Thursday, December 27, 2007

The obligatory post-Christmas post

When are they going to develop teleportation technology so I don't ever have to drive to Chicago again?

Once there, of course, everything was fine. Awesome to see The World's Coolest Mother-in-Law, as always, and the family gathering meant trundling off to the theater to watch hapless fellows in need of a shave get ground up into meat pies. Festive! Ah, Sweeney Todd, you are a weird-ass musical. Thumbs up from me & Puck, thumbs down from the W.C.M-i-L, who is tremendously fond of the stage version and didn't appreciate the liberties taken by Mr. Burton. Also, I totally fail at celebrity identification. I spent half the movie leaning over to Puck and whispering, "Hey, is that the guy from [insert movie here]?" Turns out no, none of them were.

After a rather hairy drive up into Wisconsin, we hit the other side of Puck's family and then retired to his dad's, where the four of us promptly disposed of an entire bottle of Jameson's. Note to self: Irish whiskey goes down way too easily. Stick to Scotch.

Luckily we'd planned to drive back Christmas Eve day, so we did not have to deal with the snow, and the last leg of the trip was by far the best driving conditions. I still think next year we ought to fly, though that means airports around the holidays, so perhaps not. Maybe Amtrak. Christmas Day was entirely self-indulgent. We drank beer and played way too much Rock Band and watched the snow flutter down in beautiful fat flakes, and I made a yummy butternut squash-potato chowder for supper, which was the perfect kind of cozy comfort food for the day.

Weather permitting, I hope to go cross-country skiing again Saturday, January 5. Consider yourself invited.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am a giant taking big giant steps

That? Is the best part of cross-country skiing. Especially for people with short stubby legs like me who ordinarily do not get to cover 8 feet with a single stride. Puck and I went out to Bunker Park Sunday and it was marvellous! It was super-pretty except the part that went by the road, but it's hard to find places in the metro where you can avoid that, and most of it succeeded in feeling open and woodsy. Besides, for most of it there were well-groomed ruts for me to fit my skis into, which is necessary for those of us who have trouble with that whole "keep your skis pointed the same direction" concept. (And Ms. Huis, you'll be happy to hear that I did take a tumble [with dramatically flailing limbs, and from a standstill no less], no outside assistance required. *grin*)

So yeah, I am very much hoping that January remains at least relatively temperate so we can go again after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Turkey and dirt

I was reminded by a comment on Syl's blog by The Sexy Blonde about tryptophan and seratonin that I meant to post a link to this brief article, because I think it's cool. Basically, the University of Bristol found a bacteria in soil that triggers the brain's production of seratonin. Scientific validation that playing in the dirt makes us happy!

Of course, right now the soil is frozen solid under a foot of snow, but ... when is the next landscapalooza?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I predict a white Christmas

Going out on a limb there, I know. :-)

I'm trying not to be too annoyingly gleeful about the snow. Especially after reading the no-snowblower driveway travails of the Kluges/Huis household. But ... it's so pretty! And I want to go cross-country skiing. Of course, when I think of cross-country skiing now, I think of that absolutely perfect day at Cascade House when we skied up that gigantic hill to that spectacular view where we rested and ate gorp, and then had the fun swooshy downhill, and it was like the Platonic ideal of cross-country skiing and no other cross-country skiing will ever live up to it, and then Ms. Huis tackled me into a snowbank. (I could probably do without that last bit, though it was awfully funny.)

In any case, looking out my window and seeing nothing but a blanket of white naturally makes my mind turn to garden planning. I've decided I could use some new porn gardening books, and I'm looking for recommendations. Help me out! What books do you have? What books do you love and why? I've been pretty much running my life from The Renegade Gardener's books, Perennials for Minnesota & Wisconsin, Tree & Shrub Gardening for Minnesota & Wisconsin, and Stone Landscaping. Expand my horizons!

Friday, November 30, 2007

post-NaNo deconstruction

NaNo was ... weird this year. In a lot of ways it was easily my best year yet. I sat down to write, and I wrote. Most years it's an agonizing process involving lots of glaring at the monitor willing the words to appear. This year, I just ... wrote.

It has also, however, been the least satisfying year. In past years, I've failed, I've finished the story without hitting 50,000 words, I've hit 50,000 words without finishing the story, you name it. But I have less of a sense of accomplishment this year than I have some of the years I've given up completely. I suspect it's because this year's NaNo didn't seem to have a thing to say.

In the past, when I've trashed the results of the month-long struggle, it's been with a sense of triumph, a resounding "And there goes that bastard! Ha ha!" This year, it was more like just dragging the thing to where it belonged. Maybe it's because it sucked so completely. Or maybe it's just the let-down of success. Or maybe I'm just cranky and in a few more days I'll feel better about the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm already thinking about next year. I've tried going in with nothing, I've tried going in with a general plot but no specifics, and one year I had the whole damn thing outlined. There doesn't seem to be a pattern of success/failure there. The one thing I did this year that I think I'll try again was, when my mind just drifted away and didn't want to focus anymore, instead of getting up and walking around or getting a drink or whatever, I stayed at the computer. I kept typing. I had a second document up where I'd write crap like, "And now I'm taking a break until my brain comes back. It's cold out. I think I would like a cookie." or whatever, just keeping my fingers moving. Then eventually I'd go back to the NaNo. It seemed to work.

I'd also like to offer a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to everyone else who attempted it (or NaBloPoMo) this year! Give yourselves a pat on the back. Whether you finished or not, you earned it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's that word I'm looking for?

The one that addresses how I feel about the fact that Eric Bergeson discussed a Stephen Fry blessay on his blog Sunday?

I mean, aside from "WHEEEEEE!"

Monday, November 19, 2007


Ms. Huis Herself says I should tell you 7 random things about myself. Obviously I won't be tagging because everyone who reads this and blogs has already been tagged.

1. I'm a little depressed that Weginald (the cheese star of Cheddarvision) is going to be sold today. I hope they put another cheese up. Occasionally clicking over and watching a cheese age is remarkably soothing.
2. Yesterday I spent so many hours working on my NaNo that I ended up word drunk. Everything looked odd and seemed silly. This is a fun state. (And I'm caught up to halfway through Wednesday!)
3. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the fact that Stephen Fry's blog is all about tech stuff, but I am very grateful to Jaysan for pointing me in its direction.
4. I've been talking about having people over and forcing them to watch Trigun with me since about 1999 or so. This still has not happened.
5. So far my random things have involved cheese, Stephen Fry, and anime. I am painfully predictable.
6. I have no idea what to buy the nieces, Bane, or Miasma for Christmas. Am debating between things I think are cool and things they will enjoy. Cannot think of anything that matches both criteria.
7. I would enjoy a nap.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Here I am in the HoDo lounge, drinking Schell's Snowstorm (a dunkel this year. Okay, but I'll be moving on to the Oktoberfest next) as Steph texts several key people to let them know the guy from Full House who wasn't John Stamos or the other guy who ended up hosting a game show or America's Funniest or something like that — the one with the adam's apple — anyway, the guy who wasn't either of those guys is also in the HoDo lounge. And we've ordered walleye cakes. Mmmm.

I love NaNo weekend. And I should really get back to working on my novel now. I've been productive so far though! I'd fallen way behind, but I think I'll be able to play Guitar Hero when I get home tomorrow. :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

It's snowing!

And as of yesterday I was caught up on my NaNo word count. Yay! Of course, NaNo being what it is, now I'm behind again. But I did get to play Guitar Hero yesterday. That's my reward system this year: I'm not allowed to play any Guitar Hero unless I'm caught up or ahead on word count.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I don't care about the ATV, I'm back in

Okay, just when I think I couldn't possibly adore Eric Bergeson more than I already do, he goes and writes a weekly column extolling the virtues of bleu cheese dressing, paremesan reggiano, pickled herring and Reuben sandwiches. I mean! How is a girl supposed to resist?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Best. Workday. Ever.

Yesterday I got paid to create a Sudoku puzzle.

Many thanks to Puck, Jaysan, The Sexy Blonde, Yeti and T for test-playing it last night.

NaNo starts in one week. This may be a "start typing and see what happens" year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We Can Ride ended for the year last night. :-( I'm really going to miss it! (Though of course the free time will be appreciated.) I'm already looking forward to spring.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend in Review

Southern Wisconsin is so pretty in the fall!
Minneapolis to Mineral Point to Madison to Mineral Point to Minneapolis in two days is too much time in the car.
I will never complain about the clay in my soil again. (Well, I probably will. But I totally shouldn't.)
Artists make neat stuff, and microbrewed beer is still the best.
New shoes, new slippers, and two new pair of winter boots, all Lands' End, for $24. Yay Bargain Nook!
Lingonberries are tasty.
Rude girls on skates in fishnets and elbow pads make me happy. Anybody want to come to the roller derby with me?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Do kids still say "woot!"?

Few things make me feel so old and out of touch as proofing stuff for our account geared to college students. The 30-something writer puts in "hip" slang, and I'm always like, do people still say that? "Sweet"? Really? Of course, I was never up on current slang even when I was in college, but you could still always tell when things were written by 30-something copywriters trying to speak your language, and it was always sad. Still, it provides me with entertaining things to Google. (What gets more hits: "Whoooo!", "Woo hoo!", "Woot!" or some other variation?)

Is it wrong of me to already be looking forward to next year's Oktoberfest? I seriously don't know why it's so damn fun (other than the beer), but I just adore it. I was thinking about doing a riff on the Concord Singers for this year's NaNo, but I think I would rather save the making up stories about random people we see at Oktoberfest for the event itself. Waltz on, Tiny Laurence!

Friday, October 12, 2007


They grow on trees!

...I'm just sayin'. And look, dwarf! Easier picking, less space required. I may put one of these in if my Zone 5 trees inexplicably fail in my Zone 4 front yard. ;-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Post-party cheese

This week for lunch I have been having a Honeycrisp apple, a couple chunks of leftover party cheese (today it was triple cream brie and aged gouda; yesterday was Bucheron and Mixologist's melty cheese, which I may never manage to remember the actual name of again) and a handful of pistachios (thanks, Wog!)


And it makes me wonder why I don't eat like this more often? It's easy, I like it, and yet...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Oh UPS, why do you taunt me so?

Yesterday when I got home from work, there was a UPS slip on our door. The XBox! Guitar Hero!!! So I called, and they said I could come pick it up that very night! SWEET!

So right after supper, I jumped in the car and zoomed over to the UPS center in Minneapolis. Then I stood in line for 20 minutes. Then I handed the guy my slip and stood around for another 20 minutes. Then I was informed that, while my package had come off the truck, it was not on the shelf and was probably somewhere on the conveyor system, which I immediately pictured as some huge, twisty, Terry Gilliam-type construction of DOOM. This seems to be not entirely inaccurate, as they could not locate it on the conveyor system, and I was sent home empty-handed.

I get to try again tonight. I really hope the line is shorter this time. And I would just like to say, I consider it a testament to my work ethic that I haven't developed a mysterious hacking cough and had to go home (by route of the UPS center)...

Best of all, later tonight I get to go pick up the Mixologist and the Wog! HOORAY!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Liveblogging the MIMA Summit

...okay, not really. I'm at this Minnesota Interactive Marketing Ass'n summit today, and I brought Puck's computer because there's a project that absolutely cannot wait until tomorrow. (Thanks Puck!) I've been having nothing but problems, but at least the summit is reasonably interesting and lunch was good. (I think I've started to like squash. At least, I like squash curry and the squash ravioli I just ate. Pumpkin pie is apparently a gateway drug to the world of gourds. Or I'm just getting old.)

Killing time til the Project Manager figures out a way to get the piece I'm supposed to be proofing off the internal development site, because hey! I can't access that unless I'm in the office. Yes, I am rolling my eyes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Puck and I hitched a ride with Jaysan & The Sexy Blonde over the weekend to go visit Temp. It was all good. The scenery, the wine margaritas, Temp's constantly rearranged living room, the too-abundant food, and the Swamp Castle in real life, not just pictures! I covet Eric Bergeson's headboard, but not as much as I covet the tiled area of the living room where he has a grand piano set in front of floor-to-ceiling prow-shaped windows. The catwalk was pretty cool too.

Fall kind of snuck up on me this year, and now we're smack in the middle of it and I still have so much to do! Like, to the point where if I hadn't already burned almost all of my vacation, I'd probably be planning to take a couple days off to work on some outdoor projects.

Not that that's going to stop me from spending an entire weekend day driving to New Ulm to drink beer and watch old guys in black knee-pants sing German folk tunes. Priorities, people!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I just need to post something

I'm getting really weirded out by seeing pictures of myself when I come to Blogger, so here's a random post.

Via Garden Rant, there's a cool time-lapse video of a Titan Arum blooming here. Also via Garden Rant, I've learned that the scientific name for Titan Arum is Amorphophallus titanum. From the Greek, amorphos, "misshapen" + phallos, "penis", and titan, giant. So it's a giant misshapen penis flower.

I must say, this is an endorsement of the Renegade Gardener's insistence that you should know the proper names of plants.

Fortunately I don't need to covet this plant, because it also apparently reeks like rotting meat when it blooms. It's then pollinated by flesh-eating beetles and flies. Nature is weird and awesome.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Here's the haircut. My computer took the picture, so it's not great, but the one Puck took of me was hideous so this will have to do.

Here's me actually using a jackhammer. Puck was right, the sidewalk only took us a weekend (largely thanks to Jaysan, The Sexy Blonde and Suzuri coming by on Sunday and doing my share of the work and then some...).

And here's the new front walk!

R.I.P., Robert Jordan

...Okay, I do feel a little bad about all those times I said, "If that bastard dies before he finishes the series...."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The horse is out of the barn

Holy shit my hair seems short! Salon Stella rocks my world. I don't know what I think of the haircut yet. Ask me tomorrow. Or maybe next week.

Wow I'm dumb in the morning

I'm one of those people who sets their alarm clock half an hour ahead. And it works, because even though I've been doing it for years, I still crack my eyes open, see the time, and have that second of "Oh, time to get up" before the higher functions kick in and remind me that I've been setting my clock ahead for over a decade and one might think that even the sleeping brain would have figured it out by now, but no. Anyway, once the higher functions are getting snide, I'm awake enough that I don't need to worry about the sleeping brain turning off the alarm entirely and going back under for another few hours.

Only sometimes the higher functions aren't as higher as they would like to think. Like this morning, when it wasn't until I was out of the shower and sitting in front of my computer that I realized I was half an hour early because the higher functions were totally fooled by the alarm clock trick that's been going on for over a decade!

Thank god for coffee.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Since The Sexy Blonde was kind enough to let me know in advance when she cut her hair, I'm doing the same. I have an appointment Wednesday night at a place that serves free wine in the waiting room, and I suspect I'm going to need it.

Edit: Okay, apparently this is not enough information. It won't be short, it'll just be a lot shorter than it is now. Probably about a foot off the back, and there may be layers. Basically I'm looking for something that will let me take less wasteful showers, in terms of both water use and chemicals I'm dumping down the drain with my excessive conditioner habit. And being able to face a windy day without either a sturdy braid or 45 minutes spent untangling my hair will be nice too. I will miss it though, and I'm not promising that I won't just turn around and grow it right back out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bridge jumping

Everybody else is doing it! (Though for a couple of these, it would have been easier if Veggie hadn't done it first...)

1. Famous Singer/Band: KMFDM
2. Four letter word: kilt
3. Street: Kennedy
4. Color: Black (according to CMYK)
5. Gifts/Presents: kites
6. Vehicle: kayak
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: kitsch
8. Boy Name: Kevin
9. Girl Name: Kelly
10. Movie Title: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (yeah, thanks Puck)
11. Drink: Kahlua
12. Occupation: kindergarten teacher
13. Celebrity: Katharine Hepburn
14. Magazine: Kashrus (yes, I cheated on that one)
15. U.S. City: Kandiyohi
16. Pro Sports Teams: Kansas City Chiefs
17. Fruit: kidney beans (shut up: Beans, beans, the magical fruit...)
18. Reason for Being Late for Work: knackered
19. Something You Throw Away: knick-knacks (ask Syl)
20. Things You Shout: KRING! (ask The Sexy Blonde)
21. Cartoon Character: Knives (Trigun)

House envy


Let me just say that again: WOW.

I got to see Ms. Huis Herself & Mr. Kluges' new house over the weekend. It's even cooler in person than in the pictures. Yes, there's a ton of work to be done pretty much everywhere, from the immediate cleaning and contractor-involved stuff that they've been blogging about to "someday" details like getting the paint off their gorgeous eight-inch-high baseboards upstairs. And I realize it's easy to say "Oh, the work is totally worth it" when you're not the one who will be doing/paying for said work. But still. The work is so totally worth it. It's not just a place to live, it's one of those places that has a feel, that engages your imagination and emotions. And what an amazing place for Pumpkin and Penguin to grow up.

Mr. Kluges was unfortunately at work, but Ms. Huis Herself treated me to a lovely picnic lunch on one of their porches after the tour and even sent me home with garlic-dill goat cheese curds. Yay.

Friday, August 31, 2007


I'm heading to Wisconsin this weekend to visit Internet JoAnn, and it just occurred to me that hey, her town isn't that far from Ms. Huis Herself & Mr. Kluges' town! So I'm swinging up on the drive home, and I'll get to see their marvellous new house in person! Yay.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Red Mustangs give me the strange urge to take off my pants.

Confession and grammar pedantry

I disagree with Sars on a grammar question.

She fielded this in Tuesday's Vine and ... (whisper) I think she's wrong.

First of all, according to Chicago (and AP for that matter), you put a comma after state names when used after city names. Even Garner agrees that the state is parenthetical and so would take a comma after it. It doesn't have anything to do with whether the city name is universally understood.

Secondly, her construction, "The History of Ogden, Utah's First Settlement" changes the meaning of the title. The original, with the comma after "Utah's", makes it clear that the topic is the first settlement in Ogden. Sars' version changes "Utah's first settlement" to an appositive, making it sound as if Ogden was the first settlement in Utah.

*frets* Do you all still love me? Or am I hereby banished from the Tomato Nation?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Why yes, I do have the DVD set of Heroes Season 1 right here in my hot little hands. So much pretty, so little time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can I go back to vacation now?

Aargh. One of the great trials of life: the people you least want to drink with are the ones you most need to be drinking to deal with. IOW, yes, I had a work social function today.

On a happier note, here are the before and after pictures of the garden in front of the folks' new trailer (which my mom is insisting on referring to as "the Park Model" rather than "the trailer" because she thinks it sounds more posh. Strangely, she does not refer to TarZHAY, so I'm not sure where this odd little bout of white trash snobbery came from). The garden did not end up being as big as I originally intended, because I'm not that rich, but I think it'll be cute if it lives long enough to fill in a little.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Greetings from the Pine River DQ!

I was having trouble getting into the network at A-Pine, so I'm sitting in the Pine River Dairy Queen instead. The DQ is apparently the social hub of the city, unless the Legion is doing dollar hamburger night. It's hoppin'.

Week of Very Little Solitude is going well. I did have a perfect WoS day on Saturday, with sunshine and swimming and reading in the boat and hikes and BLTs. The folks arrived Sunday and we got the skirting pulled off and the trailer mostly emptied. Monday morning we took out the last of it, then the guy came and took it away. That was really pretty impressive. The new Park model is in place. It's a bit smaller (yes, SMALLER) and only has one bedroom, so not everything fit back in. It's a lot nicer, though, even if it was decorated during the height of the mauve/country blue fad. So far the part that's taking the most getting used to is the walk-through bathroom.

I think I've gained about ten pounds. We had no kitchen, so we just kept going to Ideal for every meal. Good lord.

Since the new unit is several feet shorter than the old one, I volunteered to make my mom a new garden in the front. WHEE!!! Of course, this means I'm spending all my money for the month, because the soil here is crap (100% sand) and I need to raise the level anyway because it drops about 5" where the trailer used to be, and of course I need all new plants, and of course I need to cram as many plants into the 42 square feet as I possibly can, and nobody else is here to talk me out of any of this madness. Her old front garden was a semicircle of stunted hosta and a small wooden barrel with some annuals in it. I think I may be going just a little bit overboard.... I did, however, successfully talk myself out of the $80 ceramic pot that I wanted to tuck into the corner in front of the push-out, even though it would have been totally perfect. It's a good thing Temp gets here tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


So every year my place of employment rents Valleyfair for a day after the season is over, and employees get to go free. Whee! It's pretty awesome, because even though it's a big company, it's not as big as Valleyfair, so there are hardly any lines for anything and you can just ride the roller coasters til you're ready to puke. (With no lines, it only takes a couple hours.)

While only immediate family members get in free, we can purchase additional tickets at reduced rates. Kids' tickets (3 years or older and less than 4 feet tall) are still $11.95, but adults can get in for $15.50 instead of $35.95. Kids under 3 are free.

So this year's Valleyfair day is Sunday, September 23. If anyone would like to join us for discounted prices and almost no lines, let me know.

Small Type: The waterpark section is closed, and admission doesn't cover the stuff you normally have to pay extra for. Also, I can only buy additional tickets at the park the day of, so we would all have to get there at the same time. Offer valid only to actual friends of the Cheese Pusher, not to the blogosphere at large.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Procrastination pays off

I knew someone would step up with a GAW update! Thanks, AKJ! Yours was more entertaining than mine would've been anyway.

Here are pics of Suzuri's marvellous totems. Mine was a wedge of brie and the setup for a perfect cribbage hand, all made of birch bark. The cool metal thing in the third picture is bike part art.

This is The Sexy Blonde's. It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but the reflective tape is in the shape of a power button — like in the Prius.

And Temp's is a suspension bridge! How cool!

Unfortunately she was still working when I took these, so I didn't get pictures of the phoenix or the snake. They were awfully neat though.


Happy birthday to Veggie!

To those of you who know me too well, no, I did not actually remember a birthday. I e-mailed her to ask when it was, and she was like, "Er, today, actually...."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sympathy for the Puck

Puck had his wisdom teeth out yesterday. What a horrid lot of unpleasantness that is, poor guy. :-(

Monday, July 30, 2007


(with apologies to Jay & The Sexy Blonde for co-opting their BF moniker)

Last week, I asked The Sexy Blonde to help me remember to seal the seams on the Big Fucking Tent, since last year there were ... well ... puddles. One might even say small ponds. Yesterday, she called and reminded me, which was awesome because I'd totally forgotten because my brain is a SIEVE!

So I hauled out the tent, and put it up in the back yard, and was awfully impressed with myself because this was the first time I'd assembled it with just one person and let me tell you, it was a little awkward. Then I started sealing seams. Then the sealer stopped flowing. D'oh. So I squeezed the bottle, and nothing happened, so I squeezed harder and SPLAT!ohshit. The top popped off, tent sealer flew everywhere, and when I tried to clean it up it took the waterproof surface right off the tent fabric.

No more BFTent.

But never fear, my camping friends, for The Sexy Blonde proposed a scheme: since we pretty much only ever camp together, we shall co-purchase a replacement BFTent! And it shall be even bigger! Good thing Temp bought me such a BFTarp....

Friday, July 27, 2007

One more flower

This is blooming right now.

It's a casa blanca lily, the first kind I bought from the cool lily people at the Moorhead Community Ed gardening seminar. The blooms are a good 6" across and smell divine (which has, unfortunately, led to us calling them "the smelly white lilies"). I think I need more of these.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Someday my garden will be mature and healthy and well-planned and whatever, and I'll take pictures of the whole landscape because it'll all look good. Right now it only looks good in extreme closeup on whatever happens to be blooming at any given time. So here are some pictures of flowers. (And one long-range shot from a couple weeks back of the tomato plants, which will never be pretty, but give me much joy. That's cucumber on the lower right, and edelweiss grape vines molesting the neighbor's arborvitae in the back.) These aren't all blooming at the same time, of course. This is pretty much a summer's worth of flowers — at least the ones that photographed reasonably well.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer is here!

Yesterday I ate my first tomato out of the garden. (Hooray for Early Girls!)

The first tomato of the year. It's almost a religious experience.

Up to the lake with my parents this weekend, where there will be the first BLT of the year made with homegrown tomatoes.

I find it painfully appropriate that one of the songs in Guitar Hero is "Life Wasted".

Girls' Weekend in just two weeks! I had such good intentions about getting some miles on the bicycle before that arrived....

How much longer will I be able to convince myself that Quaker Oatmeal to Go is anything other than a giant frosted oatmeal cookie?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Garden rebuttal

So a while back, All-Knowing Jen had a post entitled What I Hate About Gardening, and I just couldn't let that go without commentary. But I got interrupted, then I forgot about it, and now I've found it so I'm finally putting it up.

But first, have a shroombrella.

What I Love About Gardening
Bugs. I’ve noticed the weirdest thing — bugs don’t creep me out when they’re outside. Even centipedes, which, in my basement, turn me into the squealiest, stand-on-a-chair-and-shriek-for-the-nearest-person-to-come-kill-it girl you could imagine. Outside? I’m like, “Hey, centipede.” Or spiders. I saw the coolest spider the other day when I accidentally knocked a bit of bark off some dead oak. It had a cream colored abdomen and brown thorax and it was really pretty. I have caterpillars that will turn into hummingbird moths in a few more weeks. Have to keep an eye on them, because they’re voracious and fond of tomato plants, but so far they seem content to devour my primroses, which is fine by me. [Update: Yay! They stayed with the primroses, which are so thick you can barely see the damage, and are now cocooned underground.]
It's hot. I don’t exactly love the heat, being generally not fond of sweat or exertion. At the same time, though, I start feeling really ... off when I go through entire seasons at a comfortable temperature. This moving from regulated environment to regulated environment thing really messes with me, and messes with my sense of the passage of time. Experiencing weather fixes that, gives back that connection with the real world.
Weeds. Okay, on some level it’s an unending war, especially where creeping charlie is involved. But it can also be intensely rewarding to go out for a couple hours and clear a weed-choked bed. Clear, visible progress. It’s rare and satisfying.
It's dirty. Whee! Playing in dirt! I love dirt. I love the way it smells, and how cool it is just centimeters below the surface even on a hot day. I love the rich black color of it, and watching the soap foam go grey and then swirl down the drain.
It's expensive. I don’t think it is, actually. When you look at what it costs to buy plants and seeds, then look at how many hours of gardening you get out of that investment, the value it adds to your property, how much you save on crappy store-bought tomatoes, and the intangible worth of looking outside and seeing something beautiful that you’ve helped create, gardening is damn cheap.
It requires tools that I don't have- also expensive. New toys!
Sticks and leaves. So many #)%@&* sticks! I don't have much here. Collecting sticks doesn't bother me — leisurely stroll around the yard where I can take the opportunity to look at everything. Besides, I hardly have any to collect now that the maple is gone.
Mulch never covers as much area as it says it will on the bag. Which is why you call up one of your friends with a pickup truck and go buy it at one of those places that will dump it in the back with a Bobcat and charge you about 1/3 of the price you’d pay buying it a bag at a time. Not only are you saving money and using fewer plastic bags, you get to feel pretty hardcore too.
It requires many trips to the hardware store/nursery. Which is a much nicer shopping experience than the mall.
where I am usually tempted to buy at least one thing that I wasn't planning on buying before I got there. Because there’s so much cool stuff there!
Weed killer- so good, yet so poisonous to children and pets (well until it dries, I know, but it's that I don't get a chance to apply it without either of them around). Okay, I’m with the AKJ here. I hate weed-killer too.
The shed. It’s like the grown-up version of a playhouse! Especially since Puck is awesome and went out and organized everything so all my gardening tools are lined up and just waiting to be played with.
Having to make small talk with the neighbors. Or the neighbor's children. The age spread when the neighbor kids want to talk to you is pretty limited. On one side I have teenagers, and on the other side a 3-year-old who doesn’t talk but always smiles and waves at me in a nice, non-terrifying manner. And my neighbors are nice!
That feeling that whatever I've done is never enough- there is always more and more and more and more to do. I can’t help but be trite here: It’s the journey! I love having these plans in my head and watching tiny pieces of them start to flower in the yard. Also, knowing it’s never “done” is relaxing in a way — you don’t need to rush to finish.

And a few of my own....

Eating something you’ve grown
Sharing something you’ve grown with other people
Being told by an elderly neighbor that your front yard looks “nice” and she likes to look out her window at it.
And again I agree with AKJ, feeling completely justified in indulging in a cold beverage after, because a G&T or cold beer never tastes so good as after a hot day in the garden!


Saturday night Puck & I went to KGJ's, where we were introduced to Guitar Hero.

Sunday Puck went out and bought Guitar Hero.

I refuse to admit how many of the intervening hours we have spent playing Guitar Hero.

That is all.

Monday, July 9, 2007


You can go look at pictures from the baby shower for Sprout on my flickr page, here.

Friday, June 29, 2007


I've been kinda sucking at this blog thing lately. So here's a blah-blah-this-is-my-life thing.

I'm loving the volunteering gig. Absolutely loving it. Fastest three hours of my week. And for those of you who had the "Oh dear god, Pusher is working with children?!?" reaction (which is totally justified!), I've realized something. First of all, Syl is right in that the older they get, the less I fear them, and most of the riders are in the 10-17 range. Also, I'm much better at dealing with them in a structured environment. The kids at We Can Ride aren't looking to me to entertain them; I don't have to keep them out of trouble; I don't have to try to read them the stories that they've written by scribbling on a piece of paper (for the record, I always read them wrong). I'm okay with kids if all I have to do is take 'em outside and give airplane rides til my arms are ready to fall off, and I'm okay with these kids when all I have to do is make sure they're okay in the saddle, help them with the instructions the teacher is giving, and answer the same question 34 times.

Last week we had an unexpected houseguest — childhood friend of mine who just moved back to Minneapolis and needed a place to stay for a few nights. If nothing else, it was a good reminder of how much I enjoy my quiet, comfortable, placid existence. :-)

Lagging a bit behind in the garden. I'm trying to at least keep up with watering the tomatoes and the new trees, now that Mother Nature isn't handling that bit for me, but the weeds are emerging triumphant I'm afraid. Sugar snap peas and the early crop of raspberries are ripe now. Yum. I'm hoping to spend lots of time out there this weekend. Took some pictures lately too; I should put those up in the blog.

Last weekend was our first weekend of the summer up at the lake. We took Friday off and were joined by Jaysan and The Sexy Blonde. Cool enough for a late morning bike ride (I didn't die! Or wuss out at the end of the driveway!), then hot enough for a swim. Lots of grilled meat, cold booze, and nature. Yay lake.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Okay, saw this over at Ms. Huis Herself's blog, and had to try it even though brevity and I are only distantly acquainted at the best of times.

1 Where is your cell phone? Nonexistent
2 Relationship? Happy
3 Your hair? Appalling
4 Work? Tenuous
5 Your sister? Bold

6 Your favorite things? Intangible
7 Your dream last night? Interrupted
8 Your favorite drink? Alcoholic
9 Your dream car? Ang's
10 The room you're in? Cubicle

11 Your shoes? Boots
12 Your fears? Annoying
13 What do you want to be in 10 years? Better
14 Who did you hang out with this weekend? Friends
15 What are you not good at? Brevity

16 Muffins? Rarely
17 Wish-list item? Rock
18 Where you grew up? Suburbia
19 The last thing you did? Work
20 What are you wearing? Usual

21 What are you not wearing? Sweater
22 Your pet? None
23 Your computer? Sleek
24 Your life? Lucky
25 Your mood? Content

26 Missing? Friends
27 What are you thinking about? This
28 Your car? Gift
29 Your kitchen? Adequate
30 Your summer? Awesome

31 Your favorite color? Purple
32 Last time you laughed? 9:30
33 Last time you cried? ?
34 School? History
35 Love? Yes

36 Tag? Sure

Friday, June 8, 2007

By popular demand

The local honey trick: Every day, beginning 6-8 weeks before allergy season kicks in, eat a teaspoonful of local, unpasteurized honey (hello, farmers’ market!). Similar theory to vaccination. I make no guarantees. When I looked into this online, I saw lots of people saying it didn’t work. And maybe it doesn’t — maybe whatever I’m allergic to in the spring just had a bad year — but I haven’t had a trace of seasonal allergies. But hey, even if it doesn’t work, it’s yummy.

Note about unpasteurized honey: apparently you’re not supposed to feed it to infants and toddlers.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Something new

Monday (probably) I start volunteering with We Can Ride. I had my volunteer training this past Tuesday, and I'm so very excited about it! We Can Ride does therapeutic horseback riding for developmentally/physically disabled people of all ages. It's an awesome program, it's really well organized, and (selfishly) it's a way for me to get my horse fix.

The only downfall so far is that I discovered Tuesday that after having been away from them for so long, I'm once again allergic to horses. Boo. But I'll just drug myself up a bit, and hopefully the allergy will go away again.

Speaking of allergies, I'm about ready to claim victory for the local honey folk remedy. Here it is June 7 and I haven't had a hint of a seasonal sniffle. Many thanks to the Sexy Blonde for procuring local honey for me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

...the hell?

This morning I was driving behind a truck that featured three window clings. In the center was Jesus' face, wearing the crown of thorns, eyes downcast in sorrow and suffering. On both corners there were the trucker mudflap naked woman silhouettes. I'm pretty sure the message wasn't "Your objectification of women makes Jesus sad," so I have to wonder what the hell kind of thought process was behind that particular combination of images. "I like Jesus -- and titties!" I mean, what?

Friday, May 18, 2007

I have sticks!

There was a package waiting for me when I got home yesterday. A long, triangular package with sticks in it! With luck, these sticks will someday be fruit trees in my front yard. But right now? Sticks. Not even particularly large sticks. Really, closer to twigs. I'm so excited!

You're supposed to plant them as soon as possible, so I was very rude last night at Thursday dinner and spent part of the evening outside digging. Then after everyone left, Puck and I went out with shovels and a flashlight and planted sticks. I suspect that if I hadn't been so tired, it would have felt extremely silly.

I wonder when — or if — I'm ever going to start feeling like a gardener. Because despite the fact that we've been rearranging our yard since we moved in, I don't yet. We've cut down trees and shrubs, moved stuff around, made beds, and planted three trees, ten shrubs, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and some 30 different types of perennials. I've killed more plants than many people will ever put in the ground (mostly by playing "I wonder whether this will grow under the maple"). Yet the only thing that makes me feel a little like the term "gardener" applies to me is my tomatoes. Huh.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hooray plants!

Okay, it doesn't work quite as well as "hooray beer" (which is one of my most favorite commercials ever). The Plant Sale was fabulous. Seven of us went, including J & Ang, who drove the truck down even though they weren't buying anything this year because they are awesome like that. I think everyone found almost everything they wanted. I couldn't get any delphinium for All-Knowing Jen because they only had 'compacta' and they looked pretty straggly. To me half the point of delphinium is that those staggeringly vibrant blues and purples are right up there at eye level, so I don't understand why you'd want one that only gets a foot tall. But I got her creeping juniper, and then Puck decided he liked it so much he got one for us too.

I went with a huge wad of cash and left with $5 and many awesome plants — IIRC, I bought about 25 plants, Puck bought several, and then there were the tomatoes & cucumbers. I'm especially excited about the purple rhododendron, which I wouldn't have even seen because I was so busy looking for one where the pink was light enough to look white. Yay for Puck, who spotted it. As always, it was a little crazy, with all the people and trying to find the right plants and relaying the plants from the tables to wagons and nabbing the last of the red dwarf dicentra (way to go Syl!) and trying to go against the stream in an aisle then spotting your husband further in and shouting "Hey! Are there any platycodon where you are?" because you don't want to wade through if it's not the right aisle, only to have the woman next to you say, "They're down there, but they're out of everything but blue and white" and being very happy because those are the colors you want. It's weird. In a way it's like those crazy lines that form for new video game systems or Cabbage Patch Dolls back in the day, except nobody is pushy and everyone's very nice, and if there are two people reaching for the last echinacea purpurea the likely scenario is that they'll both pull back and say "Oh no, you go ahead."

Temp, I did not get miscanthus giganteus, mostly because I hadn't figured out a place to put it. I did get a couple other ornamental grasses though, because yours was so pretty.

I totally had a buyer's rush going. Whee!

Then came the work part. Suzuri was awesome enough to help all day Saturday, and that made a huge difference. We got almost everything put in the ground, the remnants of the gas lamp taken out, and a new small bed dug along part of the south fence. Saturday night she and I went to see the Gyuto Tibetan Monks performing a chant ceremony at the Basilica, which was incredibly cool. Then yesterday I went out and picked up the blueberries I couldn't find at the Plant Sale, and Puck and I sifted the ground stump area and he dropped the last few plants in.

Slept like a rock.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My long, slow learning curve

My front yard looks like hell. All it needs is a rusty car on blocks to be Redneck central. It's about 60% weeds, 30% open dirt, and okay, the remaining 10% looks okay but that's not saying much. Hard to believe, when you look at it, that I've been obsessing over it as much as I have. It certainly doesn't show it yet!

Here's one of the bright spots: the bleeding heart that Mixologist gave me before she moved to D.C. the first time.

I learned a couple things today. Like many things I learn, they probably should have been obvious. A couple weeks ago, we moved our peonies, and the poor things drooped and wilted and looked all kinds of miserable. Then I noticed that the leaves were curling. On a rhododendron, that means they need water. But it's been raining a lot, so I just figured it was transplant shock. Today I noticed the rolled leaves again, and then I noticed that the soil was completely dry. I looked up. The neighbor's maple is overhanging the peonies. Lesson: Just because a tree isn't shading a plant doesn't mean it's not blocking rain. The sun? At an angle. Rain? Straight down (usually).

The other part of that lesson is a little more universally applicable. When we moved in, my neighbors couldn't tell me what color lilac I had in front, because it hadn't bloomed in living memory. Last year we cut down the maple tree that was shading it. This is it this year:

Lesson: Like with the peonies and lilac, if something is wrong, look around. The reason (and the solution) might be really, really obvious.

I just counted the number of plants I have highlighted to buy tomorrow. It's really a good thing the plant sale doesn't always have everything they say they will, because my list? A little on the unreasonable side.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blog Updates

The Mixologist has come back to blogging! Check out her Undiplomatic Ravings. Also, Wog has changed his location, so anyone who has him bookmarked will want to note the new link at right.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Plant Sale

The plant sale is Saturday! Who's in? Who wants to carpool? Who can't make it but would like me to pick up some plants for you? Let me know! I plan on leaving my house around 8 a.m. Saturday.

Some reminders about Plant Sale: Regular Arboretum admission fee ($7 per person) applies. Bring a wagon or sled or some other way to tote your purchases around. They will take credit cards, but they prefer cash or check because credit cards take a bite out of the amount that goes to support the Arboretum. Just because something is on the plant sale list, that does not guarantee that it will be at the plant sale. You may want to look at the list and make second and third choices. It is awesome!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Generation gap

I feel so old.

This morning Radio K played As You Wish by Aqueduct. Then the chirpy little D.J. came on and said, "I heard from a caller that the lyrics of that were from a movie called The Princess Bride? I don't know."

Said lyrics? Included "I'll probably kill you in the morning", "As you wish", "True love", and "To the pain" (including the bit about the ears). And I just thought, I think everyone I know could still quote large portions of that movie, and this college student sounds like she's never even heard of it.

Then I realized that it was reasonably likely that when The Princess Bride was released (1987), she hadn't even been born.

I'm so old.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Too close for comfort

Got a phone call from Mama B. today. Turns out their shed (which is only about 10 feet from the house) was struck by lightning during last night's storm. Knocked out the power and phone (back on now), took off the shingles on one corner of the shed. And here's where it gets impressive: the walls of the shed in that corner are bulged out. Also, the shed is on the north side of my parents' property. The neighbor to the south found shingles from the shed on the south side of his garage, a good 120 feet away. Since dad works nights, Mama B was home alone, which I gather was fairly freaksome because apparently lightning striking the shed ten feet from your house? Is really, really loud. She lit a candle and went to fetch the next-door neighbor. Other than the shed and maybe the TV, which isn't working yet, no harm done.

My dad's response? Typically deadpan, "[Mama B's first name], you've got to stop sinning."

Monday, April 30, 2007


Friday: Planted seeds: just peas and basil this year. Then Puck and I took down the front fence.

Saturday: Brought fence to recycling center. Rented rototiller. Puck tilled out the stretch along the north side fence and the tree spots. Did proper double-digging for the first time, amending the soil way down there, then sifting the topsoil back in without all the grass and roots. Worried we didn't make the bed wide enough. Moved peonies. Are they too close together? I have no sense of scale! Puck did all the real work, yet I was dead on my feet. Am wussy. Went to The Rental, saw Mr. Kluges (yay!) and assorted family members thereof. Did a little deck staining, but mostly just visited.

Sunday: Poor droopy peonies. I hope they make it. :-( Back to The Rental. Tried to turn gravel pit into zen garden: raked the gravel, found one good rock, placed it, decided I was out of my league. Got to meet Sprout and see her milk-drunk face. Veggie and AJD seem so relaxed and well-rested for new, first-time parents! Went to look at flagstone for front walk. Rocks are pretty. And expensive. And we want lots of them. Hot, tired, utterly wiped out. Meant to clean the bathroom; watched TV instead.

Gardening is love pain worth it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pissing off the earthworms

I turned over the vegetable garden. Started Sunday, donning shorts for the first time this year, having to adjust to showing my birchlike* calves again. Then it rained. Finished yesterday. It gets easier every year, and I like to think this year was especially (relatively) painless because of the time I've put in on the elliptical. I've learned things over the years: where the oak roots snake across, where the clay deposits are. You can get sunburned even in April. Don't try to pick up the pitchfork of dirt until you've levered it up by pushing the end of the handle down. (That may seem intuitive to everyone else, but my earlier pitchfork experience involved clean, careful lifts so as not to scatter the horse pooties...) Today I get to add peat moss, which I always mentally call "folding in" because it reminds me of adding whipped egg whites to a batter to make it fluffy.

Normally I swear by The Renegade Gardener and heed his advice to a decidedly non-Renegade degree. However, Sunday I broke one of the big ones, one of the Ten Commandments Tenets of Renegade Gardening: Gardening and rock music do not mix. Rock music is what's in my iPod, and while his sentiment, "The sound nature makes in your yard is the most relaxing accompaniment to gardening," is lovely, it does not account for barking dogs, chainsaws, University Avenue, the pissed-off chickadees fighting in the neighbor's arborvitae or — and this was the one that put me over the edge — having the Smurfberry Crunch song stuck in your head. It's berry red and smurfy blue! Didn't take me long to realize that my pitchfork action was starting to feel more and more like stabs of rage.

Last night Puck came out and put in landscape edging for me so the lawn won't encroach quite so much. (Yes, Landscapalooza attendees, until this year I hadn't practiced what I preached. Shame on me.)

And...I had to stop writing to do actual work, and now it's time to go home.

*Ghostly white and thick as tree trunks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Plant sale list

I may not need to court disaster by trying to track down and plant Zone 4 bamboo if I can get my hands on a 10-ft. tall ornamental grass at the plant sale. Yeah, Miscanthus x giganteus, I'm lookin' at you...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Amber is the color of your energy

I love Internet quizzes. I especially love the way they take failings like "You're a lazy ass" and turn them into "you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project." Hee.

you are lightcyan

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the html color quiz

Sunday, April 15, 2007


First of all, congratulations to happyveggie and AJD on the arrival of their brand-new Sprout!

Temp was in town this weekend and reintroduced me to Perry Mason. I have decided that I want a Paul Drake action figure. Two, actually: one perfect coiffed Paul in a shiny grey suit, and one wind-mussed Paul in the loud check jacket. I also have a crush on Della. Perry who? (Kidding, Temp, kidding! Please don't disown me!)

Puck & I celebrated seven years tonight with our traditional dinner at Jax, where I ate way too much and then had bread pudding. Mmmmmm, Jax's bread pudding. [insert Homer drool] Happy Anniversary, Puck!

Speaking of anniversaries, Mixologist and the Wog are coming up soon on ten years! Congratulations, you two. I'm very happy for both of you.

Thanks to Syl for letting me know that the Arboretum Plant List is up! Reminder for those who are new to this: being on the list does not guarantee that it will be at the sale.

Monday, April 9, 2007

I don't need to buy an elliptical machine

Since J & T.S.B. were kind enough to "store" their elliptical in my basement during the house-building thing, I've been working out on it pretty regularly. Well, regularly for me. Maybe three times a week average? Sometimes more, some weeks I skipped entirely. I didn't so much as look at it for the whole month of November: I blame NaNo. But still! I ... don't hate it. Which is weird, because it's exercise.

Anyway, I don't hate it enough that, faced with giving it back at the end of the month, I actually contemplated getting one of my own. But then! My company, in an effort to keep us all from being fat and costing them jillions in health care, has a workout room. With *dum-dum-dum!* an elliptical! And it's free. So now all I need to do is get over how creeped out I am by potentially exercising in front of coworkers and I'm set.

In other happy news, Puck, who is awesome, reupholstered the chair yesterday while I spent the day dinking around online. Best. Husband. Ever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Jaysan shouldn't read this one

I gave blood today, for the second time since being told back in college to please stop trying because of that unfortunate passing out thing. I remained conscious again! Go me! I'm still not very good about it though. Poor bloodbank workers. This time I got nervous giggles. They had a little trouble, and there were adjustments, and it took forever, and I started humming "I wanna be an airforce ranger" under my breath and couldn't stop. They probably don't get paid enough to put up with the crazy people, but they were very nice to me anyway.

Have any of you reupholstered furniture? I really need to stop watching HGTV and convincing myself that I could totally do these things.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh hello, compulsive tendencies!

I've been asked to proofread 75 pages of bios, written by the people being profiled. These people? Are barely literate not writers. I have also been asked to not edit but to only look at formatting and egregious errors. The problem is, they seem to think the only errors that count as egregious are misspelled or completely misused words (e.g., there/they're/their). So I'm having to ignore hundreds of slights to the English language, and it's driving me utterly batshit insane. Like, I feel the need to scream and throw things.

This can't be healthy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Recipe Exchange?

So I was over reading what All-Knowing Jen has to say, and she mentioned the difficulty of coming up with healthy yet yummy meals. Happy Veggie chimed in, and then The Mixologist contributed a yummy-sounding recipe. And I thought, "Yay Mixologist! We should have more of those!"

With people talking about cutting down on their eating out, and with "in season" just around the corner (one month til Farmers' Market!), I thought it would be a good time to collect some recipes. Especially since, as most of you know, the majority of the recipes in my repertoire involve heavy cream. :-) While Puck and I never seem to tire of black bean tacos (avocados are the good fat!), I could really use some other non-heavy-cream meals in the rotation.

Hit me!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lasers and eyeballs just don't mix

Oh, I know. There are several among you whose new happy, carefree, spectacles- and contacts-free lifestyles contradict that statement most vehemently. And tonight Puck will join you. But I just can't wrap my head around it.

"Okay, so you're going to cut my eyeball open with a laser?!?" *flees, shrieking, into the hills* I cannot express how much admiration I have for those of you with the stones to go through with this.

In any case, wish Puck a completely successful surgery. And for me? Wish that he has a quick recovery with minimal discomfort, because if I have to listen to any even remotely graphic descriptions of what it feels like, I might just hurl.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

So, yeah. I suck and didn't really say anything about Ireland. But here's a picture for Ms. Huis Herself, of Pumpkin at Cahir Castle. I can't quite decide whether she's looking at the model or her reflection, but either way she seems to think it's pretty cool. :-)


Wow, how incredible was the weather yesterday? And after all that talk about gardening over on Syl's blog, I just couldn't help myself. We installed new blinds in the living room in the morning, and I went outside to see how they looked from out there ... and just didn't go back in. I was comfortable outside in a T-shirt! First I just walked around looking at all the buds popping out and the plants that were growing already despite the inadvisability of growing in March (the primroses? Already huge!). I uncovered a couple beds, hacked down my "winter interest" (i.e., I was too lazy to cut them down last fall) plants, and yanked all the grass out from the peony corner and the raspberry bed.

All of this was a very bad idea, of course. I have been informed by experts that you should stay the hell off your lawn in early spring. The soil is wet and a little loosened by freeze. Walking around on it not only tears up fragile new growth but creates a dense, compacted mess that makes it harder for water and nutrients to penetrate and does no favors to its long-term health.

And you know what? I don't care. Yesterday was marvellous.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Terminal punctuation for effin' morons

The very first rule listed in my Gregg Reference Manual reads as follows: "Use a period to mark the end of a sentence that makes a statement or expresses a command." Sentences end in a period (or other form of terminal punctuation). This is about as basic as it gets.

This morning I was told by one of our clients to not put a period after a URL even if it's at the end of a sentence, because people are too dumb to understand that it's there because it's the end of the sentence. They add it to the URL and then can't figure out why they're not getting to the website. And if the whole, "Hey, sentences have periods at the end of them!" thing weren't enough of a clue, has anyone ever seen a URL that ends with a period? Ever?


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Vacations rock

Had a fabulous time in Ireland! Ms. Huis Herself & Mr. Klughes were tremendous hosts who showed me all the best places to buy cheese. :-)

I have the post-airplane stupids today, so a more detailed post will have to wait. Yay vacation.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Snow woe

Here I am, camped out in the folks' basement. Flight cancelled, try again tomorrow.

Working on a first-class Sulk.

Friday, February 23, 2007

That'll learn me

All winter I've been one of those obnoxious, irritating people whining about how we should have more snow!

We're supposed to leave for Ireland midday tomorrow. here is's Airport Impact chart for midday tomorrow.


The next time I mention wishing it would snow? Slap me.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What cheese am I?

Your cheese rating is:

Oszczypek is a very old, smoked cheese, made by shepherds living in the Tatra mountains of Poland from unpasteurised sheeps milk. It has a distinctive, slightly salty taste, and its colour various from pale yellow to brown, depending on the duration of smoking.

Get your cheese rating!

I have not had this cheese! Nor can I pronounce it. Maybe we should go to Poland next....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Oh hey, The Sexy Blonde's latest post just reminded me, I was going to send out this recipe for those of you who came to the last spa day and asked.

Cream cheese mints
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. mint extract
3 drops food coloring
2-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, mint and food coloring; gradually add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Pipe out mints (I used a large cake decorating tip — a cookie press would work too) onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper sprinkled with granulated sugar. Sprinkle more sugar over the top, chill for at least 2 hours.

Why do I always seem to post on Wednesday?

The Mixologist (Diplowhat?) hinted that maybe I should update my blog more. I can pretty much assure you all that you don't want that, since right now my brain is All Ireland, All the Time. That's one of my favorite parts of vacation. Mentally, it always starts significantly before the actual event. Giving your brain something fun and interesting to dwell on for weeks? Priceless. Tiresome for other people though.

Just a reminder, tomorrow is one of the best days of the year, the "50% off chocolate in red wrappers" holiday. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

In which I go all geeky and fangirl

Oh, Heroes, you are so awesome!

This is a screencap of the car Hiro's father (played by George Takei) showed up in.

Geek in-jokes. Yay.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Little Knowledge...

can really make you look like a jackass.

Today I corrected an alphabetized list of cities, putting "Newark" before "New York". The project manager took my changes to the client and got a fairly condescending reply about how New York should be listed first "because 'New' is a whole word," and she was "surprised that your copywriter [sic] didn't know that."

Well, she would be right (though ambiguously justified) if we were using word-by-word alphabetizing, but we're using letter-by-letter, which discounts spaces. Just like most dictionaries, atlases, and (oh by the way) this client's own website.

Don't get snippy with me on a professional level unless you damn well know whereof you speak, or I will snark about you on the all-powerful blog. That'll show you. ;-)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Maybe I just need to be angrier

Yesterday we had a belated holiday party at work. It was belated because they laid off half the department during the actual holiday season, and a party at the time may have seemed in poor taste. Our non-holiday party? Bowling. With teams. Teams that had names. And matching outfits. And that's all I'll say about that since as the Sexy Blonde has pointed out, a little circumspection is a good thing to have in a blog and I've already crossed that line. :-)

So anyway, I did what I could to enjoy myself. I gave myself a little pep talk, and when that failed, tried to at least keep myself entertained by beaming at everyone while mentally singing "Take the s---heads bowling, take them bowling (bowling)!" That worked for a while, partly because that last little echo "bowling" invariably cheers me up, but only for a while.

(Keep in mind that I'm still going dry. I consider the fact that I didn't cave and order a Boddington's on tap — or straight whiskey, whatever — to be a major triumph of willpower.)

I arrived home cranky and irritated and stressed out by the crowd (pity poor Puck) shortly before 8:00. On a normal night, I would have decided it was too late to exercise. But I hadn't been on the elliptical since Sunday, and since today is Thursday dinner, that would make it an entire work week without exercising, and I didn't want to deal with that much guilt on top of the cranky foulness. So I went down and exercised.

And it was great!

Those of you who know my opinion on exercise in general may now commence with the fainting and/or smartass comments.

It felt good, I could've gone longer except I thought dinner was probably getting cold (it wasn't, because Puck is fabulous and had tucked it back into the oven), and by the end of it, my bad mood was gone.

So the conclusion I've drawn from this is that maybe if I were generally less happy, if I were angrier and more irritated more of the time, I'd be better about exercising! Anybody buying?

No? Oh well. Me neither. Still, I think maybe I'll start thinking about the Bush administration before I go work out....

Monday, January 22, 2007

I warned you all I'd never have anything to say

After mostly failing to cut off my finger with a cheese knife Friday night I'm enjoying the relative freedom of just Band-aids instead of the very bulky bandage from the nice lady at Urgent Care.

I spent all day Saturday watching cheesy movies with good friends.

The Bears are in the Super Bowl, which makes for a very happy Puck.

Heroes starts up again tonight.

So yeah, life is good.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mark your calendars

Inspired by my jealousy over The Sexy Blonde's amazing yard-to-be, with its vast south-facing, full-sun expanse, I toddled over to the Arboretum site. This year's plant sale is May 12-13, and the Plant List will be available in April. I plan on going first thing Saturday a.m. again. Who's with me?

I also plan on buying only eight tomato plants this year, but we all know how that will turn out.

Now that I have a full sun front yard and am no longer trapped by the paralysis of "will the tree stay or go?", I may need to invest in a plastic sled of my very own to drag my purchases around on!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

Warning: Politics ahoy!

From an AP news article headlined Bush Takes Blame in Iraq, Adds Troops

President Bush said Wednesday he will send 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq to quell its near-anarchy and for the first time acknowledged he had erred by failing to order a military buildup last year.

...because yes. That's where you erred, asswipe. Aargh.

Lights Out, Uh-huh, Flash Flash Flash

What the hell does that mean, anyway?

Power outage here at work. We have backup, obviously, since here I am writing this blog entry, but the main lights are out, the ventilation system is down, it's blissfully dark and quiet here. Except for the announcements every ten minutes informing us that the power is out lest we all panic, think we're going blind and deaf, and rush the windows in a mad stampede. Or something.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Measurable Objectives

Why does my brain just completely shut down when confronted by corporatese? Doesn't it have any idea how damned inconvenient this is considering I work in marketing? Stupid brain.

(Why yes, it is time for me to be filling out my annual review, and yes I am utterly stumped as to how, exactly, I can show that in the past year I "Maintain[ed] customer focus while driving continuous improvement and innovation and adhere[d] to high standards of process discipline to achieve exemplary productivity and quality." Ow. And that's just one section of twelve.)