Friday, October 30, 2009

google harvest

I remain an optimist when gardening. Of course, why would anyone put a seed/plant in the ground if they were not?

I planted all my winter crops before The Flood of 2009.  I'm sure my seeds are sprouting...somewhere downstream.  It took me many weeks (of more rain, primarily) to get around to replacing them. But I did, finally.  And now I am seeing notices on my Google calendar to check for the first spinach harvest.  And next week to check for broccoli.  Then carrots and lettuce.  And now I am feeling the pessimistic gardener.  There is certainly nothing to harvest now.  The lettuce that did sprout and didn't wash away is still less than two inches tall.  It has had plenty of rain, but no sun. I saw purple stems of swiss chard as it came up, but I assume it has all rotted because I see none now. I found three carrot tops after the first floods, but after all the additional rain, I think they're gone now too. I'm afraid to pull up the green sprouts anywhere in case some of them are veggies which washed into the area.  I'm not sure those reminders are worth moving to later dates.  If it does quit raining, it will probably revert back to drought conditions.  A balance?  Not here.

But!  I've picked The Pumpkin.  And it will be here for you to see it soon.  Volunteer plants in my compost pile which I have neither planted nor tended?-- those I can grow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

serious decision making

I stand in the aisle, stocked floor to ceiling with colorful bags of Halloween candy.  I can't move.  I need to buy some candy for Saturday.  But what?  I love the chocolate and caramel stuff, but I reject the miniature Milky Ways because don't want to get something I like or I'll eat all the leftovers. We always have leftovers.  I see a bag of Laffy Taffy.  The kids like those ok.  I pick up a bag.  Too small.  What if I run out?  I'll need two.  Maybe something different.  But if I get something different I'll be tempted to give kids some of each.  And then I'll still run out.  Two Laffy Taffy bags?  Boring.  I see some bigger combo bags. 175 pieces?  Way too much.  M&M fun size packs?  I don't eat peanuts, but that doesn't necessarily mean I can't give it out. Twix and Peanut Butter Twix? None of the combinations are just right.  I don't want to give out candy I don't even like myself.  Seems wrong.  Oooh, Sugar Babies!  What am I thinking?  I'd eat them all in one afternoon and feel sick the rest of the day.  Tootsie roll mixtures.  Blech, they've got all the flavored ones in there.  Don't they just carry Tootsie Pops alone?  Nope.  But they've got some new chewy Starburst gummy thing I'd like.  Except it isn't for me and I think kids think gummies are babyish.  I see a traditional pack of small Hershey's candy bars.  No, I don't like the peanut ones, but they'd be popular.  And pricey!  Back to the fruity stuff.  How many kids do I expect?  We live on a lousy street for Trick or Treating.  There are steep driveways and no homes on the other side of the street, so not too many venture our way.  But still, one must be prepared.  I grab a small Laffy Taffy bag back up and pair it with some Starburst.  I head out of the aisle, satisfied and relieved to see canned vegetables in front of me.  Another cart passes mine and has Milk Duds in it.  I drop off the Laffy Taffy and turn back to grab a bag of Milk Duds.  Next to them are Whoppers.  I dump the Starbursts and grab them too.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Every day in kindergarten the children mark their behavior charts.  At the start of day, they all keep a clothespin on a chart, all on green, which means good.  Yellow is a warning, red involves discipline and blue means that neither the warning nor the discipline were effective.  There is always a chance to improve one's day and move back to green, but the color at the end of the day is colored onto a chart and brought home for daily initialing.  On Friday, those with green for four or more days are invited to visit The Treasure Chest.  (ooh, gasp, wow!)

I am pleased with the behavior charting method.  I am not a fan of The Treasure Chest.  Nor am I excited by The Treasure Chest at the dentist and the Birthday Gift Bag and (I anticipate) the trinkets given as Trick or Treat gifts. Oh, the stuff, the stuff!  No more trinkets! Erasers that don't really erase.  Super balls that can't be bounced in the house, nor outdoors. Pencils to join the other 100 pencils.  Tiny dinosaurs.  A pair of sunglasses that double as a drinking straw.  (really!)  Stop already!

It is all in the getting, not the having.  They are excited to Get.  They don't care that they Have.  The Stuff accumulates until it drives me batty.  I collect it from  the bottom of the drawers, the bottom of the toy bins, the top of dressers, from under booster seats in the car.  I put it in an opaque bag.  And I give it to the kindergarten teacher.

And my kid comes home with it again on Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

sixteen apples up on top

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

see food

We did more at the beach than dig and surf.  We ate!  I do not cook dinner on vacation, as a policy.  We go to the grocery, buy simple lunch and relatively easy breakfast items, but we eat local seafood at restaurants for dinner.  The number of locals selling their own fresh catch tempts me to change my mind and do a simple dinner myself sometime. But not this time.

We went to the local, trendy beach spot the first night.  The price reflected the view, not the quality.  CD and I had grilled grouper sandwiches and the kids had fried shrimp and fried grouper "fingers".  Bug peeled the breading off his shrimp before eating them so he could taste the fish better. Pook liked our grouper better than his. We know better than to order off a kid's menu, but we often forget.

To celebrate our anniversary, Saturday, (#11) we drove in to Apalachicola to find a restaurant which had been suggested to us.  It was preparing for a wedding party and, without reservations, it turned us away even at 6pm.  We walked around, checking out options until Bug's tired feet took us to a small cafe.  The results were superb.  The kids shared a large order of seafood linguini, CD ordered shrimp and grits (not as good as Rick's) and I had an amazing, although not quite traditional, paella prepared with mussels, shrimp, scallops, chicken, summer sausage and chorizo. I started to order a couple slices of key lime pie to share, but Bug's sunburned head was resting on the table and it was time for bed.

Sunday, following more beach and more ice cream and a climb up the lighthouse, we returned to Apalachicola.  While walking alongside the fishing boats, we struck up a conversation with a fisherman, cleaning up his boat for the day.  When asked what he caught, he replied, "These days I trade diesel fuel for shrimp."  He must love being on the water; that's a tough life.

We aimed for the same suggested restaurant, but it was closed, so we went to another mentioned spot at an old inn.  Pook and I had good crab cakes, although unconventionally prepared with corn in them.  CD had a fried platter and Bug chose pizza.  I thought of the fisherman we'd met and whether it would be practical to drive home with a cooler full of shrimp.  We did not.

salty splashes

I do so love the beach.  It must be in my blood, left from my formative years in southern California.  The smell of the Gulf coast isn't as good, but the sand and water are better than those of the Pacific.

"Try to keep your clothes... dry.  Oh well, we can go change before dinner."  That was the first visit to the beach immediately after unloading the car at the condo.  Keep a kid dry?  What was I thinking?

After a great vacation breakfast of sausage and biscuits we headed back to the waves.  The boys ran with glee into the surf.  Bug loved letting the waves crash into his chest and to dive or jump into them.  The water was so shallow for such a distance that even beyond the waves I could still stand (except for the unexpected drop offs which occurred just as a large wave approached).  It was perfect for little kids and boogie boards.  They split their time between the salty splashes and the sand, which they used for a few sand castles but primarily for digging holes.  Pook came running to me, yelling, "I dug to China!  Or at least to water!"  Bug found a shell which I tucked into my swim suit to save for him. I later realized that someone still lived in the shell.  Bug named him George, the Bivalve.

Within minutes of admiring the clouds in the distance which were obviously dumping rain, it began to rain on us.  I don't remember being on a beach in the rain, and we could have stayed, but we packed up.  We'd barely rinsed our sandy feet at the condo when the sun reappeared.

We took the dry opportunity to go see the Oyster Spat Festival (spat, n. An oyster or similar bivalve mollusk in the larval stage, especially when it settles to the bottom and begins to develop a shell.*)  We'd read that Saturday's festivities would begin with a parade at 11:00am.  It was 10:40 so I suggested we head out to see it.  But this was an island on Island Time.  It took five hot minutes to walk to the main road where we waited in the hot sun for the parade. There is a different climate mere yards from the water at the beach. From 'Beach Lovely' it quickly becomes 'Just Plain Hot', no, make that 'Hot and Muggy'.  "If you look up 'muggy' in the dictionary, you'll get this," commented CD.  Finally we heard the marching band (all ten or twelve teens).  A firetruck, the sheriff, about six cars displaying only advertising and the parade was over.  At least someone had thrown candy and a Frisbee to the kids.  We escaped the heat and went into an ice cream shop.  Candy! and ice cream! before lunch!  It must be vacation!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

goin' to the beach!

Seems like if you're going to be sick you should be sick enough to gain sympathy and get out of your normal job chores.

But I'm glad I'm not because tomorrow we head to the beach!  The kids have a Friday/Monday vacation- possibly to celebrate Columbus- but more likely because the timing was right after having nine weeks of school.  Teachers work Friday getting report cards ready I think.  We will be driving south.

From Atlanta, there are several popular beach options, but they're all the same approximate distance.  We chose Gulf over Atlantic after some debate.  The water will be significantly warmer and the plans we had for the Atlantic trip need more time.  We've always wanted to explore Georgia's Cumberland Island.(wild horses!)  The kids are interested in the Okefenokee Swamp. (alligators!)  I think the two would make a great vacation combo pack, but probably would be too rushed in this short trip.  Plus, the mosquitoes are still swarming in the swamp, so maybe a winter trip would be best.  The alligators are calm and easily found in the colder weather too.

Instead, we will laze on the beach on the Gulf coast.  We have some serious sand castle building to do, a few books to read, and some seafood to enjoy.  CD and I celebrate our 11th anniversary on Saturday.  (I still love him!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

in a former life

At 8:30 pm, I am finally losing the effects of today's caffeine.  I have had a headache and stomach ache all day.  Before laying down for an hour's nap-ish thing-- I did still have kids here-- I phoned CD and told him I was too nauseous to cook, and that even though he'd biked to work today, I needed him to deal with dinner.  Although I wasn't thinking clearly enough to remember, he knew what that meant: egg drop soup.  Perhaps I was Chinese in a former life; egg drop soup got me through the months and months of prenatal nausea and has come to the rescue many times since.  Chicken noodle won't do, chicken and matzo balls isn't the same.  There are probably other versions too, but for me it seems to have to be egg drop soup.  I've made it for myself, but that isn't the same either; cheap take out seems to go over the best.

So, eleven hours after the mug of coffee (simply a latte made with 2% milk), I'm only somewhat feeling the belly churning and the headache is gone.
Wednesday morning:  I can only blame so much on coffee.  I'm sick.

let's meet for coffee

Shaky hands, pounding heart, nauseous, almost dizzy fuzzy headedness.  I just met a friend for coffee (2 hours worth of catching up!) and was distracted by the coffee-making-guy who offered me skim, 2%, whole or soy milk, sizes of indeterminate quantity, and paper or ceramic cups, and I seem to have forgotten to say "decaf".  When a friend offers to meet for coffee, I tend to ignore the "coffee" part of the statement and consider it a chance to catch up, which it is.  Then I'm unprepared for the actual ordering of the coffee-type beverage and I get flustered and mess up.  With this result.

I end up consuming caffeine once or twice a year, accidentally, and I then remember why I don't drink it regularly.  I pulled an all-nighter in college once (bad idea for a 10 hr sleeper anyway) and then topped off the study session with a Diet Coke liquid breakfast.  I sat down at the blue-book exam, picked up my pen, dropped my pen, picked up my pen, dropped my pen... and finally had to tell the prof that I couldn't take the exam until later.  I went home to sleep it off and gave up caffeine completely right then.  Benadryl leaves me wide-eyed and sleepless; clearly I'm that 1% who reacts oddly to medications.

Hopefully the laundry portion of today will be completed despite my impaired condition.

Monday, October 5, 2009

acorns are plunking on my head

An old birdhouse the kids made has been taken over: