Everyone should have one of these. All the goodness, none of the smell or nastiness!


Poetry Thursday - out of season


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay


More of the furniture haul

For the benefit of my grandma who is sadly bereft of a high speed connection.



I only brought home one thing from the furniture store:

However, eight things that are too large to fit in my car will be delivered tomorrow.


OMG, this must be what it's like to be my sister...

So as a general rule, I hate to shop. I mean, I like the idea of it and all, but certainly not the practice. I find that just about everything I need can be purchased at either the grocery store or on the internet.


There is this wonderful place called Four Hands. They are an import/wholesale company that specializes in massive Asian and Indian and mid-century modern furniture. And they are having this unbelievable sale where you can buy things like massive tables made of gorgeous reclaimed wood for $250. They have set up what seems like miles of tents, filled with stacks of furniture at insane prices. That, combined with the fact that our apartment furniture fills up approximately 1 1/2 rooms in our new house, is making me giddy. Tonight, I shop.


Poetry Thursday - a new one!

September, 1918

This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.

-Amy Lowell


These are the larva of Black Swallowtails:

They eat parsley and carrot tops, which explains why I found them in my plants last night. I briefly relocated them to a drip tray filled with chard and lime leaves, but they were not pleased with my compromise and have disappeared. I have a feeling that I will find them in my parsley again soon, and then I will capture them and feed them on carrot tops and limited amounts of my parsley until they turn into beautiful butterflies for me.

"Then," I told B who advocates excessive carnage, "I will put on a floaty dress and frolic in the park to Peter Paul & Mary."

Poetry Thursday - a repeat

It may be cheating to post a repeat, but this is still my favorite poem. I'll post something else later.


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

-Louise Gluck



After removing his leash, but before giving him the okay to take off running.


Hey, we got new ceiling fans! It's not that the new ceiling fans are great (although they are - all sleek and simple and unfrilly), it's that the old ones were so very vintage 1983. They are full of brass and wicker and glass with frosted flowers. I posted on Craigslist and actually got someone to drive over to our house and take them, but as they were going out the door, I started to think about how I could have made a neat art project out of them and would have really regretted it if I didn't have about eight other 'art projects' in the works.

Bella was not amused when I let strange men come into the house and climb around her living room on ladders. She sat a safe distance away in the dining room and gave them laser eyes for the entire day.



This morning, I had an initial phone interview for a position that I really want. I hate interviewing with people I already know, because you can't really, you know, puff. You say "yes, I'm very good at managing multiple deadlines - in my current position, I do X, Y, and Z." And you're wondering if they are thinking "yeah, I remember that time that the A report was two days late, and she forgot to do B and C."

Oh well, too late to worry about it now. I'll find out about in-person interviews next week and then I can spend another several days freaking out and preparing useless witty comments and questions (useless because I'll forget them the second I walk through the door).

So lately, I seem to be all about the folky music. Here are my current favorite songs:

Bob Dylan - Spirit on the Water (who knew Bob Dylan was actually good?)
The Weepies - Gotta Have You
Laura Cantrell - 14th Street (you can download it for free at Amazon!)
Todd Snider - The Ballad of the Kingsmen


By the way

Have you heard The Polyphonic Spree's cover of Lithium? As Jill would say, fabulous!


Lately, it seems I have much more interaction with the medical establishment than I am comfortable with. As you may have surmised by my last few posts, I survived having my wisdom teeth out. It wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined, although I'm worried that I told the doctor how cute he was while I was under the influence. I don't remember much except for a pre-op conversation with the nurse about whether a butt tattoo hurts more than a foot tattoo, and a post-op argument because I didn't want to ride in the wheelchair (I get argumentative when I'm sedated).

Also, after the baby died, I got a new doctor who ordered all kinds of tests to try and find out what happened. We still don't have a reason for what happened, but I guess it's nice to have absolute certainty about my own health. I have recently received confirmation that I do not have diabetes, AIDS, lupus, random immunological disorders, uterine or cervical cancer, or a thyroid disorder. I also received the somewhat obvious news that I have 46 chromosomes and that I am female. They took a vial of blood to tell me that.

I think I am starting to accept what happened. The test results are helping me to realize that it probably wasn't my fault, and that I couldn't have done anything to prevent it. I find that I can now talk to B about when we have children, rather than if. As cliched as this is, I think I am a stronger person for surviving this. But I am also weaker, because now I really know, deep in my bones, that I am not safe, and that terrible things can happen to me and to people I love.


The OCD Manifesto

Anything worth doing is worth doing obsessively and to excess.

Laundry Day Returns!


Last Meal

Today is The Day. Today I will go to Dr. Korikourtis' office to have my wisdom teeth yanked violently from my head. In preparation, I had a last meal that included lamb chops with (home grown!) rosemary and oregano, grilled veggies, and parmesan-garlic roasted potatoes (thank you Alexia, I love you and your wonderful variety of potato products).


One scorpion in a week is an Incident. Two in a week is an Infestation.

Plus, I think these are meaner scorpions than we used to get in our apartment. Those would always be found near the baseboards, or furiously running towards cover. These are just out there on the walls, with their pinchers and tails spread out, saying "Come on *%&$*, just try and get rid of me"


Poetry Thursday

Learning the Trees

Before you can learn the trees, you have to learn
The language of the trees. That’s done indoors,
Out of a book, which now you think of it
Is one of the transformations of a tree.

The words themselves are a delight to learn,
You might be in a foreign land of terms
Like samara, capsule, drupe, legume and pome,
Where bark is papery, plated, warty or smooth.

But best of all are the words that shape the leaves—
Orbicular, cordate, cleft and reniform—
And their venation—palmate and parallel—
And tips—acute, truncate, auriculate.

Sufficiently provided, you may now
Go forth to the forests and the shady streets
To see how the chaos of experience
Answers to catalogue and category.

Confusedly. The leaves of a single tree
May differ among themselves more than they do
From other species, so you have to find,
All blandly says the book, “an average leaf.”

Example, the catalpa in the book
Sprays out its leaves in whorls of three
Around the stem; the one in front of you
But rarely does, or somewhat, or almost;

Maybe it’s not catalpa? Dreadful doubt.
It may be weeks before you see an elm
Fanlike in form, a spruce that pyramids,
A sweetgum spiring up in steeple shape.

Still, pedetemtim as Lucretius says,
Little by little, you do start to learn;
And learn as well, maybe, what language does
And how it does it, cutting across the world

Not always at the joints, competing with
Experience while cooperating with
Experience, and keeping an obstinate
Intransigence, uncanny, of its own.

Think finally about the secret will
Pretending obedience to Nature, but
Invidiously distinguishing everywhere,
Dividing up the world to conquer it,

And think also how funny knowledge is:
You may succeed in learning many trees
And calling off their names as you go by,
But their comprehensive silence stays the same.

Howard Nemerov


City Girl

I don't know if this is just my own craziness, or if most lifelong city dwellers feel like this, but the thought of actually growing a vegetable in a pot on my porch just seems unbelievable to me. I planted zucchini and squash seeds last week, and was amazed to see that the seeds look just like the seeds in the zucchinis and squashes that I get at the grocery store. I had absolutely no confidence that they would grow, because vegetables come from the store, not from dirt. But, to my amazement, there are things GROWING in the pot. But I still don't believe that I will ever get a vegetable out of all this.

*Update* Are you aware that zucchini flowers are edible and are said by many to taste better than the actual zucchini?


I hate scorpions. This one was on the wall next to my bed. How do you sleep after that?



This is the text of an email received at work from a vendor:

To all my friends at Whole Foods Markets in Austin (plus a few more)!

For those that did NOT know, I am a graduate of The Ohio State University. Home of the current number one ranked football powerhouse!

At the risk of causing damage to the Whole Foods Market & (Deleted) Beverage relationship (a risk worth taking for this exercise), I just wanted to make sure that you were all aware of the pounding that your Horns took at the hands of the mighty Buckeyes! ... in Austin no less!
I guess that we ... "messed with Texas"!


Modern Art


The Chicken Experiment - question and advice

Question: how do you rub butter on a chicken? I took the approach of just smearing it around with my hands, but then it was gooey and gross and somehow got all over everything, including my iPod (it was hanging on my supergeeky cool nano necklace).

Advice: you should be prepared with string or twine to tie the legs together. Otherwise, you'll end up using twist-ties stolen from the bread and saying things like "watch out for the melted red plastic on the drumstick - you probably shouldn't eat it."


If you're looking for Flip Happy, you might be looking for Floribunda (Don't Panic, It's Organic!). I regret to announce that you now need to look for Floribunda (Cacti - Try a Global Warming Victory Garden). Somehow, it just doesn't have the same ring to it.


Poetry Thursday - a fun one


After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
intricately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

-Sharon Olds



1. This year is my year. This is the year that I am finally going to pay attention to Longhorn football. I've been saying that ever since I moved to Austin, but its for real this time because...

2. B got a neat HDTV card for our movie room computer, so I can now watch football on the big screen in high definition. Oooh, pretty.

3. I am currently growing basil, peppermint, lavender, and sage. I have seeds for dill, cucumbers, and squash. Let the vegetable experiment begin.

4. I haven't done anything else on the kitchen floor because I have been too sore and too busy. At this rate, I will finish sometime around 2015.

5. Tomorrow I am going to try a kitchen experiment involving a whole chicken. The first time I tried an experiment like this was right after B and I moved in together. I was unaware that whole chickens come with their inside parts in a bag inside the body. Hilarity and much mopping ensued. I know better this time.


With immense satisfaction comes immense back ache

This project may take a little bit longer than I anticipated...

Everyone loves bugs

He's been hanging out on the trellis above my rose bush:



More multi-colored lantana:

Esperanza, also known as yellow bells:

Coreopsis. When deer are desperate, they will eat this:

Some bush that grows in my front yard. I didn't even notice until today that it had flowers. I thought it was just covered in debris from the crape myrtles.

One of my katydids. I know it didn't come out quite right, but I had to post it anyway, because I love him, and talk to him every morning while I'm watering the plant that he lives in. Isn't he handsome?

In which I discover how to use my camera two years too late for Paris

I have mastered close-ups in my front yard. Click on any picture for a larger view.

A Texas star hibiscus bud that will bloom tomorrow morning:

Cherry sage:

Yellow lantana:

Red and yellow and orange lantana:

Mexican bird of paradise (I shouldn't be proud of this one, since it grows quite easily all by itself, sometimes in ditches by the side of the road, but it's pretty, and I am. Proud, that is):

A tale of great happiness

Dogs are walked to the creek

Dogs frolic in the creek

Monster is a great chaser of sticks. However, he doesn't bring them back. He retrieves them and then breaks them. It takes a lot of sticks to play with Monster

Monster is oblivious to the scenery. Sebastian is much more interested in dead things in the underbrush than water. As a result, Monster gets his picture taken more.

Dogs are transported home in a state of ecstasy, little imagining the water hose and grapefruit shampoo that await them there...