Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Fridgeless Files

Sorry about my poo head grumpy bitterness yesterday. Oh, I wasn't that bad? All right!!! Here's some REAL good stuff then!! LOL Just kidding. Just wanted to tell you all about my sweet new fridge. Ok, but first I want to try and figure something out. At work I mentioned that I was in need of a fridge, in case anyone knew of any spares layin around. And of course they asked about that being the landlords job, and I didn't really have a good answer. I mean, it's not like we're growing pot or running a puppy mill or anything else undesirable. So what's the problem? I asked CommonLaw, "why don't we call the landlord, whoah, not like, let's do it, but like, why don't we want to?" The startled look faded from his face as I elaborated, and he said, "cause he's mean and scary". And I was like, well, yeah, but what do I tell people? I mean, our last landlords were hardcore christians, not what you'd call mean or well mmm yeah kinda scary but when the oven broke there we didnt want to say anything either.
Of course, our first weekend here the toilet started backing up and overflowing, and our landlord was pretty pissed... cause we TOLD that tree to grow roots up the septic system pipes. A plumber ground out the roots for like a hundred bucks, and all was well, we took it out of the rent check as per the landlords ok. But, um scary, yeah. Then there's also something that sucks about the landlord telling you where you can put your potted plants, if you can have a towel on your railing (NO!) and straightening the haphazardly tossed shoes at your door. It's kinda like having a parent over. No offense mom and dad, who actually wouldn't do that anyway. But yeah, I guess the whole someone telling you how to make use of your home space sucks, and is what we are avoiding. Okay, no more being a whiny complainist!
View our beautiful, new, free fridge:

Oh, you like our slanty "cupboard" ? I threw that in for your viewing pleasure. Also note the spotted yellow cup? My broken, but still seviceable coffeee mug. The one given me by theives ( a funny thing my dad pointed out) There's 3 E's there in coffeee because I just emptied that thing twice wheeeeeeee! Oh, what's that? You don't see the fridge? Look lower.

There it is! Sweet! In fact, CL just mentioned how this makes him think of what it's going to be like living on our land someday, except ice will be harder to get. I told him no way, we are having solar/ hydro/ wind power. And he said what if our fridge breaks then? And I said the same as now, we deal with it. The only time you don't have to deal with these things is when you're a kid and then your parents have to deal with it. Honestly though, don't worry, we'll figure something out. It won't be a year, like with the oven, or even 2 months. But still I do think it's a good learning experience. I went and bought a bunch of groceries, things I would buy if I was, say, camping, and I bought a lot of vegetables which is healthy for us.

Aren't they purty? My desk is the new veggie drawer. Actually, now that I think about it, if we are lucky enough to some day have land with a creek, we could have one of them, um whaddaya call 'em, spring houses. You know, a little shed built literally on the creek, so the water runs through and everything stays cool. I guess they are built on actual springs more often, hence the name (a big duh to myself there).
Now the only thing I want to know is, do eggs need to be kept cool? I mean, they certainly aren't refrigerated when they are under the hen. Our butter got up to 70 degrees, its in the ice chest now, but I'm still going to use it. Hmmm but the eggs... ?

P.S. I really do find this whole situation funny. Probably by day 5, not so much, but I've been laughing a lot so far, and that's always good for the soul. Oh, the free one online? The email they provided was not valid :(

Friday, June 29, 2007

World of Clothescraft

Ah poo, our fridge is dead. I found one online for free, though, only 15 miles from here... all I need is some strong people and a truck. Why does the power always go out, or this, just when you stocked up on groceries? Sigh.
Today I was thinking about how I love costumes, and sometimes I get the urge to don my midevil garb and run through the forest... Except I don't, because what if someone saw me??? And yet 10 years ago I had no problem shaving my head, putting spiked collars on my neck and wrist, my THREE wallet chains a swingin' as I stomped through town in my black steel toe combat boots. Crow face paint optional. Now I just wear jeans and a t shirt. And sneakers. I would have despised the me I've become if I'd met her when I was 18. I was a pretty judgemental peep, but we all remember our teens, right??
The funny thing is, I remember when I was maybe 10 or 11, and I was too embarrassed to take my doll out in public. I remember very clearly thinking, "when I'm a grown up, I'll get a stroller and push my doll around and I won't care what other people think". I thought that losing your fear of what other people thought disappeared with your fear of the dark, and looked forward to these adulthood milestones. Heehee. At least the dark one was mostly true.
At least I have my game. I love getting new outfits on WoW, but fer gad's sake don't tell my fellow gamers that. You are supposed to base your armor on how strong it makes you, not how cool your Toon looks.

But isn't that such a pretty outfit? All purple and blue? It's way too low level for my character but I keep it in her bank just in case she ever wants to dress up.

This is my outfit, err, armor, now, not quite as cool, but I will be switching to plate mail soon, as opposed to this peasly chain stuff. Then whole new sets of gear await me in the dressing room! There really is a "dressing room" in the game, so I know I'm not totally alone here. Ooooh, plus I get my horse, so I'm looking forward to 40. Ha, who'd 'a thought. My axe is great too, it's enchanted and it glows blue. Very useful when being attacked by murderous rampaging trolls.
Then again, I will sooo take a blood thirsty troll over a dead fridge as my problems any day. Dang, you know? I told the universe I was ready for some GOOD luck. Maybe I'll find some pretty new boots. My old ones totally don't match my pauldrons.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

At Random

Huh, I think that was the name of a band back in highschool. Anthoo, just some random thoughts today.

This: When I got to work I saw the last 2 feral kittens eating with their mom, and it reminded me of when Lilly and Pheonix were little. I have way too many photos of them. Okay, or not. They love the hell out of each other, and still lick each other. Can you say AAAAAAAAWWWW!!!!!!!!

And this: It's only 80 degrees, but it feels way hotter. And yet I still wanted hot coffee when I got home. With ice cream. But it turns out our freezer is broken, and the ice cream was almost, not quite, but almost completely melted. I put it in my coffee anyway haha. Luckily the rest of the fridge seems fine. Weird, huh? I didn't realize they had seperate working parts. It's a good thing, too, because we try to avoid calling the landlord whenever possible. Why, you ask? You must not BE a renter if you are asking. Last year, the water heater broke. It was a valuable lesson, actually. I had always thought that I HAD to have a shower every morning. Instead, for two months I boiled water on the stove, poured it into a bigger container of cold water ( this diluted the temperature just right, plus gave me more total to work with ) and washed myself Little House on the Prairie style. It was enough of a pain in the ass that I only did it every OTHER day, but not THAT awful. And let me say, that first shower when we finally found a used water heater we could afford, was the most pure bliss nonstop aaah you could ever imagine. Best 200 bucks ever. It's good to learn these little life lessons, because now I must learn to live without ice cream in my coffee and without emergency I'm too tired to make real dinner frozen pizza back up. Poor me :( boohoo. No, really I should take this opportunity to learn to fix things. I can change a tire in fifteen minutes. I rule! Then again, one time I hit a bump in the road just wrong enough to squish my tail pipe almost completely shut EEEEK and the vehicle soooo didn't sound good and I immediatly called my Honey to come fix it and save me. So maybe there's such a thing as refrigerator repair guys? Though we are BROKE. Poop I say.

And this: Sometimes it's not good to hear people talking about you behind your back, but sometimes it's fascinating. Overheard between two coworkers:
Krystal said, "Oh, some girl left that here, I can't think of her name. She has really long brown hair, and she doesn't wear make-up...?"
"Hermitgrrl?" Patty asked.
I just found this hilarious for some reason. It's interesting, for one, to be categorized as not doing something. And I'd never realized that this was a way that people saw me. The girl who freaks out over cute kittens, yeah. But the girl who doesn't do a thing? Weird, and funny. This reminded me of another time at work, when wearing make up was brought up. The new girl, Betty, told Krystal that she wanted to meet a guy but didn't know how. Krystal suggested getting all made up and wearing a dress. And there's nothing wrong AT ALL with wearing make up and dressing up, it just made me sad that that was applied as "how to get a guy". I think women are fantastically beautiful without a drop of make up, and they can be pretty with it too. It just seems that you might want a guy who likes you as you are, and if you normally wear make up, do, and if you don't, don't. Really not trying to say one way is better or be judgemental at all. I wish our culture was more supportive of beauty in all its forms, plump or slender, plain or colorful. I am extremely lucky to have a guy that thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am. Like Mr. rogers. CommonLaw's family on the other hand...

Okay, I know grandparents come from a different time. But when I dress up all super hot and stylin, I'm in my favorite pinstripe three piece pant suit, and I don't need to know that I'm being dissed because, "Doesn't she know this is a wedding and you're supposed to dress nice?" I got it from Victoria's Secret for sheesh sakes! Just wait till my wedding... HAHAHA. Maybe I'll just leave my legs unshaved too!!! I guess you won't see my legs anyway, but that would be funny.

Well. Betty found a great guy who does like her just the way she is, yay. And I did wear a dress to my Mom's wedding, and liked it. It was a beautiful dress that she made, man, my mom is so awesome and talented, I'll have to post the pictures some time. Oh! and my brother has this insanely cool utilikilt that he wears, its like a kilt, but not plaid, and it has cargo pockets all over it. Men look SOOO great in kilts. I met a guy once who had to wear one for a wedding, and at first he was all, "Oh, my manly manness is so offended!" and by the end of the night he didn't want to take it off it was so comfortable. I'm sure the beer helped.

So there's some random thoughts for yas.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Plums 'n Poo

Wild plums grow all over the place here. They are orange when ripe, not purple like some, and they are native, which is really cool. And they grow WELL. There are always buckets and buckets worth, and for the most part they go unharvested. Blackberries seem to have no problem being wiped out by hungry critters and people, but not the plums. I guess I'd rather have blackberries, too.

Still, though, I can't stand food going to waste. I can't imagine in poorer parts of the world people would EVER leave food to rot on the branch. I am thankful almost every single day for the grocery store, that I can go in and buy myself pretty much anything I can dream up to eat. Yeah, I hate my job, and yeah, this country could use some work, but I'm still thankful. That's not an oxmoron, is it?
Well, every year I see these plethiferous plums, and I try to think of what to do to stop the waste. I brought home a 5 gallon bucket full once, but there's only so much you can eat. Is there plum jam? I could try to make that, but again, how much can you eat? I don't want any of the supply in a 5 mile radius to go to waste, and that's unfortunatly not possible. Each tree could fill more than a 50 gallon drum, easy. There are more plums than LEAVES. So some of the things I thought of were:

Prunes. Another longer lasting storage?
Food drive. There's a church in town that has an ongoing food drive... but then I'd need a LOT of containers. Could I just draw a map to all the laden trees and photocopy it? Heh heh.
Wine. I have a great recipe for plum wine, and I'd LOVE to try it, but again, I'd need the containers/ equipment. Wouldn't be as much problem of "how much can you consume" though. Wink wink.
Or, do nothing! Haha, the lazy woman's way out! No, I did that LAST year. Why couldn't it be apples? I could make applesauce.
Plums just aren't my favorite fruit. Still, any fruit is Nature's Candy, and this candy is free by the truckload. This may take some more contemplation. Or an investment in some large glass jugs and hoses...

And look! The gremlin has been unmasked! I'm just kidding, our friend brought this guy over to meet our cats. That sounds mean, but it turns out ferrets are more like a catdog than a rodent type of creature. I had never met one, but I've had pet rats, mice, and hamsters over the years and thought ferrets would be in the same genre. Turns out I was mistaken. This guy, Skeebo, chases bits of string just like a kitten, and digs in the dirt like a dog. He's very friendly, and wanted to play with my cats...

This is Pheonix backing away from Skeebo. Ferrets are fascinating and demand unwavering attention and intense scrutiny, but from a distance. And then you can go sniff where he's been, when he is safely far away.
Or even better, you can sniff the ferret POO and then run tearing around and around the yard like Lilly did. If you're a cat, I mean. Ferret poo is even better than tuna and catnip and dead blue jay all rolled up into one lil brown log. Just keep the poo creator the hell away from me!!!! (the kitties unanimously voted)
Haven't actually had the midnight visitor again. Skeebo, though, is welcome anytime.

P.S. So sorry about the title, I just can't help my inevitable humorous reaction to certain refrences. It even fits with the question of how much is too much. In The Grapes of Wrath the kids learned real quick not to eat peach after peach. Okay, stopping now!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Death Do Us Part

Some one left a people magazine in the break room, so I thought that would justify taking 10 minutes to actually sit and eat at work today. Usually I try to bring something I can eat one handed, standing and working, since the shorter the break, the less time I am there total. There was an article about green funerals which I thought was really cool and outside the scope of People's journalistic coverage. I first started thinking about green funerals after the topic came up on Six Feet Under. It appeals to me very much, and I had forgotten that ever since I was kid I wanted to my body to be placed in the top of a tall tree.

Not that I plan on checking out anytime soon. I have a mantra that goes, "I will live a long, healthy, happy life surrounded by loved ones". I believe in mind over matter, to some extent. Like placebos. One time I squished a caterpillar, the furless kind, aka my arch nemesis ultimate evil, on my finger. To stop from blowing my own mind with ceaseless screaming, as I frantically wiped my finger over and over on my jeans to the point of rugburn, I jabbered over and over "It was just bird shit it was just bird shit it was just bird shit". And luckily, it was just bird shit. Wormy hairless caterpillars are like zombies. They will suck right into your skull and eat your brain, and so I am justifiably terrified of them. Spiders? I am the official catch and release person at my office. Rats, brought in alive by our darling kitties? While CommonLaw screams like a woman and jumps on the bed I'll grab it and throw it outside. But caterpillars.... omg. The horror.

So anyway, despite my destiny to live a long happy healthy life etc., I have many a time considered what should be done with my remains when I cease to live. I think it's awesome that green burials, and body farms (where forensics peeps study bodies in various situations, decaying) are gaining ground. Huh. No pun meant there. I really hate puns. Have you ever noticed how many newspaper article headlines are $#@*&^% puns?? Anyway. I love the idea of refrigeration (LOL mmm leftovers) versus embalming fluid, and a shroud or simple unstained rough pine box versus a mohagany and steel $8,000 monstrosity.

However. Worms are just about as terrifying as caterpillars, and even if I'm dead I don't want them crawling through my body. Ants, that's fine, slugs even. Gross, but fine. So I am excited to think that my dream "burial" could actually happen some far far away day. My body, wrapped in a nice blanket, tied in the tippity toppest branches of a tree, to sway in the wind, feed the birds and ants, witness the sunrises and rain, and finally rain bones slowly over the years to the soft dried leaves on the forest floor below. Okay, it ain't that poetic or pretty, but I never saw death as morbid ( as the photos of dead animals I occasionally take can attest). Pumping corpses full of poisonous chemicals and sealing them in element and nature proof boxes, now THAT is morbid. It freaks me out a little.

Don't get me wrong. Death is insanely, unbearably sad. Most of the time I can only cope by using serious denial or force forgetting techniques. Unfortunatly, I think instead of getting all the grief out at once, when I shove it down and seal it away, it makes me leak tears at much smaller things than I might otherwise. Like when the cartoon baby deer almost died. There I go, using humor as denial. It's just that crying over death is like a crying that could go forever. Yeah, death SUCKS. It's just good to know that there are earth honoring ways to deal with the physical part of it. Maybe once America can wrap it's mind around de-artificializing death, maybe then we can do something about the grief dealing part.

Death sucks! And it's natural. Same with sadness. It just seems right to start treating these things in a more back to basics kind of way. When friends and loved ones and even strangers mourn, we can offer an embrace. And when we die, we may return our bodies to the beatiful planet earth they came from.

Just one more thing. Can I get some Green kleenex up in here?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Freedom Files

I have a manila folder lovingly labled The Freedom Files. I worked on this project for roughly 3 years. It is the actual plans for my freedom from the rat race. Not my wishful dreams, the cold hard facts and numbers. I dug it out this weekend, because it had been on my mind lately, from its ignored place in a filing cabinet.

Unfortunatly it was incomplete, probably scattered through boxes from the last move. It was a very large file, involving charts and graphs that I kept on the wall above my desk. There was one of those thermometer style graphs where I would fill in a line a little higher each month as I added money to my savings account. There were indicator features which were marked as things like " buy land now" and "put in well" for when the color filled in to that level. At the top was the word "freedom".

I wish I could find the notebook filled with pages and pages of itemized projected expenditures. It had EVERYTHING. The cost of a solar system. The price per foot of well drilling, and estimated depths in areas I was looking at. The cost of materials for a small cabin, the types of foundations, the legal requirements in different states. I had pages of little things too, like shovels and ladders and fruit trees and a composting tiolet. Heehee. I had added it all up for the grand total price of freedom from renting and a job I hate. I would sell eggs, see, and whatever excess edibles I could grow. I would have a pond stocked with trout!

Last year was a bit of a rough one, so although The Freedom Files became scattered and lost, they were not forgotten. I still saved money when there was leftover at the end of the month. The dream is not dead.

Today I checked out fannie mae loan estimates, and house prices where I currently live. Apparently on my income, depending on interest rates of course, I can afford a max price home of $105,000. Joy! I guess if CommonLaw made as much as me that would put us at $210,000. Here's what else I found. Having dreams of acreage, I found a 100 sq ft cabin (not including the outhouse 100 feet down the hill) on 6 acres for $289,000. I also found a cabin not unlike the one we rent (although sans plumbing and paving) on 25 acres, only $425,000! I guess if we didn't want privacy there was the 2 bed 1 bath fixer upper in town for $415,000. That's pretty good, since the county average for a 2/1 is $650,000.

I'm so kidding! Not about the prices unfortunatly, but about actually wanting to slave at a job I hate for 30 years to not even afford a place with an OUTHOUSE. Yeah, oregon, here I come. Or maybe washington (state). That's where most of my Freedom File research was, where it's 1g an acre instead of 20- 50 thousand an acre. Not that I ever was deluded enough to think I would live here permanantly, it's just where I grew up. Yes, I think it's time to redraft the ol Freedom Chart and knuckle down to it. Please pass the Top Ramen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Time Space Continuum

Went on a hike today and saw these awesome flowers just growing wild. I have no idea what they are. Couldn't find my Audubon book that has all the wildlife for this state; plants, birds, critters. They are just so tiny and beautiful. It looks like they are just starting to bloom so there are many more on the way.

Then I wandered farther up in to the hills, and thought I'd take a picture of the exploding trees. They are tan oak, not that that helps much, since common names are unofficial. I can't remember latin names though. Canis Lupis is the only one I evermemorized, common name Grey Wolf. In fact, Audubon will make up common names if they can't find refrence to the subject in question. What I always called wild iris they call "western blue flag"... ?? I never even heard of such a name until I was flipping through one of their books.

Anyway, these tan oaks are the only ones in an entire forest of these trees that have these exploding pockmarks up thier trunks. They're alive, too. The first time I saw them I went kind of cold and nervous. See, when I hike with my cats, my brain likes to play tricks on me. Nevermind the mountain lions that might be stalking me unseen, what about the aliens, ala Sigourney Weaver movies? Yes, I saw these trees and I thought aliens had exploded out of them. I had never seen anything like it, so that's what my brain made up. I actually have no idea what heppened to these trees, but it was probably something a lot slower than an explosion. Disease, maybe, or those bark beetles. I love hiking in the forest with just my kitties, but sometimes I get a little spooked. And imaginative.

Lastly we hiked up to The Stump, which had sucked a bird into the gravitational vortex of it's otherworldy wormhole ( If I was tech savy this is where I would put a link to the post that explains The Stump). That's what it looked like, anyway. There were feathers plastered all up the side of The Stump and scattered over the ground around it. Like some innocent bird had been flying along, and then WHAM! it was sucked toward the stump, missing the tunnel and hitting the side.

O...M...G... I just realized something. The feathers were those of a blue jay (latin name unknown). And remember last weekend? (another tech savy link here) When there was a DISTURBANCE in the forest that caused the flock of jays to come screeching off the mountain and go kamikaze bomber on Pheonix? ...It was ...The Stump ...killing their blue feathered brethren. Forget gremlins eating the cat food at night. We have some sort of reality /time /space /dimensional glich in the forest! I am sooo locking the doors good tonight. And sleeping with my camera.

Ok, it's not cabin fever, I assure you. Or a pot smoking acid trip thing. I don't even drink beer till dinner time. I used to want to write sci fi / fantasy novels, and I guess I still just have a little to get out of my system. And you gotta admit, it's a helluva lot more interesting of a hiking story.

P.S. Wait, maybe the gremlins came out of The Stump! I am gonna figure this thing out...

Friday, June 22, 2007


Whoah there. Sorry about that eyeball. It's really pretty, but a wee bit startling, heehee. Um... there was something else... but I forget.
Well then. So Pheonix can open doors that are not latched. The screen door only sort of latches, so he just waltzes in and out as he pleases when we're trying to let the cool evening air in and keep the mosquitos out. Which, by the way, have been especially rampant this year. But Pheonix can't be bothered with jumping up to the kitty window, and he has a nice mosquito resistant coat. Little booger.

A few days ago we were leaving the main door open all night, just the screen closed. Maybe KINDA dumb, but we have very little crossbreeze, and no AC, so sometimes we gotta throw caution to the wind if we don't want to sleep in a puddle of sweat. Usually though, we close the door, and lock it. We may live in the semi boondocks, but we do have neghbors, we're very close to a (small, pop. 6,000) town, and I have watched way too many episodes of CSI.

One night, however, I woke in the pitchy black to the sounds of something rooting through our kitchen. This was a cool time of year, so we had definitly locked the door. Now, our house is something like 300 square feet: maybe 20 feet long, 12 feet wide on the front door end, 20 feet on the back end, kind of a small square and a big square. My bed is therefore not far from the front door, which was letting in a draft. And there were noises in the kitchen. And what did I do? Well, it sounded small, but our cats never make a ruckus at night, plus there were strange shuffling snorting noises. I was scared, but curious. Now that I think back on this, why the heck didn't I wake my Honey? I think I was annoyed at being woken and wanted to just fix the problem. So I stumble in the dark to the light switch and then I see it.

A raccoon. Looking at me, one paw on the garbage can. What do I do? I wave my arms in the air and say " hey". Not too loud, cuz I'm half awake and I guess I didn't want to wake CommonLaw. The critter just looked at me. So I decide I need to be a little more aggressive. Does it cross my mind that I'm in my underwear and nightshirt? It could bite me and have rabies?? No. D'oh. I grab a box and rattle it around in the air, saying, "hey! get out!" It cocked it's head sideways. I can't believe I did this. I think my heart was getting a little adrenaline pumping by this time, so I... lunged at the wild animal. And luck be with me, it turned and ambled out at a leisurly pace, clearly thinking that we were on equal footing but finding me, perhaps, a bit annoying. It would come back later, it thought to itself. Ha. I latched the door good this time, buddy. Pheonix, I'll have words with you later about when it's okay to have friends over, and when it's not.

That was the last of that problem. Until last night. I was dreaming, something about coffee and brunch with friends. CommonLaw got up to make a PB sandwich. He was very loud about it. He was crashing around, knocking things over... and then I woke up. This time I made him get up. When he turned on the light, there was some spilled garbage, a couple things knocked over. But the door was shut. Nothing moved. He searched the far reaches of our mansion. Nothing.

I guess it could have gone out the kitty window in the 4 steps it takes to reach the lightswitch... but what was it? It would have to be a baby if it was a raccoon. A 'possum? It ate all the catfood, whatever it was. I started thinking about setting a trap, in case it told it's friends about the free buffet... but what if it was a skunk?? That would be bad. Then, falling back to sleep, I started thinking about how we could lay a tray of plaster, and get it's footprint when it came back, and.. what? Make a little documentary?

I guess we shall see if the kitty window will have to be shut at night. I don't want to lock them in, cuz they will yowl and complain. And I don't want to lock them out... All I can do is wait. I'll put my camera next to the bed. And I'll remember that a raccoon might be able to whup my ass. And that's why it's important to have some one ELSE be on the front lines. Oh hooonnnneeeey....

P.S. It is important that I give CommonLaw his proper due. No, not for facing down the gremlins, I did it once too. For picture taking. He got his back all dirty and everything to take this picture. I really like it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Eyeballs and Deadwood

Does not CommonLaw have the most beautiful iris you have ever seen? It's like the wing of a butterfly. Lilly too. My eyes are brown, and I think they are also beautiful, but I just couldn't get the picture I wanted. My eyes are like an autumn leaf, with dark and light brown, and little smears of olive and almost gold. Maybe someday when we have money for a close up lense (ha!). I'm sure there's a more technical term than that, but whateva.

I have blue sunglasses; they are scratched to hell because I have had them for four years now. I was thinking about them because I was trying to figure out what it is that I love so much about "the old west", from Little House on the Prairie to Deadwood. They are very different from each other, one being rated G and the other very R, but they're from the same time period. It's not like I would want to live back then, unless maybe I was white and male, because women and minorities had it pretty bad. Sure there were exceptions, but still. Laura from little house didn't think women should vote, and she seemed pretty sheltered. And this is a real live person, eek.

I decided a large part of the attraction is the pre consumerism of the time. There was no plastic, styrofoam, etc. And while my sunglasses are plastic, who keeps sunglasses for 4 years? Without losing them? And I know when I do get tired of the slight blur from countless scratches, I will first look for more from that brand. That's what "stuff" was like back then, you didn't buy things for the sole purpose of being cheap, you bought it for the reliability and quality. Don't get me wrong though, I take great advantage of cheap junk, as wasteful as disposable things are. The last dvd player I bought was 40 bucks at Kmart, and it's lasted a good year and a half or 2 now. Even elecctronics used to be longer lasting. I have the same alarm clock I've had since I was 16, that's 12 years. My last stereo made it 10 years. It just died, but CommonLaw bought me a "new" one at a garage sale for 10 dollars...yay! But still, imagine having one cup, your only cup, for 30 years. Crazy!

Another awesome thing about back then was how much closer you were to the basics. Yeah yeah, running to the outhouse in a blizzard sucked, I'm sure. What I'm saying is, you could go get a huge chunk of land, for free, and if you worked really hard you were rewarded. You ate potatoes when they were ripe, and you hunkered down in winter with the stored fruit of your labor. Today you work really hard, and you go to the store to trade paper representation of your labor for asparagus flown in from chili cuz it's so not in season locally. And forget geting land, no, the rewards for working rreally hard now are that you made it to the next day. Not to sound too bitter, believe me, I LOVE my refrigerator, computer, laundromat- okay not so much the laundromat, but the machines in it, yes. That's why, if for some crazy reason I do ever get my own land, I'll have the best of both worlds. Grow as much food as I can, and have solar, wind, and, on grey still days, a giant hamster wheel for my kitties.

I know, it sounds a bit idealized, but that's what dreams are for. And until then, I have Deadwood. Yes, season three is finally out on dvd. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes not having tv sucks. You have to wait till stuff comes out and by then everyone's already seen it and spoilers abound. I remember one time (CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD) I had waited and waited for the movie The Notebook to come out, and I mentioned it at work. A coworker said "Oh, it's so good and sad. They BOTH DIE on THE SAME DAY". Also, I was listening to Teri Gross on NPR, and she was interviewing the guy who plays Nate on Six Feet Under about the last season. Which I had yet to see. I should have just turned it off. And she asks, " How do you feel about your character dying?" AAARRRGGHHHH!
Anyway, I plan to watch the first two seasons of Deadwood and then the last one, not all at once, but without any other netflix in between. And I'll be dreaming about my future, though I won't have Calamity Jane to shoot whiskey with or any of E.B.'s self pitying diatribe to chuckle about over coffe with Swearengen. Aw what the heck, it's my dream. Who's for poker? Wild Bill?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Dead Stuff :D

Okay, today there will be no dead animals. In terms of cat leavings, I mean. Or even live ones. Unless something leads to my cats. Oh wait it already did. Ok that's it.

It was a beautiful day ... in the neighborhood, a beatiful day in the neighborhood, won't you be my neighbor? Hello neighbor! Uh, yeah. Since it was indeed a beautiful day, some how I managed to get Mr. Roger's song stuck in my head. The funny thing is, I didn't like that show when I was a kid. Or sesame street. But for some reason I found myself sitting in front of these shows when I wanted cartoons instead, dangit! And yet, I have a happy nostalgia when I remember watching them. ??? I do have to say one thing though. Yes, I get it now, but when I was a kid I DID NOT understand why Mr. Rogers came home, took off his shoes, and put new shoes back on. I mean, wha??? I know now that people have house shoes. It's still kinda weird though.
Also for some reason I feel compelled to mention that I watched Sesame St pre-Elmo. It was 1984, I don't think he was even a twinkle in his furry muppet parents' eyes then. I found Ernie insaneley frustrating. And there were these space creatures who said "yip yip yip yip" and scared the crap out of me. Anyway.
LOL CommonLaw is gettin' some charcoal ready and he just came in with a piece, tossing it back and forth, and said, "feel how hot this is". Um why now? It was funny. We're killing off the last of the chicken, so it won't go to waste, and we may or may not buy more. Ha! So there! :P

Today I saw a Lady I know walking down the street with a bounch of plants. I pulled over to say hi, and she gave me one. Cool. It was very pretty, but by the time I got it home and in the dirt two hours had passed and it was looking very wilty. Also, I have no idea what the heck it is. It seems to be some kind of annual, judging by the fleshy and not woody texture of its stalk. Any one have an idea? Despite its forlorn sagging? That last photograph is my calalily. I wasn't sure if it was coming back this year or not, but it's lookin right purty. I can't remember if that's the pink one or the yellow. Either way it will be sure to clash nicely with the clematis.

P.S. Didn't see Blink the skink today, but I hope he's in the garden somewhere, perhaps keeping the grasshopper population in check.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Crazy Vegetarian Omen

Wow. Lately I've been thinking about going back to vegetarian. It may help me lose a few pounds, but mostly, the last 9 months more than made up for the six herbivore years, and I'm starting to just be grossed out by dead animal flesh. And if Mother Nature thought I needed a shove in that direction, she more than gave it, with a capital Gross.

It all started with a nice hike with my kitties, enjoying the 60 degree weather. We had just made it back home when a raucous screeching and cawing errupted in the forest. The cats were immediatly on alert, and as the noises moved quickly closer all 4 of our heads turned skyward. It was a flock of blue jays, which was bad news for Pheonix. Lately, for some reason, these two jays have been literally attacking him, to the point where they follow us hiking and when I'm far enough away they swoop down at him, screaming and pecking. He then runs terrified down the hill, poor guy, and doesn't get to fnish the hike.

In seconds the flock was around us. I have no idea what riled them up and chased them off the mountain in the first place, but they were pissed. When they saw Pheonix he became their target, while Lilly and Clarence ran up, excited by all this feathered action. I was so suprised I was just lucky to grab a few photos. Pheonix tried to cower in a bush, but they dive bombed him and all of a sudden he had one! I ran up and it was already dead.

He didn't seem to know what to do, and after he tossed the bird around a few times he found curling around my legs more interesting. I think he needed a little reasurance. Clarence took a turn with it, but I knew Lilly had designs on that jay. As soon as Clarence glanced away, yoink! She took off with it, growling and hissing at all of us if we got too close. I gave her a good photo shoot, my little "wildlife" documentary.

When I went inside, Clarence wanted some lap time, but little did I know he really just wanted to wipe his bloody paws on me. EEEW! After I gave him the boot and changed my clothes, plus washed my hands for about 10 minutes, I sat down to share this story with you all. (Aren't you stoked?) And then Pheonix wanted some love and attention, and I started petting him, only to get MORE blood on my hands (was that a subconsiously figurative refrence?). OMG EEEEEEEEW! Actually, if you look close at the last picture, you can see the blood that is sprayed on Lilly's leg. Not that you neccessarily want to, heh heh. Luckily SHE at least hasn't tried to use me as towel.

So, now I feel like gagging at the thought of eating meat. Especially chicken, which was going to be dinner. Being a meat eater has been a tense endeaver anyway, I'm always scared of food poisoning, to the point of paranoia. Plus, my reasons for my years as a vegetarian still matter to me. I guess I just needed a break to really re-center myself, do a little grounding and soul searching and putting my life under a microscope. Boy do I miss veggie burgers and zuchinni and white sauce lasagna with tofu filling and heck just a good 'ol salad! I'm thinking I will still have wild salmon, so I guess I won't technically be a veggie, but it may be awhile even for that. Because o...m..g... nothing like a bird blood bath up close and personal to remind you that meat, as I said already, is dead animal flesh. Okay, now I'm off to quell the nausea and clear my mind. Where's my winnie the pooh tape....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lucky 7

Saw this awesome skink in my garden the last few days, but he was always too quick to snap a picture of before. Today CommonLaw ran to "omg get the camera, quick!" while Pheonix blocked the escape path. Not that Pheonix even saw the lizard until after I got my shot and it ran, successfully, under a log. Isn't that blue amazing?

Found this salamander under a log, I always check under a few when I'm hiking. Again, Pheonix, Mr. Oblivious, stepped right on the poor thing before I could grab him, but never noticed it. Apparently he is not the hunter of the family. The salamander is actually kinda, well, ugly, I mean, I love nature, but I only took this picture because I've never seen one that color before. They're always bright orange or brown orange. I thought this was an albino but it's eyes were black. It was more interesting than eew so I took the picture, and then replaced his shelter carefuly.

I guess Lilly was doin some yard work today which tuckered her out. Cute! I did no work at all this weekend, just a little gardening and picture taking. Mostly just enjoyed spending time with my honey, as today is our seven year anniversary. We talked a little about our dream wedding, the one whose date is known but not the year, haha. Those things are expensive! I would rather not wear a dress, but if I do I like the idea of a midevil style one. My Mom, the master seamstress, is of course the only person I would trust to make me a dress I would like. Anyway, as I've told people before, I'm married in my heart, and I don't need Uncle Sam's stamp of approval. I have the best friend in the universe, ultimate confidant, sweet, wonderful man who makes me feel safe and loved, all wrapped up in a gorgeous (and cute!) package, and I love him so much it makes me get a lil puddly in the eyeballs just thinkin about it. So cheers to you baby! I love you! Happy seven year anniversary and more to come, luck and joy on our life together.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers Day

Today I'd like to say Happy Father's Day to my Dad, the most awesome amazing Dad ever. I'm not kidding, this is pretty much as awesome as a person can get. Since a novel won't fit on a bumper sticker, I thought this would be good instead: "(his name here) is MY dad". Or at least a "Proud Daughter of a fire captain, death ride cyclist, gourmet coffee brewer, artist, inspiring, loving, best breakfast buddy, incredibly intelligent, talk to about life the world politics nature family and whoops there went 3 hours engrossed in deep conversation with my Dad and they cleared the table long ago and filled our cups 50 times and we're still going strong talkin... Okay, whose idea was it to make a bumper sticker to tell the world I love my Dad? Like a sticker could say it all! I guess I'll just have to go with: I love you Dad. Happy father's day!

Oh not to steal any holiday thunder here but later today I went on a hike, cuz it was only 85 degrees, and Clarence found The Stump. This is really just your ordinary cut down tree, a bit tall, maybe 5 feet. There's a hole in the top that goes through all the way to the bottom, where there's another hole at the base in the side. Water collects in it in the winter, and the first time I found this stump I glanced in the opening at the bottom and saw what looked like 5 feet of tunnel leading to a sky with clouds. The water in the base was reflecting the sky, but just for a second I had a moment of dizzyness, where I felt like I was Alice looking down the white rabbit's tunnel into another world. That one tiny split second before I realized the truth was a moment where the universe opened up and all things from soaring like an eagle by stretching my arms to unicorns bolting through the undergrowth could have been real. Well, actually, that was after. First it was a kind of fear, then realization dawned with the fading possibility.
Okay, now I just sound crazy.
Anyway, that stump is now The Stump.

And Clarence found it today.

Ain't he gorgeous?

Then Pheonix had to come check it out, not to be outdone, you know.

...aaand then Pheonix REALLY had to check it out.

And then Clarence was like, "hey! Whatcha findin in there? Hello?"

Pheonix climbed entirely inside that thing. I can always count on him to be the explorer in places I can't go. Not that crawling in a bug filled old log sounds like something I'd do even if I COULD fit. Well, maybe. But anyway, I didn't get a shot of him inside the stump, unfortunately.

Because then I noticed I was the sun and a galaxy of mosquito planets were circling.

And so I ran.

And Lilly was stoked that we were getting out of there because the boys were boring her and she really wanted to get back to the regurgitated pile of rodent back home.

My boys conquered The Stump today, and they were damn cute about it, too.

If they start having tea and unbirthday parties, I am soooo giving that stump another look. Warily.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

baby deer and speed stick

Yesterday I almost cried watching a movie. Again. Yes, Bambi 2, the "midquel", takes place after his mom dies and before he grows up. Okay, I guess the fact that I would even watch Bambi 2 (not the kind of movie that makes it to theatres ya know) makes it not too suprising that I would get a lil puddly when a cartoon baby dear ALMOST DIES. Sometimes you just need a sweet happy good disney movie, when you're sad, or you just watched a scary movie and there's no way you'll be able to sleep. Except it wasn't so sweet when he ALMOST DIED. His DAD cried, and thats when things got blurry in the vision department for me. Poor little Thumper got a quivery lip and his eye twitched and he fainted at the thought of his best friend dying. That helped me laugh instead of cry, though you gotta be careful cuz sometimes laughing and crying are closer than you think. Hey, CommonLaw wiped his eyes, I SAW.
Anyhoo, I couldn't not check out my garden today, so the watched pot and all that. I took some photos today, though, and compared them to photos 13 days ago.

Cucumber babies then...

And today, and I sure hope I can actually get some vegetables outta them. I saw some grasshoppers the other day and was like, "how cool, I'll have herbivores and carnivores on a mini scale in my garden". Um, no. Now I just have holes in leaves from hungry grasshoppers! And I know the deer are out there eyeballin things!

This last one is the zuccini. Boy I hope I get to reap some of those. I loooove zuccini. It's one of those things I never appreciated as a kid, so it was like a hidden treasure when I finally gave it another chance. Mmmmm fried in buter. No wonder I'm carrying a few extra pounds around, butter. (The dictionary does not consider "a few" to be, umm 10. Okay 15.)
I looked and looked for a picture of me sans double chin but alas. Okay, I'm 5'7" and, being honest now, 155-160, don't have a scale so not sure. So I'm not really Ginormous but having been so skinny for the first 25 years has kinda thrown me off these last few years. (few, according to my awesome dictosaurus, is not many, 1 or 2, make it 3 for me) And I'm about to have something for dinner that calls for 3/4 pounds of cheese, half a cup of mayo, and 1 whole stick of butter. OMG, kicking self now.
Oh, and 1 last thing I thought of today that's kind of funny. I can be so shy, that one time, when I started playing World of Warcraft- lol I better explain a couple things here. 1, it's a mmorpg- massively multi player online game. So at any given time you are able to interact with thousands of other homebody geeks. 2, your "toon", the representation of you, can do cool stuff besides just gaming, social things like smile at somebody, dance, tell a joke, etc. These are real live people that you interact with, and, well... one waved at me. I KNOW. It was like, omg, they can SEE me. Like right through my computer!!!! I logged off immediatly.
Don't worry, I actually interact with cartoons AND real people on a daily basis. And the cartoon ones at least never make me sweat anymore.
Post script: I love that, post script, it sounds all fancy and kind of antique. :P And also, I'm just teasing myself here. Yeah, I can be shy, but luckily not even a majority of the time. It's the one good thing I got from the food service industry, actually; I had to talk to so many people, hundreds per hour, that most of my shyness really had no choice but to jump ship. I'd recomend it for young peeps struggling with being shy. And deoderant. Not saying young peeps are stinky! Lol, for the sweating nervousness lol. Okay way too much digression here, and my wicked dinner awaits.
Love, Hermitgrrl

Friday, June 15, 2007

At Last

I have learned the secret of garden patience. It's not easy, but if you really want to see progress, you have to ignore your garden for a whole day. It was hard, but look at the rewards. It's like all the plants were all, "Oh good! She's not looking! Grow!"

Yesterday was so infernally hot that hermitgrrl went to the beach. Where it was cold. Much too cold to get in the water, and so windy that our (mine and hubbies) shoes would blow away if we didn't half bury them. Little shards of sand stung our calves and ankles, and our faces when we sat down, so we dug some graves. Not really, but that's what it looked like. We dug deep trenches to lounge in, with walls on the wind side, which sort of worked. We gave up after only an hour or so. 100 degrees at home and 65 half hour away at the coast, can't there be a nice middle ground? Ok, that was whiney. I live in such a beautiful place I really shouldn't complain about such piddles. And today was 85, now 79, so very nice that I was able to get a hike in. I am so not hiking when it's 100 degrees. No picures of the beach for yas, didn't want to get my camera sandy. Probably a good thing with the wind driven projectiles. But here, have some more clematis.

Was that worth the wait or what???? I am really kind of a brown thumb, so when a plant in my garden actually blooms, I rate it as one of my success stories. Oh, and I credit CommonLaw with that photo... I think. We both took a lot of pictures at various times of the day. But I cropped the photo! Ha! The last one I took, and I know it sucks but I just wanted to show how deep the purple is. Okay, I had to check the time of photo and I took that second picture. (Sorry honey, but you're so good at taking pictures I gotta claim what I can.)

In other news, why am I such a dork? I needed a signature at work today. The lady and her kids were outside, so I walked up, hi, need a signatue, yada yada. Her arms were full of baby, so I was going to hold the parcel for her while I handed her the pen. She took both though, and I said "I can hold that for you", but she said, "no, that would be above and beyond the call of duty". I realized she thought I meant her baby, and I'm thinking, omg, you thought I called your baby a "THAT"??? EEk, I already hate small talk, and while she's struggling to get the signature down I'm getting a little tongue tied. Should I try to explain that I meant the parcel? No, it's too late for that. Then her daughter, a really cute little redhead, maybe 6 or so, comes up and says hi, so I say hi, and I tell her I like her dress, a flowery summer affair. Which I didn't actually think about liking or not, I just wanted to make the kid smile. And then the mom says "yeah, she's such a girlie girl. I'm so not". And me, all quick trying to be agreeable, I say, "me neither", and then I'm all worried that maybe I hurt the little girls feelings, like I was just being condescending about complimenting her or something. OMG am I totally neurotic? Now my armpits were starting to sweat, as they always do when I feel like I'm totally failing at a social situation, and thank god it was time to RUN AWAY, I mean, walk away, I had the signature and I could get back in my vehicle and squirm and wonder if the little girl was completely oblivious to my insane freak dorkiness, and if the mom thinks I refer to babies as "THAT".
No, I do not need to get out more. And why, mother nature, why? Why do you make damp stink come from my armpits when I get nervous? Do you think that really helps the situation?? Okay, since there's no salvaging myself from the freak dork category today, I'm going to add that I think my stink is kinda interesting. OMG don't worry!!! I DON"T expect others to be like minded and wear deoderant every day! Although, Lilly likes my smell. She dang near tries to climb right up in my armpit sometimes and it kills me I laugh so hard.
Okay, yes, sometimes I am painfully shy. Not always, but when I am, painful is the key word here. I read an interview with Josh Hartnett, 'cause he's hot, and he said he was shy. Um, no. No, you cannot be a famous actor and be shy, sorry, it just is not real shyness if you can get up in front of countless people and act.
Okay well that was some daily brain movement for you. Heehee I love bathroom humor. Bowel movement..? Yeah, I'm usually the only one to laugh at my jokes, it's okay, I'm used to it. The last time I laughed hard enough for tears to be ROLLING down my face was because of bathroom humor. I will spare you the specifics, but don't expect to always be so lucky. Thanks for reading my blog mummsish, and everyone else who feeds my ego, too :)) <--- look it's my double chin. Love you, Hermitgrrl

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Desperate Dinner

After a long weekend of full course meals and not leaving home (the house, yes, just not the property) CommonLaw and I were running low on food items. While he listed off the various edibles in fridge and cupboards, I searched my knowledge of cooking... and then the internet, trying to make a "sunday" night dinner plan. Staying away from a store run for even "just one" thing was a priority, because we are broke! Yay! Nothing like being in the red $400, $135 of which is from overdraft charges. But I'm not complaining, no sir! I would have to tell you about how first thing this morning at work (not even 7 yet!) boss lady had to come tell me what an awful job she believes I'm doing! :D See, THAT would be complaining!!! Ooops. Heh heh. And all I wanted to do was bring you fluffy bunnies and rainbows. It's okay, that's what savings accounts are for- NO, they aren't for hopes and dreams, silly!

So onward! Forget the digression. I was telling you about this awesome dinner I created, which for some reason CommonLaw wants half the credit for...? His vote was for spaghetti, because we had some ground beef, noodles, and sauce. I just wasn't feeling like spaghetti.

However, I found a recipe online that used some of the ingrediants we had, though it also called for like a cup of ketchup which we both agreed would be way too domineering in flavor. So a few tweaks here, a few substitutes there, and "we" had created THIS.

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. peas
1 carrot, sliced
1 can gravy (small can, lil over a cup)
2 c. mashed potatoes
1 egg
1 c. grated cheese
salt and pepper

Brown meat and onions, place in casserole dish, add gravy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, add peas and carrots on top of meat. Mix beaten egg into mashed potatoes, spread over top of vegetables. Cover, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, uncover, sprinkle top with cheese and bake additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is as melty or toasty as you like.

And as a side we had artichokes. I told you we were using the last of the food! Now, this may be very similar to other dishes, but it was new to me, and good. You could probably use whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. And dessert? Green stuffed olives with beer! Not IN the beer, eeew! As a side snack. Yum yum, they make the beer sooo sweet. I only started liking them thangs recently, and now I get cravings for them. Not for the faint of heart, er, taste. Anyhoo, if you ever make a desperate dinner, share the outcome with me. This one turned out so good I don't think it can really qualify as desperate. How 'bout genious! Yup, that's me, ever modest. Love, hermitgrrl

PS It was 98 degrees when I got home!! Sheesh!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Death Comes Again

This morning when I went outside to greet the day Lilly came running up. My cats usually do, but this time there was some shuddering brown ball hanging from Lilly's mouth. I reached down to pet her and she dropped the prize in my hand. I don't know why a bird is the only live animal I'll touch with my bare hands, but I was hoping I could save it. I didn't see any wounds, and it was breathing, but after a minute it opened it's beak, tried to stand, and then fell over dead. It was really kinda sad. Lilly was a-meowin', so after I took a picture to share with you all (aren't you stoked?) I gave it back to her.

Wait, what? I gave it back to her?? I know, it seems kinda wrong, but she did earn it and I figured if she ate it it would at least not go to waste, you know, the whole circle of life and all. Pheonix was very interested and wanted to check it out too, but Lilly growled at him and he backed off. It was like my own live action nature show. Lilly tossed the corpse around for a while, then the meter reader came driving up and she got out of the road- only to have her toy squished flat. Then Clarence came along, ( I think it was him anyway) and had brunch. Yup, an hour later and there was no evidence left at all.

Look at Lilly, does she look like a vicious murderer as she reclines on the bench? Nah.

In other news...
It got up to 90 degrees today, after being 40 in the mornings and mid 70's in the afternoons. Summer is kickin in. I spent some time roasting in the garden today, moving pots around, finding new homes for the salamanders I had displaced. It was wonderful- until the neighbor turned their leaf blower on.

You will NEVER convince me that those things are anything but obnoxious evil disturbances. I don't care if you have two thousand square feet of driveway, those things should be outlawed. Not only are they incredibly peace disturbing, you're just moving dust and debris around, you're not actually getting rid of it. Along comes a breeze and whaddaya know, it's all right back where it started. Wouldn't sweeping it into a pile be better? Though again, I think wrapping biodegradable yard waste in plastic and throwing it away is also really dumb. Let's hear it for compost piles! Your car is going to blow leaves outta the main part anyway, whats a little collection in the corners?

Obviously, Better Homes and Garden is not banging down my door for an article. Come to think of it, neither is Cat Fancy. Humph.

Well, my glorious three day (with no dreaded 11 hour day as a reward) weekend is coming to an end. I reached many goals, one being to not even see the inside of a car (sorry lil brother). After 4 years of driving 18 hours a week, with no radio, stereo, or air conditioning, I loathe travel. It doesn't matter if I'm the passenger, or it's just a quick two minutes to the grocery store, if it's going to count as a vacation there will be no traveling. 18 hours a week! Driving! Had share the numbers again there. So if anyone has schematics for a tranporter, ala Star Trek, hook me up. Until then hermitgirl stays on the mountain. This explains the Netflix. Wait, we need beer. Oh, hooooonnnnneeeeeey....