna occur every week. However, that said, the catnip is thriving, 2 of the herbs are sprouting with another soon to follow, and the tomatoes look great...I'll need to thin them probably this week. Weather's supposed to be pretty typical Florida for this time of year, quite a bit of overcast with rain threats, so I may move the plants to the back porch later in the week. Or I may leave well enough alone, as I don't want to expose them to full sun before they're ready, and that's exactly what they'll get on the back porch. This week, I hope to transplant the smaller aloes out of the Big Boys; that didn't happen this weekend.
  2. Harvest something—I'm letting the chives go to seed first. No harvesting yet.
  3. Preserve something—hmm...this category is a little different for me. It involves the simplicity of buying food for lunches (and dinners) that's easy to prep in the morning and keeps me from hitting fast food or the vending machines while at work. I was able to steer clear of the vending machines almost everyday last week, and our finances basically make that a necessity now. But in order to not feel deprived of the foods I'm used to, it means careful purchases of better choices and packing myself a well-rounded lunch. Fresh fruit, some yogurt, and small cookies with small ingredient lists (because I didn't get around to baking this weekend) made it into the grocery basket yesterday.
  4. Prep something—Went through the boxes that separate the litter box from the easy chair, and managed to purge enough to empty a box, which is holding more Chamblin's books now. Our car trunk is already full of Chamblin's books; just can't afford the gas to go over there...dropped off 3 bags of stuff at Goodwill...sorted the recycling and then forgot to drop it off, will do that tomorrow...cleaned fridge of past-its-prime foods again...that's really nice, being able to look in there and know that everything in there is actually edible...what a frickin' concept!
  5. Cook something—My experimental cooking projects meet with mixed success, and that kept me from trying a white bean stew recipe this weekend, because I didn't want to waste the ingredients on the off chance it ended up tasting like ass. I did bake another banana bread this weekend, but it was a dismal first excursion with black bananas, which are purported to be sweeter when heading south like that, proved otherwise; tasted a bit strange and refused to bake through. However, I redeemed myself a bit in my eyes with a strawberry-pineapple smoothie later that day. Will be experimenting with bean and rice dishes and building on salads this week...
  6. Manage reserves—See first line of Cook something...going to be thanking the ole foresight later this week for the Chicken n' Dumplings in the freezer...I'm going through a yeesh-red-meat phase and dough is really tight, so those reserves will help us feel less deprived.
  7. Local food systems—it's coming down to gas money...I have a bag of canned goods in the car and a bag of old canned cat food, the former earmarked for the Mandarin food bank, and the latter for the local animal rescue. But I just can't afford any special trips right now.

Reading food labels has become automatic, and it's so eye-opening...I've been craving Gatorade a bit this summer, but after reading the ingredients, I laughed out loud...pretty sure the first three ingredients are sugar, sucrose syrup, and HFCS. Blows. My. Mind. I grabbed the Gatorade for Husby, 100% juice for myself, and will try to stick to water when I'm really feeling dehydrated. That's all I drink at work now after my morning coffee anyway...and then decaf iced tea at night. I'm learning...

Yesterday I puttered, watched Planet Green, did the shopping, and grabbed a drying rack from Bed, Bath, & Beyond so I can start air-drying stuff easier in the apartment. Spent like, 2 hours cutting and marking blank pages from an old journal so I could make calendar pages for the little dayplanner for my purse...because refills for those suckers are obscenely expensive and all they had was 2009 anyway. That was tedious, but I felt so good about making use of the paper in that journal...I thought of recycling the journal because I can't stand the cover, but couldn't get past 86ing all that paper, so I'll cut it out first. Again, it really is about the little things...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well now, let's see...

Gas prices and money crises are forcing me to slow down and turn a bit inward this weekend, sticking close to home, which probably isn't a bad thing. There's plenty to do there, cutting the umbilical cord on some furniture and lots more "stuff," reorganizing, creating space from chaos. There are knitting projects to dip into and new recipes to try. There's quality time with Husby discussing work and school options and the future.

Fridays are delicious light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel days. I can get away with wearing jeans to work everyday, but as I only own one pair, I save 'em for Fridays. It's payday (well, every other week), and even though it's always already spent, there's that lightness that comes with earning. My work's really dry, so weekends are a sweet relief.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just keep swimming...

11:00 a.m. Greenleaf salad, Newman's Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing
12:30 ish Broccoli & Cauliflower au Gratin leftovers (quite filling, expecting it to last me most of afternoon)
2:15 p.m. Tummy grumbling, blood sugar in basement. Crud.
Check desk drawer. Woohoo! Not one, but two Nature Valley granola bars for just such an emergency. No vending machines for me today!

Note to self: dig out Alexa's granola recipe. The convenient packaging of granola bars bugs me now. Man, I'm coming a long way...

More about baby steps

So I commented briefly yesterday about how easy it would be to bring a dishtowel into work and keep it in my desk, for rinsing out coffee mugs and the like. Went to the john later and thought about how of course, the idea should carry over to hand washing too, as we have paper towel dispensers at work instead of air blowers. But here's where we hit the social snag...the dishtowel is one thing, but a handtowel quite another. I have just enough insecurity where if I were to bring something to work for drying my hands, I'd make it a washcloth, because it's smaller and people may not look at me funny. I know, who gives a crap what other people think...but since your average person thinks nothing of using paper towels to dry hands still, it seems like a negligible expense...never mind that those paper towels go right into the trash and the landfill, not the recycling bin. My gosh, the waste...

Going to try to steer clear of the vending machines today...definitely need to do some baking this weekend though, try my hand at more cookies and maybe some crackers, so that we have decent snacks around for lunches....this newfound interest in food purity is producing some strange behavior...just enjoyed a greenleaf salad with Paul Newman's dressing instead of running to the vending, it was tasty! Quite unMelanielike...

The humid conditions of late are working wonders on the tomatoes, they sprouted like 3/4 of an inch just yesterday! Going to need to thin them once they get going a bit, but I'm so jazzed to see the first bits of green for my efforts. Just one of the herbs poking so far, but my reading said that some of those take longer to germinate...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So much about the little things.....

There really is no going back once you have your AHA moment about living simpler, living green. I brought lunch from home today, but thought about how my tuna sandwich would taste better with some chips and a soda, so I went to the vending machine and grabbed both...and a couple of things dawned on me: a) the soda tasted too sweet, which made me think about how I could've done without it...yeah, recycling the can is a good step, but not buying the blasted thing in the first place, especially when money's so precious right now, would've been even better, and b) I'm a complete hypocrite to bitch about the new Lay's Singles commercials (with the wife and the tiny husband in therapy, and let's add all yogurt-in-a-tube commercials and anything else that the advertisers gear specifically toward kids in the food arena, so that your rugrats will harass you to buy it because "it's neat"), because of the overpackaging in the name of convenience, and then I grab a mini bag of Doritos out of the vending machine. Never mind how artificial a product Doritos are, how big a culprit they are in the grand scheme of the US food industry "corning" us to death...I know Rome wasn't built in a day; you can't own my dietary habits and suddenly switch to raw broccoli with dip over Doritos, but I bring up the raw broccoli because it's sitting in my crisper at home and might've helped assuage the craving for junk, if I'd just had some faith in my ability to change.

Then I go to rinse out my coffee mug so I can add the rest of said soda, and when I'm pulling paper towels from the dispenser to dry it, it dawns on me how easy it would be to bring a dishtowel from home and keep it in my desk for just such a task...there's lightbulbs going off all over my head today :)

As I'm new to this stuff, I'm finding Simple Prosperity by David Wann to be quite the easy and enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to his suggestions. Silent Spring's still in the house, but Ms. Carson's going to have to wait til I'm done with this one.


Sprouts! There's activity in the tomatoes and one of the herbs already! Woohoo!

Finished an umbilical cord baby hat last night, started a couple of nights ago on a wild hair...I oughta give it to a coworker who's due in August, but a) it's grey and black and she's having twin girls, and b) I'm not sure I'm feeling the urge to make two. Been jonesing hard on the baby front this week, and the knitting doesn't appear to be helping...but I'm still thinking of starting a Peapod baby set too...

Took yesterday off, didn't do a whole lot...felt good :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10, 2008

Happy birthday, Papa! Miss you fierce!

Took mental health day today...they were so all-fired urgent for us to plan our PTO, I figured what the hey. So naturally, my brain woke my body up at 6:05 a.m. F*cking brain. I watched tube and relaxed, played online, grabbed a nap early afternoon, did some knitting...thinking about painting the toes and shaving stuff too! Just me time...quite nice.

SouleMama's increasing her brood to 4! Torn between happiness and raging jealousy for her...but I'm patient. I go to Kim-Ashchi next week for the yearly hole check, as my dad so eloquently used to put it (we got a kick out of that, it's not as demeaning as it sounds), and I'll talk turkey with her about going back on the Clomid, potential BP issues, and whatever else I can think of grilling her on. I'm ready, Les knows it and is ready himself, and we'll start trying this next month.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Independence Days Challenge Week 3ish

Seriously good weekend. Never made it to Chamblin's, but got a lot of ME stuff accomplished and quite a bit of relaxing as well. Went over to Mom's Saturday to do laundry (most of which dried in the sun), plant one set of aloes under the trees (because I wanted the pot back to break down the Big Boys), and pick up the table for the dining area. I relaxed otherwise while I was there, and only spent a couple or three hours on the Westside. Friday night was planting time! Sunday I reorganized the bedroom closet, unearthed the craft corner in the bedroom, reorganized the hall closet, and got the dining area back to manageable, and did all that in the early hours of the day so I was able to relax the rest of the afternoon.
  1. Plant something: Planted basil, parsley, spearmint, rosemary, and tomatoes. Purchased chives and catnip on a whim at Publix, and those got transplanted into better pots.

  2. Harvest something: Just a little catnip so far for Fig; thinking of letting the chives go to seed once before harvesting, since it's just a grocery-store starter plant.

  3. Preserve something: Froze 2/3rds of the Chicken n' Dumplings so it wouldn't go to waste.

  4. Prep something: I know what's in the hall closet now. I'm happy with the way I shuffled things around in the walk-in closet. The table is in the dining area; it is SO nice to have a stable workstation there again (as my "desk" in the dining area for years has been an old corkboard propped on boxes on either side...worked OK, but was usually a bit lopsided and unsteady). I stored the suitcases that were taking up room in the bedroom, unearthed my knitting chair, and reorganized the craft corner. Can actually sit in knitting chair again! Keeping one of the kitchen chairs in bedroom as well, for the library books, so they're not all over the place. This weekend was all about making better use of space.

  5. Cook something: Banana bread from scratch yesterday, YUM! A bit boring, I'll add cinnamon or nutmeg next time (ooo, or carrots or zucchini!), but it's so nice to eat something and know exactly what's in it.

  6. Manage reserves: Fridge still pretty easy to see inside. Need to save ham bone TONIGHT as that big hunk of meat has got to be heading south. Cleaned most of dishes last night so we're starting the week with a clean kitchen. Prepped coffee and lunch last night (what a frickin' concept!), so this morning's bleary-eyed fumblings were made a lot easier. Found the recycling center, and it's exactly what I was hoping for: public containers for dropping off paper, plastic, glass, and metal. A pinch out of the way, but I'm looking into another facility that's on the way to my work as well, so that we have a choice.

  7. Local food systems: Slacking here, been buying produce at Publix; but we're really living hand-to-mouth lately, so it's a survival tactic until we can budget properly. Still, always looking for sales, bought broccoli and cauliflower last week that I'll make into some kind of casserole this week, and incorporating lettuce salads into my diet as well...
Husby's feeling better finally, flu knocked him flat for a bit, so I'll be poking him with a stick this week to think about work and help me continue to purge the apartment. We finally tossed his bike, moved the charcoal cooker back out to the porch, and I moved another of our dining room chairs to the foyer, just cuz it looks a lot better there than the toolbox did. I discovered Greendisk in my trollings online and plan to enlist their services for most of our old VHS tapes in the near future. Otherwise my attentions this week will be on continued organization, misting my seedlings, and willing the sprouts to start :)

My company officially changes its name to today...a little weird since we're the ones that bought them, but certainly a smooth marketing move, I mean, you can't get much more succinct than a name like that.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday :)


Chamblin's, cleaning, planting, relaxing, relaxing, relaxing, knitting, reading, relaxing...

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

June 5, 1982

26 years ago today, I'm credited with saving my Dad's life. We were on our way to run errands when he pulled over to the side of the road and had a seizure. It was his first wake-up call from his aorta. My thorough explanations of what had occured helped the doctors at New Milford, CT, hospital to diagnose him properly and whisk him off to Yale-New Haven, where he underwent surgery to have a graft placed on a dissection of the ascending aorta.

26 years later, this malady is still a diagnose-it-fast-or-kill-the-patient prospect; one statistic puts the mortality rate for aortic dissections at 90%. It's what killed John Ritter and ultimately, Lucille Ball. So I'll take the credit given me for my fast thinking and thorough accounts of what occurred. We lived in BF-Connecticut, and his ambulance ride to New Haven would've been at least an hour and a quarter of backroads. If they'd diagnosed him with a heart attack instead of an aneurysm, he would've blown that delightfully vital gasket at some point in the near future. To this day, we don't know if it was caused by an injury or some unknown glitch in his genetic makeup. Can't think about that too hard, because it scares me, since his heart is ultimately what wound down and took him, when we were standing around thinking he'd stroke out instead, not even getting that he had a heart condition. He was never diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure), because it wasn't congestion that was killing his heart, rather his carotid was 100% blocked and the surrounding arteries became too narrow or stressed to sustain that muscle. He was a smoker and his diet habits were hilarious, but he didn't have an extra 75 pounds on his frame. So just for giggles, I'm going to keep a yearly appointment with the cardiologist for a while.

So anyway, have Dad on the brain today...he's been sneaking back into my thoughts, making me miss him lately. I plunder along in my day-to-day wanderings, but he visits at night when my brain slows down and then I ache and rage that my hopeful future kids will only know him through stories. He made us all nutty and he was a hard man to appreciate at times, but the alternative really sucks.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Have I got a pastime for you!

I don't consider myself a foodie in the Internet community sense. I'm unable to conjure my own recipes without serious assistance, have a tendency to perform substitutions which result in disaster, and have never attended or thought of attended any kind of culinary institution. I barely made it through Home Ec, would rather have spent that whole semester back in Wood or Metal shop, if the teachers hadn't been such chauvinistic pigs (we're talking 7th grade, 1981 here).

But becoming conscious about what you eat and where it comes from brings about this new enjoyment in cooking, baking, etc. I love trying new recipes and seeing success when directions are followed. I love experimenting and trying foods I've until now lacked the courage to indulge in (well, still drawing the line on most tofu products, artichokes, and can't seem to get past the color on black or green olives...but I digress...).

Anyway, when boredom hits or you have time to kill, I've got a web sport for you foodie wannabes...jump onto The Green Fork. It's the blog for the Eat Well Guide website, a nice resource about local, sustainable, and organic food. To the left is the Green Fork Blogroll, a revolving list of food and farm blogs. Some are all recipes, some dabble in the political aspects of living green, and some are about farming or green living; they even tell you in parentheses next to each link, what you're in for when you click on it. If you get through the list and want more, simply refresh the page and it shuffles the blogs, adding a whole batch of new ones. I've been sustaining my need to be elsewhere while working quite nicely by perusing these gems, and have come away with some amazing sounding recipes and great ideas. Try it for yourself, and enjoy!

Shot in the arm

No, I haven't been injured; I've been quoted! Elements in Time referenced a comment I made! I'm hilariously tickled by this. Thank you Melinda!

And after that last post, it has me embarassed to have been wallowing when I could've been planning...granted, my work is really dry stuff and by 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I just want out and to stop thinking, which is when that last entry occurred...but it's a good reminder that maybe more than just my handful of friends may read this blog, and that maybe it is more than just a glorified diary. I look up to folks like Green Bean Dreams and Down to Earth, recognizing that they've been at this simple and sustainable living thing a bit longer than I, but this journey I'm on is worth documenting, and as I learn, it's possible others will be learning from me.

I'm behind on the Independence Days Challenge:
  1. Plant something: Not last week, but definitely this week.

  2. Harvest something: Does a cement mixer count? I've been seriously busy on the weekends.

  3. Preserve something: hmmm...

  4. Prep something: Again, all the preppings been occurring at Mom's...see, what, like, 2 entries down, where I recount the physical fun of the past weekend.

  5. Cook something: Chicken n' Dumplings! Followed the Southern Living recipe almost to a T, and the result was quite yummy, and different from what we usually do.

  6. Manage reserves: Been keeping the fridge spartan, trying to use up leftovers and dump old stuff earlier than normal, rather than letting it sit and then enjoying some new and wonderful odors when I finally get around to throwing stuff out. Also recycling, and bought one of those Firehouse pickle buckets I talked about as an extra vessel for containing recyclables during the week...

  7. Local food systems: this one will prove trickiest, as the local farmer's market is really unimpressive and the decent farmer's market (in Fernandina) just isn't possible with gas prices being what they are. But I'm going to be buying our produce strictly at Native Sun, because I've found the flavor's worth the price and they're only 3 miles from my place.

Every little bit helps. When I grab a can of soda at work now, I set it aside to toss in the recycling bin instead of the trash. This requires just a pinch of effort, as the trash can is, of course, at my desk, whereas the recycling bin is at the other end of the building in the break room. But that little effort, which seems like nothing now, is probably a heck of a lot more than a lot of people think of doing. I'm policing my trash, at work and at home, and feeling better for it.

One thing that irks me is my inability to get to work in another fashion. Our city bus system just doesn't go that far south in the directions I need it to go in. They do come down to my work area now; the routes changed the minute Citibank moved their facilities to our neighborhood. But it mainly goes to the Westside, and I live in the Southside. I could grab the shuttle from work to the Avenues, and then a bus to the Deerwood shopping center near my place. That's probably an hour and a half commute for 7½ miles, and I just ain't that dedicated to reducing global warming. Then there's the biking concept, assuming that we owned a bike that wasn't rusted to ruin. That could be a plausible option, except the thoroughfares I'd have to share cars with are significantly busy, devoid of decent shoulders or bike paths, and this is Florida. Everybody thinks that Florida is the most wonderful climate, but I dare you to feel that way after a 1-hour bike ride in 90-degree weather. We're supposed to be getting better facilities at the new building when my company moves next month, stuff like a workout room and maybe showers, but as it is, by the time I save up for a new bike, I hope to be pregnant and you know Husby won't let me bike to work then...

Anyhoo, less moping, more doing! Did those dishes last night for the most part, so tonight I'll deal with the dining room, so that Husby won't freak when I procure the table for that area this weekend :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Random ramblings

My haircut is boring as dog snot.

The good news: it's growing back out fast.
The bad news: it's gonna feel like it's in that in-between stage for the rest of the frickin' year.

I'd like to tongue-kiss whoever had the bright idea of putting Starbucks Frappuccino™ into bottles. The stuff's saving my ass right now.

Mostly it's boredom making me sleepy, but it's also because I 86d my bra by 2:00 p.m., which meant keeping on an overshirt to hide the girls, so naturally it's 103 in my office this afternoon.

At least I had the decency to remove said feminine restrictive garment in the john...I've been known to perform the minor contortionist act of removing it in my cubicle without detection.

Yeah, I'm in a mood...

Gonna go home, pay rent, do about 2 hours' worth of dirty dishes, and then knit baby hats. For a coworker. And try not to resent my Husby's flu, which is putting our own plans for baby hats back yet another month :(


I've had that header sad is that?

My little black cloud is wandering away, and I look to the week with semi-fresh eyes. Last night was productive; gave thought to my planting and realized I really need a table from Mom's, because I'll be starting all my seedlings indoors first. So with that decision made, I was able to let up on myself for not starting still...and I made chicken and dumplings from scratch last night for my sick Husby, and in spite of the dumplings falling apart on me, I think it's my best attempt yet :)

I put the Bookworm link on my blog with the intention of reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson this month. I've checked it out of the library, however it's quickly getting buried in favor of more recent tomes on sustainability and agriculture, such as:
  • Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle ~ David Wann
  • The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools & Techniques for the Home or Market Gardener ~ Eliot Coleman
  • Planters, Containers, & Raised Beds: A Gardener's Guide ~ Chuck Crandall
  • Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture ~ Elizabeth Henderson
  • The Whole Herb ~ Barbara Pleasant
  • The Fate of Family Farming ~ Ronald Jager

Interesting stuff! I'm making the effort to teach myself about the basics of growing, because I've killed plenty of plants in my life, but this time it's very different, since I actually care about having real food be the result of my efforts. Knitting's taking a backseat while I educate myself, but there's a coworker pregnant with twins and I think I'm getting the itch to do some little hats...

Monday, June 02, 2008


That's my brain today. Not so achy this weekend, which is wild considering the outdoor work we put in. Really, really angry with my Lil Bro...he was supposed to go to Mom's on Sunday, and he bailed on her without even bothering to call; she had to track him down. I don't believe his excuse, and I don't know quite what to do to remedy this anger I'm feeling toward him. He's stolen from Mom (last month) and continues to disrespect her. My god, but I want to shake him!

This Tuesday, the realtor comes again; we hope to put the house on the market this week. This weekend, she and I took down the living room desk, moved a smaller desk from her bedroom to the living room, moved the extra computer desk out to the garage, and moved another table out to the garage and numerous boxes. We took down his workout equipment (which was a 2-man job, since the bolts were rusted - Mom held the nuts with an adjustable-end wrench while I went at the bolts with a socket wrench), and moved it outside.

The backyard has 2 trees on the left side, and with temps what they were this weekend, I was thanking god we were working in the shade. Between these trees was an old cement mixer, a wooden ladder, and a catchall area for fallen tree branches. We bundled the branches, raked about 8 bags of leaves...discovered the ladder was bolted—yes, bolted!—on both sides to one of the trees (my dad was an odd duck), but thankfully was rotted through enough where it didn't require much effort to remove it. The cement mixer was a 40-year-old relic, solid metal, about 5 feet tall with 2 broken wheels, and the non-wheel end had sunk into the earth a good 5 inches. We dug it out, moved it to the end of the driveway, and Mom said how she doubted it would still be there come garbage day because of how people will "acquire" things that are left out for the trash. Given the size and age of the thing, I was skeptical. Within an hour(!), a teenager was knocking on her door asking about it and it was gone!

I'm 75 pounds overweight. Mom's 66 years old with multiple areas of arthritis and a degenerating disk in her back. Obviously our weekend would've been made easier by a 6'4", 200 # physically fit male to help out. How can he not see that? At what point do you stop associating yourself with a purely self-centered, negative presence, even though it's an immediate family member? I've never felt the need to estrange myself entirely from family (I realize I've been lucky in that respect). But he never even bothered to call Mom this weekend; Mom finally called me at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday to go over to his place, because he hadn't shown up and wasn't returning her calls. Les tried him by phone and got through, and it was obvious he was going to bail, so I didn't bother, just went straight to Mom's. I'm happy to do it, even though I seethed at Cyril the whole time. I know Mom needs me right now, and I've been getting such a boost from helping her on the weekends...and the house looks great! But I'm done with Lil Bro, until he can show us that he's actually making an effort to respect Mom again.

So other than that nonsense, I didn't get a damn thing done at my place this past weekend. Husby has the flu, and I slept late Sunday morning to recover from Saturday, only to have to go over to the Westside again, so no planting, knitting, or cleaning occured at chez Johnson. The dining room's a disaster area. I'm quite tired.