Friday, June 28, 2013

How Does My Garden Grow? Fast!

I've decided that my favorite thing about growing plants is getting something out of them in the end. This means no more silly houseplants that are just green will enter my domicile. Sure, plants of all types are great, but it seems I can't be bothered to care for them if they're not going to care for me.

My second favorite thing about plants is seeing them grow so quickly. This is my amaryllis bulb. A week ago, it was an inch tall. Now, it's three.

My big basil plant, purchased several weeks ago, is moving along at a fast clip. (Don't worry - I plucked the flowers off right after this picture.)

My paste tomatoes are growing quickly, too - though to be fair, that tomato had a head start when I got it from my CSA.

And the newest addition - another basil, this one from the CSA - is tiny, but going places. I can tell.

Some people might be disappointed to get a second basil plant. I think that's silly. We eat pesto and caprese like mad in the summer, if we have enough basil. If I had ten basil plants and nothing else, I would still be happy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Edvard Grieg: In the Hall of the Mountain King

When I was in second grade, I single handedly made my classmates develop a lifelong abhorrence of this song.

They weren't too fond of me, either.

Three times a week, the music teacher would come to our classroom with a cart full of large music books and instruments. Sometimes we would sing; sometimes we would play instruments. And sometimes, we would get to pick a song from the big music books to listen to.

Whenever I was called on, I chose this song. I think part of why my classmates hated it was because it was boring to them, having no words at all. (My repetitive requests were probably also to blame.)

My fondness for it was partially in the fact that it was by a Norwegian composer - even at that age, I recognized how awesome it was to be Norwegian. The other part was likely the awesome story behind the piece. (Though I didn't know that Grieg himself thought the piece "reeked of cowpats." Interesting.)

I think even then, I loved the dark intensity of the piece; it was so different from anything I'd ever listened to before, so full of doom and destruction. And, as Invader Zim says, "Destruction is nice!"

I requested that song over and over again, content to try to follow the music in my book as the music played over the tinny classroom speakers and my fellow students glared at me. Years later, I learned that there are other ways to enjoy this great piece: through Apocalyptica...

...And through Duke Ellington.

I still love this song. I have no regrets.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thor Kitty Will Hammer You into Awakeness

Due to a late Blackhawks game, not falling asleep till midnight, and a thunderstorm that decided I was being too sleepy, you get this picture of Thor Kitty instead of a blog today.

I shall return later in the week with more hijinkery and shenanigans. Because that's what I do.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The One Where Rachel and Max Get Married!

Last weekend, my sister Rachel married her loving partner of ten years, Max. It was wonderful to see the two of them so happy.

The dress her mom made (by hand, composed of two different patterns!) was gorgeous and perfect for her.

It was also wonderful to take some great pictures, like this one of Max breaking the glass at the end of their ceremony. Mazeltov!

The decorations were exquisite.

I got some priceless shots of her screaming at how much it tickled when Max removed the garter.

Spousal Unit got his dance on pretty hard.

And Rachel danced with her daddy.

The weather was amazing all day. Everyone was sure it was going to get rained out - the radar was red for pretty much all of Wisconsin for Saturday. Instead of rainy, it was slightly overcast and cool during the ceremony, while we were outside. A dozen drops fell right after, and then the sun came out while the party took pictures. It was the perfect turn of events, leading to this wonderful sunset - their first as a married couple.

May the sun never set on your love.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Something New, Something Blue

In this little bag that I made (with size 2 needles) are two garters that I also made (with a size 7 crochet hook): one for wearing and one for tossing. The bag is a mohair blend, and the garters are bamboo and alpaca. I had a blast making this little bag, especially the picot and bead edging.

This weekend, my sister Rachel is getting married, and I'm so glad I was able to make something gorgeous for her. I'll share pictures of the garter with y'all, but only after her soon-to-be husband, Max, has seen them. I think that's a fair trade.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Church Was Framed.

I painted a watercolor in a one-day art class, back when I was in New Mexico. It turned out really nice, and I was proud of it. But a painting of an adobe church isn't really the kind of thing I would hang on my wall. So it stayed in a pile of papers for years.

One day, it occurred to me that the person who would appreciate this most was Spousal Unit's mom. She adores all things southwestern. So I found a matte and a frame.

I think it turned out pretty well.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Empty Pots on Patio Blow Back and Forth All Day

MADISON, Wisc.--In true hippie spirit, the black pot and the brown pot have been blowing in the wind on a second story porch for several weeks now, content to roam wherever the wind takes them.

At one point, in a show of individualistic thinking highly frowned upon by the brown pot, which has been wedged in a corner for two days, it almost appeared that the black pot would ignore the call of the wild and stay put. But in a last second gesture of bravery, it rolled across the patio once again, revisiting the same knot and splinters it rolled over five seconds ago.

Pot owner Allison says she's considered picking them up and stacking them between other pots on the patio, which are full of dirt and serving a greater purpose in life. "I hate to take away their freedom, though. Look at those guys. They're free to do whatever they want. Who am I to put them in their place?"

Her sentiment is representative of that throughout the Madison area, where many tree-hugging hippies are content to let their gardening implements and lawn furniture run rampant through the city streets. This has led to such incidents as the 2011 lawn chair stampede and the case earlier this year of a rogue trowel that stabbed its owner in the foot. The trowel is still at large and considered unarmed, but dangerous; please call local police forces if it is seen and do not attempt to engage.

Despite Allison's apparent consent of their lifestyle, the pots refused to comment.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Avatar Day, Father Lord!

Happy belated Avatar Day!

We celebrated Avatar Day on Father's Day this year (instead of the day before), so we decided to include Spousal Unit's father in on the fun by writing "Happy Avatar Day, Father Lord" on the cake. He didn't get it, but that's okay. A slice of virtual ice cream cake to anyone who does get it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Letter to the Future Ex-Governor

*Warning: Triggers and politics ahead.*

Dear Governor Walker,

I was very disappointed to hear about the new legislation requiring women seeking abortions to 1) get an ultrasound first and 2) be forced to look at the ultrasound images. I understand that, from your perspective, this is being done to provide women with "more information" on which to base their life-altering decisions. I'd like to tell you why I think that is, to put it lightly, a misguided perception.

Imagine being a pro-life woman who desperately wants a child, who has to have an abortion for medical reasons - if she doesn't, she, the child, or both of them will die. Being forced to look at that ultrasound would be a torturous reminder of what you can't have.

Without that torture, would her decision be uninformed?

Perhaps you are a woman who never would have considered abortion before being raped. A month or two have passed, and you are still traumatized by the event, having frequent nightmares and an inability to resume a physical relationship with your significant other, because physical intimacy gives you flashbacks. After this violent crime committed upon you, you discover that the man who raped you - the subject of your abject loathing and shame - has gotten you pregnant. When you try to have an abortion performed, you discover that you will first need to have this inserted by a complete stranger.

Is a rape victim more informed by this painful, humiliating procedure?

These are not mere examples; these women exist and have to go make these awful decisions daily. To me, suggesting that a woman does not have all the necessary information to make a difficult decision like this is simply condescending, insulting, and degrading. What more does a woman need to know, other than that a fetus is growing inside her and that, one way or another, it could, will, and already has changed her life? Being forced into an invasive ultrasound only makes a difficult decision more traumatic.

Women understand what they're getting into, Governor. Do you?

Your adversary in the upcoming elections,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Graduation, Complete With Murder Mystery

Last week, my baby sister graduated.

I got to see my niece again for the first time in ages - and she didn't start crying when I tried to take a picture with her!

There was a strange murder mystery, and we're still not sure if the purple dinosaur (not Barney) was the intended victim or the murderer.

But it doesn't really matter, because we're all mad here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The "Help Me" Game

When I was little, I played a game in the car that, had my mother known about it, would have gotten me in possibly the biggest trouble ever.

Mom would be in the front seat, driving to the grocery store, the mall, wherever. I'd be hanging out in the backseat, like you do when you're that young.

Keep in mind, my imagination is nuts now; it was even more nuts back then. When I played this game, I was dead serious about it. As I entered the realm of make-believe, I left reality behind entirely; the game became my one and only reality.

I would lean over to the window, my hands flat against the glass (Mom was always wondering what required me doing that, I'm sure). My mouth would follow suit - or at least be very close to the glass, right between my hands - and I would mouth two words at passing vehicles, in the hopes that they would see.

Help me.

That's right, I used to make-believe that I had been kidnapped and was sitting in the backseat of this terrible car against my will, driven around by a stranger who was pretending I was her kid. In those moments, I wanted nothing more than to be rescued from my imaginary hell.

I'm just lucky no real strangers on the other side of the glass did.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Harvest: Draft 3

My novel is complete.

I have completely finished the most recent draft, meaning I have a book that can be read from beginning to end. It's still not pretty and still needs a lot of work, but this step is complete. For about two months, I worked on it nearly every day, writing about 400 words (a little more than one page) during my lunch hour at work. This is goal 7 of my 25 things.

This has resulted in a total of 331 pages and 91,848 words. I'm very impressed with me.

The next step is to reread the whole thing, then start draft 4. There are one or two sections that need to be added, several scenes to rewrite, and continuity to check for. I also want to revamp some characters. So much work to be done, but after about 30 pages, I can already see what the main problems are, so that's kind of nice.

The main thing I'm worried about is my writing overall. I've improved so much while finishing the ending, and I'm afraid that by writing so much less right now, I'll lose that skill and have to start from Ground Zero all over again.

But that's why I started this blog in the first place: to whip my writing skills in tip-top shape for the sake of my book and to get in the habit of writing daily.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Graduation

Today, we're heading out to see my little sister graduate.

I will likely be so smothered by family that you won't hear from me again. This week, anyway. I don't think they'd go so far as to kill me.

Wasn't expecting this post to go there. It's always the short ones...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Favoritism vs. Diplomacy

This picture is completely unrelated to the post.
I just wanted to share it.

Sometime in high school, while I was evaluating myself, I realized I didn't have much in the way of favorites. I decided I had to change that.

It wasn't that I didn't have passion and goals; it was that when asked, "What's your favorite meal? What's your favorite hangout place? What's your favorite season? What's your favorite book?" I didn't have an answer. I knew what I liked, but all of my likes blended together. No one seemed to stick out as an obvious choice above the others.

That seemed like it was wrong to me, so I pondered many different aspects of my life, hoping to reach a point at which I could say with confidence, "Spinach wrap-up lasagna. The coffee shop downtown. Autumn." I learned many things about myself and found many answers.

Of course, in some areas, I still couldn't identify any one favorite thing. I still can't tell you any one favorite book; instead, I have to rattle off a list of at least five. I have no favorite outfit or favorite dessert (though I can tell you what I don't like). I don't have a favorite movie.

Some things just aren't that simple for me. And as I considered that yesterday, I realized it's not so much a matter of lacking favorites as it's a matter of liking many, many things. I see merits in many different things, places, people, and it's near impossible to say that I like one above all others because of that.

So in theory, I might have made a good diplomat.

If I didn't hate politics.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Random Old Stuff

Spousal Unit and I stopped at an antiques place this weekend. It was so full of stuff that I couldn't find its name on the building, and it's not on the Googles. But it's on highway 11/14 about 10 minutes east of Janesville - it might be the General Antique Store in Emerald Grove.

We found some awesome treasures there. The first date I could find in this German bible was 1714, which I knew couldn't possibly be correct, or it would be falling apart in my hands.

The shop owner said it was late 1800s. Still very impressive - it had a wooden cover. I'd have bought it in a heartbeat if I had any cash.

This is also the home to Ed Gein's second headstone.

The room full of old books was pretty neat, and among them was a copy of Wisconsin Alumnus from 1957: "The University of Wisconsin in an Atomic Age."

It was a good way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon.
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