Secret Carrots

These aren’t really secret carrots. I knew I planted them. I just didn’t realize they were thriving out there in the jungle. I was doing some half-hearted clean-up out there and kept finding carrots. There are a lot more surprises out there. Photos to come.

I had a big tragedy last week: my cooking scale batteries died. The scale doesn’t tell you the batteries are dying until you are ready to start weighing something and they are already dead. The batteries it uses are the round ones that look like coins, the only batteries we don’t keep spares of around the house.

I’m not sure what happened but we have about 80 AA batteries in this house. Someone bought a gigantor-pak but also maybe told someone else we were out of AA batteries and so that person also bought a gigantor-pak. If the world ends tomorrow, we will at least be able to use our AA stuff for awhile.

I don’t know how to bake without my scale anymore. I use Kenji’s easy pie crust recipe (it’s not easy for me {mine never looks anything like that photo} but I am consistently successful with it) and now that I have looked at the link, I see alternate measures. I have the recipe printed out (because I’m olde timey that way) so I only have the weights. However, I still have the original vodka pie crust recipe from Cook’s Illustrated so I used that with no problems. I skipped bread baking last week.

The batteries have been replaced. It’s cold and dark and rainy so I baked my heart out this weekend. We’re having stew and bread for dinner with pie for dessert.

Tomorrow is our last regular soccer match of the season and there is a lot on the line. We have our plastic clothes ready and fingers-crossed we see ass-kicking Timbers and not did-anyone-see-my-ass Timbers.

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Insert Joke About Bush Removal Here

I very carefully cropped and uploaded these pictures and then went about my business, completely forgetting that I was going to write something and post them. And then I had to run out the door to the soccer match.

Now I’m home and I’m beat and I need to bathe and get organized for the work week.

We had our annual hedge whacking this past weekend.

I had this weird bush from the front torn out. I’m going to plant something pretty TBD.

This is the landscaper, Vu, digging out the stump. You know who has the best gossip about the neighborhood? Vu. He works for people all up and down our street.

Plus they had to get on a ladder for the hedges so he could see what was going on in the yard next door.

I went to my folks last weekend and enjoyed some fresh mountain air. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day we went to Ashland and saw, Off the Rails which is a play about Indian residential schools in the Old West with a mostly Native cast and written by a Native playwright. It was very good and intense to see in a room full of Natives.

That’s the scoop for now.

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Keeping Up with the Neighbors

I call this one: Giant Slug with Favorite Shoes and Socks

I feel like I spend half of one weekend day sitting here dealing with random details. I’ve been here all morning trying to get started on writing but then finding something that I need to take care of while I have a chance.

Here’s the latest on the rental house next door: The house seems abandoned Sunday-Wednesday with no cars parked or activity of any kind. Thursday-Saturday is the opposite with numerous cars parked there and coming and going and only a couple of regulars.

A few weeks ago they had a big loud party on a Friday night that lasted until who knows when? The last time I woke up was 1:30a. I thought about going over there except I would have had to find pants and shoes and glasses and it was easier to stay home and complain about it later. The next week we phoned the leasing agent to let her know that there was a lot of activity over there and we weren’t even sure who lived there.

She was surprised since she rented the house to a single woman who said she traveled a lot on business. Leasing agent supposedly phoned to let them know the neighbors expressed concern and there have been no other major get togethers since. Coincidentally the weather cooled at the same time so it’s not as likely to have a big loud group in the backyard. So, at this point, the noise hasn’t been a problem but there are still a lot of different cars parked overnight.

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The Mystery of the Missing Cats

I thought I wrote about when our next door neighbors’ cat disappeared during the summer but I guess not. Noah vanished. They even put out fliers. 

At the time, the rental next door was empty and there was someone over there cleaning and had a couple of kids there. I was convinced the cat must have gotten stuck in the house or maybe, since he’s such a sweetie, the kids took him.

Guess who we found in our basement days after this all started?

I felt terrible. When I water, the garage and back doors are open and the cats have gone into our garage before—and always run away when I come back in.  I actually checked when the cat was lost but the basement door is usually shut and it never occurred to me to take a look downstairs.

In our defense, the cat was hiding. Bob just saw him for a second before it ran away to hide. Of course all this happened at 6am. I told Bob it was too early to call but he texted and the neighbor was at work and woke up his wife, who came over immediately and coaxed him out. 

They were convinced that he wasn’t at our house the entire time. He escaped one bad situation and ran in our garage door in a panic an ended up freaked out in the basement.

And this is probably exactly what happened because last night Bob was visiting with a different neighbor whose cat disappeared at the same time. She was worried and walking back and forth on our street and …

she spotted her cat in the window of the rental. Remember? Empty.

The cat started jumping around when it saw her. She walked around the house until she found the cat door and stuck her hand through and ZOOM! her cat came out. 

Poor Noah must have gotten stuck over there as well. 

Not so luckily, people live there now. Update to come.

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When Did the Clothes Get So Complicated?

The elastic in my exercise top is about 90% dead so I was in the market for a new one. Why do all the tops have such a goofy strap configuration? And trust me, these aren’t even the goofiest ones.

These are from at least 4 different online stores and each store has zillions of examples. I could post these all afternoon.

I have had two tops with much simplified versions of the goofy straps and I hated them. After you wash them you have to spend 15 minutes unraveling the straps. Or if traffic is messed up and you get to class 2 minutes before it starts and you’re rushing to change clothes — those straps are going to be all tangled together and inside out.

I went to a generic department store thinking: I don’t need to have something cute. Just a plain old exercise top will be fine. I couldn’t even find one of those. It was all cropped things. I’m not going to exercise with my gut hanging out — even in the privacy of my own home. I’m sticking with the old for now until I have time to do more research.

In other news I made a huge miscalculation. I’ve been dealing with bedding. I bought a new comforter since the old one is all flimsy with the feathers bunched in the corners. Since the weather cooled off I decided to swap the sheets out. I dug the flannel duvet out and last spring I bought new fleece sheets on sale. I washed and fluffed and had everything airing out on the couch to put on the bed today.

Except the weather is supposed to get into the 80s this week and I don’t want to crawl into my fleece bed with a flannel-covered down comforter after an 80 degree day. I had to do some creative folding and cramming to get it all put away for another week or two. That new comforter is fluffy.

Pen name’s book is finally available in paperback. You can get it at giant online retailer here. Or from Createspace (Technically, still giant online retailer) here. If you buy books from other sources you should be able to order the paperback version using pen name and title.

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That Time I Complained About Computers

Remember when we used to buy software in giant boxes filled with disks? And the books were always huge — like it was a rule you couldn’t print a book about a computer program unless it was 1200 pages.

I was planned to do an update yesterday and complain about some different people who are doing it wrong but I ran out of time and energy and now I have to complain about a brand new aggravation.

Wasn’t I just talking about how I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to pay for something and How was this easier than writing a check? I don’t think I ever got around to typing it out.

In our latest version, I just got my property tax bill and instead of doing my regular thing where I keep putting off paying it and then panicking, thinking I forgot to pay it, I thought I would pay right this minute.

I changed banks and I’m trying to get with modern life and transition away from writing checks. My tax bill said they have a partnership with a web company and I can pay for free. I signed in, put in my property bill info and received an error message that my account/name/something don’t match and I can’t go forward.

Rather than flog myself trying to fix it, I looked at the bill to check my alternatives. I can log into the government tax website and pay either a $1 for an echeck for a percentage of the bill as a debit. I don’t know what the difference is but I thought I could figure it out once I got the process started.

I got an error message that the page isn’t working and try again later.

The whole point is to do it now and not worry about doing it later. So I went and dug out my brand new checks from new bank that I have never used. On the top of the checkbook it says: before you use, verify that the information on the checks is correct. So I log into the website to double check my account number and the routing number.

They are in the process of updating their system so I could not find my routing number. The FAQ explained how to check like you would with the old interface that they don’t have anymore or I could just look at my checks.

Picture me giving the computer a withering look.

In the end I used my taxes to verify the routing number.

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Tomato Universe

The tomato situation finally grew out of control. I took everything off the windowsill and picked out all the ones that were getting squishy or had a spot or looked the ripest and I made them into soup.

I use Deborah Madison’s recipe: start with a few tablespoons of butter, handful of chopped shallots. While that cooks, quarter a bunch of tomatoes. Throw tomatoes into the pot and leave on stove for a few hours, stirring every so often. Strain and reheat. Season to taste. Add a glug of cream or whole milk if you want.

I ate a bowl, sent a bowl to my mother-in-law, saved a bowl for later, and froze a bowl for a cold terrible day in January when I will wish to remember summer. My husband isn’t a fan of tomato soup, if you’re wondering why none of this soup is for him.

It’s supposed to rain all week so I’m guessing I’m not going to get much else out of my plants. This morning I picked everything with a hint of color in it and stuck it on the windowsill. I’m leaving the plants in the ground. I can get a few more if the weather gets nice again.

I found my raincoat and put it out so I don’t have to look for it when I leave for work tomorrow. I pulled out a bunch of socks since I’ll be wearing closed toe shoes again. I didn’t flip the closet yet but I pulled out some of the stuff. I washed my long underwear since it didn’t smell delightful when I pulled it out of the storage container.

Bob’s back in school. Summer is over.

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There’s Never Enough Time Off

Remember when my sister moved from San Francisco to Utah and I followed behind in her car?

My mini-break has come to an end. It was mostly nice but as it always is with time off, there’s never enough and it goes by too fast. I feel like I barely made a dent in the things I wanted to do.

I finally got to see both Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy #2 — I loved both. I expected to like them and I enjoyed way more than I expected. I saw them at the mall and I did some back to school type shopping. The trailer for the last Planet of the Apes movie was terrifying. Those movies are really good but hard to watch and confuse my loyalties. Geostorm looks ridiculous, like a whole bunch of terrible ideas were put in a blender and then Gerard Butler says: yeah, I’ll do it. There was a crazy pants Halo Top ice cream commercial that did not make me want to buy their product. I can’t find a link I’m willing to put up for that one.

Bob and I bought some plants for the backyard and dug. We did not heed the warning of the lady at the nursery and turns out she was right: the ground is hard as a rock at the end of the summer. We aborted our attempt to make new planting areas and moved some other plants so we could put them in the existed beds.

We lasted for about 45 minutes of cleaning the garage and made a half-hearted pile of trash and gave up. I’m sure we’ll be more in the mood another day. (No we won’t. Cleaning the garage is terrible.)

Another thing we did was gather up some cans of change (meaning coins) and take them to the credit union and trade it in for $$$ and then we went to the new Ilani casino that opened up north of here. It’s very pretty and if you like casinos, you will approve. I don’t hate casinos but once I had taken a lap of the building, I’d had enough.

My body was nice enough to wake me up between 5am and 6am every morning I had off except for the morning it let me sleep until 6:30am. How much you want to bet that does not happen tomorrow?

I’m not quite ready to write words yet but the outline is coming into shape.

Resetting: Book #3

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Hair and Other Concerns

If in all my endless methods of flogging and self-promotion, if you didn’t hear, Book #2 of Crooked Rock is out in the world. All the details and links are here.

Today I’m going to write about a somewhat recent re-watch of the movie: Bull Durham. It came out in 1988 and starred Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, if you’re scratching your head and trying to remember.

This movie did not hold up as well as I expected. I thought Sarandon was kinda shrill and didn’t think they had as much chemistry as they were trying to sell us on. Tim Robbins was good. I had other thoughts, too, and I remember taking notes. Except the only note I can find says “hair on chest.”

There’s a locker room scene and I was struck by all the chest hair. Remember the days when it was totally okay to grow hair below the neck? I am not onboard for all this depilatorization. Is that a word? Well it should be. If impactful gets to be a word than depilatorization can be a word, too.

So, back when I watched the movie I researched when this idea that men had to have hairless chests started and the google blamed it on Marky Mark when he was doing those Calvin Klien ads. Then I found articles where men complained about what a pain it was to do all this hair removal.

Tell me about it.

I think the moment has passed because I’ve seen men with chest hair again — on Supernatural and probably something else I can’t remember right now.

In other news, Comcast made us upgrade all our gear which was a large pain in the ass that Bob bore the brunt of. (Thank you, dear!) But while we’re still tweaking everything, something is wrong so it kicks me off the wireless once every 24 hours so I have to enter passwords on everything I own and/or use, every day. I’m tired of passwords. And PIN numbers. And secret words. And special questions. I don’t really want anyone to scan my retina but it that will save me all this other crapola, I will reluctantly sign up.

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Still Doing It Wrong

This is Roxy. She lives in Marysville and her dad is the one that gave me my epic tomato plants.

Here’s a not great photo of the latest harvest. More about my tomatoes in the days to come.

Not long ago I was here complaining about everyone doing it wrong. I have been yanking my hair out dealing with banks and technology. I don’t see how this is easier than writing a check and putting it in an envelope.

We had one more hour long phone call to get Bob added to my bank account. Then they Fedexed a debit card which I stole and hid because he’s not going to use it. Then I finally linked the savings for overdraft which was the point of this whole stupid thing.

Meanwhile, I tried ride-sharing. I have ride-shared when other people paid but this was the first time I paid and I was not impressed since they charged me double what they charge ticket partner after a Timbers match. I complained and they explained I had to pay a premium rate. Which again, ticket partner has never been charged a premium rate. So I asked them to close my account.

*Then* they credited me the premium charge. I still closed the account and then got a fraud alert on my credit card, which is through Bob’s pile of money. The alert went to him. I didn’t know and I got an alarm from my cellphone carrier that I hadn’t paid.

ARGH.

I spent an hour of my Saturday morning unraveling that mess.

The next door neighbor issue is that somehow, even with a tight housing market, we lucked out and now the everybody-crash-here house is next door. I’ve counted at least 10 different vehicles parked over there in 3 weeks. They are mostly silent except from 9pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday nights. If we keep the windows closed it’s okay. But it’s the tiny wedge in the calendar when we can enjoy open windows. So far no one has been especially friendly with some pointed eye contact avoidance. I’m still hoping we can get to know them and maybe it will be okay.

I’m not even going to start on the legal book sellers. I was able to do my business with a phone call which would have been helpful to know before I was in the endless looping chaos of their websites.

I have a VERY IMPORTANT soccer match starting in 1 minute so I have to run.

My Urban Indian Romance Book #1 is on a free promotion right now. If you or someone you know might like this info, links are here.

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