Friday, April 29, 2011

Ain't no stupid on this kid

Yeah. Mommy grabs her keys and has a list?

Invite yourself along.

There is probably ice cream at that store...act cute, maybe a "spontaneous" hug, use some good, clear words and badda-bing, cream.

No stupid on this kid. He KNOWS how to play the game...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Apples and Cherries!

Eeeeeeeeee! See? SEE? My little trees, they are making with the fruit-thing!

Everything else is off to a slow (or no) start. We are having another cool-side spring this year, with a scattering of 'surprise!' not-quite-freezes and persistently cool days. But we'll be getting our warm weather soon, and our downright hot stuff before we know it, and my little Kingdom will take off!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lessons In Sexy: All in the phrasing

"Wow, thanks for holding the bus for us! You probably had to run, huh?"

(Begin Lesson In Sexy)

Sexy: "You bet I did... like a cheetah!" (Important: STOP. HERE.)

Not-so-much-sexy (though perhaps with more points for honesty): "You bet I a cheetah! A very old...toothless...arthritic cheetah..."

(...yeah...Option 2 was what came outta my thems as can't do, teach, y'all...)

A sock, a shoe, and the last muffin

I am traveling light(er) lately, so I grabbed the socks I'd started about forever ago for my train, is it ever nice to have some truly "mindless" knitting for a change! I love to keep things interesting, but sometimes those itty-bitty charts and no-two-rows-alike patterns are a bit TOO interesting for mobile knitting.

I just polished my shoes! And now I'm just so tickled by my own cleverness, you'd think nobody else had EVER considered doing this. But at the same time, it's just so charming, the way an application of polish and some vigorous buffing can transform a tired old pair of ugly shoes into like-new, isn't it?

And this is the last lemon-yogurt muffin that will be made with "our" lemons this year. Sigh...but, hopefully I'll soon have some blackberries to use instead!

Money Monday: April 25, 2011

Whoa. Hang on a second, I need a dust rag…phew! Only two weeks, and just look at this place…!!!

It’s been an interesting couple weeks around here; frankly, the next few weeks are probably going to be equally psychotic. I had two rapid-fire Big Projects at work, and had a few nights of impressively bad insomnia, which sucked every last drop of spare energy out of me. I tend to operate on a pretty tight margin, energy-wise; when something tangles up my energy-pattern…it’s ugly.

But, all things run their course in time. I’ve started almost catching my stride again; I’m still kind of tired and out-of-sorts, but overall I feel like I’m probably going to make it through the coming days without either dropping dead, or ripping someone’s head off for doing something like, I dunno, dropping their Starburst wrappers on the train floor like they just don’t care. (FLAMING DEATH!!!!)

I had a very interesting development at work, which is that my manager put in a request for a special extension on my contract. These aren’t exactly unheard of, but they are not exactly common, either; they can be devilishly tricky to get signed off. When she told me she was going for it for me, and expressed great confidence that it would go through…man, the optimist in me was all, “Oh, awesome!!” and started planning for another year of All This – the paychecks, the madness, the crazy schedule, how to keep food on the table more or less reliably, and what would we do about the summertime childcare…

It has taken a great deal of effort for me to maintain a certain sangfroid on the subject. But then, I got an email from my contract management folks last week saying that they had been informed that the contract had been extended for another year – through the end of March 2012.

Well, hot dog. Looks like I get to stick around and keep on irritating helping my team for another year!

It’s awesome news on a few fronts. I mean, obviously, duh, I still get my paychecks. I won’t have any gaps while I go find something else, or have to deal with that whole dating job-hunting scene again for a while…the endless phone calls, driving around for interviews, trying to decide from that thirty minute window of chatting with a bunch of strangers if this is the kind of place I’m going to want to hang out for forty plus hours a week, every week, for however-many months…

A team like the one I have is hard to find; I really enjoy the work, the people, the projects, and the overall atmosphere.

So I’m really happy to be sticking around there for another year.

But I’ve also got some adjusting to do. Last year, I just went hell bent for election toward a single-minded goal – I used my income like a club and just whacked away at the debts in a wild frenzy.

Crude, but effective: We paid off an awful lot last year.

But, well…it was also crude. A lot of things could have been better, if I’d been better focused and taken more thought and care with what-all I was doing.

Have you ever noticed that things just kind of go better for you when you start from an organized place? I mean, like, if you’re going to make cookies, and you can put your hands on everything from the butter to the cookie sheet without having to go on a treasure hunt for them, man…you can go from cookie-wanting to cookie-eating in less than half an hour.

…but if the butter has gotten dropped down behind the milk somewhere and the cookie sheet isn’t where it belongs and who put the mixer paddles in there, for carp’s sake…!, well.

It can take hours. And be so frustrating that you never want to do it again.

Finances are kind of the same way. If you don’t know where stuff is, or how much of it you have, or where it’s supposed to go, if you spend hours looking for That Thing you need only to end up having to give up in disgust…it can take forever to get where you want to go.

So for the coming week(s), I have a couple goals.

One is to get enough sleep. Because seriously…I am not a good person to be around when I get all sleep-deprived and some junk.

And another is to get some control over what-all I’m doing in this coming year – to batten down the hatches, so to speak. I want to take a hard look at our statements, make sure I’m not missing things I should be catching; not paying too much in interest, or for services we’re not using. I want to reevaluate things like our phone service, cable bill, and all those kinds of things. Do we need what we’re paying for, or are we just paying for it because we think we need it…or because we’re not thinking about it at all…?

I want to reset the game board, too; reevaluate what-all we’ve still got outstanding and decide as if the world were new again where our priorities are.

I want to take a hard look at where we’re spending money, and make sure it’s where we want it to be going. I’ve been relying an awful lot on habits to keep us on the straight and narrow, budgetarily speaking…but things change, and change abruptly. Asking myself if the way I do things still makes sense today is an exercise I don’t do as often as I should.

And then, I want to chart a course for this next year. I want to set some (at least mostly) realistic goals, and figure out what I need to do to make them happen, and then…well, get going. Make it so.

I think it’s time to switch to a more elegant tool; put down my club and trade up to a rapier.

Or, as my dad so frequently put it: To work smarter, not harder.

What about y’all? How long has it been since you last looked at, say, how many minutes you’re paying for, versus how many minutes you use on that cell phone we all seem to tote around anymore? Are you paying for 250 channels when you only watch five? Paying for a gym you never use? Paying $35 a month for some protection plan you forgot you signed up for in that moment of weakness?

Are you managing your life? Or just sort of managing?

I always find this to be an interesting exercise…and no matter how well I think I’m doing, I always seem to find things that make me go, “Uh…oops?”

And another thing I want to do this week…get some pictures of my cherry trees. Because they have actual cherries on them, and I’m so excited you would think I had invented cherry trees!

(They’re so awesome! And bright green! Really bright green! But they’re cherries! I might get, shoot, a whole cup of cherries off that Bing tree! Possibly two cups! I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!)

(Sadly, I’m not exaggerating all that much…I am really excited about those cherries…which is practically like hanging up a sign that says, “Dear Birds, please eat every last one of these immediately, k-thx!”)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grumpy Hoodie Days

Today was THIS kind of day - soda and pain killers, and a constant battle with a (fortunately rare) Foul Mood.

Days that involve regular doses of pain killers can be like that...and this one started less than two hours after the last one ended, in a blaze of back pain. Feh!

Also? I wore black pants today. And then angrily worked on horribly-shed-y hoodie.

Once again, I look like I walked through green chalk dust...

...but today is almost over now. Home and its many diversions awaits. Whew, made it...and I don't THINK I even snarked off to one person! Yay me!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Garden Report: April 9, 2011 (Picture heavy!)

It has been a very busy few weeks out there in the garden! Lots of digging and trenching and moving and planting! And this morning, I got up ridiculously early – a combination of the husband’s Blackberry whistling and alerting and carrying on due to production job load failures (awesome) and our alarm inexcusably going off (does it not know that this is Saturday?!), and I found myself wandering around my kitchen at the crack of dawn looking for something to do that was, you know, quiet.

And then I thought, Taking pictures of your garden and blogging about it is quiet!

So here it is…my kingdom!


(I really need to remember to take before pictures. You could barely see the play equipment for the weeds a few weeks ago.)

The first little bed is spinach; it was just planted a little over a week ago, and is starting to send up the first sprouts.


This is why I don’t let anybody else weed in this bed right now – this SO looks like grass / a weed, doesn’t it?!

Right next door are some Blue Lake bush beans. They were planted right around the same time, but are much happier – I suspect they don’t mind the boomeranging temperatures we’ve had over the last ten days (50 one day, 70 the next, 50 again, 80, mid-40s…).


Behind them, all along the fence, are the omnipresent (at least, when the weather is on the cooler side) peas.


We love us the fresh peas around here.

This is a big old bed of broccoli.


And their neighbors, the carrots…


I spent some extra time getting the carrot bed ready this year; I dug down a good 12” (oooooh, mah achin’ back!), broke things up and churned them around, then built up those extra-high hills of extremely loose, sifted dirt. Using this extremely high tech device:


What I’m hoping for is longer, straighter carrots. Hahahahahahaha! Yeah, right. But, last year we got a lot of carrots that were beautiful and straight for about 3-4”, and then got all stunted and weird and twisted, because they hit the cement clay. So, we’ll see if I actually get anything for all that extra work.

And at the end of this row, the not-dead artichokes.


Now with actual artichokes!


Now, if you turn around, you’ve got the Bonus Bean Towers we found in the shed last weekend. There are Kentucky pole beans planted all around their bases; we’ll see how they work out. We’ve got what should be about a 30’ row planted in this itty-bitty bed…if it works, this is an awesome space saver. (If it doesn’t, well, we’ll always wish it had, right?)


Next door, we have a couple rows of hot peppers…


…and back toward the patio, three (3) crummy hills of summer squash. (Yeah. “Only” three. Which will probably produce about 3,000 pounds of squash.)


Now, if we turn left, we see AAAAAAAH, HOLY CRAP, WHAT *IS* ALL THAT?!?!


Oh. It’s the brush pile. Heh heh. Yeah. Weeeeeeeeeeee…need to deal with this. At some point.

This is my new compost “system,” which is (obviously) a project in progress for the husband.


Eventually, it’ll go like this: Stuff from the worm composter, yard waste and all that groovy jazz will go into the tumble-composter for a couple weeks for a “fast-hot start.” Then it gets dumped at the far end of the compost bed. The movement goes down the line, with the “finished” stuff taken out at the far end, and Everything Else turned toward said far end as we go.

What’s going on here is a whole lot of staging areas; eventually, that bit at the end will have a built in sifter, just high enough that the wheelbarrow can get under it, but not so high that I have to lift a shovel, you know, up over my head or anything crazy like that.

Anything that doesn’t sift out goes back to the beginning of the ride for a repeat; the good stuff goes on out to wherever it’s wanted.

Oh. And meanwhile, we’ve got some ‘bonus’ potatoes growing in there.


SURPRISE!!! We had planted white potatoes in that bed – which failed miserably, by the way – last year. Then we said, “Meh, nothing ever seems to do well in this bed, it must be too shady or whatever, HEY, I KNOW! Let’s make it the compost bed!!

…and then the white potatoes went, Hey, waitasecond, I KNOW WHAT WE FORGOT TO DO LAST YEAR!

There were a lot more of them, but guess what? Cutworms + Earwigs + Borers, oh my! We have an infestation that is bordering on Biblical in proportions, actually; you night notice some white powdery stuff sprinkled all over the place in these pictures – it’s diatomaceous earth. Hopefully, it will give my poor plants a chance to survive.

We also have some ‘surprise’ Blue Nile potatoes. Again, our yields last year were extremely “meh” on those…but by golly, I missed a couple.


I’m very curious to see how these do, yield-wise. The ones I missed had to be pretty darned small, and generally you want to use your “best” ones for seed potatoes.

Sticking with potatoes, we’ll jump inside for a second so I can show you The Potato Posse:


These are Pontiac red and Russet potatoes, two of each. Aren’t they awesome?! They all started out like this one…


…which is apparently a slow-bloomer or something, and I’ve been building up their dirt as they’ve grown. When the weather has become more stable, I’ll go ahead and (gently) move these out along the front walkway to greet people…they make beautiful houseplants, though, don’t they?!

Meanwhile, back in the back-back-back, the blackberries are actually starting to resemble the beginnings of a bramble.


The bing cherry is going to town, baby!


…unfortunately, it’s pollinating side-kick the Ranier…isn’t as happy.


Looks like half of the grafting didn’t take; it had blossoms on the “live” side, but not a whole-whole lot of them. I went out one night and did some by-hand pollinating – running my hands over the Ranier blossoms and then over the Bing – hoping to increase the chances of getting actual cherries this year. We’ll see.

The apple tree, meanwhile, is just a happy little low-maintenance bloomer:


And this? This is probably going to be leaving this year.


The Denizens don’t play on it anymore, really; it’s designed for smaller children, so it’s hard for them to get onto it. And their tastes have moved on, really.

Plus they don’t do bugs. And there are a lot of bugs out there.

Once it is gone, the husband wants to put another shed back there for his woodworking tools and such; and of course, I’m planning to snatch up every remaining inch of ground for more gardening space. Because of course I am.

Out in the front, I was going to dig out and move the blueberries, because they just aren’t happy in that under-the-front-window spot; it’s too shady, I guess.


Yeah…pathetic. And right up front, too! But then, well, this happened.


We might actually get a handful of berries off these this year! So, I’m going to leave them alone for this season, and move them after they’ve finished bearing whatever they deign to produce.

The front boxes are 2/3 empty right now.


In the very front, I’ve got some bell peppers coming up:

Can you even see the sprouts? They’re tiny…

The middle one had beets, but the anti-cat-wire you can see standing up there was left on too long and I had to yank them all out. There a couple onions still manfully bulbing in it, but it’s mostly empty for now.

And the back one has yet more potatoes in it; one of them was apparently eaten to death and the other is not doing well either. I may have to redo the whole box.

Let’s see…who did I forget…oh! The mushroom forest!


…which doesn’t look like mushrooms, or a forest. These are logs which are (hopefully) being inoculated with mushroom plugs – lion’s mane, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. In Due Course, we should start have mushrooms sticking out all over these things. It’s a new thing for us, soooooooo…no idea if we’ve done it right or if it’s going to work.

The relocated cranberries are much happier in their new spot.


New growth! Yay!

And, here’s the final spot of dirt that is about to get planted…


This strip is notoriously difficult; it’s kind of the “oh yeah, and” spot, where we forget to watch whether enough water is happening and so forth. It gets moderate sun…enough for things that aren’t wicked demanding on that front, but not anything like “full-full.” So, right now I’m sprouting some yams and sweet potatoes, and I’ll plant one side with the one and the other with the other.

We had thumping MASSIVE yields from the sweet potatoes I planted last year, but they were also a major pain in the tush back there in the regular “field” area; you had to stay way on top of them, or they would take over the whole blasted yard!

I figure that back on these strips, hemmed in by concrete, they can go nuts all they like; I don’t think they’ll be able to hop the concrete and get into each other’s business, nor can they choke the lettuce to death. Their vines are an attractive ‘ground cover’ like deal while growing, too, which would be nice back here.

Is that everybody? I think it is.

And now, it’s getting noisy in here – I think I’m safe to start making with the day’s chores. Which hey, guess what?! Involve a fair amount of gardening! Go figure!!!

Spring has sprung; the earth is warming up, the birds are chirping, the bugs are invading, the sprouts are sprouting…and suddenly, I am again a busy little ant, scurrying and hurrying to get everything done before winter comes again.

Lord, how I’ve missed it!

…and, bets on how long before I’m griping about it…?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Buttons, Honor and Wasted Effort

The husband and I rode back a few stations last night so that we could get seats together.

Then we promptly gave them up to an elderly couple and stood almost all the way.

...stupid sense of honor and decency...why can't you let me be like all those young, healthy people sitting in the seats labeled, "Reserved for disabled and elderly persons...Federal law requires that these seats be surrendered to elderly and disabled passengers"?!

Sigh. Oh well. Back-ride effort wasted. Back and hip requiring increased levels of pain medication last night (and apparently today too...meg...).

But sense of honor and decency intact.

In other news, I finished the main body of the hoodie this morning! Woo hoo!

...but, change of plans, I must use buttons, not a zipper. The Captain hath informed me that a zipper is a non-starter for him.

I still don't know why; he was being VERY autistic about it, walking around in an agitated circle muttering about zippers and bees and jackets and honey and Animusic videos and candy and pennies and could he pway a game-UH on mah TAB-uh-WET?

...which means he doesn't know how to say what he's thinking, and is frustrated by this but ARGH, why can't you just READ MY MIND...?!

Poor baby...autism is so unfair, sometimes...he's not 'retarded', there us NOTHING wrong with his logical processes and frankly, I suspect that inside his head, he can talk like a politician...but when those thoughts need to be spoken, the whole system just locks up and crashes.

Ah well. Laptop is booted - time to work! I have a lot of fun analysis on tap it even allowed to enjoy your job this much?!?!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Do they make teflon pants?

Googly is coming along nicely. The nice thing about Ye Olde Stockinette is the can just rip right along without a whole lot of FEAR when you're on the straight up 'knit the whole row, turn and purl your way back...repeat ad-infinitum until you are ready to claw your eyeballs out, or the piece measures X inches, whichever comes first...

HOWEVER...I have a slight problem with this yarn.

It. Sheds.

Like crazy-mad. And the downy fuzz CLINGS to whatever it touches.

Like, say, MY PANTS. It did it to a new pair jeans earlier this week and freaked me out...Gah, what's this yellowish-green stuff, did I get chalk on myself or something?!

No, just cotton yarn fuzz. Which would NOT be brushed off but required a lint-roller to remove.

And what am I wearing today?

Black corduroys.

I look like I've been...walking through a Sidewalk Chalk Zone or they make teflon-coated pants? 'Cause I think I need some while finishing up this project....

Link to Article: Home Organization

This was in my Slate Stretcher email this morning; it is something I learned years and years ago.

Organization, that to fine art of 'everything having a place, and everything IN its place', is more than just a sanity-saver when you need to find something. It saves you cold, hard cash, too!
This is also and excellent website in general, by the way - practical frugal-living advice and articles. One of my Frequent Reads.

Link to article:
Home Organization

Monday, April 04, 2011

Money Monday: April 4, 2011

Have you ever thought about money, and your relationship with it? Not in terms of how much you have, or wish you had, or how much you make or someone else makes, or how much would equate to happiness or what the net take would be if you won the lottery…but about money itself?

Money is, to me, a fascinating thing. On the one hand, it is an extremely logical part of the social evolution of our species; it is far more convenient than, say, carrying around a pocketful of shiny pebbles or a bag of necklaces you’ve made from seashells. It’s easier to value, too – I mean, imagine if we each went through our day trying to barter for everything.

“Whaddya mean my camel steak isn’t worth two fence posts? Are you crazy?! Listen here, pal, our other neighbor gave me seven loaves of bread and a bottle of peapod schnapps for one of these babies yesterday, ya know…!!!” “Ya, well, he likes camel steak…whereas I think it takes like dried poo on shoe leather, so, you can keep it!”

Makes perfect sense that we came up with this money stuff, with its easily grasped valuation, portability, and equanimity: Nobody looks at a dollar and says, “Eh, what I am supposed to do with that? I already have twenty of them in the shed…” (Well, nobody I know of, anyway…but if you happen to know anybody thinking of putting up a couple sacks of dollar bills on Freecycle to get rid of them, let me know, ‘kay?)

Money also follows extremely basic mathematical rules: Two plus two is four. A hundred pennies is a dollar. Four quarters is a dollar, too. You need X% return on investment to get ahead. If you have $200,000 in your retirement account, your “safe” annual withdrawal (at 4%) is $200,000 * 0.04 = $8,000, for a monthly paycheck of $8,000 / 12 = $666.6666666 ohmygah, it’s the mark of the BEAST…which is fitting, because you’re gonna be eatin’ cat food on that, sistah…!

What a sensible, logical, thoroughly-understandable invention money is!

And yet…how bizarre it is, too.

Because somehow, it manages to define our lives. It determines what we can eat and drink, what we can wear, who we will hang out with, where we will live, what kind of schools our children will attend. Its presence permits the fulfillment of dreams; its absence can cause untold miseries to pile upon us without end.

We obsess about it, yet throw it away at every opportunity. We worry about it, to the point where we enter into blistering, hateful battles with the people who are supposed to be our shield-mates – our spouses, our siblings, our parents.

Houses are divided over it.

Crimes are committed in its name.

People even kill themselves over it.

Which always brings me up short because…money isn’t real.

It’s just numbers. Tokens. Placeholders. Dots on a screen.

Your life is real. Your hopes and dreams are real. What you want to have, do and be – those are real.

Money is just part of the game, pieces we shuffle around in an attempt to win our prize.

Seems like all too often, we forget that and give it far more power than it rightfully deserves. We get all caught up in the emotions around it, tangle it into what we dare to dream for ourselves, transfer our attention to it and forget what it is supposed to exist to do.

Have you ever stopped to think about your relationship with money? How it makes you feel, and more importantly why?

Why is it that it can get you into a fight with your spouse faster than just about anything else, short of infidelity or leaving the cap off the toothpaste?

Why do some people spend inordinate amounts of time and effort to hoard it up, piles and piles of cash locked away in a savings account somewhere, while they live on crusts of bread with a little peanut butter on them until eventually they die and we all marvel at the story of This Guy who, like, totally lived this weird almost-homeless existence of abject misery, and then left, like, $2M behind?

Why do other people throw it away faster than it comes in, in a constant attempt to appear wealthy, to “keep up” with that mysterious Jones family, to have a thin veneer of “good life” smeared over a termite-weakened structure…and we sit around scoffing, Ya, like they’re foolin’ ANYBODY…they’re living on borrowed money, they ain’t got SQUAT of their own, never have, never will!!

Why does this person shy away like a gun-shy deer at the slightest hint of financial success (“how come she quit that job? It’s like, every time she’s in the slightest danger of not living on the edge, she immediately chucks the whole offer into the garbage!”)…while that one constantly chases after the next “sure bet” no matter how often s/he loses everything on them (“He wired $2,500 to Nigeria? AGAIN?!...seriously, did his mom drop him on his head a lot as a baby, or what?”)?

Why is it that what we want most always seems to be out of reach, because somehow, we just couldn’t seem to do what we needed to do, financially, to get it?

Why do we keep making the same mistakes, over and over again?

(And why are we so good at spotting the mistakes of others, while our own are all, well, I don’t know, because I personally don’t have any…) (HAHAHAHAHAHA! {snort!*giggle*hiccup*}

The Experts™ frequently say that we do all these crazy, obviously-idiotic-to-anybody-except-us things because of our relationship with money, engrained into us by our own personal histories, taught to us at our momma’s knees, reinforced by every mistake we’ve made.

And I’m sure they’re right.

But in the same way that we are not defined by that Really Bad Relationship we had that one time with that one person, just as we can break free of the cycle of picking Mr. Wrong every single time, we can decide to put money in its rightful place, too.

Have you ever thought about your relationship with money? Tried to track back why you do the things you know “all” your friends are gossiping about when your back is turned?

And if you have…have you tried forgiving yourself, and whatever-all hurt you there…and letting it go now?

We are creatures of now, really; the past may serve to teach and guide, but we don’t live there…and we shouldn’t be slaves to it. I believe we should accept those painful parts we like to ignore or fight or cram down into nice, neat little boxes and pretend we’ve handled – and then let them go. Without a whole lot of hoopla or ceremony, either; just let ‘em go their way.

And then go forward yourself, and make your world what you want it to be...recognizing your tools for what they are and acting accordingly.

Money is just a tool, one of many pieces on the board. Granted, it’s not a pawn – it’s at least a knight, possibly even a queen, but push come to shove, it’s still just a game piece.

You are the meaning behind the game.

You can win this thing…if you know what you want, keep a clear head and don’t let shiny lights, ancient wounds and the incessant noise life throws out distract you.

And keep the pieces where they darned straight belong.

In which irony is not lost upon me

I am in that phase of the commute when I have hurried up to wait, standing around at the shuttle stop waiting for the next bus.

It will be a long wait; as happens all too frequently, I missed the last one by a HAIR, which means an hour of kicking my heels until the next one.


But, such are the fortunes of war, and I tell myself that this is NOT a 'drag' but an 'opportunity'...for extra thought and writing. Because I last actually finished a Money Monday post on a Monday...uh...yeeeeeeeeah.

Aaaaaaaanyway, I'm sitting there, at the bus stop...across from The Mall...sweating like a pig...yawning...unable to keep my eyes open...too hot! Direct sun! No shelter! Tired!!...growing!...dim...!, in maaaaaaaaaaalllllllll...!

(Which reminds me: Any reports of Zombie Apocalypse in Pleasanton? Just me. Needing coffee. VERY, VERY BADLY)

As I bellied up to the espresso bar, slapped my card and Contigo down on the worn counter and barked, "Grande quad mocha, no whip, extra hot", well...I got a free double shot of irony.

Because I want to finish working on a piece about money and budgeting, I just paid $3.50 for espresso liberally spiked with chocolate, sugar and milk.

Extra. Hot.

...even though the Final Straw that sent me scurrying (aside: me + scurrying = comedy) across four busy lanes with NO traffic control of any sort (aside #2: why do malls do this? "Let's put the train station and bus stops here! And let's skip crosswalks, stop lights, etc.!") was the fact that I was too flippin' hot.

Ah, are with me always...

Attachment Issues and Pole Beans

I got the sleeves attached to the hoodie this was way more of an ordeal than it should have been. I mean, how hard can it POSSIBLY be to knit across more stitches, right?!

Yeah. Not one but TWO snapped-off cables later (with associated "and then 80 - 120 stitches flew off and ran down 2 - 5 rows each"), they were finally in their proper places. Whew!

This weekend, the husband decided to clear out and organize the backyard storage shed. Much Freecycling happened, but guess what else we found, tucked into the way-way back corner of the loft, where only spiders dwell?

THREE bean towers (space-saving nifty things, like an umbrella-style clothesline only with the strings going to the ground, so your beans and other small-fruit vines can climb up them), and two tomato towers (same basic idea).

The boxes hadn't even been opened, and I don't remember buying them...ship date was 2000!!!

The bean towers are already up, and Kentucky pole beans are planted around them.  I am THRILLED...I was already using my one real trellis for the peas, and had resigned myself to having to wait until fall for the next 'cool weather climbers' planting!

Thank you, Past Me. Don't know what you were thinking when you bought those originally, but they will be EXTREMELY helpful now...

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Ya know...I KNOW my boy is smart.

I know this.

I know how he is. I know that he is one of those almost-savant types when it comes to Things Technological.

So why...WHY IN GOD'S NAME...did it not occur to me that handing him my new Android tablet so he could play some games as a reward for getting his 'good day' stickers at school, would INEVITABLY lead to him a) discovering where the Android market was kept and b) cheerfully downloading 42,000 new games, at $0.99 to $3.99 apiece?!



Well, I suppose I'm actually very lucky...the damage was actually only $15. It could have been a LOT worse. And now I know that Google, FOR MY CONVENIENCE, OF COURSE, auto-links the billing information I have on file for my domain registrations and document storage to the marketplace.

So now, for our combined inconvenience, I've deleted my (ahem) BUSINESS DEBIT CARD from their system. No more automatic renewals. No more paperless stuff. No more "it just happens and none of us have to fiddle with it."

This "feature" that is in place "for my convenience" is going to end up being very INconvenient, Google, for both of us.

But of course, I'd rather be inconvenienced a bit a few times a year than end up with hundreds of bucks in hopping spaghetti marshmallow monster apps every time The Boy gets his paws on my tablet.

(Dang, that kid is smart...)

(It's an Archos 10.1 internet tablet - no carrier, 10" screen, fairly robust hardware, and now running Android 2.2, which, funny story there...these retail for around $349. This one was on sale for $180 - because out of the box, it had the 1.9 operating system. This meant that, before it was fully up and running, I had to do a bunch of download / install / reboot / reboot / / install / reboot reboot reboot. I also had to run it through its onboard diagnostics about five times, to recalibrate the screen and motion sensors. It did take me about two to three hours altogether, but at the same time, it wasn't hard. In fact, IT did most of the work...all I had to do was get it onto our home wireless system, and it pretty much took it from there. But apparently, the process of tapping "OK" a few times, doing some hard reboots here and there, and then figuring out how to navigate when the 'menu' side of the screen suddenly died (OK, that WAS a little challenging), was soooooo hard for people that the retailer figured it was better to sell them at nearly 50% off and get rid of them than to either provide the necessary support to walk people through it [can't blame them there...I've done support, and have the mental scars to prove it], or to open up the boxes themselves and do all the running around FOR people [at which point, they go, "OHMYGAH, the box is open! I demand 50% off, IMMEDIATELY, because it is OBVIOUSLY a broken machine and NOT factory-fresh!"]. And I love it. It is light, fast, easy to use, I have a little case with an external keyboard for it that makes it easy to use for email and writing and such, it has a big, crisp screen and when I say that it is light, I mean, barely a hair over one measly pound. And now, it even has a whack of cool games on it! AWESOME!!!)

(Ya, except they're ALL 'physics and motion' kinds of games, because that's what The Boy where you balance THIS on THAT and how many LITTLE blocks can you stack on the BIG blocks and maaaaaaaaan! Why couldn't he have downloaded something more D&D-ish?!)

Friday, April 01, 2011

LOL du jour often do you see something like THIS at YOUR supermarket?!?!

I laughed. Out loud.