Monday, April 28, 2008

I Forgot - I Hate Nature

I really do. I mean, I like the idea of nature and I understand the importance of nature for earth's survival and my survival. I even support the efforts to teach others about the importance of nature. But I don't like actual nature, on me, near me, around me.

I used to enjoy it, I loved to walk in the woods as a kid. I remember walking through the wooded part around McCleary with my Grandpa and asking all sorts of questions. I remember finding trails in Omak with my cousins. I even liked it so much I thought I might want to spend my career in nature and with history, doing archaeology. Then I actually did join a crew and I learned about ticks. Ticks are pretty much the reason I hate nature. Ticks and chiggers and any sort of biting bugs. I survived the 4 week assignment in VA with the help of my assigned partner who graciously walked in front of me as we cut our way through the woods with machetes. He claimed he would collect all of the ticks and I would be safe. I guess it worked mostly but I sometimes found them later in my clothes.

In all my excitement about Community Supported Agriculture I forgot that it involved nature. We decided to join the local CSA (for all my history friends this of course does not stand for Confederate States of America, see above). Our orientation was this past Saturday. In fact, this weekend we received 3 invitations which is like a record for us. I was excited to see the farm and meet all of the like-minded people. It was a potluck and we had to bring our own plates, utensils and drinks. This is challenging because, what do you do with the dirty dishes? What do you bring? I had frightening visions of people judging my plastic containers or non-organic food and I became paralyzed with indecision on what to bring. In the end we brought cookies, in a plastic Ziploc bag, because I couldn't take the pressure.

The farm is beautiful, acres of land surrounding a picturesque stone house. I wanted to show you a picture but forgot the camera. On the tour we hiked through the farm and it was dirty and hot and I could feel the creepy crawlies. I was so freaked out I could hardly pay attention. They require a number of work hours to help with the farm and the thought of 7 hours out there made me want to scream. They announced that you could also use your hours serving on the board or teaching cooking classes or writing grants. I have grant writing experience, I can write grants, I totally signed up. Mark said writing a grant would take more than 7 hours but I said 20 hours grant writing is better than 7 hours hard farm labor. Because I Hate Nature, remember?

Well, back home Saturday night and guess what? I found a tick. It's really remarkable there was only one between the two of us and it hadn't started biting. But one is enough.

FYI this is also why I never owned a dog, dogs need to be walked. They prefer Nature.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Stevie Marshmallow!

canyon2, originally uploaded by bethjc.

Yesterday was my Birthday but my older brother was born on the 19th exactly 3 years earlier.

While my birth cramped his style a bit, I always thought he was the coolest. He influenced my style choices and my music choices. He protected and helped me.

We conspired to annoy our mother with running commentary on all television programs and even some church services. He was really good at it and always cracked me up.

In junior high when my favorite band came to town (Duran Duran!!!) I tried to organize a groups of friends to go but it fell through. He made sure I had tickets and got to go with him and his friends. When I found out my "friends" were going, just not with me, my brother and his friends made me feel like I was still a cool chick. And it was an awesome concert.

He was my support when we both moved to Michigan and didn't know anyone. Then when I did have friends and he got his own apartment he even hosted my prom after party which of course gave me points for coolness.

I came to love the Smiths, the Cure, and New Wave because of him and therefore mostly avoided the pop Hell that was the 1980's.

He is very funny and smart and I love him.

Happy Birthday, Yo.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I feel I should do another craft update for y'all but the truth is there is nothing to update. I did FINALLY set up my sewing machine, make a bobbin and thread the needle. It only took me 2 months. I made a fast draw string bag to test it out with my black thread and recycled ivory sheet from my fabric bag. It works and I do remember how to sew. Just don't ask to see the bag.

I have been taking a craft brake to read more and watch the entire first season of "The Riches" on DVD from netflix. Also have been hooked on "The Tudors" and "John Adams". That shouldn't take so much time except for the fact that I am a history nerd so I become engrossed in the real history of England and America and each episode requires large amounts of research mostly on Wikipedia or in the books on our shelves. Reading World Without End also doesn't help because now I have to look up both Medieval and Tudor history. I learned all about the Black Plague today. There's a conversation starter.

Speaking of American history, at work today I had a conversation about George Washington with the visiting second graders from Cecil Elementary. After learning that the Leap Frog can in fact give you the names of ALL the U.S. presidents, one student asked if I knew who the NEXT president will be. I said I didn't because we haven't voted yet but wouldn't it be great if I did know? The students seemed to know because they all began to shout, "I do, OBAMA!!!!" Bless them.

Anyway, because of my current lack of craft mojo I thought I would share with you some of the projects starred on my google reader to perhaps try at a later date. So far there is enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, if only I didn't have to work.

Clothing crafts: update a vintage cardigan Like this one or perhaps a keyhole sweater. This reversible wrap skirt would be great for summer.

Bags: I love bags and I have a whole bunch of patterns to try, Here, or this fast bag or these.

Home Goods: oilcloth placemats, ironing board cover, tin can organizers , laundry soap or green cleaning kit

Or I could just create public space art like this or this

And I am closely following the crafting world boxing match of Indie Craft vs. the Establishment and you can too at Crafting a Green World or Extreme Craft

Tomorrow (or today?) is my Birthday so I may post more later.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Heart Google Reader

OK - I can be stubborn, especially when it comes to things my husband recommends. It's true, and I don't know why, except to say that it helps me to hold on to a sense of individuality. That sounds crazy and stupid as I write it but I guess it is what it is. This is why, even though he has used Google Reader since it was first launched, I have only just begun. Now I wonder why I waited so long, because, seriously, this is like the coolest thing ever! I love it so much I feel like I am now part of a weird cult, focused on converting the world. But I promise not to go live in a cave like these people or visit a Scientology Celebrity Center. I did, however, make my parents sign up for it when they visited recently if only so I can stop emailing them updates to this blog. Hi Mom and Dad!

By the way, Mark is a total tech whiz and if you have any kind of question about what you can do online he is the guy to ask. This is weird since he used to hate computers but I guess we all can change. I have a game I play to try and find something before he knows about it but it hasn't happened yet!

Why do I love the google reader? It makes my life soo much easier and if I had friends I could dazzle them with my current events knowledge. Basically, instead of having to go to each blog or news site I like every day to see if they have anything new, all of that information comes to me, in one place and I can scan down to see whats new. I like blogs (as you can tell) and I even know several people personally who have a blog in addition to the many blogs of strangers that I read. Some update daily, some once a week and some once a month but now I can see it as soon as its posted! I also subscribe to several mainstream and not so mainstream media sites like Slate, New York Times and of course, People Magazine. All together I have 44 subscription in 5 self-made categories (cooking, crafts, news, people, museum stuff) and I read about 200 headlines a day. I only read about half of those actual posts and even then often skim the contents but this way I know I am not missing anything. I can star my favorite posts for reference later, email them or share them on my blog, which you can see on the lower left side. The cooking sites are great for saving recipes and making grocery lists. I only share recipes we have tried and love in case you are interested (The Dublin Coddle was awesome and the Coconut, Corn and Black Bean soup is so good we've made it several times including tonight!).

I used to have a podcast obsession but my computer is slow and itunes always has to update software so every time I wanted to load up my ipod it took a gazillion hours and was impossible to use my computer for anything else. I still like pod casts but don't update weekly like I used to. They were great for the commute. If you are still not convince, check out this video RSS in plain english

Also new is my Wishpot widget which is really just fun for me to look at, I know you don't care about what stuff I want. Wishpot is an online registry but you can pull from any store on the web! I love my Amazon wish list but this is better. Mostly I save things I will eventually buy so I know where to find them again.