Showing posts from 2010

Today's Executive Decision Made

No one has to get up until the furnace does.  Especially if it's 14 degrees outside.

New Year's Resolutions

My 2010 Goals were:

*  Read 100 books - DONE

*  Read Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking - not so much done.  I have started it, and there was that boiling bacon episode for boeuf bourginon.

*  Finish 100 knitting and/or sewing projects - DONE.  This is actually the biggest surprise, as this was by far the craziest goal.  But as of right now, I have finished 115.  Score!!!

*  Be able to swim a mile before I turn 40 - this one got waylaid by the arm problems, which are STILL going on.  Somehow I have made it worse again, I think because of pulling myself around so as to not hurt the broken toe.  What a sad little state of affairs I am right now!  Sheesh!

*  Do 10 lessons in my serger workbook - DONE.  I actually did 20, though I am never going to get the blind hem with the serger part.  I can barely do that with my sewing machine!

*  Try 5 new bread recipes - TOTALLY forgot about this one!  Whoops!

And I had listed at the end to shake the cold that had been plaguing …

The Magic of Moving Backwards

This year, I started writing letters.  Not emails, real paper-and-envelope letters.  Real sit-down-and-hand-write letters to friends and family.  And you know what?  It was fantastic.

I used to be an avid letter writer.  For many years, I had a pen pal that I was paired with through a PBS  show called Big Blue Marble, and wrote to dozens of people I met on 4-H, FFA, and other trips.  It was back before I received bills in the mail, so letters meant I got mail.

Obviously, I like the internet.  I have made lots of friends on it, and I really enjoy the blog world.  But the internet has also enabled a lot of hatred, ignorance, and bigotry.  Even on my harmless little blog, I have received some pretty nasty comments from people who cannot tolerate people with opinions other than their own, and who feel that everyone who disagrees with them must be socialists or nazis.  I think the internet has made us even more gullible with urban legends and lies flying around so fast that it is almost i…

What Exactly Is A "Pundit" Supposed to Be?

The organization Politifact (as well as others) have surfaced to verify the veracity of claims made by politicians and media personalities.  Among other lists, they maintain a running "fact rating" on pundits here in the states.  I'm not sure what the origins of the word "pundit" are, but if you take a look at the list, it seems that a really good definition would be: liar who is desperately trying to boost the parent organization's ratings.  Most of what these people are telling viewers is either mostly or completely false.  And they are on "news" programs!

The expected ignorers-of-facts are there (Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Obermann), but I was disappointed to see Mary Matalin & George Will on there as telling complete falsehoods.  I thought they were both better than that.

Of course, the truly scary part of this is not that they are lying--they're doing it for money & ratings.  The scary thing is the peopl…


One of the things I remember most from my second grade year was Christmas.  One of the girls in my class returned from break with a set of sleigh bells that had quite obviously fallen off Santa's sleigh and landed in one of the trees in their yard.  The timing could not have been better, as some of us were foolishly starting to doubt Santa's existence, but after that, we KNEW he was real.

So, we spent Christmas Eve at my parents' ranch with my sister, her husband, and their 3 children.  As the oldest one was close to the age when one could start to doubt, it was time for drastic measures.
Christmas Eve, while my brother-in-law rang some of them on one side of the house, I strategically place three bells--complete with broken wire--in the yard where they could be found on Christmas morning.

Ho! Ho! Ho!  I think they're going to believe in Santa until at least the age of 30................

How Andy and Theo Spent Christmas Vacation...

What the 4th picture SHOULD be is me wrestling with the little "helper kitty" to remove the green paint from one big hairy paw.  Remind me NOT to complain about his "help" when gardening.....

Christmas Eve

December 24, 1992

Christmas eve Holly hung and presents wrapped trees straining under garlands and glass fruitcakes baked and cookies iced the whole world waits for morning’s rays
and yet
I sit and watch the falling snow, the fluffy Christmas kind and remember
Grandma’s house plumped with people, steamed from the oyster stew, the youngest cousin fitting him or herself with a set of olive fingers, Aunts and uncles sipping coffee in slow motion to the chagrin of growing and grown-up cousins bursting with impatience to open presents. Grandma seated behind a tower of gifts, even a drawing from the littlest child. Living room carpet showered with colored paper, snowflakes swirling in the evening sky to cushion Santa’s way.
December 24, 1992 and I celebrate my own Christmas eve. Mistletoe and evergreen dreams fill my apartment. A black cat stretched lazily among the presents, colored lights twinkling in the window.
Thank you, Grandma, for your Christmas spirit.

The Story Behind The Silly Christmas Letters

As some of you might have noticed, I write a rather silly Christmas letter.  This tradition started about 15 years ago, I believe.  I think the tradition of mass-produced Christmas letters was just getting going, and the first ones seem to have been pretty painful to read (our children are all brilliant, we're terribly successful, and our lives are completely perfect and to be envied), and if there is anything more boring than listening to someone brag, it's reading about it.  And "perfection" isn't what life is about anyway.  I had worked with a telecommunications company briefly, then lost my job when they were purchased by another company, and I thought losing one's job was the epitome of the anti-Christmas letter.  And so they began.

Over the years, they have become a bit legendary for being so ridiculous.  They are passed around workplaces, circulated to neighbors, passed on to relatives, and for the last 10 years I continually meet people who recognize …

Christmas Letter 2010

Once upon a time in a faraway land called Boise, there lived a man and a woman (named Andy and Toni in case you've forgotten who sends the strange Christmas letters) with two cats that agreed to let the humans cater to their every whim in exchange for an occasional dead mouse or vole.  And a few live ones. 
The man and woman were fond of doing yearly adventures, but had decided to take a bit of a rest for 2010, which may have been influenced by the severe colds both of them had at the beginning of the year.  The universe, however, seems to also enjoy the Ch√Ęteau Sutton-Goar yearly projects, and decided to assist them by choosing one for them.  And that is how 2010 became "The Year of the Bugs."
The Year of the Bugs began with an invasion of fungus in the yard and garden (Purists will assert that "fungus" is not really the same thing as a "bug," but purists can write their own darn Christmas letter.  For purposes of THIS one, a "bug" is defined…

So It's Been Two Weeks....

And honestly, I think my toe hurts more now than it did.  Ah, and a little tip I thought I'd share:  If you have a broken toe, do not reach for anything up above you.  Know how we reach things?  By standing on tippy-toe.  This is a very automatic response and one that I think I might have remembered not to do if it wasn't such an easy thing to do without thinking about it. 

Know what also uses one's toes?  Scooting around in a chair.  I really thought I was on to something on Friday.  I had been on my foot way too much Thursday (big surprise, I know) so I thought I would help my foot by restricting myself to a day of sewing.  That's sitting, right? 

Sort of. 

Turns out, there's a lot of moving around when sewing, or at least when I do it.  THEN I had the embroidery machine and a second sewing machine going, and just wheeled my chair back and forth between them.  Had I propelled myself using my hands, this might have been okay, but if you were sitting in a wheeled c…

What's In A Name?

Lots of confusion it seems. 

It is Christmas card time, and the great name debate is on.  How does one address Christmas/holiday cards for the more nontraditional households? 

I admit, we're one of them, and it obviously is a source of confusion for everyone else as well.  Our mailman must wonder who actually lives here, as we get cards by at least 7 or 8 name variations.  I admit, it was confusing for us as well, and we started joking about this being "Chateau Sutton-Goar" shortly after we bought the house, and now it is so much easier than trying to come up with some other formulation of our names that I have now put it on our address labels.  Besides, it's just fun to say.

The ones that really have me stumped are the ones where the woman hyphenated her name upon marriage, and the couple has children.  Do I then use just the common last name for everyone, or should everyone get the hyphenated last name?  Every year I try something different for these households.  T…

What I Have Learned From My Broken Toe

*  Do not pick fights with the furniture.  The furniture will always win.

*  The official medical term for the toe is "toe number 4."  Toes don't even get any respect from the medical community.

*  Covers on the bed are much heavier than one would think.

*  Breaking a toe is a sure-fire way to inspire the cats to sleep on your feet.

*  Bruising can last longer than 11 days.

*  Getting boots ON with a broken toe is honestly a lot less painful than taking them OFF with a broken toe.

*  Being at parties with a broken toe and wearing slippers makes people very, very nervous about accidentally stepping on your toe.

*  A human with a broken toe is MUCH easier to care for than a cat with a broken leg, and is a LOT cheaper.

No Respect

Okay, it could just be me, but I'm finding it really hard to take a broken toe seriously.  I don't know why.  I've actually broken both pinkie toes in the past, and maybe it happened so long ago that I have forgotten what it was like, but I'm having a bit of trouble believing that the smallest bone on my next-to-smallest toe can hurt as much as any other bone, and that it would not for any bizarre reason heal faster than all my other bones.  Go figure.

Does Hypochondria Have An Opposite?

Okay, we all know people who are obsessed with their health & believe themselves to always be sick.  That would be hypochondria.  Is there such a thing as hyperchondria?   Five days after losing my battle with the bedpost, this

is what my foot now looks like.  And yet I'm actually surprised that it still really hurts.

It seems my little world has very little room for reality these days......................

Sometimes My Optimism Overwhelms Me

I have not been to the doctor to have my foot examined, but having broken toes at least twice before, it would be a very safe bet that the aching purple blob that has replaced my "this little piggy had none" toe is indeed a broken toe.  Not least of all because there was a definite "snap" noise when I stubbed my toe on the stupid bed post in the first place.  Though interestingly enough, the post is about 4-inches square and pretty solid stuff, even if it isn't real wood (though Andy says it NOT being wood probably makes it even harder) BUT WHEN I INITIALLY HEARD THE "SNAP" I HONESTLY THOUGHT I HAD BROKEN SOMETHING ON THE BED.  Oh yeah, because that would be the most likely result of itty-bitty toe bones meeting big freaking bed frame. 

It's probably a good thing I didn't choose to go into physics........

Getting Ready For Our Christmas Cheese-Tasting Party

Fruit trays ready?  Check.

Cute booklets made for people to take notes on the various cheeses?  Check.

Cheese ballots made?  Check.

Ready-made sourdough baguettes ready to be browned?  Check.

Hostess breaking her stupid toe by stubbing it on the stupid bed?  Check!!!!!!!!!!

Let It Snow!!!


Spankin' Sarah Palin: A clown short of a circus - English

I will never understand why anyone in this country takes Sarah Palin seriously, but obviously the rest of the world doesn't:

Spankin' Sarah Palin: A clown short of a circus - English

You're More Likely to Be Mean If You Watch People on TV Being Mean to Each Other

Lessons That The 20-Something Living Next Door With His Mother COULD Have Learned This Morning

*  6-inches of fresh snow might be an appropriate time to stop driving like you think you're Mario Andretti

*  The gas pedal has setting besides "no gas" and "flooring it."

*  If you're having trouble moving in the snow, "flooring it" will make the spot under your tires even MORE slippery, no matter how many times you do it.

*  If something doesn't work, to keep trying the exact same thing for the next half hour is probably what the rest off us mean when we say "futile."

*  If you had been even slightly nice--or even a bit less of a total jerk--to any of your neighbors, someone might have been willing to give you a push.

3 More Books In 33 Days

So, there I was cruising along on my goal to read 100 books by the end of the year, and now with only 3 books left to go and over a month in which to finish them, I'm really stalling.  I'm not sure if I've lost my drive or have just taken some detours into some tough books.

As always, I'm reading more than one book at a time.  Andy laughs at this, but some days I feel like humor, some it's history, and at other times I want a murder mystery with lots of bodies but not too much blood, guts, or gore.  So I need lot of options around at all times.  And this system usually works for me, but right now I'm floundering just a bit.  I can't decide if it's me or the books.  After all, is it possible to be reading 3 different books and not that "into" any of them?

Problem book number 1:  Two For The Road by Jan & Michael Stern.  While the Sterns are funny, charming, and a sheer delight, their tale of when they were reviewing diners across America in…

Happy Black Friday!

In which we slept in, having attended TWO Thanksgiving soirees, both of which involved quite fantastic food.  I made my first non-sourdough dinner rolls
and aside from their mutant hyper-active yeast appearance, they turned out pretty well.  Is there such a thing as over-achiever yeast?

We did not participate in any shopping today, which is no surprise as I have yet to meet the product that could convince me to get out of bed at 3:00AM, but I think if it exists, it would involve free cashmere.  If anyone hears a commercial mentioning THAT, we'll talk.........................

BRING ON THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is officially the "Holiday Season!"  Or perhaps you're a stickler and it kicks off tomorrow with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and I can certainly understand that viewpoint.  I LOVE this time of year--and in fact, the house is already decorated, trees and everything.  We will be attending two Thanksgiving dinners tomorrow...and will probably spend Friday exercising and wearing pants with elastic waists.  And, to truly "kick off" the holiday season, Andy raided the library system:
Clockwise starting at the back, we have a lesser-known Rankin Bass special called "Jack Frost," the Bloom County Christmas cartoon (which I didn't know existed), In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash which is the book that "A Christmas Story" is based on, a biography of Santa Clause, and a Shrek Christmas movie. 

Ho! Ho! Ho!

It's 28 Degrees Right Now

I guess we got winter.  AND we can be very proud of ourselves to have planted the garlic in the snow this weekend because it isn't supposed to be above freezing all week.

Not that I'm complaining.  On the contrary--I'm all for this cold weather.  I hope it kills off the entire world population of grain moths.  I think we finally have driven the beasts from our house but that does NOT mean that I don't still carry a grudge.  With any luck, it kills garden slugs as well, but I would be content with just the pantry moths.

Other good things about cold weather;

*  It gives me a chance to wear the 20+ sweaters I've knitted over the years.  Ditto the wool socks

*  When I want to go to bed early, I don't feel like such an old lady.  If it gets dark at 5:00, one can start contemplating bed at 5:00.  This is obviously what nature intended.

*  I can make things for dinner in the crockpot that would be considered "pasty muck" at any other time of the year

*  Chr…

The Garlic Is Planted!

It's been snowing this weekend, but we did get our garlic planted finally.  It's about a month later than usual, but our weather has been so warm that even my zinnias were still alive until sometime last week.

Harvesting tomatoes in the rain, planting garlic in the snow..........having a garden is supposed to be good for our health, right???

This One I Had To Share

I usually don't listen to much local news, but one of the local radio stations has already switched to full-time Christmas music, and I've been listening to it, so I'm getting caught up on my traffic reports and advertisements for totally useless items.  I know it's early, but I do love the holiday season, and after the whole mutant moth saga, I could really use some festivity.

One of the leading stories for today is that charges have been filed against a transgender person for practicing medicine without a license.  The medicine this person was practicing?  Giving breast exams in bars.  


This leaves me with a few questions:

A) Is groping breasts in bars really practicing medicine, and if so, why are 89% of heterosexual males between the ages of 21 and 35 not incarcerated?

B)  While I realize that there really are transgender people and that it must be a very sad and confusing state for those people and I certainly don't want to belittle their situation, …

Best Laid Plans....

Last year after Christmas I braved the crazy crowds at the store to pick up some LED blanket lights for the shrubs in front of the house.  LED would save energy and last longer, and blanket lights would make it much easier to decorate.  They were even on clearance, and I made sure to put them somewhere we would be able to find them this winter.

And this spring, we ripped the shrubs out.

I Think We MIGHT Finally Have Found Them All

I found a couple places still containing moth beast cocoon things, so I'm reassured that the steps I've been taking with everything that has been allowed back IN the pantry are working.  The latest offenders were a cardboard box that somehow managed to miss Andy's vacuum/bleach/bleach again/move-out-into-the-storage-shed-so-the-beasts-can-be-killed-by-the-frost attack.  We have all these serving trays/bowls/chaffing dishes/etc. that we keep in their original boxes until we need to use them--which also seem to make good pantry moth nurseries.  We're going to double-check the ones out in the storage shed later this week just to make sure we really got the beasts, but the boxes will also remain out there for the entire winter.  It was a bit frustrating to find something we missed, but not nearly so frightening as it would have been to have found a moth and NOT to have found something we missed.  Basically, I have had to recheck EVERYTHING before it goes back into the pant…


There was a moth in the pantry this morning.

Do you think they can exist on plastic now????????

Big Girls Don't Cry.....

But sometimes they could really use a drink.

We have washed, bleached, caulked, and sprayed the pantry (repeatedly), and with no sign of the pantry moth beasts even NEAR the pantry after the spray, I decided it was time to start moving things back in--checking everything thoroughly before letting it back in, and so far I'm to here:
Things were going well through the alcohol--I admit, that's where I started as it had never been infected in the first place and I sort of assume alcohol would probably kill the little beasts--and the things in cans, as there's really no way the beasts could ever get inside those.  They were safe, stackable, and almost completely incapable of infestation.  (It's good to work your way up on these things.)

Everything--and I mean EVERYTHING--is sealed up.  I've even gone so far as this:
because the little beasts like paper & since they were in the coffee filters, I see no reason to consider paper baking cups safe.  I realize I am going to…

New Excuses

So I'm getting a little bit tired of explaining to people who drop by why we have food scattered all over the house (not to mention it seems to really gross them out), so I think we need a new story.  Possible ideas:

1.  The canned green beans are afraid of the dark and the jars of salsa didn't want to be left behind

2.  This year for Thanksgiving we decided to decorate the entire house to look like a really big cornucopia.

3.  I saw decorating with jars on Martha Stewart and decided to take it one step further.

4.  It's for a play-at-home version of Iron Chef

5.  I just love grocery shopping so much that I wanted my home to look like Fred Meyer.

6.  Serious "munchies."

7.  We were expecting a LOT more trick-or-treaters.

8.  It makes it easier to use the pantry for games of hide-and-seek.

9.  We're taking inventory for tax purposes

10.  We've decided to jump right past the "lived-in" look and go straight to the "battle for survival" lo…

Overheard Yesterday At Chateau Sutton Goar



Toni - discovering skin peeling off her hand and not initially realizing it would be because she burned the hand last week.

It Gets Better Canada

Things I Am REALLY Hoping This Week

*  That the "death to pantry moths" spray arrives soon.  Like today.

*  That the "death to pantry moths" spray arrives before I have to explain to the piano tuner why we are currently keeping potatoes on the piano.

*  That our recent 70-degree weather doesn't encourage the darn lawn to start growing again.

*  That the "winter" stuff I diligently spread on our lawn works in spite of global warming

*  That people continue not to notice that the economy has improved from 2 years ago and that the stock market is gaining little by little.  We're making quite a bit of money on the stock market this year, because one thing I learned from working as a stock broker is to always bet against stupidity.  If Fox News won't go away, at least we can use it to our advantage.

*  That we'll finally get cool enough weather to get our garlic planted.  Like the temperatures we had in July.....

*  That the three hundred dollars worth of "air tight" co…

Things I've Learned This Week

*  Getting a steam burn on most of one hand does get one out of washing dishes for several days, but still probably isn't worth it.

*  If you had problems with the tomatoes ON the vine, don't think the green ones won't have problems too.

*  It takes a long time to kill off a moth colony.

*  Handing out toys instead of candy for Halloween is a good way to make friends with both kids AND parents--unless the toys are ones that make noise.

*  If one bratty little trick-or-treater says he doesn't like your toys and wants candy instead, handing him a 5-year-old sucker is rather satisfying.

*  Don't underestimate a pantry moth infestation.  We found them in a jar of polenta that I had actually already checked.

*  My friends pointed out that if we ate processed foods with a bunch of preservatives like normal people, we probably wouldn't have a moth problem.  Sadly, they could be right.

*  Mother Nature is a great practical joker.  In July, when I wanted my tomatoes …

Rally for Sanity - Boise

We have now attended our FIRST rally of any sort!  It was so much fun!!!  Wanting to get fully into the spirit of the thing, we made a big sign to carry.  Here I am with the front:
and here's Andy with the reverse side:
 We got a lot of laughs--which we hope were sign-related.  The great thing about the rally yesterday was that it was a rally ABOUT moderation and civility (aside from the f--k 'em all sign, which was only nasty sign there). Moderates, when we rally, are actually a really fun lot.
I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but the sign farthest on the left says "Anyone for Scrabble later?"  Love that one!

Some of our favorite signs at the Boise event:

"Mothers against bickering"

"I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler"

"When did peace become unpatriotic?"

"Can't we all just sing along?"

And, sported by a small child, "Don't blame me--I voted for Cookie Monster"


Gettin' Ready

We are attending the Boise "Rally for Sanity" today.  For anyone who hasn't heard of it yet, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show started this as a counter-point to Glen Beck's rally on Martin Luther King day.  I have to admit, I don't know what the point of Glen Beck's march (or Glen Beck himself, for that matter) was really supposed to be, but the Rally for Sanity started off as sort of a fun stunt and has spread GLOBALLY.  That's right--rallies against the stupidity of the last year are being held all over the world. 

I've never been to a rally, so this is going to be a new experience, and after all the stupidity of the last year, this is a rally I can support--even if it really is mostly just for fun.

We still need signs to carry, and these are my top ideas for signs:

*  If we all get to make up our own facts now, then chocolate won't make me fat!

* Logic--I promise it's worth a try

*  If you want me to take your political party seriously, don&#…

You're Not Going To Believe This......

I got beat up by canning again.

Does this happen to other people, or is it just me?  THIS time, I was working on my second batch of roasted vegetables for a roasted vegetable sauce, and managed to get a steam burn on my hand--all of it--from just opening the darn oven door.  When I tell you it hurt too much to knit, you know how bad it was.  Luckily, many Advil and a white chocolate martini allowed me to sleep, but I've spent today walking around with a white cotton glove on my hand to keep the skin from being rubbed by anything.

The only perk to this whole episode is that since it's Halloween weekend, I can just pass off the one white glove as a really lame Michael Jackson costume.

I do admit that the roasted vegetable tomato sauce (garlic, onions, red bell pepper, and tomatoes all roasted, then mixed with oregano and balsamic vinegar) is wonderful and we ended up with 20 1-cup jars.  When my hand stops hurting, we're going to try it on pizza.  Unless, of course, the pi…

Sometimes Someone Says It Perfectly...........


Finally Some Answers

Well, I vacuumed 4 adult moths today, but the good or bad news--depending on how we want to look at it--is that they weren't in the pantry.  They were on the kitchen ceiling.  So, they're not gone.

The actual good news is that I found this website:
It answers a lot of the questions I haven't been able to find information on, and at least gives me some hope.  A few things cleared up:

1.  The Catchmaster moth traps do work.  Unfortunately, as I had feared, it's the male moths they kill, not the females.  So, if we have a male moth who isn't seduced by the trap pheremones and finds one of the female moths and they get together for a little moth whoopee, we still have problems.  Not that we're going to stop using them, but I was really hoping it was the female moths and their worm-baby breeding ability we were bumping off.

2.  Nothing kills the pupal stage of these beasts.  Very sad news.  Especially since I vacuum…

I'm REALLY Trying Not To Get My Hopes Up.........


Could we really be winning?????

Living a Scavenger Hunt

So...the pantry is empty, the trap has caught lots of adult moths, but I am still vacuuming up a few adult moths in the pantry every day.  I don't know what they're doing in there.  We've removed EVERYTHING--even the cardboard and coffee filters, so unless they're resorting to moth cannibalism (of which I would whole heartedly approve at this point), there is no food source in there.  I'm afraid to move anything back into  the pantry while the little beasts still exist, because if two of them start to get a special feeling and the male is a bit of a smooth-talker, then we'll have worm babies again and I just don't think I could cope.  I can't even go near the bulk-bins at the grocery store right now.  Sure, to everyone else that stuff looks like food, but after the last few weeks all I see is a big pantry moth breeding ground.

The good news is, I suppose, that we're finally starting to get used to having the pantry contents scattered around the hou…

This Sort of Says It All..............


Shouldn't We Be Winning By Now?

is our kitchen pantry.  It has been emptied, soaped, bleached, caulked, and painted--with an occasional shot of Raid here & there.  The brown thing is a pantry moth trap (which does work, by the way).  And yet....I just vacuumed up two more moths a few minutes ago.  We're nervous about moving things back into the pantry until we're sure that the moths & their little worm babies are gone, but we were sort of hoping that would have been when their food supply dried up--or when their nests were vacuumed up or painted over.  Maybe they can survive a few days without food or air?

In the meantime, meals here at Chateau Sutton-Goar are a bit of a scavenger hunt.  The potatoes are in the living room, the flour is in the dining room, and the olives are over by the piano.  Isn't that where everyone keeps their olives?????

Things I Have Learned This Week

*  There are several varieties of pantry moths: Mediterranean Flour Moths, Indian Meal Moths, and Angoumois Gran Moths.  Knowing this doesn't help get rid of them in any way, but is the information that Google seems to think I want most.

*  Not all rubber gloves will stop jalapeno oil from getting onto your hands.  Interestingly, the oil has an amazing shelf life, so even if one is smart enough to wear two sets of gloves when dealing with the jalapenos, if one doesn't think about it and dons the rubber gloves to wear while cleaning the pantry shelves with bleach to get rid of moth eggs, one can get jalapeno burns from the inside of the gloves to add to the fun.

*  They sell pantry moth traps.  I ordered 24 of them last night.  If I was positive that they work, I'd have ordered 1000.

*  It is impossible to underestimate the number of places these stupid moths & their disgusting worm babies will show up.  Today I found them in the coffee filters.

*  Even if the set of cannis…

The 2011 Project

As many of you may have noticed, I like yearly projects.  Over the years there has been the one-new-recipe-a-week year, the tourism-in-my-home-state year, and most memorably the Year of No Processed Foods.  This year I didn't pick a project as the no processed foods one was SO overwhelming and we're still making changes to make it a permanent lifestyle thing.  But I decided I wanted a project for next year, and had noticed some great events coming up at our local community library.  They're doing an entire railroad series, and so far we've been to a slide presentation and a book discussion, and both have been really interesting.  And this is all free--how fabulous is that?  So, after a brief discussion with my partner-in-projects, Andy and I have committed to find one free or nearly free event to attend every week in 2011.  Festivals, lectures, plays, readings, concerts, whatever.  And we can't use the same one more than once, so going to the Boise Saturday market …

A Few Updates....

*  I did take the weekend off, but I am still battling those darn grain moths.  I shall never again wonder how people could randomly spray bugs without thinking of the consequences.  After a week of battling these bugs, I would cheerfully bomb the daylights out of the entire insect kingdom.

*  It is now October 11, and we usually have our first frost of the year by now, but continuing our bizarre new weather patterns, the weather forecast doesn't show frost for at least the next 15 days.  I am torn between being glad the tomatoes are getting a bit more time and wishing for a hard frost that would kill off the entire garden for the year.

*  The thing I read about Epsom salts curing blossom end rot?  TOTAL urban legend.  We're still getting it because of the uncontrollable wetness/dryness the tomatoes have gone through this year, and the suckers have been covered with Epsom salts solutions.  Hope it's good for the soil.

*  I was happy enough being married to Andy as it is, b…

Year of the Bug

So......I was complaining about the OUTSIDE bugs.  They are nothing compared to having INDOOR bugs.

Our pantry has been invaded by grain moths.  Little black moths that can chew through plastic.  Or maybe it's their little wormy offspring that can do that.  ICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not that cleaning out the pantry once in a while isn't a good idea, but I would have preferred it to be because I had the "spring cleaning bug," not real bugs.

It turns out that bay leaves will repel the little beasts, but they are EVERYWHERE.  Even in empty cardboard boxes and the boxes containing our serving dishes.  I would have thought, being grain moths, that they would really go places that contained grains.  But we have been invested by some free-thinkers, and they have taken up residence anywhere they could.

I never thought I would say this, but maybe the slugs weren't so bad after all..............

Things I Have Learned This Week

*  It's one thing to say that it's really wrong to have to turn on the air-conditioning in October, but that doesn't really matter much when it's 90 degrees and you're dripping with sweat

*  When one arranges to have friends meet one to go to a movie, it's probably best to verify that the schedule--which one has duly checked--doesn't change on the very day that everyone has arranged to meet

*  The only person in the entire room who doesn't find it annoying when an audience member continually interrupts a lecture to throw in useless information is the jerk doing it

* Never underestimate the garden.  Just because our potato tower experiment has been a general failure, and even though I dug all around inside it and only found one potato, three new potato plants may be able to spring up from itty bitty potato molecules just out of sheer spite.

*  After all the bugs, weeks, fungus, and rodents, I might really enjoy seeing the garden get knocked off b…

Fun With Banned Books

American Scholar has a fabulous article about the obscenity trail of Lady Chatterly's Lover:

Trial and Eros

Now I have to go dig out my Kingsley Amis books again.....not to mention my copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover.......!

With Age Comes Wisdom....

Or something of the kind.

I have now been 40 a week and a half.  Statistically speaking, as a better-off American woman, I have lived half my life.  Not  bad--especially considering how many people I have known who didn't even make it this far. I think it also means I've learned about half of what I'm going to learn in my lifetime--which also isn't bad.  It gives me lots more to learn and experience, and it means there is hope for mastering that damn crockpot yet!

Some of the key things I've learned in the first half:

*  Too many adults lose the fun and playfulness in life

*   Consciously or not, I tend to spend more time with people who are open to trying new things, who have few dislikes, and are generally positive than with the people who have long lists of things they won't do or won't try.

*  Never wear shoes that hurt your feet, no matter how cute they are or what a great deal they were

*  If someone talks about how others have "abandoned" t…

Banned Books Week Continued: Banned Books That Kids Have Probably Already Seen As A Movie Anyway

What do the following movies have in common?

1. Clockwork Orange
2. Brokeback Mountain
3. Forrest Gump
4. Gone With The Wind
5. The "Harry Potter" movies
6. The "Lord of the Rings" movies
7. Precious
8. Sophie's Choice
9. The Color Purple
10. The Godfather
11. The Shining
12. There Will Be Blood
13. To Kill A Mockingbird
14. The "Twilight" movies
15. Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

All are based on books that have been challenged or banned. You can read the reasons behind each one here:

American Library Association: Banned Books Week 2010: 15 Iconic Movies Based On Banned Books (PHOTOS)

but my personal favorite is Willy Wonka. It was locked away in 1988 by a librarian who decided that the book espoused poor choices. By 1988 every kid in America had probably seen the Gene Wilder movie on television at least five times, and if being turned into a giant blueberry for breaking the rules isn't tough enough for this librarian, she probably missed h…

In Honor of Banned Books Week - Banned Books That Might Surprise You

Giant peaches, hobbits, dictionaries, Little Red Riding Hood........we should be SO thankful that there are people determined to protect the world from such dangers.........

Banned Books Week: 10 banned books you might not expect - Yahoo! News

Banned Books Week Starts Tomorrow

Banned Books Week--which actually isn't a week-long retreat for the Texas Board of Education, though I can understand any confusion about that--kicks off tomorrow. 

Now, being me, a book getting banned or challenged almost automatically moves it to me "must read" list--especially since so often the book is being challenged by people who have never read the book.  Incredible as that seems, it never seems to phase those who ban books. 

The American Library Association has some great information about banned books, including the following list of most-often banned or challenged classics  (and you can blame the lack of proper punctuation on them, not me--I just cut & pasted):

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Things I've Learned This Week

*  Turning 40 really isn't stressful, since the entire year before when I told people I was 39, they thought I was really 40 and just lying about my age.

*  Some people are takers.  Other people are givers.  And a "giving" grandmother will send you home with 4 boxes of cucumbers from her garden and call a few days later to see if you need more.

*  We are having to prioritize canned tomato items this year as the tomatoes are so late.  Apparently salsa trumps everything, with chunky tomato sauce as a close second.  We think we'll have an easier time finding canned tomatoes without additives than salsa or tomato sauce without additives, because the person who is in charge of grocery shopping and our no-processed-foods diet (namely, me) failed to take helpful notes on such things.......

*  The majority of the birthday cards I receive talked about drinking wine.  Obviously, I am not a "woman of mystery" to my friends.........

*  Apples have a pretty decent shelf…