Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whew, Glad That Is Over

Well, I weathered the storm as best I could, but it certainly was not pretty. About halfway through the night, I considered investing in adult diapers just to solve the conundrum of which way I should face the toilet for the next onslaught. Instead, since it was pretty much all liquid by that point (ew, sorry. TMI?), I just migrated into the shower and washed it all down the drain.

What a pretty picture I paint.

Speaking of pretty pictures, looking out my office window, I am seeing very pretty pictures indeed. Did I mention that the city came out and planted the three new trees in place of our big silver maple? So in addition to my little Japanese red maple, I can now also watch what I believe is a silver linden grow, day by day. Little buds are sprouting everywhere on all the trees. Our crab apple and our "real" apple are slowly starting to flower, as are the chanticleer (non-fruit-bearing) pear trees. I think tomorrow we'll celebrate being over the evil 24-hour bug by buying a couple more fruit trees for a mini (emphasis on mini) orchard.

Someday, our little tree will look this ...
oh, in say, 40 years or so? No worries. I'm patient (sometimes).

And inside my basil, cilantro, and strawberry shoots are coming up. Of course, we have yet to break up the concrete slab that is covering our future herb garden, but we'll make a plan. If anything, I'll have lots of basil in pots all over our patio.

Hooray for spring (and the fact that I lost 4 pounds courtesy of the plague and I have yet to fully regain my appetite ... which could use some subduing these days).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Waiting for the Storm

There's this virulent little bug circulating among our friends. It started with Miss Z. She thought she had food poisoning, but it turns out it was some kind of stomach flu masquerading as food poisoning. Then it moved on to the K-Stein family, including 6-month old Syd. We, over here on the 6th Street side of the North End, thought we had escaped the wrath of the bug, but then there was the Saturday barbecue. JB and Mr. J both caught it at the same time. And now here I sit, feeling crampy and runny and extremely nervous.

Is it just nerves and lack of food that is making me feel so horrible, or is this the start of what we have all come to call the North End Plague? I don't know. But either way, it sucks.

Time to make another bathroom run. Wish me well on this "joyous" journey of sickness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tales from the Shower

Do any other bloggers out there in the Blogosphere compose entire posts while standing in the shower, or is this just my modus operandi? It happens more often than not that I come up with brilliant, witty, completely fascinating posts while standing under a stream of hot water. Then I go to my computer, check my email, read other blogs, check out Facebook, make a list of what I need to do throughout the day, eat breakfast, feed the dog, put away the dishes, chat with Mr. J, etc., etc. By the time I get to this blog, I have completely lost whatever brilliance I might have had in the shower and am left writing things like this.

Or maybe it's just one of those things ... like we always sound better singing along to the radio in the privacy of our own cars (you know we do!). Maybe my shower thoughts just seem fantastic in the silence of my own brain.

I honestly cannot remember what I had concocted in my head this morning, but I was very excited to get down here and get it on the computer. But then life interrupted, and here it is 2:15 p.m. and I can't even recall a glimmer of the idea.

Maybe I should get some kind of waterproof notepad and keep it in the shower. Or how about a waterproof laptop? Actually, if I had that, I might never get out of the shower. I do so love enjoying a steamy hot shower (even though I know it's a total waste of water and energy ... no one is perfect).

So instead I will share this brief glimpse into the romantic conversations between myself and Mr. J that take place when he is traveling to exotic locales around the world (this past week he has been in Costa Rica ... the butthead):
Mr. J: I pulled out my underwear this morning and funny thing, a pair of yours fell out as well. Only problem was, you weren't in them.

[then, later in the day, on another Skype chat]

Mr. J: Why can't I get your underwear out of my head?

Me: What'd you do, stuff it in your ears? Maybe some tweezers would help.
Yes, that is why the man married me. For my fantastic skills at long-distance sexy phone conversations.

p.s. As I was uploading the picture, I remembered what my brilliant post was, and truly, it's not that interesting at all. Something to do with rescuing dogs at midnight and my studio apartment in San Francisco. So I guess maybe it's a good thing I don't have that waterproof laptop after all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just Stuff

It's been so long since I've bought whole 100% full-fat milk that I forget what it "acts" like. We have been soy drinkers or skim milk drinkers or whatever for so long now (Mr. J is mildly lactose intolerant ... boo hoo). And seeing as those products are mostly water, they don't usually hold very many surprises (not counting any surprises the processing of said beverages may create). But last time we went shopping, Mr. J bought the milk, and he does not pay attention to 1%, 2%, what-have-you. I think his criteria this time were price, recycle-ability of the container, and hormone-free/organic and all that. So we have this delicious full-fat yummy milk from a local dairy, provided in a fully-recyclable glass bottle. Joy!

However, the "expiration date" for said milk is 3/29, which is a full four days away (I believe those expiration dates as if they are set in stone and mandated by law). But today, when I went to make a tasty toasty Mexican-style hot cocoa, I noticed some scum on the side of the bottle. And when I poured the milk into the pot to heat it up, there was some slimy goo sitting on top. But it didn't smell bad, and I did not see any telltale clumps of badness. So I just stirred it up and attributed it all to the joys of minimally processed wholesome goodness. But now I'm admittedly a little hesitant to take that first sip. Already that hot cocoa slime is forming on the surface of my drink. Oh, the perils of modern life! What a dangerous life I lead!


On another note, it's a gorgeous spring day in Boise. A little smog has settled down here in the valley, but this morning's lovely 2-hour hike with friend Rhonda and the pooches got us up into the fresh air and out of the "fray" that is our little city on a Wednesday morning. I really need to remember how much I enjoy getting up early and moving and watching The Dog have such a blast (I love these "controlled off-leash trails" of ours). So assuming I don't die from some horrid milk disease, I'd say that this Hump Day is turning into quite the pleasant day (even if the rest of it will be spent here at this computer cleaning up a document on "very low-income loan obligations"...zzzzz).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tales of the So-So Sewer

So, I've proven myself somewhat adept at this knitting thing. I mean, I haven't yet made anything more complicated than a cap, a scarf, and right now, a blanket. But I haven't royally screwed up yet either, as I do with just about every other crafting endeavor I get it into my head to try (ask me someday about the sock log dog). And I've actually completed six or seven entire projects. If you knew anything about my childhood (which you probably don't), then you would know that I was the queen of beginning everything from hook rugs to those small wood ornaments in which you twirled wood (or maybe it was paper) around a toothpick and then glued coils of the wood/paper/whatever into crazy shapes. But whatever project I started, I would soon give up, and my ever-patient mom would either finish it or just toss it, depending on her mood.

Anyway, I think I got a little cocky with this knitting thing. It made me think that I was finally over my craft-ineptness. I became so cocky that I had a friend come over to teach me how to set up my sewing machine. We got it all threaded, etc., and before I knew it, I was stitching away on an old hand towel. It looked like I actually knew what I was doing. So much so that I believed it myself.

That lesson was three weeks ago. And now here I am, on a gloomy Sunday, thinking I can create curtains for our kitchen all by myself.

Problem 1: I really have no clue how to cut fabric properly, and I definitely do not have the correct tools to do so. So I am starting off with a crookedly cut hem. Is that bad?

Problem 2: Clever on that I am, I decided to do some practice runs on my practice towel in an attempt to learn how to do overlock stitchin and hemming. In the process, I mucked up the thread ... thrice. I ran out of bobbin thread. (Luckily I am a pro at loading a bobbin. If only all of sewing were as easy as that.) And I have yet to be able to figure out the correct bobbin and thread tension, which means my overlock stitches are all over the place in length and width ... but maybe they are supposed to be that way. I just don't know. Or maybe it's not a problem with the tension, and I just suck at sewing. Hmmmm, could be.

Problem 3: In an effort to see if I could figure out the whole tension thing, I started on yet another row of stitching on my practice fabric and promptly snapped the needle in two. Really.

So now I am done. I am throwing in the towel (literally). I am either going to send it all off to my mom with the measurements. (Times like these I definitely wish my mom lived around the corner instead of thousands of miles away.) Or, better yet, I'm just going to go out and buy some curtains, because this whole "let's save money by making our own" is definitely not working out.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


Looking back over my previous post, I realize that my blog name is no misnomer. I can certainly ramble. I could have just as easily condensed my 7 facts about myself as follows:
  1. I don't know or care (anymore) how people should pronounce my name.
  2. I'm addicted to Big Fish Games' 60-minute free game trials.
  3. I have no clue how to apply makeup and make it look good.
  4. I can bring poor, unsuspecting women into the spell of my period hormones.
  5. I am definitely not a scientist.
  6. I love bacon.
  7. And now that these are nice and short ... I'll add #7: I tend to ramble on at ridiculous lengths about nothing very interesting at all! (see below)

We have a friend here in Boise who, I am learning each time I talk to him, knows just about everything about everything, but not in an annoying sort of way. Actually in a very fascinating way.

The latest tidbit came up as I was telling him how we had spread this horrible weed and feed stuff on our "lawn" in an effort to kill off the goatheads that were endemic to our yard when we moved in. According to Mr. Fascinating, goatheads are of a plant called Tribulus terrestris (which, to me, sounds even more evil than "goathead"). He went on to explain that it is a main ingredient in many of the muscle-builder powder stuff that people take to make themselves stronger. (Oh, the scientific explanation in that last sentence just proves Point #5 above!) Apparently this stuff goes for big bucks and is then ground up into a fine powder so that crazy people can ingest it. Just the thought of that makes my insides hurt, because in my mind, no matter how fine you grind that stuff, it's still horribly pokey evil that even in a microscopic form must still be pokey and ouchy. I mean it goes straight through tires without even a blink of its goathead eye, and it's just about the only thing that will stop The Dog in his tracks.

But, saying all that, apparently we could have just let this stuff grow and become bajillionaire goathead farmers. I wonder if that requires have a goat-herd?

Of course, this whole conversation led to hilarious talk about falling off our bikes into a pile of goatheads and coming up raving mad, a la the Incredible Hulk, or just taking the pointy ends of the goatheads and jabbing them in our arms to get a little extra juice. But, I guess you had to be there to really capture the hilarity of it all.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MIA, Awards, and All That Jazz

My, oh my, where have I been? Well, I've been here, at my computer, but I've actually been working rather than procrastinating (I mean blogging) . . . for a change.

As I wrote whenever it was that I posted last, my blogger buddy over at Little Farm. Growing presented me with an award, and I am so, so honored. She is also one of my two, maybe three, readers, and I am ever-so grateful for that. Makes me feel not so alone in this big blogger world. (Come on, other readers. If you are out there, just sneak in a little comment. Even if it's just to say, "Wow, your blog is so boring." I need recognition.)

Anyway, part of this award dealie is that I have to list 7 little tidbits about myself. It's taken me more than a week, but I think I have come up with a few things. It's not as easy as it sounds!
  1. My name is Tara. (Whew, that was a tough one to come up with.) Does that count as Fact #1? No? OK, I'll elaborate:
    When I was 6 or 7, I was so incredibly shy, that people would ask my name, I'd whisper "Tara," and they would say, "Oh, hi Sara (Terri, Lara, or something similar). It's nice to meet you." I was so meek, I'd just let them call me what they wanted. In my teenage years, however, I became protective and assertive about my name. "It's Tara, as in terra firma. Not Tara, as in tar a roof. Got it?" Then college graduation came and I had to write my name phonetically so they would pronounce it correctly as I walked across the stage. Instead of writing the simple and straightforward "Terra," I wrote the more complicated "tear a, as in tear a piece of paper." But I guess they didn't have time to process all that, so they called me up by the name "tear (rhymes with near) a." I flinched, but whatever. Who pays attention to that in a class of 600. But now for the twist: When I related all this to my grandmother and mom (who both came up with my name way back when), my Nana said, "But not one of those is how you pronounce your name." I was completely dumbfounded. She corrected my 20 years of ignorance by saying, "It's taaara." There is no way to explain how this is pronounced except to say that my grandmother is from New Jersey. It's very nasal, and the a is neither short nor long; it's just New Jersey. For the longest time, I wasn't even able to replicate this sound. So, really, I was not capable of saying my name correctly. Then at 27, I met Mr. J, and to all his friends and family, I am Tara as in tar a roof, because he is South African/Australian/American, and though he can say "terra firma" and even "terror," he seems unable to say my name correctly. But he's got that cute accent and that nice smile, so I let him get away with it. So now I am back to my 6 year old self, responding to whatever it is you want to call me. (The rest of the facts will be much shorter ... promise.)
  2. I am ridiculously addicted to the trial games over at By all that is holy and good, do not follow this link. It's a huge time-suck (even if it's only for 60 minutes a day)!
  3. Even though I am 40 years old, I have no clue how to apply make-up properly and instead usually end up looking like a man in very bad drag. (This inability of mine didn't used to be a problem, as I was one of those fresh-faced people who didn't need much makeup (though that didn't stop me from trying). Apparently, for me, all that changed once I hit the 4th decade. Joy.)
  4. It seems that my hormones are so strong that any female friend I hang out with for a while who is not on some form of birth control will come under my spell and join my cycle. So watch out. (Apparently these same hormones are not strong enough to figure out how to make a kid. But that's OK. I'm over that now.)
  5. I have a theory based on something I think I learned in science class. Apparently there is always the same amount of energy in the world (or is it matter? ... I think it's energy ... or maybe it's water). Anyway, it's something that is always constant, it's just not always in the same place or something. (I was such a good science student.) Anyway, my theory is that the weight of the world is always the same, and this includes the weight of people on the world. This theory is based on my oh-so-scientific evidence that whenever someone I know loses a bunch of weight, someone else (usually me) seems to gain it. I have since expanded this to a world view: The U.S. is ridiculously overweight, which is why there are so many starving people in places like Africa. So we all just need to reach a healthy weight, and that will miraculously balance out the weight elsewhere. (I'm really only half-serious here.)
  6. My new favorite quote is from a TV ad for something or other: "Bacon makes everything taste better. Even bacon." Who knew you could get so much wisdom from a 30-second commercial?
I know, that wasn't 7 things, but the first was so long, I'm giving it double points.

Now for the fun part. Bloggers I follow, read, etc., to whom I am awarding the Beautiful Blog award (even if some of them do not know I exist):
  • The Creamery: I am proud to say that I am one of Whimsy's newer minions. Her writing is beautiful, her attitude toward life and all its creaminess is empowering, and she has a beautiful little Bean to read all about.
  • Crazy Aunt Purl: There are so many days when I just want to copy what she writes and post it as my own. Crazy Aunt Purl always puts a smile on my face, and with her new camera, her cat photos are even better than ever!
  • Right Turn at Albuquerque: Our good friends Jon and Val left the Bay Area to start a farm in Bosque Farms, New Mexico. In addition to being fabulous friends who (whom?) we miss dearly, they are incredibly talented, brave, creative, and fun.
  • No Telling: I haven't seen her on the Blog World lately (and I hope everything is OK over there ... I worry about my bloggers when they don't post for a while), but I love her notes on the fridge and updates about local news. And because of her, I started this blog, so you can either thank her profusely or just cry, "Whhhyyy?" Up to you.
OK, those are the main ones (the "award rules" say 15 blogs, but if I followed 15 blogs regularly, I would never have time for work ... let alone for my crazy Big Fish addiction). Speaking of work ... 6 p.m. deadline looming. Time to get back to it.