Author Archive | Erasergirl

whack the needle

ok ok ok i made a huge effing mistake when i stopped blathering consistently a year and half ago. sometimes you just you get lost inside your own ennui and don’t feel like writing uninspiring words yet again . I truly don’t think anyone is listening anymore except for two people who whack me on the side of the head like when a needle is stuck in groove.  For those who need a catch up, I was laid off on my birthday the week before Christmas..yes i was…and the placement agency  dragged their heels about finding me ANYTHING at all..which is damn odd, I mean i can still sweep floors. Not to worry I was hired on my first phone call to the 1st job I applied for… but it has been a bear. don’t get me wrong, it is way better than sweeping floors and digging ditches, nice environment, pleasant fellas…and basically all i have to do is type..and memorize….NOT MY FORTE! totally first world problems…it’s not something where i can JUST type and get lost up inside my head, for weeks i had to concentrate on every fucking piece of paper that passed through my hands, it’s exhausting!.. i’m sorry but it IS only a second job and though it is paying better than my last one, they aren’t paying to use all my brain, they are only renting the part that is connected to my hands. But is getting better, my short term memory is for shit, but now that i have been there a few months I am getting better at autotyping when appropriate. This job has more hours to it..gone is my lovely three day weekend…in fact starting next week I am doing an ugly month of double shifts since the day guy is having an operation.. i just keep thinking of all the lovely money..

Until this last weekend I had not done much of anything at all…worked and watched a lot of tv and knitted 2 more pairs of red merino socks,  third pair in process…i’m stuck in a red phase.  I felt the weather change coming and I culled my clothes down to what actually fits and what SHOULD fit if i loose more weight.   I wanted to get out of the winter at the same weight i went in at… alas i reacquired a couple of pounds..i blame the guy next to me at work who snacks all day..  I finally threw open the windows, (and washed them), started a good spring clear out, and made huge pile of lawn debris for a dump run.  I was working through a head cold and this gave me a chance to sweat it out.    I did FINALLY get new glasses, though I am not in love with them I can’t blame everything on the lack of new glasses anymore.  The new job pays enough to afford my first pair of bifocals,  though the rest of my body has health coverage, my teeth and eyes, do not, GEE THANKS OBAMA…

I will do my best not to crawl up inside my skull from hereon out…it’s spring in Maine… the garden is greening up, the wintawoolies are put away, and the winders are thrown open.




a year of comfort reading

In 2015 I started adding audiobooks to the podcasts what I listen to at work ….The day job was logistics/order tracking, I needed to keep part of my mind busy so I could concentrate…go figure. I had to change that sentence to past tense, since I got laid off on my birthday the week before Christmas -(fuck 2016, i mean seriously, what the hell 2016?)  I was happily lost in reading techno and futuristic thrillers.  But after the ‘day the earth stood stupid’ came and went I had to avoid most of my favorite podcasts and retreat into rereading comfort books.   R means a reread…a number of R’s means I’ve read it a LOT.

I’m poking around the place these days finishing up any projects that are underfoot and waiting to hear about other job prospects I have on the backburner. The job I think I am most likely to get, and the one I really HOPE to get, doesn’t sound like one where I will have an audiobook streaming in my left ear. So I may have to ratchet back my book consumption for the new year.

The Accidental Alchemist, Gigi Pandian
Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
Altered Carbon #1, Robert K Morgan
The Ascent of Rum Doodle, W Bowman (RR)
The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files #1), Charles Stross
Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
Bloody Jack #1, L .A Meyer
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld #23) (RR)
Clammed Up, Barbara Ross
Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1), Kerry Greenwood
Crooked Little Vein, Warren Ellis
Daemon, Daniel Suarez
The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2), Liu Cixin
Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
The Design of Everyday Things
Dinosaur Summer, Greg Bear
Embedded, Daniel Abnett
Equal Rites (Discworld 33) (RRR)
The Everything Box, Richard Kadrey
Feet of Clay (Discworld #19)
The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24;) (RR)
Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Freedom™, Daniel Suarez
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, David Wong
Going Postal (Discworld) (R)
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (R)
Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (RR)
The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) (R)
A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld #32) (R)
Hogfather (Discworld, #20)  (RR)
Horrorstör, Hendrix, Grady
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4)
Inferno, Niven & Pournelle
Island in the Sea of Time, S. M. Stirling, (R)
The Jennifer Morgue Laundry Files #2, Charles Stross
Jingo (Discworld, #21)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #1) Taylor, Jodi (R)
Killing Pretty- Sandman Slim #7, Richard Kadrey (R)
Kraken, China Miéville
Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1), James S.A. Corey
Lies, Damned Lies, and History: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7, Jodi Taylor (R)
The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
Lords and Ladies (Discworld #14) (R)
The Magicians, Len Grossman
Making Money (Discworld, #36)
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance
The Martian, Andy Weir (RRRR)
Maskerade (Discworld, #18) (RR)
Men at Arms (Discworld, #15) (RR)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
Mort (Discworld #4) (RR)
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
Night Watch (Discworld, #29) (RR)
No Time Like the Past (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #5) (R)
The Perdition Score Sandman Slim #8, Kadrey, Richard
The Precipice (Mike Bowditch, #6), Paul Doiron
Presto: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Magically Disappear. Penn Jillette
Raising Steam (Discworld, #40)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (RRRR)
Reaper Man (Discworld) (R)
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Ruddy Gore: A Phryne Fisher Mystery.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss
A Second Chance (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #3) Taylor, Jodi (RR)
The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld #41)
A Simple Murder, Kuhns
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (R)
Snuff (Discworld #39) (R)
Soul Music (Discworld, #16) (R)
Sourcery (Discworld, #5)
Spinster, Kate Bolick
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off (knitting)
The Stupidest Angel, Christopher Moore (RRR)
A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #2) (RR)
Ted Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking
The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield
The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1), Liu Cixin
Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome (RRRR)
Thud! (Discworld, #34) (RR)
A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #4) (RR)
The Truth (Discworld, #25)
Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37)
The View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman
The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Wee Free Men (Discworld) (RR)
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #6 (RR)
Where’s My Cow? (Discworld, #34.5)
Witches Abroad (Discworld #12) (RR)
Worst. Person. Ever., Douglas Coupland
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engel
Wyrd Sisters (Discworld #6) (RR)
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

down the gluten free rabbit hole

15319194_10154957027115312_2953072245975760710_nSometime this autumn I went vegetarian, as well as wheat free and corn free…the end goal is not just to lose a substantial amount of weight. .there is no real end goal, I expect to keep with this sort of diet forever.  I have lost about 20 lbs so far…and I plateaued about 6 weeks ago…but it’s winter, generally a time that pounds accumulate, right now as long as I don’t gain anything I’m a happy camper.

Meanwhile, on Thanksgiving I went to two homes and ate two turkey dinners with a few trimmings, and last week I had a couple of slices of pepperoni pizza with some work colleagues, and then a couple of days later I didn’t bring food to work so I ate a vended ham and cheese sandwich was tasted pretty good…so that’s the kinda of flexible diet I embrace. I tell people I’m avoiding wheat and gluten, but I am not religious about it. I figure every time I avoid the things I am avoiding, the times I don’t will matter less and less.

Like a lot of people I scoffed at the Gluten Free army, just another one of those bandwagons people climb onto.  YES some people have a sensitivity, but half the planet?  Where I am avoiding wheat of all stripes, with or without gluten, it has become an awfully handy resource.  Metro Portland is a ridiculously easy place to have a specialized diet, much easier than back in the MV.  When choosing a frozen pizza, it isn’t GF or regular? it’s WHICH GF pizza to buy?  My personal opinion is that GF pizza, GF cookies, GF cake….are STILL pizza, cookies and cake…so just swapping out to a the GF version isn’t the same as a healthy diet.  But a GF pizza  still makes a treat from time to time – and there’s even a place that delivers a GF pizza, that ain’t half bad.

15253538_10154955722390312_6201720187086987822_nI did a big purge at first, pressing all my freezer meat and homemade food onto my moms, and slowly I am learning which GF foodstuffs fit into my life.  Between Bob’s Red Mill and now King Arthur’s GF line, one could be happily baking from prepared mixes for a while. but many GF things just aren’t worth the bother, the taste or texture just reminds you it isn’t what it isn’t. Today I pulled off a couple of challenges.  A chicken free chicken noodle soup (with gf noodles) which was delicious, and a Shepherd’s Pie using lentils, also delicious.  Both meals were relatively time consuming,  like everyone else I don’t get much scratch cooking done on days I go to work.   I try to make up for by cooking ahead on my days off.    Sadly I don’t think there will be any soup leftover after tomorrow.

A friend turned me on to Vitacost which carries a lot of products I can’t find locally as well as things I didn’t know existed. Luckily their prices and shipping costs are quite reasonable. They don’t do that thing that Amazon does, by overcharging you to penalize you for wanting something they actually sell.  But if you have an odd diet, they probably have what you are looking for.

Sometimes you don’t know what you are looking for until you see it.  I stopped at a different grocery store last night and found that Snyder’s makes a couple of Gluten Free pretzels which I will probably consume at a ridiculous clip.  I don’t know what it is about working at a computer, but I always feel I need to be snacking on something. And pretzels make the least mess.

So in a few weeks I have moved from the ‘i’m not going to bother with gluten free products”, to “what else comes gluten free and can i eat it?”  Someone JUST opened a bakery at the end of my street….something I would have loved two years ago, now just offers me another thing I need to avoid.  But the baker does have some GF items on the menu… Portland, damn it.



simplify simplify

c9a60efd5105f7d75c171e4c57b62a6fI have written before about how i divested myself of many many things.  When I moved into this hovel, i thought i had made it to a point where i owned the least I have ever owned, and it was still quite a bit.   Unfortunately being a bit of a non-minimalist, I tend to acquire and not deaccession until I run out of storage or I have what i consider clutter. I still see things I want to own, i don’t know where that need comes from, i only know it when it happens.  I was standing in the thrift store aisle holding a little .99 saucer and it was all i could do not to buy it. i didn’t need it, it was just pretty.  but If i brought it home, it would indeed make me smile when I saw it, but where would it get stored, what would i use it for? teabags?  cookies?  spoons? what am i putting those things on now? Did one day I put a spoon on the counter and say ‘ i need a saucer to go under that spoon.’  So there was no saucer shaped hole in my life that needed filling, in the end it stayed in the store.  The art supply store has put in some tableware for some inexplicable reason…pretty stuff but not even locally made.. it was less difficult to not buy an olive wood tidbit bowl since it was more than I was willing to rationalize..and so it goes, it is a constant struggle.

Lately I am having the urge to do a big divest again, but I can’t find a good reason other than the desire.  What do i cull?  ideally i’d like to get rid of all my kitchen devices and bring all that ware down to a minimalist level.. but what do i donate ?  my electric teakettle that i use everyday?  my toaster?    without an actual oven in my kitchen I am limited in what I can do without.  the tiny microwave is on its last legs and will probably not get replace for financial reasons even though i use it everyday to reheat things i have previously cooked. I know how to reheat things in my counter oven or on the hot plate, but that makes pots and pans dirty so now i have more dishes to wash. and so forth, cooking with fewer vessels and utensils is possible and i have found enjoyable, but there are tradeoffs.   One day I would like another stove.. but where would i put it?  get rid of the sideboard? then i have to move all the stored food into cupboards, and the items in the cupboards..would have to go someplace else.  I can only imagine that i had more cupboard space in my last kitchen which was very tiny.  Because I have not allowed myself to acquire MORE cooking vessels than i had before. I added a couple of sporks which i can’t find today.

Lately I have become obsessed with watching 18th century cooking videos on youtube. It reminds me that perfectly fine cooking can be done with fewer possessions.  One day when I get another stove I may take the plunge and purge a lot of my stuff, but how can i live without my stick blender?

new dog smell

thea I was on the fence about getting a new dog for a long time. Once winter set in and I was in the house a lot more, it became much more apparent something was missing. The other fuzzy roommates are fine for having life in the house, but seriously they don’t care about your day and you can’t take them to the beach or to the park. They have their limitations.

I started looking casually to see what was out there. My suspicions were confirmed, there were few dogs that i COULD bring home. I have the smallest house in Portland Maine, a number of cats and a partially sedentary lifestyle, this eliminates most dogs available in Maine and environs. Every few days I would check Craigslist, Uncle Henrys, and Petfinder. Being of the impecunious persuasion I would sort by cost and completely ignore breeders and expensive rescues.

Last Thursday a homely little face popped up on Petfindhelpingmework_edited-1er but not for long, she was only up for about a day and the rescue already had enough applications to remove her listing. I had figured I would apply just to get my feet wet. Luckily I was first in line… that never happens. Then I figured I would just go look, can’t hurt to look right? Of course once I saw her, i wasn’t leaving without her.

Thea..Althea now.. is from Texas, she was rescued and had all her ailments treated and made ready for adoption. I felt the adoption fee, a dear price for me, was a drop in the bucket for the transport and medicals already invested. I can always make more money.

But with this adoption I am experiencing something I never did before, guilt.  I have fostered and adopted hundreds of cats and dozens of dogs, I am usually the one finding homes for animals.  Not keeping them on purpose.  There were five other people after me who could have given this dog a perfectly good life.  What business did I have adopting her?  I am now responsible for giving her as good a life as she would have gotten with any of them.

So far Althea isn’t helping any with the guilt, she is turning out to be perfect.  She fits the house perfectly, the cats aren’t threatened by her and she doesn’t see them as things to chase.  She is reminding me to get off my ass and walk outside a couple of times a day.  She is still a little put out that i have to go to work in the morning but then so am I.  When the weather warms up, we will be going to the farmer’s market, and the dog beach, and other hikes, maybe even ride in the canoe.

new shit i bought this year

For many decades I wrestled with my poverty like an unwieldy python, eventually I started to embrace it. Embracing all the appropriate memes: repair, reuse, recycle, tiny-house living, living within your means, decluttering, anti-consumption. Recreational usage of thrift shops, allows me to upgrade my wardrobe, cupboard and linen closet as needed. But like anything else I live for the loopholes, usually planning out purchases of new non-consumables for weeks before taking the plunge. And in dark of winter when the world breaks out in a rash of holidays, I start rationalizing at warp speed, buying myself the things on my list but skipping the added guilt. It’s not like I’m buying boxes of lottery tickets or artificially priced designer fashions, the most frivolous I usually get is an annual twenty dollars towards my stamp collection.

Leaving aside: books, dvds, knitting needles, and yarn, and other things to fix other things.. these are most of the NEW things I bought this year:

16oz Stanley Classic Vacuum Camp Mug $22campmugDoubles for tea and for noodles. Nice fat handle and a screw top lid.
5 Cup Rice and Multipurpose Cooker $15ricecookerupgrade from my cracked, melted, scratched and abused 3 cup.
8GB MP3 Player with Micro SD Card $20mp3playerto replace the smaller more expensive one i can't find.
1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Tea Kettle $24teakettleI accidentally smashed the other one to bits, don't ask.
9 Reusable Mesh Bags for produce $12reusable-mesh-bagsI should have bought these ages ago. and more of the small size.
Cat Skeleton Halloween Decoration $13catskeletonWell, it made me laugh hysterically. The only child who noticed it got freaked out.
Handlebar Bike Bag $12bikebagI wanted one to go from bike to canoe...and immediately put them both away for the winter.
Digital Body Weight Scale $19
scaleThis one at least lights up larger numbers, though they are still bloody liars.
Deluxe Map Compass $8compassto replace my other compass, which i found as soon as this one came in the post.
Sole Buffer/ Callus Remover $19bufferbrilliant little thing.
16 oz To Go Cold Drink Tumbler $7togodrinkto be fair i didn't need a second one, but it was always in the sink.
Titanium Eagle Spork $9sporkMy most used utensil, i wanted a second one for work.
Bottle & Tube Brush Cleaning Set $8brushesI'm a sucker for things to fix other things.
3 Piece Ravioli Press $20raviolimakerideal for making my tea pastries.
2-Piece Kayak Paddle $59kayakpaddleto go with the Craigslist canoe
Old Town Pack 12 Royalex Canoe Craigslist $500packcanoeEvery girl needs a Canoe. Seriously used these are like $800
20 Gallon Aquarium $37 one of the few things you can't get economically online. 20gallonthe damned fish won't stop growing

goals and weight

tomato tart A couple of months ago, I finally went vegetarian…. I had been flirting with it for a few years. meat wasn’t a big mainstay for my diet, a couple of times a week, i’d add meat to a stew or casserole and if i was feeling rich i’d buy a whole chicken and stretch it to unreasonable lengths.

Removing the meat was easy, removing bread less easy, removing corn products wasn’t hard and probably the more dangerous of the bunch. Of the three, bread i still dream about at night, but I allow myself some flat bread off and on through the week, naan, pita, tortilla or the bottom of a tomato tart. Gluten isn’t a problem for me, but carbohydrates and starches seem to be.

Unfortunately, I have never been a huge vegetable person, to me they are all parts of a potential soup… it’s a brave new world for me. Too many raw foods at once can make me regretful, so I have been experimenting to find ways to get them inside of me, thus the tart.

I tried veganism once, it was extremely unsatisfying, too may things contain too many other things, and you have to start substituting things for other things…too complicated.  I just want to eat good real food and not have to worry, “oh does it have xyz in it?” i can’t eat “xyz” …i don’t want to be one of those people.   I just want to fill my diet with things that won’t hurt me. today I tried and liked millet go figure

I’m a big fan of Mark Bittman’s easy to remember advice “not to anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”  ‘cept in my case, i’d have to say my great grandmother..the only grandmother I met personally liked convenience foods.  Other bits of his advice were, not to buy things with more than 5 ingredients…. i’m afraid Cheerios breaks that rule and probably those granola bars I am partial to, but otherwise it’s a good rule of thumb for me.

scaleMeeting my biofamily has been delightful, and they understand completely when I say this… I don’t wish to continue sharing the family figure. Until now I just thought i was being a lazy sot, eating my feelings…but I have seen my future and don’t want any part of it. All those things I wanted to do someday are not going to wait forever. So i need to get off my ass and become half the person I have been lately.

I’ve only lost 15 lbs this summer, and about 20 before that…don’t do the’s not pretty… but I haven’t really been exercising for weight loss yet, just riding or hiking for my own casual amusement… all that loss was really just tied to DIET…  removing everything currently ‘bad’ from my diet and cutting intake down to half normal, is responsible for a slow steady loss.

I hope to bring good bread back into my diet when I am finally happy with my weight, but I plan to remain a vegetarian for the rest of my life.  (don’t get me wrong…I ate a strip steak last week at the company barbecue..i’ve become vegetarian, not stupid)    My original target  to reach my goal weight was 3 years, but I may change it to 2 years, if i get into this vegetarian thing and get off my ass.

by the pricking of my ears

2016-07-28 10.40.12 Last year I started adding audiobooks to what I listen to at work along with the podcasts…(the day job is logistics/order tracking, i need to keep part of my mind busy so i can concentrate…go figure) I was starting to loose track of which books i hadn’t finished.   There are a few that i got pretty far into but i got bored and started something more interesting.    So I started making a list using the library website, my audible account,, and what i posted on facebook.  This is what I can remember that I have read since January. I have gotten hooked on Cyperpunk and techy sci fi books, but i discovered a number that I really loved enough to add to my bookcase in print form.  I just ordered an ARC of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore for my collection and I’d like a nice vintage paperback copy of Forever War too.

Books I reread this year, that i have read more than 5 times… some are well into double digits, these are books I have in my collection in hardcover as well.

The Martian, Andy Weir
Island in the Sea of Time, S. M. Stirling,
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
The Ascent of Rum Doodle, W Bowman
Sandman Slim #1, Richard Kadrey
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #1), Jodi Taylor
A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #2)
A Second Change (The Chronicels of St. Mary’s #3)

and the rest…an R means I reread it, I usually revisit the last book in a series before I read the new one.

A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld)
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld)
Equal Rites(Discworld) (R)
Guards! Guards! (Discworld)
I Shall Wear Midnight(Discworld) (R)
Lords and Ladies(Discworld)
Reaper Man (Discworld)
The Shepherd’s Crown(Discworld)
The Wee Free Men(Discworld)
Witches Abroad (Discworld)
Wyrd Sisters (Discworld)

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #6  (R)
Lies, Damned Lies, and History: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7

Killing Pretty- Sandman Slim #7, Richard Kadrey (R)
The Perdition Score Sandman Slim #8, Kadrey
The Everything Box, Richard Kadrey

Crooked Little Vein, Warren Ellis
Worst. Person. Ever., Douglas Coupland
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, David Wong
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Altered Carbon #1, Robert K Morgan
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

Daemon #1, Daniel Suarez
Freedom™ #2, Daniel Suarez

Three Body Problem #1, Liu Cixin
Embedded, Daniel Abnett
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

Kraken, China Miéville
The Magicians #1, Len Grossman (R)
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
The Accidental Alchemist, Gigi Pandian
The Atrocity Archives Laundry Files #1, Charles Stross
The Jennifer Morgue Laundry Files #2, Charles Stross

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engel
Inferno, Niven & Pournelle
Dinosaur Summer, Greg Bear

Clammed Up #1, Barbara Ross
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood
A Simple Murder, Kuhns
Precipice, Bowditch #6, Paul Doiron
Widowmaker, Bowditch #7, Paul Doiron
The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield

Young Adult
The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Bloody Jack #1, Meyer

Non Fiction
The View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman
The Design of Everyday Things
Spinster, Kate Bolick
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off (knitting)
Ted Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance

Next up, I have Liu Cixin The Dark Forest #2.  I have a growing list of cyberpunk and techy sci fi waiting in the wings.

goalpost migration

2016 is definitely the most unproductive year this blog has ever seen.   What started in a fit of seasonal affective disorder, mutated into I am ‘saving’ my creativity for other things, yeah right.   And since I have taken up dieting again, yes again, this-time-i-really-mean-it sort of dieting, that mandates a lot of hiking and cycling, more ways to avoid sitting in front of this machine.

One of the major goals when I moved was to put more emphasis on working for myself, getting aggressive about the passive income.  But that hasn’t happened, once I settled in I became so relaxed that my ambition went into remission.   Well THAT shits gotta stop.  Over the last two years my ‘business’ has dwindled down to a laughable level, and my editing clients have dried up.  I am now addicted to living off a very tiny paycheck  from the ‘extra’ job and if that went away I’d be royally fooked.

I have a shitload of unfinished projects around the place, and a good number of those are books that I need to finish writing and get published. The biggest scariest one of those is the probably the one I need to finish the most.  I am poking and prodding it to see if it will get up off the mat and help me, but it was laying there like a dead thing.  As a jumpstart, I launched the website which was always part of the project, every book needs a website right?

Life On Your OwnLifeOnYourOwn (which was not my 1st, 2nd or 15th choice for a title, but was an so don’t bitch) in its infancy right now, is just roughed out website, with few posts.    Instead of having internal arguments about the structure and exact content of the book, I am not having internal arguments about the structure of the bloody website; another good way to avoid finishing the book.

The current goal is to put out a post every Sunday, alternating a food/cooking post with a nonfood cooking post. And hopefully picking topics that will lure folks to continue reading. I am hoping to get SOME feedback and interaction from readers. Fingers crossed

This week I was able to write it ahead of time and schedule it, avoiding the whole last minute thing that I excel at.   Planning and assembling blog posts may be nothing like writing a book, but it may be helping me think about the book in a different way.  In stead of writing large scale, I am trying to narrow down the important interesting bits.   But in then end I am just writing about whatever I am involved in at the moment.

Aside from that book, I have two other original masterpieces which are basically sitting around half finished.  These books are like half finished play dough creatures that hang around nagging at my heels like something out of a William Burroughs day dream.   Most of the time I want to smash them with a hammer into tiny bits and pretend they never were, other times i want to just scream them into existence so they get out of the house and start earning a living.


green toes

This is the 1st ‘Garden’ I have had in a long time… i had a really nice one about 14 years ago, but things went sideways when the Landscapers started encroaching and I had less and less time to devote to it. This one can’t be ignored, it’s kinda of the whole property. The last owner had inserted a lot of plants all over the place…and i have spent the last few years putting thing in their proper places, and trying to get the shrubbery under control.



I managed to clear all the mess behind the pond, along the back fence. The trees make a lot of kindling and viny weeds like to masquerade as other things.   I still have a large bush to finish killing off…to be replaced with a dwarf apple tree. And a couple of other shrubs to relocate.



I doubt I can fit any more raised beds, but next year I will add containers…especially on the brick patio which I don’t use., I have few places with high sun I can’t waste them.  There’s not enough sun for things like slicing tomatoes and peppers…so I went with moisture loving things like Cucurbitaceae the plants like zucchini, melon, cucumber, squash – they seemed to like the yard last year….I doubled down on cherry tomatoes..they did well last year…and so far this year the plants are huge, but have yet to produce anything edible…I have a sneaking suspicion that all of my plants will start producing at the same time, which means my neighbors are gonna get a lot of gift veg.

What I am most happy with is the herb bed…i fact, I think I will do a second bed with herbs as well…maybe a just small on the other side of the patio.   I have taken to putting fresh herbs in everything…and I hope to do a lot of drying at the end of the year.  I wish there was something I could grow in the pond that was edible… so far I am just tossing yellowed lettuce leaves in to feed the pollywogs – the dragons don’t eat much.



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