Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad Homesteader, Bad!

So it's raining tonight, which is part of why I'm blogging at 2:30 in the morning. The other part is this weird arthritis-y type hip joint pain I've been having lately. Did you know I have congenitally defective hip sockets? Biology is fun.

Back to the rain. I have all the parts I needed to fix the gutters and funnel rain water into a storage barrel, but did I ever get around to installing them? Nope. Seriously, if our lives actually depended on my homesteading skills, we would be so dead. My native seeds have just begun to germinate, but I'm worried this storm could wipe them out - it's typical SoCal rain, hard and heavy. Of course, that's nothing compared to the people who are wondering if their houses will be wiped away by mudslides tonight. When I drove through the hills on the 57 during the fires, it was like driving into Armageddon with the Killers as my soundtrack. Between the smoke and the raging Santa Ana winds it was like a music video. Highly surreal.

The sugar snap peas have begun to form pods, and the first fava bean seedling has poked out of the ground. I think I will plant more of them. The regular peas are doing poorly and I will probably have to plant a new crop at the end of January. My lettuces are healthy but sloooooow growing, I know we are heading into the low-grow part of the year so I guess I'm not too surprised. All my native & drought tolerant stuff is going dormant which makes the backyard look even more sad. I just have to keep telling myself "It will look awesome next summer, it will look awesome next summer." Unless my super heavy clay soil kills everything first!

Oh yes, college. By the time I was permitted to register, all sections of human biochem were filled up. Now I am in a dither, because I really wanted to get a better grip on chemistry before I tackle Anatomy. I have emailed the professor to ask if there are plans to add any more courses, but have no response just yet. I know everything will work out - it always does - but right now the next step hasn't come to me yet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday Garage Sale Score

Shaking things up this week.

A fun morning of garage-sale-ing. Two silk scarves, an uncoated aluminum roasting pan, a few top-secret Christmas gifts, a gigantic pot that I will drill a hole in the bottom of and turn into a planter, some decorative items, shoes for Dan, a forged-head hammer and a rather large rubber mallet (I use rubber mallets a lot and have been wanting a bigger one for a while), some drill bits.

We drove up to Chino again because my SIL Courtney and her kids were there, and drove the herd up to the Rancho Santa Ana gardens again. Even my parents came, which was awesome. We had a great time despite the inevitable tantrums and fits that come along with such a venture. Then we had dinner, went back to Mom & Pop's and just hung out. I should have called Stephen or Sam, since we were up there. I am lame.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Como Una Abeja

Like a busy, busy bee! Only online tonight to see if I can register for the Spring semester yet (no, I can't until next Monday).

Summations: Human Biochemistry next semester (if I can get in the class). More exams coming up, semester over in 5 weeks. Hope I don't screw up my A. Saw a play with Stephen on Saturday night, got stuck in Chino because the fires closed the freeways, had to sleep at Mom & Pop's.

Finally sowed the seeds for the wildflower/native grass front yard. Sweet pea seedlings also in front yard, climbing old branches, hope they will bloom by Christmas. Got all the sugar snap seedlings planted, fava beans planted, transplanting peas, waging war on the caterpillars gorging themselves on my lettuce! Killed 10+ today alone. Larkspur, nasturtium, Mrs. Scott Elliott columbine, poppies and strawberries in the courtyard garden. Bought a matilija poppy and an indian mallow, will probably grow in large pots in backyard.

Bad mom - Paul's school reports not so good. Have to get my you-know-what together and be a more self-disciplined adult. Huge self-hatred cycle starting there. Thanksgiving creeping up, may go north to see Dad's side of the family. Going to ride the Polar Express next month with my mother, Paul, Eli and their cousin Noah. Trying to suppress the horror of it all. Reason I'm going is Dad will start chemotherapy soon and will not be able to travel. Trying to suppress that horror, too.

Christmas Eve in San Clemente. Christmas day, who knows? Going to Yosemite for 4 days after Christmas - Dan's new overlords give the whole Christmas-New Year's week off.

Formed two "escape" plans for if the economy really goes to hell. #1 is hike the Pacific Crest Trail for 6 months. #2 is go see Don and Lee in China (Don's blog is really funny, hint hint) - if we have to live off our savings, may as well do it someplace interesting and cheap.

OK, piles of laundry and diagrams of cellular respiration to get to!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Date With Stephen

Last Friday, Stephen and I finally had another date. Dan was supposed to go on a Boy Scout overnighter, but instead had to work half the night. I had a horticulture lecture in Claremont Saturday morning (at the wonderful Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden), so I stayed at Mom & Pop's on Friday night and Stephen and I got to go out. We went to the Claremont Village, which has become much more developed since I used to work at KSPC. So much for the small-town college feel!

We mostly just walked around. We took a confusing detour into a store called Bath Junkie, where Stephen played with the staff's head and despaired for the younger generation, while I think I was very clumsily hit on by a 22-year-old. I was either being mocked or I am now in the cougar phase of life. I'm still not sure. I guess we both ended up lamenting the young. We are so old.

We went into Rhino Records - oh, all my California expat friends, remember Rhino? The used CD racks, the vinyl in the back, the hand-lettered sale signs. I talked Stephen out of buying everything he wanted, but he couldn't talk me out of buying the CD he picked out for me - "The Greatest" by Cat Power. He told me the title track was a perfect song; how I could I pass by a recommendation like that. He was right, listen to it here (sorry, it's a very silly fan video). I don't love the whole album, but I do love cat Power and there are some really great songs. My favorites besides The Greatest are Hate, Lived In Bars, and Love & Communication.

Who wants to teach me how to embed YouTube videos? I am a bit of an idiot.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Seed Sale!

I do not know if any of you are as geeky about gardens as I am, but Renee's Garden is having their annual half-off sale - vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. I just placed an order for Scarlet runner beans, Painted Lady runner beans, Spanish Musica beans, Edamame, the Asian Eggplant Trio, and some old-fashioned hollyhocks. Half off of all in-stock seed packets (that's $1.35 a packet) until November 20th, and $4.50 shipping in the US. I will have a wall of beans shading the sunny side of the house this summer!

Go here to check out the selection.

The winter garden is coming along. The tomatoes were not getting enough sun where they were, so I dug them up and put them in a sunnier spot. I have Stupice, Glacier, and Taxi tomatoes. I am still getting eggplants in November! The squash, watermelon and cantaloupe vines have all been ripped out. I picked up some more straw bales secondhand after Halloween (folks use them as party decorations), and have now filled in the trench along the sunny side of the house using the newspaper-hay-straw-compost method.

The front yard is coming back together. Dan helped me lay the flagstone path back down and I put some crocus bulbs in between the stones. Once I decide what I'm doing to kill the weeds that have begun to sprout up, I will seed the front yard with California native grasses and wildflowers. It's very small, difficult to water, and thick with tree roots (there's a half-dead plum tree), so I don't want to turn it into another veggie plot. It will be my little patch of natural California.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


In all the election brouhaha, I forgot to tell my dedicated blogfans how I did on my second Biology exam. I got 47 out of 50, and to my astonishment I set the curve for the grading. So I think I can say with some confidence that I probably have an A in the class so far. I was really nervous about going back to school, and still nervous about taking Chemistry in the Spring, but I might actually have some confidence by the end of this semester.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dear Senator McCain

As I watched you give your gracious, gracious concession speech last night, I felt great sorrow for you. I actually cried a little bit for you. To have your white house aspirations destroyed twice by George W. Bush must be a bitter pill, indeed. I voted for you in the 2000 primaries, and I knew the GOP made a huge mistake in not selecting you back then. I believe that even more now. I don't necessarily think that you would have saved us from all of the disasters that we're suffering now, particularly given the spending and economic policies you have supported, but I do believe you wouldn't have come up with the harebrained idea to invade Iraq - and what a different country we would be now just without that problem.

I know you are a good man. I know your running mate, Gov. Palin, is a good woman. Boy, she got whipped in the press, and she impressed me with her ability to be brave through it all. I do genuinely believe it was sexist. But all that aside, at this time, in this place, I just didn't think your direction was the right one to choose. You had a hard race to run, carrying the last 8 years on your backs. Gov. Palin didn't seem quite ready for the national stage (but give her a few years and who knows?). You fought as hard as you could, but man, did you have a harder course to run. I think you did make some mistakes, but they were amplified by the sheer magnitude of the hurdles you faced.

I know you won't fade quietly into the night. You're not that kind of man. Now that the fighting and the mud-slinging is over, I hope both sides can make peace and work together to take the tarnish off of our nation, to begin digging us out of the massive hole of debt we've dug ourselves into. Neither you nor your opponent ever showed any sense of realism about how massive our problems truly are, and realism is what we need now, not candy-coating and pandering (which you and Senator Obama were both guilty of). Let's all get to work and do this thing.

-your fellow American

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted.

It's almost over. Looks like I'll be heading up to my parents' house to watch the grueling, tension-inducing countdown to victory for whoever it is that wins.

No matter who wins, I hope and pray they don't screw up the country even worse.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Friday Thrift Store Score

I did my thrifting a day early this week, and at different stores.

Good scores this week. At store #1 I got a Japanese indigo batik wall hanging ($2), a silk slip ($2), a set of 8 vintage French small tart pans ($2), a Scooby Doo lunchbox for Paul ($1.5), and a secret Christmas present ($1). At store #2, I got a pair of Carlos Santana purple leather ankle booties ($4.20), a bunch of 10-cent books and CDs, and 75% off halloween dress-up supplies.

Hooray for thrifting!