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Latesst Posts From My Garden Blog

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Trivial (Sometimes Maybe Not So Trivial) Life Photo Gallery

First, I have a picture of what happened the other day when Keenan wanted to sleep in the kitty box, but his brother was already in it. Did that stop him? No. He just piled on. Morgan didn't seem to care. Keenan also didn't seem to mind that almost half of his body is hanging off the side of the box.

Second, I wanted to show you a picture of animal nirvana (although it must be noted that mag was trying to run away cuz she's afraid of the camera, so I guess it was nirvana-licious for everyone except Mag.

Third, here's another example of puppy/kitty bonding. If you can't tell, Bohdi's head is actually resting on Morgan's back. I'm not sure if Morgan realized that it was Bohdi's head (instead of my hand or something), but he didn't seem too disturbed.

Fourth, guess what I made? An apple tart. It was super easy and turned out really yummy, even though the crust totally fell apart as I was trying to transfer it to the tart pan. Here's the recipe. If I had it to do over again, I would have rolled the dough out onto a pastry cloth or maybe one of my flexi-plastic cutting boards.. just something to make it easier to transfer. But other than that, the recipe is great.

Fifth, Nick found this almost perfectly round egg in our most recent Coscto "happy egg" carton.

Sixth, I skipped work for two hours today to go see the Once movie people, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova at the Apple Store. I was about twenty feet away. It was awesome, although they didn't play for too long cuz they kept having technical difficulties. Nick and I had seen them in concert on Sunday night. We were about ten feet away from them then. They rocked out both times. Here are a couple of pictures, but it was hard to get one that wasn't blurry or dark from where I was sitting.

Finally. Guess What?

I MEET THEM AND GOT MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH THEM!!!!!! I said the routine stupid person-meeting-celeb-musician thing "Hi... you're awesome... etc etc... can I have a picture.. etc etc." I think they were tired--they've been touring for a month of two--and glad to see the line of people seeking autographs ending a few people behind me, but they were nice and the picture makes us look like we're old pals.

I have some pictures I want to share with you.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks For Hot Irishmen

On the day after Thanksgiving, I'd like to thank the official U2 website for finally releasing the never-before-seen 20 year old video for Red Hill Mining Town (off of The Joshua Tree) and giving me a piece of Bono cuteness perfection.

(I'll have a real thanksgiving post later on.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Urban Gardening

Part One: The Urban Garden In My Backyard; I've always said that fall is my favorite time of year, usually October in particular although this year October was so warm that we're just now getting into the major leaf displays, cold weather, and beautiful autumn clouds. I had a great "October" day today. Nick and I spent several ours out in the yard. In at least one respect, Forest Park is true to its name in that there are trees everywhere, and this time of year their leaves are everywhere too. We got a new toy recently--a leaf chipper shredder--that we hoped would help us turn our overabundance of leaves into compost. Today was the second time we used it, but we got less than perfect results (not-so-shredded leaves and clogging repeatedly). We had planned to shred all the leaves in the whole yard and maybe even take some of the neighbor's leaves too (you can never have too much compost) but the shredding went very slowly--I think it may have something to do with the moisture in the leaves--that we ended up just raking leaves into piles. Hopefully they'll dry out and we'll have better shredding luck in a couple of weeks. We also moved around river rock, dug up and replanted several perennials and a small Japanese Maple. All in all it was a productive day in the yard (as productive as we could be with such a short supply of sunlight.)

Part Two: Carrots in February? Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Chicago Center for Green Technology on techniques to extend the growing season. It was TOTALLY AWESOME. First of all, the CCGT is totally awesome on its own. It's a city run facility that's designed to demonstrate and teach people about eco-friendly building materials. The CCGT building itself is all pimped out with huge rainwater collection silos, solar energy panels, an indigenous plant prarie garden, and a bunch of other stuff. They also have exhibits and training sessions where citizens can learn about green building materials and techniques for their own home. So, CCGT was awesome, and the workshop I attended was awesome as well. I learned that I can use a passive greenhouse (meaning an unheated greenhouse) to grow cool weather plants (spinach, lettuce, greens, carrots, etc) even in the middle of winter. Did you know that spinach plants can freeze solid and then thaw out and be completely crisp and tasty? I'm totally going to have to build a greenhouse in the backyard so that I can garden all year round now.

Part Three: Urban Agriculture Saves The World- Another cool theme that came up at the workshop was urban agriculture (ie: taking vacant land in the city and turning it into organic vegetable production farm to feed the nearby residents.) This concept can be tied into work training programs for the homeless and can also help provide fresh healthy food in communities where the only place to buy food within a few miles is twinkies at the convenience store. I've always been pretty excited about Urban Ag. and community gardens, but this workshop got me SO hyped and SO ready to get involved. I'm going to start by becoming a Chicago Master Gardener. Have I told you about that already? I'll take classes next spring, then I'll volunteer 60 hours during the next year at community gardens and such. Then I'll be an official Chicago Master Gardener at which point I'll think more seriously about starting my own urban farm somewhere in the city. I think this could get me really excited! This could be a new version of my enviro-activism back in college. YAY. :)

As a parting note, here's my favorite Fake October Song:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just Another Diet Blog

I finally decided yesterday, mostly due to the boss lady incident mentioned in yesterday's post, that my roundness is getting out of control. I have an ever increasing collection of pants that I can no longer wear. Even the pants I bought last year that had plenty of room are now too small. Replacing my entire wardrobe would be expensive--at least $200 at the WalMart (this is a reference to the fact that I don't buy designer clothes or anything)--and losing some weight would have the added health benefit. And, to top it off, my tenth (ACK!!!) high school reunion is coming up next spring and it would be nice to look all hot and impressive (I'm making a mental note to myself now that I should explore my impending high school reunion neuroses in another post).

So, yesterday I signed up with eDiets. I didn't really do any comparative research on online diet sites, I just remembered their address from their commercials and was happy to find that they seem to do a pretty good job accommodating vegetarians. I signed up for the "vegetarian" diet and told it that I want to lose about 15 to 20 pounds (or, according to the obviously broken scale in our bathroom, somewhere between 5 and 30 pounds... ) and I'd like to lose it, well.. as soon as possible. It told me I can lose 10 pounds by xmas, which is a bit aggressive, but whatever, I'm psyched, I've done this diet thing before (S'outh Beach Diet back in 2004, actually worked pretty well), I can handle it.... I thought to myself. The diet plan tells me that I can have 1200 calories a day... easy as..... pie




I can safely say that after a day of trying my hardest to stick to portion control and healthy low calorie choices, 1200 calories is NOT easy.. its actually quite painful... and I didn't even reach the goal. My total calorie count at the end of the day today is 1733.... holy crap! The workouts I can do (yoga or treadmill three days a week and hand weights four days a week), but this 1200 calorie a day thing, i dunno. I've been obsessing about food ever since lunch. I have a headache now, that I guess is also in response to the drastic diet change. I wasn't keeping track of my calories before, but I wouldn't be surprised if I was eating close to 3000 a day. I have been told by friends who've been down similar diet paths, that it will get better, that my body and metabolism are just going to take some time to adjust. But, geez, right now this SUCKS!

I"m going to try not to talk too much about my diet here on the blog, just cuz, I dunno, that seems kinda dumb and uninteresting and verging on TMI, but I'll give you an update from time to time, if you don't mind. Thanks for reading. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I just need to get a couple things off my mind, and I've decided to use a blog technique I stole from VBGirl to do it.

Dear Boss Lady- Even though I've brought it up on my own in the past and even though its obvious, its still not okay for you to point out how much belly fat I have, especially if you want me to get any work done today rather than obsessing over my roundness.

Dear Really Annoying Dude On The Train This Morning- I dunno if you weren't aware of it or if you were intentionally being an asshole, but they make that "please be considerate when using electronic music devices" announcement for a reason. When I stepped onto the train car I thought "good, there are some empty seats" and about three seconds later, after I was assaulted by the completely unintelligible noise that was coming out of your radio speakers at a volume way louder than is appropriate, i thought "and I know why". Its a good thing you got off the train when you did because I was about the completely lose my cool.

Dear Burt's Bees- Since I heard the news that you've sold yourself to the Clorox corporation, I can't help but think of bleach and liquid plumber, and the environmental nastiness of many of your products, when I use your lip balm. I used to feel so happy and earth friendly when I bought and used your products, and now all I can think of is the fact that my purchase is now going to a multi gah-zillion dollar company. Maybe I need to find new lip balm.

Dear Whole Foods- Could you please replace some of the ultra-yuppy mags that reside in your check-out area magazine stand (ie: Palaties Living, Dwell, Alternative Healing) with a Newsweek or something that at least pretends to be cognoscent of the troubles in the world (and perhaps even care a bit) and would make me feel slightly less guilty spending ten dollars on a pack of organic throat lozenges.

wow, I'm feeling a bit bitchy today. All for now... :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ok, I Suck

So, I did it. I officially and legitimately feel off the NaBloPoMo wagon. My excuse? After coming home (in the dark- yay standard time *sarcasm*) and moving all my winter container veggies and the greenhouse into the sunroom and then "cooking" (in the microwave) dinner, the couch, in all its covered-in-fluffy-animals glory, just looked TOO GOOD.. so yeah. I didn't blog yesterday. DOE! to make it up to you this morning (Ok, so fine, its more of a cop-out than a make up, but still) I'm going to direct you to this completely hilarious trip back in time--the 1977 JCPenny Catalog. Don't worry, it will be even funnier than you expect. Check it out. (PS: I have no idea who's blog this is, its just a link I was sent.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What I Did With My Extra Hour

Thanks to the total coolness of Freecycle and Craigslist, Nick and I have made it our mission to completly as many of our landscaping jobs while spending little or, better yet, NO money. Explanation: Motivated by the fear and generally suckiness that the quote for putting new windows in our house that we got earlier in the week gave us ($16,000, gulp), we've come to the appropriate conclusion that we need to chill out a bit on our home improvement plans. The list of things we'd like to do with the house include: build a new bathroom downstairs, new roof, new non-environmentally evil (meaning no vinyl) windows, new insulation pretty much everywhere, new wiring pretty much everywhere too, patio, walkway, huge pond, front yard landscaping, etc. I don't want any of you to get the idea that we're loaded, cuz we're totally not. But we have home improvement ambitions of a millionaire. So, in an attempt to tone down our spending, I decided to see if I could find any cheap landscape materials on the net (brick, pavers, etc). I did some investigating and I found out that there are actually a lot of people who are willing to GIVE AWAY a lot of materials. I discovered (well, I actually kinda already knew about it, but I'd never used it before) Freecycle which is an online community where people give away stuff they don't need and get stuff for free from other members of the group. I've thought a lot, and had a few conversations about, why Freecycle is cool and if it is any different or better than just donating stuff to a thrift store, and my conclusion is, that minus the charitable aspect of donating to Good Will and alike, Freecycle is a tad bit cooler because it allows people to get the stuff they need without having the buy anything, consume anything, throw anything away, etc. So far, I've given away an armoire and a rabbit hutch. I've also got a non-working drying that I'm going to try to give to someone. I've taken some used coffee cans (for a craft project). The river rock I got today was actually from an ad on Craigslist, which is also cool, but features a lot more stuff for sale than free stuff. I just like Freecycle because it lets me get rid of crap and replace it with stuff that I actually need. Did I already say that? Sorry, I'm just really excited. Freecycle is a national movement that has groups all over the country. Even if you're not in a "major" urban area, there's probably a freecycle near you. Click here to check if there's a freecycle in your area.

So, to get to the title of the post--what I did with my extra hour--the answer is, get up early, install two more raised planter beds (involves digging up the grass where the bed is going to go, putting the bed in its place, filling it with dirt from the dirt pile left over from when we had our fence done, and put down landscape fabric over the grass in between the raised beds which we will cover with river rock. Then, I went to fiddle class. (YAY fiddle class... a new 8 week session started today. We learned a new song and I managed not to embarrass myself.) After fiddle, we made the trip down to the south side of town to pick up the coffee cans and then the river rock. First, I'd like to point out the coffee cans are MUCH lighter than river rock. Second I 'd like the point out that there were only 12 coffee cans and about 1 ton (like, seriously, I'm not exhagerating here) of river rock. Yeah.. ok, I have nothing "thirdly" to say... Anyway, the guy was giving away river rock which he had dug up from his yard. He told me it was in a dumpster outside his house. After a breif interlude of getting lots in a forest preserve (we turned the wrong way), which was actually quite enjoyable due to the absolutely beautiful fall leaf display, we found the house and the dumpster. I was afraid that the rock was going to be covered in mud, but it was much cleaner than I had expected. TOTALLY AWESOME. We took two truck loads of rock--we figured that the cost of replacing the shocks, if we broke them hauling rock, would far outweigh the savings from getting the free rock--and let me tell you that loading and unloading and then loading a second laod and unloading that is HARD WORK... I am so sore already and I'm sure that it will be worse tomorrow. But, it was totally worth it. I think we'll have enough free rock to cover the ground around my veggie garden. If we had gone to the garden center and bought river rock in bags it would have cost us several hundred dollars, easily. Here's the proof of all the hard work we did (below). Ok so normally I'd write something after the pictures, but honestly I'm so freaking tired I don't think I can type any more. So. Goodnight! : )

Saturday, November 3, 2007

One Extra Hour

(Note: Ok so its Sunday and I go to my blog and see that this post, which I wrote entirely within the legal definition of yesterday and which I told blogger to post yesterday, is still sitting here in my "draft" pile... so... THANKS, blogger, you've made me at least in a small part already fail at NaBloPoMo. I'm hoping that the NaBloPoMo, and you, will forgive me).

So tonight we switch to daylight saving time (or away from it, I never can keep it straight)...

*brief pause in writing to argue with Nick about what "set the alarm for 8" really means*... "8 o'clock real time?".... "what does that even mean?"


ok. So what I wanted to say was that I am SO excited about the prospect of getting a whole extra hour of sleep tonight. Man, I love sleep, and consequently I've been looking forward to this extra house of sleep like small children look forward to Christmas.

This is a short post because its 11 and I'm REALLY tired and also because I can't wait to experience that extra hour. I'll let you know if the reality lives up to my expectations.


Friday, November 2, 2007

News Shorts of Lameness

Ok so, if you know me or if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that my cat, Morgan, has been having some pee pee problems. The problems mostly involve location ie: he's been peeing outside the box. So, a couple weeks ago Morgan went to the vet to have an ultrasound of his bladder. In order to do the ultrasound, they had the save some of his hair. Luckily, Mo is no diva and didn't seem to care that much, but I sure find it amusing. (you knew it was coming)-so here's a picture:

If you notice, I have definitive proof that, not only does Morgan have black and white fur, but he also has black and white skin. I guess I should also let you know that the results of the ultrasound were pretty good. There were several possibilities of what the vet could have found by doing the ultrasound--maybe we'd see hardening of the bladder walls, stones that would have to be surgically removed, or even a tumor. So we were happen when the scan only showed blood clots floating around in there... and while blood clots are normally a life threatening big deal, apparently in this case, they're not. We were told to keep him on the Rx food and also to start giving him distilled water (its supposed to help flush out the icky-ness that's going on in there. We'll take him back in a couple weeks to see how things are going. For now, he's happy and has only peed outside the box once in a whole month. (that's actually a big improvement).

Here's a question for you: So, its Friday night. You've had a tough week. You're at home. You've just had dinner. You want to relax in your favorite most comfy place. But, when you get there, you find that your brother has already taken up residence in YOUR spot. What do you do?

Casually, and completely without any hint of "what do you mean this isn't normal", you lay right on top of him.

And, because good things always come in threes... here y'a go (more cuteness).. (I think this is what Keenan had in mind in the previous photo)

There y'a go- NaBloPoMo day two. If you're finding yourself wondering "wow, that post was pretty lame. I wounder how much lamer she will get as the month progresses".. the answer is... the depths of my cute-kitty-picture-lameness has no limits.

(If you're quiet, you can hear people erasing my blog from their bloglines RIGHT NOW) :) :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Its NaBloPoMo time! That means I'll be attempting to blog once a day (every day, including weekends) during the entire month of November. I'm fallowing the lead of a few of my real work friends who have blogs who participated in NaBloPoMo last year. Now, you may have noticed that blogging on a regular basis isn't necessarily something I'm good at. So, why, you ask, would I choose to do NaBloPoMo when (if past behavior is any indicator) I'll probably fail at the NaBloPoMo mission? Well, the answer is, Ive fallen off the making-a-daily-schedule wagon and I'm hoping that NaBloPoMo will help me get back on it. If I can designate a specific time of day to Blog--which I anticipate will be the key to success with NaBloPoMo--then maybe I can also designate a time of day to do all those other things that I want to get done... like treadmill, fiddle, a few minutes of house cleaning... etc. So, we'll see how things go. One of the major inhibitors to my scheduling success is my complete inability to get out of bed in the morning at any time earlier than the latest possible second before I'd be late to work... so trying to get up half an hour earlier so I can practice fiddle, seems a bit.... doubtful. But, we'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

So, to live up to the title of this blog (ie: that its a ProMo for NaBloPoMo, not a spelling error), I guess I'll give you a preview of what I've got planned for this month in blogging.

Coming up on this season of NaBloPoMo:
-cool things I saw at the Chicago Historic Bungalow and Green Home Exop
-Mo cat belly update
-cuteness from the puppies and kitties in video format (if I can ever get Nick to upload it to YouTube...)
-What Do My Hippie Bags Say About Me?

So there, y'a go. Stay tuned! :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Long Time No Blog

Hi everybody. I know its been like... two weeks since I posted. And yes... I know that the post-every-day-in-November thing is coming up... in, well, three days to be exact. So, I better get my act together. Lets hope that this post is me climbing back up on the blogging wagon.

So, first I must tell you about our cool Halloween costumes this year. Usually I almost dread Halloween, since it usually equals me standing in the Halloween store a day or two before I need a costume trying to pick one out something that isn't lame. So, when Nick and I were standing in the clearance section of the local take-over-an-abandoned-strip-mall-space-for-the-month-of-October Halloween store, it appeared that this year was going to be no different than any other. Should I be the banana or the poo-poo-plater (seriously, I"m not kidding)... But THEN I got the best Halloween costume idea EVER! (at least the best one I've ever had, although I'm sure its not the best Ever EVER ever in the world. So, let me cut to the case:

OK, let me explain: I (right) am George W. Bush (aka: "The Decider") and to the left, that's Nick, oh I mean Darth Cheney (aka: "Dick") and he's holding my puppet strings... cuz I'm George W the puppet president who's secretly controlled by Vader and the Dark Side forces of evil. Get it? Get it? (This will make even more sense to those of you who are friends of the Daily Show and familiar with the Dick Cheney= Darth Vader bit .)

Yes, we could barely see or breathe out of our masks. I became acquainted with a phenomena that I had not experienced before:a rain shower inside the mask (aka: condensation). But, it was totally worth it. We had a great time at our friend's Halloween party and we even one the prize for most original costume (a bottle of Rum, yay!).

Who knew that Darth Cheney was an MGD guy?
(Nick bought the flex-y straws specifically for this occasion (they only come in packs of 200 so we'll have enough to last us for the rest of our lives) and he drilled a hole in his mask so that he could drink w/o having to take it off.... even though I think he was looking for any excuse to take the mask off after a while.)

And, if I've ever wondered what would happen if I dressed as a life-size kitty toy,. this is the answer:

And, there was even more kitty fun with the box that the Darth Vader mask came in....

There will be more Halloween fun on the actual day. We're expecting to get more trick-or-treaters than we're used to (there are a lot of kids in this neighborhood.) We even got a pumpkin to carve and put in the front porch (our attempt at symbolizing our non-psycho-killer-ness to the neighbors.)

That's all for now.

Oh- I should probably let you know that the Mo cat situation is fine (well, almost fine). He had his ultrasound and out of the possible outcomes, the actual outcome of the ultrasound was very good. I'll explain more later and show you pics of Mo's shaved belly. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mo Update

Thanks for all of the concern and well wishes I've received regarding the totally awesome Mo Cat. I wanted to give you guys an update to let you know that Mo will be undergoing an ultrasound next Thursday. Hopefully that will give us more answers about what's going on with him. In the mean time, he's being extra cute. All the animals have been extra cuddly since its gotten cooler. Lat night Nick got pinned under the blanket by all four animals (one at each corner of his body) who were in a snuggly mood, apparently.

Hang'n Out With Frank Lloyd Wright

I'd like to thank Nick for being awesome and knowing people who own and live in a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park. Here's a pic:

Those of you who visited Nick and I back in August will probably remember this house. Its two houses down (on the opposite side of the street) as the FLW Home and Studio on Forest Ave. At the time, I had no idea I'd be hanging out in this house a couple months later.

We were there for a UIC graduate program in education policy get together. The house was totally awesome. I'm not a FLW expert, but I am acquainted with the basics of his aesthetic and I must say that the owners of this house have done an awesome job refurbishing the house in FLW style. This house is huge; probably eight of our houses would fit inside it (and coincidentally its probably worth at least eight times as much as our house too.) Even if it wasn't a FLW house, it would be an awesome house, but the fact that it IS a FLW house gives it a whole new dimension of coolness.

I wish I could show you some pictures of the inside, but I didn't bring my camera with me to the party and I can't find any interior pictures on the web. The basement is totally pimped out with a steam shower, pool table, 60+ inch tv, and a walk in wine cellar. There are poured concrete surfaces everywhere, and almost all the furniture throughout the entire house is of the FLW prairie design.

The owners of the house were telling us stories about having people stand at their front gate and take pictures on a daily basis. Once, they even had a Japanese TV crew sneak into their backyard and start filming a TV show right there.

I dunno if it was a function of the FLW design or just that the house was so immaculate, but while I was there I was surrounded by a feeling of "This is really liv'n the good life." Did I mention they had a grand piano in the living room?

Nick and I are pretty much in love with our house, and even if the opportunity came along to live in a FLW house, I'm not sure that we'd do it, BUT let me say that our house looks like a total piece of shit in comparison to this one.

Grass is always greener, right?

Thanks to Mark and Sally for a wonderful evening at their totally awesome home... and if my house is reading this blog: yes, I still love you!

Friday, October 5, 2007


*tries to refrain from humming Britney Spears's new song "Gimme More" (cuz "Mo" reminds me of "more".. i dunno).... dude, I read way to much entertainment gossip*

anyway... So, for those of you who aren't aquanted with the ongoing saga of the MoCat, let me give you the 411: (note to those more sensetive readers: I use the word "pee" a lot in this post) So, Mo cat started peeing outside the box a few months ago.. at first we thought it was stress (moving to the new apartment and then into the house and having to live with the dogs) and then we thought he was just pissed off and THEN we finally thought "gee, maybe he's sick" ... so about a month ago we took him to the vet and, sure enough, the vet found crystals in his urine (a sign of kidney stones, I think) as well as blood. So, the big guy was indeed sick... apparently he was associating the pain of urination with the litter box so he kept trying to find a place where he could "go" and not be in pain... hence the peeing on the brand new couch which happened shortly before we took him to the vet the first time. So, we were told to feed him special (and might I add, expensive) prescription food for three weeks and then bring him back in. We did, and the next uranalysis found no crystals but still found blood... so THEN we were given a bottle of REALY gross smelling brown liquid medicine for inflammation that we'd have to shoot down his throat once a day.. at first he actually liked the stuff.. he'd voluntairly lick the medicine out of the dropper then I'd squirt the rest into his mouth.. but by the end of the first week, he was pretty much done with the stuff... which meant that we'd have to corner him, pry his mouth open with our thumb and squirt it in... he'd put his ears back and be afraid of me for a couple of minutes.... So after two weeks of that we took him back to the vet to have him checked again. We were hoping to get a clean bill of health from the vet. But, allas, poor Mr. Mo cat still has pee pee problems (still blood in the urine) so NOW he apparently needs an ULTRASOUND! of his abdomen so they can figure out if he has a stone, whether it will require surgery, or whether its something (far less likely but still possible) like a tumor. So, Mr. Mo will be getting his belly shaved (necesary for the ultrasound) probably within the next week. Our vet doesn't own an ultrasound machine, but she can call lin a specialist to do it, which will cost us about $150. The other option is she could send us to another vet's office where it might cost less. So, I've gotta call around to find out prices etc. At this point we (and our vet) are feeling very optimistic, hoping that its just a cranky stone that needs a few more weeks of the special food in order to desolve. Mo cat remains happy and he hasn't peed outside the box in a couple weeks now *knock on wood*

so yeah, that's the deal with Mr. Mo. Thanks for reading.

One of our favorite comedians has a funny bit about the ratio of how cute a girl is and how much he'll tolerate hearing stories about her cat... So if you've made it all the way to the end of this post, apparently you think I'm pretty cute. j/k :)

check him out:
the cat joke is at minute 3:05 , but the whole thing is funny

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fiddle Death

This is the sad sad story of what happens when I try to be good and practice my fiddle like I'm supposed to...

Although this will probably ruin the arch of the story, I'll start by telling you that when I got home from work last night I found that my fiddle case, with the fiddle secured inside, had fallen off of the window seat (about a three foot drop). I blame Morgan since he's been cuddling up next to the fiddle case on several occasions recently.

So, after feeding the animals and experiencing the joy of the pepper discovery (from yesterday's post), I sat down around 7:30 to practice the fiddle... I was tuning it up when the E string snapped... if you've never seen a fiddle (or other stringed instrument) snap before, let me tell you that its a pretty noteworthy event; its fast and loud and makes me jump off my seat every time it happens.... So, I started googling... where could I find a replacement string near-ish to my house at 7:30 at night (or more around 8:30 since that's when Nick (the one capable of driving to the store) would be home..) I found an instrument store that was about 10 miles away that would be open until 9:00. Via phone I confirmed that did indeed sell strings, however their tech had left for the day so no one could help me install it. Sweet! When Nick got home I told him the "good" news that instead of being able to change clothes and drink a beer and then walk up to Madison street to have dinner at one of the restaurants up there, that we'd be driving 10 miles into suburbia to buy a violin string, that I wasn't even sure I could replace myself. I'd never fixed a string before... the other couple of times that its happened I'd been using a rental instrument so they'd always put the string on for me... But, after watching some YouTube lessons, I was convinced that I could do it myself. So, Nick is such a good sport. He was like "ok, sure" so we drove out to the store and got the string... I ended up spending like $60 bucks because in addition to geting the one replacement string I needed I also got a full set of replacement strings for when this happens again as well as a metronome. We stopped at Culver's on the way home to pick up some food.. not nearly the good meal we were planning on having.. but it was fast and it would do. (I had a salad in case you're wondering what a vegetarian eats at Culver's).

So, we got home, we ate, we watched the freaking hilarious Daily Show from Wed. night that we had DVRed... Nick went into the bedroom to watch TV while I set to fixing the fiddle. It took me about ten minutes, but I got the string on with not much problem. I was tuning up when all of the sudden BAM! something broke, flew up into the air, and landed on the table. Not another string!!! I looked and was confused to find that all the strings were still on the fiddle.. WTF. It took me about five seconds to realize that the BRIDGE had poped off. At this point a few expletives were said. Nick came out to see what was wrong... I started YouTubing again and soon discovered that the bridge isn't actually attached to the fiddle at all and is only held in place by the strings ... so all I had to do was loosen the strings and slide the bridge back into place underneath them (making sure to get it back into the precise place where it was before... I know that it might not be perfect, but hopefully I could get it close enough to practice and them have a real fiddle technician double check it for me later). Let me point out that by this time it was already 10:15 and I hadn't even begun to practice. I slid the bridge back into place, and, feeling a sense of accomplishment for having fixed things myself, I brought the fiddle up to my shoulder to tune it when I heard the sound of something ROLLING AROUND INSIDE the body of the fiddle. At this point, I knew that things were over. It took me about five minutes of shaking it around to get a glimpse of the 2 inch long dowel object that was inside my fiddle... I have no idea what it is or what it does or how to fix it (or how someone would even get it out of there; the F-holes in the fiddle are tiny...

More expletives where said... followed by some crying... Then, pouty and defeated, I went to bed.

Being the fabulous husband that he is, Nick volunteered to drive the fiddle up to the place where I purchased it (the place where I take lessons) to see what they can do. I have no idea how long it will take them to fix or how much it will cost. But I do know that the square dance that my fiddle class was supposed to attend and play in on Friday night is pretty much out of the picture for me know. Even if I do get my fiddle back before the event, I've already missed out on the vital practice time I needed to learn the 10 or so tunes that I don't know yet.


I find myself wanting to blame Morgan, since he knocked the fiddle into the floor yesterday... but the fiddle was inside its case and strapped in and the case is REALLY sturdy... so , I dunno if that's what caused this catastrophic instrument failure or not.... Or, what is me and my attempt to replace the string / bridge myself ... did I ruin my new $400 fiddle?

I'll let you know what happens....

UPDATE: Ok.. word on the street is that the thing rolling around inside the fiddle is called a "sound post" and that replacing it and the bridge wont set me back more than $50. No word as to who takes the blame for the injuries to the fiddle, although a third suspect is now being questioned: the humidity.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Surprise Peppers

Dudes! Ok.. this is why I LOVE gardening! I was out in the "garden" (a small patch of the yard where I planted some sickly root bound veggies after we moved into the house around July... in retrospect, I should have started a fall garden from seeds... but whatever, I digress.) Anyway.. I was looking at the purple baby butts (baby eggplants) and the green tomatos (all five of them) on my tomato plants.... and as I went to say Hi to my pepper plant (a plant I bought at Costco and had felt cheated after it didn't bloom or anything and I convinced myself that it was just an ornimental plant... I bet you can see where this is going, right? So, there I was, looking at the plant and touching its leaves and, all oi the sudden, completely out of the blue... I found these:

When I felt them I got so excited that I immediately tore them off the plant... the one to the right is definitely ripe for picking (its as big as my hand) but the one of the left is a bit small and probably could have hung out there for a little while longer... allas! I was like "HOLY CRAP!" to the dogs, since they were the only ones around to hear news of my discovery. And to top it off, there are at least four baby peppers that I managed to NOT tear off, so I've got more to look forward to.

Dude, this is why I love gardening... there are always (mostly good) surprises!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Yay Yardwork!

Over the weekend Nick and I had a great time working in the yard. I thought I'd share some pictures of our accomplishments.

First, we have a couple pictures of our new rain barrels that Nick installed on Saturday. These barrels will catch about half of the rain water that comes off our roof and store it so we can use it for watering plants later. The first barrel is connected to a diverter in the gutter. When the first barrel fills up, the second will fill. When the second one is full too, the diverter will switch and water will then go down the gutter into the drain. In case you 'd like to purchase your own rain barrel(s), we got ours at (where we also got our compost bin). YAY! (I think that Nick took these pictures around dusk, which is why the house looks so dingy orange/brown).

This is the "leaf turd" that Nick pulled out of the gutter during the process of connecting the rain barrels. To give you a sense of scale, this thing was about three feet long. We put it into the compost bin.

While Nick was busy installing the rain barrels, I was busy making executive decisions about the yard (hehe). We've been planning to redo our yard ever since we moved in. We've spent months talking and thinking, reading books and seeking the advice of friends in the know. I think I had a bit of a freak out this weekend; I felt overwhelmed by the never ending amount of different ideas we came up with, all of which I liked. Should we put the garden over here or over there? Should the pond be a geometric shape or should it be more natural? Should the path curve to the left or to the right, or should it be straight? I decided to just make a decision, put things where I wanted them, and see what I thought.

So, this is what I ended up with. We had bought several pannels of black medal fencing on sale at Menards. I decided that an arbor would make a nice entrance for the garden area. We were happy to find that the arbor that we had seen several times at Menards was still there, and was even cheaper than before (like $70 bucks). So, here it is folks, the begining of what will be my veggie garden area next year. I'm going to get several more of the square raised beds that you see in the picture. I'm going to also have to move several of the plants once they go dormant. And, of course the dirt pile will be used to fill the raised beds.... oh yeah and the chair is completely random; I dunno why its there. lol! Oh yeah, and we're also going to tear up the existing path and build a new one. hehe!

And finally... just because I find it difficult these days to post pictures to my blog without a picture of kitties... here y'a go. Kitties asleep on the sun porch.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Camping Is Fun!

Over the weekend, Nick and I joined the E-Vegasians on a camping trip at Turkey Run State Park in central Indiana. I was really looking forward to it--I like to hang with my peeps--but I must admit that I underestimated the amount of fun I'd end up having. I think the last time I went camping was in high school senior year on a backpacking trip on a portion of the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia. I never did tent camping (other than in the backyard) as a kid, so I don't consider myself a camping expert. I was even somewhat doubtful as to whether or not I actually like to camp. But, the jury is now in, and I'm glad to say that we had a great time and definitely hope to do a lot more camping in the future.

So, here are some pics of the trip. I didn't take a lot cuz my camera mysteriously got a case of the low batteries half way through the trip but then managed to work again toward the end, despite the fact that I didn't charge it at all. temperamental camera...

First, here's me sitting in the tent in our backyard. I wanted to make sure that the tent was in one piece, stink-free, and not missing any parts. Also, we sorted through some of Nick's old camping gear. Did you know that baby wipes, even if stored in a ziplock bag, will dry out and turn yellow after, say. at least four years of being in the garage? Needless to say, we had to trash some items, but for the most part, Nick was pretty well set up for a weekend of outdoor living...

OK, so its not the grand canyon, but Turkey Run does have some enjoyable hiking trails with some huge old trees... this used to be a huge old tree, until it was uprooted. Apparently it reminded Nick of an airplane, or ballet, I'm not sure which...

The weather was almost perfect, despite a couple chilly nights (in the low 40'). It was great weather for snuggling by the campfire.... with PopTarts...

Due to the cold weather on Saturday, we decided to forgo our canoe trip and hike instead. This is a picture of the poor souls who did decide to canoe that day, taken from the hiking trail above. I hope they weren't too cold.

Yes, we did have a great time, but there were also frustrations along the way. (This is the complaint portion of the slide show). So, Nick and I discovered that we are apparently too old to sleep on the hard ground with nothing under us but a sleeping bag. After a moderately miserable night of tossing and turning, massaging sore backs, and dreaming of the Temperpedic mattress we have at home, we decided to shell out $25 at the camp store (it might as well be called the "WE jack the prices up and sell shitty stuff because we know you're desperate" store) for an air mattress. Things were going ok; the camp store let us use their air pump for free to blow up the thing, instead of us having to do it manually. I thought that was so nice of them. But, when we put the blown up mattress in the truck and managed to immediately puncture a hole in it, we were no longer happy. I held my finger on the hole, while Nick went back into the camp store to buy a patch kit. This is a picture of the mattress with an attempted patch.

This is a picture of the patch kit which did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to patch the hole.

This is a picture of the mattress once we decided to go with what was our initial idea and put duct tape over the hole. Nick drove it back down to the air pump (notice this time, away from any sharp edges that might exist inside the actual truck bed, to try to fill it up again. It totally didn't work. Now we are left with the conclusion, and a conclusion that I feel it necesary to share with everyone, that Coleman air mattresses SUCK!

In the good news department, it did get easier to sleep each subsequent night. And, I must say that our new sleeping bags were GREAT as they managed to keep us warm and cozy during those chilly nights.

So, yeah, camping is fun, y'all. I have a feeling that the E-Vegas reunion will become a semi-regular event, which sounds great to me. If you enjoy camping and would like to coordinate a camping trip sometime, just let us know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


In response to the puppy kitty nirvana picture from yesterday, I don't know if we'll ever get to this point:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pcture Picture Picture

Acrobatic squirrel goes for the bird food

Puppy / Kitty Nirvana

Mo cat vs. the dinner rolls

I have no idea why those captions were underlined (and why this sentence all of the sudden is not)... but anyway.. there y'a go.. just wanted to share some pics I've been saving up for bloglaned.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Super Mario Goodness

I played a bit of super mario brothers this weekend while the gang was in town. Sitting at work today, I decided to "google" YouTube to see what weird SMB stuff I could find... here's a taste..

Classical guitar meets supermario...this dude has mad skills

Watch someone beat SMB in 5 Minutes

SMB Tellenovela (or something)....

Ok.. now we're getting to weirder stuff...

And finally... a news story about SMB and Nintendo... I can't figure out if this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek or if they're being serious (and therefore.. completely hillarous)

Apparently, Its Crying Season

Hi blog people. of the blogs I've enjoyed reading recently (the comedian Mike Birbiglia's Secret Public Journal... which is freak'n hilarious) starts each post as "Dear Journal" and I like that and may start doing it here, since generally my blog is more of a journal entry (ie: sort of a self reflection as well as a way to document my days so that I can be amused when I read these accounts several years from now) ....

So yeah, Dear Journal-

(maybe I will use two different greetings depending on the nature of the blog entry (Hi Blog People for when I have information to pass to others and Dear Journal when I'm just babbling to myself...)

Dear Journal-

Ok so, as if crying of Pav wasn't bad enough (see yesterday's blog), today I cried ON THE TRAIN TO WORK in response to the fact that Nick decided to shave off his beard this morning. I dunno what the big deal is for me. The first year I dated him, he didn't have a beard. He didn't have a beard during last summer when we got married. It was a bit out of the ordinary that he decided to keep his beard throughout the summer (his beard usually comes and goes with the coming and going of winter weather), but still, I shouldn't be this weirded out about it.

So, what's the deal? Well, its not that I'm crying over the hideous site of Nick's face (he asked me if this was the case)... (his face is NOT hideous, of course). I think its just the feeling of unfamiliarity that it suddenly creates. Like, obviously I know he's the same person he was, with or without facial hair, but it makes such a drastic difference in his appearance that I can't help but do a double take "who is that strange looking person" when I look at him right after he shaves off his beard. This morning, I felt like my familiar friend had gone away and had been replaced by someone else. Then, of course (in my never ending ability to freak out over things that a) I have no control over and b) I have no reason to believe will happen in the near future) I started to freak out over the possibility of Nick dying or disappearing or something... and that's when the water works started.

So yeah, I cried when Nick shaved off his beard because it reminded me of how sad I'd be if something happened to him.

Sometimes I really get on my own nerves. LOL!

Added a few minutes later:

Here are two pictures for comparrison (with beard, without beard)

Thursday, September 6, 2007


OK, so I cried over the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin, who, incidentally died just over a year ago), which surprised me. I mean, I liked the guy, his shows, I thought he seemed to be a cool dude and seemed to generally do good stuff for animals (shut up PETA)... but I was surprised when I sat at the kitchen table and balled my eyes out for an hour during his memorial service... for someone I've never met and, until he died, didn't really have an extraordinary interest or attachment to.

Well, it happened again.. this time with Pavarotti. The thing I associated most with him, until today, was the song he did with U2 and Brian Eno on the Passengers Original Soundtrack Number 1 CD back in 1995. I'm not really a big opera fan. I can't even name any of Pav's most famous (or not so famous) performances. But, I have always been impressed with his abilities. But, here I am, at work getting all teer-y-eyed over him. Maybe its all the tributes that have been on the radio today (and I'm sure plenty more will follow). Maybe it was something about being able to listen to two different Pav performances on two difference radio stations (one in the other room) at the same time (kinda like the moment of silence all the radio stations played... umm... errrr... was that for the first aniversurey of Sept 11th attacks?).

So yeah, I went YouTubing looking for Pav stuff and I found this, which claims to be his last public performance, at the winter Olympics in 2006.

and here's Pav with U2 + Brian Eno.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Thanks to and my trusty iPod, I have managed to usurp my innate hatred of reading and have managed to burn through three books in the last few weeks. I thought I'd take this opportunity (before I completely forget what I read) to tell you about them. So here goes:

First, I read Sammy's House which is Kristin Gore's (yes, daughter of Al) second novel, a sequel to her Sammy's Hill book that came out a couple of years ago. (thanks to Bibliophile and others for introducing me to these books). The basic story line revolves around a 20 something woman who's managed to get a policy adviser job for a presidential candidate (in the first book) and a vice president (second book). So, if you get off on things like West Wing where you can pretend you work in some interesting and high powered job in DC, you'd like these books. But, be warned, these books are an extra-light version of West Wing, probably closer to being chic-lit, actually. Beyond the working in DC part of the book, there's also a lot of gossip, relationship drama, and dumb behavior and decisions by the main character, and so on. Some of her (main character) idiosyncrasies get a big annoying, in my opinion, toward the middle of the second book. Also, her ability to be a dumb, hormonal, irrational, jealous girl gets to be a bit much at times too (and I say this as someone who can be all of those things at one time or another.) But, nevertheless, I enjoyed this book.... Its like half West Wing political goodness and half Lifetime Original Movie in its relationship drama and general dumbness but inescapability.

Next, I read Interpreter of Maladies, which I heard about due to its appearance on several best fiction lists (particularly, and I hope I'm right, from the NYT best seller list). So anyway, I was very excited to read this one. Unfortunately, I managed to either forget about or all together miss in the first place the fact that the book is a collection of short stories. I was a bit disappointed to learn that, no, I don't like short stories that much. Just about the time I'd get into the story, that story would end, those characters would disappear, and I'd be thrust into a new story with all together new characters. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great book with mostly really interesting and compelling stories. But, I wish it had picked to focus on one set of characters for more than a chapter or two. I guess I'm just not a short story kinda girl.

Finally, I read What Was She Thinking (Notes on a Scandal)... that's right, the book which lead to the movie. I never saw the movie, and only had a small understanding of the general plot, but I decided to go for the book based on what I'd hear about the movie. Somehow, I managed to miss the detail that the book is about a 30 something teacher in England who has an affair with a 15 year old student in her class. I dunno, I'm all for people doing what want and consenting adults and all, but this topic still kind of weirds me out. That being said, I am a total sucker for gossip, and this book certainly has it. It reminds me of having a long, revealing conversation with a friend in which your friend reveals the scandalous details of some piece of gossip worthy information. This book got me through an hour and a half delay on the blue line one day, so in terms of its pure entertainment, I can't say anything bad about it.

I'm now reading Death by Black Hole which is essentially a set of essays designed to explain certain aspects of astro-science and the historical evolution of scientific understanding. As you can probably tell, its a bit different than the previous three books I just talked about. It was a big shift; listening to gossip takes a lot less brain power to listen to someone explain Newtonian physics. But, it is very interesting and I am enjoying it. I think its good brain food, too. I'll let you know what I fully think of it once I've finished it.

That's all for now.

PS: just so you don't think that I'm completely crazy, the moon ransom post a few days ago was about a wash cloth that one of the E-Vegasvillians left at my house after their visit. I didn't know who it belonged to , so I thought I'd publish a funny post (well, I meant for it to be funny, anyway, although I think some of you were just confused) in an attempt to get the owner of the mr. moon washcloth to come foward. So, no, I'm not crazy. And, no, it didn't have anything to do with the luner eclipse (which I slept through a few days ago). ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Note: This will mean something to someone out there, although I'm not sure who that is yet. If it means nothing to you and is confusing, just ignore it. I'll explain it later. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Its A Boy!

My new "vintage" 1971 German Fiddle, that is... How do I know its a boy? Because I gave it a boy name... err.. actually I haven't settled on a name yet... I know I"m going against the grain here--its my understanding that musicians usually name their instruments girl names (same as cars and boats I guess??)--but my fiddle is a boy... a sensitive , well rounded, handsome, resonating boy... man?... male? I dunno... I'm monstly just being silly.

Soi yeah, her he (it) is in all its (his) glory

Its sort of a middle range beginner/intermediate instrument, although I must say (and I was surprised that I was able to tell a difference, because I have doubts in my knowledge about fiddles generally) that it sounds a hell of a lot better than the model that I'd been renting ...and I bought it from the same place I'd been renting and they let me put some of my rental fee toward the purchase, so I saved some dough too.

Now.... all I have to do is figure out how to make my playing reach the level of the instrument (ie: my playing sucks and the instrument itself does not suck). So, that's what i'm working on now... not literally now, cuz i'd need four hands for that, but now as in, I'll be starting a new round of lessons in a couple of weeks... that is, providing that I practice like crazy between now and then and make up for the four months of not touching a fiddle that was my summer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicago Botanic Garden

Hi blog people. I wanted to give you guys a bit more detail (with visual aids) about the cool stuff I saw at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We saw many different kinds of gardens and displays, most of which are not represented here in these pics (like the Japanese garden or the Bonzi tree exhibit/sale). I seemed to be obsessed with the vegetable and fruit garden exhibits, so most of the pictures I took are from those. There's some other stuff thrown in there too. I look forward to being able to implement some of these ideas into my garden. I hope you enjoy the pics!

This is the coolest pine tree I've ever seen... I've never seen anything like it before.

Winding stream with ducks... I want a winding stream in my yard! (dude, my yard isn't nearly big enough for all the great ideas I saw at the CBG)

Grass alternative ground cover... doesn't require cutting... sounds great to me!

There's an entire water garden at CBG with tons of water plants. I love these water lilies! I want a pond!!!

Really pretty Canna Lily.. I have one of these in my front yard but it does NOT look nearly as beautiful as these.

Honestly, I didn't pay attention to what these plants are, I just liked the idea of creating a cool alternating color pattern... Wouldn't this look cool with alternating green leaf and red leaf lettuce?

I have no idea what these peppers are like to eat (how hot they are), but I think the plants are so beautiful... I think its the dark gren leaves with the red and PURPLE (my fav color) fruit. Love this.. yay.

Totally awesome (and I'm totally planning to steal this idea for my own garden) vertical planting method for herbs etc.

Here's a close-up of how they put it together... looks like a wood and wire frame lined with plastic of some sort (to hold in the dirt and plants)... I love this idea.

Apple trees being grown in cordons (I think is what they call this technique) where the trees are planted very close together and drastically pruned on a regular basis to force them to grow in tight vertical clumps... its supposed to be the most efficient way to grow fruit trees... and while usually I'm all down with big sweeping tree branches, I also think this is cool it its own right.

Less common Marigold variety. I think this one is awesome, but then again, I do have a larger than normal amount of affection for Marigolds... Maybe its a southern thing... I think these would look great in beds with veggies...

Really cool tomato cages (I want some, but don't know where to get them yet).