Update on my shame - Bugman was wrong!

Ok, here is Bugman's followup email from this morning. I feel much less guilty now.

Hi Stephanie,
These are not Aphids, but Hemipterans. We originally thought they might be Assassin Bug Hatchlings and if that was the case, they are beneficial insects not to be destroyed. We sought Eric Eaton's input and he wrote
back: "I'm pretty sure that this is actually some kind of leaf-footed bug in the family Coreidae, but I can't tell from such tiny hatchlings.
Assassin bugs don't lay eggs in a line, as far as I know. Not sure where the image was shot, but I know that there are some great resources on coreids from Florida educational websites. Eric" If Eric is correct, and we suspect he is, then these are plant feeders and you probably made the right move eliminating them from the tree.


Violence! Destruction! Raffle Tickets!

Austinites! The hated Intel building is finally going to be destroyed! And the Austin Parks Foundation is raffling off the privilege of taking the first swing. There is the chance that you could be the person who pushes the button to set off an implosion! Sign me up!

Poetry Thursday - full of Scottish goodness

To A Mouse

On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss ’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!


Not only did I commit an act of needless bug carnage, but Bugman has posted my confessions of ignorance and murder on the internet for all to see. I don't know if I have enough good bug karma to make up for this.


Sartre was right

So right now, I'm sitting in the 'Customer Lounge' at Champion Toyota/Scion waiting to get my oil changed. I thought I would be able to get some work done on my laptop, but instead, there is a raging political debate going on. It started between a hispanic, vaguely cat-lady-looking woman with an AISD badge and a white, rather corpulent older gentleman with a good old boy accent. They started out on the election for governor and then quickly moved on to Bush and the war. Five or six other people are intermittently contributing to the argument and voices keep getting louder. At one point, Good Old Boy said something about the "damn Mexicans" and Cat Lady actually stood up and hopped up and down and turned a few circles while she yelled.

I'm debating whether it would help to point out their common ground - they are both loud, obnoxious, overweight Americans driving gas-guzzling SUVs, and demanding that everyone listen to what they have to say, whether it's pertinent or not.

Quotes to remember:

Good Old Boy - "Lemme ask you sumpin: did Mr. Bush save yur ass from Bin Ladding [yes, Ladding] or did he not?"

Cat Lady - *hysterically* "The law says we have to educate everybody! The law says we have to educate everybody! The law says we have to go to every country and educate everybody! We're cheating by making them come here!"


Crepe Update

Well, it's happened. Flip Happy made it into the Statesman (Kelso's column, of all things), and now they'll be mobbed. Full article below (I give my email to spammers so you don't have to)

Two gals are cooking and selling crepes out of a trailer in South Austin; What's next? Space aliens landing on Capitol lawn?


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Your first inclination when you see the food trailer in the parking lot on South Lamar will be to walk up to the window and ask for salsa.

Don't bother. Even though Flip Happy Crepes looks like one of those taco carts you see all over town, it isn't.

What it is is two women selling French crepes out of a used silver '66 Avion trailer, parked in the lot behind Floribunda, a plant business at 2041 S. Lamar Blvd.

Crepes, just a couple of doors down from Martinez Brothers Taxidermists? What's in those crepes, anyway?

"My dad suggested we call it Euro Tacos," said Nessa Higgins, one of the partners in Flip Happy Crepes. "My husband suggested we should call it Full of Crepe," added Andrea Day Boykin, the other half of the team.

Andrea describes the venture as "Paris in a trailer."

This business is about as French as you can get when you're selling crepes out of a trailer in a Bubbaland parking lot not far from Mom's Tattoos. The business, which opened in April, even sells bottled Perrier, or what James White, owner of the Broken Spoke honky-tonk a few blocks south, refers to as "Pierre water."

The two ladies have even invested about $1,000 in a couple of fancy Krampouz crepe griddles that they use in their cramped trailer kitchen.

"And we play French music," Nessa said. "We have a variety of French CDs we do, especially on Friday night." There is dining al fresco, made possible by some colorful mix-and-match tables with a couple of big umbrellas set up in front of the trailer. Decorations include an old red wooden Coke cooler.

Not that everybody around here knows a crepe from a Chevy. This being Bubba-

land, some people walk up and ask for pancakes. And other things.

"They always come up and asked for the slushy ice — what's that called? — the shaved ice," Nessa said. The place doesn't have that, either. But they do have pesto, goat cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomato crepes, ham and Gruy√©re cheese and green onion crepes, smoked salmon crepes and some sweet crepes, too, including caramelized bananas drizzled with dark chocolate sauce.

But there is no chorizo in sight. Nessa thought about adding cole slaw. But that didn't fly. "Andrea said we're not doing cole slaw even though we're in Texas," Nessa said. I think they should do a smoked brisket crepe to fit the territory.

This all started eight years ago when Andrea was at an open-air market in Ireland, standing in a long line for crepes being sold by a couple out of a trailer. It occurred to Andrea that if that many people were lining up for something, that something must be good.

"I never got over it," she said. "So for eight years, I've been talking about selling crepes out of a trailer in South Austin."

The two gals didn't want to risk making a big investment on a restaurant. So, they decided to find an old trailer instead. Nessa did the legwork and drove all over the countryside to hunt one down. When she found one parked out in the boonies near Lockhart that looked promising, she left a note on the door. Later, she got a call back from a guy she calls Cowboy Dan, who sold the gals his old trailer for $2,500.

"You know, Cowboy Dan has yet to have a crepe," Nessa said. "He's an older gentleman, and he doesn't come into the city much at all. We need to take one out to him."

Shoot, take him a burrito. He won't know the difference.

John Kelso's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 445-3606 or jkelso@statesman.com.


New hat

Sebastian pointedly stayed upstairs while I sorted laundry yesterday, but I trapped both him and Monster in my office later to model my new hat.



Given Monster's history of being, well, a monster, you would think that B and I would have been smart enough to lock him up before we started slopping wet concrete on our kitchen floor.

You would think.

Oh well, in the end it got done with a minimum of disaster. We start tiling next week, and until then our kitchen floor is open for graffiti...


Poetry Thursday


I’m all alone in this world, she said,
Ain’t got nobody to share my bed,
Ain’t got nobody to hold my hand—
The truth of the matter’s
I ain’t got no man.

Big Boy opened his mouth and said,
Trouble with you is
You ain’t got no head!
If you had a head and used your mind
You could have me with you
All the time.

She answered, Babe, what must I do?

He said, Share your bed—
And your money, too.

-Langston Hughes



Lately, I've become addicted to the Missed Connections section at Craigslist. Some recent favorites:

Costco soymilk man - w4m - 22

we chatted about eyeballs...I thought you were cute. Wanna chat?

not really a m.c. but close

i love every boy in the store on lamar and riverside.
you're all so cute, i love having to go in there.

Little Matt at Great American Cookie Store, Barton Creek - m4m

Matt, Matt, Matt. I think you are so cool! I call you "cookie boy." You are the cutest boy ever. Here is a poem I wrote about you.

"Matt The Cookie Boy"

Matt is the cutest little dude who ever made a cookie,
Especially with his shaggy hair as if he was a Wookie.
But even when he cuts it short and looks all nice and preppy,
He's still the cutest little dude who ever sold me Pepsi.

To the person who gave me SCABIES...

Damn You!


Two sad books

Recent reading:

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. The books have certain striking similarities, and I think my enjoyment was enhanced by reading them one after another.

The God of Small Things is the story of a tragedy that befalls a Syrian Christian family in India, while The Remains of the Day is about an English butler reminiscing over his life. However, both stories move effortlessly back and forth through time and give the books a dream-like quality. Both books tell most of the story in disturbing hints and intimations that the narrator is not always aware of. Both feature a protagonist looking back over a wasted life. I think haunting is a good word for both books.

I heard that The Remains of the Day was made into a movie - has anyone seen it? It seems like it would be a hard book to make a good movie out of, but I have added it to my Netflix anyway (sorry, B. I'll watch it while you're at yoga or something).



I've met a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Neato. Grameen is who administers the actual loans for the Whole Planet Foundation.


Poetry Thursday - Bluebeard

Thanks, Felix, it had been a long time since I read her sonnets. You have excellent taste.


This door you might not open, and you did;
So enter now, and see for what slight thing
You are betrayed. . . . Here is no treasure hid,
No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroring
The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain
For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,
But only what you see. . . . Look yet again--
An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.
Yet this alone out of my life I kept
Unto myself, lest any know me quite;
And you did so profane me when you crept
Unto the threshold of this room to-night
That I must never more behold your face.
This now is yours. I seek another place.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay



Did you know that squash plants have flowers? If you are ignorant of what the inedible parts of vegetable plants look like, as I was until recently, you too will be surprised. They're pretty!

But I'm still waiting to see the squash part of the plant...



I found some truly spectacular aphids on my lime tree over the weekend. They had only infiltrated a few leaves and it was easy to cut off the twig into a tupperware. When I did so, I found that they had constructed something on the back of one of the leaves. I'm not sure if it is eggs the aphids laid, or the eggs that the aphids emerged from, but it's neat looking. I do not advocate bug carnage, but considering the threat to my future margaritas and key lime pies, it was necessary to drown the poor things and then drop them down the disposal. After taking pictures, of course.

Food update

On Friday night, we had grilled steaks, sauteed okra with corn and tomatoes, and cloverleaf rolls. B made the steaks, so I can't take credit, although I wish I could. The okra was yummy also - a tiny bit of worcestershire sauce makes a huge difference. The most exciting thing, though, are the rolls. They are my first bread experiment to actually work out. This week, I am going to try to make a loaf of raisin-walnut wheat bread. Also, on Friday, I will be attempting two kinds of fudge for B's grandpa's birthday. I have never made fudge before, so it should be interesting.


Laundry Day - O Who? Edition

Sebastian is blessed to be naturally burnt orange and white.


Food! My new obsession!

So the latest fancy supper experiment was a pork loin with garlic and rosemary roasted over new potatoes and portabella mushrooms. We ate it with parmesan and parsley biscuits and a rather christmasy cucumber salad. The pork loin and veggies were very tasty, as is anything after it has been rubbed with copious amounts of crushed garlic, fresh rosemary, and sea salt. However, the cucumber salad was too salty (again, I get carried away with the fancy salts) and the biscuits were too sweet.

That was on Wednesday. Yesterday, in response to mild protests from B, who is getting sick of eating supper at 9:00 in the evening, we ate a frozen pizza. Tonight we're back on track with grilled steaks and sauteed okra with tomato and corn. I don't know what else we'll have, but I'm sure I'll take pictures.

After that, things might get even more exciting. I got Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the mail yesterday, and I'm hoping to make something really extravagantly gross sometime soon. Unfortunately, due to mad cow concerns, I don't think brains will be on the menu. Aspic anyone?


Poetry Thursday


We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay


Airborne cats



When I get up on weekday mornings, Sebastian stays on his bed until I tell him it is time to go outside for his morning walk.

Monster commences acting like a snotty little kid. He starts to sneak out of his bed, one body part at a time, and slowly makes his way toward the bathroom, slinking on the floor. Note the devious look on his face, and the paw scooting further and further off the bed.

If he makes it far enough, he will lay down near the bathroom door and start scooting closer, inch by inch. If I see him, I don't even have to say the command "bed." He immediately gets up and runs back and then sits and glares at me. We play this game every single morning. I'm not sure why, but I think it might be one of the highlight of his day.


Last hibiscus of the season:

Lime blossoms:



The grits were kind of runny, and the ham & wild mushroom sauce was a little too salty (because I went overboard with the fancy sea salt, pretending I was a TV chef), but all in all it turned out pretty good. We had it with a salad of mixed greens with walnuts and cranberries. The cherry roll is another story, but the important thing is that I made bread! And it rose! Twice! My mistake was in trying to substitute bottled cherries for cherry pie filling. Oh well, I learned a lesson. Onward!

My compost machines:



Lately, I'm trying to learn to cook new things. Tonight, I am going to try "Baked Grits with Ham, Wild Mushrooms, and Parmesan." I think it sounds delightfully southern, although B's comment was "grits is a side, is there a main dish ?" I am also going to try making a dessert that my mom invented. It involves a sweet bread, which involves yeast, so I'm not confident. I think my gaze kills yeast. But in any case, I will post pictures tomorrow.

I also might post a picture of my leg, which has a cool puncture mark that is an exact replica of my wedding ring. Don't ask how that happened...