Archive | Musings RSS feed for this section

Admittedly, a few birds did act strange…

7 Mar

Steve Guttenberg recently left a mail order nursery (as in the plants, not the babies) catalog on the kitchen counter for me because he thought I might like to look at it.  This may have been a mistake because in this catalog I saw blueberry bushes and immediately decided that we would be growing blueberry bushes in our yard this year.  They’re actually rather pretty bushes with little white flowers and they turn all firey red during the fall.  See?

Big G(uttenberg) was not thrilled with the prospect of blueberry bushes.  He said, and I quote here, “How will we protect them from the birds?”

Get Cathy and Lydia out of here!

Silly, it was just a movie.  No birds will attack our blueberry bushes.

Source: utegirl70.blogspot.com

Anywho, let’s get back to business.  It’s almost time to start our indoor seedlings.  (Is that what you call them?) Last year we grew beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet corn. Everything did okay but we’ve elected not to repeat the sweet corn.  Our cobs were all half empty of kernels and they didn’t seem worth the space they took up in the garden.  We’re also going to forego lettuce because the stuff last year was incredibly bitter and we ended up not eating it all.  We need to start our broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers earlier (inside) so that they actually produce more and we need to plant our bell peppers away from our tomatoes.  This year we’re going to add radishes and possibly onions.  I’ve also been turning around the idea of growing cantaloupe as I saw seed packets at the Home Depot and maybe some late season squashes.  And, as always, we’ll grow some cilantro, basil, and maybe one other herb.  Our own little CSA.

This year, too, we finally have compost with which to supplement our nutrient sparse soil.  Stevie Wonder bought me a raised, rotating composter last year as a gift. (How romantic, no?  He knows just what I like.)  And we’ve been throwing all our vegetable and grain scraps in their all winter, along with some leaves and other browns.  Once it heats up, that thing is going to stink to high heaven but it will also turn into a splendid mulch for our vegetable garden and flower beds.  We also have a tiller this year, passed down to us from Stevie Wonder’s parents, so we can till our rather dense and clay based soil.  We had trouble last year with our carrots which only grew about 3 inches into the ground (as far down as our top soil went).  We’re hoping everything roots better this year now that we have our tiller.

I’m also hoping to add a hydrangea bush to the side of our house, some low-lying border lilies to our flower bed, a new flowering bush out front, and, if I can convince Stevie of the amazingness of this, a dwarf, weeping tree.  Some friends of ours have one and I am in LOVE with it.

That’s really all I have to say today.  I’m just getting so pumped about starting our outdoor projects that I can hardly stand to wait for the snow to melt.  Given our ten day forecast of low to mid-50s, I won’t have to wait much longer.

Anyone else starting some seeds inside or planting a garden this year?  Anyone have any ideas on how to convince Steve McQueen that those blueberry bushes are a fantastic idea? Anyone else remember this song?

Advertisements

Do Wah Diddy, Diddy Dum, Diddy (New) Do

4 Mar

I hate putting pictures of myself on the blog.  I also hate taking pictures of myself.  If I had it my way, I would always, always, always be on the hidden side of the camera.

But, if I did that, I’d never have pictures of me and Steve or me and my mom or me and anyone because, obviously, I’d never be in a picture.

I’d also never have these lovely pictures to show you of my new hair do.  That’s right, a new do!

Some of you may not know this but I only go to a salon about once every 2 years or so.  I find it difficult to articulate what I want and absolutely abhor talking to the hair stylists…not because they’re mean or snobby or anything, but mostly because I am convinced they don’t give a darn about anything I have to say and they feel forced (much like I do) to maintain a polite conversation for my benefit.  But this weekend, I did it.  I went and endured two (mostly pleasant) hours of small talk and nerves.

Before I went, I asked Steve if he thought I should jump on the bangs band wagon.  And his exact words to me were, “be bold.”  So behold, the bold:

I don’t think it’s half bad.  I like the color, which is a lot more red than these images suggest.  And it took about a day but I got used to the bangs.  Now, if only I could grow into that nose.

 

Wall-E

23 Feb

**Please excuse this post as it’s a little bit all over the place today.  I think it’s hunger.

The original intention of this post was to update you on the progress of our kitchen walls.  This past weekend we put the first coat of Gardz up (Gardz is a paint that acts like new dry wall facing) and the walls looked like this:

We actually did that Saturday morning.  Then on Sunday while I did the taxes, Stevie Gonzalez spackled a bunch of the holes and re-mudded one side of each corner.  So we’re further along than this picture demonstrates but not finished yet.

People have been asking me what color we’re going to paint the kitchen.  It used to be yellow which always made me think of this:

I don’t like yellow for the kitchen anyway because I desperately want a chalkboard wall in our home and the best color to go with black is white.  I know chalkboard walls are kind of old hash in the decorating world but I don’t care.  I am definitely doing it and am definitely going to play school on that wall.  Reggie can be my pupil.  Here are a couple of pictures to give you the idea:

Today I saw my first “Whiskey Plate”.  Here in Minnesota, if you get a DUI you have a special license plate put on your car called a “Whiskey Plate”.  Basically, it’s any plate that starts with the letter W.  It alerts other drivers, but it also gives the fuzz the right to pull you over at any time, for no reason.  You know, to make sure you’re sober.  They look like this:

It was interesting.  Mostly because the guy was driving like 75 MPH in the right hand lane and his car had very stinky and very visible exhaust.  Steve and I wanted to report him to the EPA.

Lent started today.  Normally I give up some type of food thing because I love food and it’s always a challenge passing on the Oreos in the grocery store but this year the mister and I are doing something different.  In an effort to get more done, we’re giving up TV.  I think it’s a good fast because I love TV and am going to miss zoning out in front of the boob tube (full disclosure: we are allowing one half hour of the news each morning as we like to hear the weather and traffic before we leave for work).  I am hoping to add into my routine an hour a week at the perpetual adoration chapel at a nearby parish.  And, in the interest of not taking things too far, I’m going to feast on Oreos, Cheetos, salsa, Dove Chocolates, M&Ms, donuts, homemade chocolate chip cookies (because, you know, I’ll have time to bake them and everything),  pulled pork sandwiches, and ice cream.

I had an amazing pulled pork sandwich one time at a restaurant in Duluth.  The restaurant was Sir Benedict’s and the sandwich was called the Cubano, in case you’re ever in the area.  Since then, I’ve been trying to recreate that sandwich after an email begging them for the recipe and promising I would not use it or sell it for financial gain or to put them out of business was denied.  I still have not gotten the recipe right but now, once I do, I will post it for the world to see and use.  Because everyone deserves a good pulled pork sandwich recipe.

Don’t stop bein’ Steven doesn’t like mustard.  I don’t like that he doesn’t like mustard.  It puts a damper on some of the things I want to cook.  He also doesn’t like sour cream.  Or ketchup.  Really, most condiments.  Which I find weird because if you ask me, the meal is just an avenue for the condiments.  For example, hot fudge on ice cream, gravy on mashed potatoes, whipped cream on pie, peanut butter on jelly.  I think I’ve made my point.

(Source: iowaoutdoorsman.com)

(Isn’t that the most beautiful picture of a mushroom you’ve ever seen?)

We had a couple morel mushrooms in our backyard last year.  Steve McQueen didn’t know what they were and pulled them out of the ground and threw them away so Reggie wouldn’t eat them before I could enlighten him.  I am hoping they come back so that I can eat them.  Mushrooms aren’t really something you grow in your garden.  And morels are outrageously expensive.  I bought them at the farmer’s market once because some guy talked me into it telling me that people loved morel mushrooms and there is even a festival devoted to them because they are so phenomenal.  But they were just okay.  Good enough to eat and good enough that I’d pull a free one out of the ground and make a dish around it but not good enough to pay $2.50 a mushroom.  Please.

One of our cars needs a major repair.  We are declining the service in favor of saving $1000.  However, because we know the car is on the fritz, Stevie Wonder and I have been discussing the possibility of a new vehicle…down the road when his car is completely useless, however.  Either way, we went back and forth about cars vs. SUVs for a while.  Neither of us really wanted an SUV but it’s hard to ignore the space.  We always have tight quarters when we need to travel home since we have to put Reggie’s crate in our car.  But that just didn’t seem like a good enough reason to get that kind of vehicle.  After all, the vast majority of our driving is city driving with just the two of us in the car. To and from work.  Then, a few days ago, we realized that all SUVs have started to look like minivans.  It’s as if the car companies decided to hide a minivan under the name and guise of an SUV.  See evidence below:

Can you even tell which one is the SUV?

I know they haven’t always looked like minivans.  I’ve definitely seen some cute SUVs but not the newer ones.

We finally got snow around here.  I think our total snowfall is up to 16 inches now for the winter.  I believe the average snowfall is in the high 50s of inches.  It’s been unusually warm and dry this year.  As it has been everywhere, I am sure.  We’re hoping for a wet spring.

Here’s a video of Reggie being a goofball in the snow.  Sorry there’s no sound.  I was going to set it to music but my song wouldn’t download.  Bummer.

Enjoy anways.

I am adult.

16 Aug

Doesn't Reggie have major ups?

I was walking to my car the other day and saw my garage door opener.  It was clipped to my visor, right next to a sticker of Nala from The Lion King.  I realized that I haven’t had a garage door opener since I lived with my parents in high school.  Since then, I’ve been parking on the street.  Until recently, when we bought a house.  And now I have a garage door once again.  And it made me feel grown up.

Which got me thinking about other things that make me feel grown up.  Sure, there are those things like having a job and paying bills and buying a house and having a child (I imagine) that make you feel grown up, but there are smaller things, insignificant changes that make you feel grown up that you never would have guessed.

Here’s a few of mine:

  1. Having a garage door opener (and a garage door)
  2. Eating ice cream with fruit on it.  Seriously, what kid would ruin ice cream with blueberries.
  3. Reading cook books.
  4. Admitting that the frosting is my favorite part of the cake.  I used to think you were cool if you liked the cake better but now I care less about being cool than about eating sugar.
  5. Growing my own food.
  6. Buying clothing from anywhere besides Target, a thrift store, or someone’s closet (though I still love all these places for clothing).
  7. Playing with Reggie for the sake of Reggie.  When I was a kid, I only played with our dog when it suited me.
  8. Planning a menu for the week.  In college, I just bought a lot of pasta, peanut butter, and tuna and called it a day.

And now, to round out my list to ten, a few from Mr. Steve:

  1. Setting the thermostat.
  2. Grilling out.  (Me too, but specifically stuff that we never made growing up, stuff that I tried grilling and it worked out like fish and veggies.)
  3. Bonus: Taking the recycling to the curb.   (But apparently, not the garbage.)

Anyone else feel grown-up due to really obscure things?  I’m looking at you Carolyn…and your trifle bowl.

For Jane

30 Mar

This is Jane.

She’s one of my best friends.  We lived together for three years in college.  Unfortunately, she now lives in Washington DC where her husband goes to grad school.  I’m so terribly sad that we no longer get to hang out together all the time.

Therefore, ever since she moved to St. Louis after college, it has been my personal mission to get her (and her wonderful husband and their beautiful daughter and their ??? baby) to move back to the Midwest, specifically to whatever city I happen to be in.  In order to do this, I have been trying to point out all the wonderful highlights of our part of the nation.  And today one of those wonderful things struck me and I had to share it with her, and all of you.

One of the worst parts of living in the upper Midwest is the LONG winters.  They usually start in October or November and for two months there’s fresh snow and its pretty and brisk and wonderful.  Then, Christmas passes and you’re ready for spring but you know there is winter left so you march along through January and pretend you’re oblivious to the bitter cold.  Then February hits.  And it’s the pits.  But God, in all his wisdom, has decided that we’d better not start Lent at a time when the trees are budding and the grass is growing so he throws in another month of winter.  Then, at the beginning of March, you get two or three nice days that perk everybody up.  But they don’t last and you get, yet, another few weeks of winter.

You say this sounds awful?  Like a never ending winter?  Narnia, anyone?

It is.  For a bit.  But then it’s wonderful.  Because somewhere in there the snow has stopped coming in such large amounts and the temperatures have been slowly climbing.  And one day, out of the blue, it’s spring.

That's melting snow, by the way.(That’s melting snow, by the way.)

After living in Virginia for a year, I can tell you that the coming of spring did not have the same effect there.  There was no awe, no expectation.  You didn’t slowly see the grass turning green and the trees budding out.  It’s a beautiful transition there, too, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like it happens in a day.  One day, it’s winter (sort of).  The next, spring.  Not much of a plot line, if you ask me.

But here, in the Midwest, we get to enjoy the whole process of nature renewing itself.  We get to go outside when it’s 35 degrees and feel light hearted and joyful because it’s like a summer’s day after the long winter.  And we get a few weeks when it’s warm outside but not warm enough to melt the snow.  Then we enjoy snow dogs.

(That’s our landlords’ dog, Baxter.)

The seasonal transition in the Midwest is glorious.

I just thought you oughta know, Jane.

Never You Mind

10 Mar

I know what you’re thinking.

I can hear you all the way over here.

You’re thinking that I haven’t told my Lenten promise yet.

And you’d be right.

Because I only decided it YESTERDAY.  Yes, I waited until ASH WEDNESDAY to decide what I would do.

Why?  Meh.  Don’t know.

But enough of this riveting conversation, let me tell you what I have decided to do for Lent.

I’m giving up MINDLESSNESS.

(Apparently I am in a particularly capital mood right now.)

What does it mean to give up mindlessness?  Well, it’s sort of like this:  Sometimes I am making dinner and I pop a piece of pepper (or broccoli or apple or what have you) into my mouth.  Or sometimes I sit on the computer and just surf the web with no apparent goals.  Or sometimes I just set something down on the diningroom table without thinking about why I am not putting it away.  In other words, sometimes I act without intentions.  And I want to stop doing that.  It’s a waste of time.  My time.

So, for Lent this year, I am going to try to be conscious of my actions ALL the time.  I am hoping this translates into a cleaner house, more time to read, blog, connect with friends, and hopefully the loss of a pound (because I’m cutting out snacking, yo).  That last part is actually a repeat of one of the HARDEST Lenten promises I ever made.  Brutal.  Probably not the hardest thing I will ever have to do but it sure seems that way round about 4:00 pm.

I am always better at Lenten promises than new year’s resolutions so, hopefully, this will be a good 40 days!  Or, rather, a productive 40 days because Lent isn’t particularly known for good days, you know.

Ah well.

Just wanted to share.

Amanda

P.S. Did anyone else make Lenten promises this year?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

13 Nov

This is what I woke up to today.

I was so excited.  It’s been so log since I’ve seen snow, and even longer since I’ve seen this much at once.  We had about 4 inches when we woke up.  I felt like Hamza Ferdjallah.  Hamza was in my fourth grade class.  He’d moved to Wisconsin from Texas or Florida or some warm southern place.  The first time it snowed, we got to go outside and play in the snow because it was the first time Hamza had seen snow.  Today, Mr. Steve and I played with Reggie and Carmen in the snow.  It was the BEST DAY EVER!

AEB