Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Moment of Nerdliness

Today I'm going to step away from the green line for an evening, and instead post on a recent nerdly outbreak here at the nest. (Main reason? All I've done today is laundry and tote firewood AFTER a day driving down to my parents to pick up aforementioned 850 pounds of firewood. Which I loaded alone. Myself. Frankly, the nerdly brain is not running at high speed at the moment... although the nerdly back and shoulders definitely are yelling loudly. Little green going's on here at the moment.)

As I mentioned last week, the Prime Geek and myself celebrated our first wedding anniversary over the weekend. Did we spend our time gazing adoringly into each other's eye over a candlelit dinner while a strolling violinist serenaded us with Italian love songs? Perhaps a moonlit walk through fog strewn streets clutching each others hands as we re-pledged our devotion to each other? Maybe a rose petal covered hotel bed following a steamy passionate shared bath in scented oils?

Nahhh. We went to see the spoof “Meet the Spartans” at a local theater after a quick dinner at a local Italian bar and grill. (We're not exactly a Harlequin romance novel kind of couple, folks. We did indulge in a bit of hand holding that had the teenagers rolling their eyes at the “old folks” and
I will confess that a year hasn't seem to cool the Prime Geeks affinity for walking with his hand firmly cupping my nerdly tuckus. Romantic? Maybe not... but I don't see us parting ways in the next hundred years* or so, so I think we're figuring this marriage thing out pretty well!)

The food... was sub par, which was a bit disappointing. We had hopes that this restaurant would become our local hangout, but they are switching from fresh made and locally sourced to flash frozen and commercially made. Bummer, but it just means we get the fun of exploring our area for another place to while away a few evenings a month.

The movie? I'll confess... I went mainly for a chance to see Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo prancing around in a loincloth again. (What?!? If PG can cop to a Carmen Electra fixation, I can admit to my affinity for large oiled men in Roman gear. I'm married... not dead.) Was the movie a tour de force? Nope. Well written? Ehhh.

Funny enough to make me snort popcorn? Darned straight! It would appear that various theater's got slightly different cuts, so we missed the scene we had been shown in the previews regarding Rambo's “little friend”... but it was still worth the price of admission. In an effort to not spoil the whole shebang (cause I really recommended giving this one a look see. It's not high drama, its not in the least classy, but it IS an entertaining way to spend a few hours provided you're in the over 18 crowd. Expect loads of sex jokes, more then a bit of homosexual fueled humor – but hey. We ARE talking about the Spartans here. Known far and wide as warriors and fans of the male form.) I will just give a few highlights in an effort to get a few of you off the couch and into the theater.

- The aforementioned Sorbo spends the majority of the movie either skipping, holding hands with his fellow soldiers, or breaking into song. Worth every penny, even if it DID kill my Hercules fantasies cold.

- Really... we all have icons in mind who we would love to see get tossed into the pit of doom. Ryan Seacrest and the rest of the Idol team going over the edge had me cheering.

- Expect to clutch your chest in sympathetic pain when Xerxes first hits the screen. I'll admit the staple gun was a bit much, but I still sniggered like a 13-year old.

- If you have been forced into watching Happy Feet (or any of the dozens of overly cutesy animal based films in the last few years) by the youngsters in your life? Expect their comeuppance to finally occur.

- Paris Hilton = Hunchbacked traitor. Priceless.

- Finally... a finale worthy of Priscilla “Queen of the Desert”. While watching Lord Elron prance around in high heels in the Australian outback while singing “Mama Mia” was a life changing event... watching the entire cast break out into a musical rendition of “I will Survive” nearly did this nerd in.

They ripped a movie I truly enjoyed (300) and I still will end up buying this when the dvd comes out. Yes, it is sophomoric humor, but it did serve its purpose. A reason to cuddle with my honey while eating buttered popcorn and a chance to get out of the house during a cold spell that has had us nearly housebound.

Don't expect highbrow humor... but you will get a decent amount of giggles for your ticket.

* We have a simple agreement in our marriage. We don't even SAY the D-word in relationship to our lives. One of us may leave in a body bag, but we're in this for the long haul. But... I did leave one caveat in our marriage. After 100 years we're allowed to reassess and determine if we want to see other people.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bread Part Deux

I'm almost embarrassed to make the following admission... but to my shame, the recipe that has made fresh bread a daily occurrence in the nest comes from the undisputed Queen of Perky herself... Rachel Ray. I know, I know. It makes me hang my nerdly head in shame.

Shame aside... it really is good bread. But then, anything that starts with “Take a head and a half of roasted garlic” is bound to be something which will my little heart pitter patter. I found this recipe while perusing Ms. Ray's latest magazine (yes, I know. I should be embarrassed to admit it, but she IS easier to take in written form then in person. I can mute the perkiness when it is confined to the interior of my own skull.), in a section devoted solely to the joys of roasted garlic. While I have roasted a few garlic bulbs in my day, I must confess it has been a while. How I could have walked away from the joy that is roasted garlic frankly confounds me. Simplicity in itself – all that is required is a few bulbs of garlic with a ¼ of an inch of the tops chopped off, lay in tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap tightly and chuck into the oven for 45 minutes at somewhere between 350 and 400 degrees : pull out when the garlic can be oozed out like golden toothpaste of happiness. After rediscovering this little joy, I can honestly say there are few times when my oven is heated that I don't just toss a little tinfoil bomb in along with whatever has to bake. This gooey substance makes me remember while I love to cook.

Her recipe can be found in the newest issue of her magazine... but if you can't bring yourself to buy (or be caught perusing) the magazine, she has kindly published it online at This bread combines everything I love into one little package of yeasty joy. A yeast raised bread – so plenty of chewy goodness – with all the care and work of raising sea monkeys. (In other words – little to no real work in the construction. Yay for nerdly sloth!) In most breads the real work is in the beginning. Careful mixing, kneading, tireless attentiveness to keeping it warm and working. In the end, you simply chuck the work laden doughy orb into a pan and let the oven take it from there. In the case of this flatbread... the order of effort is reversed. My handy dandy Kitchen Aide (I highly recommend buying one or do what I did. Marry someone who will give it to you for Christmas.) beat the dickens out of the soft dough for 5 minutes and then I tossed it into the microwave to work itself into a frenzy while I watched tv and knit. (Side note – easiest way to get your bread to proof* in a drafty old house? Soak a CLEAN dishtowel in water and put in the microwave. Zap the wet towel for one minute until everything is good and steamy. Push the towel to the back and pop in your dough – in a bowl – and close the door. The steam will keep it warm, the seals with keep it rising, and the latched door will keep the cats at bay.**) The only effort is at the end, where instead of turning on the stove and hiking the gas bill, the whole shebang gets cooked on a dry skillet on top of the stove. Eight pieces of bread... three minutes a piece, and joy and happiness rings out in the homestead.

A few notes to those that try the recipe. One? Please don't think garlic is the only way to go here. I've already found that substitutions are the order of the day with this recipe. Slowly, I'm mixing it up with the flours – sliding it from white to whole wheat with ease. Don't want a savory bread? Nix the garlic and add some extra honey. No buttermilk in the house? Either toss some vinegar in the regular cow juice doctored (I never have buttermilk on hand, and I am danged if I am gonna buy an ingredient just for one application. A cup of milk with a Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice works every time.), or skip the tang and use the moojuice of choice. Hmmmm... wonder if a sweet version made with chocolate milk would work? This is a good solid recipe and with the whole oven avoidence thing, a rather green choice as well.

Secondly? Try not to get too caught up in the rolling out of the dough. Perfect concentric circles reeeaalllyy aren't gonna happen unless you are scary anal retentive. Just accept each piece is going to be a piece of freeform art and go with the flow. Already I have mastered several distinct forms. There's the Scream (ala' the famous painting), a lovely rendition of south Texas... or possibly Italy. Depends on how you hold the bread. A think I had one that looked like George Bush the other day.... but the Prime Geek thought it looked more like a 57' Chevy.

Whatever the appearance, I'm just thrilled to have REAL bread be a part of my eating life again. Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.***

*Fancy baker speak for “Make the dough get all big and gassy.”
** In OUR house... this is a vital concern. I'll accept paw prints and hair on my black clothes, but I draw the line in my food.
*** Okay, okay. I promised pictures. But at the moment, my camera isn't talking to computer. UN negotiators tried... but that just made my computer threaten to bomb New Jersey in retaliation. Until things have calmed down you'll just have to squint and imagine what it all looks like. Deal, disappointment is a vital part of the maturation process.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wow! Bread that tastes like..... Bread?

As the month nears to an end, the Prime Geek and I have been discussing what should be our first step into a more self-sufficient lifestyle (okay, okay. We're going slow due to the six weeks of bronchial hell we've been wading through. I'm pretty much on the up and up... PG has sworn to call the doctor at last as he is tired of trying to locate his lungs after he hacks them out in the corner).

Yogurt making? It's on hold until I have determined the perfect maker to purchase. Solar panels? On hold until the tax return hits the accounts. Bread baking?

Score! Now, as a responsible nerdling, I did what I do best. Research. Yes, its sad how excited I get over the thought of pouring over dusty tomes (well... I searched a lot of internet sites, anyway.) but we've established the simple fact that I AM a nerd. Bread is a big deal our family. Located just a few miles from our nest is a bread factory that keeps the carb-crazed folks of our state sated. I'll cop to the fact the Prime Geek and myself will, at times, plan our driving around the factory's baking schedules. Even in the depths of the coldest winter, windows will roll down in every car – heads leaning out of the vehicles - sucking in deep lungfulls of the toasty air. Memories of grandma pulling fresh loaves out of the family stove swirl around in your mind (even if the closest your granny ever came was burning toast on a Saturday... the smell of fresh bread will cause your imagination to invent the pleasures of the past every time.).

Sadly, while the smell is heavenly... the bread itself has all the charm of a moldering sweat sock left forgotten in the bottom of your gym bag. A spongy white mass, suitable only for making bread balls. Frankly, this nasty stuff is the reason the PG and myself don't really keep bread in the house. Once in a while we will splurge at the local Panera (their three cheese bread has never made it into the house, disappearing in a cloud of crumbs during the short drive home), but I can rarely justify a $4 loaf of bread. Instead, we have been surviving on a mostly bread free existence. Cornmeal muffins, the odd tube of crescent rolls, and packages of tortillas for sandwich rollups tossed into the Prime Geeks lunches have become the norm.

But we have hungered for the staff of life, missing the thrill of a chewy bite used to sop up the last bits of a stew or the crackle of a hard crust that gives away to jam soaked goodness. What recipe to try first? Where to turn?

Where I found it would shock me.

But... that AND pictures of the heavenly stuff will have to wait until tomorrow. I hear the oven timer and have to go give dinner a poke.

Until tomorrow!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Laugh or Cry...

A shortie this evening as it is the Prime Geek and I's 1st wedding anniversary, and frankly I have more exciting things to do this evening then talk to ya'll. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more.... in other words folks, this nerd is getting laid!) But I did have a slightly surreal moment or two this day that I decided to share while I'm waiting for the fudge to heat up...

Now, I am in the midst of a knitting fervor here at the nest. I found a wonderful net bag pattern that is working out quite well for grocery bags. In fact, once I use up the cotton thread that is making up two of the bags, I'm gonna give slicing the ubiquitous plastic tribbles a try and knit myself a few out of the resulting plastic yarn ( if you are interested, skip the hemp suggestion and just pick up the cheapie cotton dishcloth yarn the megamarts sells). But... I can only knit so fast, and when I go to the grocery its usually for more then a bag or two of items. I had two groceries to jaunt into today in order to prepare our anniversary supper. Sadly... I had left my net bag AND my cloth bags at home. In order to stick to the green way, I decided to finally break down and – HORRORS – buy a few more bags to keep in the car. Almost all of the groceries in the area are selling study canvas bags for a whopping $1. (Yes, I meant one buck. Can't make the dratted things for that! Yes, you have to tote around a store logo, turning you into a walking commercial, but hey. Small price to pay.) So, into my basket went a nice sturdy bag, all ready to carry my goodies to the car.

I confess. I wasn't paying attention. Perhaps it was the thought of the night to come... maybe the cashier had caught too much of my train of thought with her questions regarding the usefulness of the dish soap I was buying. (7th generation lilac and wild mint. Brilliant combo, great soap.) All I know is in the mere seconds I took my eyes off the goods, the bagger had efficiently and quickly bagged my purchases.

Allow me to repeat that. They bagged... the bags. Not just once, either. No no. That would be too simple. Yes, this darling little high schooler had decided that what my bags REALLY needed... was to be double bagged. In case one of the bags holding the bags broke.


The truly sad thing? When I questioned the rational behind bagging my bags, BOTH the bagger AND the cashier seemed to think it was a perfectly suitable idea. Its what they have been doing with ALL the bags they sell.

I shuffled out, beaten (and not a little confused about the state of the world today). Clutching my bags to my chest, I sat in my car – wondering if this planet really has a shot in Hades.

Three hours later I ran into another store to pick up the last ingredient for my Rosemary Beef Tips... grabbing another canvas bag as I wandered the store. Might as well spread the branding, right? I kept a steely eye on my sirloin as it made its track down the belt.

“No bags for the bags, please.” I said as loud as I dared.

“Of course not. That would be stupid.” the cashier rolled her eyes at me.

I would love to say all went well from that point... but they bagged the meat. Twice. And then looked me straight in the eye and asked...

“You don't want the meat in the bag, do you? I don't want to get it dirty for when you use it.”


Giggle or scream. What's a nerd to do?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Apparently, all my body REALLY needed was to collapse for 24 hours in a small ball in the middle of the bed and die for a day.

The Nerd is back... the full scale germ warfare has slowed, all that is left is a tad bit of guerrilla activity in the lower lung region.

More later on in the day, but at the moment I have to face digging my home out of a 6 week free fall on the cleaning front.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nearly Beaten.

Okay. Time to confess...

You are all dealing with one sick Nerd. The creeping greeb that has stalked both the Prime Geek and myself since a few weeks before Christmas just isn't listening to any of the dozens of eviction notices I have sent... and frankly, I think its planning on making me ill a family business.

Antibiotics, teas that taste of horse piss, and baths where the vapor goes oddly green have all been tried. I've attempted sleeping it off, working it out, sweating it clear, and even one weekend of insanity where I left the state in a blizzard and just tried to frankly ignore the whole dratted thing and hope it would give up in a huff. (Bad call on that one. Germs don't like to be ignored, it makes them fractious.) I've meditated, counted my breathes, and watched enough daytime television to truly FEAR anyone who lives in California. At this point I'm having fever dreams of being married to the Prime Geek's evil twin.

I've lost my voice, dropped a few pounds (so hey, it ain't ALL bad), and generally staggered around in a haze scaring my cats as I look like the wrath of not one... but SEVERAL pissed off deities. Diets of frozen juice pops, lemon-lime soda, and soup that is definitely not up to my mother's caliber have been the order of the month. I would kill for the ability to chew, swallow and most importantly keep DOWN a steak cooked just off rare... but instead I am stuck with mush.

I figure I have maybe 2-3 days before I find myself hogtied and tossed into the back of the Jeep while the Prime Geek (who shouldn't be so hasty.... his own hacking has achieved epic levels this month) trundles my nerdly tuckus to the doctors.

I HATE going to the doctor. I really really REALLY hate going to the doctor. Evil overlords with their horrid paper gowns, propensity for jabbing innocent people with needles, and slavish devotion to tossing you onto the scales even if all you are there for is a stupid ear ache! (Seriously. If I have ever had an ear infection that was detectable by a large scale... I probably have issues far more serious then a simple infection.)


Any suggestions? I'm a desperate nerd here. Not only am I just wanting to get better, there is an actual deadline looming over my nerdy head.

Sunday is the Prime Geek and I's first anniversary. If I haven't mentioned it yet, our wedding - while lovely.... was not spent the way we might have wanted. I had walking pneumonia and strep throat - which means antibiotics.... which make birth controls worthless... I'm allergic to latex... do I really need to draw a picture here folks? I would really like to spend my first anniversary curled around my honey NOT a toilet.

Frankly, folks, there's a hot tub weekend at a hotel on the line here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

For Your Last Minute Grave Robbing Needs.....

The last thing I thought I would be buying this year is a book on how to clean my nest. Momma dear has run her own cleaning business for more then 15 years, and while her uber tidy gene might have gotten a bit watered down in my genetic mess, she has passed on the knowledge of what end it up on the old toilet wand. I may not have her locked on eye for detail, but I can scrub out a bathroom with the best of them. So it came as a surprise to find I had been crouching on the floor of my local mega bookstore for well over 30 minutes reading a cleaning manual without noticing the passage of time OR the cramping in my knees.

Green Clean (by Linda Mason Hunter & Mikki Halpin) has managed to put together a very well presented book on one of the big hot topics of the year. How can we get our homes clean and safe for our loved ones without falling back into the chemical daze of yesterday? For decades we've bleached, sanitized, and sterilized everything we come into contact with. Is there really a way to get things clean without dousing them first in our eye watering, throat burning, skin torturing modern “marvels”?

Yup. Now, I'll confess... a lot of the material in this book is stuff my mom has held true for years. Not everyone out there had the benefit of growing up with a cleaning fiend as my brother and I did. This book breaks everything down into manageable steps, making it perfect for the naturally tidy AND the inherently messy. The authors stress basic items to keep on hand for a myriad of uses, most can be found in one room or the other in almost all our homes. Vinegar, baking soda, borax, and the like are the main components for all the recipes included within its pages. But what is new is both the way it is presented AND the book itself. The dangerous mixes in modern cleaners are explained, giving a blow by blow of what each chemical does and the reasons the authors suggest you trying another way. HOW to clean your home is explained (and no, they don't expect everyone to become Martha), as well as tools that make it easier.

For the mad scientist at heart, there are recipes on making your own cleaners – including several surprises. Window cleaner I expected... but dishwasher detergent? Cool! Now, just to get the Prime Geek to get a move on installing that dishwasher..... For those who prefer shopping therapy to access their green side? New brands are suggested as well as what to keep a look out for when pursuing the label. The truly nerdy side of me was staggered to see they had actually taken the time to put together a recipe for a disinfected called the Vinegar of the Four Thieves*.

All in all, a nifty book to stack on your shelves.

As for why the book itself is cool? Someone actually thought out the main issue with cleaning books. If used in conjunction WITH the cleaning itself the book invariably gets soaked and ruined. Instead, this book is made out of a new synthetic paper that is water proof, spill proof, fade proof. Abuse it all you like, wipe it down and its good to go. As the book itself states “A tool that lasts for years is an eco-friendly tool”.

Very nerdly.

*Fine, fine. I suppose the title of the post requires a tad bit of explaining for the non-history buffs wandering around out there. The Vinegar of the 4 Thieves is based off the elixir a band of marauding thieves used during the time of the Black Death. They soaked rags and clothing with a blend of herbs and vinegar and thus protected they robbed the houses of the dead left open after the plague rolled through town.
Okay... morbid. But still kinda fascinating to this nerd.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Operation Sanitize

Dragging myself out of the sickroom at last, I was confronted with the dreadful knowledge my home now needed to be purified after my long bout with the death flu. While fire and napalm were my first choices “For those days you wanna make sure its REALLY clean”, the Prime Geek had a slight issue with us firebombing the nest. Something about insurance not covering high explosives, I believe. Luckily, I had kept to two rooms – bedroom and bathroom – so the actual mucking out would be less then I had originally feared.

Whenever I face a large cleaning task I call my mom. She has been running a home cleaning service for well over 15 years (as well as indulging in a bit of personal OCD in our home for far longer), so she is the obvious choice to consult when there is a Herculean task to perform... and you're short of a river to divert. After the usual warnings of not overexerting myself, admonitions over getting ill in the first place and a few offers of soup delivery, we got down to brass tacks and figured out how to return my nest to it old safe self. (IE, slightly messy – but not infectious.)

1- Contain. Anything and everything I touched got tossed into two piles. The first we'll call “Stuff to Chuck.” Kleenex, cans, Popsicle sticks, death bed confessions, etc. All this was shoved into grocery bags, tied up, and tossed into the garbage. Sorry, not even gonna TRY to recycle any of this stuff. The folks who sort through it at the center have enough to deal with WITHOUT my germs swarming them. The rest was laundry bound.

2- Just this once, I've relaxed my hot water ban in the laundry room. Anything on the bed (most importantly my pillow) or worn directly on my person got dumped in the hottest water our old heater can manage, along with half a bottle of peroxide, some laundry soap, and a cup of vinegar. What... you thought I'd crack and use bleach? Sorry, I have cats that are already “special”. The thought of them after a nice bleach tea makes me shudder. Towels and anything that had been laying around in the sickroom got cold water as usual, but I went ahead and used the vinegar and peroxide treatment on these items as well.

3- Spray and Sanitize. Okay, okay. The first few days had the Prime Geek spraying anything I might have touched with Lysol -toilet seats, door knobs, the works. But sanity has returned to us both and the cleanup is running along fine with the far more friendly disinfectant recipe my mother gave me.* At first, it was just all the hard surfaces... but as paranoia began to set it, the soft surfaces got hit as well. At the moment my bedroom smells a bit like a chip shop from all the vinegar, but I at least feel safer.** Don't forget to clean that trashcan next to the bed, the light fixture you kept reaching for, and that handful of pencils your used to pen your dying declarations with.***. Spray it, wipe it, set it out to dry.

4- Somehow, whenever I get sick, the side of my bed becomes infested with every book, magazine, small electronic, crossword puzzle in the house. In short, when I get ill, I cocoon like a caterpillar on a bright spring morning. Time to straighten that out. Even my books get the spray treatment... at least the covers get misted and wiped down. (I try and use enough self restraint to keep my really GOOD hardbacks away from sick hands so I can spare them this trauma. Doesn't always work, but I try.) Magazines get tossed into the recycling if I can bear to part with them.

5- Lastly? New everything. Clean sheets pulled out, the mattress cover gets changed, plump those pillows you had in the washer. Pull the dryer sheet out from between the blankets, fluff up your stuffed animals and set them back on their perches. New liners, pads of papers, heck... make sure you have a clean glass next to your bed if you are the parched type.

Over the top? Maybe. But there is no way I want whatever crawled into my system and died there to come back. Puking til you black out is NOT this nerd's idea of fun. (Must be why I skipped all the keggers in college.)

Bit by bit, I'm using up my old cleaning products (cause frankly, I have no idea how to dispose of corrosive and caustic items safely... and I can't bring myself to just chuck full bottles into the bin) and replacing them with more environmentally friendly options. When I ran out of Windex, in came the grapefruit Method cleaner (Target's new line of green products). When the Tilex spritzed its last, I picked up some 7 Generation cleaner. But while I am finding some excellent products out there for green cleaning... they all have the same downfall. While they may be a green substitute for the harsh chemicals of yesteryear, they cost a heck of a lot more green as well. To that end I have discovered a wonderful new book with a load of ideas I'm taking to heart...

But that's for tomorrow. This nerdling is off to crawl back under her cool clean sheets for a bit.

* Simplicity itself. To disinfect just about any hard surface use 1 cup of vinegar mixed in a spray bottle with 10-15 drops of either lavender, tea tree, or eucalyptus essential oil. Shake like crazy and spray. Safe for everyone, and works as well as the expensive chemical crap.

** What can I say. I prefer early chip shop to late plague.

*** I may have read too many historical novels as a child. When in the grips of illness I tend to imagine myself a pale, wan, brave heroine resigning herself nobly to her grave. This fact may one day be used in commitment hearings. We'll see.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Well, THAT was unpleasant.

Thanks to all the well-wishers out there that sent emails querying about my possible demise. Nope, the Nerd isn't dead yet... although there were a few days she fervently wished to be. I have to say, in the span of my life thus far, this last bout of flu might rank as possibly the most unpleasant experience of my life. I'm including car accidents, walking pneumonia on my wedding night, a few rounds in the hospital, and a chronic illness in that assessment. However, not all was lost during my bout with Satan's own germ warriors, no no. In the moments where the desire to die would wash back allowing me to briefly see the shore of wellness in the distance I did manage to stick to my green guns and come up with

Natural Nerd's Top Five Ways to Be Green... While Being Green!*

1- Keep it contained. Now is not the time to wander folks. Figure out what room you wish to temporarily die in and stick to it. When it is all over and you have the job of cleaning up afterwards, you don't want to be disinfecting the whole dratted house. Spreading your plague isn't nice, it isn't fair. Give your roommates a chance to save themselves and stay away. (Although I think the Geek making me ring a bell was a bit much.) Get YOUR pillow, YOUR blanket, and stay away form everyone elses. At the end of this, you want to make sure you have gathered everything up you have touched so it can be washed. Forgetting something that later reinfects you might just cause you to lose the will to live. Access to a bathroom is required... unless you are willing to do what I did in...

2- Think outside of the box. Yes. You have a bathroom. Nothing says you have to use it. While on one hand all those hard slick surfaces are easy to wipe down with bleach (napalm, high explosives, whatever gets the place clean), all those hard surfaces mean harder places to thunk yourself upon when you fall to your knees and pray for the sweet release of death. You're already sick, avoiding a concussion is a good thing. I ultimately decided our camp toilet was my new best friend. Sits even with the height of the bed for ease of puking, and nary a strain to roll over and use when your backside decides it wants its turn to join in the fun. Gross? Yes. Handy? You betcha. This also means every scrap of your illness can be safely contained and tossed.

3- While I don't expect you to go shopping in your weakened condition, plan ahead for the next time and purchase a few sippy cups. Yes, I mean those cups kids use with the spout to suck from. The sheer amount of liquid you need to ingest to try and maintain some sort of fluid balance in your body is astonishing (dried brains are no ones friend.) and trying to drink from a regular glass is just gonna get you wet. Tons of soda cans = environmental badness. Sippy cups mean one glass to disinfect, one glass to keep track of, and hey – in true moments of weakness you can still drink without raising your head above your pillow.

4- Without question, when we're sick we reach for the tissues. Time to break that habit. For that next bout of sickness, invest in making yourself a nice BIG stack of handkerchiefs. Not only are you going to save loads of paper, your nose will thank you. On one hand, yes. The thought of a pile of snotty clothes to wash isn't a pleasant one (which is why I follow the “shove it into a grocery bag – hey look! They DO have a use in the home!- and tie it off for later” mentality. Once I'm better I can just dump them all into the washer without touching them and disinfect from a safe distance.) but in the long run you'll thank yourself. Having those stray little germ bombs floating around your home is never a good idea. And let's not kid ourselves... we all know that we'll miss a few in the cleanup and come face to face with them a month later. At that point... is it yours? His? A guests? Ewwwwwww. If they are homemade, you'll know how many to look for and can track down the stragglers. Flannel cotton is cheap -I can often get it on sale for as little as $2 a yard – and that makes a TON of handkerchiefs. Its also easy to clean afterwards. Plain is fine, or you can always get fancy. If the thought of seeing cartoon cats will momentarily cheer you up while in the grips of the flu – go for it. If you're of a more vindictive nature... perhaps picking up your favorite teams rival fabric. Nothing like blowing your nose on Michigan state symbols when you hail from Ohio. (Or vice versa. Gotta be safe here... big brother married a gal from Michigan. We try to ignore that in our family, everyone has flaws they cannot help.)

5- If it is possible...... GET THE FREAKEN FLU SHOT!!!!!!! Sadly, my nerdly tuckus is highly allergic to eggs, therefore I cannot get the shot. That being said... I don't care if you don't like needles (if my 5 year old niece can handle it without a whimper, I don't wanna hear you whine.), don't care if you don't think its necessary. Get it for the people around you, get it so you're family doesn't have to draw straws over taking care of you. Get it just so you don't have to risk (the weak of stomach may wish to jump to the end here) projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea. At the same time. Simultaneously. At once. Together. This is not a drill.... trust me. Get the shot. Not getting sick in the first place is the greenest idea of all.

Tomorrow? My five step plan for erasing my home from the plague lists. Until them? I have some slightly flat soda to drink and a container of turkey noodle soup from my mother to thaw.

*Ya'll should have figured out by now that if I am corny and overly dramtic at my physical best... it's gonna get a LOT worse when sick. At least I haven't sunk to puns. Yet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

As the Bowl Flushes

It seems the bullet train through Hades has chosen to enforce a new 24-hour layover in Tartarus before allowing anyone to exit the ride.

Hopefully, tomorrow I can post without fear of be-fouling my laptop with substances best left unmentioned.

(You know, when I said I wanted to be more green... I didn't mean in complexion.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Well, I'm posting this kinda early today for a couple of reasons. One... the review is getting pushed to tomorrow as I in the midst of being very very completely sick and the thought of concentrating my thoughts and writing abilities on a food substance is not... a wise idea. The second reason? Basically, I'm burning time as the dimension door that has opened up in my lower intestine is determining whether or not it is going to make the trip back home to order more soul destroying bile to dump on me. Not quite at the point where I feel safe trying to go back to sleep, but hopeful that simple physics are on my side at last. As of right now, I do believe my brain has dried out (there is a weird rattling sound when I blow my nose, leading me to believe it has shriveled) and last time I looked down my toe nails have visibly retracted into my body. I've eaten twice in three days... there can't possibly be anything left to exit.



I'm actually pretty fortunate really. The whole concept of a 24 or 48 hour flu is foreign to me. I usually get the 3 or 4 hour bullet train through the rougher side of hell as my body powers through whatever is preying upon it, then its a day or so of being weaker then a newborn kitten. No all day ordeals of hoping to die as you get wracked by a few million germs. Heck, I'm even pretty self-sufficient when I get sick. Enough warning is given to set up the trashcan next to the bed (with liner), insure there is a plentiful amount of toilet paper in the bathroom, and to place my order for coke to wait outside the door. The laptop gets shoved somewhere safe and a bottle of fizzy water waits patiently on the window sill next to the bed. I don't want checked on, I hate being fussed over (it usually just makes the headache worse), and I even have time to make sure my hair is tied back for minimum ick factor in the cleanup after.

These... are all very good things. For something else I have learned this night. The Prime Geek, while he loves me... is not a great nurse. Sympathy puking and a firm “If you love me, don't ever ask me to throw that away again.” when handed a sealed trash liner holding what appeared to be my 4th grade lunch.

The next time I get sick, I'm sure he'll handle it better.

Actually, I'm sure he'll hire someone nice to handle it better while he waits it out in a hotel room.


Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year's Addendum

I had made plans to start the week off on a slightly different footing, but Kethry (check out her site over in the side bar- Urbania to Stoneheads... well worth the read) made a good point in the comments from my list and I instead have decided to address those and move my plans for today to tomorrow. (Might have a small amount to do with both the Prime Geek and myself battling a stomach bug at the moment... I am incredibly grateful my father finished the install on our bathroom. A flushie is a vital piece of modern life.)

When I stated that one of the goals for the year was to put up as much food as I can, I should have gone on to say we will be tip-toeing into multiple aspects of the make it at home world as well. Yogurt is first up on the block, although I'll be finishing off what is currently lingering in the fridge first. But once the cartons are gone (properly recycled, of course) I'm going to give this ancient art of spoiling dairy a shot. The PG and I are planning to follow in food Guru Alton Brown's step and rig up a makeshift yogurt maker at first. If all goes well, and we like it better then the store bought stuff it will be one of the first items to remove from the grocery list. I may even be temped to buy one of those nifty gadgets that lets you make 8 individual servings at a time. (the fewer times you can cut into yogurt the better, unless you really like yogurt flavored soup.)

Brewing at home? Already to start production in fact. I bought the Prime Geek a mead kit for his birthday (thus establishing me in the eyes of many of his male friends as the coolest wife ever.) and h hopes to start putting a couple of bottle down each month. Me? I may just try my hand at a few cordials, as there are fewer things that can cool a heated brain faster then an iced spritzer of blueberry cordial and seltzer. Although Kethry's mention of ginger beer does make my mind buzz a bit in planning.

Breadmaking? Already done... I just have to get better at keeping up on it. We suffer from two issues in the maintaining the staff of life in the house. One is the common one which seems to strike most bread bakers. We tend to not eat a few slices as we do with the store bought fluff... instead the smell of fresh bread baking drags us back to our cave nerd roots and we end up devouring it in a single sitting. The second is easier to handle, it just will require I use some (gulp) discipline and start my dough off before I head to bed. The spirit is there... but the flesh tends to get scattered. Looks like I have some sign making in my future.

The only thing I think I will be giving a pass to is butter making. With milk prices on the rise (I've seen it on sale as low as $2.88 a gallon at our neighborhood drive-through liquor store with spikes up to $5.99 at the grocery. Toss in the price for organic is often as high as a soul shuddering $8.99) we tend to only buy milk to drink. I buy butter only rarely... and freeze it whenever it goes on sale. At the moment, I tend to cook with olive oil most of the time. Perhaps when we sell our home and get to move out into the country I'll take a look at this again.

Any advice, suggestions, or info is happily taken. I'm enough of a nerd to confess a certain joy in studying. Weird, I know... but what's a nerd to do?

Tomorrow? The first Naturally Nerds product review.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Drumroll Please

Now, I personally have quite a list of resolutions this year. I also have a rather good track record with my resolutions. So far, in the last 20 years of making them, I have a little better then a 75% record of meeting my goals. This might have more to do with the fact my resolutions tend towards the highly attainable and desperately desired more then the guilty conscious driven “I really want a few weeks of feeling virtuous before falling back into my old ways” resolutions that seem to be the fad. If it makes the list, its because I have already started the planning to make it work. Seems a bit of a cheat... but what the heck. Most of those resolutions aren't going to make it onto the site as they are of the personal variety but I do have plans/resolutions for the site, so I figure it counts.

With no further ado....

New Years Resolutions for 2008 for Naturally Nerds and my reach for the Green

1) As of Monday, Naturally Nerds is becoming a 6 days a week updated blog. Some of the new features that will be appearing are environmentally friendly (and those that join the evil-doers list) product reviews, reuse/remake projects for around the house to skip that trip to the store, and a once a week guest spot from the Prime Geek covering some of the tec-tricks the greening geek can embrace.

2) This year the Prime Geek and myself are trying a rather ambitious project or two. The first is garden-centric. We'll be planning and planting 4 separate gardens -backyard, container, a larger one in the back of his families land, and finally we're stepping into the world of hydroponics. All in our attempts to reach

3) A biggie for us at the Nerdly Nest – with all the concerns and terror pieces in the news regarding the dangers inherent in our food supply, we are going to be attempting to grow at least 50% (or more) of our veggies. Anything we can't buy will be sourced locally and put up for the winter. We'll be canning, freezing, and drying as much as we can to reach our goal in

4) By the end of the fall, I want to be in a position of only having to purchase fresh items (milk, eggs, etc), meats, non-local items (oil, spices, etc) and grains. Hopefully I can slash my grocery budget by at least half of the $45 we spend a week now. We'll see how that goes.

5) To help us reach that goal we need more compost and better soil. The little composter we made was a start, but this nerd will be expanding her decaying deeds and upping her rubbish reuse. How? I'm eyeing the plans for a little farm of my own, just me and my couple of hundred wormy friends. Toss in a few more composter plans... and we'll have soil good enough to eat from, if not off.

6) I'm reinstating a goal from last year. No new clothing purchases for the next year for this nerd. The only exceptions will be underwear and shoes. Anything that is needed will be either made or sourced out at thrift shops. Heck, I'm a seamstress. This one should be cake.

7) Both the PG and myself need to get better at our trash output. To this end we are aiming for the goal of only placing our trash bin (the large green jobbie handed out by the city) once a month. The recycling bin can be used weekly, but we need to cut down on our waste. We have several plans in the works to reach this... we'll see how we do.

8) I have a confession to make... the whole complete avoidance of plastic grocery bags? Hasn't worked out so well. I still seem to have them copulating like spring fever fueled bunnies in my cupboards. For every time I bring my own... there is a time where when my back is turned the well meaning high schooler double bags me “just to be safe”. To that end, I have four new net knit bags on my needles, and a new fervor filling my soul. No more looking away, no more being quiet when I get ignored the first bag. A plastic bag avoiding banshee I will be!

9) Now this... this is a scary one for this nerd. A few years ago my well meaning husband bought me a scooter. A nice little green frog of a ride (seriously folks. Its bright green and the headlight configuration looks like Kermit!) and I have dragged my feet about getting my motorcycle license. I had my permit, but I let it lapse... something to do with the first time I rode it I rolled it. Right in front of a minivan. Yeah. Not fun. But it requires only a few gallons in the tank every OTHER week, so the responsible thing to do is use it around town for my errands. The small fact we are down to one vehicle at the time also plays a small part in this.

10) I love to give presents. I get this from my mother. Christmas and birthdays, weddings and “just cause”. I usually have to buy two or three times, as I always crack and give the first gift LONG before the day. This year? If I give it, its gonna be handmade or a book. That's it. Nothing else. Sorry. Hope you like it, cause it can't be exchanged. Here's hoping people are fine with this one.

Got any other suggestions for me? There are quite a few other plans in the works, but these are most of the big goals I'm aiming to hit. How are YOU planning on greening up your year?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year.... A Tad Bit Late

Welcome to 2008. Please wipe your feet before straying too far into the new year, as its far too early to muck it up already. Now, a few of you sent me some email showing concern over the lack of posting for the last two days... the thoughts seeming to be that the Prime Geek and myself must have really tied one on at the stroke of midnight to delay postings two days.
Sad to say, but I do believe we are getting old. No wild parties boogieing down the moments to the New Year, no excessive drinking, no orgies. (Drat.) A glass of champagne each, a kiss... and asleep by 12:45. Yup, we rocked the New Year in with Dick Clark1, four anxious cats – our city, like many, set of fireworks. Now... our cats need Xanax. What's a nerd to do? - a roaring fire, and each other. Not too exciting, I'll confess. But last New Year's was an stomach churning, last minute prepping, wedding planning monster – so calm and cuddles was a nice step up.
No, the delay can be laid at the feet of bathroom reconstruction (we have ONE flushie. So when it is out of commission we are given the options of : gas stations, neighbors, parents 2 miles away, the tree in the back yard – ALL the Prime Geek – or our camp toilet placed in the office.), wood management, and the Prime Geek being STILL sick.2
However – the bathroom is in working order3 (photos to come Saturday), wood has been obtained and stacked, and the Prime Geek is at work (therefore not my problem at the moment.). The delay has allowed me to work a bit more on my resolutions and plans, and we should be back up and running free now.
I'm excited. How Nerdy is that? I understand that the celebration of the New Year on January 1st is actually pretty arbitrary. A day on a calendar shouldn't mean a total upheaval. But.... allow me my fun. I think some of the plans are gonna cause others to embrace their nerdly side.
The big reveal in the morning. I have to go stoke the fire... its all of 8° here.
1On one hand, God bless the man. On the other? It was more then a tad bit painful to watch the “eternal teenager” struggle so. Sorta the skeleton at the feast type of thing.
2Torn between concern, annoyance at refusals to go to the doctor, and dashed hopes of.... married activity. Ahhh, the joys of marriage no one mentions before you exchange vows.
3Not finished, there is still a back corner to tile. But the toilet flushes, there is a working sink, and I can take a bath. Happiness is a flushing toilet and a hot soak.