food/gift craftastic

Or, “I don’t need to take the little pips out, do I?”

Oh, come on. You know you’ve missed live blogging with The Food Crafters.

Present: T of Tuesday Fame, Elsie, Cho-girl, LB and me.  Here we fucking are.  We are making infused vodka and flavored salts.  If they turn

9 pm.  Maths.  Math is hard.  LB is cutting citrus for infused vodka and Elsie is commiserating about mL and numbers of limes, slicing and doing maths while the rest of us sit on our collective ass and talk about a new fabric store.  Vodka is filtering, so as to see like higher quality, a la SJ.

9:17 pm.  Cho-girl begins lavender salt.  Smoked paprika is the shit this season, you know.  So we’ll be doing that next. And macha which is good on eggs.  Vodka still flitering.  T of Tuesday Fame is packaging some cleaning shit for us.  Terra Scrub if you must know.  You must know.

9:25 pm.  Pic of sliced citrus as we wait for vodka to filter. Again.

LB said “wait while I hold it against my bosom!”  but I didn’t post that one.  This is a family blog, after all.

9:35 pm.  Lavender salt done.  Vodka update:  first bottle, 3rd pass through the filter.

Live blogging is hard.  I’m passing this shit on.

9:40 pm.  Where is the shamwow?  Cleaning utensils-salt flavoring change.

9:45 pm.  Kermit crab status-mass murder and painting.

T of Tuesday Fame:  “did you calculate for the displacement of the citrus?”

SHG:  “fuck no.”

9:50 pm. New salt is smoked paprika and moving on to matcha which smells like green tea ice cream.

9:55 pm. Smells like a tea house.

10:00 pm. Four cycles of filtering the vodka is our max. around here, pouring it in with the first citrus mix, grapefruit.

10:05 pm. V-Bottle two, pass one.  S-done for now, we will be drying citrus and doing that later.

true confessions

Bless me, y’all.  It has been many days since my last post.

  • for well over a year now, I have been putting my trash out on the curb to be picked up.  Without a trash sticker.
  • CLAW was great last night.  Which was in itself great, because I’d been dreading it since last month was such a nightmare.  But really, it was great.
  • I was so unprepared for tonight’s parent meeting and, without qualm, let S run the whole damn show.
  • I do not believe that school is starting.  In my deepest heart, I do not believe it.  So deep is this disbelief, I am going out of town, so as to further hide my head in the sand
  • the cat drama here is fierce
  • as are the fleas
  • I have bought bakery bread 3 times now this summer.  My vow to make my own bread has run and hidden it’s head in shame.  It was too hot to turn the oven on.  And the bakery is so close and their bread is so good.
  • I have an air conditioner – let the eco police come for me; I’ll go willingly.

Oh my Readers, I am heartily sorry.  And I detest all of my sins.  I do. Because I fear the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.  But most of all, because the offend Thee, my Readers.  I firmly resolve to confess, do penance and amend my life.  I do.  Send in the hairshirts.

you’re either on

You’ll remember my love/hate relationship with cars.  I really intend to not drive much at all in the summer, but this summer has somehow been all about Teh Time In Teh Car.  Bah.  So now that summer is almost over (insert weeping and gnashing of teeth), I got it together to coordinate picking up Sophie from her camp bus with getting all 3 of us back downtown for dinner at the diner.  Traffic this summer has been from hell, but it all looks different from the bus.

A photo essay of my small auxiliary red head’s first local bus ride, plus bonus shot from the diner.

You’ll note there are no mf captions because wordpress hates me.

all local all the time

Check it out: locallectual
There’s some local kids putting up a local goods website that is global. Well, at least aiming to be global. It’s in the early phases and will get better and bigger the more folks use it, so go throw in your 2 cents about what’s local in your locality.

And by the way, did you log your lunch?

just another morning in spring

So it’s been weeks since I worked a full 5 days in a row. Weeks, I tell you. There’s no school today and it smelled like spring when I opened the front door to let the cats in. I’ve given up on cutting out coffee and so I am here in the sun with a totally indulgent cup of 2/3 coffee, 1/3 heavy cream. And did I mention the sun? And the lack of school today?

I woke up and walked down here to pick up my milk first thing, because I have been slack this week and didn’t pick up on Wednesday, which is my usual pick up day. The whole milk deal is a little shady, which I kind of love. You cannot buy or sell unpasteurized milk in Virginia, so people get around it by purchasing a share in a cow, so the milk is technically theirs and they consume it at their own risk. I do sometimes wonder what part of my cow I own – the tail? The cute nose? Anyway, I’m not one of those Raw Milk Will Save the World people, but I’m pretty happy to have local milk and I’m always after food that’s had less shit done to it. And it is good – the real test for what to buy and eat in my mind. Local and organic and unprocessed are fab and all, but really, I’m into food that tastes good. Which this milk does. The poorly lit warehouse and the old soda refrigerators and the sneaky hidden key are all pure entertainment for me – the real deal is that I like this milk better. Now if only I could ride my bike down to the IX to get it….

Yes, it’s true. I do not know how to ride a bike. I thought this wasn’t news here on teh internets, but the injector has only recently discovered my lack of biking prowess and is threatening to come come south and remedy the problem. Others have tried – valiantly – before, but with no luck. (somewhat embarassing pics here)I’m not so good at the whole practicing thing, you see, and I think that’s probably key. Anyway – I do want to know how. It fits in well with everything else about my “Lifestyle.” But falling is so scary!

Moving on to other things I cannot do yet – let’s talk about ttc, shall we? (That’ trying to conceive for those of you just joining us here in Starr Hill.) Here’s the lowdown from the RE’s visit this week: I will be doing an unmedicated, monitored, home insemed cycle this month. Woo and hoo for the home insems! Go DIY AI go! There’s several things going on here so I’ll try to be all linear and shit so you can get the full picture and the you can weigh in as you see fit.

From the information gathered during my monitored cycle in January, the RE thinks that I had 2 problems: old Polly and low progesterone. Now we’ll all bow our heads a minute to Polly and then move on because that particular problem is gone. Woo! So then the issue becomes the prog. Now, I knew from blood-work with my nurse practitioner that my progesterone was low back last summer and she put me on prometrium (by mouth – whew) for it, but her protocol for the dosage was very different from my RE’s protocol and I don’t wonder (or rather I do wonder) if hers was not so hot. See, the half-life of prometrium is 12 hours and my NP only had me take it once a day, so I’d imagine the level could float around more than would be ideal. The RE has folks take it 3 times a day, which know knowing the half-life of it (thank you Obsessors) makes far more sense.

Anyway. My RE deals with low prog in one of 2 ways: dose with prometrium or take…… clomid. His thought process is this: The corpus luteum is what produces progesterone after ovulation, so if there is a problem with progesterone, perhaps tweaking the follicle that will become the corpus luteum will make for better progesterone production. Plus the “bonus” of more follicles – i.e. more “targets” for the sperm to hit. He very, very slowly and seriously did the math for me on how the chance of multiples goes up in this scenario and listened patiently when I said in no uncertain terms that I was scared shitless of the mood swings I hear can come with clomid and said femara was a fine choice when I asked about using that instead. The man’s a dream. And he delicately pointed out that, in his view, time is not an issue. I’m young and healthy, as they kept telling me before my surgery. All that said, I am going with no meds for this cycle other than a prometrium supplement. Because I like to ramp it up slowly.

As for the home insem part – well, there’s some bureaucracy involved here. In the past, sperm that needs washing for an IUI would get sent to Richmond, washed and sent back. But my sperm don’t roll like that because they’ve been Bio-Tranzed. The shipping method my donors (Remember them? You can’t beat them with a stick.) and I are using, bio-tranz, only keeps those kids alive for 24 hours. Not enough time to get from the West Coast to Richmond and then here. They’d be dead. Now, the University has been promising my RE a machine for washing sperm here for sometime now. They said October 2007 at the latest, he told me. Then we both looked at the calendar and sighed. Any day now, they keep telling him. He sighed again. So if there’s a machine here, I’ll wash those prostaglandins right out of my sperm and do an IUI. But I’m not going to count on that, so we’ll just all plan on one very last home insem. What do you say?

There’s a mess of us cycling together this time, which has to be worth something. There’s me, the injector’s best girl KK, Mrs. B, Chips, Tiff, Katie who has no blog (ahem) from FF…. damn. I though there were more of us. Anybody else? Anybody?

irony not lost

But, watch this anyway.

all local all the time

My roommate gave me a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for xmas. Yes, I am late to the party, as usual; I know everybody’s been talking about it for months now. But anyway, it’s great. For my money, better than The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which I did love. (Although, The Botany of Desire was better, I thought and it was Fast Food Nation and The Jungle that really made my shopping habits what they are today.) Now that my vacation is ending (cue sobbing), I’ll have *so* much time to write about it. Because I am sure nobody else in the world of food blogs has talked about it yet.

Who else has read it? Chicory, A, this is right up y’all’s alley. Not an euphemism. I swear.

Now, ask me why I do book links with Powell’s.

Whoa, that’s a lot of links, little lady…..

stealing time from work

Heeheeeee! I am blogging at work! Crazy. Of course, there is no wireless reception, so I won’t be able to publish until I get home. I heart conferences. Such a easy day.

Dean Spade, and his friend Colby Lenz, have some interesting things to say about cell phones (there was also a good piece on makezine). I am particularly interested in the idea of luxury goods that become needs. He points out, correctly I think, that we lived our lives without cellphone not so very long ago and now they are as common as flies on shit. While the subject of the article reads as phones, the main point seems to be thinking. That is, think before you do things, buy things, believe things. I am a fan of thinking.

not carless

So I have this thing, for lack of a better term, about my carbon foot print. Similar and closely tied to the whole Counting of Local Food Stuffs thing. You know how it is: (somewhat) obsessively turn off electrical things – ceiling fans, lights, stereo; floggings for excessive air travel; shopping at the farmer’s market; not driving whenever possible; and so on and so forth. The driving is the big one. I really don’t do it much. I have gone close to 6 weeks without buying gas. So every now and then, I begin to wonder if I could do without a car. Could I arrange things so I simply didn’t need one? I could, I think. I come close in the summer, when Sophie is at camp. (The World of Sophie would have to change dramatically for this to happen for real.) I can walk or take the bus most places I need to go. Now, I love my car – for its great mileage, its longevity, its great handling, its kindness to me in still running after all this time and abuse. Love is really the word for it. But could I do without?

Yesterday, my pregnant friend from the Valley (PFFV), called to tell me she was coming over the mountain for a trip to the fancy market across the way from me. Was I up for a visit? Why, yes, I was. I always am. So I did some weeding on the north side of the house, waiting. And waiting. I was just sort of starting to worry when I checked the messages on my phone. Just how many things can go wrong when you’re a PFFV and you’re driving over the mountain to come to the fancy market? Many, in my imagination. But in real life, generally the most obvious thing goes wrong – car trouble.

Poor PFFV’s car had stopped, not 8 blocks from my house and she had left me a message saying so. I called her back, keys in hand to go pick her up, and when she answered her phone, she said another friend of ours from the Valley, had just pulled up behind her. Their town in the Valley is close to an hour away, and, as I’ve said, over a *mountain* so it was funny and fortuitous that he was suddenly right there behind her. I am quite sure he relished his role of white knight, because he’s that kind of guy. Anyway. After lots of twisty and roundabout phone calls (between us and to my dad, who I am still convinced can tell me how to fix anything – romantic little girl notions never die) and thoughts (drive it? to where? tow it? to where?) and phonebook perusals in search of open service stations, I walked down Main street to meet them.

Now, the obvious plan would be for PFFV to do her fancy market shopping and then have our other friend carry her back over the mountain when he went, and this was the intended course of action when I arrived on the scene. But in the course of watching the tow truck guy (who later told us he has 8 children ages 2 to 33 – jesus fucking christ) hook up the poor dead car to the tow truck’s towing apparatus, it came out that said other friend from the Valley had plans to go to a party *on* the mountain, which he was postponing to continue his role as white knight (“every party needs a bachelor,” he told me – this is where we smile indulgently and shake our heads). Well, I’ll take as much time with PFFV as I can get, so I said I’d drive her over post-fancy-market-shopping and we’d all be just as happy.

Just to clarify, this was not as selfless as it may seem. PFFV can cook like a house on fire and I was angling for some dinner made in her beautiful kitchen and a short visit with her ever charming husband. Plus, the weather was the kind that makes a girl like me think maybe there is a heaven and we’re in it (oh, wait – I think that all the time) and there is not much that can rival a trip to the Valley for looks.

So off we toddled to the fancy market and over the mountain and to the regular grocery and right on to Church street. PFFV was buying things to cater her own baby shower. Because she loves nothing better than feeding people. And we had dinner, and looked at baby things and prepped treats for the shower and her ever charming husband was ever charming and gave me sawdust for my worm bin (Oh, the worm bin – it gets a post all its own!) and we talked and talked and ate and cooked and it was perfect.

And if I had no car, it would have played out very differently. So tonight before bed, I will put on my Certified Fair Trade Hairshirt™ – made with real hair shaved from organic nuns and guaranteed to itch enough to cause a rash bigger than your carbon footprint and to remind you that internal combustion engines are fucking up the planet faster than you can say the Hail Mary. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.