Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cards, Part @*

It seems I've been sucked into the Abyss of Lost Time by way of a red and white, pepperminty, spiralling vortex, also known as Christmastime. Holy shit.

I'm back!

Remember when I was hemming and hawing about whether or not to send out Christmas cards, and how to go about it this year? After mulling over many of your helpful comments -- thank you! -- I'd decided that I just couldn't handle it if I didn't send out the cards. I made up my mind that I would indeed go to the post office and purchase stamps but that I wouldn't design and print a letter this year. That evening, as if delivered to my post box by a damn angel, were bundles of lovely, lovely holiday stamps. There were enough for me to send out my Christmas cards.

My thoughtful, kind, and very generous friend, James, sent the stamps my way! I still can't believe what a thoughtful gift this is! I am still very happy and very, very sappy about it. Holy shit - THANK YOU.

So, I spent last night hunkered down with my spreadsheets and pretty, printed address labels. I had my cheerful green pen in hand and my trusty DABnSEAL Moistener within reach.** The boxes of cards were all organized and easily accessible. Sheets of return addresses were at the ready. I had a frosty Old Fezziwig Ale to keep me happy, rather than some wine. Then, I settled in to one of my favorite tasks of the year.

At first, I wondered that it may be obnoxious that I have such a long Christmas card list. But, as I went through the neatly organized names and tried to weed out folks I could remove, I realized the names weren't there so I can hoot and holler about how many cards I just dropped off at the post office. Each name on there reminds me of how blessed my life has been. Truly, the friends and family in my life are my greatest blessings. Oh, how I wish everyone had such wonderful people and relationships in their lives! In whatever wandering, complicated,ambivalent way I understand who/what Jesus/God is, I do know that I've only come to know Him/Her and his grace, compassion, justice, and unconditional love through the people in my life. So, truly, I believe my friends and family are blessings, indeed.

With each card I write and address I put on the envelope, I am granted a small moment to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for such grace in my life. I get to take a brief jaunt down memory lane and hope wildly that their dreams for the new year come true. I get to say I love you.***

So, James, I am saying thank you for giving me this gift, this time of reflection, gratitude and joy again this year. You, dear friend, are on my Christmas card list.

(What else I've been doing: bundling up many, many batches of homemade cookies and delivering them. Yay!)


*When I posted about my love for Christmas cards and the ensuing wrestling match with my checkbook, I mis-typed the "1" in my title. I thought I'd try to be consistent.

**Hmmm, do you think perverts will find this site, now?

*** My favorite line in a song, without a doubt, is from "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. It damn near sums up my spiritual beliefs, too.

I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying, "I love you"

Monday, December 17, 2007

I swear...

...that I will post tonight. Holy hell, can I be this disorganized, lazy and pooped?

It would appear so.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I've been in a rotten mood the past couple of days, and there have been some grouchy posts in my Google Reader.

Here is an awesome Friday Pick-Me-Up: Kevin Everett, of the Buffalo Bills, is walking again.

Friday Five, An Occasional Series

I am happy to be home from the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. My co-worker came up to present something, so I was relieved of my duties. Wahoo!

1. Oops - I'd truly meant to mention in my last post on Christmas Cards that I was inspired by this post over at F.T.E.P. Sorry! Here is some belated link love for you.

Incidentally, I'd also meant to freakin' proofread that entry before posting it, but that didn't happen either.

2. Also inspired by F.T.E.P.: Though I wasn't a cheerleader in high school (I was more the couldn't-afford-all-the-goth-stuff, but-listened-to-The-Cure-all-the-time type). I was, however, a goody two shoes member of SADD. Which is ironic and hilarious, as I as hit by a drunk driver in 2000. Moments before I was hit (I was crossing a street), I'd said to my fellow pedestrian, who didn't get smooshed: "I can't believe bicyclists don't get hit in this intersection more often." BLAM! and SPLAT!


I am fully convinced The Universe/God has a dark, dark, twisted sense of humor and that my life is some strange punch line. Yeah, it's pretty fuckin' funny.

3. I was going to post a picture of my gigantic snow boots that I wore on my way in to work today, but I forgot that I do not have the camera with me today. Bummer. I fully expect this footwear to be required in order to make it to my house tonight. *sigh* Winter is upon us, in all its cold, blustery glory. This is the first winter in years that I've actually owned snow boots. That is ridiculous.

4. Ah ha! Here is a link to my boots, and yes, they really do have space under the foot to insert toasty little foot warmers. It's AAAAWSOOOOME! (You must read that in a giddy, sing-song kind of voice.) I feel like a goober in these boots as they are ginormous and I walk pretty funny with them on. I felt totally ridiculous this morning as I schlepped along the grocery store.

5. However, I was thankful I had the boots on earlier this morning. A. and I woke up to four inches or so of newly fallen snow. Snow was still falling, though it was more horizontal than vertical, as is the norm in these parts. So, we both drove from the house: I parked my car at the highway because with the predicted snowfall later today, there isn't a chance in hell my car will make it through the two miles of drifted, non-snowplowed dirt roads. So, if the car is parked at the house, it may stay there for a few weeks. (That was the case last January.) Whereas if we leave it parked at the highway, we can drive the four-wheel drive truck from the house to the highway, and then drive the Civic on the plowed highway into town, and vice versa. This saves us loads on our fuel bill.

Anyway, back to the boots. As I trudged through the snow from the car to where A. was waiting in the truck, I was pretty tickled at how warm and dry my feet were. Like an idiot, I was surprised this was the case. Um, duh.

Happy Friday to you! Stay warm.

P.S. THANK YOU for all of your helpful and encouraging comments regarding my ridiculous Christmas Card Habit. You guys are the best.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Cards, Part !

I am in a hotel room, having just finished Day One of the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. You know, the one that I have No Business Presenting At. It has been a FUN day. First, our university car was available an hour later than it was supposed to be, and then I had to return it to carpool because there were FOUR flat tires. Once that was all straightened out, my co-worker and I decided to take the long, long, long route to C-town because the road and travel map showed the usual, efficient route was closed to any unnecessary travel. We finally arrived at our destination after driving in 65 MPH WINDS for three and a half hours. Just in time to look dishevelled and harried as we started the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training. It's been awesome is what I am saying.

So, on to topics I (and you!) give a shit about!

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to send out Christmas cards. I relish this task. The first time A. came over to my house to "talk," my coffee table was completely covered in printed out spreadsheets of the previous and current years Christmas card lists. Complete with columns indicating which card everyone received, so that if I have leftover cards from the previous year I don't accidentally send the same card to the anyone. I thought, "If this doesn't scare the shit out of him, nothing will." Needless to say, that was three years ago.

There are designed address labels that are pretty! and fancy! There are timeline, indicating when the letter needs to be written, printed, folded, stuffed into cards. There are dates on the calendar dedicated to addressadhesion, stamp acquisition. It is nothing less than Operation: Christmas Card.

And I love it.

Last year was the first year I included a Christmas letter. It seemed the easiest way to introduce A. to some of the people in my life, and to share the news of the previous year, (grad school, fishing stories, that sort of stuff). I am sure most people on the receiving end of the letter were bored silly, but I loved writing it and designing a fun layout for the letter and some photos. (A.'s mom is designing a crossword puzzle for her letter; how fun is that! It will be years before I can recycle that idea for my own letters, but the snazzy project idea is yours for the taking!)

Normally, to help finance this venture (I can't seem to whittle the list down to fewer that 130 addresses), I buy my cards a couple of days after Christmas for the next year. (I can usually find great cards for 75% off or so. Awesome! Or, you might think that is cheap and tacky. Whatever.) I found some great cards to send out this year, and I am just tickled to send them out. I mean, I will put this off for a day or two just because the anticipation of Operation: Christmas Cards makes me so damn giddy.

The problem is, I don't know that I can really budget in postage and the cost of printing the letters. It seems kind of lame not to include a letter, what with the precedent-setting missive of last year. With A. in grad school, our budget has had to change a bit. A ridiculous amount of money (almost $200) on Operation: Christmas Card just isn't feasible. (I doubt it is ever right to spend that much money on such a project, but shush. I don't want to hear it!)

Oh, this breaks my heart.

So, do you think it would be okay to send out electronic Christmas Cards (that I'll design myself) to the digitally savvy folks, really whittle down the list this year, and then send out cards to just a handful of folks? Oh, I almost get teary just thinking about it, but I am not sure what else I can do. I am even tempted to ask A. not to buy me a gift, but buy me some postage, instead! Lame, I know.

Oh, but I do love writing Christmas cards! Getting all settled and cozy with a cup of cocoa or glass of wine, the Christmas tree lights twinkling, Christmas music playing, and writing little notes to neighbors from my past, friends on the East Coast that I love and miss every day, family members that I am happy to have grown that much closer to over the course of the last year...

Oh, I do love Christmas cards! Are you crazy for Christmas cards, do you loathe them, or write just a few?

P.S. I won't be near my computer until tomorrow night, but I look forward to your comments. It will make Day Two of the Ridiculously Long New Employee Training go much faster! Happy Tuesday to you!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five, An Occasional Series

1. I am rather grumpy that I have to spend my Friday frantically preparing for a week-long training of newbies next week and A. gets to release some Black-Footed ferrets about 50 miles from here. No fair.

In grade school, the Big Red Square State Game and Fish would distribute kiddie newsletters three or four times a year. I distinctly remember the issue with Black-footed ferrets on the cover and the article about the breeding program. The color of that particular newsletter was kind of orangey-brown, something kind of like this:

I WANT TO HELP RE-INTRODUCE THE LITTLE FELLAS TO THEIR NATIVE HABITAT, DAMMIT! Instead, I am preparing presentations for a week-long, painfully dull, dull, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull training on program procedures. I am having to train myself on this shit; I have NO BUSINESS training the new employees. Hmff.

2. Last night, A. and I, as well as our friends C. and B., and BG, watched the #24 Big Red Square State Cowgirls beat the Montana Lady Grizzlies. It was a big win; Montana beat BRSS during both match ups last season. Go, Cowgirls!

3. Brief update on The Thesis: K. happily agreed to serve on my thesis committee, and gave me more suggestions for my bibliography. I was thrilled that I'd already read many of her recommendations, though I had read those just for fun and not with my Thesis Hat on. (Could I be a bigger nerd?) I am happy to revisit these texts, especially Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nabhan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I have about 50 pages left in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I was already planning on, at the conclusion of this reading, flipping to the first page of the book and immediately reading the volume again, regardless that now I need to rescan it with my Thesis Hat on. It is amazing. I'll write a proper review of the book in a bit, but for now, if you are wondering what to read next, I heartily recommend this book. READ IT. (Wow, there are some run on sentences going on.... Eh, whatever. It's Friday!)

Also, my third committee member from outside my department is delighted that I have a new chair. Just saying.

4. Getting myself all hyper and totally wired over a book makes me think of one of my favorite places on the entire planet, the Long Room at the University of Dublin, Trinity College. What an amazing, reverent, secular-holy place. The Book of Kells resides there, too. Holy cow, if I didn't almost cry when I saw it. Also, I was surprised at how much stuff from my art history classes came back to me, and came back full of life, no less.

5. About twenty minutes after A. dropped me off at work, he called to tell me with no amount of pleasure in his voice, that he had just plunked down "a small fortune" on the dogs. What?! Twenty minutes wasn't enough time to drive back out to the house (seven miles north of town), see the pups, ascertain that something was awry, rush them to an emergency vet appointment and empty our checking account. What the hell had happened?

Well, the pups are now seven years old, closing in on their eighth year. So they are senior dogs. *sniff, sniff* And the new "senior" dog food we decided to put the dogs on? $42 a bag. Um, yeah. Granted, this will last a month. However, this food had better make the doggies stay youthful, springy, full of spunk, and happy as all get-out, and! AND! I had better not see any sign of stiff joints for at least, oh, four more years. And I thought it was ridiculous we were spending $32 on a bag of the diet stuff. Sheesh.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quirky Loveliness

A couple of you had mentioned that Pushing Daisies was kind of a neat little show. Last night, as A. was flipping through the channels waiting for the Colorado Avalanche game to start and I was basking in the new-found happiness that is a productive and competent thesis committee, I noticed that Pushing Daisies was about to start. I asked A. to flip to it for a bit so I could check it out.


Is this show always narrated in a Dr. Seuss-like fashion? Are the reds and greens always kicked up a notch or two? Is there always a bit of dark humor wrapped in kitschy tartness?



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sugar. Also, Trying Not To Barf, Part 6 and Still Swooning

Um, yeah. I just spent no less than three minutes in the office break room, staring at my coffee cup. What was I contemplating with such dedication? Or rather, what was on my mind at that moment that had me paralyzed?

Whether or not to put two teaspoons of sugar in my coffee or a packet of Splenda.

NO SHIT. I really need not feel so insecure about every decision in my life. Geez. I am not kidding about being paralyzed with this decision. Because, what was the right decision and will I be happy with it? Lordy. There is some fodder for another lengthy, scary post, eh? Also, you can imagine how much I squirm trying to make a decision at the hair salon, no?

Anyway. I went with the sugar. At least I can pronounce it and I know it is minimally processed. It occurs in nature (yes? Or am I stretching the truth, here?) and I am not introducing crazy, manufactured concoctions into my body. I even know that this particular sugar was processed in the northern part of my state, so bonus points for local food from my foodscape!

But I am hypoglycemic, and if I don't watch my diet, sugar can really throw me for a loop. So, substituting Splenda for raw sugar every now and then has its benefits. I don't like feeling as though my legs are not connected to my body at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, or being so disoriented as to not know where I am, or sometimes, who I am. So, I limit sugar when I can. (Um, right. I bake cookies at least once a week...)


I e-mailed professor K. from my department to see if she would discuss serving on my thesis committee over coffee. She replied that she'd be delighted to serve on my committee, and even more delighted to visit together. (Woo hoo!!) She and I are meeting tomorrow over the lunch hour to review my prospectus, discuss my lit review, and to chit chat and catch up a bit. She and I have always gotten along very well, and I was her teaching assistant for two of her undergraduate classes. In fact, the most challenging and rewarding class of my entire academic career, The Ecology of Knowledge, was developed and taught by her. That class was one of my favorite experiences of my life. (Nerd? Yes!) Damn, that class was amazing.

Also, A. and I met in her class.

I think K. is one of the most brilliant minds I've ever encountered. In particular, I am always blown away by her ability to see patterns. In everything. Patterns of thought, patterns or speech, patterns of behaviour, patterns of knowledge, patterns of learning, patterns of consciousness, even. The stuff she is interested in blows my mind. Truly, hers is a mind I respect entirely.

She is also an excellent writer. She sees writing as a necessary vehicle to convey information, yes, but also as an expressive craft that deserves uninterrupted attention. Needless to say, I have much re-writing to do as well as hours of careful proofreading. ;-) I am a little bit scared of this task, as it is daunting, as writing for her always is, but am also gingerly anticipating the work with a bit of excitement.

Even though she isn't going to be my chair, she doesn't do anything halfway and I know she will be involved in my work. There will be no half-assed work passing for acceptable here. (I might be in deep shit!)

I am a bit nervous about our meeting. To be honest, I don't know if I could tell you what I am writing about at this point. Truly. Much of what I am working on now is muddling through all the vague, pointless suggestions of Advisor #1, my own mediocre approach to the material and whittling my project down to something I can get my head around. So, I've decided to put myself out there and have a frank discussion with K. about the situation I find myself in. (But, I will be careful not to mention Advisor #1 and what it was like to work with him. I am sure she will understand that without my saying it, and I don't need to put her in a position to hear negative comments about a colleague. I'll spare her that.) Whenever we are discussing something, she picks up on my patterns of thought that my worrying and fretting keeps me oblivious to and gently points out ideas I am hitting upon. It seems like she is almost saying, "See. You know more than you think." Or, she is really good at planting ideas and making me feel like I came up with it all on my own. Whichever. I am really counting on that quality of hers to shine through.

I have to help her help me, right?

(Why, WHY, do I let grad school and The Thesis riddle me with doubt about my abilities?)


A (new?) song by Bon Jovi just played on my online XM radio. Living on a Prayer was a hit about the time I was 15 or 16, and Jon Bon Jovi's voice played an important part in my, um, awakening. His voice still makes my knees weak and my heart flutter!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Travel Checklist

  • Pajamas - check!
  • Toothbrush - check!
  • Knitting paraphernalia - check!
  • A.'s shorts so he doesn't walk around naked - check!
  • Three days worth of dog food and appropriate amount of J-E-R-K-Y - check!
  • Puppy-proofed car - check!
  • "Fun" book to read in the car* - check!
  • "Thesis" book to read to reassure the parents that yes, I will indeed finish The Thesis someday - check!
  • Laptop for A.'s papers and *wink* my work on The Thesis *wink* - check!
  • Prerequisite winter storm with snowy, icy roads, blowing snow to obstruct driver's vision and general travel shitiness - check!
  • Snow boots, just in case - check!

A. and I are all packed up and ready to drive about four and a half hours across the state to see my folks for the holiday. I like Thanksgiving with my folks, step-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They are good people. They drink whiskey throughout the day to increase the cheer. Woo woo!

I am not bringing my favorite Thanksgiving Potluck Dish - cranberry pie. Noni always makes so much food, and there are some picky eaters, so I chose to save myself the disappointment.

I really love this pie, though. Maybe I'll make it when A. and I get back home. It is such an easy, easy pie to make and is so yummy. A designer friend of mine from DC gave me this recipe. It is perfect for the holidays and travels well. It almost has a cake-like consistency in the middle. So yummy!

RB's Cranberry Surprise Pie

Line 10" pie pan with unbaked pie crust (I usually just buy a pie crust. Works out pretty well!)
Put 2 l/2 cups whole cranberries on crust (I plopped frozen cranberries on the crust and they bake up fine.)
Add l/2 cup chopped pecans (I never add these as A. would FREAK OUT, and then MOPE AROUND because there are nuts in his baked goods. It is much more pleasant to just leave out the damn nuts already.)
Sprinkle l/2 cup sugar over this

In a bowl mix:
l cup sugar, l cup flour, 2 eggs, l stick melted
butter or Land of Lakes margarine. (I ALWAYS use BUTTER!)
Mix well and pour over cranberry nut filling and right to crust edges. This will be the pie cover.
(This will be kind of thick and sticky so I use a spatula to smoosh it to the edges of the underneath pie crust.)

It is thick. Bake 400 degrees for about one hour or longer.
The crust edges often get too brown, after the top has cooked a little and isn't sticky, you can add a rim of foil.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I wish you safe travels, lots of quality time curled up on the couch watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and plenty of leftovers!

* Can you read in the car? I can read while riding in a car upside-down. I used to do that when I was a kid! If A. so much as looks at me reading in the car he turns a little green around the edges.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Late Saturday night:

[Me, setting my alarm: beep beep, beep, beep]

A.: What time did you set your alarm for? *snort*

Me: 8:00 a.m.

A.: *snort*

Me: I'd like to get down to the greenbelt first thing in the morning and distribute some more surveys.

A.: Yeah, there is an entire demographic you are missing.

Me: "Morning People." The fuckers. *grumble*

A.: *chuckle*

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Five

1. Sometimes those word verification things are really hard for my poor eyes to decipher, but this is because my eyesight degenerates further with each passing minute and I am kind of a dork. But yesterday I ran into a combo of letters that was something like, "bdbdgb" and it dawned on me that these must be a bitch for folks with dyslexia. It also dawned on me that I take an awful lot for granted.

2. I've started messing around with a rewrite of Chapter One of The Thesis to give to Advisor #2. My goal is to have it wrapped up by the weekend and shoot it off to D. on Monday. I have a lot of refresher reading to do, and need to really dig into the material; it's been a while.

3. Surprising in a happy, happy sort of way, this doesn't feel nearly as daunting as everything associated with The Thesis did previously. I am in a much healthier mental neighborhood this time around. I not too worried that the world will end if The Thesis is not Perfect and contain observations of such a caliber as to Shift The Paradigm. Now, I'm residing in the Whatever Neighborhood. This neighborhood? It is awesome. The neighbors are so much more friendly and forgiving of my messy front yard that appears to have no rhyme or reason, and some neighbors have even delighted in my choice of periwinkle exterior house paint instead of the typical beige or white.

4. I am quite certain that I will get helpful and timely feedback from Advisor #2, who lives just down the road in my new neighborhood. Also, I am not currently convinced that needing some guidance through This Process makes me Unworthy of Academic Recognition and that D. is not going to think I am stupid and unfit or a nuisance because I want to work with him to finish The Thesis.

5. This is a much, much better place to be. If any of you notice me futzing around with the idea of moving back to the Neighborhood of Unrealistic and Harmful Expectations, please remind me that I can't afford to own in that neighborhood and that the rent there is much, much too high.

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ridiculously Belated Weekend Wrap Up

By 7:00 p.m. on Friday, A. and I had a weekender suitcase packed and the car puppy-proofed with two very happy mutts going apeshit in the back seat. They get so damn jazzed to be in the car that they gallop and pace across the backseat, filling the cabin with hot, damp, stinky dog breath. It is so much fun!

They pace from one window to the next, sticking their eager little faces under the front-seat seat belts and the windows, just to get a better look out the front window. All the while, charging themselves with
freakishly massive amounts of static electricity. Inevitably, they will decide they need some pets, and will ever so lovingly and kindly rest their sweet heads
on our shoulders, reminding us that they are there, in the backseat. Unfortunately, every time they shock us with static electricity from their cold, wet noses to our dainty, exposed little human ears.

There is nothing in this world, not even J-E-R-K-Y, that Buster loves more than riding in the car, watching trucks go by.

He looks frightened here, but really he is just really, really into the passing traffic. If you look closely, you can see nose smudges on the glass from when he forgets there is glass even there and tries to jump out and follow to damn trucks. Stupid, adorable puppy.


We were happily zipping our way up to the north-central-ish part of the Big Red Square State to visit A.'s family. Both his sisters were home with their kids, and it was a special treat to see those from Santa Fe.

His older sister and mom taught me how to make lefsa! I grew up eating this, but never knew how to make it myself. There is a debate between members of the family as to whether you eat this with butter and sugar or butter and brown sugar. I like the plain sugar the best, though we grew up eating it with butter and honey. When I mentioned that at the dinner table, conversation paused briefly. Apparently, that is considered a special form of culinary treason within this family.

The Universe decided to hand me a couple of gems over the weekend to help me reconsider my recent longings for a kitty to join our family.

First, A.'s sister B. mentioned that her cat, Lilly, shits in a litter box in the car during the long trip from Santa Fe and how that was mildly unpleasant.
Mildly unpleasant? I nearly died right there.

Then, Buster came up to me, all happy, wagging his tail and grinning he ass off. He and Belle LOVE it at Grandma's house. They get to run on 40+ acres without a care in the world. But that wasn't what had him so lit up.
He had found himself a new treat.

As he was panting, I had never smelled breath so foul in my life. My brain started leak out of my left ear, my nose sealed shut, and my tummy started threatening to barf and barf and barf. I looked over at A. in horror; why did our dog smell so bad? Can the others smell this?
Offensive didn't even begin to describe this dog's breath. What the hell was going on?

Turns out, Buster had eaten cat shit.

Now, from reading some of your blogs and some conversations with Black Sheeped , I know this is not an altogether uncommon occurrence. But, my lord. The wretched stink! I am getting all kinds of gaggy and antsy just recalling that horrific, horrific, smell coming out of Buster's mouth. *GAG*

Also, Lilly scares the living hell out of Buster, and even has Belle keeping a distance from her. The hissing and spitting and viscous swatting every time one of my dogs comes near her give me pause. Also, that hissing, and especially that fucking crazyass
spitting thing that she does just manifests the evilness that I fear lurks within all kitties. That is some scary shit right there.
Here is the evil kitty, only barely disguising her evilness:

But Phoebe, one of the other kitties? SO. SWEET.
Needless to say, I am rethinking the kitty adoption.
It was a full house. There were eight adults, three children (4 yrs, 18 months, and 11 months), four dogs, and three cats. BUSY. Lots of feet. It was very happy. It was relaxed. It was comfy. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving because everyone was home. A. smiled a lot. I am so glad we made the trip, so thankful for such wonderful people in my life who so openly welcome me into their own. It was one of those weekends were I fell even deeper in love with A. It was a good weekend.

A. with his nephew, M. Go, Avs!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Five

1. Oh, yeah. It's freakin' Friday already.

2. This morning was finally the last morning to start with a generic pop tart. Thank goodness.

3. I've been fumbling around with a post about my feelings on having or not having children for some time. The comments and impending follow-up post here has this idea kicking around again. This would be, by far, the most personal post I've written so fa

4. An all-veggie sandwich that is then "toasted" is kind of weird. And kind of gross.

5. For a few months now, I've been daydreaming of adopting a kitty. I am terrified of cats. I hate when you walk into someone's house and your nose immediately informs you that, yes, this is the house of a cat owner. Myself and half of my family are allergic, as well as my best friend, Jel Bel. The dogs may try to eat the kitty, I am not sure. Or, alternatively, the kitty might scare Buster into an even more neurotic mess. Trying to budget in a third vet bill would require a knowledge of magic I do not possess. I would barf and barf and barf if I thought the kitty, with its little kitty-litter feet, was on my countertops while I was away at work. BARF.

But! Last weekend we met a tabby that was up for adoption and she has just stolen my heart. She is a pretty, pretty beige color. Kind of like this:

She is only four months-old. Do you suppose she'd purr a lot? Cuddle in bed? Snuggle with the dogs? Chase mice? Awwww.... So sweet.

But, s
imultaneously, I think: So evil. She will scratch my eyes out and gnaw on my throat while I sleep. Evil, evil kitty!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where the Hell I've Been

I am wrapping up my involvement in a four-day statewide conference and I am SO. TIRED. But that is boring news. Here are some of the less boring highlights of the past four days:

  • Being told, in an infuriatingly passive-aggressive way, what pages I missed typos on in the 400-page cookbook by the most infuriatingly passive-aggressive colleague of the bunch. Just tell me there is a goddamn typo on page 41 already. Jesus!;
  • Crashing a two-hour sexual harassment training. Because it sounded so! fun! Bonus: role-playing a girl-on-girl kiss from a case study in front of 200 colleagues;
  • Hearing the story for, um, at least the fourth time and with no diminished discomfort, of a colleague acting out childbirth in front of these same 200 colleagues as she “congratulated” a male colleague on the birth of his first child (it was the strangest thing I've ever heard of, but this lady is fucking crazy so I am not surprised.) Bonus: Crazy Spontaneous Childbirth Lady knows A.'s mom. She is always reminding me that she "has her eye on me." WTF?!?!;
  • Eating dinner hosted at an early education and childcare center, twitching all night as I waited to contract pink eye. (I am sure all of your kids are not germy little monkeys!);
  • Bullshitting with my favorite colleagues over margaritas and dozens of rounds of spoons well past midnight on Day Three/Four;
  • Dragging my ass to the 7:00 a.m. breakfast hosted by my department on Day Four.

I missed you guys! I’ve got oodles and oodles of post-reading to catch up on. Plan on some very tardy comments!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Five

1. Logistics of all sorts defeat me regularly, not the least involving how to get to work on time. Lately, though, I’ve been specifically stymied by the logistics of a mid-day workout during the work week.

Those of you who regularly work out on your lunch hours, how do you manage it? Do you take an hour and a half for lunch? Do you shower? Shampoo? Shower but don’t shampoo? Wear your hair in a ponytail the rest of the day? For those of you who don’t workout over the lunch hour but do exercise regularly, what are some tricks that have helped you establish (and keep) this routine?

2. Generic Pop Tarts? Gross. The innards, well, they snap back into place when you break the tart into two pieces. So. Gross.

3. A. and I are going to be making homemade pizza tonight or tomorrow. Do any of you have an recipes or tips for making your own crust?

4. I’ve realized that I much prefer a nice warm lunch to a cold sandwich.

5. For whatever reason, today I am missing England. Below is a picture from one of the great public spaces in Birmingham. This was a highly pedestrian area and the space enjoyed immense use. I loved it, especially during this public photography exhibit. I miss it dearly. (I don’t miss the food, though.)

Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The List

It’s been more difficult than I’d expected to read everyone’s exuberant posts about the Red Sox’s win. (Congrats, you guys. It is fun to see your team win!)

I love the Rockies, I genuinely do. A. and I travel to Denver to watch quite a few of their games every season. I’ve grown to know the players, their strengths and their weaknesses. I love Coors Field.

The truth is, the Rockies have played better than they did during the World Series. Their run in early September was awesome and really demonstrated how talented they are. But part of the challenge of the Series—besides the grueling journey to get there—is that athletes step up to the plate and play their best when it counts. My Rockies didn’t do that. *sniff* I still love the Rockies, regardless of their loss.

And I still have a crush on Troy Tulowitzki. In fact, my crush spawned the creation of “The List.” You know, the list of famous people you are “allowed” to sleep with if the opportunity should arise? Tulo is on my list, as well as John Corbett. Maybe Matt Damon. Natalie Portman is on A.’s list. He has a huge crush on her. Our lists aren’t final, and we haven’t discussed whether they must be considered final or are of a fluid nature. We are working on the logistics, being List Newbies and all.

Do you have a List? Who is on it? If you don’t have a List, who would you have Listed?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is It Freezing Yet?

A. and I took off and spent some time in the Medicine Bow National Forest yesterday evening. It is about 15 miles from our house, so it doesn’t require much planning to fit a trip in. The dogs had been bouncing off the walls, and we both thought a good long walk in the mountains would be just the thing to wear them out. Also, they love running around up there SO. MUCH. There are so many smells to be sniffed!

It was a lovely evening. It was crisp but not cold. Buster and Belle were happy as clams. Well, Buster was until he heard the gunshots. The shots were from target practice, but Buster is such a baby; it freaked him out. He practically dragged me to the truck. Poor little chicken.

A. had an ulterior motive, I realized as I saw what trial we were on. We were wandering around a series of beaver ponds. Why would A. want to investigate beaver ponds, you ask? Why, because. They are the first thing to freeze over; they signal the beginning of ice fishing season.


P.S. THANK YOU for all of your enthusiastic and supportive comments regarding my journey through hell, er, The Thesis.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trying Not To Barf, Part 5

So, right across the hall from D.'s office, with his door open, was S. The "Trying Not To Barf" thing? It was quite literal there for a bit. But, with your support, I stood up straight and walked into my department with my head held high. And tip-toed around S.'s office before he know I was there. Damn, that was close.


You guys!!!!!* Thank you for your advice and support. And for continuing to drop in now and then as my blog becomes overrun with neurotic, pain-in-the-ass posts about The Thesis. (And welcome, Melospiza!! I am glad you left a comment; your advice was good. And Black Sheeped kicks ass, doesn't she?)

The meeting with Potential Thesis Advisor #2 when so well!!!! He didn’t hesitate or bat an eye when I asked him to be my advisor. He just smiled broadly and said yes.

I said I didn’t want to be an additional burden on him and he interrupted to say:

“This isn’t a burden. It’s my job.”

But wait. It gets better.

“Besides, this work is really the cream of the crop. This is what I really look forward to.”

HOLY SHIT!!!! Oh, why didn’t I ask him to be my advisor earlier?

I caught him up on where I was with my data collection and my writing, and chatted about my initial thoughts on what I was seeing in the data. He perked up immediately and he thinks that I already have enough info to do some really fun analysis.

Yes, I really just typed that. Fun analysis. We chattered for quite a while, and it turns out I am not as far up Shit Creek as I thought. I really like D.’s approach to the subject matter, and god damn if I am not excited to get working on this again.

I am really excited to work with him, too. Shit, I understood what he was talking about. There weren’t vague references to sites and themes that have nothing to do with my prospectus. There wasn’t a blank stare and minutes of silence when I asked for some references.** I walked out of D.'s office knowing what direction to go next, what steps to take. With Nearly-Former Thesis Advisor #1 I would walk out of a meeting with him and think to myself, “Now, what the hell am I writing about?”

This is awesome. Now, I am going to wrap up some stuff at work, head home and cheer for the Rockies. It has certainly been an auspicious day so far!

Oh, I am so happy.


*My baby sister, A., used to call T. and I “guys” when we were kids. It was so cute. “Wait for me, guys!” “Hey, guys!” “Guys, were are you?” She was sooo cute when she was little. Now she is stunning: tall, blond, big brown eyes and has boobs. Lucky lady.

** Guess who just had an article about greenbelts accepted for publication? Guess who just presented this paper at a national conference? Guess who has been living and breathing all things greenbelt? If you guessed Nearly-Former Thesis Advisor #1, clearly you’ve maneuvered the tricky halls of academia before. While I am not worried that he stole any of my material, *snort* I am a bit miffed that I never had a helpful e-mail that said something like, “Here is a good list of resources for your lit review on greenbelts.” Or even, “I thought you’d be interested in the article I just wrote. It might help you, my advisee, with your thesis about greenbelts.” It is a good think I was freakin’ euphoric from D. saying he’d advise me, or I would have hit the roof.

Trying Not to Barf, Part 4

Ever since my alarm went off this morning I've been having what Tessie calls a "nervous tummy."

Today at 2:00 p.m. MT (4:00 p.m. ET!), I am meeting with Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D. I hadn't heard from him for a week since I'd e-mailed him with a request to meet. I'd made up my mind to call him on Wednesday (yesterday) if I didn't get a reply. To be fair, I do know that D. is not obsessed with checking his e-mail like, say, I am.

Yesterday, when I opened up Outlook, I found the following message waiting for me:

From: [Potential Thesis Advisor #2]
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 8:16 PM
To: [Artemisia]
Subject: RE: Thesis

Hi, [Artemisia] --
I'm sorry. I really dropped the ball on getting back to you. Needless to say, I would certainly like to chat about how to proceed with your M.A. work. I'm a week late, but are you free this Thursday, assuming you haven't written me off? I have a meeting from 12:30 to 1:30, but how about after that? Probably to be safe I should suggest 2:00. If that doesn't work, I could meet on Friday. Let me know.
Hope to see you soon.
[Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D.]

I was so ridiculously, hyper actively elated that I nearly hugged my male officemate and I ran out into the hallway and did a happy dance, complete with an accompaniment of song. The song was something like, "He's so different than S., I can't believe it! He knows I'm alive, wooowowowowooo, woooo, wooo. yeah, yeah yeah." Or something. My neighboring co-worker came out of her office to see just what the hell was going on. Then she gave me a high five.

Do you see how nice and thoughtful How willing he is to work with me? OH MY GOD. I am still walking on fucking air.

I feel so relieved. I am pretty sure he knows I am going to ask him to be my advisor, and I am also fairly certain that he has an idea of what my experience with S. has been like. I am probably not the first grad student who exercised this particular brand of poor judgment. I think he'll agree to work with me. I do! And I am really pleased to be working with him, and not just because he acknowledges that I am, indeed, alive. (But, that is super awesome, I must say.) It has been his advice, suggestions and input that have gotten me as far along with my thesis work as I am. My former classmates that worked with him all have great things to say about the experience. Regardless of the poor advising from S., it makes more sense to have D. as my thesis advisor. Period.

You guys, I just know I am going to get The Thesis done. And I am so happy.

But I still have a nervous tummy for today's meeting! I don't want D. to think that I just disappeared and ignored my thesis for seven months. But I also don't want to sound like I am blaming S., either. After all, it did take two of us not to talk to each other. I mean, I suppose I could have camped out in front of his office for days until I finally caught him and forced him to interact with me, but I didn't. Though, I don't think I should have to do that. That isn't a good situation.

Now, since I am pretty sure D. has an idea of how difficult it is to work with S., do I just not bring it up at all? Do I just say, "Seeing as how S. is on sabbatical, will you be my advisor?"

I know I should resist the urge to sneak in a little passive aggessive crap, but what I really want to say is, "I've heard through the fucking grapevine that S. is already on sabbatical and will be leaving the county at some point. Will you be my advisor?"

Any advice?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Um, yeah

That last post?

Didn't work. So I deleted it.

And then I baked some cookies. Also, in the bottom of the fucking fifth inning, I realized I was wearing the wrong pajama bottoms. Imagine my horror!

The Rockies are just letting Boston build up some false confidence.... And, my man Tulo definitely showed up for the game. Let's hear it for whom should rightly be the Rookie of the Year!!! (Who also happens to be cute as a button!)

If the Red Sox were playing any other team, I'd be cheering for them. I have a special place in my heart for New England, and Red Sox Nation is awe-inspiring (just because, and from a folklore standpoint!). Good job on game one, but you need three more...

Monday, October 22, 2007

In Queue

I've spent most of my morning checking on my Firefox and Explorer browser windows, in a vain attempt to get Rockies World Series tickets.

I hated standing "in queues" when I lived in England, and I have just as much distaste for them with my butt parked in front of my computer. I would say that at least I had a cup of coffee to keep my happy today.


I spilled the entire contents of my coffee mug on my lap with my very first sip.

But, I don't think The Universe is trying to Totally Fuck With Me. I think it is Only Kinda Fucking With Me. I am wearing brown slacks today, so you can't tell I am wearing coffee.


So, seeing as how I am Only Kinda Being Fucked With, please keep your fingers crossed for me! I shall not give up hope, even as the evil queue tries to suck my soul away!

Knitting Titties

This weekend, I ventured downtown to this darling little knitting/fiber shop called In Sheep's Clothing. It is a great little shop; I've chatted with the owner on a couple of occasions, even though I haven't "knit" since my mother tried to teach me at the coordinated and patient age of 12. The owner doesn’t mind that my attempts at crocheting a baby blanket for my first step-nephew (now 2 and a half years old) have been thwarted with my inability to relax my death grip on the yarn. She thinks crocheting is difficult, anyway. So, ha!

I’d heard of an event called “Knitting for Knockers” that was taking place at the shop on Saturday. A bunch of ladies were getting together to knit breast prostheses for women who’ve had mastectomies. I thought I’d swing by, purchase some soft and pretty yarn to donate. I also wanted to see who these generous ladies were who had such a fantastic sense of humor.

Before I could finish protesting that, No! Really! I don’t know how to knit! I was whisked away to the downstairs studio. Happy, chatty ladies flocked around me and within seconds I was learning how to knit, purl, increase a row and knit an I-cord.

I came home with a pattern for the boobie, and will go back to the shop on Wednesday evening to get some help. Because! It requires three! double-tipped! Needles! Oh, my. Also, I really don’t know how to read a pattern just yet.

But guys – I think I am hooked. All weekend I’ve been practicing, happily passing time in the living room rocking chair. Knitting three rows, then purling two. I have made some interesting and overly-complicated attempts at increasing a row. But I am really proud of myself for remembering how to cast on and cast off.

Woo hoo! I know a couple of you are knitters. What was your first project? How long have you been knitting? What would be your ultimate project to complete?

I am very determined to see this through. I really want my first knitting project to be a boobie! Then, maybe I’ll try and tackle a pot holder or two.

Also, I have to admit it is really gratifying, in a selfish kind of way, to know that maybe this little project will help a woman make what must be a very difficult and frightening transition after a mastectomy. It feels like I am knitting a hug for someone.

Here are some patterns and the web site of Beryl Tsang, the woman who started knitting tits. The disclaimer about wearing a TitBit on an airplane is PRICELESS. Enjoy!


There were three ladies at “Knitting for Knockers” that I’ve known for years. One of them, M.F., offered to get together with me once a week, with another dear friend of ours, M.D., to help me learn to knit.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Not only will I have the opportunity to learn to knit with someone rather than by staring at a book, but I get to spend time with two women whom I hold in very high regard. When I was still very active in the Catholic Church, I spent a great deal of time with both of these women. They are strong and actively faithful. They question things and force the problems they see in their faith and with the Church out into the light of day. They love the people in their lives unconditionally. I don’t feel the slightest bit uncomfortable around them, even though I haven’t been able to bring myself to attend church in the past few years. They know why I have chosen not to, and they even agree with my concerns. They are amazing, and I just really feel well, blessed to have a chance to spend some time with them again. It is these friendships that I miss most about my former church community.

They are also a helluva lot of fun; they are the women who named the event “Knitting for Knockers.” What a hoot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Five

1. I just got my flu shot for the season. I hate needles, but I remembered to breathe and everything this time. No stars! No passing out! Just one sore left arm. And hopefully no flu.

Get your flu shots!

2. I think I am going to rename this Friday feature to: Friday Five, An Occasional Series. I didn’t post last Friday, and it was only the second Friday of the feature, for Pete's sake. I just can't be confined to a regimen like that, dude.

Also, I’ve been inspired by Swistle’s continued posting about environmental stuff. I’m thinking of creating a series were I chat a bit about the individual elements of foodscapes that get my heart racing. I need a title for it, though. But it will also be “an occasional series.” I am not about to pin myself down to a schedule. Pshaw.

3. A wasp just flew in from my office window and landed on my arm. It has snowed twice already; it is COLD already! Why the hell is there still a live wasp buzzing around, spreading terror? It certainly isn’t spreading happy little pollens around this time of year. Bastard.

4. A. and I stayed up really late last night. We were talking about my mother and his father, both of whom passed away over 10 years ago. It was one of the most intimate experiences I’ve had in my life. I said things out loud that I never admitted to anyone before. We’ve talked before about our parents, but for some reason we crossed into very intimate territory last night.

I wish I could take all of A.’s loss and pain away and just let him breathe, even if just for a bit.

5. A. will be at a conference in Park City, UT from Sunday until Thursday night. Wahoo! Time to myself!!!! So, instead of getting some crappy work done at the office, I am daydreaming about how I want to spend Sunday and what meals to plan for the week. Avocados will definitely be involved, since A. won’t be around to wrinkle his nose up at them. As well as whole-grain deliciousness.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This Is Such a Girlie Post, I Have Surprised Myself

It dawned on me yesterday while in the locker room, changing my clothes to go running for the Second Day of Artemisia’s Modified Week One of “Running,” that I am in desperate need of some new bras.

It is embarrassing, the state of my bras. EMBARRASSING. PITIFUL. MORTIFYING, EVEN. And yes, the state of my under things is so poor that the copious caps lock usage is totally validated and appropriate.

The thing is, bras in my size (i.e. itty-bitty) apparently require runt elves to make them, as normal human hands are entirely too large for such tiny, intricate and obviously magic stitching and constructing. And elves? They charge A LOT.

For those of you who have boobs that are discernable from the rest of your chest, are you regularly asked to spend upwards of $75 or so for a bra that looks like it is for a grown woman, and not a 12 year-old in training for future lingerie wearing? I might be little, but I like pretty things, too! Seriously, how much do you spend on a bra? Do you were pretty bras every day? Sexy ones? Plain ones? (If you, too, are blessed with Little! But! Perky! Girls!, and have any hot tips on where to find cute bras, let me know!)

On a related note, I’ve never been a matching bra and undies kind of girl. That is a lot of thinking and planning first thing in the morning. But now that I am regularly changing clothes in front of people in the gym locker room (ha!), I might reconsider. Are you a matching kind of gal?

I am also not the kind of girl that can say the word “panties” without gagging or giggling, depending on my mood.

Note to my Two (?) Infrequent (?) Male Readers: This is a rather girly post, I know. I am surprised, too. However, feel free to de-lurk and leave a comment if you have thoughts on the matter! To match or not to match? Panties or underwear? Keep it clean, please.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Are the Jones and We Bake Cookies

First, A. asked me to share with all of you the following (yes, he wanted you, my Five, er, maybe Eight? Faithful Readers to read this):

The other night, I was making "Mrs. Fields' Cookies," a recipe from A. (Super yummy but VERY labor intensive cookies. I'll send the recipe over to Maybe Painted Pink soon.)

I had the audacity to question whether or not the delightful little morsels of heaven really needed to be in the oven for only the stated six minutes. So, I kept an experimental sheet of cookies in the oven for seven and a half minutes. They were still a bit gooey in the middle, but looked like they had actually been in the oven, unlike the super-duper goopy six-minute batches. I thought they turned out just fine. They were still yummy cookies.

As it turns out, in order for these cookies to remain soft and lovely and heavenly the next day, they must only remain in the oven for six minutes. (A. refuses to believe that putting the heel of a loaf of bread in the cookie jar keeps cookies moist and chewy. Try it. It works, I swear!)

Now, the important part: A. was right, I was wrong.

EDITED TO ADD: A. is the (self-proclaimed) Baker of this Household.


Now on to what I want to share:

I have more than just joy and jubilation to thank the Colorado Rockies for! See. Since those kick-ass baseball players have gotten themselves to the World Series, the World Series that will be broadcast on Fox, Fox that is a network channel that is not a part of our Dish package, that our measly little antenna cannot pick up too well, A. upgraded our package (for the bargain price of an additional $5 a month) to include network TV. So we can watch the Rockies in the World Series.

Woo hoo! NBC! ABC! FOX! CBS! CW or something! I can finally read your posts about show reviews and know what the hell you are talking about. Yippee!

But I am still a NERD. What excites me most about all of this? That now, because our local PBS channel does come in clear as a bell with the antenna, we have two PBS channels as the Dish package includes the Denver PBS channel.


We might even get a DVR before we enter the second decade of the 21st millennium. We are sooooo the Jones you all want to keep up with, aren't we?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do You Know Where That's Been?!?

Very delicate, precise red text surrounding the "L" on one of the dollar bills in the office money jar caught my eye.

It called to me: Where has George been? 

The bill had been stamped with a web site to track paper currency.  I thought this was a cool idea, though it doesn't tickle me the same shade of pink as the Bookcrossing site.  

Immediately I thought of how grossed out A. would be knowing he could track the many, many hands that touched the bills he handled.  He shudders at the potential traces of all the germs, residual bodily fluids, etc. that stick to money.  He worked at a truck stop just long enough for the dismal hygienic standards of the truckers to leave him with such vivid impressions of total grossness that only the special effects on CSI can come close to adequately expressing his imagined fears. 

(On the other hand, my mind should have been employed by the art team for the CSI shows, as well as the X-Files: I have visions of blood and goop and parasites and general craziness every time I handle meat, clean a toilet, walk up a dark stairwell ...)

Oddly, money doesn't gross me out nearly as much as it does A.

Trying Not to Barf, Part 3

I just sent off an e-mail to Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D., requesting a meeting to "discuss my thesis and the best way to move forward."

Oh, he is going to think I am a Lamo Lazy-ass, I just know it.

Am I a Lamo Lazy-ass?

[full-on, tsunami-grade waves of nausea crash over me]

Second Attempt

I did it! I went "running" last night!

Yes, yes. I know. I am now on my Second Attempt at Artemisia's Modified Version of Week One of the Couch-to-5K running plan. I ran for one minute, walked for a minute and a half, then ran again, blah, blah, blah for 10 whole minutes.

Walking over to the gym was not the difficult part. The difficult part was the locker room. You see, my office is located on a university campus. And classes have resumed since my Last Attempt.

The locker room is full of toned 19 year-olds, all skinny and tan, wearing the latest in workout fashion, smartly highlighted hair in adorable high ponytails. Who knew there were such snazzy tank tops for the gym? Coordinating not-quite-sweatpants? Matching iPods for Pete's sake?!?!

Once I fought through the flashbacks of middle school gym and managed to change into my workout clothes, (including a t-shirt that fits like a t-shirt and a giant red Discman), I headed up to the track. I am too stupid and fantastically uncoordinated to attempt this run/walk combo on a treadmill. To my complete horror, the track was unbelievably crowded with all these young whipper-snappers whizzing around the track.

I froze. I thought, "There is not a chance in hell I am going to "run" and WEEZE and JIGGLE my way around this track in front of these kids." As I debated whether or not I'd just walk for a bit or head over to the bar in the union next door because at least I am old enough to drink, dammit, I watched the kiddos.

Guess what!?!?! Every single one of them was doing some variation of the run/walk method!! Although, their intervals of running were considerably longer than those I had planned for myself, but still.

So, yes! I went running!


After running, A. and I curled up on the couch to watch THE ROCKIES WIN THE NL PENNANT and it was AWESOME.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Foodscapes

Regardless of the fact that this little morsel of Environmental Insight isn’t hitting the World Wide Web until approximately 6:30 p.m. Eastern, this entire day has been Blog Action Day.

Because I have a wee brain that has a tough time following the complicated science and implications of pollution, land-use, global warming and whatnot, my doorway into thinking about, talking about, and doing something about The Environment involves my foodscape. Oh, how I love that word: foodscape. So utterly delicious and descriptive and captures everything I am going to muddle up here.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to Environmental Issues. I don’t know much, but I know enough to be concerned that we are causing unnecessary and irreparable harm to our human and non-human neighbors as well as to the intricate systems that are responsible for life on Earth as we know it. I think the notion that we reign supreme is ungrateful and fatal for many species, including our own. (And not just someday down the road, but right now.) Indeed, I think the idea of the dichotomy between Us and The Environment is perhaps the most damaging idea humans have ever latched onto.

But it is all so overwhelming! Whenever I let myself sit down and really think about the state we are in and the health of our system, I find myself consumed with anxiety. Also, I feel so guilty when I see how I live my life is a direct contradiction to these concerns, these ideas of connectedness. That I crave and too-often buy anything that is all shiny and new (and usually entirely unnecessary) sends me spiraling into a pit of despair and self-loathing. I wish I were exaggerating. And yet, I still really, really want an iPod.

When I am not wallowing in guilt, then my head threatens to explode when I try to understand the ramifications of losing a local breed of mosquito or some such critter, and what that means to the ecological web. It is too intricate, too complicated, and far too frightening. My little wee brain can’t handle it.

Rethinking the most basic aspects of my life seems to be my only avenue into the difficult ideas around the state of The Environment. Lately, where I am able to enter into these ideas is through food. This shouldn’t be surprising, as of course my interest in food is powerful enough to overcome my fear of Seeing How Bad Things Really Are. As well as my fear of The Ever-Expanding Thighs and Butt.

Really exploring where my food comes from, and the food that feeds my community, and just what the hell is in that food has opened up my understanding and concern for The Environment in a wholly unexpected way. The awesome, complicated, and intricate connections between our actions and the resultant Environment are made much more understandable to my stupid ass when I consider my meals. I am (just barely) starting to understand the social, cultural, and economic circumstances that have created that dichotomy of Us and The Environment through the web of food. On these cultural and economic maps, the locality of structures (and Structures), such as of the availability and variety (or increasing lack thereof) of seeds as well as animal feedlots and grocery stores, are beginning to come into distinct, sharp relief.

At least I am finding a way to engage with my concerns, rather than just freaking out and saying, “Oh fuck it. A., make me a drink.”

So, I think about my foodscape. Where is it? What is it made up of? Where are the local boundaries, and where is it global? How can I be a part of it? Change it? I am beginning to really consider growing some of my own food. (I have little business doing this, as I can’t even keep my little basil plants alive. But think of all the misadventures I can post about as I find my way over the learning curve!) A. and I are members of our local food co-op and encourage the group to supply products and produce from our regional foodscape. At least it is a start.

After all that rambling, this is what I am trying to say: I am starting to get to know and participate in my foodscape. The more I explore foodscapes, both regionally and globally, the more convinced I am that engaging here, as just one little person, I can start to bring about the change I so desperately want to see.