Sunday, May 31, 2009

103 Things About Me

I compiled this list in response to a Face Book "tag." Since many of you don't use Face Book, and I found it an interesting exercise in an introspective, egocentric way, I thought I'd post it here, too.

1. I love making things -- working with my hands and my mind at the same time.
2. I wish I had recognized earlier in my life how much I am intrigued by textiles.
3. I can’t walk past bolts of fabric without touching them.
4. I have been quilting for a year and a half and still am not very good at it – I learn something with every quilt.
5. I think being a dilettante is a good thing. It puzzles me that the word has a negative connotation.
6. I can be one of the best cooks I know, but I still have many flops and eat junk.
7. I am seriously trying to eat as a locavore.
8. I could never be a vegetarian.
9. Artichokes, asparagus, and avocados are my favorite foods.
10. I like red wine and martinis (but not together).
11. I drink quite moderately but always feel slightly guilty about it.
12. I wish I liked oatmeal better – my mother always called it mush and I think that kind of spoiled it for me.
13. When I have pets, I wish I didn’t – when I don’t have them, I wish I did.
14. I always say I could live alone, but as soon as that happens, someone else moves in.
15. I love my life.
16. I think women need girl friends and I feel sorry for those who have none.
17. I miss the California light and the Pacific ocean.
18. Missouri weather fascinates me.
19. I would love to see a tornado – but still take shelter whenever the sirens sound.
20. I hate fussing with my hair and putting on makeup.
21. I would be happy to wear the same clothes nearly every day.
22. I love catalog shopping and when the stuff arrives, I feel like it is a gift.
23. I am a reluctant geek. I worked in the industry for 25 years and feel obliged to keep up with it.
24. I love travel. When I get home from a trip, if I don’t immediately start planning my next one, I get depressed.
25. I love written language. I like semi-colons; I’m sorry they’re not popular now.
26. John Updike is my all-time favorite writer – mostly for his vocabulary and the way he uses language rather than the story-line itself.
27. I’m also fascinated by Paul and Jane Bowles and the “February House” crowd. PB’s Sheltering Sky is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read.
28. I love John Irving’s novels, too.
29. I have no tolerance for boredom or indecision.
30. I am impulsive.
31. Family is very important to me.
32. I am an intellectual snob.
33. My most-hated household chore is folding socks.
34. I never fold my underwear – I just toss it in the drawer.
35. I skipped third grade.
36. I graduated from college 20 years after I graduated from high school.
37. I went to college at night while working and raising a family.
38. I have a degree in Art History (with honors).
39. I have an MBA. (It took two years, while working and raising a family.)
40. I have a math phobia, although I’m very good at basic arithmetic.
41. I was an editor for a small literary publication.
42. Most of my career was spent in accounting and finance for large corporations.
43. I spent five years as a technical writer.
44. Paris is my favorite city
45. I have visited 25 different countries.
46. I have been to every state except South Carolina.
47. My first job was with Bank of America.
48. I always have a messy desk.
49. I like to move. I would still like to live in New York – either Manhattan if I win millions, or in the Finger Lakes region, possibly Canandaigua.
50. I would also like to live on the hillside near La Jolla where I could watch the sun set on the Pacific, but not have sand drug into my house.
51. When I travel, I plan my trip around monuments, museums, cathedrals, etc., but my favorite memories are of people and the landscape.
52. The most memorable place I have visited is Les Eyzies in the Dordogne region of France where I saw 20,000 year old cave art.
53. My most exotic trip was a Kenyan safari. Most memorable aspects of that trip were the birds, the people, the landscape and a pre-historic site on the escarpment of the Rift Valley. You can see the animals in many zoos.
54. I believe Yosemite is the most beautiful spot on the planet.
55. I love to laugh till it hurts and I can’t breathe.
56. I have a blessed capacity for joy, yet I grieve a part of each day.
57. The body’s ability to heal itself astounds me.
58. I have more awe than faith.
59. I hate gambling and casinos depress me. (I don’t know how I’m going to win the money to live in NYC.)
60. I am a morning person.
61. I don’t like cruises (too many people and limited space).
62. I took a 13,000 mile, 2-1/2 month road trip, mostly alone, although various grandkids joined me for pieces of the trip.
63. I don’t like to listen to the radio in the car except occasionally PBS.
64. Classical music is my favorite, especially opera and Gregorian Chants. I also like 50’s music, Broadway musicals, and Eastern European Women’s Choruses.
65. I wish I played an instrument well or had a great singing voice.
66. I love the theatre and movies, but hate TV.
67. I love to drive.
68. Princess Diana fascinated me.
69. So does Oprah, although I’m getting a bit bored with her.
70. Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson are my favorite sexy men, although they are getting awfully old.
71. I like being single and don’t think I could ever be in a relationship because I hate to compromise.
72. I would like to meet Barbara Kingsolver.
73. I cried just a little when Susan Boyle took second place.
74. I work the puzzles in the paper every morning and barely skim over the rest of the paper; I get most of my news online.
75. Liver and cottage cheese are my most-hated foods.
76. I love to cook for an audience. Feeding the immediate family gets boring,
77. I pick my cuticles, can’t leave them alone.
78. My heart breaks when people are mean to their kids.
79. Christmas still excites me; I leave an artificial tree up year round (downstairs).
80. I have been in hot air balloons over the Napa Valley in California and the Masai Mara in Kenya.
81. Snakes terrify me. I’m sure if a snake bit me, it would be fatal – wouldn’t even have to be a poisonous snake.
82. I have cruised the Nile: seen Abu Simba, Luxor, and the pyramids. Nile Cruises are on small boats and you can always see the shore.
83. I would like to see Antarctica, Iquazu Falls, the Galapagos, Easter Island, and the Amazon Basin.
84. Hawaii doesn’t do it for me.
85. I am legally blind in my left eye.
86. I would attend any “big deal” sporting event, even though I’m not a sports fan. I’ve been to a World Series game, Summer Olympics, seen the Yankees play in Yankee Stadium, seen Willie Mays hit a grand slam home run (don’t ask, “Who’s Willie Mays?”!), been to a bull fight and would gladly go to the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl, or whatever.
87. I appreciate excellence in anything, even when it’s something I know little about, or outside my usual areas of interest.
88. I like many needle crafts: knitting, embroidery, crewel, needlepoint, regular sewing, and quilting by either hand or machine.
89. I love color; my favorite changes daily.
90. I have tattooed eyebrows.
91. I love to watch people sleep.
92. I would have a very difficult time telling a dear friend a hurtful truth.
93. I tend to be a Pollyanna – I always look for the bright side, even when it’s not appropriate.
94. My children, Kevin and Colleen, are twins and were conceived in Yosemite National Park.
95. I owned (shared with my brother) a horse (named Nellie-Belle) as a teen-ager.
96. My first car was a ’46 Ford.
97. My favorite car was a blue and white ’57 Ford.
98. I love to drive fast and would love to drive on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
99. I have ridden a camel.
100. I never balance my bank accounts – I just look them over for weird stuff.
101. I don’t see how anyone can eat raw oysters.
102. I love maps and am sad that GPS and MapQuest are making them obsolete.
103. Fireflies (or do you call them lightning bugs?) are my favorite insect and I can’t wait for them to come out each year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Meet the Guv! (He's the One on the Far Right [but not politically])

Ben and Logan met Missouri's governor, Democat Jay Nixon, today at the Springfield Veteran's Cemetery. We all attended a Memorial Day ceremony arranged by Grandpa Steve who is the director of the cemetery.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Accounting for Taste

I love this chutney/salsa on chips, crackers, bread, rice, as a salad dressing, on pork, chicken, or fish:
1 avocado - diced
1 piece fruit - diced (I have used mango, orange or peach)
1 small or 1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and diced very fine
1 bunch cilantro chopped fine
2 cloves minced garlic
2 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced

Toss together and enjoy!

I made it tonight and served it to the kids and Logan's friend from next door. The friend took one look at it and said, "Oh, boy, those are all of my favorite foods." And he ate it by the spoonful -- but he didn't put any Swiss Chard on his plate. In all fairness,when I said, "Rice, Chicken, and Swiss Chard are required, all else is optional." he did eat a tablespoonful of Swiss Chard. Ben and Logan both said, "I like Swiss Chard." I never knew -- I always thought I was pulling something over on them when I got them to eat it. But, they wouldn't touch the scarey chutney. Tonight I served white rice -- Basamati -- I usually serve brown rice, but the kids ask for white as a treat. I cook it in organic chicken broth and feel like I'm getting a little something good in their tummies.

Today the boys planted a bit of our garden, a few heirloom tomatoes, canteloupe, and another plant we thought was canteloupe, but looks suspiciously like a pepper plant. We'll see. Tomorrow we'll finish the seeds, beans, pumpkins, more canteloupe, and bunches of flowers. We'll leave most of the vegetables to the CSA farm this year. Herbs are growing in hanging baskets on the porch (I took down the fake poinsettias that have been there for a year and a half) and I especially love my rosemary, dill, and basil.

We went into town today to get a new cell phone for Logan, his old one went through the wash and some of the keys didn't recover, although was still able to use speed dial and receive calls. He wanted one with a keyboard so he could text more easily; we got one for free and for $5 he can send 200 messages a month. He is such a social animal. Ben and I are more curmudgeonly and introverted.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Logan Worked Hard, Too

Logan worked hard at school this year and earned a President's Award. The criteria are the same as for Ben's grade -- 3.75 average and 80th percentile on standardized tests. Logan's school did not hold any recognition ceremonies or a graduation for the sixth graders who have completed elementary and will start Junior High next year. Ben's class did not have a graduation ceremony either for the eighth graders about to enter high school. This district downplays a lot of what I have seen as traditional at other schools. Senior Ball is in the high school gym and they have an all-night lock-in party at the school. Graduation was held in a mega-church and was also rather low-key. I like it. No limos and expensive dinners.

We're having our own celebration today -- dinner and the movies (Star Trek).
A much-deserved rest

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's Up Doc

A cottontail rabbit came running under the gate and across the front lawn of the house across the street. The woman came through the gate, hands on hips, not amused. The rabbit had been eating her garden and she was chasing it away. She ranted and raved. What she didn't see was the rabbit ducked back under the fence and while she complained, he finished his dinner. I thought it was very funny, but I bet she didn't.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ten Reasons to Live in Missouri

10. Lower cost of living
9. Slower pace
8. Less traffic
7. Bucolic, serene
6. Strong family values
5. Low crime rate
4. Less flamboyant affluence among teens
3. Good schools
2. Fascinating weather
1. Kind people

Friday, May 15, 2009


On this momentous occasion I actually got a picture of the kid doing the thing I came to see. I think that's a first and certainly worthy of a certificate. Ben received a Presidential Award for Academic Excellence. So did 20% of the class. They had to have a 3.75 GPA and greater than 80th percentile scores on their state standardized tests. I don't mean to detract from Ben's achievement -- he does work hard and his teachers love him because he loves to learn, and I'm very, very proud of him.

Logan and I have been sick with the flu -- no, I don't know what kind. The kind that starts with a headache and then makes you hurt all over and run a low fever and sneeze and cough until your diaphragm is so sore you can't breathe and it makes you complain and whine and feel real sorry for yourself, but you get out of cooking dinner and order pizza. I hope Ben stays well for at least the first three days of next week because he has had perfect attendance so far this school year. I remember starting each school year determined not to miss a day, but I never achieved it. Logan has been absent five days with this current malady. I had to skip Ben's band concert last night but Steve and Julia went.

Our house was struck by lightning during a fierce storm a couple of days ago. It burned out a device that connects our satellite TV to the phone so we can order pay-per-view. My bed shook and the noise was horrendous. Ben, Logan, and the dogs slept through it. The lightning was constant and so nearby you could read by the light it created. I love these storms -- they scare me and thrill me.

By the way, if you don't know what olio means, you don't work crossword puzzles or live in Campbell where there is a new restaurant by that name.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Missouri Weather

A wild storm passed through here Friday with several small tornadoes nearby and fierce 80-90 mile per hour straight winds. We had no damage, lost power for only a couple of hours, and noticed damaged signs, downed trees, and debris blown around. Sadly, our CSA farmers, Curtis and Sarah did not fare as well. An excerpt from Curtis's email follows :

"Greetings from the farm. We have been incommunicado for a couple of days, as we were out of electricity for about 36 hours, and frankly wouldn't have had much time to work on e-mail for the last couple of days anyway. We had some pretty bad damage from the wind storm yesterday morning, including some roof damage to our house and barn, some structural damage to the big greenhouse, a total loss of the hoophouse, and collapse of two smaller greenhouses. We are all fine, for which we are very grateful, and the death toll was only 4 baby chicks, which is very good considering we had about 200 in the brooder when it collapsed. The biggest loss is the hoophouse, which was the large 20 X 100 greenhouse which we constructed last year, in which we had planted 200 feet of tomatoes, 100 feet of cucumbers, and 100 feet of melons. We had constructed this from scratch, using mostly materials we had on hand or had salvaged, but the replacement cost would be about $6,000.It was totally destroyed, and I'm afraid it will not be covered by insurance. Bummer. The plants which were under the hoophouse mostly survived, although they are pretty beat up, and we will not be getting early tomatoes and cukes off of them this season, as they will be severely set-back. Other crops in the field took a beating too, just from whipping in the wind. I think most stuff will recover pretty well, although you may be getting some cosmetically blemished greens and onions for a while, and this will delay some future harvests, like bell peppers and eggplant, which were in one of the small greenhouses which collapsed. Meanwhile, we are trying to get caught up with our bed preparation and seeding or transplanting, which has been difficult with all the rain we've been having. As I said before though, we are still very grateful; "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord". I had better sign off for now, it's been a long couple of days, with clean-up and trying to keep our freezers frozen with no power lines, and I need some sleep. I'm still thankful to be your farmer, and very grateful for your support of our farm.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Daily Grind

Logan has asked me what I do all day while they are at school. Today, he didn't go to school and had an opportunity to observe my day:

- Got Ben off to school, making sure he was reasonably dressed, had breakfast, packed his lunch, made sure he had his homework.
- Fed and watered the dogs.
- Worked the puzzles in the paper while I had my breakfast (my Alzheimer's prevention routine)
- Folded a load of laundry
- Started a new load of laundry
- Did 30 minutes of hand quilting
- Unloaded the dishwasher
- Dressed and showered
- Went to Water Excerise for Arthritis at Community Center
- Came home, made sure Logan got lunch, had lunch
- Went grocery shopping, put groceries away
- Quilted for 30 minutes
- Went to physical therapy appointment (for shoulder)
- Rushed home, took Ben into Springfield for hair cut
- Cooked Dinner
- Ate Dinner in time for Ben to go to Church Youth meeting
- Quilted for 30 minutes
- Asked Logan what I did all day -- his response "you went to a couple of classes"
- Blogged

Friday, May 1, 2009

Guess Who Did What

Here's a hint

Here's another