Category Archives: House


Even though I have the best of intentions when it comes to writing here, my reality just isn’t reflecting it. It’s not that I’m rushed off my feet – in fact, quite the reverse – it’s that… I don’t know. I feel hobbled, somehow.

Anyway, Zeus willing, the house renovation starts tomorrow. The guys are coming to do something painful to my driveway, and something something foundations blah. I have a feeling this renovation process is going to be VERY irritating in the worst way. My whole life is an exercise in Trying To Avoid Irritation, Even Though It Follows Me Everywhere, and a project of this magnitude… well, let’s just say that if *I* were in charge, it would probably go a lot smoother.

In other news, I don’t think this half-marathon is going to happen. I have developed shin splints, which might be a result of new shoes (which are the same as my old shoes, just the updated model) and/or an increase in mileage. After the tailspin that was February, getting back on track has been difficult, to say the least. While I think the body could slog through 13.1 miles, I’m not so sure the mind can do it. I’m too distracted.

I hate it when my life gets in the way of my life.

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Lazyblogger Photoparade!

Sunset and chocolate

Puddle dancing

“This is what I’m talking about!”

Pink and pink

Bathroom gnome

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A test of my emergency coping system

This is only a test, I hope.

I woke up this morning and opened up the computer to find that it had somehow killed everything. EVERYTHING. Music? Gone. Photos? Gone. Everything, everything, everything, gone, gone, gone.

Any programs I’d installed were intact, which was weird, but any data/settings? GONE.

How does this happen? Nobody seems to know. I think Bill Gates got mad at me the other day for telling Windows Vista to shut up. I’m SORRY, okay?

This has created a weird space in my head. This weird space is occupied by the thought that I am incredibly thankful for Howard Stern. Why? Well.

Freddie enjoys the comedy stylings of Howard Stern. I don’t really understand this, since I find him boring and repetitive (not to mention puerile and lowest-common-denominator). So Freddie listens to Howard on the radio. And one of the companies that advertises on Howard’s radio show is for a PC backup service, of which we are customers.

So, when the thing is finished restoring everything I had lost this morning, we’ll see if we’re getting our money’s worth (we’re at 68% restored at the moment). And then I will not say anything derogatory about Howard Stern or his fans for at least a week.

The real test today is to see how well I keep it together. I have been hanging on to my sanity by a very fine thread for quite some time now, since things in my house insist upon requiring repair, which costs me money. It would be one thing if everything was broken at once, but it’s not like that. Something breaks, I get it fixed (because of course it’s a fix that is outside even my crafty MacGuyver skills), I pay for it, and then something else goes. This has been going on since October and I am pretty sure I’m close to my limit of being able to cope without being medicated.

This constant feeling of “NOW WHAT” is going to be the death of me. I’m trying to be all Zen or whatever happy-clappy coping bullshit, but it’s difficult. VERY difficult. I just keep breathing, keep moving, keep rolling. Four years ago, when I was Professionally Crazy, this would have been the end of me. But I know I’ll get through it if I just keep moving.

Drugs would be more efficient, of course, but I am becoming increasingly anti-pharmie in my old age. I don’t want to be That Girl who takes pills for everything because she can’t cope, can’t sleep, can’t get out of bed. I can do all of those things.

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There is so much I don’t know

I’m getting ready to plan my assault on Mother Nature. I have such a huge list of things I want to grow (or try to grow, as the case may be) and I’m already fully aware that my ambitions far outstrip my actual skills.

The first thing that needs to be done is the garden expansion. There are probably better/easier ways to do it, but they require tools that I do not have. So it will be me, a rake, and a hoe out in the backyard for a couple of backbreaking days. It will be good for me, ultimately. Then I’ll have to rearrange the area along the back fence, because we had some pretty major erosion there due to my lack of planning last year. So that will need to be fixed somehow.

Then I have to decide what will go where, and when. I have no idea when to plant most things. I suppose I could get a book or find a website or something (I have quite a few sites bookmarked) but that would make sense! Why not re-invent the wheel? There is so much I don’t know. I don’t know when I should put lettuce in, and then what does it look like when it bolts? No idea. I know when to put in tomatoes and peppers, but what about broccoli? Can I put garlic in now or do I have to wait and put that in during the fall? No idea. Do I want to start asparagus from seed and wait at least three years before I can harvest? Or do I want to buy a set of crowns and put them in and hope to harvest next spring?

There is so much to do.


Filed under Food, House

Happy 2009. Maybe.

Dear Universe,

Please refrain from breaking shit in my house. In October it was the oven. Then last week the freezer decided to act shitty, so we scheduled an appointment with the repair guy. He’s coming tomorrow, so of course the freezer is acting just fine. Then today the washer decided it didn’t want to agitate after filling up with soapy water. That’s uncool. With a little bit of voodoo and some luck, it appears to be functional once again but I do NOT need that kind of heart attack. Oh, also? When I was at the bank and the drive-through ATM wasn’t letting me make a withdrawal and I had to go in the bank to find out that it wasn’t me it was their shitty ATM? NOT COOL.

F’real. My garbage disposal leaks (thanks to the bumbling jackasses who installed it after they ASSURED me they knew what they were doing and THEY DID NOT), and that’s enough. Oh, the broken drawer on the bathroom vanity? Totally fine, FOR NOW. I’ll fix that after I fix the shorted-out light in there and the bathtub spigot that spins all the way around and the shower thingy that comes right out. Oh, then I’ll bleach the grout between the floor tiles and seal it because the yahoos who owned this house before us neglected to do it. Among other things they neglected to do: fill nail-holes and paint all the trim and baseboard in the house. The insides of all the interior doors need to be painted. The front and back outside doors are in laughably bad condition and will ALSO need to be replaced in the next five years (or sooner if I can help it).

Eventually, the house will need to be re-sided. That’s fine. Expected, even. But all this crap that is attempting to explode simultaneously NEEDS TO STOP or I’m going to have some kind of breakdown.

Happy New Year, Y’all!

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Fun-ish things (I like lists)

1. I have given away both copies of the book I promised to the Tomato Nation Comment Army. Thanks for the interest and good luck to all! Once the NCDS is over, we’ll get started in earnest, yes?

2. I have been trying to ignore it, but apparently I need to re-organize my cupboards a little better. This morning, a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce fell out of the cabinet and splashed me in the face. Not an awesome way to start the day.

3. I made a big batch of waffles this morning. Ever since I discovered Jillian’s intense and burning love for all things leavened, I have been making waffles about every 5 days. I figure I have saved approximately $527.32 just this year alone by making them from scratch (ridiculously easy) instead of buying Eggo. The child can put away two of them each morning, no problem. She’s a machine.

4. While Freddie and I both have our own iPods, we share the iTunes. Therefore, EVERYTHING that is on the iTunes ends up on my iPod (18GB) because there is no way in hell I’m manually managing 5,000 songs. During the day, I like to put it on shuffle and let it go but today I found I may have to re-think that. Collective Soul came on. I mean, Collective Soul? On MY iPod? Ew. I do believe this is grounds for divorce.

5. I have a fairly eclectic musical palate. I’ll listen to most things, but there are a few things that make me want to stick rusty scissors in my ears. The Eagles come to mind. Collective Soul is another one – they were EVERYWHERE in the mid-to-late 90’s and I’m sick of them (still) on top of the fact that THEY SUCK. Freddie already had that CD in his music collection when we got together because I for sure didn’t authorize that purchase. Thank God he dislikes country as much as I do or I really would have to call my lawyer. If I had a lawyer, that is.

6. I… like the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap. I didn’t used to – when we moved out of our last apartment and into our first house, I scrubbed the shit out of the hardwood floors in the apartment using the MOS. And for some reason, the smell of it was unpleasant to me, but in hindsight that might have had more to do with the fact that the whole apartment was kind of stanky when we got there. It smelled like the dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant – like old sesame oil. Hrm. Perhaps that’s why sesame oil still makes me heave a bit when I cook with it. Interesting. Anyway, I finally got fed up with the grody milk driblets all over my TV stand and coffee table (thanks, toddler!) so I busted out the Murphy’s and went to town. Much better.

7. Technology, which is sometimes the bane of my existence, is actually doing nice things for me these days. Via Facebook and MySpace, people are falling back into my life after long absences and I couldn’t be happier. As I reconnect with these people, I feel like the pieces of me that are connected with them are joining back up with the whole of me. It’s a nice feeling, even if talking about it makes me seem a little less than sane.

8. My little brother is coming to be our houseguest for a few weeks. This means I have had to shovel out the 3rd bedroom and make it habitable for him. I also needed to buy curtains, since the previous owners left little valances across each window which is fine when nobody is living in there, but now that there’s a tenant, he might want some privacy. So I went to Target this morning and picked up some curtains. For ONE window, despite the fact that there are two perfectly useful windows in that room, both of which need curtains. Because I am… how you say… RETARDED. Therefore, once The Jillian wakes up from her nap (blessed, blessed naptime, how I love you so), we are headed out to Target AGAIN. Because I’m a dumbass.

9. I wonder what kind of proof-of-address the library needs in order to issue me a card. We moved here last October and I only just recently got around to getting on the DMV website to change my address on my license. You can do it online and they send you a sticker to put on your license and thus saves you the immense hassle and ass-pain of actually GOING to the DMV. Yay, right? WRONG! While I might sit in the DMV with a speed-freak toddler for a few hours, at least I would HAVE MY STICKER. Because I did it online? Three to four weeks. Yes, WEEKS. For fuck’s sake.

10. But I need to go to the library. Small and dismal our town library may be, at least it has books. And I have read all of my books. ALL OF THEM. Even the shitty ones that I got for free at some of my various and sundry book-related jobby jobs. Most of the books I have read twice. Or three times. Or, in a few cases (Gone With The Wind), upwards of 150 times. I need some new books. That I do not have to pay for.

11. No, that’s not a typo. I have read Gone With The Wind more than 150 times. I got a paperback copy of it for Christmas (or my birthday, I forget which) waaaaaaay back in 1983. I was eight, and [duh] reading at a much more advanced level than most people are at that age. Books written for my age group: a) bored me to death; b) had stupid, condescending plotlines; and c) took me roughly 15 minutes to read. Since I wasn’t athletic (that’s putting it extremely diplomatically), I read. A lot. So the parents, pissed off at having to drag my nerdy ass to the library every two days, bought me Gone With The Wind in hopes that it would shut me up for a good long time. It took two weeks for me to read it that first time, and once I got to the end I promptly started it again. It’s my favorite book.

12. I don’t hate the movie, exactly, but it has so little to do with the book that it bums me out to watch it, even though I think I could rock a hoop skirt.

13. In knitting news, I am about done with my Big Ugly Sweater. I ran into a bit of a problem in that the sleeves are a bit longer than the body pieces will allow so I sort of have to do a little bit of hillbilly engineering to get them to look presentable. This problem will be fixed next time because I will knit the sleeves first and then make the body pieces fit. If there is a next one. I initially knit this in the ugly color scheme as a test run before I knit one for Freddie. The ugly color scheme doesn’t bother me at all but it will blind most people (wait for the photos).

…and there you have it – today’s brain mush!

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Filed under Books, Freddie, Friends, House, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me, Stuff

My butler is a bit confused.

housecleaning.JPGI asked him to clean the house. So he’s cleaning… the outside.

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Here’s some random crap!

It’s not that I don’t love you, my four blog readers… it’s that, well, things are a bit of a tornado lately and there just hasn’t been time to sit down and write about how awesome I am.

So here’s some random junk.

1. WTF is up with my right foot? The sole of it is all hard and leathery and has cracked in places, which is uncomfortable at best and fucking painful the rest of the time. Getting a pedicure is out of the question at the present time, since I’m sure they want someone with oozing sores getting germs all around the place. I suppose I could maybe quit wandering around the backyard in bare feet and put some damn shoes on, but I probably won’t.

2. I managed to catch a cold. In July. At first I thought it was allergies, but after the initial early-spring pollen showers, I haven’t had any problems. Until this week, which brought on the sneezing and the sneezing and the sneezing. I think it’s going away now, but I still have that sunken-eyed feeling. Sexy.

3. My garden is quite a sight. The front garden was strewn with wildflower seeds in hopes that SOMETHING would grow there until I can actually sit and look at it and decide on a more permanent way of going on. It’s very pretty, with lots of blue and orange flowers that Jillian enjoys chewing on. Hope they’re not poisonous! I also have a few sunflowers that are still alive, which is a miracle to me since I have never been successful with those.

4. The back garden is… a tomato jungle. I planted sixteen pods with tomato seeds, thinking I was going to do it right and thin them before sticking them in the actual ground. I overestimated myself and ended up just putting the whole pod in. So now I have a veritable rainforest of tomato plants, which are being held up by a combination of cages and yarn. I need to stake them, like yesterday, but haven’t yet been able to carve out the time. I am hoping beyond hope that the hornworms don’t find us. Those things creep me out SO MUCH (more than soggy Cheerios, if you can imagine anything more horrifying than that) and if I see one, I’m busting out the Agent Orange.

5. The cantaloupe and the zucchini didn’t make it, sadly. It seems that buying plants from Home Depot is a bad idea – I have never done well with them, because they’re always diseased or something. The peppers I bought seem to be doing okay, and the eggplant… might live… but the others I bought DIED. DIED DIED DIED! Fuck off, Home Depot. Next year we’ll be more organized (ha ha!) and start zucchini and other fun things from seed.

6. I am trying to get Freddie to let me bust up the front lawn and put raised beds in there, but there is something encoded in his suburban DNA that makes him shrink with horror whenever I talk about NOT HAVING A LAWN. As it is, I refuse to water it no matter how brown and grody it gets because using fresh water on something that is ornamental and ultimately USELESS is so wasteful, it makes me want to barf. So… brown lawn. I did convince him to use a more or less ignored strip on the side of the house for next year’s veggie garden. We’re going to build the beds in the fall and hope that when spring comes, we’ll be able to grow stuff there.

7. My knitting projects are coming along nicely. I have finished the front of the Big Ugly Sweater and have started work on one sleeve. I might get it done by the time winter rolls around, but let’s not hold our breath. It’s my Aries nature – I love to start things, but the finishing… not so much.

8. Sewing is happening as well. Sort of. I am far too impatient to actually follow directions, so my projects tend to stall until I have some kind of brainwave that gets me through to the next section. Again – love to start things. I adore picking out fabric, but when it comes time to actually do something with it, I’m already bored and onto the next thing.

9. Tomorrow I’m heading up to Massachusetts to party with some of my Imaginary Internet Friends. I need some time away, badly. The last month or so of life here at The Butterfly Ranch has been extremely difficult, but I haven’t really been able to talk about it. It sucks, but that’s the way we roll here. I am thankful that I have my IIFs to vent to, or else this last month would have found me curled up under the dining room table, scratching at imaginary bugs.

10. Sunday Freddie and I are going to see the Mets! We weren’t counting on being able to get tickets at all this year, since it’s the last season at Shea Stadium, but thanks to his connections at work, we are using someone’s season tickets for this game. WHEEEE! Or, as Jillian would say “Yay Mets! Baseball!”

11. The Jillian is, as always, a constant source of amazement and delight. She is talking talking talking all the time, and putting words and sentences together left and right. Her latest obsession is airplanes, so every time we’re outside, we look up in the sky for airplanes. She is also a big fan of flowers, and after breakfast every day, she stands at the baby gate to the kitchen and says “Mama. Shoes. Outside, new flowers!” She also likes to learn new words and will happily repeat them all day long. Yesterday’s word was “greenies,” since she wiped some boogers on me and I said “Ew! Greenies!” So yesterday was all about “Mama, greenies in my nose!” And then she would cackle.

12. I fear the child has been cursed with my hair issues. I have cowlicks all over my head, which means the hair does not lie flat, ever. Jillian seems to have the same thing – her hair grows in about fifteen different directions and cannot be tamed. I am going to break down and get some barrettes to attempt to keep it out of her eyes, but I am not confident that this will help. Freddie is all for cutting her hair, but I refuse to allow him to do that! People just stopped telling me what a cute little boy I have, I’m not about to butch her up again!

13. I need to figure out what to do with this ridiculously large head of bok choy that I got yesterday. We joined a CSA, which, yay! But you get what you get, and a 2-pound (possibly heavier) head of bok choy was in the basket yesterday and… I’m at a loss. I know it’s related to celery and that I can use it in stir-fry and possibly also a soupy-thing (there’s a Naked Chef recipe that I have made before that was excellent), but other than that… I’m stumped. I tried last week’s [much smaller] bok choy in a tomato sauce over pasta, but I wasn’t thrilled with that combo.

14. I like the CSA. So far. We paid $350 for a 1/2 share, which looks like it’s going to be plenty. The farm is organic, and our farmer sends out a newsletter every week with little tidbits about what he’s doing and how he’s doing it organically. It’s very interesting. If I had the $$, I would love to buy a bigger plot of land out in the boonies somewhere and grow more food. I’m going to try, year by year, to take over more of the backyard.

15. And there you have it. Maybe, if you’re really lucky and you wish really hard, I’ll quit being lazy and post some pictures. Jillian’s 2nd birthday is coming up (I know – I can’t believe it either), so maybe I’ll post a bunch of her.


Filed under Baseball, Food, Friends, House, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me

That creative itch

There are quite a few things about myself that I know I will never understand. For one thing, how come the only time I get the urge to do crafty/creative things is when I simply do not have time to do them?

Like right now, for instance. I have a growing list of projects planned, but no time in which to do them. On top of that, the weather is just beautiful and why would I spend time inside cussing at the sewing machine when I could be outside, cussing at the weeds in the garden?

[That reminds me – if you receive tomatoes from me, it’s not because I’m trying to kill you with salmonella. It’s because we are going to have a crazy huge amount of them, judging by the health of my 16 tomato plants.]

I have the urge to make some skirts. I have the urge to make some cutiepie dresses for The Jillian. And now, my friend Lucy posted a link to a pattern for a convertible/infinity dress (I am too damn lazy to link it, try Google), and I want to make approximately six million of them. Plus, I have The Big Ugly Sweater to keep working on, and I have yet to make any sort of start on my New Year’s Resolution to learn to knit socks already.

My brain is busier than my body wishes to be. Hasn’t this always been the case?

Part of my problem is that I don’t feel like I can start/continue any of these projects while there is still Household Engineering that needs to be done. Like laundry, which never ever ends. If we could all just be naked for a day or two and not create any laundry, that would be the best thing ever. Then there’s the never ending kitchen issue, the bathrooms, and all the other fun housework I neglect until even *I* can’t stand it, then I spend a good half-day cleaning the hell out of the place.

And did I mention the basement needs to be re-organized, waterproofed, and painted? Yeah, like THAT is ever going to get done. EVER.

Ooh, then there is the issue of the front door[s]. We have two entrances to the house – one in the living room and one in the kitchen. From the outside, the doors look oddly close together so it’s like we have two front doors. Anyway, these doors? ARE UGLY. Everything in this house that we haven’t painted (yet) looks as though it was salvaged from some kind of flood-ridden drug house. The people who lived here before us did a lot of remodeling – took it down to the studs, from what the nosy neighbor says – and apparently, instead of hitting up Home Depot or Lowe’s for the rebuilding materials, they trash-picked them. It’s really the only explanation I have for the appalling state of our front doors. And siding. And unfinished molding/baseboards. And unfinished interior doors.

On the one hand, yay, because if this would have been a palace we would have paid more. And because everything is in a cracked-out state of unfinishedness, I can do what I want with it. But it is frustrating in the extreme to have to LOOK AT IT all the time until I can get around to fixing/painting it.

I need to quit ranting about the house – I do it a lot.

Back to the creative urge thing. Why does it strike so strongly when I have sixteen thousand other things that need to get done? And how come when I do have the free time in which to immerse myself in bobbins and pins, I end up playing MarioKart?

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Is hot, yeah?

Y’all, this is the third or fourth day in a row of 100-degree heat. IN JUNE. I’m all about loving the hot weather, but this is nuts.

We’ve got the air-conditioning on as well two fans and it is still 80 degrees in here. That’s what the a/c is set on, but still. Insanity. There is no way on earth I would be able to get this house cooled down to 72 or whatever a normal person would have the a/c set to.

Surprisingly, the garden is in love with the heat. I’m watering twice a day and the plants are loving it. The tomatoes are exploding all over the place. I should probably thin them but at this point, they’re getting huge and it will be amazing if I can get the cages on. I meant to do it over the weekend, but again – hot.

Stupidly, I finished hacking up the third section, put the topsoil down, and planted the rest of the plants. In +100 degrees. That was two days ago and I’m still recovering. But now I have 16 tomato plants, 7 basil (Jillian stomped on one), 3 radishes (ditto), some peppers (maybe – they are Mystery Plants), some non-mystery peppers, 1 zucchini, 1 eggplant, and a cantaloupe.

My friend Kat is sending me some beans and I rustled up some peas that I can plant at the end of July, so we should have a very interesting harvest!

In other news, there isn’t really a lot of other news. I have been spending a crazy amount of time in the garden, though I did just lose my mind yesterday at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I have big plans to make a couple of skirts for myself and some dresses for The Jillian. We shall see how that turns out.

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