More of the Time Capsule from Christmas 1984

I'm the girl on the bed, writing the letter to my dad in California.

This was only a slight exaggeration of the goofiness in our actual lives.

Merry Christmas from Ten Year Old Me

So, it's not Christmas, you say? It's not 1984 any more, either, so chill out and watch this.

I think we didn't know how to have a still photo of me with music playing, so we decided I would just be perfectly still instead of having a still photo. I got tired of smiling.

Thank you, Aunt Laurie, for publishing this gem on youtube!

Familiar Barns

This one reminds me of Grandma Ruth, who was born on Friday, December 13th. "It's my lucky day," she says every Friday the 13th.

Young Feminist

I remember watching Solid Gold as a kid and feeling sorry for those girls. My sister told me people really wanted to be Solid Gold dancers, that it was this really hard job to get, and I didn't believe her! I thought she was crazy! They were basically on the same social level as slaves, in my opinion. Who would act like this on purpose? Someone was forcing them to act this way. My sister Lori must have been lying to me.

If only Eckhart Tolle would stop hitting me in the head with a stick...

I recently listened to Eckhart Tolle's
The Power of Now
during my daily commute. The gist of it is that you should live life completely in the present. Be totally aware of your surroundings, as well as your inner being. Live your life as a meditation. Rather than meditate daily, be in that constant state of awareness as much as you possibly can. Think as little as possible. Just be.


He tells this story in it about these Zen masters who sneak up on their students and beat them with a stick while the students are meditating. If they are really in a state of awareness, the teacher cannot sneak up on the student, and they turn around and catch the teacher with a big stick, and the student doesn't get hit. However, if the student's thoughts have started to wander, the student gets hit with a stick.

When he told this story in his mesmerizingly soothing voice, I thought, Wow, Eckhart Tolle, that's pretty hard core!

I went to work and attempted to be present. Present. Be here now. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

I planned my lesson for the day.

I rushed into the strange half kitchen across the hall to make coffee. A co-worker whom I greatly admire was there, warming up an old cup of coffee. I was making fresh coffee. We chatted. I opened the cabinet to get a coffee filter. It was a much larger cabinet than my own cabinets at home. When I shut it, BANG! I hit myself in the head. I mean, really hard. I was crouching over in pain and the co-worker was wondering if she should call a doctor. I was hurting.

"Are you okay are you okay?" she yelled at me as I reeled over in pain.

"Yeah, no, I'm fine, really," I said. But what I was thinking, what I knew was, Eckhart Tolle had visited me from whatever heavenly sphere he inhibits (Canada) and Eckhart Tolle, bless his heart, had WACKED ME IN THE HEAD BECAUSE I WASN'T FOLLOWING HIS ADVICE AND I WASN'T BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT!

And now when I put on sunglasses or wash my hair or try to sleep on my right side or scratch beside my eye, I have an upleasant reminder of just how unpresent I am while I make coffee at work, in the form of my head really hurting.

I guess I could go to my doctor, Dr. V, and complain about the ugly painful welt on the side of my head, but Dr. V would just say, "put some *hydrocort on it and stop hitting yourself in the head with cabinets!" so I won't go.

Am I more present whilst in pain? Yeah, actually, I am, so I suppose it is an effective practice, this being wacked in the head and then being unpleasantly reminded of it via pain at random moments.

* This is an inside joke between me and BAH, which is kind of stupid to have an inside joke with someone on a blog, so this is the joke: When we first started seeing Dr. V, the first three times, he said [no matter what the ailment] to "put some hydrocort on it". This advice was either not effective or made symptoms worse. A friend of mine was alarmed and thought we should change doctors, especially since we had a newborn baby, Little Z, to whom he had caused some minor suffering by inexplicably prescribing hydrocortisone. I thought we should give him a chance. He was a new doctor, after all. Just out of college. We gave him a chance, and he has turned out to be a lot better, but now we still expect him to prescribe hydrocortisone, no matter what the ailment. Cancer? Hydrocort. Concussion? Hydrocort. Typhoid fever? Hydrocort and call me in the morning.

How to build a greenhouse in ***three easy steps:

1. Get together your tools. The view finder will be crucial to this project.

2. Wear eye protection. If you're like me, you may not be able to see out of your eye protection goggles. This may cause you to cut off your finger. However, the eye protection goggles will keep your blood from splattering into your eye, so you can still call 9-1-1. You may never play the violin again, but at least you can still see! And really, which is more important: seeing out of your eyes, or playing bluegrass for your cats? Think about it. The choice is obvious.

3. Build the greenhouse, like this:

4. Post pictures of your greenhouse to facebook and press "like". You can like your own posts now on Facebook! One more friend for you: You.*

For a more detailed explanation of how to build a greenhouse, look back a few days for a great video, which is how I really built the greenhouse. I watched the video.

You can learn anything on the internet.

*Side note about Facebook: I noticed today that 8 people follow me on Facebook, and I don't know any of them. At all.

** Well, actually, I know who one lady is, but in her case, knowing who she is makes it worse.

*** By "3" I mean "4". I hope that isn't confusing for anyone.

**** 3 is the new 4. FYI.

Familiar Barns

I've been watching them take this one apart. Will they take it down completely, or rebuild the sides? I hope rebuild. I like this barn, for no real reason except that it's a familiar sight.

The More Subtle Signs of Spring

1. Mrs. Turkey laid an egg.
2. I saw a bat.
3. BAH sneezed.

and, of course:

4. Dad bragging that summer has come to Cloverdale.

Texting While Driving

I really like this whole mania about not texting while driving. Mostly because there is no way on Earth I could do it. I am pure as newly driven snow. For all of the terrible driving I have done, I could not text if I were sitting home alone, much less driving. (This might have something to do with my having no cell phone reception at home.) Still, I don't know how to text and drive. No texting while driving. I can do that! I am a great hero.

An Excerpt from, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson

This part of the book deals with protecting your house in the country from foxes by urinating around the perimeter.

Page 294: "I called my mom to ask whether Daddy could drive a few hours to come pee around my house for protection, but she said he couldn't, becasue it's a really busy season for taxidermy. But she said if I 'really needed it' she could probably mail me some. I considered it, buth then said no, because first of all, that is a package I don't ever want to sign for, and second, because I can already predict that Victor will be all pissed off (no pun intended) that I asked my father for help protecting us from foxen, and then Victor will be all, 'I AM THE ALPHA MALE IN THIS HOUSE AND NO ONE IS PEEING ON IT BUT ME.' Then the next time my dad comes over they'll end up in a pissing contest. Literally. Except Victor is too competitive and he'd probably push it too far and would be like, 'oh, yeah? Forget pee; I'll throw up everywhere!' and I'll be all, 'Your overachievement is gross.' We never had these problems when we lived in the suburbs."

I laughed out loud about 50 times while reading this book. She's as funny as David Sedaris. (Actually, I don't think her blog is quite as funny as David Sedaris's books, but her book is totally as funny as his books, which is the only fair comparison anyway.)

Grifting the Tooth Fairy

I took Little Z to the dentist yesterday. She's lost one tooth, our friend the dental hygienist gave her a little lecture about which teeth to expect to fall out next. She said Little Z had nineteen teeth.

On the way home, Little Z asked me,

"How does the Tooth Fairy know when you lose a tooth? Does a bell go off at the Tooth Fairy's house?"

"I really don't know," I said.

Once we got home, Little Z wanted to go outside, "but you can't look at me and see what I'm doing!" she said.

"Sure," I said.

She came back in a little while later with... something. I didn't look. Then she wanted soap. She set about in the bathroom, washing something. Then,

"Do you have any paper towels?"

I shut my eyes and handed her some paper towels.

"I need you to move this, but you can't look!" she said.

I moved a paper towel full of small white pebbles from one table to another.

"I have a way I think to make a lot of money," she said.

Then, she was writing something.

"How do you spell, 'really'?"


"How do you spell, 'all'?"


"How do you spell, 'teeth'?"


"Don't read this note!"

Then she disappeared upstairs for a while.

"Don't look under my pillow!"

Then her dad came home,

"Don't ever even look under my pillow at all!" she said. "I have a way I think to make lots of money."

We slept. Zzzzzzzzzzz...

Then, this morning,

"My experience didn't work."

She went off to school.

I took the liberty of looking under her pillow a few minutes ago.

I couldn't get it folded back up correctly again. She's going to know I looked under her pillow!

What happened to the note, I wonder? Maybe she realized it was suspicious to write a note that said, "These really are all my teeth!"

Notice how many. Nineteen.

Crime doesn't pay, kid. There's no fooling the Tooth Fairy.

Can you find the cranes in these pictures?

A terrific amount of rain lately has made much of our land into wetlands. This morning, we were treated to the mating dace of a male Sandhill Crane trying to impress his nonchalant lady friend. They are so well camouflaged in their environment that even I, who know where to look, have a hard time finding them in the pictures.

This is how they look up close.

A friend at work convinced me to show her how the cranes danced by mimicking it for her at school. She decided that Sandhill cranes are pretty much like seventh graders- at least as far as the mating dance is concerned. The male does any crazy thing he can think of to get the female's attention, while the female walks by him, pretending not to notice.

Obesity No More

Yes, we have discovered the cure for obesity, and it is... get ready... chickens!

The logic goes like this: From your grandmother back to the dawn of time, people have basically needed to eat everything edible that they could find. This is no longer true in some places, like Wisconsin. Even though we are mostly overweight, most of us clean our plates, because we have been taught not to waste food. If we leave food on our plates, we feel guilty. So. What to do?

Feed it to the chickens!

Everyone just needs to have some chickens around to eat all of their scraps. Then, you never have to feel like your are wasting food. The extra food goes to the chickens, who then convert it to eggs. It's all good. No one feels guilty for wasting food. Extra calories are not consumed. People are healthier and happier.

There is but one exception: if you are eating chicken for dinner, you'd better clean your plate yourself! Chicken is not fattening, though. Just bake it instead of deep frying it.

Oh, and eat some veggies. Avoid processed foods. Run around and dance and stuff. Go for a swim. Enjoy your body.

Any more questions?

(And, yes, I know it's more complicated than that. What can I say? I just love chickens.)

Baby Chickens by Request

We will soon be hatching chicks again, in about a month. Here are the chicks from three years ago, the original chickens:

It's always just so much fun to have babies. The original post is here.

Data Cooking

My dad sent my husband a new computer. The two of them are in cahoots, somehow. I came home and could not get through the door because the box on the porch was so big.

BAH set it up, and it is impressive. Long and thin, it looks like a metallic table top. Turn it on, and it is loud, like a hair dryer. Turn off the lights in the room, and you see that it has blinking lights of different colours on the back, like the walls on the old USS Enterprise. Leave it on for a few hours, and it heats up the room an extra five degrees. I have no idea what it does, but I'm guessing it computes things. Very important things, I'm sure.

I made some home-made pizza on it today. It was so nice and warm, my dough was rising in no time.

I think I'll make yoghurt on it, next.

P.S. Update: BAH tried making yoghurt on it. It didn't work. :(

Martha has no Thyme for Anything

I had this idea to plant little pots of my favourite seasonings and keep them in the kitchen, ready to pick and eat. I bought some 25 cent mugs at the thrift store. I put them in that spot I cleared recently by breaking down the bars. I was taking Gina's suggestion.

To remember what I planted, I bought seasonings from a song, and planted them in order along the ledge: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. I planted two little pots of each, except- when I opened the packet of Thyme, there was nothing inside! Now, I have Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and nothing- with a little spot for a cat to sit in the middle.

The pot named Martha was supposed to have grown Thyme. We were going to use the Thyme on our eggs.

Poor Martha has no Thyme for eggs.

"Couldn't be bothered..."

We just got back from a trip to Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. It was a chilly spring break.

People have an interesting dialect in Western Pennsylvania. Certain expressions are unique: for example, "couldn't be bothered."

My uncle is basically a squatter in his house, but I know he didn't set out to be that way. He was legit when he moved into the house, ready to pay rent, I'm sure. He moved in several years ago, and I couldn't remember the details, so I asked my grandma for the original explanation of the situation.

"Oh, she knew he was there, the woman who owned the house, yeah. She just couldn't be bothered."

That was it! She died, later, the landlady, and because she "couldn't be bothered," my uncle was sort of left in limbo, living in a house that nobody seemed to own.

Another thing: the bar where my uncle hosts musical acts just went out of business. They were actually doing fine, but the roof developed a leak, and the landlord? He couldn't be bothered to fix it. Roof caving in, the music house shut down, and is now looking for a new venue in which to operate.

The movie theater in Irwin had a leaky roof, as well. The owner couldn't be bothered to have it fixed, so she sent one of her minion employees crawling over the roof, patching it, and he fell right through, into the seats below. The place later burned down. She couldn't be bothered to rebuild it.

The trailer next door to my cousin's trailer is up for sheriff's sale because the owner couldn't be bothered to live any longer.

The long drive home was peppered with many a collapsed barn that someone couldn't be bothered to fix.

From the toll way, it appeared that the entire town of Gary, Indiana, just couldn't be bothered any more.

I couldn't be bothered to write...