Thursday, December 27, 2012

And phew.

Happy two days after Christmas everyone!

No really. That's what I heard on the radio this morning.


But I do hope you had some nice holidays. We did.

It finally started snowing for reals in Tahoe, so we've been skiing. And sitting on wind hold. And skiing some more. And then gaping at two mile long gondola lines. And then ditching gondola lines for some backcountry skiing on the ridge instead. And then snowblowing the driveway.

And repeat.

But whatever - it's finally snowing, so it's happier around this place.

And also school is over for the semester so phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. It's happier around my Inside The Head place, too.

See, I really wanted to be past that first semester of Going Back To School. Even more than being past it, I wanted to have the grades in front of me to prove that I'd done it.

And even more than having the grades in front of me, I wanted them to be As.

Straight ones.

Because I did not turn our lives upside down for Bs, people. I just did not.

And that fact alone was stressing me out more than trying to learn 100 plants' Latin names, sections 200-602 of the National Organic Rule or how to calculate the winter heating costs for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse in Santa Cruz County.

The What Ifs were making me nutty.

What if I studied all that stuff and my grades weren't the Straight Nerdy As I wanted so bad down to my bones?

What if I quit my job, spent half a year driving up and down highway 17 to school, irretrievably muddied up my shiny red rain boots, bored Bubba half to death with talk of CCOF this and compliant compost that and then...Bs?



Blech, I tell you. That would be blech. Failure and blech.

You know how I get.

Anyway, I was starting to freak out a little bit, is what I'm saying. Toward the end of the semester, shit started to get real.

Those grades that I wanted so bad down to my bones were getting closer to being finalized by term papers, and final projects and finals and WHAT IFs were taking root in my brains.

It was a dark time for a minute there.

Thankfully it was a dark time which I responded to differently than I did during my undergrad.

Specifically, I did not get shitfaced, decide that "If I don't know it by now, I'm not going to know it." and then blissfully forget about my finals until the moment they were plopped in front of me on the last day of class.

I did not do specifically that.

I studied. OH MY GOD DID I STUDY. (Also, there was some shitfacing BUT ONLY AFTER STUDYING. That's the rule now.)

People, I've never studied so hard. Which may sound ridiculous when you know that I was studying for Horticulture and that probably seems easier to comprehend than, say, anything I took during my undergrad (except for maybe Humor Writing which wasn't so much about studying as it was about placating the wannabe comedian "professor" running the class), but I will tell you that when I want As - hard studying is the only way that it's going to happen.

I'm no genius that automatically commits all important facts to memory. The only photographic things that I own have "Canon" stamped on their fronts. In order for me to remember things - even super important things that I'm very interested in and even riveted by - I have to hear them, do them, write them, rewrite them, tell them to someone else, meditate on them, sing a song where they are the antagonist and protagonist, tattoo a memorable acronym to the backs of my hands and hire a nice yet skeptical man to write them in the sky behind a biplane every day for a week.

This is the only way that my brain will finally give up and accept new information.

So I did almost all of those things in preparation for my finals and then...

So, phew.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hurricane Moishe touches down briefly in Miami.

A while back I did a holiday rant about ugly menorahs.

I'll sum it up for you real quick - eight nights of ugly menorahs were featured and they were, indeed, all ugly. Some were offensive, but all were ugly and most were tragically so.

I really thought that I had been thorough in my search for ugly menorahs, too. I thought my collection was comprehensive. My small mind couldn't comprehend of there being uglier menorahs than those whose photos I'd collected for that exercise of mine.


Happy Hanukkah, Jews of Miami. Please enjoy your oppressively large shellfish encrusted menorah and dreidel.

It's OK to sit there with your eyebrows raised or perhaps a look of complete dumbfoundedness on your face. That's what I looked like when my friends sent me this photo from their recent trip to Florida.

I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to feel. All I knew was that I was going straight to this blog to let you guys decide what's really going on here.

So, you tell me - which is it:

  1. Historically, Jews of Miami have destroyed the city's annual Hanukkah displays while acting under the assumption that all Hanukkah decor is simply a foil wrapper around a festively shaped chocolate and that they are simply a foil unwrapping away from a Volkswagen-sized chocolate bar shaped like a dreidel.

    "Well, maybe those maniacs won't try to eat it if it's made of shellfish. This year will be different!" -Miami's holiday decorating committee

    And so it was.


  2. This is Shellfish's way of thanking the Jews for leaving their kind off of menus throughout history.

    Shellfish to Jews: "You guys are cool."

  3. This is Shellfish's way of laying down the gauntlet.

    "WHAT? You're too good for shellfish? You think you're the big man, all over there not enjoying a Bloody Caesar even after your Eighth Night of Hanukkah Manischewitz hangover? WHO'S THE BIG MAN NOW?"

    Because, maybe shellfish has an inferiority complex and is capable of threatening an entire religious population by rising up in the form of that religion's holiday decor.

  4. The Little Mermaid is Jewish and wanted to reconnect with her people during the festival of lights, but couldn't keep the candles lit in her underwater castle or whatever shit they have going on in that cartoon.

  5. There was a Hurricane Moishe that was highly localized and swooped in on Hanukkah Eve, hired some nice men whose mothers they know from Schul to construct these decorations while they supervised, scratched their beards, yelled "Just a little to the left. No, no...just a little to the right." before finally declaring it "Not too shabby" and shuffling off to rinse out a few things and get a nosh at a little place that has the best lox in all of Miami - they cut it right from the center of the fish! You won't believe it!

So - you decide. Is the cause of this Hanukkah-trocity any of the above or some other ill-conceived notion I haven't thought of?

Meanwhile, lest you think that all crimes against jewmanity only affect structures erected in town centers, allow me to share another of my friends' photos showcasing some items from a nearby CVS.

Complete with misspellings and antennae. Because that's festive.

My mind is boggling.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's all fun and games until I get a tick.

Yeah, so when I got all "Hey, I'm going to quit my corporate life and go be a farmer!" I really didn't consider The Tick Factor.

Or the "Planting Strawberries in the Rain" factor.

Or the "Taking Midterms and Finals and Writing Term Papers" factor.

Or the "Those Shiny Red Boots Aren't Going To Be Too Shiny or Red Anymore" factor.

Or the "Do One Hundred Somethings Every Day That Scare The Ever-loving Crap Out of You" factor.

I just realized I could go on and on and on and on with this list, so I'll just stop here and sum it up by saying that, while I totally love this whole thing of school and farmy work and small business starting up and such, there were a lot of things that weren't readily apparent until they were, like, right there.

And then when these manyMANY things have become, like, right there, I have been trying ever so hard to just roll with it and not let my former corporate-y self freak out like a big fat puss.

So, last night rather than get all "OHMYGOD THERE'S A MUTHER EFFING TICK BURROWING INTO MY BELLY" and then run screaming to the kitchen to (very carefully) prise it from my belly flesh and then ritualistically pop it in half while giving it a very stern talking to about just who does it think it is stealing my blood and making a giant mark on my belly flesh before treating it to a trip down the garbage disposal which was run for a solid 30 minutes BECAUSE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW A TICK I...well, that's exactly what I did.

Also, I still have a belly ring? What am I - 17?

Because sometimes when you're trying all hard not to be a puss and prove to the world (and yourself - most importantly yourself) that this was a good idea and you're not going to puss out in the real world of farming and outdoorsiness, you hit The Tick Threshold.

People - I hate mother fucking ticks.

I have no beef with snakes. Or spiders. Or bats. Or bees. Or most bugs (unless they are the jumpy kind because THEY COULD JUST JUMP RIGHT ON YOUR FACE GAH). Or animals with big teeth. Or creatures with small pointy teeth.

But I do not like ticks. At all. I have absolutely no use for them and good god do they freak me out. Same goes for leeches or any creature that makes its living sucking the blood from my belly, for instance.

If they sucked fat, I'd be all for them, but no - they just go for the blood and leave my ample flesh alone, save for a big black mark of the beast.

The beast that is the tick.

Ugh. I'm just the grossest right now.

BUT - I'm also studying for my last final. My final final, if you will. Having completed two finals already this week, plus three final projects, many millions of hours of lectures (I'm sure it was at least a million), days of farm work and, you know, starting up that new business of mine in my, like, spare time or whatever.

So - while I'd love to be realizing about myself that I'm impermeable to all things that nature holds and be completely unfazed by something as small and insignificant and TOTALLY FUCKING GROSS as a tick, I'm not.

And, well, I'm deciding that that's OK. I can be a farmer and not like ticks. I'm sure there are farmers out there who REALLY don't like ticks, too. I mean, just because you grow vegetables and such doesn't mean that you're suddenly One with all creatures big and small, right? Or at least to the point where you get all, "Hey! Climb on to my body, blood-sucking insects, and take all you need! I'm just a walking 7-Eleven for you." or whatever.

I'm sure it's not like that.

So, yeah - if you're looking for me on the farm, I'll be the one in the not-shiny mud-covered red rubber boots, a big ole smile, sitting aboard the tractor NOT covered in ticks.

That'll do fine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Secret special ass-saving present to myself

You guys know how I get around the holidays by now.

The word you're looking for is perhaps, "CRAZY AS A SHITHOUSE RAT".  Which is five or six words depending on how you construct 'shithouse' but you all know better than to mess with me this time of year so I appreciate you letting this one slide.
I start out all maniacal when I see decorations going up in October before Halloween has even wrought havoc on our lives, I then try to ignore it all for a few weeks meanwhile begrudgingly ordering my holiday cards, doing all my shopping and pretending to myself that this is the first year in the history of mankind that I'm going to be truly 100% done with all my holiday nonsense by the first week of December, then the first week of December comes and I'm decidedly not done with all my holiday nonsense yet and HEY when did all this other stuff crop up that I have to deal with and oh yeah don't we need to get something for the garbage man and oh right I gotta bake for the neighbor gifts and do we really need a calendar made up of our year's worth of photos where Bubba licks my face while I try to get one good shot of us doing something in nature and then suddenly FUCK IT ALL I'm behind on the holiday nonsense I was trying to ignore.

This is also when I wonder WHY I always decide that I'm going to MAKE all the gifts.

Then things get kicked to the curb so that I can piece back together the shreds of my sanity before someone gets hurt.

Not pictured: The many hundreds of things that were kicked to the curb.

Someone like *everyone*.

Last year, it would appear that one of the *somethings* was the handmade napkins for my sister and cousin.

See, every year my sister, cousin and I exchange kitchen towels. Why? I have no idea aside from the fact that our moms used to do it and then they thought that it'd be a good idea for us grown-up-out-in-the-world girls to do it, too. So we do it. Because apparently sometimes I do do as I'm told.


But then a few years ago we decided that we all didn't need any more towels so we decided to exchange napkins instead.

Perhaps the *doing as we're told* was grating on us? Who knows.

And then last year I apparently thought that going and buying napkins wasn't good enough - that I needed to make these napkins.

Because OF COURSE LET'S MAKE EVERYTHING. It's not time consuming AT ALL.

So apparently I went out and bought fabric specifically for both my sister and cousin and then came home and cut out all the fabric for the napkins and then apparently the phenomenon known as WHERE DID THIS DAMN MONTH GO I CAN'T DO IT ALL I'M JUST BUYING THESE DAMN NAPKINS BECAUSE WHO HAS THIS KIND OF TIME happened and the cut fabric was stowed away never to be heard from again.

Until yesterday.

You know, yesterday when I was going to do ALL of my holiday making in one sitting because that makes total sense.

When last year's holiday mania and resulting Kicking Of Shit To The Curb turned into this year's secret special ass saving present to myself.

My ass has now been saved by pre-cut fabric. Hallelujah.

Because yesterday, as I was frantically trying to label, package, wrap, bake, customize, tag and organize this year's gifts and then realized, at the tail end of the day's franticness that I'd forgotten this napkin exchange situation, I went into my fabric stash in the closet to see if I might have *something* that I could use to make napkins for this exchange and LO AND FUCKING BEHOLD there was some fabric that would be perfect for my sister.

And - hey - that other fabric would totally match my cousin's kitchen OHWAITJUSTONESECOND these pieces of fabric are already cut out and yes this was the project that I ditched last year LET'S MAKE SOME FUCKING NAPKINS ALREADY.


And yay! Yay I already cut out this fabric and it's already ready to have its seams pressed and run through the sewing machine and I AM 30 MINUTES FROM FINISHING THIS PROJECT I STARTED A YEAR AGO.

Oh again.

Yeah - apparently the moment when I became *over* the holidays last year happened as I was beginning to sew these napkins because I found that one of the pieces of fabric had its seams 3/4 pressed. And then nothing.

There appears to have been a moment, as I was preparing to press the fourth side of the fabric, that I threw up my  hands in the NO MORE gesture and decided I was done *doing* the holidays.

So I guess I just threw the cut fabric back in the stash, dashed off to some store (likely The Internet Store) to order some already-made-not-by-me napkins and called it a day on the whole holiday nonsense.

And I'm so glad I did because that made yesterday's I MUST GET THIS ALL DONE decree that much easier to uphold.

Done and DONE.

I mean, I didn't get every single holiday thing done, but I did get a lot of it done and that fabric, which has been taking up precious space in the craft closet for over a year, is now two sets of napkins packed into two gifts and YAY I don't have to think about that anymore.

Yay for me and for the one year that it takes me to sew eight napkins.

Imagine if I'd tried to sew something involving more than one contiguous seam? THE HORROR.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I did not fuck it up.

You know when you have a bunch of things coming up and you have to think about them all the time and do a bunch of stuff for them but it gets to a point where you've done everything you can do and all you have left to do is wait?


So, yeah - that.

That was what was plaguing me last week when I wrote that thing about punching people in the throat when they have the temerity to say things like, "Do something every day that scares you." and what not.

I wasn't so much overwhelmed with the Scared as I was with the Waiting.

I really just wanted to get that event DONE but there was nothing left to do but wait.

So, wait I did. I waited and I stressed and I created redundant To Do lists and then rewrote my To Do lists and then prepped and rehearsed and overdid my stressing out until Bubba took me by the shoulders, looked deep into my eyes and was all, "Don't fuck it up."

And hoooooooooooooo boy howdy - did I laugh!

See, much like the good old, "Come on, peckerhead" encouragement I've shared with you all in the past, a seriously and meaningfully posed "Don't fuck it up." is just as effective at breaking the spell of whatever is plaguing my addled mind.

It gets me to laugh. It gets me to loosen the hell up. It gets me out of my head which becomes this scary place where all I can imagine are the one hundred ways I'm going to completely and irretrievably shame myself in whatever situation I'm moving ever so slowly toward.

In this case I was projecting myself to a winery tasting room filled with holiday shoppers staring wide-eyed at me and my first ever assembled booth for my first ever business, judging harshly as it all collapsed in a catastrophic display of ultimate failure - PayPal card reader dongle not working, micro gardens crashing to the floor, MacBook erroring out left and right, phone battery croaking, jars of pickles and jams hitting concrete in a sticky vinegary heap, Duchess being towed out of metered parking, boobs falling out of my shirt, jeans suddenly ripping in half, boots skidding uncontrollably across the slippery floor - you name it, I'd imagined it happening.

And sweating. Don't forget the endless, shirt soaking, small child drowning sweating I'd totally be doing because that was, in my mind, going to be shameful to say the least.

And then none of these things happened.

Nope. Nothing crashed to the ground. Nothing errored out (OK, PayPal Here didn't work 100%, but I managed just fine). Nothing ran out of a charge. Nothing was towed, popped out of a shirt, ripped free of any pants, skid across a floor to its demise or failed in any tangible way. And no one outwardly judged me - at least not that I could absorb through all the commotion of "Ooh! Can you teach me how to grow vegetables?" that was going on.

Instead - people were way cool. My booth looked good. I sold things. I met people. Friends came to say hi. I drank wine (bonus of doing an event at a winery). I tasted other vendors' food. I parked right out in front of the venue at a meter that I could reload via my cell phone.  I talked about organic gardening for five hours.

I daresay that it went...well.

Yes, let's say that. Let's say that it went well and I'm also really pretty happy that my "scary thing of the day" for last Saturday didn't kill me.

Because, while I've had it with "Do something every day that scares you.", I definitely embrace the concept of "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."

Even if "stronger" only means that I am now confident that I can lift a five gallon bucket full of sand without re-injuring my previously dislocated shoulder while drinking a glass of wine with the other hand.

Yeah - I think debuting my business at an event that encourages drinking by the vendors was an excellent, albeit unplanned, move.

Either way - I did not fuck it up, so yay for that.

And now I hope to also not fuck up the first finals I've taken in 12 years or the term projects that precede those finals. This week.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

That yearly tradition of ours that's not me making fun of people's ugly decorations.

Now, I know it's nearing that time when I make fun of my neighbor's holiday decorations (and those of your neighbors, too - SEND ME YOUR PHOTOS), but this post is about that other yearly tradition I have that falls around the holidays -

The...uh...Taking Down Of Last Year's Cards and Starting My Card Holder Thingee Anew With The First Of The Year's Holiday Cards tradition.

OK, so I'm not good at making up handy titles for our annual traditions. It's a personal flaw probably. Or maybe just another reason why you all find me so pleasantly odd.

Who's to say?

Or care.


Wow, I'm punchy today.

Anyway, this yearly tradition kicked off today when I received This, Our Year's First Holiday Card.


Strangely, this is the first holiday card we have received every single year, so it's actually becoming part of the tradition without knowing it.

DO YOU KNOW IT, CARD SENDING FRIENDS? You are part of the tradition. Weird, right?

I also find it amusing that this card is everything that my own holiday cards are not.

Specifically - covered with faces of children, emblazoned with the word "Christmas" and inclusive of a bible verse.

Never really sure what to do with that, the bible verse part.

I read all through the card, looking at the beautiful cute faces and shockingly fit and happy looking friends of mine who have miraculously birthed four children without gaining any weight or aging a single day and read through their little family update smiling and enjoying all the way and verse.


*closes card*

Whatever though because I got to start my strangely-named holiday tradition over upon the receipt of this card so WOO! Be as religious as you want because I get to take down this architecturally unsound Card Holder Thingee before it kills again!

Yes, it has killed. I don't want to talk about it. Also, in an unrelated note, let us all remember Rocket during a moment of silence.

KIDDING! She's alive still.

But the Card Holder Thingee has been giving her an evil stare, so I'm just saying that I don't know what will happen after nightfall.

Geez - are you following any of this post? I'm not. I should just start over, but that would mean deleting all of that up there and I can't be bothered.

Let's forge ahead, shall we?

Onward to the part where I show you pictures of my day's triumph:

Before This, Our Year's First Holiday Card arrived:

So lonely in there, this one clothespin. Also, someone should dust this house. FLORA.

After This, Our Year's First Holiday Card arrived and I had to close it before RELIGION got on me:

Some cards get to stay up year after year. Either they have hilarious pictures of Bubba eating sand as a kid or they have swears on them. 

No swears or sand-eating Bubbas? RECYCLE.
Hallelujah we have clothespins again. No clothesline, but that's not important. AT ALL.
So, yay. No one has to die from a tragic card falling disaster in our house this year.

But I make no promises for 2013.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

If you say so.

You ever have someone tell you that you should "Do something every day that scares you."?

Yeah - that's some crap.

Ever since I quit The Job and went back to school and started a first-of-its-kind-out-of-nowhere business and basically reinvented my life earlier this year, I've been awash in *somethings* that scare me and I'm here to tell you that this shit wears on a person.

Like, I want a day where I don't do or think about a single thing that scares me.

I want to wake up and think, "Ah, this day will be easy like Sunday morning. Literally zero things stress me out about this day. I am fully equipped to deal with whatever I encounter." Or something to that effect.

I just don't want to wake up and think, "AH! What the actual fuck do I think I'm doing?! FAILURE IS IMMINENT! I am going to bring shame upon myself as soon as I step out of bed. RISK RISK RISK FAIL FAIL FAIL! OK, relax - breathe - unclench your fists and jaw - close your eyelids enough to keep the whites from completely encircling your pupils - wipe the sweat from your upper lip - release Rocket's throat from your white-knuckled grip..."

It can be stress-y is what I'm trying to say, and sometimes like right now - as I'm staring down finals and term papers and my first event for my new business in which I will man my own booth and perform my own demos and have no one to blame but myself when I bring very public shame to my own doorstep - I want one of those easy days.

Where I know everything that's going to happen and how to handle it and I can be all, "No worries!" and what have you while I calmly go about my day without breaking into a panic sweat while debugging a new freak thing on my site or tackling a 20 question short answer quiz that turns into a 30 question essay exam that takes three hours or have to meet twenty new people who I just know are judging me and my showy red rain boots or or or...

But, that's not what happens when you're throwing life curve balls like a god damned out of control pitching machine jammed up with bent quarters.

So, yeah. When someone tells you that you should do something every day that scares you - punch them in the throat and thank them for helping you get over your fear of human contact.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh my god I bought so much pork

Hi friends. I have an admission to make.

I bought a LOT of pork.

Which, given my heritage is sort of amusing, but given our pastimes makes total sense.

If you just limit our pastimes to smoking meat and then eating it. Which we love to do!

Because, obviously.

So, yeah, we were about 3/4 of the way through our second split half of grassfed beef when Chestie started to feel lonely.

Empty inside if you will.

And then, handily, my local blogger buddy, IMQTPI, emailed me to see if I wanted in on a hog.

Like, do I want half of one.


So we did some splitting up of logistics (she goes to the fair to bid on our hog, I go back out to Fair Land to pick it up from the butcher and deliver it) and now we are the rightful and proud owners of half a hog apiece.

Though I will also admit that our half is slightly less than half a hog already because, yes, we dug right into that tasty beast.

Nothing but First class pork for us, thank you.

We are not vegetarians around here. I forgot to warn you. Sorry, meat fearful people - this is a meatful post. Please come back another time when I'm talking gardenblahblahblah and your eyes will be safe from LOOK AT ALL MY PORK:

Why Spreckles, you look different somehow...

Sorry, that might have been scary. But still - you want to know where your food comes from - there you have it. In our house, it comes from Spreckles and YES PLEASE and also thanks, buddy.

Filled to the brim with tasty meats. And also tomatoes, hops and chicken stock BUT NOT ON THE PORK SIDE.
Perhaps more impressive is my anal retentive divider to keep the pork on ITS side and the beef on the other. It's very technological and advanced what with the box from somethingorother that I sliced in half and wedged in there, but nonetheless - it keeps the squabbling meats separate.

Can't have them mixing together, now can we? That would be wrong. And not kosher at all.

SARCASM, people. Sarcasm. No need to add your corrections to the comments because I'll just roll my eyes and call you retarded from my side of the computer.

Also, fun and anal retentive (yes, these things exist together in my world)(all the time) is my new Pork checklist that is taped to the inside of Chestie's lid above the Pork section of the freezer.

Yes, that DOES say 15 packs of pork chops - two to a package, thankyouvermuchandalsoBACON.
The Beef Checklist is a bit more worn, as you can plainly see.
Notice that the Beef side has its own checklist. ON ITS OWN SIDE.

That's right - we segregate the red meat from the (other, other) white meat. But we love them both the same, which is to say A LOT.

And we have already loved the pork A LOT since it arrived on Wednesday night, as I immediately made some of that hot Italian sausage into the most badass soup (recipe down there, just keep scrolling) and then I made the Burn The Fuck Out of My Left Hand pork chop recipe without WITHOUT burning anything at all.

No hands were irretrievably scorched in the making of this pork chop.
Que milagro.

Now, let me just say that I took some piss poor photos of this soup, so please do not judge me because all I wanted to do was eat the effing thing because by this time I was starved.

I wanted the pork inside of me.

Enjoy that one.

Badass Pork and Kale Soup
Recipe by moi

3 spicy Italian style pork sausages, cut into 1" slices
1 lb of kale, ribs removed and ribbon sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, whites chopped (compost the rest)
6 fingerling potatoes or a normal sized potato equivalent, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 quart of chicken stock
Salt, pepper as you like
2 T Olive oil

To make
In a good sized stock pot, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering and add your onions, leeks and garlic.Saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add potatoes and stir to coat everything all nice like.

Add your chicken broth and a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are super soft.

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add your sausage to brown it thoroughly on both sides. Keep this browning and cooking while you do all the soup stuff. Keep a friggen eye on it though - if it burns, I will spank the ever-loving crap out of you.

Turn the heat off and, with your stick/immersion blender, go to town blending that soup right in the pot. If you only have a blender for this, pour portions of the soup mix into your blender and puree until smooth. 

Also, I'm sorry you have to contend with that hateful task. It was the A#1 reason I wanted an immersion blender and BOY HOWDY do I love that thing and thank you, mom, for giving me your old one - best gift ever. Never again with the muther effing blender and shooting hot soup all over my kitchen.

Or whatever! I hear that happens. To other people.

Bring your newly pureed soup back to a low boil and throw all that frightful kale in there, stir it up and put the cover back on so the soup can simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Check on your sausage, if you haven't been all along (SPANKING SONG), and make sure all pieces are nice and brown on both sides. 

After 10 minutes with the kale in the soup, turn the heat off on the soup, add the sausage and whatever pan spackle-y goodness exists in there (there should be some and it is THE MOST. Scrape that pan if you have to. It's worth it.) and stir it all into magic in your soup pot. 

Give it a minute to mingle and get to know one another and then AFTER COOLING IT A LITTLE BIT GEEZ taste the soup and add salt and pepper if it needs it.

It probably doesn't, but I shan't judge you since I'm a salt addict and can't be stopped. 

I'm puffy and defiant!


Now go enjoy your soup with some warm bread or a crisp salad or just whatever the hell else you feel like having. A dirty gin martini? Why, yes, I hear that's quite the accompaniment. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


[UPDATED again. With photos. And more masterminding.]
[UPDATED with info about the mind boggling drawer with the outlet in it]

Before we even get started with this post in which I unveil the new bathroom OH HALLELUJAH PRAISE POPCORN WE ARE SAVED let us first turn back the hands of time (farther back than I should have to but whatever) to a time before the remodel so that we can adequately appreciate WHY we decided to undertake the horrible project that is remodeling the only bathroom in a house.


One bathroom in house. Under construction. As in, nobody can use it for the duration of the remodeling.

Wretched cheap tile. Crap vinyl flooring. Rickety ass windows that rattle when the wind blows. HATE YOU ALL OF YOU.
Oh time capsule shower HOW I STILL HATE THEE with a teeth chattering rage.
There are so many things I could say here to try to convey to you how much we hated every little thing about this bathroom. Bubba and I hated different things with different intensities and for different reasons but the sum total of our emotions regarding this bathroom was LOATHE.

So, when we finally sacked up and decided we were going to quit pushing the bathroom remodel down our list of Shit This House Needs In Order To Be Livable and pull the trigger once and for all, we did.

We pulled the trigger all over this fucker.

Bye bye stupid wainscoting for which Bubba had a secret passionate hatred.
PEACE OUT every single other thing.
And hello Mystery Hole that shows up in every one of our projects. *Sigh*

Yeah, I don't know why we can't get through a single project in this house without uncovering a gaping hole disguised by no more than a thin layer of plaster (Hi, columns in our front porch!), a few layers of ancient linoleum (Hi, breakfast nook remodel!) or a single layer of vinyl (You know who you are, bathroom), but there you have it - our house has a lot of holes and not in a sexy way.

Thankfully, now, after three months (MONTHS. YES. Not three weeks like our contractor had predicted. Shocker.), all of the gaping holes are fixed, sealed, covered, painted, grouted, fixed some more and photographed for your viewing and my not showering at my neighbors' anymore enjoyment.

Which isn't to say that we didn't have a lovely time traipsing across the street with our towels tossed jauntily over our shoulders and our showerables tucked neatly into our shower caddies a la camp and college during sudden cloud bursts, etc. We did. Insomuch as two people can enjoy something like that. Thankfully we have The. Best. Neighbors. In. The. Fucking. World.


Best ever.

These people, these FINE fine people, cleared out their front bathroom and gave it to us for the duration. As in, come and go as you please (we already have keys to their house) to shower, use the loo, etc - for as long as you like.

Poor things didn't realize "as long as you like" was going to mean three months of crabby bitching about how come the shower valve needs ANOTHER part before it will work and why does the tile look like this at the corners and blahblahfrickenblah but that's what bringing over bottles of liquor for post-shower happy hour is for.

It's for bitching. Which we did. A lot. And now we are indebted to them forever amen.

But about that new bathroom...

It earned itself a new name.

Welcome to our Indoor Outhouse.
What with all the loo-going inside what appeared to be the confines of an outhouse, we couldn't resist knocking out the shit window that was in the door and replacing it with one that will ever-harken us back to the pre-remodel time.

We also considered getting "Shitter" etched onto the pane in old timey letters but thought that might affect resale values because people don't have a sense of humor anymore.

Or as Bubba calls it, "The Pissoir".
The floors are cork and I love them and the fact that they're never cold, clean easily, are green as hell and ARE NOT vinyl ever so much.
The towel bars are whatever but the fact that Bubba gets his very own for his gigantic man towel is very great. My dainty lady towel shares a bar with the hand towel which is whatever.
Our robe hooks share our attitude problem.
We got two different colored light fixtures because why the hell not.
And on the 107th day, the carpenter created The Vanity.  
Which has an outlet INSIDE the drawer so that everything goes away when you close it. Which I love. LOTS.
OK, so you guys were all, "What's up with the friggen drawer? How does the outlet work with the drawer pulling in and out? My mind is boggling!" and whatever. 

Well, here's the genius thing - our contractor worked with the carpenter who built the vanity to have an outlet box put on the back of that drawer and then they designed the vanity so that it'd have enough space behind the drawer for the box to nest. Then the contractor ran the electrical behind the vanity before it was installed and connected it to the box with flexible wiring and cover so that it would extend and contract as the drawer opened and closed.

Now I just have to get my act together and go find my blow dryer with the retractable cord so that I don't have a spaghetti mess in the damn drawer like you see above. 

Then it will be perfect.



I get it. You want photos. I'm the same way. I need to see it to believe it. Perhaps I'm secretly from Missouri?

No. That doesn't seem right. 

Anyway, I took more photos for you, meanwhile finding a little something that my contractor needs to finish AND actually hunting down the final piece of the masterminding puzzle - the blow dryer with the retractable cord.

Witness ye, the masterminding:
Open neatly organized drawer.

Grab blow dryer and pull. Cord unravels. 

When finished the loathsome blow drying task, "*PRESS HERE TO RETRACT" and...

Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip. Drawer returns to organized. No spaghetti mess of cords. Hooray.
Then, witness ye the (somewhat less) masterminding of the contractor:
It's waaaaaaaaaaaaay back there, so you can't see it behind the tower of towels, but...

That is the flexi-cable line wired into an electrical box on the back of the cabinet which is wired into the wall behind with enough slack so that the drawer can be opened to full capacity and the cable will stretch to allow it.

Now, yes, it would have been IDEAL to have that box behind the drawer itself, which was how it was designed, but there was a disconnect between the contractor and the carpenter as to where that hole needed to be drilled and so, it's not *right* behind the drawer so as to be invisible to those who go hunting needlessly behind stacks of rolled towels like so much bad houseguest.

So, I was willing to see past it.

However, I did NOT notice until I went to take these photos for you that the electrical box was not covered. Thank you, people and what would I do without you?

Anyway, this is a no-no in my book. So I will be asking the contractor to come back out with a cover for that box and I will refrain from asking him WHY IT IS THAT I HAVE TO BE SO SPECIFIC ABOUT SHIT THAT SHOULD BE A GIVEN even though that's been my thought a lot lately.

So, does the magic drawer make sense now? I love it so much.

And a sink bigger than our front yard.
Yet smaller than our MONSTER MEDICINE CABINET.
RAWR! Look at my mirrors even on the inside! RAWR!
And for fuck's sake - the shower, already.
We decided to use color, for once. In the form of the most beautiful recycled glass tile. Well, we like it anyway. Thanks FireClay!
And obviously we need a bench from which to admire all of the color. Also, I got a squeegee for the glass because FUN.
And would you look at that - a window that DOES NOT RATTLE IN A LIGHT BREEZE. Amazing.
So, what do you think? Less shitty than before? Maybe even kinda nice?

I'll tell you what - I could give a crap at this point. I'm not showering at my neighbors' and the contractors are the hell out of my house, so I'm happy as long as we never do this again.

The never-er the better.

Meanwhile, Bubba - for whom the bathroom tolled - has a strange favorite feature of our new bathroom.

This man who hated that time capsule shower with the burning fury of a thousand whores' crotches does not love our new shower more than anything else.

He loves the loo.

Specifically, the loo seat which I purchased for $40 and installed in five minutes. Which is bringing him unexpected joy that, had I realized was going to produce so much happiness, I would have gotten a long time ago.

It's a whisper-close seat that, no matter how you try to slam it or, in our case, accidentally slam it in the middle of the night thus waking up the whole neighborhood and taking years off of your own life with the sudden ear-melting noise, will not slam.

It closes slowly. It closes quietly. It means that Bubba puts the seat down now because he likes to watch it not slam.

I think it's my favorite new thing in the new bathroom, too.