Archive | opinion

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

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.

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.



One sock, two sock…..

henrysockSomewhere around February, I started knitting…again….I had learned 30 plus years ago but it didn’t take…i didn’t need it.. i couldn’t have wrapped my head around just SITTING…. these days I am knitting while i am listening or watching – things that don’t require my hands, to the detriment of many other things.  I haven’t worked on anything else…blogs, manuscripts, publications..nothing that would make a profit… but i have turned out an afghan, a few dishtowels, scrub pads, a rather lovely shawl and ONE sock.

I confess I have fallen down the knitting rabbit hole rather far… but I recognized the hole before I got anywhere near it…and I made up a bunch of my ‘rules. It wasn’t that hard.. I still have an addictive personality but i don’t have the finances to support it.  Right now I am looking at a few boxes of cache… i avoid even going INTO ‘yarn’ stores..if you been in one you’d know why… i have parsed knitting into recreational knitters and subsistence knitters..i am of the later… I am only wasting my time knitting things I can actually use and even then if i can avoid using buying A grade yarn the better.   The brown shawl used to be a small alpaca sweater purchased at for $2…unfortunately I have an entire trunk of Goodwill sweaters waiting to be unraveled….wool from all over the world all disguised as ugly sweaters for the moment. The socks on the other hand are new sock yarn, which I am resisting the urge to buy more of until I complete an actual Pair of socks..I keep unraveling them and doing them over, the 1st one in unraveled to make the second one, and the second one took me 14 tries.  shawl

Once I wrap my head around an aspect of knitting it sticks.. though my right hand is still a little fucked up, my biggest difficulty is SEEING the stitches, I like things like the socks where i can just measure.  Thankfully youtube is chockfull of knitting instructions and inspirational blogs – the videos are much more helpful than learning from a real person, it’s hard to get people to freeze frame and slowmotion backwards.  is the internet within the internet for knitters and crocheters, you need never have to pay for a pattern.  It also cross-references all the possible yarns and online places to get them, basically it satisfies all the possible yarn joneses.  There’s even a lovely corner for people like me, who unravel things to make other things.   Btw you can buy recycled yarn all over Ebay and Etsy, unless you are broke like me.

One of the things about knitting that I find endlessly fascinating and does feed into my raison d’etre, is the ability to unravel and recycle the yarn, or even just pick up the stitches on something and continue making it.  Granted you can try to get away with that in sewing, but it’s trickier..unless you are into patchwork, everything you are making is vastly smaller than the used fabric you are starting with.   Yarn doesn’t know that sort of limitation.  If you plot out the chess-like knitting notation on graph paper it is clear that it is completely binary, knit stitches and purl stitches which makes perfect sense to a brain like mine. Knitting is also similar to 3-D printing, you are creating all sides at the same time, the inside and the outside, as well as height and thickness.  Running  a soon to be felted slipper through a few hot wash loads yields a 3 dimensional object which started out as an unbroken line…a skein of yarn, I still think that’s pretty spectacular stunt.

Right now I am more interested in acquiring the skill, than acquiring a closet full of knitting items. I already have a few sweaters now, how many can I wear and I doubt I will ever be able to knit a a sweater as nice as the ones I have purchased, but I am using my new yarn knowledge to improve my thrift shopping. I have some really nice stuff now. But having the ability to churn out a new sock when I need one is empowering ( you know even the Egyptians used replaceable heels on their sock designs?)  I still need to finish this second sock before I start patting myself on the back.

Hello, my name is Barrie.

img-thingNo, I am not making that up; that was the name I was born with: Barrie Elizabeth…..or so my bio-mom tells me. For long time readers of this erstwhile blog, you know that I didn’t share genetic material with my toxic parent and he-who-shall-not-be-named. And before you ask, NO, I never had an itch to track down my bio-parents; Herself sort of ruined the idea of adding MORE family into the mix. But never say never.

I got a letter and then a phone call from Catholic Charities, I was being sought. In the backwards-ass way the church works, the ONE person who isn’t allowed to look for you is your mother, but my bio-dad’s, sister did get them to find me. In an interesting aside:  she had zilch information on how to where to look, but she found an online post from my mother that handed her all that she needed to get started. So, separately they had no chance of finding me, but when combined it took very little time.

As it happens I took the call at work on Monday…..they had outdated contact information about my mother.. but when I got home, it only took me about 20 minutes online to find her contact information – hey I have stalked a few boyfriends in my time, this was literally child’s play…. I had everything, except her cell phone number…and being the impatient brat that I am…by about 6 o’clock I was sitting in my biomoms living room in Maine(!) having a gabfest with her and my new other mother – HEY, if they didn’t want someone to knock on the screen door saying ‘ I think you’re my mother’, they shouldn’t have moved to the same state – coincidence? I think not…..and as IF having ONE mother didn’t teach me a lesson, now I have TWO MORE!…yes, Joycey has two mommies…and two more birthdays to remember…and two more four more siblings and I dunno, a few nieces and nephews..oy vey.

But wait, racefans…it gets better….the only reason I was in my biomoms living room on Monday is because my bioaunt didn’t answer her damn cellphone..otherwise the order of appearance would be reversed… my aunt and her hubby had been traveling through the Maine/NB corridor and had made it back to her daughter’s(my biocousin) home when I called her…”you know I can be there in about 90 minutes right? guess who’s coming to dinner?” So, 90 minutes later I was having ANOTHER chinwag on a deck in New Hampshire.   They were flying back to FLA this morning so it was then or Skype and that isn’t very satisfying first contact is it?  And along with the bioaunt comes a package deal of her hubby, and her kids- my biocousins and their kids…bio-somethings, I am really too old to start  flowcharting family members.

On Monday morning I only had the voices in my head keeping me company, and by Wednesday morning my damn Christmas Card list was SRO!   Do NOT assume that this is somehow emotional or traumatic FOR ME, it’s not, I don’t think teenagers should raise babies…..or even get car keys for that matter…. but I am finding it intellectually entertaining as all hell–the universe is a surprising place. But those two women had to wait 54 years for closure, and some folks like my biodad and his parents NEVER got any. For all they know the church could have pushed me down a mineshaft or sold me to a circus…wait, wait…now THERE’s an image…but seriously Herself was damaged goods, my  Mad Men era dad died in ’66 taking all her dreams with her, no wonder her insecurities ran roughshod over everything in her path… but aside from that, I lived a comfortable white middle class lifestyle where I wanted for nothing.  Pregnant teenagers had few choices in 1962 and I ended up being more fortunate with the results than others.

I am still not sure what I think of ‘Barrie’ as an actual NAME name…part of me thinks it maybe another reason teenagers shouldn’t name babies.   No offense Ellen, whom I am sure is reading this along with Bettie and Fran….hmm…. damnit, now I won’t be able to talk about them on here.  8(

Chervil hunt

savorychervil Took a few days and a few phone calls but I found it….I didn’t even realize I needed it.

I started hunting for Chervil long after I had created my herb garden… too late in fact since there is barely any room left for even one more herb in that bed. I have become fascinated with a recipe I can’t make without it…well I can, but it wouldn’t be the same. Salted Herbes…Herbes Salées… a Quebecois condiment – which is as the name forecasts…herbs and salt, that’s it. You mince the herbs good and proper and salt the hell out of it and let them sit for a spell, draining all the fluids so you end up with something fluffy and green. One would add it to soups and stews and so forth. I have yet to taste it. There is one commercially sold brand here in Maine, but they are stingey on the herbs and it is made with only leeks, parsley and scallions; a shadow of the original recipe. Since it is a classic homestyle sort of thing, one can assume it varies from grandmother to grandmother.

from a A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong
1 c Chopped fresh chives
1 c Chopped fresh savory
1 c Chopped fresh parsley
1 c Chopped fresh chervil
1 c Grated carrots
1 c Chopped celery leaves
1 c Chopped green onions
1/4 To 1/2 cup coarse salt

In a large bowl, combine herbs and vegetables. Layer a inch of herb mixture in the bottom of a crock or glass bowl and sprinkle with some of the salt. Repeat layers until all of the herb mixture and salt is used. Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks. Drain off accumulated liquid and pack herb mixture into sterilized jars. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 5 to 6 cups.

herbgardenNow any American grocery store is gonna have everything on that list..EXCEPT, Chervil and Savory..Summer Savory in fact..which I have since figured out both are annuals…and not on my perennial garden shopping list. So, I started calling around,I even had to spell them out. But I finally find a place in Falmouth who had Chervil in pots…though at an inflated price. The Savory was a bit trickier..actually it didn’t take any effort at all..i bought it by accident. I had been poking around at the feed store wasting money on end of season herbs like Pineapple Sage and Cinnamon Basil, I bought another pot of what was labeled Winter Savory for 1.49…turns out it didn’t look anything LIKE my $5 Winter Savory, so I went back and bought the rest of them…the little plastic Winter Savory label even had the Summer Savory picture ..imagine an intense tarragon with an anise backbite.

Now, that I have both of these in the ground, I am going to have carefullysave the seeds for next year since it has to be direct sewn. Seems like an awful lot of bother when I could probably just leave them out and it would taste just as good, right? I dunno, I have yet to try this delicacy, I am too cheap to spend the $6 on 3/4 of a pint of the store bought but yet I will be beaucoup dollars tracking down each and every other ingredient; I do have chives and parsley in the garden already…but i may have to make some room next year for celery and green onion.

While I was tunneling down the French Canadian recipe rabbit hole I found a number of recipes that are improved by the addition of salty herbs, because they seem to lean towards the bland without it. Right now I have my eye on Fricot a la Belette which is Weasel Fricot/Weasel stew, essentially a meatless potato stew with flour dumplings, because the weasel stole the meat..get it? ya, it’s lame, it’s potatoes, what did you expect. Here’s a link to a nice blog post with a recipe. It’s summer here in Maine, I’m hoping to have a few jars of Salted Herbs come fall to make tasty winter fricots.

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