Saturday, April 23, 2005

It's been busy here!

I see I've not posted for a few days--oy! Here's what's been happening:
  • Picked up the plans for the new house so we can run them around to the various suppliers. Groundbreaking's probably Monday or Tuesday (yay!).
  • Started the switching process for what's currently the bedroom and what's been the "sewing room" but has actually been a bit of a dumping ground for a bunch of boxes of quilting/sewing stuff as well as stray musical instruments and other things. In the course of that, several boxes of debris were trashed--always nice to sift and dispose; just a pity we paid to move it.
  • Susan the Demon Child will be moving back in with us (yaaaaay!) and will be taking over the former sewing room, while what's been her bedroom will become the actual sewing room in a usable condition.
  • Went out to dinner last night at Beppe & Gianni's (our favorite local restaurant) followed by going to a concert by David Sedaris (of NPR fame, notably This American Life). He read some of his works, which are incredibly funny. You'll never hear the stuff he read last night on the radio; it's far too rude. (You can hear him doing some readings on the unofficial David Sedaris website.) David read a fable he wrote entitled "The Cat and the Baboon," read a long, meandering (and equally hysterical) story recently published in the New Yorker, and a number of other pieces. I'm going to see him again and recommend that y'all go see him, too. It was a Good Night Out.
Right now I'm in pre-game for a radio interview in about 15 minutes on Sci-Tech Radio with Carl Abrams, so I'd better grab a hot cup of coffee, look at my notes, and get ready.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

An Irish blessing

This came from friends in Atlanta:

May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

And, as promised, I wanted to let you know that I've enabled blogrolling. The links will vary. I think I've got it on random cycle at the moment for want of anything better.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Blogging about blogging for a moment

Darren Barefoot (who's got a great blog of his own) sent me a link to a very helpful article on how to make your blog better and to promote it. It has loads of helpful advice in it, including a reference to a lovely feature that I'm going to have to try that's available at (I'll let you know when I've got it in place; if you're curious, I encourage you to go look at it yourself.)


Done with the gardening for today

And here I was worried that I was going to have too many bedding plants. Haw haw haw haw haw haw!!!

I got one barrel planted and a couple of the hanging baskets, but I saw how I was planting waaaaaaaaaay too far apart. Yes, one is generally supposed to plant things widely spaced and all, but these are floral barrels that I'm going to be feeding with plant fud and all and the plants weren't going to grow together with the spacing (3-4") I'd left so I was able to more than double the number of plants in the barrels... which means that I got three barrels and two hanging baskets done and I am bloody well in need of more plants! What. A. Shame.

I'm really pleased with what I've accomplished today, even though my hands are uncomfortably dry from all the digging in the dirt. The barrels are already pretty (and the alyssum is in full bloom and has that wonderful seductive honey smell whenever you're anywhere near it). There's also the satisfaction of doing something that's going to make the backyard that much more gorgeous in a few months.

My only annoyance (other than needing a bunch more plants) was that I encountered masses of little yellow round things a bit smaller than a BB that I'm fairly sure are snail eggs. Slug eggs, as I've seen in times past, are clear, slightly translucent, things that show up in small masses, but these were a bit hard but they would crunch when pressed. They fit the descriptions of snail eggs that I found on the net, so I think that's what they are. I didn't like the idea of lots of baby snails feasting on all my hard work, so as I worked the soil in the barrels, I'd squeeze handfuls (and hear little popping noises). I'll keep an eye on the soil and the plants for the next couple of weeks to make sure that these things aren't hatching into something that likes baby plants.

And meanwhile, I t'ink I gots t' go to de store again for more plants.


How could I have forgotten???

You know, in my list of places that I'd like to live, I COMPLETELY overlooked mentioning Vancouver, B.C., and environs. I think it was so on my mind that I thought I'd already mentioned it or something... but, hell, yes, living in Vancouver would be perfect.

It has been pointed out to me that the problem with living in Ireland (and Scotland as well) is that there are no trees, which would probably be a crimping factor eventually. Well, not, no trees at all in Ireland, but it's nearly so in comparison to the Northwest. In fact, Ireland was completely deforested about 2500 years ago to the point that there was nothing to stop erosion, which is why you have all those incredible fields of limestone that are almost as infertile as the surface of the moon. There are mountains enough for the most part, though I imagine I'd have to go to the Alps periodically to see real mountains. Shoot, why not just live in Northern Italy near the Swiss border (or in Switzerland near the Italian border, for that matter)? Yeah, that might work, too.


Typing with dirty fingernails

It's been a day of domesticity so far. I baked a couple loaves of banana bread, which have made the house smell wonderful, and I'm been outside planting some of the bedding plants we bought last night. Like everyone who buys bedding plants, we bought too many for the barrels on the deck, so I'm trying to come up with spaces for some of the extras. We also got a small plastic cold frame with peat pots so I could start the melon and crookneck squash plants. I started all the squash seeds (2 plants/pot) and half the melon seeds (3 plants/pot--don't know how well they'll go; I've never had quite a lot of luck with melons), so I've got 30 squash starts and 20 melon starts. (Yeah, yeah, I know; I'm going to be giving some of these away to the neighbors.)

The biggest problem with planting this stuff is that there are a bunch of dahlias in the barrels already--a varying number. So I'm going to have to mix and match everything--alyssum, lobelias, petunias, geraniums, verbena, marigolds, more dahlias, creeping charlie, licorice plant, ivy, and some really pretty ranunculi--in and around the dahlias in place. A lot of things are going to end up in the ground where I can find spots (the front and backyards are fairly well landscaped already and there's not a lot of direct sun because of all the trees) and in a few hanging baskets that I had lying around. And the barrels are going to be deliciously overflowing with flowers. I got one of two tomatoes planted in a container for now; have to find somewhere for the other tomato plant.

I planted the last of the bush sugar peas the other day. I'm waiting for the sweet peas and the bush sugar peas to come up (I planted late, but it's been cold enough that I think we'll get away with it.)

There are now a bunch of spanish lavenders planted in the ground in the front and the back and a couple of rosemary plants.

Things are going to look mighty pretty. And fairly tasty.


Monday, April 18, 2005

An online etymology dictionary

There's an online etymology dictionary that my beloved drama teacher from high school turned me on to. They describe themselves thus:

This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.


Dump DeLay

Vote on your favorite billboard slogan!

There's a wonderful campaign to dump Tom DeLay, the Dale Gribble of Texas politics. You can vote on the top 30 responses (of over 20,000) for billboards that Democracy for America is going to put up in Tom DeLay's backyard.

DeLay, in case you're not familiar with him, calls himself "the Hammer." In an interview this week, a reporter asked him if he had "ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, [his] use of government authority or with fundraising." His response? "Ever is a very strong word." (Well, so is "putz," but that one certainly seems appropriate, too.)

Take a moment to go to and pick your favorite.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Obscure saint: St. Drogo

Okay, the Roman Catholic Church is pretty weird in a lot of ways; we all knew that. But I stumbled over a saint that I feel I have to share with all of you: St. Drogo. (I am assuming that this is pronounced with long 'o' sounds.)

According to various and sundry web resources, St. Drogo was also known as "Dreux," "Druon," and "Dugo." (If those are the choices, I'd stick with "Drogo.") He was the child of Flemish nobility who was orphaned in his teens. Drogo got rid of his personal property and became a penitential pilgrim--the phrase "penitential pilgrim" is common to the various descriptions of him that I found on the web--who practiced extreme penances. (I'm sure he felt he had a good reason.) Drogo travelled to Rome nine times.

Drogo needed to support himself, so he worked as a shepherd for in Sebourg. The locals revered him for his holiness. His primary sainthood miracle seems to have been that he could "bi-locate," that is, be in two places at the same time: some witnesses attested that he was observed working simultaneously working in the fields and attending Mass. During one of Drogo's pilgrimages to Rome, he developed some kind of unsightly bodily affliction, so he became a hermit (at Sebourg) for the remaining 40 years of his life. He is the patron of orphans, mentally ill people, cattle, shepherds, unattractive people, midwives, and against bodily ills, sickness, broken bones, hernias, and (oy!) gravel in the urine. Possibly as a result of being in two places at once, he is also the patron saint of coffee house keepers. So now you know who protects your latté and the person who makes it.


Where would I live if not here?

Graves wrote in a recent blog posting of her own that there aren't many places other than where she's living now that she'd like to live. With the move from Seattle to Indiana in 2002 and the subsequent escape from the 7th Bolgia of Hell two years later to Eugene, I have given a lot of thought about where I'd be willing to live. While in Indiana, "where am I willing to live?/where would I like to live?" was something of constant consideration while digging the escape tunnel.

First of all, I don't ever want to live in the Midwest again! Let me emphasize this further: Indiana is a place that makes Texas look pleasant and desirable. While we met a few nice people there (and the folks in the UU church out there are very nice) and I was lucky enough to work with a few more, the populace for the most part should be sporting "Ask me about my extra chromosome" bumper stickers. I might be willing to live in parts of the East Coast except the hurricanes are getting worse thanks to global climate change and the winters can be really frightful. The South? There's minimal civilization outside of the big cities and bloody hell, it gets hot and sticky! I alluz say that if I'd wanted heat, I'd have stayed in Tucson. There are lots of people very dear to me in and around Tucson, but the heat is just too much for me to take in the summer. (I believe in cool, temperate climes.)

California? 'Sfar as SoCal, I never could tolerate smog, and the Bay Area, though beautiful and my heart yearns for it the way it was decades ago, is just too crowded and expensive. But I'll visit it often. The Rockies? Well, possibly: parts of Colorado are nice and there's all kinds of civilization and mountains--mountains are very important, I've come to realize. Oregon, the current location, is lovely on the wet side of the state. Parts of Washington up the I-5 corridor or even possibly on the peninsula might do, but we're drying out (global climate change again) and things will be very different in 15-20 years.

So, like Graves, I think the next major move might well be to another country. I liked the idea of living in Ireland. Scotland's very pretty. Might even consider parts of Europe, too. Australia and NZ are real possibilities. But if it gets to the point where there's no reason to stay in Eugene, there may well be no reason to stay at all. I love the country and love seeing it--there's just so much to see--and I dearly love my friends and relatives... but there's darned few places I think I'd like to live outside of where I am now.

P.S. Lorne Elliott, crazy Canadian folksinger (who is notorious for "Morris the Moose" and other songs of Dr. Demento ill-repute), is also the host of the CBC radio show Madly Off in All Directions. On a recent show, he did a song about
Air Canada that will be appealing to most anyone who's a fan of Canada or p'raps who's flown on Air Canada.