Thursday, October 28, 2010

I may have to retire the ugly librarian sweater. Don't be too sad.

I don't have much of consequence to report on, so I'm going to dedicate today's post to Me Not Freezing My Ass Off This Winter While Also Having Eyebrows because that's what's going on in my life.

And I know you're all consumed with what's going on with my often-eyebrowless life.

Also, my last post was my 800th post and I wanted to call that to everyone's attention because that's a lot of fucking words. And since next month I'll be all-consumed with NaNoWriMo so will probably not do a super ton of blogging, maybe I should put some more words here right now.

Also, since the Giants won Game 1 of the World Series last night, I have to at least show up and be all, "Suck on THAT, Joe Buck, you Cliff Lee worshipping Texas Rangers loving fruitcake." Hate that guy.

And tomorrow I'm going out of town on another fishing trip, so my posting today about that fact gives you all another opportunity to berate me for my multitude of vacations. Look, people, we take vacationing seriously in this house and when someone says to me, as I'm standing ass deep in the beautiful calm waters of the White River, that this place is even more gorgeous and the fishing even more epic in the fall when the leaves are changing and the waters are low, we make plans. Right then and there as Bubba hauls in another trout.

So, now we're going back to make good on our promise to fish for rainbow trout in the White River over Halloween weekend because to flake on that promise would be a tragedy. The fact that the fishing cabin has a big screen TV and the World Series comes on just in time for me to put in a full day on the river, have a shower and cuddle a beer on the giant couch, well that's just reward for being such a reliable friend and dedicated fisherwoman.

I know you see it the way I do.



So, there are many reasons for me to show my face here today, but mostly I want to share with you the biggest thing to hit our house since, well, I almost blew it up with my rookie furnace lighting skills:

We're getting a new fireplace today.

Sound like not such a big deal? Whoa ho ho, folks - not so fast. For us and our tiny house with only one death defying heat source OR the messy ass polluting wood burning fireplace, a new fireplace is a big fucking deal.

We're having our wood burning fireplace converted to gas. This means a few things:
  • I can keep my eyebrows, eyelashes and hairline in one piece barring any catastrophic run-ins with the BBQ
  • When I walk into my house after working all day and it's cold as a muther effing witch's vag, I don't have to haul all the way out to the back, in the rain, to get wood to start a fire in the fireplace which takes a million years and makes an unholy mess
  • The event known as Going To Bed doesn't have to be strategically organized hours in advance in order to allow the fire to die out in time
  • We don't have to deal with the wood delivery guy's dog taking massive gooey dumps all over my yard while he dumps a cord of wood in our driveway and Bubba wheelbarrows it back and forth
  • I get enough space back in my yard for the beehive (more to come on that soon)
  • We may not reach the dew point in our house this winter
  • I may have to retire the ugly librarian sweater because it won't be so irretrievably cold to warrant wearing the ugliest thing in creation and because I'd like to score during the winter months
 (I'm sure you understand that last one at least.)

And, the most important of all things, I have a new remote control.

Friends, I love remote controls. Because I am a control freak and I'm lazy. And when a remote control actually saves me a shit ton of work that used to leave me dirty, exhausted and crabby as all get out - I want to spend some time alone in a dark room with it.

Not really.

But I am really looking forward to my new Walking Into A Cold House After Work activity of "building a fire" by pushing one button. POOF - fire ON.

And then, when I haven't created a minute by minute battle plan for going to bed without leaving a raging fire burning in my living room, I can hit the button again and POOF - fire OFF.

Oh my god I'm already drunk with the power of remote controlled fire. Now I know how the Peking Man felt.

And I guess that's all I've got for this 801st blog post. But you know that when I get back from fishing for trout and screaming at a fishing cabin's TV for 4 days, I'll have pictures and probably some stories to share. After that, though, we'll commence the NaNoWriMo freaking out.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

OYW: Along - Hands-free Belt Bag

Dear Donk,

I guess I was wrong when I didn't think October would actually come this year. I mean, yes, I knew it would arrive eventually, but I thought there would be a summer shoved in there somewhere between June and NOW, but no.

Bummer. I guess the predicted horror has arrived.

Know what, though? Despite the fact that I haven't had a free weekend in two months, I did actually finish my project. WOO!

Nothing like shotgun sewing. FINISH OR DIE.

I have wanted to make the Hands-free Belt Bag since the book came out, so this was my chance to be the boss of this ~along and make it our project. I love to be bossy.

I also like to be a nark, so I'm also here to tell you things about this pattern that aren't in the book. Not that they're all bad and tattletale worthy, but they're not in the book (or the corrections that I can find) and I made some changes that suited my stock on hand/patience level/dedication to rule-following, so I hope this helps someone.

Though it already helped me, which is something else I love to be - self-involved. Hey, it's not a pretty truth, but it's a truth nonetheless.

Thing #1 that's not in the book: It calls for a swivel clasp and I still don't know why.

See, I'm sure there's a good reason why it calls for this thing I've yet to see on planet Earth, but for all my mulling and wondering and What the hell does this thing do-ing, I couldn't figure out what it was. And then, just now, I looked it up so I could link to it for you guys (you're welcome) and it appears to be a keyfob kind of thing which YAY I don't need anyway.

Sure, it might be kind of handy, but for all the bags I have that have one of these things inside of it, I'd be loathe to count three occasions when I've actually used one. And on the times I did, well, I faintly recall a mad swearing house hunt for my Long Lost Keys only to find them dangling from the "Swivel Clasp" inside whatever bag.

So, no. I didn't add one and I don't see that it will take much enjoyment away from my use of this bag.

Thing #2 that's not in the book: You don't really need to buy webbing and D-rings and shit if you already have a belt.

Especially a belt that totally matches even if you didn't plan it that way. Weird.

So, technically, I DID have webbing (from climbing) and D-rings and all the materials needed to fashion the belt for the Hands-free BELT bag part of this project, but I still dissed it because I already have a belt that, not only would work AOK, but also happened to match the fabric that I chose from my stash at random.

It's like fate stepped in to promote my lazy ass approach to this project. I like that. So I went with it.

Meanwhile, if you've ever shopped at REI or Patagonia, you probably have a belt like this, too.

Thing #3 that's not in the book: The edge stitching called for on the front of the bag would probably look good if done on the back of the bag, too.

Except it specifically says to NOT edge stitch the back panel, which I thought was some super special technique that would make itself obvious and known later in the project but it did not. I think it just says not to edge stitch because it's not technically necessary since that back panel will be against your body and not readily visible, but that's no reason for it to look ugly.

See the nice sharp squareness on the front? Does NOT look like that on the back.

If I were really motivated and had the energy to haul my machine back out and set it up, I *might* go back and edge stitch the back panel, but I think we know how that will come out in the end. Specifically, it won't happen.

But I'm here to tell you that if you want to edge stitch the back panel so that it looks all crisp and sharp (as my mom would say), you just go right ahead because you're not ruining any secret sewing technique that I can find anyway.

And those are all the things I can remember that aren't in the book but maybe should be. 

Keeping it classy in my sweats. Yikes.
I did have some designs on customizing this to be my dog beach bag, complete with poo bag holster, treat compartment and leash organizer, but by the time I made it to my machine with all of the cut out fabric and supplies and 5 minutes to work on the project, I'd run out of patience and days over which I could spread this project.

Like, sometimes (this time, too), I break up a sewing project or canning project or whathaveyou into smaller projects so that I can piece together the time and patience to complete them without throwing them away during a moment of hot fury or committing a homicide and I'd already broken this into two steps by cutting out the fabric two weeks ago when I had an hour to spare, so when I sat down to do this on Sunday it was All Go No Quit time for the bag.

I do fantasize about the day when I'll have time and patience for extra special dog poo bag crafting, but alas, that was not this day. Good thing is that the bags and treats and leash and all else will still fit nicely into this guy and I bet it gets a lot of use for beach outings with the pooch and looking extra touristy fantastic during AIDS Walk which is the time in my life every year when I honestly ask myself why I don't own a fanny pack...I MEAN Hands-free Belt now I won't have to ask anymore.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adopt a Crop update: And, we're done. +Prizes & Gloating!

I am just realizing that after all my threatening about overloading your eyeballs with gardenblahblahblah, I actually haven't been that crazy on the subject this year. Probably because we've had, like, the coolest (in terms of temperature rather than general awesomeness) summer in 40 years and the garden was a little lackluster.

Or so I thought.

Tomato butt cheeks. Because I'm 10 years old and super mature.

See, you remember that I track the garden haul, right? Where I put everything that comes out of the garden onto my fancy scale and then write down the weights and track them all anal like in my spreadsheet so that I can know all kinds of random garden facts that make me feel like a big man when I'm cruising Whole Foods and can look a tomato in the eye and be like, "Hello tomato, at my house you'd cost me $.21 and taste twice as good so I'm going to pass on you and go fight some Russian woman for the last bag of barley." (Which totally happened, by the way, and I won in the end because the Whole Foods clerk took pity on me and rooted around until he found another bag lurking somewhere in The Back. Nice.)

The BIG potato haul: 2 lbs 2 oz. WOO. At least they're pretty.

Know what else is a true story? The fact that this year, it only cost me $.21 a pound to grow our own produce. That's it - less than a shiny hot quarter (do quarters get hot? It's unknowable.) for a pound of local and organic produce. And, that's $.12 less than it cost me, per pound, to grow last year's garden.

Are you dying to see 2009's garden fight 2010's garden? I don't even know why I ask because, obviously...

2009 vs 2010
Gardening costs: $91.34 vs $56.26= -$35.08: 2010 wins!
Total produce value: $1,130.34  vs $1,003.19 = -$127.15: 2009 wins!
Cost per pound to produce: $0.33 vs $0.21= -$0.12: 2010 wins!
Total pounds: 273.98 vs 264.31 = -9.67: 2009 wins!
Total pounds of tomatoes: 208.25 vs 147.4 = - 60.81: 2009 wins!

So, to sum that up in a way that makes some sense for normal people; I spent less putting the garden in this year which YAY, and despite a very cool summer and one less tomato plant, I only produced 9 fewer pounds of produce and reduced my overall cost per pound by $.12. And wouldn't you like to know that it DID NOT cost me $64 to grow a damn tomato. Just saying.

This was a cucumber plant I gave to our neighbors which grew BACK over to my side of the fence. Cute.

 Also, I learned that regardless of the variety, most any standard tomato plant I put in will give me around 50 pounds of tomatoes and by cutting back to 3 tomato plants this year, I sort of fucked myself in the total poundage category because that's a big deficit to make up. Thankfully, we grew some heavy weird watermelons and came in just 9 pounds shy of last year.

So, yay, the garden actually DID do well and DID NOT have a lackluster year even though it rained until fucking June of all things.

Because, had it been warm and sunny in May, as I'm accustomed to, the other alien creature in my garden might have had a chance to reach maturity before I unceremoniously ripped it from the garden on Saturday.

And now the aliens are in my house guarding my kitchen window from unwanted visitors.
People, the garden is done for. I ran six miles Saturday morning and upon finishing my run, immediately headed out back to take down the garden for the season.

Nigh - night, garden.

Yep. Sure did. And then I sat on my couch, drank a bottle of wine and screamed at my TV until it screamed back, "THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!"

I can make the TV do my bidding if I just scream loud enough. I'm sure of it.

Anyway, the garden came out and I am here to report on my findings, give some lucky Adopt a Cropper a prize just for commenting and probably gloat a little.

Let's face it, I'm not modest. And I really like dispelling the myth that growing an organic garden is some sort of expensive heroic impossible effort.

It is not. Even though I like to act all dramatic like it is.


One garden does not equal one wheelbarrow.

Spiny evil fruits have spiny evil vines.

Bubba will eat anything.

There was a lot more shit out there to harvest than I thought. Which explains the dirty bucket I pulled in at the last minute.

I now have a lot of work to do in the kitchen.

My findings aren't all earth shattering. In fact, probably none of them are, but I was pretty stoked to bring in some final tomatoes and I really like the one with the prominent ass cheeks. I think I'll save him for last.

For prizes, then.

If you remember, I usually give away an Adopt a Crop prize made, appropriately, from the Adopted Crop. Like the pickle chips and arugula pesto and such. Yeah, well, the jelly melons aren't ripe (even the one Bubba ate so willingly was still a little north of ripe) and I'm not sure what I'd make from them anyway that would stand a chance of shipping anywhere in the world, so I'm not holding true to the theme.

You're going to have to come to peace with this on your own.

However, I AM going to give a garden prize to a random commenter and it will be a collection of preserved things from my garden. There will probably be pickles, a jam of some kind and then maybe something strange or unexpected. All I can say for sure is that they'll be edible and will not have any component of African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon.

You can thank me later on that one.

SO! Leave a comment by 11/15/10 and I'll randomly choose someone to get a random box of preserves from my garden. Random!

Oh, and if you're curious about the flavor of the spiny melon that tried to kill me when I tore it from the garden (for real. I have wounds.), it does in fact taste a bit like banana and citrus. I imagine I'd like it if it were to ripen fully and not try to slit my wrists when I harvested it. Though I may never know because I doubt I'll try growing it again. It was too mean.

But what will I grow next year? Well, I already have some thoughts but nothing concrete because, of course, there's the requisite mulling of seed catalogs during the cold winter months which I must do in earnest so that I can choose some equally ridiculous things for next year's garden as I sit pining away for fresh tomatoes and fantasizing about a warm summer garden while I wear all my biggest and ugliest clothes.

I'm pretty sure this is how all these bizarre heirloom vegetable varieties stay in circulation. I mean, no one's going to the nursery all hot for African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon starts in April, after all. No, weird shit like that only sounds fun and good when it's cold and crappy outside and when you haven't laid eyes on fresh melons for months. So when you see something like that looks like a medieval weapon but turns out to be a "banana-citrus like" melon - you jump on it like a muther. WOO! I will have this bizarre thing! No, I don't know how it grows and I don't care! Woo!

You know what I mean.

Now that I know this about myself (because I am a prime example of how shit like this happens), I am going to try to train my eyes on the tomato and bean pages so that, in the event of a Weird Alert, all I end up with is a foot long red bean or zebra stripped tomato. Anything, really, as long as it's not covered in spikes. I don't need that in my life.

So, yeah. The garden is done. The fava beans have been planted to overwinter. I've broken down most of the final harvest. The final numbers show that we had a pretty good season produce-wise and I'm looking to give away some preserves.

You know what to do.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm not good company anyway.

You may notice that I'm not hanging around here filling your eyeballs with my gardenblahblahblah or other blahblahblah things and that is because I'm brows deep in the Giants postseason and I can't focus my mind on anything other than Today's Game, regardless of what Today actually is.

And it's not just that I can't focus elsewhere, it's that I'm a pain in the ass and basically unreasonable and out of my mind.

Last night, as I was racing into the house from the car with the dog and all my bags and apologies about dinner being delayed while switching the TV on to the game I'd just left on the radio in the car (WHY ISN'T IT ON ALREADY?), our super nice neighbor who I love and is way too nice to us came to the door offering to groom the cat.

For free.

And while taking her life in her hands.

If this was a good time and would I mind holding onto the cat while she clipped and shaved and groomed her into beautiful submission.

And you know what I said? Because I'm too obsessed with HOW WILL SANCHEZ KEEP THIS UP and WHAT'S CODY GOT IN STORE FOR US TONIGHT to be a reasonable human being who knows it's high time her cat got groomed and thank her lucky stars that her neighbor is fabulous enough to do it FOR FREE?

I said no. 

This isn't actually a good time. And, yes I *could* just hold her down on the table while you do all the real work but, sadly, I'm just too preoccupied with the game to be able to focus on caring about whether the cat gets her head shaved clean off because she's trying to jump in front of the clippers because I'm too busy staring intently into the eyes of the Philly pitcher while thinking *FASTBALL* with all my might.

Thankfully, our neighbor is a perceptive and kind woman who quietly backed away from the Crazy Baseball Lady who continued shouting apologies for being a loser and won't she please come back another time except, no, sorry, tomorrow night isn't good either because it's Game 5 and no I don't expect you to know what that means, but thank you I LOVE YOU WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?

Yeah. It wasn't my best moment.

And then neither was dinner because I burned it. Which I NEVER do. But then, the crucial roasting moment doesn't usually occur during the most heart wrenching point in the game when we have the bases loaded and THE BOSS is back up at the plate trying to make this series his bitch.

So, yeah, after nothing happened with bases loaded (*tears*), I found my broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and walnuts partly smoking and black-ish on their rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Though - GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! I now know that my oven has a cool spot in the back right corner because that portion remained unscathed and properly roasted.

I gave that part to Bubba with a sincere apology for my lame dinner making and crazy making and hold on, Huff is back up to bat.

So, yeah, you don't really want me around right now writing on this blog because I'm not good company while this postseason is happening and I probably can't write a single sentence without my mind wandering toward Tonight's Game and how everything Giants rests on this game and how it's supposed to be the toughest game for us to win this season and UGH.

It's all just too much.

So, I will be making chili dogs. And cheese fries. And I bought some beer that doesn't taste like hot pee-pee (I had something awful last night and it was, well, awful). So I hope to make it up to my Bubba and the neighbors so they'll forgive me once baseball season is over and maybe come back to groom the cat who will have ballooned into a monster tumbleweed of fuzziness by then.

I do hope you'll all forgive me, too.

Go Giants.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I took some pictures so get excited, already.

There was yesterday when I was all, "I don't know what to talk to you fuckers about because I don't have any pictures to tell me what's going on in my life." and then proceeded to tell you about how my dog eats dead animals in Tahoe because that's what I had for pictures.

Not the dead animal eating, but Tahoe.

You know. You were there.

And now there's today when I have some pictures to remind me that yes, I stayed up late last night canning apple pie filling even though I hardly need photos to tell me that I'm exhausted and there's a weird sticky spot in my hair that lingers on even though I keep brushing at it and swearing.

Let me back the truck up a bit...

See, my neighbors are really nice people, y'all. These are the ones who brought such joys into my life as the tomato tunnel, group mulch hauling and The Apple Machine. Obviously they are people to be hugged regularly and given lavish gifts of microbrews from the beer fridge and good wine in The Big Glasses.

Well, to continue down their path to neighborly sainthood, they also delivered unto us (that's how people say it, right?) a big ass box of apples from their tree. Which, YAY!, right?

This isn't the monster box. This is only what was left after canning the damn pie filling. Yes, "damn" and "sainthood" can be mentioned in the same post. As can "fuck" and "shit". This is a big caption.

Normally, yes, it would be YAY! I'm going to can apple pie filling this weekend to give as gifts at the holidays because I'm not sewing shit this year! YAY! except that I'm going to be out of town again this weekend and oh I don't really need a monster box of apples going rapidly bad and fruit fly-y in my kitchen.

No, I don't need that in my life.

So, because I'm delusional and don't have proper understanding of the limits of time and space, I decided that oh well I guess that means I'm going to can this apple pie filling during the week after work and dog walking and dinner making and dinner eating and cocktail hour and wait, I think I just ran out of hours.

But I thought that if I sliced apples one night (with the help of The Apple Machine who I love) while watching the Giants summarily quash the hopes and dreams of all Atlanta fans (stopped your damn chopping, didn't we? Oh yes.)  and then went to the hardware store for jars another night and then did the actual canning yet another night - well, I could successfully turn these apples into canned pie filling before they turned to garbage can filling in my kitchen.

Um, kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Sounds iffy, but I'll try it.

Go Giants.
Go Apple Machine.
Go Me.
Yeah. Around 10:30 last night I surveyed my destroyed kitchen, took one look at the clock on my range and let out a dramatic, "Boo on you clock. It is not 10:30pm. That is incorrect. Stop your lying."

Which awoke Bubba from the couch and touched off a brief conversation about my abusive relationship with inanimate objects.

Anyway, whatever, because I made it through 2/3 of the monster box of apples, canned 6 quarts of apple pie filling and cleaned up the kitchen before I took my sticky ass to bed.

ROMANCE. Yes, it is alive in our home.

Oh, but I didn't tell you that when I had gathered all my ingredients, materials, recipe and tools from the four corners of my universe (one corner being Orchard Supply Hardware because my life is very glam), I re-read the recipe for the one hundredth time and noticed that OH the fucking thing says that it takes TWO quarts of this legendary pie filling to make ONE 9 inch pie. Which isn't all that handy of a gift to give someone.

"Happy whatever holiday you celebrate! Please to enjoy these TWO ungainly and heavy jars of pie filling which I made all by meself and which you can use to make ONE measly pie! Bye now! Don't leave doody on my front doorstep!"

Yeah, it's no kind of gift.

But, what was I to do?

I didn't absorb this fine detail until after I'd gone to OSH for my dozen QUART jars even though when I went to pick up the flat of quarts I accidentally, at first, grabbed the flat of HALF GALLON jars (you know that two quarts makes a half gallon, right, because it does.) and then, after being all WHOOPSY! Better get the quarts, dummy, came home and ripped the plastic free of the quart-sized jar flat so that I could caress the pretty new unscratched jars while I memorized the recipe and OH WAIT this isn't what I had in mind at all.

*Sigh* It was a dramatic moment in my world of canning shit.

Well, what I did was call an audible at the line. Which, if you're any kind of sports fan or absent-minded cook, means that you assessed the new issue at hand and changed your plan to suit your current situation.

Let me say that if I were a dude and physically inclined in the football-type way, I'd make a fine quarterback. Or, at least a decent offensive line coach because I can call an audible like a fucking pro. Watch out, Solari, I'm gunning for your job!

Not really. I wouldn't want to take on that mess.

For my big call though...

I decided that this apple pie filling would be RUSTIC apple pie filling which OH YES requires only the one quart of filling and YAY AGAIN but this time for the recipient, only requires the one pie crust. So, no rolling out two circles of pie crust for a covered pie because in RusticLand you just roll out the one crust, pour in your filling, fold up the edges, bake it in the oven for a while and go out to the back 40 to chop wood or whatever it is that Rustic people do in RusticLand while they're waiting on their Rustic It Only Takes One Quart Apple Pie to finish baking.


Did you get all that?

I'm about to Rustic UP this place.

Basically, I made 6 quarts of apple pie filling from one monster box of apples given unto us (see! again! Has it stopped being funny? Really, you can say.) by our neighbors and will give BACK to them and some other fine people at the holidays with a tag recipe for Rustic Apple Pie using the one quart of filling.

Neato burrito patio mosquito. (If you know this reference in its bastardized form then, whoa.)

Because of the weirdness and convolution of this whole thing though, I will now only be giving away 5 quarts of this pie filling because I feel compelled to test try it out on our household before inflicting my apple drama gift on others. So, keep an eye peeled for a post entitled, "Rustic Garbage Can Filling" or something similar.

Aren't we glad I had something to talk about today?

Yeah. I know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You may wonder why I bothered.

I feel like I should have something specific and earth shattering to talk about today, but for all my brain wrestling, I can't figure out what it is.

It's certainly not any running news since I still haven't signed up for any races because I'm a lazy ass and being a lazy ass is so nice that I think I'll just run around aimlessly and without a goal some more.

And it's not the garden, because even though I do have updates in that department, I haven't taken photos of any of them and you know I'm not posting a garden update without photos. Ridiculous.

And on the same No Photo No Bloggo (wow, that's creative) note, I have a crafting update for our One Yard Wonders sew along, but it will have to wait until I can do a few things simultaneously; activate my brain cells, pull out the fabric I've cut and push the big button on the camera.

Don't pressure me, though! I have a big enough zit as it is. And, on that note, how can I even get a zit? I'm 32 years old. 32 year olds aren't supposed to get zits. And on anotherANOTHER note, how did I get to be 32 years old? Just yesterday I was 19 and certain I'd stay that age forever. And that I'd also be wearing my size 4 Abercrombie khaki shorts until the day I died because that justified spending an ungodly amount of college tuition money on them for spring break.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, and it's not any of those other sidebar items except I guess I could tell you that I'm now the Featured Gardening Contributor for Associated Content even though it's been brought to my attention that following such announcements is made a tad tricky by the Associated Content people. (Sorry. If you want to follow my articles, you can subscribe to my RSS feed by adding to your Readers.)

So, I guess I'll just tell you how I'm madly in love with Lake Tahoe. Not like it's a new love or anything, since I've been going there all my life and you've seen evidence of all the attention we give the place, especially in winter, but we went up there last weekend for a friend's party and WHOA if I didn't come home all re-enamored with a place.

 Maybe it's because it's fall up there, or at least the beginnings of it, but the place just brutalizes me with its beauty. Like my head is being yanked back and forth from glorious thing to awesome thing to LOOK WHAT THE DOG'S EATING thing.

It's pretty. It's impressive. It's gross.

And the combo of these things makes me love a place, it would seem.

Though I probably don't need to see Jada ripping apart a dead bird and savoring its snapping ligaments to love a place, but I am pretty sure it makes her love a place and, let me tell you, that dog fucking loves Tahoe.

Like, Will Sit 4 Hours Smushed Into The Cab of the Truck love:

I'm ready to lick your ear for 4 hours now.
 Because Tahoe, my friends, is No Leash land and this dog loves to roam and run and sniff without me being all, Come on, dog, I have to go to work sometime today and stop eating that spider.

Hey, Sam, you gonna eat that spider?
She also loves our friends' place because of a lot of reasons but mostly because it has a big deck with a big view that gives her the viewpoint from which to spot many chase-able things.

I see you, vole, and I will have you. Just so you know.
Plus, when the cabin backs up against forest land and there's nothing between her and digging a hole in the woods for an hour and a half but a sliding glass door that opens every five seconds because we are listless drunks, she knows she has it good.

I am out for the 50th time today and now I shall eat a dead something. Or poop in the neighbor's driveway.
And since we're basically in the woods with only but the finest forgiving (and also party happy) neighbors, there's plenty of jackassery going on while we all chant *SNOW*SNOW*SNOW*SNOW. Because if one thing was said more than anything else over the weekend, it was "I can't wait for it to snow."

Wish I were here.
And that is your random blog post for today. I hope you're not wondering why I bothered because my zit and I would be offended. And, really, you don't want to offend this zit. It's bigger than both of us and it fights dirty.

Friday, October 08, 2010

October things and future freaking out

It's random mind-wandering thought time around here, but thankfully it's October and since all of these thoughts occur and have something ever so slightly to do with October, I have myself a handy theme.

I need a theme, people. Or a guiding notion. Or something to keep me from talking endlessly about, say, the process for converting a wood fireplace to gas and how I will be bear-hugging the Heatilater blower all winter.

See - it could get pretty fucking random around here if I'm away from a theme too long. Or, like illegal in 23 states what with the fireplace love.You see.

So, October then! What's up with October?

Well, firstly, my Giants are in the playoffs and, so far, kicking some serious ass via the bullpen. YAY! And that's all I'll say about that because I don't really need to go into my baseball love. It's there. It's a part of me. I can't release myself from its grasps and, since it's October, it's an ever-present state of mind especially since my boys are actually in the post-season for once.

*Quietly chanting* Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants.

Nextly, there are spiders all over the place and, most noticeably, all over my garden - making the harvesting of end of season produce a special webtastic event.

Also chanting: Will not put face in spider web. Will not...

See, unlike those of you who are, at this moment, stripping yourselves nude and shrieking through the halls of your office or house trying to clear your faces and hairs of imagined spiders and their webs, I love the spiders.

Can you imagine if she was in your hairs? YEEK.

I mean, I don't want their webs wrapped around my face or, say, back of my head when I go to put on a hoodie that's been hanging from the coat rack since last winter (Blech. Imagine it. It happened to Bubba. He asked me since when were we the Addams Family and I said, "Since we hired a cleaning lady that either doesn't know the words 'cobweb' or 'spiderweb' or doesn't care."), but I love that they're out in my garden right now eating the nasties that start to multiply toward the end of the season to wreak havoc on whatever produce remains out there.

"I love nasties. Burp."

I'm just waiting for one of them to snare a cucumber beetle so that I can give her (these big spiders, I've heard, are all ladies and the dudes are these little insignificant things that exist only for sexiness and then disappear. Little trivia for you, there.) a little high five and then carefully navigate around her web to pick a languishing tomato. 

Don't hate the playah, hate the game.

So yeah, the garden's getting creepy what with the spiders and webs and the dying back of the huge tomato plants that have built me a cave and the vines crawling everywhere making a trip to the garden for some basil an acrobatic task fit for a Cirque Du Soleil training group. 

I haven't been able to walk between these plants since June.

I can't do some of these positions in bikram class, but if there's a tomato branch in danger of being snapped by my wayward foot, well, I can contort myself magically to miss it.

I can't be out there crushing tomato plants, that would be ridiculous.

Plus, they're bigger than me and would win in a fight for sure.

So, yeah, tomato yoga and spider caves. My life gets weird in October.

This is the prettiest tomato that I grew. That's all.

It also gets stressy a little bit because NaNoWriMo is next month and the emails from the NaNoWriMo folks have begun to crop up in the inbox and in Facebook and I'm realizing that I'm going to have to make good on my flushed-with-a-recent-NaNoWriMo-win promise to go at it again. 

Though I only made that promise to myself and maybe to Bubba, but I like pretty web badges and letting my brain's unpredictable turns leak out onto the page, so I'm planning to give it another go. Though with the premise I have in mind for this year, there will be fewer alien dicks and extraneous boobs and spaceships landing in Palm Desert.

I know. What WAS I thinking last year? Or perhaps, drinking, is the better question. Oh well, that's so 11 months ago and now we're on to bigger and less purple things.

Did I tell you there was a purple alien last year? Really. My brain is an odd place.

But, come November, you can call probably expect a bit of YAY NaNoWriMo has begun! excitement and then a bit of I am going to be a NaNoWriMo failure because my brain has halted all its literary functions and I haven't typed a new word in 78 minutes! sadness and then a Send Help! I'm buried in caramel corn in my office because I wanted to see if I could fill my house with and then swim through caramel corn instead of writing my daily 1,667 words! alert and then, if we're lucky, a Phew. I finished my 50,000 words and am now going to crawl under this rug and contemplate the dust bunnies. sigh of relief.

If we're lucky.

So, yeah - that's October for you. In a weird little shell.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Running update: Hopscotch and other ways I'm not training properly

As you know I recently returned from a 2+ week vacation. And during that 2+ weeks, do you want to guess what I only did one single time?

Go on, I'll wait.

Oh - you guessed that one fast: run.

I only ran once. On the last Saturday of vacation before I shuttled my pretzel-swollen ass to the office. And it was a shortish long one. About 6 miles.

I wore my Garmin, though, so I'm calling it at least a semi-real run, even though my pace was so shameful to call into question the actual activity in which I was engaged. Was I running or clipping my toenails? Jogging or tiptoeing through someone's shrubs to catch a glimpse of them in their no-no outfit? Sitting down?

None of the above, thankfully. I was hopscotching.

See, friends, there are some kids (I imagine they're kids, but I suppose it could be an infantile adult out there with the big pink chalk) who haul their big bucket of fat chalk out to the sidewalk along a main drag of my street route (which I take when I'm not actually training for something that requires a route with minimal signals) and routinely redraw and update an elaborate hopscotch court (field?) for what I assume is their own amusement and not to torture me in my huffing and puffing.

Because I've tread on this hopscotch court, in a variety of its incarnations, many many times. And never once have I had the wherewithal to actually hopscotch it. Even though I spend the following half mile regretting it every time.

I mean - it's hopscotch - you HAVE to love it. Right? I mean, I love it. Though, now that I think about it, I have no idea why.

Anyway, that's not important. No, it's important that I DO love hopscotch and last weekend, while I was trying to come to terms with the settling of many liters of beer and many hundreds of pretzels' weight around my midsection by performing the strenuous act of a shortish-long run, I ignored the I'M EXHAUSTED DON'T YOU DARE HOPSCOTCH THAT THING voice in my head (killjoy, that) and hopped half of the scotch before bounding off, all the happier for it.

Methinks that hopscotch is good for the soul. As long as you don't trip and skin your face off. Which is what, I think, was keeping me from doing it before.

That and the fact that I haven't, since recently nailing down my sub-60 10K and completing my first multi-sport race, been training in a meaningful way for a race. And when I train, I can't be running signal-ridden city streets because that is evidently no way to train.. It's a way to hopscotch your face off, but it's no way to train.

And that is the other way I'm not training properly - I'm not training at all. Because I don't have a race on the books right now.

And it's fucking haunting me, man.

I don't like to watch my pace dip into the 10s, which I can now anal-retentively watch thanks to my recent (and very latent) discovery of the Autolap feature on the Garmin, but as soon as I get wound up about OH MY GOD RUN FASTER YOU SLOW BEAST, I just as quickly fight back with, "Well, why - you're not training for anything. What's the point?"

I need a point to running. This much I've learned.

So - I'm considering a few things:
  • A random 9K race suggested by my cousin, which is nearby and of a distance so random that regardless of how slowly I run it, won't ruin any of my current PRs
  • Rerunning the Seattle Rock N Roll Half Marathon next June with the maybe/perhaps/potential intention of going for a 2:TEENS PR
  • Maybe/perhaps/potentially considering the idea of trying my hand at a triathlon next spring
And I'm definitely going to run the Turkey Trot again, though I've not signed up for it yet and am not sure whether I'll do it in costume, go for a PR or just get drunk and drag a turkey leg around to shake at spectators.

You have to admit, the turkey leg thing could be pretty fun. Though I'm not sure it would qualify me for race fries. And you know how I like my race fries.

So yeah, my running is a bit meaningless right now, aside from the fitness aspect and the Filling the Laundry Basket with More Clothes aspect, and I'll thank you to weigh in with any strategies for handling my aimless running life.

Anyone out there running the Title 9K? Have you run the Boulder one in the past? Was getting into triathlons the worst mistake of your life? Are you the hopscotch champion of North America? Do you have a turkey, pumpkin pie or pilgrim costume I can borrow?

Whatever you got.

Monday, October 04, 2010

If you're sick of my shit but still need to know how to can tomatoes.

While I don't like to shamelessly self-promote ALL the time (quiet, you), I thought I'd real quick share something with those of you who might, say, prefer to absorb the content of this blog without the blue hue.

Basically, if you're sick and fucking tired of my swearing or rambling posts, you can get some of the same stuff from my Associated Content feed. The link for this is also on the right side of the blog here (yes, Facebook readers, this is not a fancy ass Note I'm posting, it's a feed from my blog: Just so you know.)(I'm working all my shameless self-promotion into one post. Efficient!)

See, I'm a contributor there, and I add bullshit-free (AKA without cursing and rambling) articles on things like canning tomatoes, tips for new runners, gardening in Zone 9 (San Jose, CA) and what not on a semi-regular basis.

They don't take kindly to swears and drawn out accounts of taking my monster cat to the vet over at AC, so what you get instead are mind-numbing posts about canning tomatoes boiled down into a 250 word How-To type things.

And sometimes I write about my boobs, but they seem fine with that. Probably since that post has gotten the most pageviews of any of my articles so far.


Anyway, that's all the self-promotion I'm doing today. Mostly because I haven't done anything else notable that requires promoting.

Unless you consider returning to work in one piece after two weeks of insobriety and bad behavior. Which I do. Too bad no one is interested in 250 words on that topic.