Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And the Clark W. Griswold Award goes too..............

I'm going to admit something rather embarassing here. Even though I decorate the outside of my home for Christmas with fresh greenery and white lights and vintage santas, I yearn to be the type of person that fills their yard with every outdoor christmas decoration on the market. I get a thrill riding past peoples homes whose lawns are riots of holiday cheer. Lights are strewn on everything....white lights, colored lights, little lights, big lights, icicles, inflatable Santas and reindeer, lit-up candy canes, elves, manger scenes.....just a veritable feast for the eyes....causing you to slow down your car and stare in wonder. Usually these people are flanked on either side by people with fresh greenery and fruit for decoration. And you have to wonder if these neighbors talk to one another. Probably not. They are probably friendless in their neighborhood. Yet still they march on, making the holidays happy for passersby.

Most people hate gaudy outdoor christmas decoration. Many a time I have driven past such homes with other people in the car and they scoff and speak in condescending tones about what kind of hillbilly would decorate their home like that. I nod in agreement, even as I crane my neck to get a last look at the motorized elves and life size santa's workshop made of plywood, lit up by a 400-watt flood light, embarassed to admit that I love it. My favorite house of all time was near where I grew up. A small, unassuming house in an older subdivision. One you wouldn't notice really, if you drove by. But at Christmas time, this house stood out. The people that lived there must have spent all year making plywood, painted forms of every Christmas character imaginable in their basement or garage. The front yard became an army of 2-foot tall bearers of glad tidings, all lined up, shoulder to shoulder, row after row. There was Joseph and Mary and the Baby Jesus and the three wise men standing next to Chip and Dale and Goofy and Pluto and the Peanuts characters, complete with Snoopy dancing on his doghouse. Dagwood and Blondie and Raggedy Ann and Andy and angels and tin soldiers and elves and reindeer and Mr. and Mrs. Santa and Frosty and Winnie the Pooh and all his friends and Garfield and Mickey and Minnie (old and new) and Cinderella and Prince Charming and at least three sleighs and reindeer perched on various spots on the roof. God, it was awesome. Even as a teenager, where everything deserved a scowl and the term "lame", I loved that house. It isn't there anymore. i guess the people moved or they died cause I suspect they were old. But everytime I pass a house like it, stuffed to the gills with ornamentation, I remember it and thank God for people like that. How boring it would be at Christmas time without them.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ahhh...the holidays

I'm glad it's over. Thanksgiving is nice and everything, but damn, it's a lot of work. The turkey was a little dry. Despite my best efforts at basting and tucking butter under the skin, it was a wee bit dry. Everything else turned out well though. My neices were great, wanting to help with everything that was being made. We made mulled cider before the rest of the family came, and they enjoyed putting in all the spices. They gave my mother-in-law (their grandmother) some when she got there. She said "this is good, but it would have been better with a cinnamon stick added" They said "We did put in a cinnamon stick". Then she said "Well, cloves would have really tasted good" They said "We did put in cloves". Then she said "well, I always put orange in mine and they said "we did put in orange and we sliced up ginger". Even though I think the woman enjoys coming to our house, she still finds borderline nasty things to say. Or maybe I'm just paranoid. My husband smoked a turkey that turned out...strange. When he took it out of the smoker, the entire outside was charred black. But the inside was done. A tad bit on the dry side, but not bad. The entire family took pictures of his charred turkey.

Friday I took the girls to breakfast at an old Pharmacy lunch counter in Columbia that has suprisingly good food. They couldn't get over that we were eating in a pharmacy. Then we went to antique stores where they proceeded to compete in who could spot the most aprons. I bought two. And I bought a pair of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Salt and Pepper shakers. Then we went to get the tree. We didn't manage to get that up until the evening because of some difficulties in getting the trunk cut straight.

So Saturday we decorated....all day. I wish I had as much energy as kids do. The 8 year old likes to dance. And she danced around the living room ( in between hanging ornaments on the tree) all day. I have a pottery barn holiday cd collection that I got a few years ago, full of Christmas music from the 40s and 50s....Eartha Kitt, and Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong....and the girl (with a Christmas tree skirt wrapped around her waist) proceeded to act out dramatic dance numbers...with props and dogs as dance partners...kicking and leaping and splits and draping herself dramatically on the sofa....for hours. Even the twelve year old said "must be nice to have that much energy".

And yesterday was outside decorating. I made a wreath and cut down a few small mulberry trees and silver maples (that needed to be removed anyway) and put them in pots and covered their branches with white lights. A vintage santa and some wrapped up empty boxes on the front porch completed the scene. So now I can start christmas shopping. Whew.

And the seed catalogs keep coming. I'm so tempted to sit down and make lists of what I want to grow next year. But this is a task best saved for the long, gray days of January. Anyway, it was a good holiday, but I'm tired, and glad to be back to the normal grind.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON... The National Turkey, pardoned by President Bush in the traditional White House pre-Thanksgiving ceremony, will be held captive at the US military installation in Guantanamo. The turkey, said to weigh in the teens of pounds, will be interned at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney, who is concerned that it may have been raised on a farm in Prague.
A source close to the Vice President, speaking on condition of sycophantic proximity to power which journalists mistake for actual reporting, stated “it’s been pretty well verified” the turkey may have had access to various biological and chemical substances, including what has been termed by a Pentagon informant as “a potential basting agent”. Yet sources within the State Department disputed the claims of the informant, code named “Butterball”, citing his envy of natural juiciness.
Republican leaders, meanwhile, rushed back to Capitol Hill to pass a ‘sense of the Congress’ resolution that pardoning the turkey would “send the wrong message to our stomachs”. While Democrats argued that the wording of an Amnesty International report which found that the turkey had already been subjected to repeated “beatings, electric shock and waterboarding” had been changed by someone within the administration to simply read “tenderized”.
The Vice President’s long time suspicion of turkeys and food in general is set to be chronicled in a new book by Bob Woodward, “Cheney At Dinner”. The book, Woodward’s 27th court hagiography this year, portrays Mr. Cheney as embittered by repeated attempts to get food into his twisted mouth, which has resulted in painful fork wounds to his lips and teeth, causing him to take all nourishment through a straw.
President Bush, aides say, remains focused on clearing the two remaining items off his schedule, a bike ride and a nap, so he can head to Crawford for Thanksgiving and return sometime after Arbor Day.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

less than two days....

Stressing out.....Tonight I pick up the bird and get some dairy products while I'm there...then a trip to the grocery store....then home to make pies, cranberry sauce (I decided on a cranberry/pineapple relish), and hopefully get some spot cleaning done. Now they are calling for snow on Thanksgiving. Ughhhhh. I bitched about never having leftovers, and now I might have a ton. But hopefully the day of will be stressfree, as I will be getting most things done beforehand.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Does this sound disgusting?

I'm looking for a new cranberry relish recipe. The one I use, while good, is also very sweet, and I'm a little tired of it. I did a web search and came across this one. It is definitely different and looks good to me for some reason. Although it looks good for turkey sandwiches the next day. has anyone tried this and have they like it. It is famous as it is called "Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish" and is read on NPR every holiday season.

2 cups whole cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons horseradish

Grind berries and onions together to get a coarse mix and add remainng ingredients. The recipe also calls for it to be frozen and thawed out the day of, so it has little ice crystals in it. I think I would skip that part. So what say you? Would you turn up your nose or would you try it. NPR had a picture of it and it isn't pretty. They called it Pepto Bismol pink. Maybe this and something else resembling a traditional cranberry sauce.

Pumpkin, beets, et al.....

Thanks for the pumpkin recipe ideas. I definitely want to try the pumpkin ravioli recipe. That sounds really good. I saw pumpkin risotto recipes too, so that sounds like something to try. Last night I made roasted beets and carrots. Oh my god, were they good. I have never been a beet person. Where I live, beets are the things used to color eggs pink. I never ate the pickled beets offered at almost every picnic, etc. So in my quest to eat seasonal produce (remember the brussel sprouts?) I picked up beets from the store on Saturday. Once again, just because it's quick, I tossed cut up carrots and beets with olive oil and balsamic and roasted them for an hour. A little salt and pepper....super good. I love beets now. I can't believe that I'm 35 and am just discovering beets. So many good beet years down the drain. Oh well. I just ate them again for lunch and I swear they were even better. I have an incredible urge today for homemade chex mix, drenched with worcestershire and butter....I wonder what that means? Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. Enjoy your holiday.

Got pumpkin?

I do. Lots and lots. Ungodly amounts of pumpkin. Yesterday I picked two of the pumpkins residing on the porch to use for cooking. One Long Island Cheese and one musquee de provence. I am making a pumpkin cheesecake and maybe some extra pies for people to take home (because I worship at the church of martha). So after taking out the seeds to save for next year, I roasted two pumpkins. The Musquee had suprisingly thick walls and I thought I may end up with a little more than I need. Ha! After everything was roasted and pureed, I ended up with at least 30 cups of pureed pumpkin. I even drained it. Still, I am up to ears in pumpkin. And there are still 5 or 6 pumpkins out there. I pawned some off on co-workers, will make pumpkin butter tonight while I'm cleaning, will have enough to make a cheesecake and several pies and will still have way too much pumpkin. Maybe I'll make pumpkin soup over the weekend with the kids. Will kids eat pumpkin soup? What else can I do with pumpkin besides fattening baked goods?

This weekend will also be Christmas decorating time. I thought I'd be early, getting it done right after Thanksgiving. I'd be wrong. I took the foofies (dogs) for a walk yesterday in Marietta. There were houses that had all their decorations up already. And people were all over town on ladders, etc. putting up lights and greenery, etc. Crazy. But you put so much work into it, I guess it makes sense to make it last as long as possible. I should have put up lights in the trees this past weekend. It was so nice out. It will invariably be 10 degrees when I do it and of course you can't wear gloves and handle those little white lights, so my hands freeze.

This weekend was list making mania. Lists of things to get done before Thanksgiving, lists of what to buy, lists of the order things get cooked on the big day, lists of decorations to put up, lists of what to buy people for christmas. Good thing I stopped at the liquor store on Saturday. I already feel the stress starting. That glass of wine will be tucked behind the cookie jar on the kitchen counter all through the holidays. And I don't even have kids. I don't know how all of you out there with kids do it. I swear I don't.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kibbles and bits

Just some random things before wrapping it up for the weekend. I ordered by turkey today, from the farm near me that raises free-range, organic birds. This very 'dutchy' woman answered the phone and told me all about their farm and how they also have free range chickens and eggs, and raw milk, and cheese and sour cream, and cream, and yogurt. I pick up my turkey on Tuesday and am very excited to go see this farm. It's gonna be an 'local' thanksgiving. I wonder how many other things I can get that are local.? If I start this weekend, I bet I can assemble all but cranberries and pecans.

I went to lunch with an ex-coworker and his wife and baby today. Their son is almost a year and a half and is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. When I see this kid I swear I can feel myself ovulating. They asked if I was currently on or off the baby wagon....and up until I saw their kid, it was definitely off. Now my head is all fuzzy and I just don't know. I suggested that I could could just take theirs and they can make a new one, but they didn't go for it. If I was guaranteed to have a kid just like that I'd start trying right away. Maybe when cloning gets a little further along.

I started a new book last night. Alice Hoffman "Here on Earth". I am routinely swayed by the old "Oprah Book Club" selection and am almost alway disappointed. A really, really good book I read awhile ago that I want to read again is 'Evidence of Things Unseen' by Marianne Wiggins. I tore through that book even though I knew that I didn't want it to end. Excellent.

Is anyone else being sent seed catalogs already? I've already gotten a Stokes and a Pine Tree Hill or Pine Cone Hill catalog in the last few days. Isn't it a little early? Maybe they think people will give seeds as Christmas gifts. Anyway....off towards the weekend.

My 100th post

Woohoo! 100 posts. I'm glad I started blogging. Thanks to my friend Pete in Brooklyn for planting the seed.

I saw my first Whistling Swans today. Latin name Cygnus columbianus, they are also sometimes referred to as Tundra Swans. They are called whistling swans, because their wings make a whistling sound as they fly. Faint, but definitely a whistle. Only saw a few today, although in the coming weeks , many more will start making their way to my little part of Lancaster County.
They overwinter on the Susquehanna River, which is right down the road from our house. During the day they fly to the cornfields that surround us and at night they go back to the river. They are increasinlgy dependent on agricultlural fields for their winter survival due to pollution killing off the submerged aquatic vegetation they used to depend on. The first time I saw them was when we lived in Marietta, which is right on the river. I thought they were snow geese. During a walk along the river I got a good view and realized that they were swans. They make a very high-pitched call, very different from the

Canada Goose, which most people mistake them for while they are flying. I suppose since they fly in V's, people just assume. When the sun is out and you see a large grouping of them against a clear blue sky, it is truly breathtaking. The first year we were in our current house, I took the dogs out one morning in early spring. The sky was filled with them, just flying in circles over our yard and the surrounding farms. Big V's of them were flying in from every direction, joining this huge mass. Then they would form huge V's and take off to the north. I guess they were assembling migration parties to begin the long trek north. They breed in Alaska and Canada. It was like a giant swan train station, where everyone was waiting for the last of their party to arrive before they departed. The dogs and I stood staring up for close to an hour. It was just amazing. I've never seen that since, but I do enjoy watching them fly back and forth from the river to their feeding grounds. They fly in the dark too, and it's eerie to be outside on a moonlit night with the dogs and hear them flying over, high above me, not calling out, but making that faint whistling sound with their wings as they fly. Silhouetted by the moon, making their way back to the cold waters of the Susquehanna.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hard Frost

Weird weather. Yesterday morning when I took the dogs out, it was 68 degrees. This morning, it was 33 degrees. My Chessie girl (lab mix) hates being cold. She blasted out of the door, expecting today to be just like yesterday. It was like she hit a wall. Her muscles all tensed and she did her business very fast and wanted back in. This dog is just like me. She loves to be hot. She will lay in front of the woodstove until her fur is hot to the touch. She will lay in a patch of sun in the yard for hours. Emmett, the other one, loves to be cold. He goes out this morning and sticks his nose in the hair, like he's sniffing a fine wine...and when it snows, he's totally in his element. Very strange. Last night was our first really hard frost. Goodbye lingering nasturtiums and salvias, yarrows and mums. I think the geraniums on the front porch made it, but thats about it. I hate the sound of crunching grass.

That vegetable soup I made last Saturday? I'm getting really tired of it. I have eaten it every day for lunch and three nights for dinner. And there is still more. I suppose I will freeze the rest, cause I just can't eat any more vegetable soup. One more week till Thanksgiving!! I'm excited. A farmer near us has free-range, antibiotic free birds for sale. No heirloom breeds or anything, just the regular big-white turkey breed, whatever that is. I will call to order one today or tomorrow. Last year I waited too long and couldn't find a fresh turkey over 15 pounds until the night before, and then I had to drive 40 minutes to get it.

I just finished Barbara Kingsolver's book 'Prodigal Summer'. I liked it a lot. I've read short articles from her in Mother Earth and Organic Gardening...this was the first novel from her that I've read. Did you ever read something by someone and really, really wish that you knew them, or that they lived just down the street and you could be friends? That's how I felt about her. She seems really smart and knows a lot about things I am interested in. Next library visit I will stock up on Kingsolver. Has anyone out there read something really great lately?

We fixed a toilet!!!!

Last night we fixed a leaking toilet. We did not resort to calling a plumber as we usually do, and instead we did it ourselves. Now I realize that most of you probably think this is no big deal. That is because you were born with the handy gene. My husband and I were not born with these genes. Well, I think I have a partial one, but he is totally lacking. We pay handy people to do most everything. Roof, windows, electrical, plumbing, stucco, refinishing floors, etc. Although we did recently replace the porch roof, it still took us most of the summer and it totally looks like we did it ourselves. I digress. The toilet was leaking from the base. I knew from experience that this probably was a failure of the wax ring (thank you This Old House) and that it needed to be replaced. It had been replaced approximately a year ago by a plumber. Over the summer however, subsequent plumbing problems in the wall behind the toilet required said plumber, who weighed just shy of 275 pounds, to stand on the toilet for long periods of time, feding water lines through the wall to the upstairs bathroom. Thereby (in my non-handy brain) destroying the wax ring. Squishing it to within an inch of its life. After wedging hand towels along the base for two days, it finally occurred to me to turn the water off (see, only partial handy gene). I declared that we would not be making a service call and that we would handle this ourselves. My husband got a scared look on his face. We retrieved the staggering pile of home improvement books that we have collected over the years (which are just leisure reading for us, as we read multiple versions of how to do something and then call somebody and throw money at them) and read up on how to replace the wax ring. I asked three different people at work if they had ever done it, and if it was hard. Husband went to three different plumbing places to find the proper wax ring. Turns out they were all the same at all three places, they just 'looked' different to him, and he was afraid to purchase one. He is super good at aimlessly driving about. Anyway, I got home from work last night and we stared down that toilet. We scraped up that old wax ring, put on the new one, reattached to toilet, turned the water back on...and waited silently for the torrent of water we were almost positive had to result. We never do anything right....we had to have screwed up somehow. Husband ran to the basement, sure that water was pouring from somewhere as a result of our unskilled home repair. We stood in the powder room for what felt like hours, staring at the base of the toilet, waiting for the leak to reappear. It didn't. We looked at each other. "It looks like we fixed it" I said. "Yeah" he said. "Nice job" I said. "Yeah" he said. And as of this morning, no water. Of course neither of us will ever use that toilet again, because I am sure that the slighest pressure or movement will wreck the halfassed work. So next time you come to my house, and I hang your coat in a 'closet' that appears to have a toilet in it, don't say anything. We're just happy it's not leaking and we have two other ones anyway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Must see TV

I don't watch much tv. But there are a few shows that, if I happen to be near a tv at the particular time the show is on, I will watch it. I was over at daily kos and came across a list of what people watch. Now that site attracts a certain breed of person...persons that lean pretty far left on the political spectrum, and it was interesting to see that everybody pretty much watched the same thing. So what do I consider my favorite shows (that I usually watch every week) and do you all watch the same thing? Here are mine in no particular order:

CBS Sunday Morning (every Sunday for the last 7 years)
The Daily Show (Rob Cordry is hot!)
Jeopardy (when husband is home. We play each other)
Law and Order: Special Vicitims Unit
The Simpsons (I hope this show is on until I'm 90)
House hunters
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
My Name is Earl
Chapelle's Show (if it ever comes back from hiatus)
and....this is embarassing.....Sex and the City reruns.

Favorite shows of all time that are no longer on but of which I still watch reruns when I find them?.........Felicity and Thirtysomething ( I cried when that show ended. Hard to believe I'm now thirtysomething).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Color me surprised....

I just realized something that probably everybody else has known for a really, really long time. Bruce Springsteen is hot. I've always known what he looks like, and he looked okay, but right now I'm listening to him on Fresh Air on NPR, being interviewed by Terri Gross (who apparently also thinks he is hot, even though she is a lesbian, because she is gushing like a schoolgirl) and I'm realizing he is smart and funny and left-leaning. And I am all about the smart and funny. And I'm trying to think of why I never realized this before. I am pleasantly suprised. Why have I dismissed Bruce lo, these many years? I'm thinking I might go out and buy Born to Run this weekend simply because he is so hot. I've heard rumors that he wants to run for office in Jersey, I guess. How cool would it be to work on a Springsteen campaign? Anyway, just a random musing on a rainy tuesday afternoon.

I say both

Et tu Tar-jay?

It's going to be a tough Christmas shopping season. I've had to give up Target. I dearly loved Target. It seemed to treat their employees well (unlike Walmart, where I haven't stepped foot in 6 years). It offered reasonably priced funky looking housewares...and you could pick up dog food or laundry detergent and a cute sweater at the same time. And yes I know, I should shop at local stores, which I swear I do whenever possible. But sometimes it isn't possible, and sometimes you just have so many different things to buy (like at the holidays) that it's just easier....wrapping paper, Hello Kitty comforter (neice), birthday card...done. But now I have to cross Target off my list. They've backed their Pharmacists decision to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives because of their personal religious beliefs. They could have remained silent. But no, they've had to take an official position. And somehow they've managed to suggest that it falls under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Huh? Walmart was easy to boycott. Personified, Walmart is a sloppy, biggoted, redneck that eats with his mouth open and farts a lot. Target personified, to me, was a cool college friend, possibly living in an urban area, that always dressed stylishly (albeit cheaply), had interesting things to talk about, and bought you the perfect, wonderfully thought out gift. I will miss you Target. But, really you gave me no choice. What's next if you allow refusals of emergency contraception? (copied from Americablog)

- Check out clerks who verify how fat you are before selling you that package of potato chips?
- Pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions for Jewish customers who killed Christ.
- Pharmacists who don't want to help customers who worship a "Satanic counterfeit" (read: "The Pope," in fundie-speak).
- Pharmacists who only dispense HIV medicine to "innocent victims" of AIDS.
- Pharmacists who want proof that women seeking emergency contraception were really raped, and that they didn't "deserve it."
- Pharmacists (or cashiers) who are Christian Scientists - can they refuse to sell any medicine, even aspirin, to anyone?
- Pharmacists who won't sell birth control pills to unmarried women, condoms to unmarried men, or any birth control at all because God doesn't want people spilling their seed.
- Can fundamentalist Christian employees refuse to interact with gay people in any way, shape or form since gays are sinners, abominations, biological errors, and very likely pedophiles?

With the Christmas season upon us, your absence will be deeply felt. But I just can't shop there anymore.

Monday, November 14, 2005

super weekend

I got so much done! Saturday was awesome. A me day, sort of. I ran errands in the morning, then checked out a new antique store in Columbia called Burning Bridge market. It's an old hardware/general store that new owners have redone. The building was in remarkable condition and had never been redone, so it still had huge display windows, tin ceilings, wide plank wood flooring, original light fixtures, 15 foot ceilings... just beautiful. And to see three floors filled with cool old stuff, I was in heaven. I bought two aprons...one a green and lavendar floral with green piping and the other a rose floral with pink piping and a heart shaped pocket. I picked up a vintage christmas tray and an old 'hothouse tomato' produce box. Oh, and 5 wood quart boxes to use at my tomato stand in the summer. All for $9.00. Woo hoo! This place had the best selection of restored and original chrome dinette sets I've ever seen. I dearly wish I had a breakfast nook, cause there was a canary yellow set that I would have loved to have had.

how cheery for coffee in the morning before work.

My friend and I were at an auction this past spring where a red chrome dinette table in very good condition went for $1. These were quite a bit more than that and I found myself wishing I had strapped that $1 table to the roof of my car and sold it to the dinette people. A nice little profit. Burning Bridge also had great architectural salvage. I saw many styles of old wrought-iron fencing that I might like for the perennial bed at the end of the driveway. Is that a weird thing to ask for as a Christmas gift? By now, my husband shouldn't be at all suprised at the strange things I ask for. Then I went to my old standby antique store down the street...Herrs. There I bought a three sectioned, pottery relish tray with sculptural cherry embellishment to use at thanksgiving and a 4-piece Pyrex nesting bowl set that I've had my eye on for quite some time.

The huge bowl is bright yellow, the next smaller bowl is green, the next is bright red, and the tiny bowl is china blue. I think they are from the 1950s, but I'm not sure. They sure made my day though. I try to be anti-consumption, just buying what I need. But I can't help myself where vintage kitchenware is concerned. I can never have enough. The thought of using these things and touching these things and wondering about all the other hands that have done so and imagining all the meal preparation they were involved in gives me a huge thrill. Maybe they were a wedding gift? Was someone's first birthday cake made in that big yellow bowl? Did little hands make their first cookies in the red bowl? Did someone sit and receive bad news while twisting the hem of the apron that I bought? How many laps of how many Thanksgiving tables did my relish tray make? Does buying old things count as materialism?

Anyway, I digress. Then I went home and made an awesome vegetable soup and homemade corn muffins, and a fig cake, using my 'new'bowls and wearing one of my 'new' aprons. And thats what I'll be eating for every meal for the next week.

Sunday it was in the mid-60s and husband was home, so we got a tone of stuff done outside. I fertilized my fruit trees and wrapped their trunks, thereby tucking them in for the winter. We finished the summer-long project of replacing the front porch ceiling, I painted the laundry room door, I did all the laundry, planted the few stragglers that were left hanging around, made a roast chicken and mashed potatoes And read the the entire Sunday New York Times. A great weekend all around.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Picky eaters

My husband works a job where he is frequently away. And I thank God for that, because if I had to prepare him a meal every night of the week, I would kill him. Why you ask? Because he is a picky eater and I cannot stand it anymore. He eats no vegetables other than canned FRENCH style green beans. He actually gagged and vomited a little when I coerced him into trying a GRILLED RED PEPPER!!!!! He eats no fruit. He will eat some fruit pies, but only if the inside is the horrible gelatinous mess that comes from a can and no longer resembles the fruit that is on the outside of the can. I once made him a cherry pie with real cherries because he wanted one and I refused to buy the freakishly bright red cherry pie filing in the can. I even made a homemade crust. He took one bite and pushed it away. Too chunky he said. All he eats is meat and processed noodle mixes and pizza. And not even good pizza. The crappy Celeste kind that you can make in the microwave. He actually prefers that. So all the gardening I do, and all the things I grow, he eats none of it. NONE. And it really is starting to bother me. When we first got married, I made two meals. Mine (healthy, lots of veggies, lots of flavor) and his....meat and noodles from a box. Then that got to be too much. So I started making good versions of his kind of food. No go. I made a meatloaf, a really good one, with onions and carrots and celery and a thick gooey layer of tomato jam coating the outside with homemade macaroni and cheese....gruyere, sahrp cheddar, romano. No go. His mother made dry meatloaf, with nothing in it....apparently a hard brick of ground beef....and thats the way he liked it. Mine was too MOIST!!! And the macaroni and cheese....well he likes the kind in the box with the velveeta in the pouch. What about Lasagna? That would be good. Nope. Apparently his mother only used Ragu sauce with nothing in it, and put it between noodles. Thats right, no cheese, no vegetables, nothing. And thats the way he likes it. I'm at the point now where I just can't take it anymore and am thinking of just not cooking anything for him anymore and just cooking for myself. When it's just me I make wonderful risottos and hearty soups and wonderful stir frys in peanut sauce or veggie Biryani or any manner of other Indian foods. All kinds of fruit salads and fruit desserts. HE WON"T EVEN EAT HOMEMADE APPLE PIE FOR GODS SAKE!!!!!! Seriously, I am at the end of my rope. I am angry that he won't even try for the sake of his health. Most toddlers eat better than he does. So what do I do? Is being a picky eater grounds for divorce? Is there a way to ease him into it? The thought of ripping the tops off boxes of noodle mix for the rest of my life is just horrible and I can't stand it. What do I do? Any suggestions?


Pat Robertson has put a hex on Dover, PA for voting God out of the town. Wait, I thought Intelligent Design and nothing whatsoever to do with Creationism. Thats what a few members of the old Dover School Board spent the last month trying to convince a judge of in Harrisburg. No connection.....Intelligent Design does not mean God.....totally different.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I heart Molly

This is a great column .

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

warm fuzzies

Most of the election results in the country gave me warm fuzzies. The exception being of course the Texas referendum that aimed to make gay marriage unconstitutional and may end up making all marriage in that state illegal. I've never been to Texas and I don't think I ever will go there. It seems strange. I think we should give it back to Mexico. Kudos to sensible Mainers for killing their anti-gay marriage referendum. And super Yahoos to Dover for kicking out the flatearthers on the school board and voting in a whole slew of democrats that realize intelligent design is not science. Lots of democrats were voted in this election. I just hope the momentum can last until next year. And even to the next presidential election. I guess the Kool Aid has done run out and people are starting to wake up to the mess that these wing nuts have wrought. Hopefully nobody out there is mixing up more.

I lost

But I lost well. No democrat has run for anything in my township since the late 70s (this should have been a red flag) so to get the kind of response that I got was encouraging. I was running against two incumbents, both Republican. Here are the numbers: In ward 1, I got 81 and they got 156 and 144. In ward 2, I got 176 and they got 213 and 228. Ward 3 killed me. It is home to The Masonic Home...translation: hundreds of old people that may not always remember their own names, but know they are Republican. And have no idea about current township goings on. I got 246...they got 465 and 508. But this is still a strong showing, especially when considering the number of registered democrats I got to come out on an off year to vote and the number of people I got to split their tickets. So, all in all, I was pleased and will definitely be trying again the next time. It was a very good experience and I got to meet a lot of really nice people.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Judith has a good post about visiting an arboretum over the weekend and it got me thinking about trees. I love trees and am lucky to have so many mature specimens in my yard. We have several silver maples, two that are probably over 100 years old. We have a lovely tulip tree at the rear of the house too that looks magnificent right now, as it has turned a lovely gold. The afternoon light is especially flattering to it. My favorite tree of all time, however, is the Sycamore.

I love them.

I planted one when we first moved in and it has grown to be a little taller than me, but they don't really reach their glory until they are older, achieving that spectacular mottled bark and crooked, gangly shape. We have many of them here in southcentral PA. They like moist feet so they are commonly found along streams and in wet places. It is said that indians used Sycamores to denote the locations of springs, and would plant two on either side of the spring head. Whenever I am driving and see two Sycamores standing side by side, I always wonder if I would find a spring between them. Andrew Wyeth also liked Sycamores, although he called them 'Buttonwoods'. I have a print of his called 'Pennsylvania Landscape' that features a fabulous old Sycamore. I was never a tree climbing child. Little trees, maybe, but big trees never, because I always had issues with coming back down. I can't help but imagine how satisfying it would be to sit in the top of one of these amazing trees, watching the world go by and imagining all of the things an old Sycamore has seen in it's life. On the Brandywine Battlefield in Chadds Ford, PA is an enormous Sycamore called the Lafayette Sycamore. When Lafayette was wounded in the Revolutionary War, he was carried and placed beneath the sycamore by a local tavern keeper. The tree is estimated to be 391 years old. Wow. I wish I had a sycamore in my yard that size. This is a picture of that tree that I pulled off the web, with kids in it for scale.

The weekend

I can't believe it's November. Saturday and Sunday were so totally beautiful. It was like September. I went home a little early on Friday, as it was in the mid-70s. I finally got my garlic in the ground and did a little weeding. I planted my Callicarpa (beautyberry) and puttered around with some other winterizing things while husband cleaned the downstairs windows. Woohoo husband!! For dinner I finally made the brussel sprouts. The original brussel sprouts (I spoke about a few weeks ago) went limp and I had to throw them away, but I bought more and made them on Friday. I did the olive oil, balsamic vinegar thing, cutting them in half and placing them face down in a pan and roasting them for 45 minutes in the oven. They were awesome. It was like candy. And no stink. And I also heard on NPR on Saturday that cruciferous veggies (brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and sauerkraut) offer you some kind of immunity boost against the flu virus which is good to know, what with the imminent PANDEMIC coming our way. Saturday I did door to door campaigning all day. My butt was dragging in the evening. It was good though, if not a little sad. We have a new issue in our township regarding police protection and possibly disbanding the police department all together and going to state police (which is nuts). Anyway, thats all anybody wanted to talk about. And I heard one awful story after another about specific incidents where an individual needed police and how we can't do without police protection. It was depressing to see that most of these stories involved husbands that were beating their wives and/or children and a few molestation stories. It's weird when you get an up close and personal look into the homes on a street that you pass by a million times a month and you realize all of the individual dramas that are going on every day. I'll never see those homes the same way again. I only wish I could have offered more than just words of encouragement.

Sunday I cleaned most of the day. I did the upstairs windows. Window cleaning is a job that really doesn't take much effort but offers immediate and long lasting results. Entire rooms look cleaner when the windows are clean. I add vinegar to my Windex which I swear adds an extra sparkle with the added benefit of giving the faintest hint of pickles. Tomorrow is the election, so I'll be spending the entire day at the polls begging for votes. Wish me luck. I'm not expecting to win, just because our township is overwhelmingly Republican, but I've gotten such good feedback from all of the voters I've talked to. Who know, I might be pleasantly suprised. I look at it as a first step in establishing myself in local politics, regardless of whether I win or lose. My name is out there and people are somewhat familiar with me. I'll be glad when this is over though. I feel like I have no time to do things I enjoy, because any free time I have should be spent campaigning in some form. And I have the overwhelming urge to spend an entire Saturday wandering antique stores or auctions for some reason.

Friday, November 04, 2005


suzie sunshine has a great post today, featuring her boys modeling her vintage apron collection. And even though they will be fodder for one or more therapists in the future, her aprons are pretty cool. I love aprons and have a medium-sized collection.

I started collecting them a few years ago. Something about donning an apron just made cleaning or cooking a little bit more fun. And this isn't just me apparently, as recently I gave my friend a cheery little red floral apron as a gift and even she agreed that it picked up her mood putting it on and has been wearing it often. You can still find them fairly cheap and if you're lucky, you can get a box of them at an auction or garage sale.
They are becoming more popular though. I have seen a few articles in the last few months about people with apron collections and have seen prices on ebay get a little ridiculous on some aprons. The store/catalog Anthropologie even has some great dresses that look kind of aprony.

People think of aprons differently though. Women generally have good memories of grandmothers and homey pursuits. Tell a man you have an apron collection and you get an entirely different reaction. He gets a far away look in his eye and twice I have had men ask if I ever wear my aprons with high heels and nothing on underneath. No, I don't. And how in the world did an apron get a 'dirty' connotation? Very strange. And in my search for apron images on the web, there is in fact a woman that models her aprons very scantily clothed. And she really shouldn't do that. It's a littel weird. Who would buy this woman's aprons? It would be like purchasing used underwear. What market is she aiming for? This isn't even one of the bad pictures. And just so we are clear, these are absolutely not pictures of me, they are of said woman. I take my aprons seriously and do not consider them sex props. At least I would never allow myself to be photographed using them as such. Okay, this post has really gone off track. Aprons are fun to collect and make everyday chores more bearable.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


my 2 seconds of fame

Here is the intelligent design piece done by the Baltimore CBS station. I am only on for a few seconds and I appear a little crazed and I look like crap. But it's still interesting.

donning the tin foil hat

I got an email from someone today and they happened to mention something that I have been thinking about these last few weeks. I am glad to see someone else think about it as sometimes the thoughts in my head are a little off and maybe I do wear the tin foil hat a little too much. But I'm gonna toss it out there and see if anybody else has been wondering the same thing. So here goes. Why is it exactly that the Administration is freaking out about Avian flu? From what I read and see, the regular flu kills far more people every year. And transmission from bird to human is relatively rare and human to human transmission is even rarer. So I'm a little freaked out when I see that they are spending 7 billion on vaccines and that posse comitatus might be overturned so that the military can be used to enforce quarantines and that borders may have to be closed (cities, states, etc.) to keep the PANDEMIC from spreading. What is this all about? Is it just a giant sparkly object to keep us distracted or something more sinister? And why exactly did Scooter Libby is his weirdo letter to Judy Miller mention that she would be needed to report on biological threats? Picture me backing into a corner clutching my tin-foil hat. It's just all a little odd and at this point I wouldn't put anything past this administration. When you're making this much money picking the pockets of the American people, you'll do almost anything to keep everybody off balance. Chaos serves them well. Am I all alone in wondering about this?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

An exciting morning!

I just got back from a morning in court. I went to see the spectacle that is the Dover Intelligent Design trial in Harrisburg. We refer to it as Scopes II. It was pretty interesting. I got to meet Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson, Matthew Chapman, who is making a documentary for the BBC. There were also people there from Paramount pictures, and HBO, and a documentary filmaker from Miramax. Matthew Chapman said that with all the people hoping to make documentaries, we'll see a little natural selection at work. haha. The trial itself today wasn't super exciting, but it still felt like an event. The prosecution (anti-id) had about 10 lawyers, some from the ACLU and People for the American Way, and People for the Separation of Church and State. They were very well prepared. The defense only had two lawyers that didn't seem to well prepared. I went with a co-worker and we only stayed until the mid-day recess. On the way out, I got interviewed by the Baltimore CBS affiliate about why I was there and what I thought about it. Hopefully I sounded smart. Since I don't get the Baltimore station where I live, the reporter said it might be available on the internet tomorrow. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

well, it's official

Winter will be coming again this year. This is like 35 years in a row by my count. I saw my first dark-eyed Junco this morning. I have been noticing the gradual replacement of summer birds by their winter couterparts. Robins give way to chickadees and goldfinches make room for cardinals. Well, cardinals are here all year, but their numbers definitely spike in the winter. But the Juncos are the true harbingers of doom and gloom, or what most people refer to as winter. I've also noticed a lot more bluejays and nuthatches. But the bluejays don't stay, I think they are just transients. The purple and house finches are permanent. I think Grackles must be winter birds, because I don't see them much during the spring and summer, but now they are clustering in the trees and swarming the feeders. Bird feeding and watching is one of the things I do to get through the rough parts of winter. Filling 4 feeders at least once a week and spreading cracked corn and filling suet feeders gets me outside on even the coldest day and helps a lot with SAD, which I suffer from in the wintertime. Starting in January, I begin the bulb patrol too. Walking and inspecting all the bulb plantings, watching for the slightest hint of something growing helps pass the time too while getting a valuable dose of sunlight. As soon as I see 1 centimeter of snowdrop poke through the mulch, I declare it spring and my mood lifts dramatically, even though the Christmas tree has not been taken down yet. This year, what with the addition of Hellebores and Winter Aconite, the bulb patrol might begin in December.

On a completely unrelated topic, I am a luddite. Completely technologically ignorant. I need to get a digital camera. Any suggestions? I'd like to spend in the neighborhood of $500. I've been looking at the Canon Rebel xt (which is a little more that $500). Any input?