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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Explosion

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This weekend fall exploded all over Randy and me.  We attended two seperate pumpkin festivals, bought pumpkins at an orchard, purchased mums and gourds at a garden farm, and took a bike ride through tunnels of trees just starting to tinge yellow around the edges.  I find the visual images of the weekend so much more engaging than any words floating around in my head at the moment, so the following is a patchwork of our weekend, our kick-off to autumn.

The Amish are Wrong

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So it turns out that I’m completely addicted to electricity.  Nine measly hours of an Ike induced black-out reduced me to a primal state from which Randy had to rescue me, luring me out with the promise of pizza.  At first it was kind of fun.  I sort of secretly revel in the thrill of minor catastrophe and I enjoy seeing things I’ve never seen before – like hurricane winds whipping up a Wizard of Oz-esque cyclone of leaves and twigs.  But the thrill was over when I realized we might be without power for a while – days even – and found myself sitting on my couch with Randy, and for entertainment purposes, staring out the window for a good 25 minutes as our neighbor cleaned up a damaged tree.  And then I got really, unreasonably angry when said neighbor decided to cut down the entire tree.  It was an affront to me, the neighborhood, and maybe society at large.  Again, primal nature creeping in – one step away from caveman status.  It was at this time when Randy suggested we go out and try to find an open pizza place.

Being on the outside was not any better.  Driving through intersections with non-functioning traffic lights is no fun, especially when your fellow drivers are all idiots who don’t care about anyone but themselves, which is probably most of the time.  Also, when 7/8ths of the population has no electricity, pizza places that do have electricity are VERY busy.  We waited in the ordering line for about 25 minutes at Domino’s and then sat in the car while they made our pizza, practically feeling ourselves transforming into cavemen.    Once our pizza was ready, we snatched it up, crawled back to the car, and ate the entire medium pie, hunched over the box.  We followed that up by pillaging a grocery store for D batteries – they were out, and we grunted as we got back into the car, defeated.

We returned home and pouted about all the things you can’t do when you have no electricity.  You can’t sew on your latest project.

You can’t do yoga on Wii Fit.

So we lit candles and charged the battery of our camping lantern in my car power outlet. 

 

And then something magical happened.  I was positively drunk with joy. 

I quickly morphed back into a complete human being.  We wouldn’t spend the night without power -but we were some of the lucky ones.  Randy’s parents and many other households still don’t have power.  Since the schools I work in have been closed all week due to power outages, I’ve had plenty of time to clean up and survey the damage – which for us was quite minimal.  Certainly a situation where not having trees in your yard actually pays off.  The casualties include: a few shingles which Randy has already glued back down, a plant and plant stand which we have put back in place, and all of our dairy products which were of questionable safety after 9 hours in a fridge of unknown temperature. 

So all in all, not too bad – I lived.  But now I can say that after extensive personal research into the practice of living without electricity I’ve discovered that the Amish are indeed, wrong.

Queen of the Kibble

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I bought dog food today.  I think I may have gone a little overboard.

Dog Food: 40 lbs

Dog: 12 lbs

So this should last us for a while.  I normally buy the smallest bag on the shelf but was seduced today by the per pound price.  You know, the one they put up in the corner of the shelf tag at the grocery store to help us math challenged individuals compare items of different sizes.  The per pound price of the size I normally get is $1.67.  The per pound price of this sucker was $0.93.  This logic finally won me over from my previous position on the matter, which was: Are you kidding me?  One bag is worth over half of our weekly food budget!

Since it pained me to spend that much on dog food, even though I know I’m saving in the long run, I flirted with the other, cheaper brands for a while.  This caused me to spend upwards of 10 entire minutes in the dog food aisle.  I compared ingredient lists.  I poured over nutrient charts.  I even considered buying Rachael Ray’s dog food brand because it looked comparable in nutrition but slightly less expensive than the Iams – even though I’m not quite sure how I feel about Rachael Ray selling her own dog food (do they want me to believe she schemed up the kibble recipe in her 30 Minute Meals Kitchen?  The whole thing confuses me).  In the end I guilted myself back into the fold of Iams – the food my vet recommends.  Actually I think my vet would prefer Eukenuba, but I am certain that Iams is fancy (read expensive) enough for Zipper. 

Perplexingly, I don’t feel the same guilt to buy expensive food for the kittehs.  They make due with your everyday Purina and I’ve considered getting them the Kroger brand, but that’s where I finally cross the guilt threshold.  (Which is funny since Kroger brand people food is all over my pantry – apparently store brands are not good enough for the cats, who’s only caloric needs are for about 1 hour of actual activity per day, but they’re okay for the people who work and subsequently pay for the feast.)  I think the difference between the cats and the dog and my feelings about their nutrition is that the dog needs constant care and discipline so I end up seeing her as more of a child, whom I must provide for.  The cats, while friendly, do their own thing and seem like a couple of lazy roommates who sponge off us.  Though I think I prefer lazy but quiet roommates to a loud and mischievous pseudo-child (as I write she is at the back door beginning what must be her 12th straight minute of barking).

When I told Randy about the mondo-bag of dog food his response was “wow – it will take her a long time to poop all that out”.  So we’ll be here, watching impatiently by the back door as Zipper gradually squeezes out her $0.93/pound poop.

Sisters

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Friday night my sister, Kelli and I both let ourselves be humiliated by a video game.  Our husbands were both out doing other things so we hung out at her house and ate apple pie a la mode and then cracked open her brand new Wii Fit, a video game invented to lower my self esteem another couple notches.  It calculated our Body Mass Index’s and then pinpointed on a continuum how far outside of healthy we we are and asked us to make weight loss goals.  We took a break and went into the kitchen to bake some Nestle Brownie Bites and complain about how our characters on the game are bursting out of their clothes, their bellies peeking out to illustrate just how much weight Nintindo thinks we need to loose. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve begun weight-loss schemes together.  Once we almost made it to a Jazzercise class before chickening out while sitting in my car in the parking lot watching the other women go inside.  Another time we went on a diet together and instituted Free For All Sundays – because we weighed in Sunday mornings and we figured any damage we did the rest of the day could likely be corrected during the week.  All in all, our weight-loss efforts were usually surprisingly effective, though not long lived.  We both have our vices that eventually crept up and seduced us away from our health goals, though they are almost always different.  She’s a chocolate fudge kind of girl, and I’m peanut butter all the way.

And as far as differences go, fudge preference is just the tip of the ice burg.  Growing up we drove our mom crazy at times because it never failed – if Kelli wanted to do one thing, Kim wanted to do the exact opposite.  She wanted to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the EXACT same time slot as reruns of the Cosby Show, which I preferred.  She wanted to stay inside and read all summer whereas I was almost in physical pain anytime I was not at the neighborhood pool.  Kelli loved barbies and everything that went along with them.  My entire inventory of barbie related merchandise ever was a Tropical Barbie and Ken which remained in their bathing suits the entire time I owned them because I never played with them enough to even change their clothes.  After a year or two of Barbie ownership I saw an entrepreneurial opportunity in my Mom’s upcoming garage sale and made out price tags of $2 a piece for them.  The impending loss of a member of our Barbie family weighed heavily on Kelli (she’s a keeper, I’m a pitcher) so she said she’d just keep them.  And she was dismayed when I told her that she could have them if she forked over the $4.  She did.

Now, in the Post Barbie Era of our lives we are still night and day.  She is Dancing with the Stars and I am Dirty Jobs, she is fiction and I am non-fiction, she is chain restaurant and I am neighborhood cafe.  She is Christmas music in July and I am strictly against that.  She is Vera Bradley clad and I am a mishmash of handmade.  She likes cds and I am iPod only.  She is bubbly and exuberant and I am often accused of looking mad when I’m not.

But for people who have so little in common, we have managed to bank lots of good memories together, even as adults.  She makes me laugh a lot and I still like to boss her around a little.  She’s my favorite person to go on rambling mini-adventures with and she’s always up for something new and fun.  Its easy to emphasize our differences, but much as we may not like to admit it, there are a lot of similarities there too – I mean, for starters we’re both big nerds….. 

 

Kelli at 3 years old.  I embroidered her portrait as a birthday gift this past April.

Rainy Day Play

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I was so relieved to wake to the sound of raindrops pattering against the roof above my bed this morning.  Partly because I have become lazy this late in the summer and would prefer nature do my plant watering for me.  But also because I’m just plain tired of the sun.  I love sunshine on my shoulders as much as the next gal, but even that gets old after a while.  Incessant sunshine, especially when coupled with oppressive heat, has the same effect on me as when I am forced to smile for longer than is natural (which for me isn’t very long).  Smiling is good, but your face hurts if you do it for too long – like during wedding photography.  And sunshine is good, but after a month straight I just crave a soggy, cozy day when everything feels close and intimate and you don’t have to feel guilty for doing indoor activities.

In honor of this all out indoor play day I started some projects.  There are big things afoot in the old craft room.  I have the evidence right here: tall stacks of boldly colored, virgin fabric, just waiting to become something completely new.  I do love stacks of bright fabric, all folded neatly.  Unfortunately my fabric doesn’t tend to stay so neat once I begin sewing so I have to savor it now while it lasts – while the sewing project is still in the best stage.  The stage when I’ve planned what to make and have the materials all layed out before me and the world is my oyster.  When the project I’m about to embark on holds so much promise and I imagine the finished product possessing mythical greatness.  I think that stage is even better than the last stage when the project is finished and I’m admiring my work.  Because by then I have inevitably made at least a few mistakes or a certain aspect didn’t turn out quite how I’d planned – and so even if I’m generally pleased there’s still that slight dissappointment somewhere in the back of my mind.  At the beginning stage, anything is possible – I can produce a craft item that is capable of changing the world as we know it…..

Okay back down here on earth, there is fabric to cut, bobbins to wind, and patterns to consult.  More on the actual projects in a later post.  I just hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew.  But if anything can help me succeed in this new sewing venture, its these vintage needle books my mother-in-law gave me a while back.  I wish the things I bought at the store still looked like this.  I can’t decide if I like “Sewing Susan” better or the happy couple riding a needle rocket to reach new stitching heights.  I’m not sure what I’ll actually end up doing with these – I’d like to display them somehow but I haven’t figured out the perfect way yet.  For now they grace my sewing table and give me the inspiration to keep on going past the fantasy stage and try to actually get some real live crafting under my belt.