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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! :)