Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The crazy plant lady is back!

Yes, my obsessive gene has kicked in. Those pretty, uncluttered pictures of my garden from the last post? Well, there's almost twice as many now. I don't have photos of the new additions, but I'll put up a few this weekend and show you just how demented I've become. I had decided not to have any hanging baskets this year--it was kinda overkill, really, but then I saw some beautiful pink and purple baskets and oh well, that resolution went out the window. And my mother's tomato obsession has kicked in as well. Last year I had 2 tomato plants--this year I think I'm at 15. See, demented--I told you! I bought lots of different varieties, and sure I can get at least a fourth of them to produce something, right?


I have one more confession to make. I did it--I ordered my spinning wheel. I kept putting it off, but I finally decided I was going to buy it at some point, so just do it now and get it over with. I ordered the Lendrum portable wheel from The Woolery. I'm very excited, and I've already promised myself I'm going to start going to the Log Cabin Spinners meetings. If I spent this much money, I'm definitely going to learn how to use it.

Oh yeah, and the house is still a pit.

Here's one of my baskets (pretty!):

And here's some of the geese families from by my
office--just takin' a morning stroll.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Summer fun

I bought this wind chime a couple of months ago. Shirt and shorts, flipflops, sunglasses, and a sailboat--I thought it was too cute! It kinda matches my garden banner:

My ass is tired!

It seems like I've been working on my apartment nonstop (okay, not NONstop, but pretty darn close) since Friday night--however, I've barely made a dent. This means two things: 1) I'm getting too damn old to clean house, and
2) my apartment is a pit--well, not quite but getting pretty darn close.

I did get the garden done, even with the 30-mph winds we had yesterday. Remember all that pretty lettuce I had:

Well, it's gone. Too much heat, and the lettuce bolted--talk about tasting bad! I'll plant another crop when it gets cooler.

So here's Garden 2006:

Doesn't it look so nice and neat? It didn't look that way before, let me tell you. I was lucky that I didn't lose too many of the plants I bought before Easter, but there were a few that didn't make it.

Tomatoes, peppers, and a couple of 8-ball squash plants:

This year's Alice duPont mandavilla plant. Directly in front of it is a pot of mints, including an apple mint that sounded interesting:

A tomato plant I bought Saturday because it was on sale (whee!), carrots, chives, and a red hybiscus:

See that asparagus fern at the end? It wintered indoors and was almost dead. I put it back outside a few weeks ago, and I think it's going to take over the entire walkway.

Herbs--sage, dill, English thyme, an abundance of rosemary, and stevia (second plant from the right). Stevia is a natural sweetener that you can only buy in plant form in the US--it's not FDA approved for usage as a food product. If you chew a leaf, it tastes like pure sugar.

On the other side, more flowers, lavender (hopefully I won't kill it this year), and strawberries.

I had decided a while ago that it was about time to replace my Mr. Coffee, or as Catherine put it so well, "Mr. Prostate." Of course, I decided the time to replace it was right in the middle of cleaning, because I'd rather shop than clean (who wouldn't?). So off I go to Target, where I found a red coffeemaker, on sale, and guess what? It had a matching red microwave, also on sale. This was fate, as I had been thinking that it was about time to ditch the microwave and get a new one. So I bought those, along with a microwave cart and a barstool. Then I had to go home and lug it all upstairs. No wonder my backside is so tired.

I need to get busy, but I can promise one thing--whatever I get done today, it will not involve heavy lifting. I'm too tired.

Maggie's tired, too . . . .

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Look, I'm posting!!!

Yes, I'm still alive. It's just taken me a while to get around to sitting down to catch up (not that I've done anything else, really, other than work, eat, surf the Net, and sleep, but still), but somehow I've ended up done with my reading before 7 pm, so I thought I take a few minutes and figure out what I've done for the last two weeks.

Let's see, I left off right before the Route 66 Fiber Rendezvous. What a fun day, and we were lucky to have a nice day before the 90+ degree temps kicked in the next week.

I grew up not far north of Arcadia, so I'm very familiar with the area, and it was nice to get back out to the country. Not long after I left I-35 to travel east on the Mother Road, I saw two young deer trying to cross the road. Fortunately they turned around and went back the way they came from (this was just north of Lake Arcadia). Unfortunately for me, I had had such a crazy night and that morning (Maggie was sick all over the bed, and twice I had to do laundry, in less than 12 hours), that I didn't realize I had forgotten my camera until I was almost there. However, you can see some nice photos here at Emily's blog (Hi, Emily--it was nice to meet you!). One of the best parts of the day was meeting the beautiful alpacas and the darling little baby sheep named Peppermint. She was so cute! There was also a lovely lady named Gina who spent all day over hot dye pots to dye fabric and fibers for us with natural dyes. Everyone really enjoyed watching how things turned out, and it's amazing to see what colors come out of plants and bark and other things--most of the time it's definitely not what you would think!

The weather was lovely, and I met a lot of really nice people--people who shared my addiction to all things fiber! How cool is that? It was glorious. I spent lots of money, bought lots of fiber, some natural dyes, and a spindle. I had some sock yarn natural dyed in indigo and cochineal (gorgeous blue and pink). Unfortunately, someone made off with one of my cochineal skeins, but oh, well, I was in such a good mood that I didn't even care (what the hell was wrong with me?). I called Missy and ended up buying her some purple-verigated yarn that she could use to make something for Baby Kelsey, as well as some smelly stuff for being a new mom and a great friend.

I spent most of the day visiting with my new friends and watching people spin. I've never seen anyone else spin before, so it was fascinating to watch how it's really done. My new friend Aubrey, who makes wonderful soaps and other things, decided she was going to help me figure out what kind of wheel I needed to buy. We discussed all types of things, and she came to the same conclusion that I had already made--I need a portable wheel. I want to be able to take it when I go places (not that I go that many places, but that could change--you never know), and her recommendation was the wheel my friend Noel has--the Lendrum Folding Wheel. It's one of the most versatile wheels out there, and it definitely is portable. I'm still kinda holding out on buying it, but when I do, that's the one for me.

So now I've met all these lovely people, I have intentions for a new wheel and some beautiful fiber to spin--I need to get to a Log Cabin Spinners meeting! I promise I will do that soon--I had such a good time with all these folks, I'd like to get to know them better, and I know I'll definitely learn something along the way.

The next day, Sunday, marked the end of my beloved "West Wing." It's funny how people can get so hooked on a TV show that when you don't see it every week, you actually miss the actors like they were your friends and family or something. I credit this show and my ex-boss (who came along after I started watching TWW) for getting me so interested in politics. I remember when this show came on the air--I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to watch a one-hour drama about working in the White House. Then I actually sat down and watched it, and man, I was hooked like a rat on crack.

Work has been really, really busy lately, and then I got that nasty bug last weekend, and I feel like I've lost the time that passed between the Fiber Rendezvous and today. Today's the first day since last Friday that I've been able to eat anything and not have my stomach throw an absolute fit. I still felt bad enough on Monday that I stayed home--heck, I'm not sure I could have made it to work without having "issues" before I got there, if you know what I mean. But today I feel pretty good, except for the fact that tomorrow is Friday and it's a holiday weekend and hotter than hell and I have a hundred thousand things I need to do or get before the weekend and it's just not gonna happen.


I guess I'll have to break my normal "don't leave the house on the weekends" rule and run some errands on Saturday. At least I have another day to make up for it.

On the bright side, I'm having lunch tomorrow with a friend from my last job, and he has promised lots of good gossip, so that will be fun.

Right now I think I'm gonna go sit on the couch with Maggie and watch "30 Years of Live from Lincoln Center" and work on my special, super-secret knitting project. All I can tell you is it's little and it's cotton. That's it, no more, not even if you torture me!

And if you're lucky, this weekend I'll have photos of my newly planted garden, seeing as I haven't planted the stuff I bought before Easter!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm still alive . . .

but until this morning, I wasn't totally sure about that. Boy, it's been a long time since I've had a viral gut bug like this. Today I feel much, much better--I was able to eat something for the first time since Friday afternoon, but I'm still kinda weak. I did get my laundry done, and now I think I'm going to make up the bed and take a little lie down.

More to come . . . .

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I've been sick since about 8 pm last night. Vomiting and diahrrea, and I think I'm running a fever. The vomiting, dry heaves, etc., stopped about 4 am, but I feel like crap. I've been in bed all day. I thought I could sit up for a while, but I'm not sure how long I'm gonna last. Maggie has been taking good care of me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Quick update

I've totally run out of time this weekend, but I did make it to the Fiber Rendezvous yesterday--I have the sunburn and the fiber to prove it. I bought some lovely stuff, met some even more lovely people, and just had a wonderful time.

I'll try to find the time to update tomorrow. Weekends are just too darn short!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Actual Knitting Content (tm)

I wrote yesterday about planning to attend the Route 66 Fiber Rendezvous next Saturday in Arcadia. I thought that I should have some knitting to take with me in case I need to kill some time (and to show that I actually can, you know, knit), so of course I needed a sock.

Now the Ruby River Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock is still laying on my computer table in need of a good frogging. I really didn't want to start a sock with another yarn, because I'm afraid I'll never go back to this yarn, and it's really quite awesome--I just need to quit knitting so damn tight! But if I frogged it, I would have to soak the yarn to get the kinkiness out, and I really didn't want to wait that long, because if I didn't get something started this weekend, nothing was liable to happen during the week.

So I chose another yarn, and I think I did good. This is Trekking XXL, Color 100, that Missy gave to me for Christmas (thanks again!), and I really like it:

It's very soft, although a little splitty, but I like the way it knits up--kinda heathered, kinda striped. So far I've managed to knit more loosely than with the Bearfoot yarn, and it seems to be just right with these Size 1 needles. This was how much I knit in roughly eight hours (slow knitter, I know)--I stayed up way too late last night watching Sidney Poitier movies on OETA. It felt good having knitting in my hands again--I just couldn't get past the frogging part. (I really need to work on getting past the hurdles in my life to get to the good stuff.)

So I have a good start on a sock, I have some spinning on the spindle--all I need to do is premordant my yarn and fiber for the dying class. Unfortunately, I don't have enough vinegar in the house to do that today, so I'll stop tomorrow and do that later this week. Then I'll be all ready to go!

One question, though--will it be too much to use my Maryland Sheep and Wool tote to carry everything in if I've never been to the festival?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Random thoughts . . . .

It's a quiet, rainy, foggy, cool day here in OKC, the perfect type for opening the windows and taking it easy. As this is the first weekend in three weeks where I haven't had something to do, I'm lovin' it. Maggie and I stayed in bed until after 9 am, and the only constructive thing I've done all day so far is two loads of laundry. Right now I'm trying to decide whether I want to knit or work on my plants.

Although the stuff I bought before Easter still hasn't been planted, I do have some things that are doing quite well:

Lettuce! A mesclun early mix, it's loving this cool weather. Hopefully I can get a few salads from this before the weather gets too hot and the lettuce bolts:

My two pots of strawberry plants have lots of blooms and fruit:

My herbs are doing really well considering they haven't been planted yet:

I still love this hanging basket:

But I think my pansies have finally given up the ghost:

I'm trying to pull some good karma after my goose disaster on Monday, so here's a photo of the baby geese we have around my office. There's a big pond across the street, so we get a lot of geese and ducks in the area. It looks like there's been at least three groups of babies born--I counted 17 goslings one morning. This isn't a very good picture, but I'm going to try to get some better ones next week. (Click the photo for a larger version.)

They're very cute--they follow their parents everywhere. They seem to be doubling in size almost every day. Right now they're a fuzzy dirty olive greenish color, but I'm sure that won't last very long. I'm just hoping that none of them get mowed down in the street--some people take the curves along the pond pretty fast.

Next Saturday, May 13, is the Route 66 Fiber Rendezvous in Arcadia. I've never been to a fiber festival before, and I'm really excited. There's going to be a natural dye workshop, lots of demos, weaving, spinning, fiber, and all kinds of goodies. I plan to imagine I'm at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and spend LOTS of money. I need to be inspired!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is this the same dog?

Maggie is terrified of storms. She won't sleep, she paces, she climbs into the bathtub and the closet, she tries everything she can to get away. I give her Benadryl, lay her on her back, rub her tummy, and talk to her until the storm passes. This leaves both of us a wreck the next day, because we usually don't get much sleep.

We had a pretty good storm roll through last night--lots of rain, wind, some lightning and thunder, although nothing directly overhead, basically just a good old-fashioned, kinda loud rainstorm.

Last night she acknowledged the storm but never freaked out. She sat up in the bed, went over to the window and looked out, laid down, got back up, went around to my other side, looked out the window again, and then repeated the process a couple of times more. Then she crawled back under the covers (her favorite place to sleep), and a little later she came back out, looked out the window again, and then curled up behind my knees and went back to sleep.

I couldn't believe it. I spent at least an hour wide awake because I knew she was going to get upset, but it never happened.

I guess maybe not having a lot of severe weather for a while has made a difference for her--I don't really know what to think of it. All I know is I can't believe this is the same dog who less than a year ago tried to climb into the dishwasher because she was so freaked out over a thunderstorm.

Such a good dog!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Life is getting a little scary . . .

I'm not sure I want to leave the house again if this keeps up.

Firstly, on my way to work this morning, I hit a goose on May Avenue. I didn't even see it until it was too late, it couldn't get out of the way in time, and there was too much traffic to swerve. I'm still absolutely sick over it.

I get to work and find out that the seriously ill adult daughter of a coworker in our HR Department passed away this morning. She had MS and had had a stroke several years ago, and she was not well, but it was still very sad.

Then I go out at lunch to drive a block away to pick up lunch for a meeting. I looked both ways before I pulled out into the street--and almost was hit by a truck coming from my right. It was a big gray pickup and I didn't even see it.

Maybe I need to get my eyes checked again?

So I can tell you that driving home tonight had my eyes glued to the road and trying to outguess everybody around me. I was so happy to pull into the driveway without any incidents.

Truly the Last Frontier . . . .

My hometown's getting DSL access--no, not the thriving metropolis of Guthrie, but the wide spot in the road known as Meridian, population 57.
Actually, this is great--if I ever decide to move out to the farm, at least I'll have decent internet access.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What's happened to our country?

In Lodi Terror Case, Intent Was the Clincher - Los Angeles Times

The whole situation is horrible, but this statement chills me to the bone:

But McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in an interview Friday that the case against Hayat was short on the standard elements of proof because the crime had not yet happened.

"In the post-9/11 context," Scott said, "law enforcement has been given a mission by the president and the attorney general to prevent deadly acts before they occur. That is the new paradigm for law enforcement."
So we can be arrested and convicted today, in 2006, for thought crimes? When did our country become like some really bad sci-fi movie? Have we forgotten how to stand up for our rights, rights which are guaranteed by our Constitution, or are we afraid to fight back because the government's power has become so all encompassing that we can't take the chance of making our opinions heard?

Here's some of the other news I've heard in the last few days:

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.


Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

Understanding Mobility in America

- The middle class is experiencing more insecurity of income, while the top decile is experiencing less. From 1997-98 to 2003-04, the increase in downward short-term mobility was driven by the experiences of middle-class households (those earning between $34,510 and $89,300 in 2004 dollars). Households in the top quintile saw no increase in downward short-term mobility, and households in the top decile ($122,880 and up) saw a reduction in the frequency of large negative income shocks.

- For the middle class, an increase in income volatility has led to an increase in the frequency of large negative income shocks, which may be expected to translate to an increase in financial distress.

- The median household was no more upwardly mobile in 2003-04, a year when GDP grew strongly, than it was it was during the recession of 1990-91.

- Upward short-term mobility for those in the bottom quintile has improved since 1990-91, with no significant offsetting increase in downward short-term mobility.
FDA Grilled About Plan B Contraceptive

Simon Heller, one of the attorneys, plans to quiz Woodcock about a March 23, 2004, staff memo suggesting she was concerned Plan B might lead to teenage promiscuity.

The FDA is only supposed to consider the safety and efficacy of drugs.

In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."
Nearly 30 percent at Guantanamo jail cleared to go

Nearly 30 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to leave the prison but remain jailed because the U.S. government has been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Of these 141 detainees among the 490 still at Guantanamo, various military reviews have cleared 22 to be freed in their home countries and the remaining 119 for transfer to the control of their home governments.

"It's just an outrageous situation where people have gone through this system that has been established, such as it is, and the (U.S.) government itself has found there's no reason for them to be held any longer, and yet they continue to be held," said Curt Goering, a senior Amnesty International USA official.

"It makes a mockery of any kind of system of justice," Goering added.

So, what have we learned?

- It's okay to arrest people and throw them in jail because they might not think the same way you do.

- It's okay to say one thing and then do another, to lie to the people whose trust you hold so that you can line the pockets of your rich buddies.

- We shouldn't prevent sickness and disease because it might lead to "cult behavior" and just-for-fun sex. Preventing an "urban legend" is more important than sustaining life.

- Guantanamo Bay's being converted into luxury condominiums--lease with a option to purchase.

I feel SO much better now!

Rachel Maddow says that the GOP is trying to covert this country into a monarchy--I don't think she's that far off. Add religion into the mix, and we're well on our way to become a theocracy with "King George" as our ruler.