Catching a bus with Grandpa

When I was around nine years old, I was going someplace with Grandpa Al in the city, and we came up to the bus stop just as the bus was passing by.

Grandpa Al and Grandma Amy both treated me like a one year old baby until I was eighteen, so when Grandpa looked at me and asked, "Can you run?" I believe he meant it as a serious question. I took it seriously, of course, and gave him a stern,


And off we ran, after the Muni bus!

We ran one block, just caught up with it as it stopped at a red light, and then the light turned and - darn it-we missed it! But just.

Now, all of my life until I was nine years old, I had known that my grandpa was a runner, but now I saw him running- unteathered. (He would tie a rope around his middle and tie the other end to my bike, and pull me up the hills of San Francisco, but never before had I seen him run free, so to speak.) The most striking thing about his running was the noise. He must have had just pockets and pockets full of change. The noise of the change clanging was just wonderfully deafening! (I recently noticed that Verona, Wisconsin has a street called "Silent Lane". We could never live there.) So we ran and ran, and every time we almost caught the bus, the light would turn green and we would loose it again.

This went on for seven blocks.

Oh, I was gasping for air! And we were creating such a spectacle. We were so quick.

We finally caught up with the bus, really, after seven blocks. (I say seven. I really don't remember. But it was a long ways.)

I boarded the bus with a feeling akin to that of reaching the top of a tall mountain. I had proven to Grandpa that I could run! Gasping for breath. Alvin paid the fare with the buckets of change from his pockets.

We rode for maybe three blocks, then got off of the bus at our destination. I was too young to see the irony, that we had run seven blocks to ride the bus for three. No matter.

I've probably already told this story. So what? It's my blog.*I'll do as I wish.

* I've noticed that I lost two subscribers recently. I'm wondering if they were vegans who couldn't handle my new meat-eating ways. It brought out this weird side of my personality. I now wonder, How many readers can I get rid of? Go ahead! **Unsubscribe! See if I care!

**I mean, please don't unsubscribe. You might hurt my feelings.

Wonderful Farm

Now we think we'll call the farm, "Wonderful Farm". That's what it is.

Which is better? Wonderful Farm or Hammerdown Manor?

It's not exactly a manor, but whatever.

Please vote in my poll.

A job well done

A few days ago, the washing machine started making an annoying high pitched screeching sound whenever it began to agitate. So, do it yourselfers that we are, we opened up the old Reader's Digest Fix It Yourself Manuel and got to work. It's amazing how something that was written over thirty years ago can still be so valid today. Things have changed a bit, but basically, you can just open up that old book and figure out how to do just about anything.

The book called for us the turn the machine sideways, take a few things off the back, and adjust the main belt. So, that's what we did! No problem. After an hour of tinkering, we did our little "We did it!" dance we learned from Dora the Explorer, and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. To test our work, we threw in the towels we used to clean up all the water that spilled out of the washer when we moved it, and started her up.

Then we heard that familiar, ear piercing screech.

Baby's First Insecurity About A Pastry Item

Little Z likes to sometimes make a smaller version of what I'm making. I'll make a pizza, she'll make a mini pizza. So, when I saw a tiny little pie pan at a thrift store a few days ago, I bought it for her.

Tonight, I made a chicken pot pie. Little Z made a small strawberry pie in the tiny pie pan. (She ate a bunch of the raw pastry dough- so much that I had to make more for us.)

It was still an hour until BAH was due to come home. Little Z looked rather cautiously at our pies.

"Daddy like my pie?" she asked.

"Daddy will like your pie," I assured her.

"Daddy like my pie?" she asked again, emphasis on the my.

"Daddy isn't a very picky eater. I think he'll like your pie. Who wouldn't like a strawberry pie?" The filling was strawberries with honey.

So, BAH got home and ate. Little Z wanted him to eat her pie first, but since it was a sweet thing, he explained the tradition of eating sweets last. When he finally ate it, of course he liked her pie! How could he not? She even made whipped topping (with my help, of course- everything with a lot of help!) The whipped topping was a little over whipped, so that it was actually closer to butter. Mmmmm.

I think she was relieved when he asked her for seconds- but, of course, she said "No" initially, because she's two and a half, and it was her pie. He did manage to persuade her eventually to let him have a second piece of strawberry pie.

Hammerdown Manor

We're going to name the farm "Hammerdown Manor". Then, whenever we think it's time to go home, we can say, "It's Hammer time!"

A Two Sentence Book Summary

I Like You by Amy Sedaris

Summary: No matter how long I live or what I do, I will never be as funny or as cool as Amy Sedaris. This book is for people who have a tiny side of them who would love to see Martha Stewart do psychedelic drugs.

And, (this isn't part of the summary, but) I was a fan of Amy and of Dave, separately, for quite a while before I realized (from reading a story by Dave Sedaris) that they are siblings. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when that family was having dinner and they were teenagers. (I have a fondness for teenagers.)

Garden Pictures

The garden is right outside the dining room window, which is a good thing. I don't forget to tend to it. (There are a few weeds.)





I haven't ever been able to grow spinach before. I planted it every year, and it just didn't come up. I love spinach! I guess I just needed a new garden. You know what they say about gardening: "location, location, location!"

One Sentence Book Summary

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

French women don't get fat because they are very careful never to eat too much.


Little Z loves quesadillas. Lately, she's started calling them, "Armadillos". We went to a restaurant, and I asked her, "Do you want to 'dino bite chicken bits' or the 'quesadilla with french fries'?"

"Armadillo! Armadillo! I eat the armadillo with french fries!" she yelled!

So, for our non-American viewers, this is a quesadilla (or 2 quesadillas, actually):

This is an Armadillo:

People don't eat Armadillos, as far as I know. (Except for Little Z, of course.)


I used to teach sixth grade reading and language arts. I gave a weekly spelling test. I bet you know how this goes. I gave the students words every Monday, to study for Friday's spelling test. Then I read them out loud on Friday, and they copied them down and spelled them as well as they could.

I wouldn't do that today, but that's how I taught it then.

Anyway, one week there was a spelling word, "miscellaneous".

I got a bunch of papers with this on it:

"Miss Salinas".

Miss Salinas was the seventh grade English teacher.


I visited a good friend today. She told me that she had raised two Peafowl, a cock and a hen, from eggs at her mom's farm in Dodgeville. She was going to give them to us as a housewarming gift. Unfortunately, they were both eaten by predators.

If it is true that it is the thought that counts, I still think it was an incredibly nice thought.

Growing up Hippie, Second Installment

My dad told me a lot of stories when I was a kid. I'm not sure why. Probably just because it was fun. When I say "stories," I guess I really mean, "lies," but they were all pretty harmless lies, so I'm not sure they were really lies. Can't you lie to kids now and then? What about that Santa Claus thing? (I don't lie too often, but Little Z may currently believe that she came from an egg, like her favorite penguin.) He told me so many stories about so many things, that when he told me that wood came from trees, I absolutely did not believe him. Who could believe such insanity?

Many of my dad's stories had to do with the city around us. Among other things, he told me:

* If the bridges were ever out, we could go across the bay in either my Grandpa's or Uncle David's car, because Volkswagens float.

* Those trees over by city hall are actually planted upside down. They raise them, then dig them up and turn them over.

* There are no cemeteries in San Francisco, save the military one. (This is actually true!)

* A dinosaur guards the San Francisco Mint.

That last one is really embarrassing. I mean, how could I ever believe that? I would always try to find the dinosaur, whenever we went by there,
"Where is the dinosaur?"
"Oh, he's off around the other side."

I fell for that crap!

I still believed in the dinosaur even after we moved to the suburbs, when I started school and we went on a field trip to the San Francisco Mint. I still remember the bus ride, when we road through the neighborhood that had all the racy movies. The first theatre's marquee said, "X RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus said,

"Oooooo...." The next sign said,

"XX RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus said,

"OooooHooo......" The next sign said,

"XXX RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus cheered!

Anyway, they gave us a great tour of the mint, but the whole time I was wondering when they were going to show us where the dinosaur lived. Surely it would have to be a big sort of room or something, right? Luckily, I was too shy to actually interrupt the tour and ask out loud where the dinosaur was kept. It was partly because I was shy, and partly because I actually had this nagging dread, the sort of sinking feeling that maybe, just maybe...

There was no dinosaur guarding the San Francisco Mint.

Dad also told me that they took "gullible" out of the dictionary, on account of that indian chief named "Chief Gullible" being so offended.

I'm not the only one in the world, right? I mean, you've fallen for something once, haven't you? Anyone? Anyone?

"Please! Plant me in the ground!"

All of these plants sitting around the house are making the detailing and maintenance duties quite difficult for the processing committee.

Actually, most of them are out in the ground as of today. My action plan was 110% effective. (I'm practicing workspeak for my upcoming job interviews.)

Growing up Hippie

I was following a police vehicle all the way home today, and it brought to mind a drive long ago, when I was around twelve years old and my dad was driving some little boxy Honda thing he had then.

Dad: "Oh, there's a cop. They shouldn't allow them on the road, you know? They hold up traffic... Look at this! Everyone slows down as soon as they see a cop. They're holding up traffic! Shouldn't be allowed on the road."

Little Me: "You're not supposed to call them, 'cops,' Dad. It's, like, derogatory or something. We're not supposed to call them cops at school."

Dad: "Derogatory? No! What?! No! But they're cops! How could calling them 'cops' be derogatory? It's what they are! What are you supposed to call them, then?"

Little Me: "Police officers."

Dad: "Police officers?! POLICE OFFICERS?! You should call them, 'pigs'. The next time they tell you to call them 'police officers' at school, you just say, 'I call them pigs.' Really. That's what we used to call them. They should be happy you don't call them 'pigs'."

I was very pleased that I had gotten my dad all riled up like that.

He probably doesn't remember this conversation.

Spring Cleaning

When women clean, we clean, we scrub, we dust, we get things squared away, we perform housekeeping duties. When men clean, they detail, do maintenance, and perform janitorial services. Why is that?

I detailed the kitchen floor today, did some janitorial services in the downstairs bath, and performed some maintenance to the upstairs toilet. I'm planning on detailing the living room carpet tomorrow.

An Entry Not for Vegetarians

So, we did plan on eating some of the chickens- especially the roosters, since they don't lay eggs. We kept humming and hawing over which one to slaughter for the first time. We were only going to slaughter one, to figure it all out. Yesterday, one of the chickens- a female- seemed to have a broken leg. We talked it over and decided to do it tonight. One of them being hurt decided for us which one to go.

So, the plan was this: BAH would kill the chicken, then run away and cry while I cleaned it. As it happened, there was no crying involved. Without going into gory details, I can say that we clearly didn't know what we were doing, but that chicken still had a much better life and death with us than it ever could have had on a factory farm.

So, there you have it. It's in the fridge- tomorrow's dinner. It looks much fresher than anything you would get at a grocery store, of course.

The whole thing wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I always felt before that I shouldn't eat anything unless I could kill it myself, and though BAH did the deed, I think I could.

I was going to post a picture of it ready to cook, but I didn't want to offend any vegetarian readers.

I feel like such a farm lady, having butchered a chicken outside and now it's setting in my refrigerator. How strange it all is. A thirteen year old version of me would be so repulsed!

The Greatness of Britain, Part 1

Hey, Auntie Lou is going to England! I'm so happy for her.

This reminds me of when I and Bad Ass Husband (who recently shaved his beard, BTW) travelled to London to visit Jennifer while she was doing something very impressive related to art history. (Her college had a dead guy, stuffed, propped up in a chair for board meetings. I'm not sure if this had anything to do with her future blog. One event in time does lead to another.)

So, right before the whole world of air travel changed for the worst for Americans, in August of 2001, BAH and I went to London for a while, then Sweden, then London, then Scotland. Then London. Then we went over to Stonehenge- (please! Who are they fooling? Totally concrete, and recent, too) and then back to London. London, London, London. London is pretty awesome, all in all. Otherwise, why did we keep going back? I guess it was partly the free rent and the friendship thing, but it really was something.

I suppose I should write all about the wonders of the world to be found there. We saw all the usual things. Then we would come back to the flat, exhausted, and watch television. Television there was just such a trip for me. We couldn't go anywhere before ten o'clock in the morning, because I immediately became hooked on a morning soap opera called, "The Tribe". It was one of those post-apocalyptic things, and in this one, everyone alive still was a teenager, and they were all in these gangs called, "tribes." They basically went around acting like teenagers, the usual dramas. God only knows how they stayed alive. They were very into face painting. It was all just so low budget and trashy. I couldn't get enough of it!

Once I returned to the US, I, of course, could not find The Tribe anywhere. It was as though it had never existed. It was a dream of mine, induced by too much pub beer and "English" prattle (which, by the way, I did not understand in the slightest). The only remnant of it in my day-to-day life was when BAH would randomly sing me the two-second-long them song they used for commercial interuptions: "dodododoTRIBES!" and I would sigh a wistful sigh and think of England.

Frog Blog

I can't explain this, quite. You've just got to check this out! It's called The Frog Blog.


This is my favorite Police song. It's too bad you can't get this song onto one of those digital Mother's Day cards.

The Hundred Mile Wine Diet

I was recently reading about the benefits of drinking red wine. I really like red wine. I went out and bought some. Normally, I just buy California red wines because I'm loyal to the wine country. I lived in Sonoma County for a big chunk of my life. I went to high school in Sebastopol. I have to admit, when I first landed here in Wisconsin and heard they had wine, I said something like,

"Pshaw. Okay. Whatever."

And didn't give much thought to it since. I've never questioned Wisconsin's beers, mind you (well, okay, "Milwaukee's Best") but wine is another story.

There are many stages one goes through when one becomes an ex-Northern Californian. I won't go into it all, but one of them definitely has to do with overcoming your inner wine snob.

Here is a picture of the local wine I chose to try:

Maybe it's not quite clear in the picture, but the type of wine is called, "red". Not Merlot or Zin, not Syrah, not Cabernet Souvignon or Malbec or... you get the picture. IT'S FREAKIN RED! That's what we know about it. It's red.

A real Californian (read: Cellar Door 15 years ago) might be given this wine as a gift and say to herself, let's keep it for five years and see if it turns into a nice vinegar, and then we can clean the windows with it...

But, see, this is where the recovery part comes in. So I, as a *recovering Californian, actually bought the wine and drank it. And it was good! Really good! It was very sweet. Tasting of plums, mostly. Not hinting at a flavor of plums, but really just tasting all out like ripe plums, in spite of being a grape wine. I'd buy it again.

*You never completely recover from being a Californian. You always are one, for better or worse.

P.S. Californians are wonderful people! I love quite a few of them.

A trite political post

Yes, 300 hundred million Americans and I are all really disgusted with the new law in the state of Arizona requiring people who look foreign to show their papers or prove somehow that they are in Arizona legally. (Well, at lest I hope 300 million others are as disgusted as I am.) (BTW- You know that Mexicans are the biggest group of illegal aliens in this country- but did you know the second and third groups are British and Swedish?)

I do have a dear friend who lives in Arizona, and she's not that bad. Really. She's an awesome chic.

Someone on Youtube had a clever idea. Here is what should be the new state song for Arizona:

Show your papers. I just can't believe it.

Not my Llama

Somehow, there's a fruit stand with a free petting zoo.

The little plastic house behind the Llama is the Emu's yurt.

A new garden

I want to make a new garden area for winter squash and sunflowers. I picked a nice, sunny spot and rented an enormous, 500 lb tiller from the Co-op, which I actually got out of the truck all by myself. Then I put it back in all by myself, too. Brains over braun! (It's another, "A girl did this!" thing.)

I anticipated it being difficult to move in and out of the truck, but I made a little ramp and used an old foundation for leverage, and it was actually a piece of cake. The real difficulty was in controlling the thing while I was using it. I just couldn't do it very effectively. I wasn't strong enough or didn't weigh enough, or maybe both. I got the job done, but not really that well done.

I nicknamed the machine, not very affectionately, "The Bucking Bronco". I expected to just carve a new garden in straight rows, out of the lawn, and finish when I was done, with a tilling pattern something like this:

I would know I was finished, because I would say, "My, that looks big enough for my garden."

In reality, the machine dug holes in parts of the lawn and then just walked over other parts without tilling the grass. As I struggled and failed to maintain control, the tilling pattern really looked something like this:
I knew I was finished, because I said, "I just cannot f***ing do this **** anymore!" [Meanwhile, in the house, there was a plumber trying to make our water drinkable (we've had to boil water of late) and disconcertingly, he asked me how to do it- but that's another story.]


There was too much green left, still.

There. I fixed it. (Maybe the rug will kill the grass if I leave it there a week.)

Today, I added some flowered sheets over the other green parts, which made it look extremely classy.