Friday, June 6, 2008

That Not So Fresh Feeling

Summer has arrived. Dammit. I do not celebrate the return of summer weather. I hate the heat, I hate the sun, I hate the humidity most of all. And all of the sudden, today it's summer. I went outside at 6:30 this morning and it was already (or perhaps I should say still) 75 degrees, with about a million percent humidity, give or take a thousand percentage points or so. There was absolutely no morning freshness to the air. It's just gross.

You know how really geeky people are fond of responding to complaints about the Arizona heat with "Well, at least it's a dry heat! Har har har." Maybe you're not familiar with it, seeing as how you probably didn't grow up in Arizona. But let me just tell you, as someone who has experienced both the punishing dry heat of the desert and the disgusting humid heat of the northeast, I'd take the desert heat any damn day.

Of course, we always had air conditioning there, which might have had something to do with making it more bearable, but still. Humidity is my enemy. It makes everything smell, it makes my skin feel clammy, it makes it hard to breathe, it makes my Q-Tips all bendy, it makes me look like Janis Joplin. Humidity is a curse to curly-haired people. I just resign myself to looking like ass for three months.

So basically, in the summer I turn into a cranky, whiny bitch. You have a lot to look forward to on this blog in the coming months. But it could be worse. You could be married to me and have to listen to my whining live and in color.

Update: After posting this, I went to work in the garden, both because I am a glutton for punishment and because it had rained and the weeds were threatening to stage a coup and take over. It was hot and nasty enough as I thinned and hoed the corn, planted a couple of things, and started hoeing the potato field. But at least it was overcast. Then the sun came out while I was in the middle of the potato hoeing. Whereupon I promptly melted into a puddle, thereby providing the potatoes with life-giving water while I perished in a flood of sweat.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


If you come to this site to laugh and be entertained, you should leave now. There is nothing amusing in this post.

Today I had my sixth negative pregnancy test in as many months of fertility treatments. We have been trying for over two years for a child, the last six months with the help of a fertility clinic, and I am done. Done with the pills, done with the needles, done with the hope that I feel every month and the subsequent crushing disappointment when the nurse once again tells me, "I'm sorry; your results were negative."

And now that I'm done with the fertility treatments, it's time to really face the fact that we might never have children of our own. And I'm . . . not really okay with that. I have failed at the most basic biological imperative. I feel like I've been stamped with a big "rejected" by nature, declared unfit to pass on my genes. And so I'm sad, of course, grieving for the child it looks like we may never have, but I'm also very, very angry. This is a very big thing, a very bad thing, and I just don't really know how to deal with it.

Of course, I will deal with it. I'm not an emotionally fragile person generally and I can handle this. But for right now, it just sucks.

I'm a very private person for the most part, and it seems a bit odd to be announcing something so very personal and painful on such a public forum. But I'm only going to talk about this once, here, and the relatively impersonal nature of the Internet allows me to avoid the inevitable uncomfortable encounters with people when they find out and seek to say something comforting.

So if you know me in real life, please do not mention this next time we meet. Any sympathy will result in either me saying something like, "Oh, it's okay," when it's not, or me crying. And I don't do public crying. So please, say what you want to say here, and then leave it alone.

I will probably regret hitting "publish" on this post, but this blog is about my life, and that's not always amusing and happy. Sometimes it's sad and disappointing, and now is most definitely one of those times.

Potlucks: Windows to Your Soul

I love potlucks. The appeal is obvious: No one person does all the work, there is always way too much food and lots of things to choose from, and mayonnaise features heavily. I am devoted to mayonnaise. Mmm, emulsified fat.

And now, the point goes off the rails:

Let me tell you about the best potlucks in the WORLD. We lived in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, for a few years when I was young and both my brother and I were very active in sports. The best potlucks ever are on Oahu after baseball games. Seriously, if you're ever there on vacation, skip the beach on a Saturday around lunchtime and crash a Little League potluck. Who's gonna know you're not a parent? The quality of the food has a lot to do with the very large Japanese population on Oahu. This results in the BEST noodle salads and sushi and . . . nnnghhhSLUUURP. Sorry, the nostalgic drool got away from me there.

Aaaand, back on the rails:

So I was reflecting on potlucks when we went to a potluck birthday party for our friends' son last weekend. I was also considering that what you bring to a potluck says a lot about you. Your tastes and cooking skill are on display to the whole world. I mean, think about it (as I obviously have in exhaustive and irritating detail). For instance, I used to bring deviled eggs to potlucks at work. They're always a big hit, of course, but they don't scream "sophisticate," now do they?

For the potluck on Saturday, I brought a fancy non-mayonnaise pasta salad featuring spinach and feta. Clearly, I'm trying to improve my standing in the world. Social climbing via salad.

And now I would like to form a snap judgment of your character based on your food choices. So tell me: What do you bring to potlucks?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time for a Garden Update!

Wheee! Do we know how to have a rockin' good time around here or what? Since so many of you asked (okay, so no one asked, I just felt like sharing) how the garden is progressing, I thought I'd give you a status report.

We ate all the radishes already. They did splendidly in the cold spring we had. Everything else is in arrested development and is trying to catch up. The Walls o' Water did work on the tomatoes, though I will not be having tomatoes in June (boo), and I moved some of the Walls to a few bell pepper plants, which are still disappointingly scrawny and not looking like they're going to produce any bell peppers this century. That might be because something was eating them, too. Then my garden guru (the MiL) told me to mix up some cayenne pepper, crushed garlic, and a bit of water and pour that on the plants. It seems to be working. I hope those miserable bugs burned their mouths on the cayenne and then died. Yes, I am vindictive.

The Roma tomatoes were not planted until Mother's Day, and yet still got a little bit of frost damage. I mean, come ON, Mama N., frost at the end of May? Please, be a little kinder in the coming months.

The corn is coming along nicely, the lettuce a little less so (I blame those goddamn rabbits--I wish Leda would kill them instead of chipmunks). The beets are okay, if a little spotty. I haven't seen any leeks yet, but I have faith they'll come through.

The shallots and garlic are going great guns; the celeriac is hilariously tiny. As you can see from the photo. In the foreground are the shallots, the big plants in the background are garlic, and if you can even see it, the celeriac is planted in between the rows of shallots. Oh, and there are some nice weeds in there, too. The weeds are growing fabulously.

The asparagus is there, and I have great hopes for the future harvests. None this year, since this is the first year of growing it for us and you have to leave it alone to re-seed for a few years before harvesting it. It's so tantalizing having those delectable spears out there and yet be forbidden to enjoy them. (Wow, did that sound really naughty to anyone else?)

My precious potatoes, for which I damn near broke my back, are growing very well so far, especially a variety called Bake Kings. And the fennel doesn't seem to be growing very fast, but at least it's not dead.

And really, that's pretty much all I ask for--not dead. What a dedicated gardener I am.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Peonies on Parade

I know yesterday's photo was a little bit gruesome (although judging by the lack of comments, not many of you noticed--or perhaps were just too disgusted to comment. This blog is not for the easily grossed out. And neither is country living. And there is officially more text inside parentheses now than out. Great writing, Kristin!). To make it up to you, I got you some pretty flowers.

You're welcome.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Run Away! Run Away!

Do not be fooled by the sweet face and innocent expression. I have photographic evidence that Lassie is a killer.

This is from when the woodchuck was dispatched. Today, a hapless chipmunk (THEODORE?! IS THAT YOU?!) met its end. I would like to send out an all-points bulletin to all creatures great and small in the near vicinity--leave this place, or you will meet the same fate as your furry friends.

And I'm getting tired of flinging little bodies into the gully, so please, just stay away from Blackrock.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Brave Little Magnolia

I'm thinking of writing a children's book about this magnolia tree. Yes, this is a magnolia tree. The MiL planted it on the front lawn a couple of months ago. It's all of 12 inches high, and the tiny thing already has a blossom on it. Talk about blooming where you're planted.

This is the second plucky plant I've introduced you to (the first was the ever-blooming lilac). Who's inspired? I know I am. In fact, I've been fighting it, Jive Turkey, but I can't resist any longer . . . Up with people!

And plants.