Jabberwocky for 2005 June

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[Comments] (1) Sigh: I have been paying bills. Sigh. Double Sigh. I know I'll make it somehow, but serious lifestyle changes need to happen around here.

[Comments] (1) Weltschmertz: I've been so sad the last couple of days. I'm sad for the Serbians in World War I. I am sad for them now. I'm sad for the malnourished Sudanese babies. I'm especially sad because we've had a death in the family--a tragic, horrible death of someone too young and beautiful to die. I don't like feeling this way.

Chess, Anyone?: While the boys were here painting patio furniture, I worked on the chessboard. I had some dichondra seed in the garden shed. At least, I HOPE it was pelleted dichondra seed and not ant poison. I planted it all, at any rate. You'd think somebody like me would label the Ziploc bag when somebody like me puts something away.

[Comments] (2) Company: Whenever I work in the garden, I always have feline companionship. Always Jellybean, and sometimes Xochitl or Tonks. They just flop right down on the sidewalk or under a shrub and watch. I've pondered the subject and come to the conclusion that they aren't waiting for anything exciting to happen [a mouse running out from under a bush] but they are just keeping me company. What goes on in the mind of a cat? Sometimes you can tell, but in this case I can't.

Several weeks ago I planted catnip under a wire basket, the way it says to in the Sunset book. It's not doing too well. I think that Someone can hook that paddy paw right in there and destroy the plant despite the basket.

[Comments] (5) I Should Be In Utah: I should have driven to Utah today to attend Melea's funeral tomorrow. I'm still really sad about this. But my body has been doing that thing where my temperature shoots up and down, and I'm usually running a fever. Also the stomach has been acting up more than usual. Therefore, I thought if I made that drive it would be to MY funeral.

Delta is beginning a direct flight from Bakersfield to Salt Lake City on July 1, so future weddings and funerals shouldn't be a big problem. (I'm going to have to drive in September for Shelley's wedding because I have to take Robert's Christmas present, which can't be mailed.)

It's so difficult the see the words "Melea" and "funeral" together. I remember the last time I talked to her, at Alyssa's wedding. She was so fun and lively and intelligent, and just like me, with lots of smartypants stuff to say. She had grown up to be so beautiful, just like her lovely Mom.

I should be in Utah. But like many things I would have liked to do in life, the HIV virus wins again. Don't anyone catch HIV. You WON'T win. The virus is always triumphant.

[Comments] (4) Not as Hot as I Think I Am: I'm running a fever today, so I didn't go out and do any yard work, even though it needs it badly and even though it's not really all that hot out there. It was all I could do to grill some lunch, and my hair was dripping while I did it.

Rachel bought a new book, so I stole it and went to bed with it for the afternoon.

I made potato salad to go with barbecued ribs for tomorrow, and to my chagrin, I had no celery. I thought I had celery. I ALWAYS have celery! So I put a cut up cucumber in instead. It tastes pretty good.

We have cucumbers taking over the world. One of them is eighteen inches long. I don't know what I'm going to do with so many. I did make sunomono for lunch, so that used one, and the potato salad used one, and it's like the Hydra out there.

[Comments] (4) Tigger v. Crockagator: Church was good today. I started off in a panic because it turned out that the person who usually duplicates the program was out of town. I ended up running it off on my laser printer. Also the newsletter, and as I distributed the newsletter at church, I noticed that I had run out of toner about 3/4 of the way through, so the newsletter was a mess. And I duplicated the program upside down. They'd better not expect competence from me!

I took cucumbers to church and got rid of them right away. Whew. Jon Olson took the gigantic one.

Kasey Welsh is home from his mission, and that same girlfriend was here to see him. He talks in church next week. I keep thinking he should still be in Primary.

I think the Bishop was disgusted at us because everyone was talking during the prelude music. He got up and said, "Can anyone here tell me what prelude music we just heard?" I said, "O, God Our Help in Ages Past", and he said, "Thank you, Sister Whitney; at least one person was listening to the prelude." But I was visiting too, so I'm not as good as he thinks I am. When I sit by Doris Jackman, we just can't shut up.

I got the Crockagator out during testimonies and played with little Tanner Mulkay. I think he has finally decided to be friends with me. He even spoke a few words! He had a Tigger, so we had a battle on the edge of the pew, Tigger v. Crockagator. When he gets to the point he will share his goldfish crackers, I will know that we are true friends.

Shaky: The San Andreas is busy today. Four quakes in the last hour alone, all in the San Jose area.

[Comments] (1) Barbecue: I went to Target today to pick up my pictures. FINALLY I have gotten the sushi making pictures developed. Also I wanted to see if I could get a little grill plate for the barbecue, like maybe the ones they make fajitas on.

I haven't looked at barbecues or barbecue stuff in years, so I was surprised by the offerings Target had. Great big stainless steel honkers. Who wants that thing in their back yard? Mine is made out of redwood and green enameled steel, and it's a little more copascetic with Mother Nature. I also got mine at Target, but obviously they think taste has changed in the intervening years. We're in the future now; lets go with hard and metallic!

I did get a grill plate thingy, but I still don't know what it is called because none of the ones on display had a label, instruction sheet, or even a price sticker. The cashier had to send someone back to look up the price, and I held up a big long line with my pitiful purchase of pictures, a grill thingy, and a pair of jeans. So embarassing.

I got some Kosher bratwurst and grilled them for dinner, using the new grill thingy to grill sliced onions. This makes a Los Angeles street vendor hot dog. (See my article, "The Big Orange".) Neither Rachel nor I could eat a whole one, so Gretel was very grateful.

Anyhow. At Target, I was dazzled by the array of gizmos and doohickeys available for barbecuing. There were even designer tools! One stainless steel set looked like it should be in MOMA. Certainly it shouldn't be near someone's grill, because it looked like an excellent way to fry your fingers. Not that I should talk, the person using a nylon pancake turner from the kitchen. There was a "basket" for grilling fish, made of flexible wire and looking like an accident waiting to happen. A plethora of devices for lighting the grill and taking its temperature. And a wok. An actual wok that can be used to stir-fry on the grill. C'mon.

After this little trip to the Temple of Materialism, I'm grateful that there are so many things I don't even want.

[Comments] (1) Fashionable Doom: I went to put on my new pink pants this morning and discovered they are maternity pants! I tried them on anyway and the waistband fell straight to my ankles. Bleah. They were so cute, too. I took them back to Target.

Hillary says that she and I are doomed to wear navy blue, black, and khaki. She says she tries to get other colors and more interesting clothes, but keeps coming home with the same stuff. Me too. Hillary, however, was wearing a burgundy skirt this morning, so she has branched out a titch. I ended up wearing jeans and my Los Angeles shirt with the fossil on it. (blue).

I used to like to dress in interesting clothes, bright colors, creative jewelry. I especially liked an ethnic look, and I was always looking for wearable art ideas that I could sew. I don't care anymore, however. I'm doing well to get up and get dressed in plain old clothes. Boring old me. The Fashion Plate of Doom.

[Comments] (4) Copycat: Today I was planning to eat at Olive Garden with my friend Marianne, but she couldn't make it, so I made a copycat salad. Romaine, olives, sliced red onion, tomato, peperoccini. I didn't feel like Parmesan, so I used feta cheese. And croutons. I didn't make a copycat Olive Garden dressing, however. I just used my homemade herbal infused vinaigarette. It was soooo good. I love salad. I don't think it's going to stay down, but I don't care about that anymore. I figure I'll just eat what I want to and if my stomach doesn't like it, oh well.

I could have put salami in the salad as well, but Rachel cast her jaundiced eye upon the salami I bought, and now I'm suspicious as well, due to her influence. I think Gretel is going to end up with the salami, which she will think is yummy, which probably IS yummy, but we hooomans have all fallen for a marketing scam.

I was going to work outside while Irma was here today but I'm feverish, and I ended up going to bed with Jellybean in Rachel's bedroom and sleeping until Irma woke me up when she left. It's a beautiful day to be outside, but I still don't feel all that great, so I'm going back to bed to try to digest my copycat salad.

[Comments] (1) The Meeting of the Kingdoms: I slept most of the day, but got in a couple of hours of weeding in the front flowerbed this evening. I think that in the garden is where the three kingdoms meet, and we are not so separate after all. Slowly, slowly, the soil(mineral) on my property is improving, as I add compost and organic mixtures (vegetable) and as I (animal) toil away. We are not as independent as we think we are.

Most of my dirt is pure sand, and when it dries out it's as hard as cement. Woe betide anything that wants to grow there! But I'm working on it. Unfortunately, much improvement is due to potting soil imported around the roots of DNS pony pack flowers. But I got a bag of perlite the other day--basically puffed granite-- hoping that it would improved drainage in the soggy places. I haven't figured out how I am going to work it in yet though.

[Comments] (3) Luminous Prose: I think I'll barf if I have to read that description in yet another book review. However, the book I just finished defies description in any other way. Cresent, by Diana Abu-Jabbar, is about the Middle Eastern expatriate community in Los Angeles and is so beautifully written it shines like a gem. I'm not someone who would know if it bit me on the ear, but I feel like Abu-Jabbar has given me an insight into the Arab psyche. Anyone who wishes can disabuse me of that notion now.

I think that it's extremely difficult to write in this way without getting overwritten, so my hat is off to this author. (My hat is off anyway, and I have Hat Hair!)

[Comments] (6) Feeding the Neighborhood: This year, I purchased the first honest and straightforward packet of zucchini seeds I have ever seen. It says "Feed the Whole Neighborhood!" in a little banner on the front. Today I started doing that. There is a neighbor I talk to sometime when she is out walking and I'm out weeding. I gave her a cucumber and two squashes.

The whole house smells like mint because I picked some Kentucky Mint Julep mint and I have it steeping in hot water. I'm going to make lemonade juleps. With frozen raspberries in them. We give a toast to Brendan!

I made more Italian meatballs today, but these are not as good. I think I accidentally put an extra cup of bread crumbs in. That's what I get for measuring! Also, they don't have enough garlic.

It's looking like we might get a little storm.

[Comments] (1) A Waste of Beer: Today at Young's I bought six big bottles of cheapo beer to dump in the garden. The cashier was telling me about some gardening show on TV that recommends it--I thought it was my discovery, due to me taking away Roger's beer and dumping it in the compost. The manager, who was bagging my groceries up in the Green Frog bags, Could Not BELIEVE that someone would pour all that beer on the ground.

So I poured it all out, and since I fertilized everything with fish emulsion last night, it really stinks out there now! The bottles are soaking in the sink. I'm going to remove the labels and make up more bottles of herbal vinegar for gifts. The lids say "King Cobra" on them. I imagine I'll get some razzing from my friends over that when I give them their vinegar for Christmas.

Also today I organized the pantry. I found a can of pineapple, circa 1995, that was puffed and swollen and ready to burst. I threw out several things and am thinking I should throw out a few more--I know all the cans of refried beans are several years old and we don't seem to eat them anymore.

[Comments] (5) Angles: I like things to be square. I like furniture to be perpendicular or parallel to the wall. There are some [very nice] people who will put a piece of furniture, for example their bed, catty corner in the room, and the visual impact of that placement drives me insane. I don't know if it's feng shui, or the monster that might be hiding in the corner, or some deep psychological warp, or what. For me, it upsets the balance of the room.

Irma is always arranging things into angles. I have on top of my bookshelf a bank, a photo of Alyson, and a telephone. Every week she angles them out. Every week I put them back straight. Now we've started on the little cupboard that I keep spare toilet paper in. There's a real reason I have this one straight--if it is angled, it covers up the electrical outlet where the charger to my shaver lives. Every week on the bathroom counter, the clock, the cowbell, and whatever Mary Kay had the misfortune to be left out are marching in slanted ranks. Fortunately most of the furniture in the house can't be rearranged because the house is so full of furniture.

What makes some people like rectangles and some people like triangles?

Julep: The juleps turned out really good--very refreshing. I steeped the mint in a half gallon of hot water and then made lemonade with said water. I have a new ice crusher blade for the blender that works almost like shave ice, so I crush eight cubes of ice, put in some frozen raspberries, and pour the julep stuff over. It's wonderful.

I don't like the mint juleps at Disneyland although I know there are people who worship them. (My cousins Susie and Debbie, for example.) The Disneyland ones have something sort of creamy and icky in them. This stuff I made is not too sweet, which is good.

Chessboard Update: *Something* has germinated in the chessboard, whether it be dichondra or weeds or ant poison, I know not. I have been very faithful about keeping the squares moist, so I do hope it's the dichondra. Some weeds have gotten a head start too. I'm going to go out and pull them tomorrow morning.

Jawohl!: I made hot German potato salad to go with the ribs for tomorrow. I feel like it's missing something. Maybe it will get zippier once it sits in the dressing.

I cut as much fat off the ribs as I could, for which Gretel was grateful. We're going to try marinating them in pineapple juice this time. Got to use up some of that pineapple in the pantry.

[Comments] (5) Pulling the Shoestrings: I got an invitation to a baby shower which will be held on Tuesday night. I'm very conflicted about this. I really don't have money to buy a baby gift. Oh, I know I could go charge something at Target, but the bill will come due, and we are on a real austerity program in this household.

I've already spent more than $300 more than I wanted to spend this month. I had to put some money into the house's escrow account for property taxes, and also a nastygram came from the Franchise Tax Board.

I can't think of anything I can do on the cheap for a baby. I can't very well take them one of my bottles of vinegar, can I?

Do I hate being a grownup and having to worry about money? I don't know. I had to worry about money all the time when I was a kid with Mom and Dad paying the bills. So I don't think it makes much of a difference. You never really get ahead when it comes to life.

I don't know if I'm going to get a paycheck in June. I surely hope so, but I honestly don't know. Used to be, they paid us eight times a year, but sometimes it's been ten. I don't know when our first summer school paycheck is due either.

frannyw@www.saltmine.com: Well, my little break is over and it's back to work in the morning. My class is clear full and people on the waiting list. So no more being a slacker. I am doing a leeeetle slacking on the 8th of July--instead of spending the day reading placement exams, I'm going to San Francisco for Leonard's birthday and a Giants game. That is a leeeetle slack.

I went to a birthday party for Ernestine Boonstoppel tonight. She is ninety years old. Bless her heart! I gave her a full page magnifier and a card that I made her. Lots of people were there, so I visited a lot and it was nice to spend an evening that way.

It's getting latish and I should go to bed to be ready to roll in the morning, but I never can sleep the night before a new semester. I roll and turn and worry that the alarm won't go off. I have two students from last semester; both of them I like, and I'm looking forward to meeting the others.

Conversation: I spent a lot of time this afternoon talking with Brock. We need to touch base every now and again because we are the only people we know with our similar situation--people living with AIDS who are members of the Church. Whenever I spend time with Brock I go away not feeling quite so alone. People in the AIDS community don't understand us, nor do people in the Church. We share an isolating disease, and it's nice every once in a while to break through that aloneness and share with someone who can understand.

We discussed Terry Schiavo.

With AIDS, you spend a lot of time dreading what is coming next. At least I do, and Brock does, because he's been through it with the death of all his friends as I have with the death of my husband. There is a big picture of possible scenarios, but the combination of problems for each person is different. What a way to live. Certain aspects of dying are terrible. I think it would have been better not to know.

[Comments] (2) Terrible Night: Horrible, No Good Night. My IV came unhooked and I woke up in a soaked bed. Had to move, change clothes, and then I still smelled the stuff. Gretel was tromping all around all night. Plus I was unhooked for who knows how many hours, and now I have a headache. When I get home from work I'll have to finish washing and drying the bed.

At least I didn't wet the bed, which was my first fear.

[Comments] (5) The Heat is On: I wish the heat killed weeds instead of helping them grow. I haven't been out to pull them yet this week--Monday I was sick, and Tuesday I was exhausted from the events of the night and I didn't get up until time to go to the baby shower. Our Pat the Bunny book was a big hit there, and I won a prize for knowing the most terminology for baby animals.

I had been giving Clayton Davis a ride to school. He is taking algebra at BC under concurrent enrollment. Last night, however, he called me and told me that a neighbor of his is going to add the class, so they will carpool. I'll miss mornings with Clayton.

Maybe this warm weather will speed up the eggplant and okra. I do wish they would hurry!

I'm going to end up with probably 26 people in my class. That's not too bad.

He's Still There: I went to FoodsCo today to use a food voucher I had from the county AIDS office, and that drunk, crazy guy who used to be Grandpa's roommate in the rest home across the street was there. He had escaped, I guess, and come across the street on his little electric scooter chair. He was buying beer.

You'd think they would watch him a little more closely. It can't be safe for him to go out like that because he has to cross the freeway on ramp to cross the street. Also, he's nuts.

So Sweet: At FoodsCo, they had Royal Anne cherries. I have not even seen any of them since high school, and certainly never in a store. They are the kind of delicacy you have to grow in your own garden if you want to eat them. I bought a pound, and I will have to eat them fast because they don't keep.

My parents had a cherry tree, but it was a sour pie cherry. (My mother was like me, wanted things to be sour!) Aunt Jeuney had a big bing cherry tree, but you had to work snappy to get any cherries before the birds did. There was a wonderful lady who worked for aunt Jeuney, Jean Anning, who had a Royal Anne tree and she would give us some sometimes.

You can't can them or freeze them or make pies or anything because they are just too fragile. Eat them up while the eating is good!

Albion: I started reading Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination by Peter Ackroyd. He follows various themes such as spirals, melancholy, interlacement, in English literature, art, music, etc., from the very beginnings to the present day. This is all very interesting. When he tries to claim origins for these themes, however, I think he is reaching. For example, the theme of trees, considered in the first chapter. Does he really believe that every tree in an English painting, the Robin Hood legend, every branching pattern in a piece of music originates in some kind of cellular memory of the Druids? I think that's a stretch.

Ackroyd is not a professor of English language and literature; he is a writer, albeit an award winning one. This book kind of reads like a PhD dissertation, though.

I'll be alternating this book with chapters of Stephen J. Gould's last book, which I have almost finished. Next on the list is the Borges biography.

The Week Is Over: Well, I made it through this week. I think I can already tell which students are going to pass the class and which won't. I have one girl who is repeating the class who had Brenda Freney before. When I had her write the practice test, she left off every ending of every verb and had just pitiful paragraph development. When I conferenced with her about it, she said, "Oh, Ms. Freney told me that too!" Well, if she'd been told that before (possibly over and over all semester) why doesn't she DO something about it? Today in class she fell asleep.

I didn't feel all that great the whole morning, so I came home and went to bed and when I woke up I really was sick. I am going to Enrichment Night anyhow though. I need to get out of my shell and attend social functions as long as I can so that I don't become some sort of poor me whiner huddled in a corner waiting to die. It's almost time for me to put Gretel out so that I can leave.

[Comments] (2) Twist and Turn: I'm reading that the French farmers are blocking the new EU budget because they stand to lose massive EU farm subsidies. This is the same block of voters who wouldn't ratify the constitution because they wanted to protect their industry. Come on, Jean-Pierre, you can't have it both ways. Wiggleworms.

[Comments] (1) Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here: California has been busy quaking and quaking. The seismologists must be really busy, and everyone else is wondering if we are going to fall into the drink.

Yes. We are going to split off. It's been in progress for centuries, half a centimeter per month.

Alex, one of the tutors, was doing a little role-play about people in Heaven:

Angel A: So, how did y'all die?

Angel B: Train wreck.

Angel C: Cancer.

Angel A: I died in the Apocalypse. It was so neat! You shoulda been there! Explosions everywhere and the earth turning wrongside out... exciting stuff!

[Comments] (1) Yikes! I Think I'm in Bakersfield!: Youngs had tri-tip on sale so I splurged and bought a package. I trimmed them up and put one in the oven to "deep pit" overnight. The other one I put in the big freezer, and when someone comes to see me next I will cook it.

I put grass killer on all the crabgrass and Bermuda and poa in the flower garden. I just can't keep up with it by hand pulling. The label says that it works better when it's hot, but it wasn't all that hot today.

[Comments] (1) Goats to Be Gotten:: I got a rise out of Rachel today when I said that Ginny Weasley is annoying. I further hypothesized that all little sisters are annoying. She really got huffy. Actually, many of the characters in HP make your teeth grate. I really found that out when we borrowed the CDs for the trip to take Leonard's car to Arkansas. About the other side of New Mexico I had to give it up because I had had it with Harry. It was like having a fifteen-year-old boy in the car, and we all know they should be sent to Mars.

[Comments] (1) Mutant:: Several years ago I planted valerian (Jupiter's Beard) around the margins of my yard--under the tangerine tree and so forth. Jupiter's Beard comes in red or white, and I planted the white. This year, it has put forth some plants that have flowers that are definitely purple. There is no "possibly a red strain" about it. It's purple. Purple I tell you! It's awfully pretty and I hope the purple ones reproduce as well as the white ones do.

I suppose if I knew what to do I could get famous?

[Comments] (2) Fathers Day: This is the first Father's Day without my father-in-law. I remember last year I spent the afternoon with him at his rest home. Nobody else was there; I don't know why. We talked, and he wanted to dictate a letter and have me write it down. I went to the nurse's station and swiped a piece of paper from the photocopy machine, and he dictated a lovely sentiment to Rosalie, thanking her for making him a father. I almost cried. We folded it up and put it in the envelope that I brought his card in, but he kept wanting to open it back up and read it again. It became rather the worse for wear, but the heart was there.

I didn't make it to church today. I got up just fine, had a cup of miso soup, took Gretel for a ride in the car, and was doing great. Then the vomiting started in about eleven and I tried to lie down until time for church. Next thing I knew it was 1:15. I had a choice to get up and hurry and be late, or skip it, and I went back to sleep.

Rachel and I are eating garden vegetables today.

[Comments] (2) Hello Smelly: After days of wondering what was that strange smell in my bedroom, the mystery is solved! The sanseveria on my nightstand has sent up a flower stalk blooming with little yellow flowers and dripping with honeydew. I've never seen that happen before, but I've had this snake plant since Roy's funeral, so maybe it's like a century plant and doesn't bloom often. It was a little baby in a dish garden when I got it.

The scent is pervasive. Cloying, but not necessarily offensive. I suppose I should cut the stalk off and get rid of it and its perfume, but I feel sorry for the plant making all that effort. Eventually it will fade on its own, I'm sure.

[Comments] (1) Deterioration of the Educational Systems: One of my students told us this morning that at the high school he graduated from in Long Beach, the teachers are behind a plexiglass wall and lecture the class through a microphone. If a student wants to ask a question, they have to press a button.

I thought I had it bad my seventh period class at East High School. Or, always, fourth period at Chipman. They turn into carnivores before lunch.

He also told us all about the metal detectors in every classroom door and the police patrols. This kid sort of doesn't know how to behave in a college classroom, and is it any wonder?

[Comments] (1) Dinosaurs!: Kristen sent me dinosaur stickers and a nice note. Thanks, Kristen! I can use the stickers on the scrapbook pages of the the dinosaur trip Leonard and I are taking this summer.

[Comments] (4) Fighting City Hall: I've been tiffing with my bank. I deposited a check for $1,000 in the ATM, and I even have an ATM receipt that says $1,000. Imagine my chagrin when I checked my balance online and found they had credited me with a $100 deposit. Obviously their mistake! (Usually, with mathematical matters, it's my mistake.)

I sent them a firm email saying that if they bounced the check I wrote for my annual auto insurance premium, it would be THEIR fault, not mine. Sometimes I get so mad at the way they do things--like deducting debits before they apply credits and then charging a fee for the shortage which wasn't really a shortage. Turkeys.

Today, the balance looks like it's fixed although I've received no reply or apology from the bank.

Updates: I heard from the bank. They gave me a lot of bs and made excuses and were not sorry at all, but at least they credited my account.

The ant poison has germinated and it is indeed dichondra. I have been watering and weeding so faithfully, and it's good to see it coming up all green. Some of the little sprouts have their first pair of real leaves. Every time Gretel and I go out in the yard, I pull out a handful of spotted spurge from the chessboard. It grows so much faster than grass. It is not an unattractive plant, and it would not be such a bad weed if it would behave itself.

Why Watch The News?: Why bother? Why take the paper? I'll tell you what happened yesterday, what is happening today, and what will happen tomorrow. It's all the same.

There was a car bomb in Iraq. The Giants lost. Political shennanigans accrued in the Bakersfield City Council. Some celebrity messed up. The recipe in the food section needs adaptation before anyone can eat it.

[Comments] (3) Variations on a Pasta Salad: I made pasta salad tonight. I used cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and some haricots verts that were in the freezer needing to be used. While I was picking the cucumbers, a man came to visit Sue across the street and I gave him one. There are still so many, arrrrgh.

I used the "Heartland" tomatoes, a small tomato that has a lovely flavor, but the skin is so thick it makes me gag. I peeled all of them. Don't think THAT wasn't an annoying procedure. "Heartland" also has the stem core deep into the flesh of the tomato, and I don't think I'll be growing it next year. Maybe it would make a good juicer, but the plant doesn't seem prolific enough.

I picked two extra cucumbers to take to work to give away, and while I was coming in with them I bumped the doorframe with one of them (that's how long they are!) and it snapped in half. Gretel immediately got the fallen half, and now she is happily knawing away on it. It's made a huge mess on the rug. Probably it will give her gas, too.

I think I will take half of the pasta salad to work so that Rachel and I aren't stuck eating the whole huge bowl.

Improvements: Apparently "they" are going to replace a number of the utility poles in this neighborhood. A huge truck--like a logging truck--full of poles came through and left them one by one in the gutters in appropriate places. One of the places is right by our driveway, so I assume they will replace that old pole between our driveway and Lurine's yard. It's been a mess already. It took the work crew a whole day to replace one on Palm Street near Oleander, and they had the street blocked with equipment, trucks, and a cherry picker. A flagger was there directing traffic because the street was down to a single lane. When they do ours, I won't be able to get into the driveway, and Gretel will probably freak. She doesn't like big trucks and machines.

They also fixed the potholes in our street today. That is, they filled them with asphalt crumbs. I don't know how long the repair will last because they didn't steamroll it. It's certainly a lot smoother now. This is a good thing because last week the home health nurse sprained her ankle getting out of the car at my house. She stepped in a pothole in the street and twisted it very badly. I'm wondering if the home health put in a claim to the city for it and they decided to repair the street? I wonder this because this neighborhood certainly doesn't seem to be on their priority list.

Yumtum: I've been working on this recipe, and I think I've got it down. Pound flat and dredge chicken breasts in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme. Saute mushrooms in butter. When mushrooms are done, remove them and saute chicken in butter, slowly, on medium heat. When chicken is browned, remove it and deglaze the pan. (I used cooking sherry.) Let it boil down until almost nothing is left, then add a little bit of chicken broth and sour cream. I used about five ounces sour cream for two pieces of breast. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the sauce and simmer, covered. Serve over rice.

Of course, the whole time I was cooking this, I had "help" in the kitchen. She was very glad to lick my plate after I ate.

[Comments] (6) Come and Take It Over My Dead Body: I'm quite upset about the Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo case. What ever possessed them? I guess it helps that there were dissentions, among them Sandra Day O'Connor, whom I admire, but the majority rules.

So now Corporate America can just take our homes, whatever. What is next, are they going to take our children?

And there are no appeals from a Supreme Court judgment. I think the homeowners will have to resort to terroroism tactics.

I want to go on record as saying I have always disapproved of eminent domain. Every American can now end up being like the Native Americans who had their land stolen by the government.

Between this and other things, this country is drifting away from the United States I know.

[Comments] (1) Easy On The Knees: As my arms and legs waste thinner, my knees get bonier, and I have gotten to the point where gardening is uncomfortable. I went to the ceramic tile aisle of Home Depot and got a pair of strap-on knee pads like Mike James wears to do floors. I tried them out today and they make all the difference.

I ripped out the green beans, the turnips, and one of the cucumbers and put perlite and bat guano compost into the soil. Then I planted more okra, more green beans, some Italian flat beans, and more cucumbers.

I've decided that whatever I do in the yard, the vegetable garden has to come first because it's saving us money on our food.

I made cucumber/red onion fresh pickle like Grandma and Aunt Margaret used to make,and pesto with our fresh basil, and BLT sandwiches with our tomatoes. I also bought some mozzarella to make mozzarella/tomato salad. That will be for tomorrow.

The tomato plants that were labelled "Roma" have ROUND green tomatoes on them. Grrrrr.

The crabgrass and weeds are out of control in the flower beds.

Mucosa Mollusca: I planted flowers today in the yard. This was not as pleasant an activity as you might think because last night I put out snail poison, and this morning the front yard was carpeted with dead and dying snails. Dead or dying, either way they are crunchy and slimy.

[Comments] (6) Red Ants: The red ants have invaded. Rachel calls them fire ants, but I'm not so sure they are "official" fire ants like the ones Nancy has in Houston. They sure do burn though. I found that I was sitting with my foot in a nest of them as I weeded yesterday, and I've been miserable ever since. Lots of Benadryl usage in this household! Then today Rachel discovered them all over the driveway. I mean All. Over. I went out with the diaznon bag but couldn't find the driveway nest, so I just scattered it on the ants. There were two nests in a crack in the patio, however. And I found the nest that did me dirty yesterday.

Diaznon is illegal now, but when I went to Gardener's Supply last year to buy Roundup, it had just been made illegal and they were hurrying and selling their stock. I bought a 25 pound bag to do me forever, and it has come in very handy.

Babies!: Today I spent a couple of hours pulling Bermuda grass out from under one of the redwood trees, and I found that some of the heucheras have had children. There are some teeny baby plants mixed in with the aguja, and they are putting up teeny baby flower spikes! More power to them!

I also ripped out a bunch of cinquefoil. It winds itself over other plants. I wish I'd never planted it, and I planted two flats! I planted it because the lady at Mountain View Nursery in Lamont recommended it as a ground cover for the Comanche Point backyard. I suppose it is probably okay for an acre in Arvin, but here it takes over.

Ouch!: One of my students got jumped by a wannabee carjacker over the weekend. He's all swollen and has sidewalk burns all over his face. He has stab wounds in his chest right under his heart and on his hands. And he is walking with a terrible limp.... but he came to class!

I made him show me his stab wound in his side, but it was all covered up with one of those glueystitches thingies.

They gave him Darvocet and Tyelenol III at the ER, but he doesn't want to take them. He said his friend offered him $80 for the Darvocet. I told him not to DARE sell it. I think he is hanging with the wrong friends.

I don't blame him for not wanting to take the painkillers. I hate taking stuff that makes me feel loopy. I still have all but one of the pills they gave me after my hysterectomy--and I didn't take that one for the surgery. I took it when Gretel broke my finger last December and it hurt so badly I couldn't sleep.

Blue In The Face: Today, I talked about pronoun usage, sentence fragments, and don't put your semicolons in the wrong place. The class sat in a stupor with their eyes crossed. I don't blame them, but I don't know how to make it any more exciting. Some of them woke up whenever I would crack a joke. I think they are very tired, but on Thursday the term will be half over. I hope that means I will get half a paycheck pretty soon.

Pea Soup: Recently the tenth world championship for pea soup was held in Groningen, Netherlands, where pea soup is called "snert." The winner, Willem Cupido, refused to share his recipe with reporters. So I guess it's back to Andersen's for the rest of us.

[Comments] (5) Fresh and Ripe: I feel very sorry for the folks who live in places where food doesn't grow, and it has to be shipped in on trucks and put in the grocery store when it is already several days old. Eating our ripe tomatoes, I wonder why anyone would buy a tomato at the store.

Susanna sent me some lettuce seeds, and I planted them in a big pot in the laundry room. They germinated the next day. I hope the house stays cool enough that I can just pick lettuce leaves when I want them all summer. When winter comes, I'm going to try a French mesclun mix.

I bought a local watermelon today at Smart and Final. It is so ripe that by the time I got it home, it had split. I was going to wait to cut it up when Rachel comes back, but of course I had to do it today because it had split. So sweet and flavorful! Those little seedless melons are really handy, but even the best of them don't hold a candle to the big guys with the black seeds, however. You can't even find those in stores anymore, I guess maybe at the farmers' market.

I'm worried that the next generation of children will grow up without learning how to spit watermelon seeds.

I Make Misteaks: I have made several serious errors in planning and planting my front garden. I didn't know any better, I suppose, but now I'm living with the consequences.

*I didn't plow in enough organic matter before I planted. I just scattered the contents of a half dozen nursery bags on top, and I should have bought a truckload of compost and had the tractor guy till it in while he was here with the backhoe shaping the berms.

*I planted the redwood trees exactly the distance the Sunset book said to, to get a grove, and they are already too close together and beginning to overlap. Maybe the Sunset book thought they would be skinny, and they are FAT!

*I planted hundreds of dollars worth of rare varieties of daffodil (my favorite flower) without knowing whether they would come back in this climate. I thought they always spread and came back, but the fancier ones haven't.

*I covered the whole yard with different varieties of thyme the first year and it was a disaster. So I lost a whole year.

*I planted Mexican primrose and it is taking over everything.

*I planted cinquefoil (potentilla) and it is strangling my aguja.

*I didn't figure out the configuration of the sprinkler and drip system properly, and I have dry spots. I think I would have been better off to have it professionally installed.

*I bit off more than I can chew by making a huge flower garden--too big for one person to keep up.

What else? I'm sure I'll think of something as I spend this weekend trying to catch up in the garden.

[Comments] (2) 'Isdom Toof: Sumana is not going to be so pleased about her "textbook" impacted tooth when the doctor goes after her jaw with a jackhammer.

Jabberwocky for 2005 June

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