Thursday, September 30, 2010

All kinds of melon wrongness

I'm not sure which is bigger news, if gardening news can be big anyway - the outcome of the square watermelon experiment or the status of the elusive African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon aka STD Melon aka What The Fuck Is That Thing?

I eenie meanie miney moe'd and determined that the crazy ass looking melon with horns goes first. Because, in all fairness, they're both pretty crazy ass looking.

You know what I mean.

The horny one though!


Me so horny.
(Come on, you knew that was coming.)

As you might imagine, the visiting of the garden after a nice long vacation where I couldn't stare at it every day and scream, 'GROW, YOU BASTARDS', at the melons is usually eventful. And, this late in the season with the recent and frighteningly powerful heat wave that came and hung out while we were gone really helped in the GROW department.

So, when I went out to the garden to see just exactly what it thought it was doing while we were gone and all casually said to Bubba, "Wouldn't it be nice if this fucking jelly melon actually grew a thing?", I almost immediately spotted a thing.

An African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon thing that promptly bit me.

Y'all, this thing is pointy. As you can plainly see from the photo. And the sneaky thing is that there's another smaller one growing behind it which did not see when I reached in to carefully touch this one so OW DAMNIT.

But, the excitement was present, nonetheless, because YAY this long-awaited freakish looking fruit that could be mistaken for the business end of a mace has arrived. And now we shall all arm ourselves against it.

Nothing like pointy fruit for me to reconsider my position on weapons in the home.

The other big crazy looking gardening news is in the We're Freaks and Trying To Grow a Square Watermelon Department, of course.

And the weirdness here, it's two fold.

Firstly, the box method totally worked. Sort of.

This side's square.
This side's squarish.

That side? Not as square.
And I'm sweaty because it was 95 degrees at the time. Square melon though!

See, the thing began to grow to fit its box and all was fine until we drastically underestimated the sheer strength of a melon contained. These things could break out of a minimum security prision if given half a chance.

What happened was the fucking thing started growing against the handy lid Bubba attached and managed to lift the top half of the box off despite the FOUR screws holding it in place. And these werent, like, little short pussy IKEA screws made of ham or something - NO. These are long galvanized screws that were used in the building of our fucking fence, people.

Yes, it's dramatic - the mighty watermelon.

Anyway, that's one of the folds of weirdness - the brutal force of a growing watermelon. Plus, look at its cute moon on the butt there? Cute moon.

As for the second fold of weirdness, remember when I said, "oh how super fun would it be if the flesh inside grew into a square, too, but let's not be crazy because that would never happen!" or something like that?

Hello, crazy:
I believe I speak for all of us when I say, "What the fuck?"
And then, "Neatoooooooo"

Yah, it totally did.

Grow into the square shape inside there. For reals. I nearly shit when I sliced it open and not for the normal reason that slicing open a watermelon scares me (because I'm constantly afraid that I'm going to lose control of the thing with my 10" chef's knife buried it its fleshy insides and it's going to come crashing down on my feet in the kitchen). Bubba wins this bet - the flesh grows into a square shape when the melon is a square shape.


Now, for the awesome part of this experiment: the efficiency factor.

Remember again how the Japanese were buying these things for a small fortune because they fit so conveniently like in their tiny small fridges or some such nonsense? Well, yes, that is true:

I'm sorry, but that is awesome.

But what's also true and way more efficient, if you ask me (and if you don't want my opinion then what the hell are you doing here anyway? Just a question.), is the fact that slicing up a square watermelon is, like, 100 times easier and less wasteful than performing the same task on a round one.

And not just because of the terrifying chef's knife scenario I described before.

Number one, the thing sits flat and sturdy on the cutting board:
Huh. That's handy.

Yes, indeedy. No rolling about. No precarious holding in place with one hand while stabbing recklessly with the mighty long blade in the other.

ThenTHEN when you go to slice off the rind, you are left with this fine rectangular cube of watermeloney perfection that slices up super easy like into perfect little chunks easy for storing in your favorite also rectangular Tupperware.

I'm a bit self-conscious about how excited this made me.
Is it wrong to be excited about perfectly chunked watermelon? It's not, right? OK. Phew.

Doesn't that just beat all?

I'm so about this square watermelon thing, friends. It's going to become a sickness, I can just tell. I mean, I've already chosen a smaller variety to grow next year and Bubba's already drawing up mental mind plans for the boxes he'll build. We're nuts.

So, yeah, we're dispatching of this 17 1/2 pound square beast in two ways;
1. in perfectly cubed form and
2. in watermelon juice form because have you tasted watermelon juice? It is heavenly. Basically just blended up watermelon with a bit of water and BAM most refreshing beverage ever.

OH, and don't let me forget this vaguely strange melon occurrence that also was waiting for me when I got home from vacation: Snakes in a Garden.

Yeah, that's the OH MY GOD IT'S TOO CREEPY HOW COULD YOU GROW SOMETHING SO BIZARRE Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon that doesn't look too weird in comparison now does it? All you melon fearfuls, you. So silly.

And that is as much wrongness as I'm willing to put out there today, adieu.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Photographic evidence that we are a pair of horse's asses

Why, yes, it IS 6am on a vacation weekday - thank you for noticing!

We are getting over our jet lag slowly but surely around here. Yesterday I was up at 4 and at 5:45, I heard a voice calling out to me from the bedroom as I clacked away on the computer in the office,

"Quiet, you!", (He was kidding) and then "You hungry?"

"Strangely, YES."

"Great. I'm up. Let's go get breakfast."

We heal our jet lag with grits and bacon and pancakes around here, y'all. And this morning, we are dog-walking, bill-paying and just generally not sleeping at this ungodly vacation hour. During a work week, fine - I'm up at 6 - but on a vacation day? Well, we just spent the last week and half sleeping in until 9:30 everyday, so it feels a bit wrong to be awake in the dark morning hours.

Though it does feel good to not be hungover.

Which leads me to the real point of this post - WE WENT TO OKTOBERFEST, PEOPLE, AND IT WAS AWESOME.

I mean, obviously, but...

Our plan for Oktoberfest was a bit vague beyond the Let's Wear Festive Attire To Drink In The Tents concept. It just seemed like no matter how much we talked about the thing, we couldn't get past the part where I'd be wearing this sweet Dirndl and Bubba'd be wearing these awesome Lederhosen and OHMYGAWDWON'TITBEFUN!

Thankfully, we had some friends in Munich and from the States who were meeting us there and they had thought it through a bit more thoroughly. And thankfully, even though Bubba's Lederhosen did not end up in Munich inside of his luggage as planned when we checked both our bags at the same time in San Francisco through to Munich and then his bag ended up in FUCKING BEIJING OF ALL PLACES while mine was the first one off the carousel in Munich, we still had a fantastic time with one of us in festive garb and one of us in a borrowed Tshirt and the same jeans he wore on the plane.

Yep. Boobs. Check.

Poor Bubba - he's a good sport and sturdy traveler if nothing else.

Firstly, we went to Oktoberfest the night we got in just to check it out.
Um, whoa dude.

We went to the parade.
Um, whoa dude.

We went to Oktoberfest after the parade to DRINK IN THE TENTS.

We went to the English Garden to DRINK OUTSIDE THIS TIME.
Alright, really, whoa.

We took off our shoes and put on mismatching coats and staggered back to our hotel where we could DRINK IN THE HOTEL BAR UNTIL WE WERE BLIND.
And, officially WHOA. As in, STOP.

It was a good time. And then, we slept. For a while.

And once we'd recovered from the madness of Oktoberfest spent properly, we went around town ogling and eating and drinking most everything we could find.
There was a lot to be found.

I'll tell you this, I really like Munich.

Once we'd eaten all the pretzels (OH THE PRETZELS! Just guess what my project for this week is?) and had all the beer and tried all the wurst (Currywurst? Are you aware of this thing? I should be eating it right now.) in Munich, we took the train to the cutest looks like it's made of gingerbread town in Germany, Freiburg.

Hello, cuteness.
Cuteness doesn't extend to wurst, but still.

I think I said, "This place is so cute!" about 700 times and I'm sure that our hosts were wondering if I did, in fact, speak any English beyond that one statement. I had proven that I didn't speak German immediately, since apparently Scheibenwischer is not the locally recognized term for "Nice to meet you!"

Who knew?

We cavorted about Freiburg like happy little beer drinking, wurst eating, picture taking monkeys for a few days and even made our way to the Black Forest for some waterfall hiking and The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music mad running about on the impossibly green and grassy hillsides.
No, this is not a Hollywood set.

Seriously - I didn't know there was a place that actually looked like this. I thought the teevee had made it all up with poster paint and CGI and shit, but no - there it is - Really Real.

And when our hosts were completely maxed on our "Ooh! Look at that!" and "Ooh! Taste this!" and "Hehehe - it says 'einfart' on that sign!", we finally left Germany on the train for Amsterdam.

It's OK. You can laugh, too.

Oh, the train. Friends - I love the train. And Deutsche Bahn is about the best thing going as far as I'm concerned. I'm not going to go into painful detail about our train rides, because in the end they were just train rides, but it made me jealous as hell that Europeans can just hop a train and be in another country in half a day or less and it doesn't cost more than a pain in the ass jumper flight to LA from NorCal.

Plus, it's not a complete mind-sucking hassle, the food is good, they have a bar and it's way comfortable.

Just saying, US - we need this.

Amsterdam, though, yeah - it was good times. Even when we thought that the town was playing tricks on us and trying to tease us for our New Amsterdam Glow by bending its buildings all wonky style or by letting all the weirdos roam the streets at the same time.

Fantastic place.

Yes, we are mellooooooooooow.

We crammed history, sightseeing, walking the markets, visiting the coffeehouses, ducking into bars and general canal-wandering enjoyment into 3 days and, I'll tell you now, we'll be going back.

Though, it'd be nice to do so when the weather has made up its mind, because it's a little strange to experience nearly every weather pattern in an 8 hour timespan. Seriously: sun, heat, clouds, fog, drizzle, rain, HAIL and wind - all in one day.

It's just hard to get dressed is all I'm saying.

Not that it kept us from having a good time oh noooo. We just took the change in weather patterns as a sign that we needed to visit THIS coffeehouse or THIS bar or THIS Burgermeester with its fab smelling beef and so on.

The fact that we made it to the airport in one sober piece is a bit surprising, but I guess that's the adventure in it.

So, yeah - the fortuitous US-based Oktoberfest party last year was a nice push in a new vacationing direction. Not that we'll forgo skiing and beaching vacations from now on, but we have drawn up a mental mind list of other European (and Australian and Greek and and and) cities we want to visit sometime soon.

And we're totally going back to Munich and Amsterdam sometime. Soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On making an international ass of myself

I suppose it's high time I told you that I'm going out of the country for a while to drink beer with professional beer drinkers.

Because, while I might not be training for any races right now, I *should* be training to drink beer in stein-sized quantities for our trip.

See, last year, while fresh off a 12 mile training run, Bubba and I attended a fabulous and ultimately vacation-changing event at a friend's place.

Is an event that changes the course of your predetermined vacations at all significant?

It is if you're us. Because we take our vacations veryVERY seriously, something I know I've mentioned before. And, usually, we do one beach-type trip in the summer and one snow-type trip in the winter and that is how we roll.

Snow happens. Sand happens. We are both sated in our need for said things and end our year on a happy note.

Except last year, before we even set out to plan this year's vacations (we are those losers that do this planning over the December holidays because we are psychos), we got distracted by an extremely fun and festive party at our friends' place and I think it had something to do with all the beer and meat.

Bubba and I - we like beer and meat. And pretzels and pickles and words with รถ in them. And in case you haven't guessed what this life-changing event was, I will tell you.

It was Oktoberfest

Our friends, one of them being my favorite Germaness, hosted a great little Fest at their house that, by the end, had us all talking about Did you know that next year is the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest? which later evolved (during a German themed meal at the Germaness's house) into us talking about Wouldn't it be cool if we all went to Oktoberfest in Munich next year? and then later into What hotel are you staying in and how do you like this dirndl for me?

Basically, Bubba and I have discovered a new thing about ourselves - when it comes to beer and meat, we can be convinced to travel to other continents and to do so dressed in costume.

Let the power of beer and meat never be underestimated. EVER.

So, yeah, we've packed our dirndls and lederhosen, girded our livers and have postponed cycling and running training schedules until October - when we'll have hopefully returned from disgracing ourselves in festive garb to reclaim our sobriety and potentially embrace vegetarianism (never).

And, you know, since we'll be all in the neighborhood and such, we're going to visit some friends who live conveniently in an adorable town near (in?) the Black Forest and then take a little run up to Amsterdam to, you know, see the canals and such.

Sure, we didn't do a ski or beach trip this year in any formal fashion, but with all the beer and meat that awaits us, it's almost like we don't notice. Plus - the photos! Can you just imagine the photos, people? I mean, really. 

Coming soon - photographic evidence that I'm a horse's ass.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Running update: Another way in which I'm a tard

You guys all know I'm a Garmin dork by now and you also know that after the discovery of the Virtual Partner (whore) feature, I pretty much dropped off the face of the What Can This Thing Really Do planet.

Even though I wanted to know things like my heart rate and details about each and every mile I'd run, the wounds from my exploration of the crazy ass menu substrata had left me twice shy and therefore I just allowed myself to think that "oh, it probably can't do that anyway". And by "that" I mean, "tell me all the details of every mile I've run".


It can.

So, you know, back when I was torturing myself endlessly on the hunt for the sub-60 10K (apologies. I know I said I'd stop saying that.), it would have been super extra nice to just look down at my watch every mile when it beeped (yep, it does that, too) to see that Oh crap, that mile was 9:49 and I better pick it up if I want to come in under an hour rather than having to compound the running torture with complicated and extremely fuzzy math to come to the same conclusions.

Which is what I did. I ran along and distracted myself from the pain of trying to run below a 9:29 pace by simultaneously trying to compute pace, distance and mileage stats like some sort of human pace calculator. And since we all know how awesome my math is, I think you know that the only outcome could be failure.

In the end, I resorted to Running Fast Because of Fear rather than Running Fast Because of Facts, which is how I'd prefer to do it, but since Facts were sort of hard to come by but I had plenty of Plus-60 Fear in my head - that's what I went with.

I wasn't looking to be a hero with my time, just to come in at 59:59 or less, and I thought if I had enough fear then I would be able to conquer all.

Which only proved to be true after a few shitty training runs, a kidney shriveling mess of a 10K race and then a significant revelation involving being realistic about the involvement of stop light rest breaks on race courses.


I really could have used the Auto Lap feature on the watch back then.

Auto Lap? Why, what in the whole wide world is Auto Lap?

Well, I'll tell you what it's not. It's NOT something that I would associate with running laps. Because I don't run laps around a track. I run around a neighborhood, along a creek and through the streets of Silicon Valley. There aren't any tracks or discernible laps involved. It's out around my pre-determined loop and home. So, perhaps you could call that ONE lap, but I don't, I call it one run. For which I'd love to know how each mile panned out so that I could come to know and embrace the fact that mile #2 is where I tend to suck ass but then by some miracle during miles #3 and #4, I pull my act together and start running like I mean it.

Which I did not know until last Saturday.

Because on Saturday morning I sat down with my Garmin and the Garmin website and hunted around like a god damned sniper looking for instructions on how to make this obscenely huge watch tell me the wonders of my running world.

And that is where I found out that this Auto Lap business, that I'd be ignoring steadfastly since coming to own said watch, should be called Auto Mile or Auto Distance or Mile Info or something that would tell the casual owner who didn't read the miniscule booklet that came with the friggen watch that OH you can track the data for all your miles with this thing.


Anyway, now we know that Auto Lap means Turn This Feature On And It Will Beep After Each Mile And Tell You Your Pace And Time For The Mile You Just Ran.

Don't you know I was so proud of myself for finally figuring this out, until I went out for my run, which was now delayed by a solid 30 minutes thanks to my digital tinkering, to find that the temperature had increased a solid 10 degrees and OH YAY every time this thing beeps I get worse news.

So, now I'm not stressed out just at the final minutes of my run (gotta make sub-60! gotta make sub-60! Don't throw up!), I'm stressed the whole fucking time because ACK! My pace is 9:39 average and then 10:17 average and CRAP!

Yeah, I'm not to be trusted with too much information. And, yeah, I know I should probably dive in and see what else this thing can do now, since it apparently has all manner of magical abilities, but my brain is totally fried.

I might have to go back to complete ignorance or the concept of running for, like, the joy of it or some such nonsense.

Painful and tedious mileage stats soon to come...I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Adopt a Crop 2010 : Melons! The normalish kind.

Hi, it's been a while since I did the gardeningblahblahblah. Especially in relation to the Adopt a Crop thing, which if you'll recall, had something to do with melons that look like space alien STDs or something.

You remember.

Well, let me first tell you that this post doesn't contain any photos of STD-reminiscent melons. And, while you may be relieved by that news, I am not. Because the lack of such things means that these fucked up looking melons, which I was so keen to grow, taste and taunt you with, are probably not going to see the light of day or flash from my camera this year. Because it's September and the "hottest" part of the summer is likely behind us, so the likelihood that these things are going to get inspired and produce a spiny looking whatthefuckisthat is pretty slim.

Thankfully, however, the plant is vaguely pretty and it's climbing the little cage I gave it for recreation (it's at least a bit athletic, which I like), so I feel like it could have a chance of producing in future years when we don't have the coldest summer in 40 years of recorded history.

Ignore our WT bbq back there. Just look at the pretty melon plant.

Have I told you yet that this has been a cold summer? Because it has. Not that I'm complaining of course, since we live in a house older than my oldest relative that is charmingly sans-air conditioning, so burning hot summers aren't really high on my wish list except that it means that at least we'll be able to ripen some melons and produce a second big wave of tomatoes.

Ix-nay on the econd-say wave of omatoes-tay, too, by the way. And, wow, since when do I lapse into pig latin? Sometimes I can be so retarded.

Anyway, no African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melons to show you. Even though I'd love to freak you guys out with them at this point.

Also, no big second wave of tomatoes to report on, though I'm still holding out hope we'll get some good ones off the three plants and MAYBE if I wish really hard and cross all my digits, I'll pull a 2 pounder off the Brandywine (what I'm assuming the "Black Krim" turned out to be. Nursery liars.) as that is my amended Garden Wish of 2010.

I think my initial wish had something to do with throwing horned melons at the annoying neighbor kids (WHY MUST THEY SCREAM LIKE THAT? THEY'RE BOYS AND THEY SOUND LIKE TRANNY MONKEYS.), but I can't abide throwing precious tomatoes at them, so it appears they are safe from my produce throwing for one more year.

They should feel lucky that I don't grow squash because HOLY I'd lob one of those across the street without a second thought. Fuckers grow so fast and all.

So, since I don't have any horny melons to show you, how about I instead show you the most recent conquest out of the garden? Yes? You like that? Thought so.

Also, please enjoy this super ugly picture of me. It was hot and sweaty and my head is round like a god damned jack-o-lantern.

There's just something about producing a 17 pound melon that makes me feel accomplished as a gardener. I mean, that is a significant fraction of my own body weight and it tastes like a god damned dream, unlike that fraction of my own body weight which I imagine tastes like Gardener Girl.

Butt dot

And since this time I sliced it open it was bright pink and delicious inside rather than pale pink and vaguely delicious inside, I feel like I've won the gardening lottery. And check out its butt dot. That, I believe, is the "moon" in the "Moon and Stars" variety. Let's call the little dots, "stars" and call it a day, then.

I mean, "Moon".

We haven't taken the box top off to see if one of them has grown into a square yet, but know that you'll be sort of the first to know. You know what I mean - there's my mom and the neighbors and Facebook to be informed first, and since I'm not the only one controlling the media event around the square watermelon (Bubba's a watermelon blabbermouth), I can't make any real promises. Apologies.

So, that's your normalish melon report. The rattlesnake watermelons, which were momentarily looking promising, have succumbed to some sort of unidentified garden muncher, so the two prospects are now toast and I've stopped holding out hope for any more. Melon Fail #2.

RIP, little snake.

Rest of the garden, though? Well...

The beans are huge, putting on another crop and harboring vigilante bugs at the heights of the bean tower. I have left the giant garden spiders to contend with the bugs (I saw an evil cucumber beetle in there and a big spider was going right for it - awesome) since the garden's nearly coming to a close for the season/I can't reach up to those beans anyhow/I'm lazy and don't have enough jars to make anymore pickles anyway.

And there are a million more just like them under that canopy of leaves.

The cucumbers are fucking prolific and I have no idea what I'll do with the rest of the crop these two plants put out because I'm out of jars and there's no way I'm buying more.

Please enjoy my hodgepodge collection of remnant jars.

Meanwhile, I've canned a LOT of pickles so far this season and some of them were the Mexican Sour Gherkin ones, so the winner of the upcoming Adopt a Crop giveaway will get these crazy ass looking pickles instead of *something* made from the nonexistent African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon. Just so you know.

The tomatoes are doing AOK, even after being stripped clean on multiple occasions to satisfy my need for canning, sauce making, tomato salad eating, sandwich stacking and gird your loins vacuum sealing.

Gird them!

Yes, friends, I finally bought a vacuum sealer after all these years of people asking me why I, "of all people", don't have one. Well, now I, "of all people", have a vacuum sealer and vacuumed tomatoes AND a chesty with a few bags of frozen tomatoes for winter to go with the manyMANY jars of canned tomatoes in the cupboard. I know there are tomato shortages going on all over the place in this fine state of mine, but the shortages stop at my doorstep. We are mostly full on tomatoes.

Yet still, I long for more.

Well, then, how about the tomatillos? They're OK. They produced enough for me to make about half a dozen pints of Salsa Verde and that's really all I imagined I would get, so we're square - the tomatillos and I. Of course, the plant that remains of the pair (one totally croaked and had to be pulled) is putting fruitless effort into producing blooms because it does not have a Two with which to Tomatillo, as previously reported as necessary for fruit production.

Get all that? Basically, tomatillo production is done, so we can just be grateful for the Salsa Verde you see here. Which also included all the paltry few jalapenos produced from the poor jalapeno plant which was summarily lost in the jungle of Brandywine tomato.

And that about does it for the garden update. At least vegetable-wise. I figure we've got about a month and a half before I have to seriously consider taking down the garden and putting it to bed for winter, during which time I will also knock over the potato tire tower and see what the hell's going on in there. For now, it's half alive and half dead and the plant changes its mind on which half is alive and which is dead on a bi-weekly basis, so giving you an update is nearly pointless.

If we get a single potato out of this thing, I'll be pleased. If it's not chock full of potato cooties, I'll be ecstatic.

Everything else is pretty much resting. The fruit trees; apple, cherry, kumquat, lime and lemon, are all in some form of either blooming (citrus) or lying about (cherry, apple) and that is AOK with me. I don't need any more mouths to feed right now.

And I'm getting ready to put in my order for a brand newly built beehive. Which doesn't have anything to do with THIS year's Adopt a Crop, but if I don't manage to fuck everything up, it will hopefully have a LOT to do with next year's.

Fingers crossing, people - fingers crossing.

Oh, and I've updated the garden tracker, so go rest your eyes on those numbers, my friends. No $64 tomato around these parts.

Monday, September 06, 2010

So awesome that let's forget I got another kitchen appliance, OK.

After the last few years of me reporting on strangely domestic and 50s housewife-ish birthday gifts bestowed upon me by my beloved (upon request, of course, so we can't go calling him mean names, now), I felt it was necessary to come back and report on this year's birthday gift.

Though I'm not sure it fits as squarely into the domestic 50s housewife or delusional homesteader categories as neatly as did my hillbilly potting bench or chest freezer. Those are just true gems right there.

No, this year's gift is another that I've pined for over the past few years and finally (apparently) convinced Bubba was a necessity in our home.

See, to give you a little back story so that you don't get all, "How frivolous! What a ridiculous thing to have taking up space on your counter and in your life you indulgent loser!" (because that's totally what you'd say. Judgers.), I used to drink a lot of sparkling water. Fizzy water some call it. Club soda others call it, though I'm sure that's a different beast altogether. And, well, I decided I had to give it up because I couldn't abide the waste of all those blue bottles cluttering up my recycle bin.

Even when it comes to recycling, I can't do TOO much recycling because that's still a lot of resources being used and then recycled. I'm very psycho about these things, I know.

Anyway, after many years of keeping my fridge stocked with liters of sparkling water, I gave it up. I made sun tea and put that in the fridge and when there wasn't any sun for sun tea (hello, winter!) I drank my water with lemon. I just have a thing with plain old tap water because around here it tastes a bit south of cheese.

I'm just saying.

So, it's been about a year or so since I kicked the bottled sparkling water habit. I've enjoyed not having to lug flats of giant unwieldy bottles out of Trader Joe's and into my garage and then into my house and then into the recycle bin and then out to the curb with my little psycho yelling in my ear all the while, "WASTER! BAD WASTER!"

I told you - I'm psycho. Or, perhaps, *WE* are psycho and that is just psycho in and of itself. Yikes.

At the same time though, my inner psycho kept also remembering this soda maker thing making its rounds on the internet. A contraption that sits on your counter, does not use any electricity or batteries and, when introduced to a bottle (which comes included) of tap water will BUZZZZZZ make it into fizzy water.

Just made that with my grody tap water and BLAM it tastes great.


Like the Home Jew version of water to wine, I suppose. Especially when I found out that DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET DIET TONIC FLAVOR FOR THIS THING AND MAKE YOUR OWN DIET TONIC AT HOME?

Yes. Yes you can.

Just contemplate the implications of this discovery for a moment...Come home from work, go to make a cocktail only to find that BOH! We're out of tonic. Or DAMNITALL! the tonic has gone way flat. Rather than hopping on the bike for a ride over to BevMo, just jam a bottle in the thing, BUZZZZZZ it and then add the diet tonic flavor. Then mix up a drink and pour Bubba a bourbon and ahhhhh it's cocktail time.

That's fricken beautiful.

So, for whomever that was that suggested I might start making my own tonic because I'm *that way*, you're right. And *that way* is *in favor of convenience and reducing waste*.

I've ordered this flavoring (which has no HFCS or weird chemicals)(and if there are weird chemicals in there, I'll thank you to keep it to yourself because I can only do *so much* righting of my personal wrongs at once) and a diet cola flavoring for Bubba and once it arrives we will not only be awash in just as much sparkling water as we can stand (and I'm AWASH IN IT NOW, BABY!), but also we'll be free from the bottles of diet tonic and the cans of diet Coke and oh my god let the cleansing begin.

I might have to send the recycle bin on a vacation because it's going be a lot less in demand without Coke cans and tonic bottles all filling it up.Well, except for the bourbon, gin and wine thing at a time.

Plus, wouldn't you just know that buying flavors to add to this homemade sparkly water is about the most cost effective thing ever when compared to buying the bottles and cans. Oh, it is. One bottle of diet tonic flavor works out to 12 bottles of diet Tonic for five big dollars.

And barely any waste!

Have I said no waste? Because there's barely any.

So, yeah, I'm stoked on this gift and I don't care how Housewife/Domestic/Psycho/Cheap/Fizzy Water Obsessed/Indulgent/Lovable that makes me because ...brrrrrrrrrpp!... I love my fizzy water.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

OYW : Sew Along 2010 : September/October

Hey Donk,

Thanks for the birthday spoiling, my friend, you know it's what I like. Well, what I really like about my birthday is being able to proclaim, "That's not birthday talk!" about anything I feel like especially when that anything is that cocktail time shouldn't start before noon.

Um, during my birthday, cocktail time starts when I damn well say it does. Which is to say, before noon if I so please.

Anyway, I really wasn't that much of a birthday brat this year because I was perfectly happy (and steeped in cocktail time) in the backcountry of Yosemite with my Bubba where, while I did receive some fantastic gifts, I did not roll around in yarn or any other of the gruesomely tempting things you suggested. Rowr.

Enough birthday talk though - what about sewing talk? Yes, let's do that.

So, firstly, congrats to Sourkraut who keeps creating these incredible projects and WOO this month's sexy Not Ugly Car Trash bag which I love a special lot and not only because of the fact that she made an honest woman out of my very own pattern, but because HELLO CUPCAKES.

I like cupcakes.

And rhubarb pie. Which, sadly, was not part of my birthday celebration, but that's a seasonal issue and no matter how hard I birthday wish for it, I can't get my end of summer birthday to align with the early spring seasonality of rhubarb.

Boo. Birthday Wish Fail.

OH - and, not to get too far off the Not Ugly Car Trash Bag topic - I made a few more of my own. Because, as it turns out, I like my own patterns and HEY actually use these things and the first one I made is fading fast in my car.

FYI folks, if you don't have tinted windows, cotton fabric fades in sunlight. Der. I know, you already knew this.

These bags are a bit more man-ish than my previous versions, but that's because I have received requests from man-ish people (Bubba) and they aren't fans of floral patterns. Freaks.

So, for next months' projects...

I proclaim this month's destashing sewing projects to be the Hands-free Belt Bag 

and/or the Flouncy Bag.

Plus, you could also make the Pumpkin Gingerbread, if you're ready to usher in fall and begin again to bake.

Me? No. I'm just getting warmed up for summer in the literal sense because it has only just hit 90 on the thermometer and I intend to suck up whatever heat and sunshine avails itself before I dive back into winter and begin coating my body in Gore Tex and fleece and, EW GASP, socks.

I prefer flip-flops, don't you know.

Anyway, that's just me and let's just all be glad not everyone's like me, yes?

So, meet back here just after (I apologize in advance) Halloween (I am sorry and I hate myself for saying that word) with your project's photos in the pool and we'll ananounce the winner, the last two projects for 2010 and then we'll lose our minds about OH MY GOD where did this effing year go?

Yes, I am predicting my horror already. That's how good I am.

Happy sewing, friends.