Monday, May 26, 2008


Who would think that someone such as myself, who closes every conversation with a reference to fire, would not be awesome at fire studies? Who indeed.

On the other hand, I confused an owl by trying to hoot like it, and it tracked me for two trees before deciding I was not interesting. As it was drawing dusk, a couple of jays gave me stern looks before winging home for the night. Your ilk is not very accepting of change, Cuervito. PS. does that have something to do with the tequila?

And someone planted the western azalea outside our office, so I keep sneaking out to sniff at it. If I said it smelled like honey and water and skunk, you wouldn't be inclined to seek it out, but it is a glory of scent. Also it is pretty.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I have just realized my dream job doesn't exist, and have not yet managed to rationalize it away

This damn screen has been up all weekend, waiting for me to post something. Here's what I got- things I am cooking or planning to cook before 6 pm
white bread, 3 loaves
burned butter cookies
rhubarb cookies
pickled beets
chicken salad
chicken catchitori

I'm going to firefighter school instead of having a holiday or spending time with Señor C, whoo hoo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Actually, it's bacon

We are having eggs- from the chickens that lay green shelled eggs- and ham I left in the fridge for too long. Green eggs and green ham! My childhood dreams come true!

83 is an entirely resonable temperature. 84 is insane.

- I was going to state that I possessed an internal thermostat- but wikisearch has pointed out that that implies a unique talent for maintaining a constant temperature. Instead, I must resort to a less clever wording and state that I must possess a bi-metallic strip. When the house hits that magical temperature, I begin to do less than rational things. Like take four showers a day. And lie on the linoleum for hours. And water the garden the entire day because it's too hot to go outside.

-Last year I planted a scraggly oval within the range of a sprinkler, but I broke up the peds and formed a hardpan to the extent that no-one is going to garden there for a while. This year, I have fifteen pots, two microscopic raised beds for flowers, and a sprinkler system that puts el Cuervito's to shame. Instead of a measly row of chiles, I have many varieties of tomatoes. Instead of a fancy pants timer, I have Señor C and phone calls at 6:15- "Did you remember to water the garden!?"

-I thought the unobtrusive "Donate to the Obama campaign" button next to the video of the race speech was the cleverest fundraising thing ever. There one is, wiping away tears, and there's a tasteful little link saying that if you wanted to send $15 to this man and increase the odds that he'd have some say in how your great country was run, that would be cool. I was unemployeed and I gave $50. Now I get all sorts of e-mail asking me to do more things. The money and the vote, isn't that enough?

-The local community college publishes a monthly paper. This month had an editorial about how Obama was just as lame as everyone else, because he'd managed to raise a lot of money. It did not state that 62% of his funds were from donors that gave less than $200.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm teaching the new botanist to key- she's not familiar with the Jepson, or the Peterson, or dichotomous keying really. I am sneakily disobeying the "Teach her everything from the begining" edict that Susan the boss handed down, because I lack an advanced degree in phylogeny, lakes of patience, and a Susan the biker/mad botanist to gather plants from whichever family I crave to teach. Poor Christy is learning the main families and their characteristics. I'm not going to cover interrelationships. There will be no discussion of gene roots for tepal formation. I will say "Here are characteristics of the Asteraceae, Apiaceae, Polemoniaceae, Liliaceae, Orchidaceae, Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae, Ranunculaceae, Polygonaceae, Fagaceae, Pinaceae, Poaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Lamiaceae, and Geraineaceae. Start keying!

As a note from reading the Jepson in times of stress: all genera in the Geraineaceae are named after shorebirds; heron, stork, egret. That's pretty cool, I think.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Favorite Foods

Señor C's favorite foods speak of a childhood spent in restaurants; crab cakes, Cesár salad (spelled correctly. I promise), margarita pizza, fettucini Alfredo, and then the holy dessert trifecta; lemon tart, cheesecake, and tiramisu. I learned to make all of these things- but I think it was a mistake. I would have been better off learning to make seared lamb tenderloin and delightful rice. Those dishes seem to be the quiet refuges on a menu- so when a eight-year-old is eating out, a crab cake or a Cesár salad make it possible to face Maple-Soy-Glazed Mackerel Fillets and Bass in Artichoke and Tomato Broth and a slice of cheesecake makes it possible to consume them. (I copied those out of an old Gourmet) My favorite foods are luxury produce: avocados, raspberries, artichokes, asparagus, mangos, morels, pomegranates. I didn't consider what this implied until today.

I can remember two dining experiences before I was five- once my parents had a brunch, I had the flu, and it was thought that I should not be left with the communal babysitter and other children in my weakened and germ-ridden state. We went to Bellissimo's. (This place closed when I was six, I ate there twice, and I still used it to give directions. Tom's office, I say, is above Bellissimo's) My dad talked it up, but I ended up with a plate of distinctly substandard strawberries and brown bananas. My parents were attentive, but their friends were not. I think I may have puked in the bathroom.

The other one was Michael's on my third birthday. My father bought me a chocolate mousse. For complicated reasons, this is one of my most unpleasant memories- none of them having o do with my birthday, my father, the restaurant, or chocolate mousse.

Señor C's family is on the other extreme. Every time I visit, we eat out. It costs ten thousand dollars. You think they would have noticed that I eat like a lumberjack.

Damn. I've presented the points in the opposite order from how I thought of them, and now I have no transition. What I want to say is- I remember those meals because they were rare.

While we were dining with Señor C's whole famn damily, the waiter stopped in front of his three-year-old ahijada sobrina. She cast a discriminating glance over the menu (I'm pretty sure she can't read yet) and said,
"Las machas- ¿Estan ricas?" (machas are pink razor clams)
"Si, señorita."
"Pues- las machas a la parmesana, por favor. Y un Coke, sin hielo. ¿Deberia tener helado por fin?" Her mother cut in, noting we would be there for some time. "Helado de chocolate. Y unos lapizes y papel." Then she sat quietly for a three hour meal, politely eating seafood and drawing pretty dresses. I still don't have restaurant manners this good. Señor C ended up ordering my meal for me, and I got bored quickly. (Why didn't I keep up on Spanish? What possessed me to think "My boyfriend speaks Spanish, I don't need to know how anymore."?)

So yeah... If I am blessed with children, I'm not taking them out to dinner so often that all their favorite foods are menu staples. I'm gonna pull the trick my parents did, and convince them that their favorite foods are pinto beans and baked potatoes. Sneaky. Unlike my parents, I will not be surprised when they develop a fanatical devotion to produce. Or I will be, because no one else I know has produce as a hobby.*

*They say "gardening", they say "cooking", they say "I like to go the the farmer's market now and then." What I mean is reading ag journals to find new peach varieties: Oh, yes, the 'Susannah'- with the higher sugar content of the "Marie", but an increased resistance to oomycetes and rusts. Possibility of polyphenolic compound formation in hot weather though. Pity.

I don't know why everyone is working so hard to reduce anthocyanin pit staining.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


If you read this blog, you already knew I had a little earthquake, because I straight up called you and gloated. You also probably heard that at first I thought it was raccoons getting their bone on inside the couch, because I am such a classy lady. It was a 5.2, about 70 miles away, and it puts all of Mike's so called earthquakes to shame.

I made sweet things to eat this week as a reward for getting out of the car and looking. I'm also making a lentil salad, which will travel great in the back of my vest while I round out the last three lily sites- all of them long walks, somehow. Normally, I make sweet things and Señor C eats them I an eat them to keep up and they are all gone, but I made a dozen decoy cupcakes, and the brownies are still intact. There are three cupcakes left, they came out of the oven two and a half hours ago.

I was going to post this earlier, but I have not-work, and then there's Odin Sphere. That's right, I am emmeshed in a video game, and while talking about my life is very fun, it's coming in a distant second.