Monthly Archives: July 2006

June and July 2006 books

31. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
32. Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
33. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
34. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
35. Having Faith: an Ecologists Journy Towards Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber\
36. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
37. Goodbye Chunky Rice by CraigThompson
38. The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith
39. The New Moon with the Old by Dodie Smith
40. A Tale of Two Families by Dodie Smith
41. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers
42. Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers
43. Unatural Death by Dorothy Sayers

I didn’t seperate these two months in my paper book journal.  I did a Lot of reading after the breakup at the end of may – some heavy books that are still in progress, actually, but a lot of other books to just keep me company at night.

I also went on a Dodie Smith binge because I enjoyed “I Capture the Castle” so very much, and at the end of July I got around to starting the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers. Luckily my very wonderful library was able to interlibrary loan me everything I wanted to read!

CSA week 6

this week, thankfully, was not that big:

I got kale, corn, basil, oregano, tomatoes, thai eggplant, purple eggplant, cubanelle peppers, beans.

week 4: lettuce, oregano, radishes
week 5: corn, cubanelle peppers, hot peppers, purple eggplant, chard, green pepper, and pea pods

I cooked up all the potatoes and watercress into this amazing watercress and potato bubble and squeak which I ate with poached eggs. it was SO TASTY. like gourmet hash browns. Yum.


I also chopped a lot of the veggies (cucumber, peppers, radish) and brought them with me to work and then to rachel’s house, where I left them (sadly) in her fridge.

I stuck the rest of the beans I’d boiled into the freezer, and I blanched some of corn and will cut it off the cob and freeze as well. and the beets, well, I boiled them and have eaten maybe 1/2. there are still some left, but I took them off the list of leftovers.
I used up all of the thai eggplant and one of the hot peppers and this weeks basil by making roasted eggplant with basil lemon oil. and I’ve got a cut tomato to eat for lunch. I’m so excited that they’ve started to come in! I love tomatoes. SO GOOD.

tractor-trailer truck tire vs. insight.

last tuesday I unforetunately ran over a tractor trailer truck tire cast off. or as I said to the insurance company: I struck a piece of road debris. It flew out from under the guy ahead of me and I went right over it (bump BUMP) and then I had that awful moment of fear where you check your mirrors to make sure nothing has fallen off of your car. luckily not. BUT I have a lot of body damage, so I am getting “body work.” snerk. I dropped off my wee, wonderful, sweet little insight today so they could do the following:

  • refinish bumper
  • reattach bumper (all the brackets are broken, or something
  • replace the rubber spoilers that are in front of and behind the passenger side front wheel
  • replace the aluminum shields on the undercarrage (upon hearing which my brother suggested I request the shields back b/c “aluminum is going for $0.65 a pound these days!”)
  • replace the cross member that is below the radiator
  • remove and check the a/c compressor because it was disloged by the “road debris”
  • align the hood
  • fiddle with the headlights, and
  • align the tires.

Man! I will have my car back on monday (one hopes) and until then I’m driving a chevy cobalt sedan. Automatic transmission. it is No Good. ok, I’m exaggerating. it’s an economy car according to the rental place, but shoot, it looks like a little tank!

also, driving this car around has made me realize why American’s don’t drive small cars: if you want to drive an automatic, you basically HAVE to drove an overpowered beast of a vehicle. it’s too hokey to drive a small automatic transmissioned car. you don’t get any pick-up. it’s annoying!

and on top of all of that I feel totally out of control b/c I don’t have any of my cool mpg displays, and also, I feel so out of place in the cobalt. like, I want to tell people “hey! it’s not mine! it’s a rental! I have a Really Cool car!” I would like to say that I don’t identify with my car, but I always have. I loved having the banged up civic because it was so punk rock. and I love driving my wee insight because it’s an unusual car. and now I’m in a cobalt sedan. Ick.


sat. night michelle, delia, and I went to a show. we saw peaches and the eagles of heavy metal and it was so rock’n’roll awesome. dan aaron would have LOVED it, I’ve never seen so many people outside of my family throwin’ horns! \m/

peaches was especially wild. people were asking me how to describe her and I didn’t know what to say, exactly, so I said “she’s, well, she does punk feminist electronica, sort of. with a lot of gender bending. and her lyrics are pretty confrontational.” the thing is, I expected a le tigre kind of show – a lot of girls, but not many guys at all. there were a LOT of y chromosomes at this show. we were surrounded by guys who Really Really got down. lots of dancing and singing and fist pumping and whooting. it was nuts, and fun, and weird, all at the same time.

the ONLY bad thing about the show is that it meant I wasn’t able to eat dinner at the surprise birthday party for Ron. it was so fun to see him (and Caroline, natch) even for a short period of time, and I wish we could have spent more time hanging out. I wasn’t able to attend their game party either, so I think all of this means I’ll just have to play rude and invite myself over to their house sometime for some Q.T.

last weekend, exclamation point edition.

we went to an amusement park!


and went on rides!


and played superhero!


and got so tired we fell asleep in the car!


and then there was a birthday party!


with the famous apple stack cake! faithfull prepared by moi from gramma’s recepes in the wee hours of the morning!

for these guys!


and then I totally passed out! sitting up!

CSA Week 5


corn, beets, cubanelle peppers, hot peppers, kermit/thai eggplant, purple eggplant, chard, basil (from the take what you want bin), a cucumber, green pepper, and pea pods (I think).

week 2: potatoes

week 3: potatoes

week 4: potatoes, green peppers, lettuce, oregano, radishes, watercress

tonight I need to do things to potatoes, watercress, and also use up the avocados I bought earlier in the week. maybe this watercress quac, though I think the watercress avocado salad looks good too. oh, and look: watercress bubble and squeak! that uses watercress AND potato. perfect!

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paradigm smasher

is there such a thing as a pragmatic idealist?

probably in the same world that allows an anticonsumerist to become a mary kay lady.

–> oh, right. that’s MY world. ahem.

CSA week 4


mustard greens, wax beans, cubanelle peppers, potatos, green peppers, napa cabbage, lettuce, oregano, basil, radishes, watercress, and CORN!

I tucked right into the corn:

What, you don’t eat your sweet corn raw? you are totally missing out.

last night I finished off my old lettuce, chopped old radishes, and sauteed all the cubanelle peppers and kernals from 2 ears of corn (ate for lunch today). I also had to toss the old sage b/c it was getting all dried out. sad, my first toss. I found out when I was picking up the share that the thing I thought was chard from week 3 was actually BOK CHOY, which I LOVE (esp, when sauteed with butter, nutritional yeast, and tofu [which I’ll be buying and freezing over the weekend as prep]), so that was a nice surprise.

Tonight I am going to finish off the corn before it turns to starch. (there’s a corn-purists school of thought that says the only way to eat fresh corn is to put a pot of water on to boil, go out to pick an ear of corn, and then RUN BACK to the house while shucking it to launch it into the pot and avoid any starching of sugars. I am not a corn-purist, but I do try to eat it as fast as possible.) I also want to do something with the watercress from wk 3 – it’s so good tasting, I really do want to eat it up before the weekend. Maybe a big watercress salad? according to this webpage, watercress is the healthy superfood. awesome! in light of my love of cheese, I will make this cheesy watercress pate and also b/c I have almost all the ingredients already for this watercress and pear soup I’ll make that too. Plus Farmer Joy posted a recepie for braised napa cabbage with shitake mushrooms that sounds so good, that’s on my list to make early next week.

week 2: potatoes, radishes
week 3: watercress, potatoes, kale, bok choy, beans, beets

What with the holiday, it was all I could do to just get through last weeks lettuce – I actually ate half of it last night and the other half today. the basil and parsley made the most divine pesto ever (though I should have added more oil, and I didn’t have parm cheese so I used nutritional yeast instead, which WAS yum!).

Now that I’m thinking about it, I should use the potatoes to make either spicy horseradaish mashed potatoes, or roast them with garlic and oregano, or both. I found a good recepie for mustard greens but I left it at home and all I remember is that it includes mustard seeds, so I’ll pick some of those up as well. whoo! I’d better get to the store and then home to cook! I was going to do yoga, but with all these big plans, shoot, all bets are off.

csa week 3

Because of the 4th of July, I picked up my share on friday last week. That kind of puts the pressure on my as far as eating up this weeks veggies!

pictured are 2 bags of watercress, potatoes, kale, chard bok choy, lettuce, beans, beets, and basil and parsley – just enough for a nice pesto. I don’t usually make pesto with parsley but I’ve been told that’s how you’re supposed to do it. I have a nice sack of pine nuts at home so I’ll do that tonight.


week 1: some radishes
week 2: potatoes, radishes, sage

I used the week 1 and week 2 cabbage to make 2 cabbage salads: with the week 1 dill I made a dill vinegrette for a coworkers bbq weekend before last, and that same weekend I used the rest of the cabbage and the cilantro to make a lime cilantro vinegrette. they were both awfully good. sadly, though, a head of cabbage is too much for one person to eat. happiily, I got to share the salads with my coworkers and with my family.

I used the week 2 swiss chard and beet greens to make a chard gratin:


notice the ritz cracker topping? super. I love cracker toppings.

and I had used up all the beets on my amazing beet salad.
I just finished all of week 2 lettuce today. So unless I eat a whole head of lettuce tomorrow, I’ll be behind on lettuce again for next week. oh well. that’s the way that the csa goes sometimes!

an inconvenient truth

last night I went to An Inconvenient Truth with Kathleen, and boy, I really enjoyed and appreciated the movie. It was so well put, so clear, and the science was So Tight. With my environmental engineering background, and my green design/sustainability masters degree, well, I wasn’t sure what to expect. but it was totally riveting, and for the most part I thought he hammered the message just right. Sure, I’m already a believer – but I’ve always thought that hey, carbon was a big issue that could be tackled from the ground as a part of other environmental issues. it wasn’t such a big deal. This morning after I got home I went out and right away bought clean electricity, a carbon offset for my car, renewed my ecological roadside assistance membership, and looked up how to offset any airline travel in my future.

I think the biggest thing that stuck with me was his debunking of the poverty vs. environment “battle.” it’s been a huge issue, more so than the environment vs. the economy (which is a moot point b/c of green design and sustainability best practices that make environmentally efficient growth possible and affordale) — how can you tell people not to use DDT because they’ll get cancer when they grow up when the harsh reality is that if they DON’T use DDT they will probably die of malaria before they reach adulthood? I think Al did a really good job of seperating global warming from environmental issues – it’s not an environmental issue, but is an all encompassing issue.

In the movie, Al Gore (heart!) very clearly makes the point that many african cities were built above the mosquito line, and that as temperatures have gone up in the last decade or so, the incidences of malaria (and other diseases) have rapidly increased. On top of that, the mosquitoes and other disease carrying insects/animals/fungus have been moving much faster and with a larger range thanks to global warming. So the age old poverty vs. environment issue? really is broken down to a global warming issue. there you go. The clarity of the message reminds me of my Eureaka! moment when Wangari Mathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some of my other thoughts from the movie:

  • gosh, I love al gore. How can I get a job working with THAT guy? Hey, Al! I’m from tennessee too! And I love science!
  • I really should be DOING more about this! I have the training! I understand the science, and the larger interrelated ecological and policy issues! I need to look into scientific journalism, esp. after his point about the number of scientists who disagree with global warming (none in peer reviewed journals) vs. the number of popular media who disagree with global warming (53% — not peer reviewed, and potentially just some guy and his opinion).
  • most amazing point, that I wish he’d spent more time on: how standard economies and off-set purchases can reduce incredibly the amount of CO2, down to 1970 emission levels. that is HUGE! I can’t find this graph online but for it alone I think I’ll buy the associated book.
  • I am so glad he didn’t spend a lot of time on carbon sequestration. I really don’t think it’s a final solution for global warming – the repercussions haven’t been explored, and I am not sure that it will really FIX the CO2. Most of all, though, I feel strongly that it is a solution that will allow American and other rapidly developing nations like India and China to continue to move full strength ahead and damn the horses. There needs to be a cultural shift to new (existing!) technologies and more efficiencies, and I worry that carbon sequestration will be seen as a magic bullet to avoid any related (and probably slight) inconvenience. We’ve always been a big fan of the magic bullet approach – for example, our wholesale push to a hydrogen economy when there are plenty of actually feasible fuels out there that can be used to replace gasoline.
  • I wish he had spent a couple of sentences on the (um) “snowballing” effect of tundra thawing (releases a lot of trapped CO2 into the atmosphere) and coral reef bleaching (reefs are the ocean’s lungs, and fix a lot of CO2).
  • I also would have appreciated a more thorough statement on us car manufacturers – he said that they claim they just can’t produce vehicles that are as efficient as european (or canadian) models, but us mfgs ARE producing cars for sale in canada and europe. GM = Opel, for one. they CAN do it, they just don’t want to in america because they don’t have to. it burns my britches!
  • ethanol got a shout-out but not biodiesel! sad!
  • oh, and GOD. what a huge catastrophe is coming if the oceans rise 20 ft and 100 Million people are displaced on top of the loss of arable land and fresh water supplies diminishing. yikes.
  • the Katrina footage made my heart sink. how could we do that? how could we allow that to happen?

Seriously, y’all, go see the movie. As I said to a friend – it’s not just two thumbs up, but if I had opposable big toes I’d put them up too. it’s whiz bang great. And the science is TIGHT!

worm bin!

a detailed pictoral of my worm bin setup!

this is my new can-o-worms:


when it’s all put together, it’s this big:


but I don’t think it’ll get that big for a while. The can-o-worms is a vertical composting system with 3 trays that the wormies can climb through as they move up to more fruitful digs. then you can just empty the bottom tray of finished castings and put it back into the system. so for now, my worm trays are stored above my kitchen cupboards:


on friday night I got down to business: first, I reused part of the packaging in the bottom of the bin to keep the coir bedding from falling through to the lower tray:

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