Sunday, August 31, 2008

An odd question...

Not really what I planned on posting tonight, in fact I have a huge mass of stuff to go up this week – but I'm faced with a quandary and not sure where else to put my question. And after all, isn't the web here to find out weird answers to awkward questions?

I have an odd allergy. Several in fact, but the one that presents the biggest problem for me lately is this – Weed makes me sick as a dog. Didn't go for it in college (nothing kills the vibe at a party faster then having the girl you're offering a toke to puke on your shoes), and I stay away from it as an adult. The smell makes me ill faster then chicken salad left in the hot afternoon sun. Headaches, nausea, and a general desire to see the happy tokers heads placed on nearby spikes.

Now, don't get me wrong. Medically – its a great plant. I've always been of the opinion it should be legal and taxed to heck and back, and if you are choosing to smoke it and are willing to take the possible consequences of getting caught, go you. Just don't bring it into my car, my house, my tent, and we're cool. I'm not the police, I really really don't care. I have far too many other issues in my life to be worrying about what you're doing in your own home.


For the last month or so, some nit has been lighting up at dusk and as the wind blows this-a-way rather steady, I'm screwed. Head pounding, nauseous, wanting to either kill someone or merely curl up and die myself. Either could work at the moment. Closing the windows just seals what got in, in – as well as forcing the house temp up 10-20 degrees which really isn't all that great when its already a hot night.

Not sure who (we have a dozen or so houses to choose from and isn't THAT a fun little fact finding mission to enter into) and without a name the cops really can't give us any help. There is also the little fact that I'm not really wanting to get folks involved with the police – we already get looked at funny for reporting two domestics that had reached the street (as well as reached for blades) and a few plain jane street fights. Ahhhh... the city in the summer. I'll call the cops if I have to, but I don't have anything except “Yes, excuse me, can you come and sniff the neighbors to find out who's giving me a headache?” and I don't see that as a viable opening sequence for COPS, do you?

So. Any ideas on how to handle this? Suggestions on getting rid of the smell? Getting it out of bedclothes? I lived far too much of a straight-edged life as a kid, I suppose, 'cause I have NO idea how to deal with this little life irritation.


Could be considered a green post, I suppose. At least I'm the right color at the moment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Reasons to turn “shuffle” off on the ipod.

15 minutes into meditatively digging in the bag yard listening to a long set of Enya, having Britney Spears “Piece of Me” suddenly come on not only causes a tragic gearshift of the mental facilities... it can cause some severe embarrassment in when your neighbor's children catch you singing along.

It also makes a person question what a grown women is doing WITH Britney Spears on her music playlist....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thinking Towards Frost

There is something about the last long spate of August heat that makes me start working a little bit faster towards getting our home buttoned up for the coming winter. With heating prices rocketing upwards and a possibly long cold winter ahead (at the moment the Almanac and the Weather Channel are duking it out – the first warns of an abnormally frigid winter while the other claims it will be mild. The geeky side of me wants to believe the science will be right... but as I've often stared out a window at lashings of rain pelting down while the weather channel is cheerfully telling me its bright and sunny out – I have my doubts. And so I plan for the worst and hope for the best) we're trying to get the nest snug and ready for snow to fly.

To that end, we spent the better portion of yesterday felling an old tree in a coworker of the PG's yard and chopping it into luggable sizes. We've got two face cords and a bit already seasoned, split, stacked and ready to roll – with tons more to cut and carry.

While I know I waxed lyrical of my love of our soapstone woodburner last year, allow me to tell you all just WHY wood heat is the best heat.

It heats you
1st when you find and drag it out
2nd when you cut it
3rd when you split it
4th when you carry it to the trailer
5th when you unload it
6th when you stack it
7th when you carry it in
8th when you burn it
and 9th when you lug out the ashes....

Try and see how far you get with gas or electric! At the best you'll get three times with those - 1st when you use it, 2nd when you get the bill and go hot with anger, and 3rd when you get that second job to pay for it!

Oh... I forgot the 10th way wood heats you – the long hot bath you have to take to soak out the aches caused by 8 of the previous heats!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Results In My Own Unscientific Study

A brainblot tonight as insomnia is stalking this nerd again – and here I lay with no carpet left to rip.

Anyway. Like a lot of you, lately I've been bombarded with information regarding the fast becoming ubiquitous substance high fructose corn syrup. From articles blasting it as the food additive equivalent of Hitler and Mussolini to others regarding it as the newest item on a long list of greenwashing hysteria. After a few months of searching I finally have tracked down a copy of King Corn, I have several more tons of information to wade through before I get it all squared in my head... but I do have one tiny piece of research the Prime Geek and myself have concluded today to add to all the other you might have read.

One of the big vices PG an I indulge in daily soda consumption. (Hey, we recycle the cans at least!) Between acknowledged caffeine addictions*and allergies that make something cold and fizzy a requirement first thing out of bed in the morning (only thing we have found that cuts overnight drainage) we can put away a solid case+ a week between the two of us. Not so great on our stomachs, pantsize, or general health. As most of you no doubt know, HF Corn Syrup is usually one of the first ingredients in most sodas – Mexican Coke and Jone's Soda being two of the few who use simple sugar. Well, three weeks ago we both gave up regular soda and switched completely over to diet drinks (and water, juice, milk, etc.). We still can put away a case+ a week away, and there has been little other change in our day to day diets. (Very few other items with HFCS are eaten here, most of our food is home cooked from scratch anymore.)

I've always had.... tummy trouble. Let's leave it at that. More details aren't required unless I'm sitting in front of you in a paper gown. But pretty severe tummy troubles at times. Sometimes even socially unacceptable tummy trouble joins the rest.... still with me?

Three weeks – and its nearly nil. I expected the pant size to start sliding down a bit more than normal (I'm not dieting, just trying to get healthier so its a slow slide... but it IS a slide.) but I certainly wasn't expecting something like this. And as a bit more proof in my own mind about HFCS, yesterday I forgot for a moment and grabbed a non-diet soda while I was out and about running my errands.

I've been sick to my stomach since. I don't think its psychosomatic, as I honestly didn't realize what I had grabbed until I was doubled up in the bathroom wondering why my body hated me and my eye fell on the empty bottle.

Coincidence? Perhaps. I've got more reading to do... but I will say this. While I'm not going to get rabid about this yet... I am going back to diet and skipping the high octane stuff for now. Proof of the evil of HFCS? No, but maybe enough to make you try your own little test to see how the stuff affects you.

*Gee. Wonder if THAT has anything to do with the insomnia?
A slight warning if you haven't been following the trials and tribulations of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Its in just about EVERYTHING, so dropping it from your diet can be a pain at first.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not Exactly Green

But definitely nerdy.

Today, a box arrived for the Prime Geek. One he's been muttering and giggling over quite manically for the last few hours as he struggles to set it up.

After months of fiddling with building a projector tv, wondering about drop down installs from the ceiling, and crawling over various bits bobs and boxes I cracked. Anything to restore some form of order and space in our living room. I agreed to a suggestion he had made at the beginning of the year. I was weak.

And now? A new television arrived today. A big one. A really big one.

47 inches big.

Any idea how big that is, I mean really? Frakking HUGE. Larger than my mother in law. The thing is a monster... and while he will claim I knew how big he was ordering – I hold anything over a yard in size becomes a little too big to really get a grasp on until you see it in real life and not on a computer screen. And as I look at in in my living room all I can think is – Whoa.

There are good reasons for the new tv. Our old has been humming and whining at a high pitched screech for months, it won't be compatible with HD, and it takes up so much room on its cart that the space is too cramped for much company (at least the new one hangs from the wall out of the way). Its been months since we could watch a dvd on anything other than our laptops (the input receptor having broken at the beginning of the year) – fine for personal viewing, but not great to cuddle with your honey while watching. Heck, I'll even confess I'm kinda chuffed over knowing we can start having movie parties again.* Toss in the sad fact I can't really go to the theater (two hours in a cold dark room, in cramped seats, expensive and crappy tasting snacks, people crunched in around you, and the inability to get up and move when I need to makes both my fibro and my temper flare) anymore... and I'm kinda secretly pleased about our new toy.



Freaking HUGE.

I'm just saying.

*As geeky as it sounds, before we were married we would invite people over to his old place - with the Big Screen tv - and have theme movie nights. Yes, we even do fondue.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why Homemade is Just Better

Because I have yet to find a grocery that sell me anything that will beat freshly made strawberry sorbet – made with local berries, lime juice, a touch of raw sugar...

and triple shots of pineapple rum and blue tequila.

Mmmm. Natural AND nutritious. Not to mention tasty.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Possible Profanity Warning – Justified Though...

As I wrote the other day, I pulled the nasty, white(ish) indoor-outdoor carpeting out of our dining room the other day – saving us from old stains and even older odors. Still have the trim to do (that's a next week job), but its out and its gone – happily disposed of and out of our lives. And I might have mentioned the nastiness continued upstairs in our bedroom.

I couldn't leave the job half done, now could I?

With the dining room finished and freshened, the master bedroom began to wear on my nerves even more. Toss in yet ANOTHER moment of rudeness by one of our cats directly next to the head of the bed and I was forced to act. (Waiting until the Prime Geek had safely left the premises so I didn't have to work around him asking awkward questions. Like – What are you doing, why are you carrying a steak knife, what's that smell, are your feet bleeding? Things like that just get in the way.) A quick pull of the carpet by the door confirmed the existence of tile and I even attempted to be adult about this whole deal by double checking a corner over on the opposite side of the room in case the “new” addition hadn't been treated the same way. A little tug, and I'd know enough to plan my assault over the next few days.

Well, I planned to plan it that way anyway. Instead of a little tug, it required two knives, a flathead screwdriver, several bitten back words of profanity, and two more broken nails. The &%*#^$ had GLUED it down in places. Result? Not a small portion of carpet coming up discreetly... no, instead a three foot chunk of carpet dust raining down on my head as I fell onto my ass from the sudden release. I'll confess, at this point the profanity wasn't so bitten back. More... hissed out. Carpet may also have been thrown against a wall as well. Just a bit. Let's just say I temporarily lost some of my “being mature” points.

With that, my day took on a whole new look. No more “looking”, no more “future planning”. That crap was coming out and it was coming out NOW.

I knew it would be bad. I knew what the cats had been doing. I knew it was old... what I didn't know was I would develop an overwhelming and burning hatred for whoever installed the damn stuff in the first place. Any guesses as to why the cats might have been marking their territory?

Some mother-loving jackass NAILED, GLUED, and STAPLED 1/8 inch open cell foam onto the tiles underneath.... ON TOP OF FRAKKING DOG CRAP!!!!!!!!!

Old, dessicated dog crap, but dog crap nonetheless. Yeah. No wonder my cats had become neurotics constantly feeling the need to mark their territory. If every moment you smelled a big invisible dog in your home, you might get a bit tetchy yourself*

Toss in a leaning towards Jackson Pollack when it came to staples (at least 100 in random swirls by the door as a start – not through the carpet mind you.. no no. Just through the foam-esque material.) hundreds of unfinished nails somehow sticking pointy side up – my feet look like someone took a meat tenderizer to them – an odd fondness for glue in haphazard patches, and more then 30 years of filth, grime, piss, and God know's what that had seeped through the padding AND what had been sealed UNDER the padding and you have one shudder inducing afternoon.

Five trashbags**, four scrubbings with everything from a green floor cleaner to bleach, seven showers, and unnumbered applications of medicinal rum to keep me from thinking too hard about what the PG and I have been breathing for the last year and a half, and its done. It's not pretty – the floor will be refinished in the spring and until then its just new floor strips and some soon-to-be knitted rugs tossed over the worse spots. Its ugly, its old....

and I love it more then kittens in springtime because for the first time ever – my house feels cleared and clean.

Where'd Smelly Dog Go?

Now... if I can just get a few moments with the souless doghearted imbossed carbunkle*** who put it in, I'd be happy. I may need a baseball bat and a few moments alone.

*I'm going with big due to size issues under the padding. The other option is too horrific to contemplate.
**I confess to failing my green leanings with this stuff. So nasty when the underneath was exposed, it simply got taken to a dumpster and left. I know I should have looked for the "proper" disposal place, but by that point I was cut, bleeding from hundreds of little stabs to the feet, nose and eyes running and burning from the dust and filth, and more concerned about the nosebleed running down my throat -which I still have -to really care all that much about Mother Earth. Just this once, she can be a big girl and deal!

***Shakespearian insulted substituted because my first three tries would have gotten me kicked out of a navy bar. That... and my mom reads this sometimes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Inspired Insomnia

Since early childhood I've dealt with constant insomnia and the curse of being a light sleeper. Like my father, I toss and turn and often finally give up completely and simply read the night through when sleep eludes my grasp. I've always been jealous of both my older brother and my mother who fall asleep as soon as their heads touch a pillow (the fact the Prime Geek can fall asleep in the time it takes to draw a breath in a sentence is a bit of a pain as well!). My usual routine during times of unrest is simple enough : 1- 3 hours of sleep for a week or so, crash and burn (often spectacularly) and sleep for 12 hours, repeat.

I've tried prescriptions (which I now know to avoid at all costs due to my wonky system), over the counter pills (not much good for the long term, once you find yourself taking 8 a night to sleep even 4 hours you know you're in trouble), teas that taste of horse piss, and herbal remedies that smell even worse.* Mostly to no avail.

No matter how tired I may be, how far nerves may be stretched thin and jangling by living on the border of exhaustion – it does have its uses. There will come a point (usually near the end of the cycle, often mere hours before the aforementioned crash and burn) when I can't take laying in bed staring at the ceiling for one second more and I end up propelling myself headlong into a massive project that had been left simmering on the back burner for far too long.**

To that end?

For months the Prime Geek and I have struggled in a losing battle against our carpets in the bedroom and dining room. From cats who have preformed some pretty horrid acts of social disobedience during fits of pique, to guests who honestly don't know why my jaw clenches as they casually spill soda onto the floor***, and previous owners who must have never cleaned it a day in its life - to name just a few reasons why our elderly carpets had reached horrific levels of grossness. I've steam cleaned, sprayed, scrubbed, and sobbed – all doing little to help in the long term. We've meant to pull it up for months and one project after another would stall out the plan.

Well, a few days ago, after staring blearily at a ceiling for what seemed like hours – I went into action. Leaving a snoring husband curled up in bed and armed with nothing more then a steak knife, a pair of old scissors, trash bags, broom & mop, and three cats determined to help in this new “game” I ripped through 40 years of nastiness. Three hours, two broken nails, and six trash bags later I had uncovered an old linoleum floor that will serve us until spring when we can replace it. Another hour spent scrubbing years of filth and ick off and we have a new floor. Not perfect by any means, I've already started the rag rugs we'll need to scatter over the floor to cover old paint spills, digs, and divots – but serviceable. Added bonus? The whole downstairs smells fresh and new. I shudder to think about what we've been breathing in all these months. Even better? Seeing the PG's face when he stumbled down the stairs that morning to be confronted by a remodeled home.

One day I hope to conquer this sleep cycle, but until I do... I'm getting a heck of a lot done!

* I've come to the conclusion that Valerian works not by helping you sleep - instead its smell (a lovely mix of rotting flesh and cat pee) simply renders its victim unconscious.
** What occurs is simple - I start a fevered project that I refuse to leave half finished and work myself into a stupor. But at least its productive, right?
*** Don't get me wrong. I love my friends and enjoy having company. Its just few of them have their own homes (many living in group dens) and therefore don't really care if they spill red wine or hot cocoa on the floor. No doubt to tweaks me more due to having a mother who owns her own cleaning business.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Anting Days of Summer

While we mostly refer to August as the dog days of summer, there is something about this hot and sticky time that kicks my anting habits into hyperdrive. As the humidity levels soar and my brain begins to melt, a tiny voice in the back of my head starts warning me of frost and snow... and wants to know what I plan to do to get ready. After months of waiting around for fresh garden goods and hungry for even one piece of local bounty, it all arrives in a heap – no time to think, no time to plan, just hurry hurry hurry before it all begins to rot around me.

This last weekend found me making like Lady Macbeth, wandering the house wondering how I was ever going to get the damn spots off my hands. Luckily, it wasn't the lifeblood of my liege, just the result of slogging my way through 42 POUNDS of cherries. The grocery store down the road had a sale on local cherries* - a miracle sale of 1.99lb instead of their usual 6.99. I love sweet cherries. Actually, I adore sweet red cherries, but I can never bring myself to spend so much on fruit – heck, my meat price cutoff point is $3.99 a pound and THAT'S only for special occasions. Usually, I'll allow myself a few ruby orbs as a treat – but to buy enough to put up? Couldn't do it. When I saw the sale I was wavering... when I saw they were local I caved. Hard. But can you blame me? Check out the size of these beauties:

(Yup, bigger then a quarter!)

We have cherry bounce, cherries frozen with raw sugar, cherries flash frozen plain, cherry bars, dried cherries, and enough cherries eaten out of hand I'll not need lipstick for a few weeks.
Not a bit is going to waste – cherry pits are cleaning as we speak for a project for tomorrow, even cherry stems are in the tinder box (they add a sweet smell when tossed into the wood burner).

More of my cherry jubilation tomorrow, I'm off for another bath. I seem to have gotten cherry juice in the oddest places.

* No organic this time. Frankly, the last batch I got was virtually useless – crawling with bugs, quickly passing fermenting to plain rotting. Sadly, the farmers market the Prime Geek and I had tried seemed to be cashing in on “organic” without bothering to try for “quality” as well. And at 9.99 a pound... not something I'm willing to waste cash on.