Monday, September 29, 2008


With a side of Ack.

Over a week without the bloody internet - shut off because we OVERPAID and their little neurons couldn't handle the excitement.

Behind in school work, behind in tons else... and just frankly wanting a solid day of rain to come along so I can catch back up.

Grumble grumble.

On the up side, I got a lot of knitting on my hopefully to be birthday sweater (here's hoping I won't have the wear the dratted thing as a tube top.) accomplished, the wood pile is now taller than I am (just have two more rows to go to be ready for snow), and we have tons of new projects on the hop.

Pretty please can I have a few boring weeks?

When I find the dratted person who laid this Chinese curse of an interesting life on me, I'm going to throttle them. Interestingly.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Which I Try To Return To A Semblance Of Normality

Life is what it is, and in the effort to regain a bit of balance in my life... I'm moving on and just letting the extended family situation go. It is what it is and...

What is, is a massive windstorm that nearly blew this nerd's nest to bits last night. Over 300,000 in our immediate area alone are without power, and the electric company is saying it could be Friday before everyone is hooked back into the grid. More than a million in other parts of Ohio are without power as well, and even more in other states. The Prime Geek and I were incredibly lucky, he got home from working overtime on Sunday just as the storm was beginning (a long worried wait for this nerd... he'd taken the bike) and we were pretty much battened down in under 30 minutes. A month before we had severely trimmed back our old oak trees, and as such are the only ones on the street who don't have downed branches. We lost about a 5x5 foot section of shingles off the roof... but that was our only hit. The power stayed on, the cats hid, and we called it a night by ten – lulled to sleep by the sound of Mother Nature having a hissy fit and sirens roaring by.

The weather seems bound and determined to shake our planet this year, and I really don't see any let up in the near future. To that end... I'm going to take the next few weeks and start looking at and discussing the preventative measures the PG and I take, and perhaps convince a few others to join in prepping your homes for upcoming storms and struggles. I've lived through : tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, blizzards, droughts, financial.... flights of fancy, and even rains of frogs (long story). With government bulletins announcing that they'd love to help us should the roof fly off, but don't count on it – with Mother Nature seeming to have neglected to take her clozapine this decade – with the banks going down while the bills go up... maybe I can help a bit with what I've learned (and clarify it in my OWN brain as well!)

First. Not gonna talk about water, food, or shelter... something else comes first today.

Are you the kind of person who does laundry only at the last minute? Be honest. If the power went out in 20 minutes... no water or power for the next week, does everyone in your home have enough underwear, dry socks, and outer clothes for three days? (It takes at LEAST a full day to dry clothes you've washed in a bucket... more if its humid.) When the chips are down and you have to work hard to pull your life back together... squelching along in wet jeans you wore yesterday and dirty socks from last week just make a bad situation miserable – not to mention harder.

Go check, I'll wait. I've got cookies that need making. See you tomorrow.

Thank you for the kind words and prayers. As of this moment... she's alive. They talked someone into reventing her, and its back to its usual up and down she is/she isn't rollercoaster of hell. This weekend I had to admit that the whole situation was bringing up some painful personal past isues and I have to let this go. Too far away, I can't do anything... its just ripping scars open for the sake of watching them bleed. I'm praying for my cousin, I'm praying it just resolves itself however it needs to... and I'm done. I can't sit staring at a computer screen waiting to hear the next horrid installment in a story I can't affect. No more from or for this nerd.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Almost Over

She crashed this morning... flatlined, they brought her back.

The doctors have said no more.

She's off the ventilator, off the pump, laying in her momma's lap and they are waiting for the end.

Now its just a matter of waiting for the last call.

Doesn't Matter to Who or How

Just... say a little prayer today.

Pray for a family to be able to let go. Pray for rest. Pray they can see it isn't satan pulling, it isn't a spirital failing, it isn't lack of faith - sometimes... its just time to go home.

Six months of pain is enough. When the doctors say they won't do another operation, they won't cut in again, they aren't being blinded by satan's plan... they swore an oath to do no harm - and all you are insisting on is harm.

Gonna be a long day.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Flip of the Coin

The good news about harvest time and the ability to preserve some of the local bounty? You know what you're eating, you know where its from, and it often tastes worlds better than anything a factory can produce.

The bad news? It has to be done now. Not tomorrow, not over the weekend, not when you get to it. Its just you in the kitchen against a mountain of tomatoes/peppers/corn/etc and the clock it ticking down to rotten town.

I'm a bit in the weeds, but starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel folks.

Until tomorrow, have a good night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Diversion...

As the heat tonight has sapped both my will to be productive and my desire to move away from the fan I've decided to wast... I mean spend some time writing up a little piece of my past for you all to enjoy. The decision was helped along by a comment read over on Cranky Prof's site (her link is over in the corner, check her out.) regarding the popularity of Chinese symbols in tattoos.*

Several years ago, a friend stopped by my apartment one evening to kill some time and just shoot the breeze. Topics of conversation ranged from world politics to the previous weeks round of D&D we'd both been a part of**, but at one point he leaned forward a bit and flashed a bit of a tattoo peeking out from the edge of his tank top. I'd caught glimpses of it before, but never enough to see what it truly was. That night I finally decided to inquire – having a slight tattoo fetish and always wanting to know the story behind why someone got an image permanently drilled into their skin.

He turned beet red, grabbed at the neckline of his shirt, and gave a small laugh.

“This? It's what made me become a Buddhist.”

I was intrigued. I knew folks who got tattoos to show their beliefs to the world (heck, I've got a runic symbol on the small of my back to remind me of something important***), but I'd never heard of a tattoo changing a person's belief's afterwards. I asked him to explain. In his own words... more or less :

“Years ago I got into martial arts. Didn't do too bad either. Started fighting, won some rounds... thought I was tough shit. So one day I sauntered into a Chinese tattoo parlor and declared to the artist that I 'wanted the symbol for Ultimate Fighter, Perfect Warrior, you know the thing, in Chinese' on my chest. The guy looked at me funny, then asked to see what I had in mind. I got rather loud and brash and told him 'you know what I mean, what... don't you write Chinese? Just do it, I don't have all day.” The artist quietly went about sketching and finally handed me a page with intricate symbols scattered over it. 'This what you want?' Not really looking it over, I said “Yeah. Exactly. Make sure you get it centered.' ' You sure this is what you want? Why not have some friends look it over. Sleep on it.' At this point I exploded, 'Just DO it!' And 45 minutes later I sauntered out of the shop, proud I hadn't let any stupid artiste try to bully me.

Over the next few months I dated a lot of girls I picked up at the fights. Mostly Asian girls... to go with my new 'samurai ' mentality. Nearly got somewhere with all of them, but never could quite seal the deal. At critical moments when we'd start to get somewhere... but they always pulled back and seemed to look at me funny. Finally, months later I was working hard to pick up this one women I had met at the end of a fight, when she stopped and cocked her head at me.

'Why... why do you have THAT on your chest?' she asked me, pointing at my tattoo now clearly visible through my open shirt. 'What, this? I got it when I started fighting. Its my lucky reminder of what I am.' 'What you are. You WANTED that?' ' I'm a fighter and a warrior. Of course I do.' She seemed a bit startled, and then asked suddenly – 'What do you think it says?' 'What do you mean, what does it say. Can't you read it?' 'Yes, and that's why I'm curious.' 'Obviously', I said condescendingly ' it says Ultimate Fighter, Perfect Warrior... that kind of thing...' I trailed off as her head started to shake and the corners of her mouth twitched. 'It doesn't? What do you mean it doesn't... what does it say?' With a grin she said calmly, ' roughly translated? Stupid white boy should do his homework.' with that she walked away.

I was stunned. And shocked. Horrified. Angry. Pissed... but finally settled on embarrassed. With a little bit of digging, I found out she had been right. All this time spent beating my chest, proud of my superior standing... and I had been making a fool of myself. In more than one way.”

At this point in his story, I interrupted. “Why do you still have it? And how does an embarrassing tattoo equate a religious shift?”

“I'll always keep it. Helps me to remember two very important things in life.”

“What, don't piss off a tattooer right before he inks you?”

“Well, that... and when I start to think I know everything, I just looked down and remember. I'm just a stupid white boy who needs to do his homework.” he grinned. “And to always research anything I want inked onto my body beforehand!”

Night folks.

* And no, mom. I don't have one on me... any tattoos I have will be in languages I can decipher.
**Yup. I'm THAT kind of nerd.
***Sometimes my memory is a bit faulty and I need a reminder to get through the fog. Long story that would involve someone getting me really REALLY good mead before I tell it.

Making Hay

Well, September is here at last – bringing with it all the end of season desperation as the Prime Geek and myself try to figure out all that we need to get done before the cold is upon us. The chimney sweep has to be scheduled, the log pile must go higher, and only a few weeks left to get in whatever I can from the local farms.

Oh, yeah. I should probably confess to something.

My garden this year?

Sucketh the teat mightily.

Between a weather pattern controlled by Mother Natures schizophrenic sister Marge, multiple jobs that had us out of town at critical moments, and an infestation of some burrowing critter – I got a couple of bunches of basil, 2 tomatoes, and a whole lot of grief. We're going to plan better for next year, as well as see about some alternative ideas (staying home more of the summer is a big part of the plan!) to put into use... but for this year? Its farmers markets and whatever local produce I can find at good prices at the grocery.

At the moment I'm working my way through some gigantic green peppers from a local farm. I took a look through my grocery notes from last winter and one of the recurring gripes was the outrageous price of green and red peppers at the store. At one point hitting a high of $3.19 PER PEPPER (Green, to make it somehow even worse. I simply stopped looking at the red by November.) and staying there for 3 months. We use peppers 2-3 times a week, in everything from stirfrys to sauces, but I just can't justify spending more on a lone pepper then I do on a pound of meat! So, when the sale flyer on the doorstep proclaimed “Locally Grown Green Pepper – 2/$1” I'm jumping on it.

Today will find me slicing my way through about fifteen bucks worth of green globes. I'm slicing them thin – perfect for stirfrys but easy enough to hatchet through when I make sauce – and flash freezing them on cookie sheets. Then, its into ziploc bags until needed. As for red peppers?

There is a brand available at our local discount store that comes from Indiana (one state away). Nowadays, I'm trying to remember to chuck a jar of red peppers into my cart every time I shop. At $1.79 a jar, from only one state away, with 4 roasted peppers in each jar... I can't really afford to go for fresh.

Time to make hay folks, I'm trying to get as much put away as possible before the weather turns on us. Anything YOU remember wishing wasn't so expensive last winter? Because between transportation costs skyrocketing, weird weather, and tight budgets due to energy prices... plan on if it was high last year, its gonna be higher still this one.