Archive for April, 2007

How NOT to grow garden vegetables

(this is an exerpt from an email I sent my SIL last night - as I was writing it, I realized that I wanted to post something about my garden efforts so I’m cutting and pasting with not a lot of heavy editing.  I’ll be updating our garden progress here off and on…I’ll try to go lightly with the garden posts so as not to put you all to sleep…)
Today we started our garden.  We bought organic compost by the bag and tilled it into our existing soil.  I’d like to start a compost bin but need to do further research.  Rich is convinced that it is going to smell, but I’m telling him that there are things you can do to prevent unpleasant odors.  We’ll see who wins that battle.

Last year our entire gardening game plan consisted of:

1) randomly picking out plants
2) sticking them in the ground with absolutely no forethought
3) doing nothing until fruit does or does not show up on the plants (if they even grew!).

As you can imagine, our results SUCKED last year, with only 50% of the plants making it out of their infancy and very little actual vegetables for our “efforts”.  Our garden was technically an organic garden only because we never bothered with any sort of fertilizer, weed killer or insect killer.

This year, besides the organic compost addition to the soil, we are trying a several new things:

1) actually reading a bit on how to care for each of the plants we buy (never thought to do that last year!)
2) buying plants instead of starting from seed as it lessens the chances of failure as they are already half grown. Some of them are already purchased, but for those that are not, I’ll have to do shopping at our farmer’s market that opens next weekend!  At farmer’s markets you sometimes can purchase garden plants that are grown organically.
3) planting in such a way that plants that help each other grow are next to each other (called companion plants)
4) planting crops in a sort of haphazard rotation so they naturally regenerate the nutrients in the soil
5) we’re hoping to actually do some weeding this year since we did almost none last year
6) putting some sort of gate around the garden area because last year Zoe (our dog) ate all our strawberries before they were ripe.  (As it turned out that was a lucky accident - since they were first year plants, we were supposed to be pinching the flowers off anyway.)

I did have two herb plants that are still with us from last year.  We have a robust sage and a thyme plant (both extremely easy to grow, so says the info I’ve actually read this year.  No wonder they survived with little to no care).  I cut them back today (as apparently I am supposed to in the Spring) and Rich and I worked on washing, tying and hanging bunches of herbs to dry up in the attic.  In two weeks we should have enough dry herbs to make poultry and pork for our entire lives.  Obviously we’ll be needing to give most of it away.

Want some?  If you live in my general vacinity, this is your last chance for polite refusal.

Earth-like planet found 20 light years away

A “second earth” has been found 20 light years away in the constellation of Libra. Gliese 581c has a rocky surface, probably has water and an atmosphere, and has a temperature range from 0 to 40 degrees Celcius (32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“‘We wouldn’t be surprised if there is life on this planet,’ said Stephane Udry, an astronomer on the project at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland.”

In other planet-related news, sustainability quiz. It turns out that at my present rate of consumption, if everyone on earth lived like I did, we would need 3 planets to maintain life’s precious balance. (Hey, I’m working on it. I took the quiz as if I was still living as I was several months ago, and I got 6.2 planets for an answer.)

So, I’m calling dibs on this planet. Now the question remains - how many carbon offsets will I have to purchase to get there?

(Seriously, though, the planet discovery is pretty cool. Fueled by hours and hours of Cosmos viewing during my childhood and staring up into the starry sky on camping trips, I’ve always been a sucker for the thought of life on other planets.)

Gratuitous mommyblogger post in which I quote my children

Me:  Would you like some milk with that oatmeal?  Milk tastes good with oatmeal.
Connor:  I want orange juice.
Me:  I don’t think that would taste as good.
Connor:  Would it taste like chicken?

Rich, to Zoe (our dog):  I know, you are still our baby.
Siena (her first sentence, very angrily):  Zoe no baby! Siena baby!

Connor (staring into wishing well):  Mommy, do you have any money?
Me:  Sorry sweetie, I don’t.  But you could probably make a wish anyway.
Connor:  *thinking hard*
Me:  What did you wish for?
Connor:  I wished for Sarah to hold my hand.

Siena (pretending to talk on toy phone in her car seat): (unintelligible)
Rich (thinking Siena was talking to him):  What did you say, sweetie?
Siena (sticking out her neck, says accusingly): I’m ON the PHONE…

Connor:  Mom, you make the best grapes in the whole wide world.

Siena: two…three…two…three (to infinity)

Connor:  Mom, can you help me count to 186?
Me:  Sure.  Why 186?
Connor:  Because I’ve never counted to it before.

*After going to our annual fast food restaurant visit, the kids are playing with their kid meal toys in the back seat*
Connor: I can’t wait to get home so I can play with my new sex toys.
Rich (looking at me, we are both having to SERIOUSLY cover up a bout of laughter): Connor, what did you just say?
Connor: I SAID, I can’t wait to get home so I can play with my new stegosaurus.

Have a happy Earth Day

I could have tried to say something wise and meaningful, but Bill Maher already said it better.

I’ve updated my blog a bit, so if you are reading via RSS, come give it a visit.  New banner photo (Glastonbury Abbey), new sidebar stuff, and a blogroll!   (If I missed you, let me know.)

Virginia Tech: the bigger issues

At Virginia Tech, a why is it that there is so much seemingly senseless violence in America?

Before I checked the news, I had a lot of posts swirling about in my head. I was hoping to write about something lighthearted. But this morning while I was enjoying my green tea latte and a few stolen moments with my husband then going to lunch with friends, I was oblivious that so many children - and that’s what they were in so many ways - had taken their last breaths.

The question of “why so much in America” has been asked so many times, causing reactions by Michael Moore. We know it is a problem, yet we cannot agree on an answer. Is it the gun laws? Is it our fear-based society? Our tendency toward solving international problems with war? I don’t think any of these by themselves addresses the bigger social issue. But what that bigger social issue is exactly is hard to pin down. We all keep yelling for a bigger bucket, but no one is bothering to mention the giant hole in the roof.

Sidenote: at the time I’m writing this, not much is known about the gunman who also died in the shootings. We don’t know if he was a student or what his motive might have been. An eyewitness says he was of Asian decent. Was he even an American? An international student?

Here in America we value our individual rights above all else, and certainly it’s one of the reasons I love my country. Our bill of rights is the heart of each and every one of us. It is what makes the ACLU possible, for goodness sake. How could I not love it? But for all that yin love, there is a yang that follows. Individualism has a violent side when the rights of the other individuals are lost in too much hate, anger and misunderstanding.

I feel that the same forces that are allowing our capitalist/individualist selves to get out of control and ignore the warning signs of global warming are the same that drive an individual, in extreme cases, to let themselves slip down that dark tunnel into violence. In America, a big SUV like a Hummer is a status symbol. In England, to waste so much gasoline and emit all that nasty pollution is seen as incredibly selfish.

To achieve balance, the yin and yang should be equal. Why is it we as a collective American society cannot manage to find a dichotomy between individualism and community? Why cannot they both exist together? We are unbalanced. We need a cause to pull us together again and out of our collective selfishness. Can I suggest one?

My thoughts, prayers and heart goes out today to the unfinished lives of our nation’s best and the friends and families who mourn them.

Shameless plug

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world finally started a blog.  I say “finally” because she has an incredibly dry, sharp wit and when I listen to her talk it is like reading a really good blog post.  Also, she’s an avid blog reader so it was only a matter of time.

If a blog from a single girl who internet dates a lot, travels even more and is both an ex-volunteer firefighter and a girly-girl sounds interesting, click here.

Imus out of a job

Am I the only one that sees the irony in this man calling ANYONE a nappy-headed ho?  I hope someone buys this man a hairbrush and a cut for his “retirement” present.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

toilet training, terrible twos and other trials and tribulations

I always say that our money habits have karma.  If we’re being good and living within our budget, when an unexpected cost comes up it always seems like an unexpected check arrives in the mail on the same day.  Lately, however, we’ve been faced with bad money juju.  Our garage door opener broke three times and we’ve replaced the entire system now (three seperate parts totalling $600), our fence gate blew down in a windstorm yesterday ($250), and every imaginable sporadic bill (homeowner’s dues, irrigation bill, etc.) hit us at the same time.  So our credit card, which we’ve worked so hard to get to zero, is now at over $1000.  And, unfortunately, karma knows that we deserve it.

Siena is potty training.  She’s not even two (her birthday is tomorrow), so I’ve had reservations at starting so early but she’s decided she’s ready all on her own.  So we’ve had her in big girl underwear for most of the week and she’s only had one or two accidents a day.  Of course, I had to pause in typing this post to clean up a nice little pile of poo, so there is still a lot of one-step-backing going on.  Connor is getting a little jealous of all the extra attention so I’m trying to spend some one-on-one time with him each day during his sister’s nap, but it’s obvious he thinks Siena is the favorite child which is heartbreakingly untrue.  Do other parents have a favorite child?  I certainly don’t.  At times one might be easier than another, but it has no bearing on the equally infinite love I feel for each of them in my heart.

Speaking of Siena (and of children swapping who is the most difficult on a whim), she seems to have been issued the two-year-old training manual.  My sweet little “easy” girl has moved from being excessively clingy to Mommy to being independent to the point of stubborn.  (Where does she get that from, anyway?  Oh yeah…)  She’s insisting she do everything herself, won’t hold my hand even in a parking lot never mind trying to strap her down for a stroller ride, and temper tantrums are appearing on her daily to-do list.  It’s funny how much calmly I react this time around to them, though.  They aren’t so personal with the second child.  So far.

I’m sick again.  Probably bronchitis.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been sick more this last 8 months than I’ve been well.  (Did you know that in the UK, if you say that you are sick it means that you are vomiting?  I’m not.  I’m “ill” or “unwell”.)  My hypochondriac self is starting to conjure up images of strange lung diseases and I am thinking that I need to go see a doctor but I’m afraid I’m already labeled as obsessive in his folder, so I’m putting it off.  But for now, the housework, laundry, and marriage has suffered for it.  No, not seriously, and not because of the housework and laundry exactly.  Rich is big into physical affection and when I’m coughing up my own body weight in phlegm I’m not really in the mood to cuddle.  Yet, just like the amazing man he is, he’s been picking up the slack when it comes to housework and child care and doesn’t complain a bit.  I do not deserve that man.  Thank heavens marriage karma doesn’t seem to work the same as money karma for us because I’d be in serious trouble.

AFI Top 100 Movie Meme

I love film. This has been tough because a) I have two children under the age of 5; and b) I live in a small town that does not have an independent film house or video store. Case in point: I once tried to rent Citizen Kane here and none of the video store people had heard of it.  Where I live, movies like this have a longer theatrical run than any of the Oscar contenders.  But now with the invention of online movie rentals, the world of movies has re-opened itself to me.

Below is the AFI’s list of their 100 best movies of all time.

  • I’ve bolded movies that I’ve seen. (All others are now in my Blockbuster Online queue. I’ll update this list as I see them.)
  • I’ve put a plus sign (+) next to movies which I especially loved.
  • I’ve put a minus sign (-) next to movies which I just don’t get what all the fuss is about.
  • If there is neither a plus or minus sign, it means I liked it (maybe a little, maybe a lot) but it just doesn’t hold a special place in my heart for whatever reason.
  • I’ve added comments randomly.

Which movies have you seen or not seen? Which movie are you the most embarrassed about never having seen? Any movies on the list you flat-out hated?  I know people hate memes so I won’t single anyone out but if you are reading this and feel in the mood, consider yourselves tagged.

AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) - (”Rosebud” was the one time I actually was intrigued.  Too bad the movie was over.)
2. CASABLANCA (1942)
3. THE GODFATHER (1972) +
4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
(rented this one after major surgery and put the second tape in first and didn’t notice until the credits rolled.  Probably should rent it again.)
6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
7. THE GRADUATE (1967) +
(loved the soundtrack, too. This might be my favorite movie on the list.)
8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
9. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993) +
10. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952) +
11. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)
14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
15. STAR WARS (1977)

16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)
18. PSYCHO (1960) +
19. CHINATOWN (1974) -

20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975) +
21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) (read it but never seen it…)
22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) +
23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) -
(seemed like a bad Casablanca sequel.)
24. RAGING BULL (1980) (embarrassed)
25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) +
27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)
31. ANNIE HALL (1977) +
32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
33. HIGH NOON (1952)

34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) +
35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)

36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) (embarrassed I’ve never seen it)
37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
42. REAR WINDOW (1954)
43. KING KONG (1933) (embarrassed I’ve never seen it)
44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)
46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) (embarrassed I’ve never seen it)
47. TAXI DRIVER (1976) +
48. JAWS (1975)
49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
53. AMADEUS (1984) +
54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) +
56. M*A*S*H (1970)

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)
58. FANTASIA (1940)
59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
61. VERTIGO (1958)
62. TOOTSIE (1982)

63. STAGECOACH (1939)
64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) +
65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

66. NETWORK (1976)
67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)
68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)
69. SHANE (1953)
70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
71. FORREST GUMP (1994)
72. BEN-HUR (1959)

73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)
74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925) +
75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990)
76. CITY LIGHTS (1931) +
77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
78. ROCKY (1976)
79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
81. MODERN TIMES (1936) + (yes, I have a Charlie Chaplain thing…)
82. GIANT (1956)
83. PLATOON (1986)
84. FARGO (1996) +
85. DUCK SOUP (1933)
-
86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935)
87. FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
88. EASY RIDER (1969)
89. PATTON (1970)
90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
91. MY FAIR LADY (1964) -
92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)
93. THE APARTMENT (1960)
94. GOODFELLAS (1990)
95. PULP FICTION (1994) +

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
98. UNFORGIVEN (1992) -
99. GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967) +
100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)

Heh.

Hey look everyone, I’m Blog of the Minute today on WordPress!!!

What’s that you say?  When you log in you are Blog of the Minute too?

Um. I get like 30 hits on a good day and I don’t have a blogroll. Can anyone say APRIL FOOL’S?  I knew you could.

They had me for all of 2 minutes. I feel so…dirty. ;)

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