Monday, November 30, 2009

What the F I do with leftovers + PRIZE (not a leftover)

In case you didn't know, we smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. And in case you didn't know, smoked turkey is delicious.

Like two pounds a person delicious.

Yeah, I know, no one ever eats two pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving. Two pounds of pie, fine - all the time, but not turkey. Because, let's face it, turkey only gets top billing because its famous dad paid off someone at the theater to put his name at the top of the playbill or something.

And I don't know why I just made a theater analogy since I never go to the theater, but sometimes you have to just go with what comes out. And wow. That sounds grody.


Even with this unprecedented turkey eating, there were still leftovers. Half a big foil pan's worth - including a couple of the pterodactyl legs. Feeling a bit rotund and also because my mom told us to, we left all the leftovers with her to feed the holiday guests (and props to those animals - it was gone in 24 hours) and went home to our demure little zippie bag of turkey shrapnel left from my maniacal carving.

Feeling a little stupid for dating the bag now, but whatever.

To be honest, I didn't think we'd even want the little zippie bag of Who Gives a Crap, but because I don't do waste, and this was all just sitting on the cutting board after I got done deconstructing those big boobs, I put it in a bag bound for the freezer with the thought that maybe one day I'd thaw it out and make the dog's day or something.

Certainly WE were not going to eat it. Pffft. Ew.

See, there's something about reheated turkey makes me...uh...gag. Sorry, I was gagging just thinking about it.

It's the grayness of turkey meat after a day in the fridge. And the weird gamey grody taste. And the smell. And the squishy gooshy sound of people tearing at the sandy rubbery leftover meat with their teeth. GAG. It's all those things and then something wiggly makes it into my sandwich and I have to contemplate suicide.

Anyway, if you haven't barfed yet, I'm here to tell you that when you smoke turkey rather than roast it - the reheated flavor, texture and smells are still heavenly. Because, duh, it's smoked. Which we all know is the best way to treat any meat of any kind.

So, it's now accepted in our house as a feasible leftover food item. As long as it's smoked.

But, it's not like I'm just going to slam it between a couple slices of bread with some mashed potatoes and stuffing or something (though, now that I think about it...) because that is too predictable and, well, we ate all the potatoes.

And, to be honest, I wasn't thinking about doing much with it at all, until I found myself with a dinner to make and very little inspiration coming from my Master Cookbook, which is my binder of mismatched recipes from the Internets and beyond.

Thankfully, Bubba suggested we use our tried and true what the F do we have for dinner method of dinner-deciding: What Do We Have That Needs To Go.

As in - do we have any vegetables on their last legs, a pile of frozen something, bread going stale, what have you.

This process has served us well, once again, and The Leftover Dinner That Will Live in Infamy was born. From smoked turkey shrapnel, the rest of a bag of frozen peas, a stray kohlrabi going bouncy, three small frozen pie crust remnants, an odd onion, some thyme from the diminishing herb garden, a couple carrots from the bottomless bag in the crisper and a can of chicken broth.

Can you guess what I made?

Hint: It would fit nicely in our Dinner from 1984 nights.

Turkey Pot Pie, y'all!

We are securing our place in WT America with this one.

Best part was - it was fucking awesome. Seriously! I've never made or eaten a turkey (or chicken for that matter) pot pie before because it always sounded nasty, but this was really fucking good.

For the record, I used Pioneer Woman's recipe, but left out the cream altogether, subbed kohlrabi for celery and used my own pie crust.

So - it was good for a lot of reasons but especially so since I got to make a crazy mirepoix with kohlrabi instead of celery and then patchwork blend three leftover pie crust remnants from pies of yore into a crust for an all new pie.

OK, so my mirepoix isn't perfect, but I haven't been through the Cordon Bleu yet.

The consistency was perfect. And so I took this photo.
Even though this is a stupid looking photo.

You can see the patchworking in that it didn't all bake up the same. Good thing it tasted amazing.
And since we were already well into WT territory with this dinner, I hardly flinched when Bubba went back for seconds and *gasp* covered his second serving with shredded cheddar cheese.

We are SO trailer.

And while Jada was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the reanimation of the turkey, her experience with leftovers was more of the fabric persuasion.

She is so optimistic, our dog.

And in case I just lost you there, we've changed subjects and are now talking about a craft project.

A very important craft project.

From a very important craft book.

Which is the subject of today's previously mentioned prize.

You with me now? Thought you might be.

See, friends, I was a contributor to the recently released to rave reviews and much fanfare crafting book, One Yard Wonders.

Which you know because I shamelessly self-promote.

BUT - what you didn't know was that I'd had my eye on a project in that book from the time that some of the patterns were released to the press (ie. they were posted on Facebook by the publisher) and when I got my contributor's copy in the mail, I totally knew I was going to make that project On The Double.

And I did.

That project was the Cozy Dog Bed by Mary Richmond and, while I altered it to fit the size of my pooch so may have used a skoshe more fabric than a yard (Ms. Jada doesn't fit on one yard of fabric), it still came out excellent and my enjoyment of this book continues to grow.

And Jada's enjoyment of not lying on a squooshed out dog bed also continues to grow.

Even though I already loved it with all my heart because I'm in it. On, like page 113 where my project poses with a dog that's not Jada, but cute all the same. Even though a dog that looks just like that one totally wants to fight Jada at the park, but I don't think it's the breed, I think it's the owner, but YOU DON'T CARE, you just want a copy of this book, right?


I knew you were all whores. Fabulous, fabulous whores.

SO - when I said PRIZE way back at the beginning of this post, what I meant was a copy of One Yard Wonders. For someone randomly selected by the random name chooser thingee for leaving a comment.

That's all. Just a comment. Though you can feel free to swear, share leftover turkey recipes or list the top 3 movies you'd choose to miraculously have show up on your DVR for a day long crafting session. So, you know, you could listen to their familiar sounds in the background as you broke two needles in a row.

Not that this would happen while you use your One Yard Wonders book, though. Those patterns are super safe and tested.

Those other things can happen, though, when you're testing out new patterns with a too-small needle before realizing you should just use the fucking leather needles because why are you going to buy them and not use them? Good thing Sixteen Candles, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Earth Girls are Easy were all on the DVR to save you from scooping your eyes out with a soup ladle.

Anyway. Leave a comment by Thursday, 12/4. I'll choose a winner at random. I'll post the winner on Friday, 12/5. And then the super nice and awesome gal from Storey Publishing will send the winner a copy of this very awesome (and not only because I'm in it on page 113) new crafting book for your one yard using pleasures.

Good. Go.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


And now we can all be thankful that I got that sub-30 5K PR that I've been shooting for so that no one has to listen to me making up sorry excuses for why I didn't get a sub-30 5K PR and if you don't understand all these obscure acronyms and number references then I guess you can be thankful that you're a literate person with reasonable communication skills because obviously I am not.

And that was a pretty incredible run-on sentence. Feel free to be thankful for that too, if you want.

Let's just all go eat five desserts now. And race fries.

Happy Turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A post for my mom - The Turkey's Coming.

This isn't the turkey. Obviously. This is just to prove that we have fall in NorCal. See.

This year we're doing the Thanksgiving turkey.

Not because we're all super nice and give-y like that, but because we (I) have a very guilty conscious and also we (Bubba) are handy with a smoker.

See, earlier this year, while me mum was so graciously hosting our normally well-behaved-to-the-extreme pooch at her house while we pranced drunkenly around the island of Maui, she took a pretty harsh tumble.

Like, she harshly tumbled while holding tight to the leash as the dog made a mad lathering dash after a STUPIDSTUPID cat.

This resulted in me showing up at the house to retrieve the dog only to find my mom cradling her arm with an ice pack and trying to reassure me that she was just fine as blood dripped from her chin.


Let me tell you, people, this is not how you want to find your sweet dog-loving mama after a week of pooch sitting especially when, just an hour ago on the phone, she said she was going to "go enjoy one last walk with the dogs" before I showed up.


The woman, she is an animal-lover, and this goes double for the dogs. Yet, for some reason, our dogs (my brother's dog, our childhood dogs, etc) sometimes torture my mom by taking her for a ride while they're out on walks. And would you like to know why?

Because of CATS.

Muther Effing Cats.

Now, you know that I have a cat. Her name is Rocket and she is a cute but bloodthirsty beast who poses no threat to my mom because Jada is so afraid of her that she won't go chasing after her on-leash or off. However, when something like this happens - where my mom gets dragged raw and bloody in the name of a cat - I come home and give Rocket the stink-eye because Her Kind is, in my opinion, at fault for the horrible consequences that befell my beloved mama.

Regardless of the fact that it was the dog who chased the cat and was attached to the other end of the Death Leash that dragged mama to the ground.

Know this, friends, I favor the dog. I always will. Because I'm not a fair and just pet-owner and also because Rocket, while cute and fuzzy as all get out, tries to murder me on a regular basis and so I feel like the feeling is mutual.


I told you that to tell you this: we're bringing the turkey this year because my mom sustained a pretty heinous crack to the shoulder (as in, it was fractured- BARF) that prevents her from lifting heavy objects. Heavy objects like 20 lb turkeys that need to go in ovens.

And also because she likes smoked meats (which, doesn't everyone?) and when I offered to bring smoked turkey to Thanksgiving she didn't even do the, "Oh honey, if you think it wouldn't be too much trouble..." thing. No. She just said, "Hell muther effin' yeah!" or something a bit more subdued and ladylike because my mom isn't an awful heathen like yours truly.

So, we got some turkeys. Specifically, three bone-in breasts (with necks and wings? So weird.) and, like, half a dozen giant legs.

Big boobs.

Pterodactyl legs.

Basically, what we have are the parts for three fully-assembled turkeys, but I had it in my head that we were only going to smoke the breast meat (because dark meat is evil and I don't recall anyone ever eating it) so I only bought the breasts. To avoid all the butchery involved in carving up three birds.

Except we went back and got drumsticks because there are, apparently, some people who DO like dark meat even though I will continue to classify it in the EW section of my food memory banks. I have problems, this is true.


Us with our three deconstructed turkeys went out to the smoker last Saturday and Bubba did all the work. Like, I left the scene of the crime to go eat burgers with a friend while Bubba manned the smoker and did all the smoker magic that people will be raving about tomorrow.

Don't think for one second, though, that I'm not going to take some of the credit for the deliciousness that will ensue. I mean, I did salt the birds and lift them out of the smoker with Bubba's super handy turkey gloves and that is a lot of poultry wrestling if you ask me. Not to mention that later on today I will be slicing these birds into succulent platter fulls for the enjoyment of my family.

Jailbirds. HA! My own jokes...they are laughable.

See? I'm good at this credit-stealing! Not that this is an admirable quality, but I work with what I have.

While we're on the subject though, I should give all the credit to Bubba because that man really knows his way around a smoker.

Especially a monster smoker that he hand welded from Craigslist finds, industrial off-road worthy casters and miles of ingenuity.

We call this treat, Frankensmoker.

Also, he had to saw up tree limbs (another friendly donation) so that the smoke would be *just right* and then spend the day On Watch making sure that the smoke stayed hot enough (BUT NOT TOO HOT DAMN YOU!) and the beer stayed cold.

Beer not pictured.

He's a dedicated soul, my Bubba.

Anyway, since this post is for my mom: Hi mom! Don't worry about the turkey - he's on his way! We'll see you after the race in the morning and we're bringing Jada who promises to be on her very best behavior. In other words, please tell all the cats to stay away know...

Everyone else - Happy Turkey, you whores. Come back later and we'll talk about the bestselling sewing and needlecrafts book on Amazon.

Oh yeah, you know what it is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A lesson from Finny: Don't do shit for stupid reasons

Let's be honest for a second, OK?

Let's think back to when I started out this year with my fresh new goal of Hey! I'm going to run two half marathons this year rather than my usual single solitary one. Remember that? OK, good.

So, when I set that goal, of doubling my slow-going running career to go for a full 26.2M spaced out over two 13.1M courses and divided by a sweet three month water break, I had a variety of inspiration driving the decision.

Firstly, I'm kind of a goal-oriented person. Like, in the sense that I totally am. And back in the day when I started running regularly and taking it seriously enough to go out and buy proper shoes that didn't blister the EVER LOVING HELL out of my feet, I started setting goals for my running self. Like, if I am going to be running like this I should probably train for something so that I don't get bored or just flake out like a big fat loser on the mornings when it's chilly out or I just feel like laying in bed contemplating Bubba's ear hairs.

And so, I signed up for a 10K. Which was followed by a half marathon and a 5K Turkey Trot for good measure. That was 2007.

When I hit 2008 and everyone started getting all, "What are your New Year's resolutions?" and what not, I started think about it. Not that I was going to set any resolutions, because I have resolved not to resolve since it has never done me a damn bit of good, but I started to think about what I wanted to achieve that year. In other words, I set some goals. Like, I wanted to best my half marathon time (check) and run a few other races, one out of state (check).

Then I got to January 2009. People started saying the same New Year's things. I reminded myself of my self-promise not to make resolutions. I instead set some goals. But setting those goals was harder because I hadn't left myself a lot of interesting room within which to move.

Meaning, I could just try to best my half marathon time again by running the same race in October OR I could up the ante. But since we all know I've had no designs on running a full marathon, that wasn't going to be my tact. No, instead I settled on running two half marathons this year (check and check)- in essence doubling my previous years' efforts. And then I'd throw in a couple random races just for the hell of it (check) and hey let's make one of those half marathons an out-of-stater.

And when I chose these two half marathons to complete my yearly goal, would you like to know how and why I chose them? Because it's a pretty sad and ego-tastic reason...

Well, first I'll tell you that I chose two races from the Rock 'N Roll series. Which doesn't seem like that big of a stretch since the other part of my goal was to run a half out of my state and they have a Rock 'N Roll in Seattle (an inaugural one - special), which happens to be where my fiesty sister mama lives, so if I ran it then I'd also get the chance to go hang out with her for a few days and do some sister-type stuff like eating falafel at the Hot Guy Falafel place, salted caramel ice cream at Molly Moon's and Thai peanut chicken at Thai Tom.

But this isn't about my pre-race eat-a-thons. Even though I highly recommend all three of those Seattle eating establishments. Strongly. And with great fervor.


So, even though I'm not always motivated by food (which would have been a good reason to choose Seattle now that I think about it), I am effectively motivated by physical representation of achievement.

Which is to say that I like medals. And trophies. And plaques. Basically things that say that I did a good job and deserved physical proof to that effect.

I'm a small person, what can I say.

Anyway, that character flaw plays into this scenario because part of the reason I chose the Seattle Rock 'N Roll to accompany my San Jose Rock 'N Roll was because if you run two half marathons in their series in one year's time, they give you ANOTHER medal, on top of your finisher's medals awarded at the finish line, to say that "HEY! Good job, person! You finished two of our races this year!"

And you know I like that. All that "Good job, Finny"-ness and all.

Now, clearly that extra medal wasn't going to be able to get me all juiced up to train for two half marathons all in itself. No. I'd need some real dedication and motivation for that.

Which is where my other inspiration for running these two big races came from. Things like avoiding The Fatness and getting in good backpacking shape and just trying to motivate myself to keep running on a regular basis - stuff like that. Stuff that makes sense to people without the giant gaping character flaw that I believe some folks call Pride or Vainglory or Vanity or the lack of modesty or whathaveyou.

Thankfully, I don't concern myself with biblical classifications, so I'm not too concerned with descending into the pits of hell because I earned an extra finisher's medal which, dontchaknow, sits with the others collecting dust on my bookshelf in all of its anti-climatic glory.

So, truth be told, I held that extra medal out there as a nice icing on the inspiration cake, so to speak, and didn't really tie much of my motivation to it.

And I'm pretty glad I didn't because when it showed up in the mail, I just plain laughed.

Talk about your anti-climatic moments.

I guess it can't be all engraved placards and bowing townfolk.

Yes, in a plain brown paper envelope, much like one would expect to accompany a lustful type of adult internet order or black-market Cialis, arrived my series medal and a scrap of paper the size of a standard Post-it declaring a trite little congratulations.

Now, having run only two half marathons and not, say seven marathons to become a Rock Legend or some such nonsense, it wasn't that much of a diss. I already had my two finisher's medals and a PR gained on my first hilly half marathon course. BUT, this pithy little package had me laughing pretty hard.

And I was really glad that I'd done all that training and running and sweating and not drinking on Friday nights before my long training runs and all that other shit for reasons other than this. Because if I had done it all for this scrap of paper and sketch package then WHOA would I have been sad.

Though, one has to hope that they put a little more spice and excitement into awards going to people who've run, like, 180+ miles after paying those incredible registration fees, but who really knows.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share that moment of "Don't do shit for stupid reasons" with you all because this was really one of those moments that brought it home for me and made me glad I was running for fear of Fatness and making my 2008 running self look slow rather than for the glory of a handsomely presented award declaring my greatness.

Phew. Dodged that shame bullet pretty narrowly, now didn't I?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A winter garden after all

So, remember when I said that I wasn't doing a winter garden this year?

Yeah, I vaguely remember that, too. Which means that I'm declaring myself an official liar right here, right now.

Honesty! I'm all about it!

Sort of.

Anyway, this time it's not 100% my fault because I did not have the intention of growing a winter garden, so didn't go down the Adopt a Crop road to having you guys vote for crops because I wasn't going to do it.

I was just going to throw some fava beans in the ground with the intention of turning them under come spring time and then TEE DAH winter would be over and we'd be back to losing our shit over tomatoes, which is how I prefer to live anyway.

But no, my dear, dear friend Elke, who was 100% more motivated to winter garden than I was, went to a fabulous class, planted some fabulous seeds and then sent me a fabulous email to see if I would be interested in adopting some of her fabulous seedlings.

There was absolutely no way I could NOT adopt them - that would have been rude. I know you agree.

Then there was the case of Shopping Without a Short-Term Memory that occurred sometime late in the summer which resulted in my receiving delivery of some garlic. And then some beans. And then some nasturtium which I won't be able to plant until springtime so who knows what the hot rush to order them was all about. And then the grass plugs and 800 wildflower bulbs. OH! And that Siskiyou gaura I ordered on a whim when a Burpee email arrived in my inbox as though it was created for me personally since the only image it contained was one of the only plant I was coveting yet not finding at my local nursery.

The fact that I managed to order all those things and then forget so magnificently about their forthcoming is frankly a little disturbing. Imagine what nonsense we have to look forward to closer to the holidays! I may have already done my Christmas shopping for all I know!

If only.

Anyway, I'm all about coming clean today, so I will show you the little green tinies currently living on strongly in my garden.

I will say, though, that these are photos from the day of planting and don't accurately represent how closely I planted the broccolini over the garlic because now I have green garlic stems weaving their way up through the broccolini leaves.

Will this be bad? No idea. But it will be, regardless.

Clockwise from left: Purple kohlrabi, broccolini, leeks, shelling peas, garlic

I also realize that these are not good photos, but they're what I've got for now and I don't really like posting about new plants without photos and I couldn't go one more second without posting about this garden I wasn't going to grow, so there you go.

I will, however, be documenting via photograph, the ridiculously crappy job I did of spacing the plants in this bed because you'll laugh. Hopefully with me rather than at me, but I'll take it either way.

It has been foretold that the broccolini will taste of garlic, but we shall see.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Crazy has a uniform

Dear Donk,

I got something totally amusing in the mail yesterday, which I think you'll appreciate in its irony, but we'll go into that another time. For today, let's look at my amusing scarf.

Amusing in the sense that it's basically ugly and it's basically totally unnecessary because I have a hundred scarves and despite these basic things, I still love it because of its weirdness. And its reuse of some favorite shirts that are so soft but so ill-fitting that I never wore them.

Shall I tell you more?

Sure, why not.

So, when I chose this project for this month's challenge, it felt like a no-brainer. Because it was a Tshirt reuse project which I automatically love and because it was not a holiday type project which I would automatically hate.

You know how I get with the holidays - it's a too much too soon thing and I always feel like I'm being bullied into the holiday spirit so I put off getting all into anything holiday-y until, like, later on when I feel like it's time. Or when Christmas is UPON US in the literal sense because it's suddenly December 25th. Then there are years like this one where Hanukkah starts way early and ends up dragging holidayness all through the month of December like a traffic cone stuck under the car and by the time I get to New Year's, The Holidays are worn down to a nub and are all covered in road debris.

And now that you know my detailed opinion on preemptive holiday celebrating, let's look at this scarf-beast.

Let's just ignore how pale and repulsive I look and the fact that my sweatshirt is dirty.

When I finally set out to piece this thing together, I had to have a serious coming to Jesus with my Tshirt drawer. Because, while I don't wear a lot of these shirts very often or ever, I had a hard time picturing myself cutting right into them.

Which makes no sense because wouldn't I get to enjoy them if they were cut out and featured on a scarf? Yes.

So, I make no sense.

Thankfully, I talked myself through it to the point where I choose my softest shirts, which I always wish I *could* wear because of their softness but never *do* wear because of the way they fit me like a big paper sack.

Those I felt OK cutting into. They were going to be swaddling my neck and that would be better than they way they swaddled my midsection when I had the gall to wear them which was never.

Then, when I'd stacked up a nice big pile of shirts, I realized an enormous error in my compiling methods - not consulting with Bubba first.

See, friends, Bubba is a Tshirt man. He has many Tshirts, he wears at least one a day (let's not go into specifics, you'll be happier this way. Promise.) and is something along the lines of a Platinum Diamond Super Special member of the Threadless community - if there is such a thing.

He is also a very good Tshirt selecter, which I know from first-hand experience because he gave me a lot of my favorite Tshirts which I refuse to cut into because of sentimental reasons and because I want to wear them to work on days when my director isn't in the office.

Some may reflect badly on future reviews, is why.


What I'd forgotten, in my haste to select shirts for this Soon To Be Coveted Scarf, was that Bubba was, like, the ultimate collector of awesome shirts worthy of showcasing and also The Great Destroyer of Tshirts and routinely tossed old wrecked shirts into the rag bin in the garage to make way for new awesome shirts worthy of showcasing.

Basically, I realized there was a bin of fab Bubba Tshirts in the garage with fab keepable prints on them that I could totally pillage.


Out to the garage I went.

And in this pile of shirts I found ET phoning home from a payphone booth (awesome), a list of grievances about the state of today's technology (where IS my jetpack, anyway?), and an X-ray of a dog who'd eaten some delicious homework.

That would do!
Didn't YOU think we'd have jetpacks by now? Yeah, me too.

Then I picked out my favorite soft shirts - the one with the green logo on it and the Mermaid race shirt - and another race shirt that I'd never wear again due to its paper-sack-fittingness from Rock 'N Roll San Jose '08 and my favorite Kauai shirt that had shrunk into a total belly shirt after a roll in the new machine set to HOT/HOT.

The fact that my shirts clash horribly with his shirts makes no difference to me.

I cut them all up, sewed them all together, enjoyed the fabulous coincidence that the super-softest white shirt with the green image on it managed to land square in the center so that when I wrapped it around my neck it looked like I meant to do that, and then basked in the glory of piecing together the reverse side from the remnants of the softest shirts so that I could reverse the scarf or wear it normal but always have the super-softness right there - swaddling my cold neck.


Yes, yay.

And now I am the freakiest dog walker in town. Because that's the only time I've worn this scarf so far - was to walk the dog - and I wore it with the sweatshirt in the photo, black sweats, a Steamboat beanie and red mittens.

To say that I look like a lunatic when I walk the dog is an extreme understatement, but at least I'm warm. And crazy!

So, yeah, I made the scarf and it took a lot out of me. More so that it probably would have if I'd just broken down and chosen a holiday-themed project.

What do you want? I'm horribly stubborn. Which you know.

So? How are things going with YOUR projects?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Running naked

Wow - really? No one was intrigued by the Running Naked comment yesterday at the end of that long ass nonsensical post about cake?

Oh. Maybe that was it. By the time you got to the bottom of that thing, you'd already begun to string yourself up to the rafters with your network cable.

I get it. I'm not offended.

Meanwhile - Running naked - isn't that an interesting and riveting post title? I thought so.

I thought so while I was running along, all naked of the wrist, head and back, being thankful for a nice, non-stressful run where I was simultaneously not timing myself, shading my eyes from the scorching sun ball or sucking hosey water from my self-mounted Camelbak.

Post-race running is the best! Because of the nakedness!

And also because, now that it's fall, the weather is acceptable to me and does not require me to cover my head in a sweaty hot hat or dodge from one side of the street to the other in my ongoing quest for shade.

And then sometimes, when I'm really lucky, I have The Best Run Ever because it's foggy and chilly and sorta drizzly when I set out for my Saturday morning shortish-long run (6M) after sleeping in to the positively restful hour of 8am.

Oh yeah, it was the best - last weekend's shortish-long run. And also where I thought up that lovely and intriguing post title that you all could have cared less about. WHORES!

Kidding. I love you still. In that way where you still love your friend even after she ditches you at the bar and takes a cab home without telling you she's leaving but then texts you in the morning to be like, "Hey! I'm at Taco Bell. Do you want anything?" And because you're so hung over from your extra fifteen minutes of drinking that you forgive her because, after all, she is a nice chick who lends you her cute purse because it matches your outfit and, well, she's about to bring The Great Healer of Hangovers, Taco Bell, right to your doorstep. You feel sorta like a sell-out, but you really want a Crunchwrap Supreme, so you let it go. Still loving her, but hating yourself a little bit at the same time and feeling ashamed you're about to eat something as horrific-ly bad for you as a Crunchwrap Supreme.

You know what I mean.

And, just to refresh your memory, I was talking about my awesome run before I went off about Taco Bell. Sorry. I guess I'm feeling a little random today.

SO - The Best Run Ever - which was the other tantalizing-yet-ignored comment from yesterday's post was, indeed, quite good.

And since I haven't really said much about running since my last half concluded back in the first week of October, I felt I should give some sort of update so that you didn't think I'd hauled off and eaten myself into a chocolate-cake and apple-pie induced coma.

First, in a string of running type updates about which I feel you should be aware, it has become cold out in the morning hours. To the point where I've resumed wearing my fruity running tights and long-sleeves. And, during a moment of clarity while outlet shopping with the girls, I snatched up a pair of running gloves at a nice little price and have found that they are, indeed, something I needed very much.

Which is in stark contrast to what my doubtful mind had me thinking for, oh, the last three winters of running as I repeatedly visited the Athleta site and monitor-molested the gloves they have for sale.

I was, like, $27 for gloves? Come, now. That's ridiculous. They're just going to get all sweaty and boogery (don't act like your nose doesn't run when you're out in the cold) and gross and that's no way to treat an item that costs $27. I'll just let my hands warm up as I run. In fact, that will maybe motivate me to run faster.

Um, no. All these reasons are stupid. The gloves I got are great and are, RIGHT NOW, improving my life as they dry out from this morning's short three miler. I love them, is what I'm saying, and I can't believe I tortured myself for three winters when they could have been had for so little cash.

Meanwhile, I am a little proud that I held out and got the Nike ones for less than $20 because they also have a key pocket on the palm and a soft nose-wiper on the thumb. Handy and gross! Plus, I look like I think I'm a superhero or something wearing these things with my tights and my breathy long-sleeve top and we all know how much I like looking like a fucking idiot while running slowly around town.

So, whatever, it's not my favorite time of the year for running attire, but it does mean that the likelihood that I'll be running in the fog rather than under the blast furnace of an angry sun is very good. I like that. Running in the fog. Though, when it's foggy like it was last weekend, to the point where it has begun to drizzle, it means I can't wear my sunglasses without them hazing up.

I have yet to come across a pair of acceptable shades with a good set of lens-mounted wipers, so I'm left to prop these babies on my head and wait until the drizzle passes. Which it did last weekend, at about mile 5.5. Which - big whoop - because I was only out for an hour, which equates to 6 miles. Oh well. Small price to pay for an hour of foggy running goodness.

Another helpful update, more for me than you (sorry), is that I broke down and got another pair of my regular running shoes even though I said some things about moving over to trail running after last month's race.

Well, so you know, I haven't taken my show on the trail yet, so to speak. I figure that will probably come sometime in the spring when I have the wherewithal to drive to a running location rather than just run out my front door onto the paved streets of San Jose.

Plus, and this is pretty mind-bending for me, I'm back to enjoying my runs. Like, I don't begin to dread my Saturday morning long runs on, like, Wednesday, because I'm only going out for six miles and WHATEVER I'll be back in an hour, so no need to call out the cavalry if I don't drag my lifeless corpse back down the driveway in two and a half hours.

Which is what it starts to get like at the end of my half marathon trainings. It's all dramatic and annoying and I'm sure Bubba wants to stab me when I start clanging around in the kitchen at 5am so that I can get in the miles before the heat takes over.

No - now it's like super easy. And I've been expanding the ease at which I partake in my shortish-long runs by not only dissing the Camelbak and Luna Moons, but also leaving my watch behind (don't worry, we'll be back to Garmin-fueled running in no time) and forgetting the hat.

All these things make me feel more like I'm out doing something I want to do rather than something I've forced myself to do because one day I got all Big Ballsy and signed up for another half marathon because it seemed, like, so far away what's the big deal?

I can be such a jerk sometimes.

Anyway, I guess that's it for running updates. It's cold, I'm dressed like a freak, I have new gloves and shoes that don't leave my shins ON FIRE with splints and in a few weeks I'll go back out and trot for turkeys so that I can eat fries on the way to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner.

Hey - at least we're consistent around here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

*I made a really good cake

*This title is stolen from a good friend who also made a really good cake this weekend.

Y'all, this was a very nesty weekend. Nesty in the sense that I did not leave my nest for any three dimensional interaction (beyond The Best Run Ever, which happened on Saturday morning in the fog) until Saturday evening when Bubba and I carried some armloads of food across the street to my neighbors' place.

At which time we engaged in some serious Comforting with a capital C, as you can see by the way I spelled Comforting back there in the beginning of the sentence. You get it. I know you do.

Anyway, my Comfort Mode was switched on when my neighbor swung by on Saturday morning just as I was cruising in from The Best Run Ever with news on her post-surgery pooch. He was doing OK (as explained while tilting thy head sideways and wagging one's hand in an unsure manner) after surgery but, according to the vets, "He almost didn't make it. Like a few times."


But, he was home and bleary and wobbly and they were taking good care by staring at him constantly and making up a very complicated Pill Schedule in Excel so that he got all his meds at the right time and the right dose and all that.

They seemed stressed. And a bit sad. And, to my honed Mother Henning eyes, in need of major league comforting.

Which, if you're me, means food - good homecooked kinda food - STAT.

So, I offered to bring over dinner that night so that we could all keep a watchful eye on their pooch meanwhile propping each other up and raising spirits. They readily agreed and so my day of nesty began while Bubba played Tech Help and Jada and Rocket played I Have The Best Napping Spot in the Whole World in our backyard.

It was quite peaceful and nice and I set out to bring into reality Comfort in food form. And if you're me, this means chicken soup from scratch, home-baked challah and chocolate cake.

Yes, that is the trifecta of comfort for moi, thanks to my mama who produced these lovelies as needed throughout my childhood and, to this day, has the most bulletproof chicken soup recipe which I will even share with you in a future post if you're all a bunch of good little whores.

Wow, did you see how the tone of this post just took an erratic and wildly swerving turn?

That's because I don't want you all thinking I've gone super soft on you and will be doing everything for the good of others without considering my own wanton desires or anything. That would be so un-Finny and I'm sure you'd all leave me.

At the very least, it would be dishonest of me to mislead you in such a way. Into thinking that I'd become all Good and Nice and Altruistic on you just all of a sudden because that's just not true. And of all things that I may or may not be - Honest is something I like to stick with. For good or bad, I'm hanging it all out there for you whores in the honest way, even if it's not nice or good or pleasant to read. Fun!

Sure - sometimes I do nice things. Like make chocolate cakes for sad friends, but make no mistake about it, that cake was getting made one way or another. Though the soup and bread were impromptu additions that brought the whole Comfort theme together.

I'm good. I'm bad. I'm a menagerie of evils. Let's cook something.

So this cake, it was the one from this month's Craft: along challenge - the Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding cake - and it was, in a word, FUCKINGAWESOME.

Which is a single word and I defy you to challenge me on this.

And while you may have been thinking, "Duh, bitch. It's a chocolate cake, how could it be bad?" I'm sure you then realized that introducing beets to chocolate could have some unexpected and potentially not-awesome results.

Or that's what I was thinking anyway as I prepared to dump 1/4 cup of roasted beet puree (thank you farmshare for supplying two tons of beets during this summer's share, geez) into the most lovely melted chocolate a soul could want to see. And eat. I ate some of the chocolate off the spoon before the beets went in.

I imagined this would taste like raspberry given the color. It does not.

So, what do you expect? There was melted chocolate and a big wooden spoon in front of me. What - I was not going to sample it? Come, now.

This, however, tasted exactly like good chocolate.


After some thorough sampling (Scharffen Berger bittersweet is quite good. I can assure you.) and then blending in off beets and resampling (have to make sure I didn't just ruin my own good time you know), the little ramekins of dark reddish brown loveliness were set aside to haul over to the neighbors' for our dessert.

And wouldn't you know that I bought those ramekins special for this recipe because I only had ramekins in random sizes and I didn't want to risk getting the small one when they came out of the oven later. I figured the $2/ea price tag was well worth the guarantee that I'd get a Big One for dessert and so I have justified the proprietary purchase. There you go.

The little random-sized ones can hang out in the cupboard for future recipes in which I can risk not getting a Big One - like when I make quiche or something equally sketch.

Moving on.

You know there's something funny in this cake? Actually, there's something funny that's NOT in this cake.


Yeah - I didn't realize it when I chose it for this month's challenge, but this is a gluten-free cake. Are y'all shunning gluten, too? I mean, not that I am, I could give a rat's ass about avoiding gluten - friggen mainline it to me - but apparently this is sweeping the nation, the anti-glutenness.

I'm sorry for all you non-gluten eaters. That has to suck. BUT, this cake is gluten-free, so you can just haul off and eat it without incurring the wrath of gluten on your ravaged souls.


To clarify, this recipe only contains a small amount of rice flour, which I found in great abundance and variety at Whole Foods, and which I now have stored away in my baking cabinet for future gluten-free baking. Though I have no other gluten-free recipes in which to use it. Except these that I just found on the Bob's Red Mill site. We'll see what lasts longer - the rice flour or the giant bottle of molasses. As of now, it's a dead heat.

So, for those of you for whom photographic comparisons are the true teller of results, please allow me to present my perfect recreation of the Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cake for your edification:

This is what the real one looks like.

And for those of you for whom the texture is the truth teller:

Pudding-y center. Yes, please.

And for those of you for whom the taste is the truth teller:

Well, you'll have to make it for yourself. Because you can't be shoving a spoon through the monitor and even if you could it wouldn't be hot by the time you got it into your greedy mouth, so it's better if you just make it on your own, then isn't it? Because when it's fresh from the oven, smelling all lusty and warm and richly chocolate, a spoonful scooped direct from the center is like the richest, yet not-too-sweetest, brownie crossed with flourless chocolate cake you could ever want to have in your face.

It's just very incredibly good. Or, FUCKINGAWESOME, as some less eloquent folks (me) might say.

And I don't really know where the beets went in this thing, but the only remnants that really showed through in the final product were in the color of the dessert itself, which was this lovely dark reddish-brown velvet, and maybe the tiniest bit in the vague earthy flavor beneath all that heavenly chocolate.

I can tell you that it didn't taste like dirt, if that's what you're wondering. Which is what Bubba was wondering. Which is why he doesn't like beets and also why he was upset with me fucking up the first chocolate cake I'd made in forever (?) by throwing in a big old scoop of beet puree that was going to render his chocolate as dirt.

To sum it for you - he immediately declared it a winner and asked if I had more beet puree for a rematch. Which I do. Though I'm out of chocolate, so we'll have to deal with that matter separately.

A winner though! A big fat Here's What The F I Do With Beets winner!

I'm sure you'll be just as pleased when you make your own. Because we're not sharing. Because we're not that nice, despite what you've seen here.

And just because I'm a bit behind on telling you the intimate and absurd details of my life, here's some stuff I hope will be coming soon:

Running update on the topics of The Best Run Ever and Running Naked
Bulletproof chicken soup recipe if my mom lets me share it
How I have a winter garden growing even though I said I wasn't going to have one
The progress of NaNoWriMo now that I've stepped back from the ledge

Let's hope I can scratch together some time for these things before they all change.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you smell that?

That burning smell? I can smell it. Yep - THAT.

Don't be alarmed - it's just my brain melting down. Because NaNoWriMo is really not going as smoothly as I previously and naively thought that it surely would.

Don't be confused by the word count you see in the sidebar - it may be in the 20Ks, but only two of those words make sense in their context, I'm sure of it.

I mean, I kinda knew I'd be in for some shit once I got through the honeymoon phase of the first few days - with my fresh new idea turning to molten crap right there on the screen in front of me, but I was really a whore about the whole thing in the beginning and was all up to my shoulders in that false sense of supremacy that can only come from someone who has never tried to write a novel.

I was all, Shit - I have this awesome, funny premise and a whole month to write about it, it's going to be kick ass! And, who are all these people complaining - how hard could this be? Losers.

Well, pee shaw - I am the loser now.

And why? Because all the shit that they talk about in the NaNo forums about characters becoming boring and plots losing steam and fingers bouncing off laptops while resulting in zero coherent words on the page are totally a reality in my life now.

And it's all because I never lost that "I am different and therefore will not experience the issues that normal people do due to my specialness" quality that has been a part of my psyche from the time when I was a small child.

Like, you know when you watch a movie and there's a smart girl and a not so smart girl or a powerful boss and a downtrodden assistant or a clever thief and a dumb sidekick or the hot chick and the ugly chick? Well, in my mind, I'm always the smart girl/powerful boss/clever thief/hot chick.

I would always just align myself with those characters even though, as I get older and (one would hope) wiser, I've realized that not only am I not the smart, powerful, clever hottest girl, but I'm not even in the movie. I'm not even in the best seat in the fucking movie theater and I paid $12 to get in here and am wearing jeans with a hole in the crotch and dirty flip-flops with a very old pedicure.

So, what I'm saying is that it has come to my attention that I've spent a lot of my life being very delusional about who and what I am, what I can and can not do (Kung Fu is a good example) and what I do and do not look like and despite that jarring realization and vague but lagging understanding, I still somehow didn't adequately prepare myself for NaNoWriMo, but instead allowed my brain to delude me into thinking that somehow this was going to be easy like Sunday morning even when other people were balancing on building ledges as the task approached.

This also explains why I still take pairs of size 6 jeans into the dressing room with me even though I haven't been a size 6 in jeans since my freshman year of college. So delusional.

What I should have been telling myself was, "Look, woman, it is very difficult to write a novel. That is why not everyone does this. And you are not a fucking superwoman who has unique ideas that no one else has thought of AND the talent to sit down at a computer and put them to the page in an amusing or even relatively meaningful manner. So get off your high horse and go write something for the blog because at least there you can yammer about things you know, like running slowly around the block and spending ridiculous amounts of time planting shit in the ground. Leave novel-writing to the professionals and just go write some bad words for the internet to read because that's where you really belong."

Also, "That Snuggie isn't attractive and might as well be a fucking muumuu for the amount of action you're going to get while wearing it."

It hasn't been a fun ride these last few days.

I've had to take a new tact with the book and this tact doesn't please me. It's basically the Just Write Some Disjointed Stories About Your Characters And Then Maybe Someday Come Back And String Them Together With Swears method and I'm not sure it's going to work out.

I'll say it - I'm tired of these characters. They're not fun enough. And I don't know how to make them fun. I'm tired of the storyline. It's not interesting enough and I don't know how to make it interesting. My original inspiration that flowed from my brain like wine (see, that doesn't even make sense) has abandoned me for other more hospitable accommodations. Like, perhaps inside the head of a person who knows how to write compelling fiction, for instance.

I'm pretty sure my muse took one look at the garbage I was putting down on the page and was like, pfffffffft - this a total waste of my time.

And you know what? I don't even blame her. I'd leave my mess of an imagination right now, too, if I could. Because when I start to try to imagine what should go on with my fucked up story and boring characters my mind inevitably wanders off and starts putting together outfits for events not happening until 2010 or starts flipping through seed catalogs I haven't even received yet. This mind of mine has already decided that it would rather grow some kind of cantaloupe rather than honeydew but it can't make the female lead in this story do anything more interesting that bounce her three boobs around while sprinting across traffic!

It's maddening!

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: I've been quiet on the blog this week because all of my extraneous brain power left after work has been fitfully squooze onto the surface of my NaNo novel, leaving precious little left to fill this blog or even scratch out an intelligible note to the cleaning lady about please don't clean the microwave anymore because we don't use it and you keep putting it back wrong so that it clunks around and scares the dog when I try to make popcorn.

So, in a way, I'm sort of doing you a favor by sparing you my mindless rambling and endless whining and pointless bitching because I bet that if I'd shared with you my irretrievable delusions of grandeur with regard to novel writing when I said something about doing NaNoWriMo last month, you'd have told me to stick with the blog and forget about things as grandiose as stringing together 50,000 sensical words in one month's time.

Feel free to give me a good old, "I told you so", now because I totally deserve it. For being such a pompus bitch about this whole NaNo thing, even if it was all just in my head and I never actually said to anyone, "What's the big deal? So you write a book. Big whoop." because that's totally what I was thinking.

More wrong than size 6 jeans or thinking that my new haircut is going to look as good on me as it did on Jennifer Aniston when she cut it short (not The "Jennifer" haircut - that I did not like) and hated it but I thought it was really cute and filed it away as a haircut I'd maybe get one day if I had the balls to cut my hair short.

Well, I cut it short alright, but it still looks way cuter on Jennifer than it does on me, which is obvious because HELLO she is who she is and I am not her. Which seems like something about which I'd have previously have been aware, but thanks to my amazing self-deluding powers, was totally NOT aware of.

Again, it's been a rough week, delusional-wise.

I think I'll go run around the block. Slowly.

Monday, November 09, 2009

So far it looks like I might not be a loser.

When last we saw the Suck Less landscaping project, Bubba and I had planted 210 (!) low-water grass plugs in the front yard and I was praying that they would establish so I wouldn't look like a loser to all of my neighbors and greater Creation.

Afterward, in order to soothe my grass-establishing anxiety, I did some shopping, as is my way, and ordered "some wildflower bulbs".

Now, because I was mildly ashamed (and afraid) of my shopping trip, I didn't provide any real details about the "some wildflower bulbs" I'd purchased beyond linking to some vague description about the bulbs themselves. What I carefully left out was the amount of bulbs involved in this little Nature Shopping Spree of mine because, well, it was a little how you say, outrageous.

My friends, I ordered 800 (actual) bulbs. Yes. Eight Oh Oh bulbs. Wildflower ones. With the intention of planting them all in the front yard with the grass plugs to hopefully create this bucolic meadow scene sometime in the future.

And then, perhaps as a gesture of fortitude and determination, I also purchased the suggested small bulb planting tool because even then I knew I was in over my head and would need all the help I could get.

And need it, I surely fucking did.

WOW. People, 800 bulbs is a lot. Even when a lot of them are teeny and they all fit in your old broken plastic bucket.

And why would they all be mixed together in a giant bucket, indiscriminately mingling with one another leaving no way to tell (mostly) which were which and when in the springtime they'd bloom and how tall they'd be so that they don't block out the little teeny ones so you know where to plant each individual one for best effect?

Well, to answer that, let's just get on to Step #12 in this process of Sucking Less All The Time landscaping (Steps 1-2 are here and Steps 3-11 are here).

Step 12: Dump the contents of each bag of bulbs into one giant receptacle for planting indiscriminately because any other method would land you in the loony bin.

Box 1 of 2. Lord help me.

See, in my mind, I had originally planned to plant all these bulbs the same way I've always planted bulbs. I was going to take the bags out to the yard and toss them where I wanted to plant them. And then I would take my handy trowel and go from bag to bag (usually there's no more than half a dozen bags) planting the bulbs in clumps.

This has typically taken me about 30 minutes to an hour to complete in my great and untarnished history of planting bulbs.

I always put it off and put it off, but this task that seems like a pain is usually not a pain at all and in the springtime I am rewarded with lovely blooming things in the yard. Yay.

Well, let me be clear that this time, however, it was a pain and I should have been putting it off and putting it off because this time it would have been appropriate given the pain it involved.

And let me be clear that I didn't use this old tried and true method of bulb planting because if I had I would not be here typing this post for y'all to read. No. I'd be institutionalized with other criminally insane gardeners for putting a bulb planting spike through a passer-by's forehead.

It would have been bad, is what I'm saying.

So, thankfully, I opened up about my shopping misstep to our neighbors over dinner one night and they helpfully suggested that, rather than attempting to stage some sort of strategic coup in my front yard with specifically placed bulbs to allow for maximum height, space, design or other perfection, instead I should just dump all the bulbs in a bucket and go to work planting them just however they came out of the bucket.

Oh. You mean, without a plan?

I'll admit, at first this sounded like craziness. Like utter reckless lunacy. I couldn't fathom the haphazardness of this approach at all. Because my mind is small and my A/R is large.

But, when I received and opened the enormous box (like it could have been holding something as large as three Rockets), I knew there could be no other way. My patience would not have allowed for it.

And so sprung forth Step #12: take all the bulbs out of their little bags, pour them in a bucket and store all the bulb tags for future use as bookmarks or as reminders of weak moments of yore.

I swear this seemed like a lot of bulbs.
Lots of tags. For reminder's-sake.

And while it sorta sounds like I made this decision quickly and the ensuing dumping of bulbs into one bucket was a thoughtless, un-mulled scenario, I will tell you that it was not.

Oh no. I mulled it fervently for a solid week, as the box haunted me from my potting bench and then I mulled it some more during my shortish-long Saturday morning run (running update coming soon) and not until the bags were actually being emptied into the bucket was I secure in the knowledge that this is how the bulbs were going to get planted.

Somewhere back in the most A/R recesses of my brain I think I was still contemplating creating a complicated schematic of the yard and all the bulbs' precise planting spots. Because, after all, some of me is always going to be totally insane.

Thankfully we've passed the point in my life where that part of me is running the show. Because it is a scary thing and I don't want to live like that anymore.

Moving on!

Step #13: Take out your pent up frustration on the earth.


I started out planting these bulbs in a different way than I finished planting them, and the method by which I finished this project is far superior to the way I started. So I'm going to share with you my finishing method rather than my starting method and if you've managed to follow along in my ramblings thus far, you'll have no trouble at all.

Of course, I'm going to confuse things further by first telling you my starting, and later found to be faulty, method for planting all these bulbs. Because I know you're just dying to know.

FYI: Don't do it this way. Wait for the Finishing Method. This is just for your amusement.

So, to start, I set my bucket down at one corner of the smaller section of our front yard and began by brushing away about an arm's length of mulch, as I crouched or kneeled on one of those cushy gardening kneeling pad things.

Then, with the yard stabber (aka small bulb planting tool, which I TOTALLY recommend because it works REALLY well), I'd make about half a dozen holes at random in the landscape fabric/tarp/whathaveyou, drop in a bulb (root side down), cover it back with soil and then cover the whole mess back up with mulch - taking care to leave any grass plugs uncovered.

This takes more time than it needs to.

I did this for 3/4 of the entire space. Which was retarded. Don't do this.

FYI: Do it this way. The way I'm about to tell you. You'll be happier in the end. Promise.

So, once I got about 3/4 of the way done, I wanted to be 4/4 of the way done really badly. Like, I took a break from the arduous project just to go find Bubba and tell him how much I wanted to be done.

I'm not a very creative procrastinator.

Also, I got a glass of water and thought longingly about my lunch, which I'd finished at 1/2 of the way through the project when Bubba rescued me with a muffaletta break on our patio.

Let me just say this: Bless the muffaletta. It is so very delicious.

Anyway, once I got back from my lunch fantasizing and water drinking and bitching to Bubba about how much I wanted to be done with this horrible project I tasked myself with, I approached the remaining (and suddenly huge feeling) 1/4 of the yard in a new and more efficient (read: lazier) way.

I just stabbed the ground at random.

Yes. That's it. I just carted the bucket around with what was left of the bulbs rolling around inside and, when I saw an undisturbed bit of mulch, I stabbed a hole in the ground and dropped in a bulb.

Most of the time I made sure the root end was down. And most of the time I only put one bulb in there. The rest of the time? Well, whatever happened, happened. There were 800 bulbs! They can't all be perfect!

You know how I get.

And it all got done, so there you go.

Do you like how this looks the same as it did before? Yeah. Not super encouraging, but I promise it's OK.

Step 14: Water it.

Dudes. I know. This is supposed to be xeric. Low water. Drought tolerant. A miracle. I KNOW. But first, it must establish. And for it to establish so that it doesn't need water in future times from the hose (only the sky), you must water it. You know the song. Sing it - and water the grass and bulbs.

Then stand back and survey your greatness and take note that the watering you did back when you planted the grass plugs (and all the careful step following) seems to be working because the plugs are definitely establishing and putting out some new growth.

See how little he was before? My big boy.

Step 15: Commence finger-crossing and rain dancing.

So now, we wait. We hope that rain comes (because you know I'm not getting out there with the hose if I can avoid it) and waters the little angels so that in the spring time all the bulbs can come up in their haphazard pattern and give my A/R a little something to chew on.

We also shoo squirrels and search the internet for squirrel-shooing curses one can cast from the confines of the workplace.

We pull the random weed. We get down on our hands and knees in our work clothes to inspect individual blades of grass seen emerging in various plugs.

We threaten contractors' lives if they dare step foot on a single grass plug as they dismantle our front porch in the name of structural integrity.

But that, my friends, is another story about which you will hear all too soon.

For now - let's all hope for some rain.

Then we can get on to Step 16: Basking in the glory of your meadow-making prowess.