I guess I’ve been ‘discovered’


at least based on the number of spam comments I have to delete on a daily basis…

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Bread grinder, take 2


I bought the Lehman’s Best grain grinder this past summer, and have used it for all my grain every since. But I have to say, as I get closer to spring and I get busier with other things, I just don’t have 4 hours to devote to grinding grain every time I want to make bread. I have been looking at electric grinders on the ‘net and although the Nutrimill grinder seems to probably be my best bet, I am not willing to fork out $300 right before my taxes are due.

So, I bought a La Cucina grinder at a chef store today. It was $89 plus tax…I’ll let you know how it works as soon as I try it out. I made sure I could return it if it didn’t work first before I purchased it.

UPDATE: NOT ONLY DOESN’T IT WORK, BUT IT BROKE.  I’m glad I only put about one cup of grain into it.  Guess I’ll be leaving early for the store tomorrow to return it…what really pisses me off is the booklet has a recipe that has ground lamb AND ground wheat in it, both of which you are SUPPOSED to grind in the grinder.  Crapp.

Wallet Biopsy


That’s a new term to me. One of my fellow nurses made that comment regarding a pt who was upgraded from simple tele (heart monitoring) to ICU by a hospitalist.

The term means that if you have good insurance, you are going to get more and more invasive (read pricey) test, more intensive care from the staff, and better pain management, because your insurance will cover it.

I don’t know if it was true or not, but it made me think twice.

I do know that most emergency room doctors practice defensive medicine:  ordering every test under the sun to eliminate the possiblity that they may be sued for missing something.  Even when the answer is patently obvious what the person’s diagnosis is.

I had considered transferring to a different department in my company but I don’t think I will do that presently.  It would mean more normal hours, and closer to home, but it would also mean a large pay cut and a lot of monotony.  I’m not sure if the trade off is worth it at this time when I am trying so hard to cut our household costs and pay off our bills.  I think short term I’d rather bite the bullet and get the extra money so that I CAN pay the bills off and work less hours long term.

This is a revelation for me as I have been fantasizing recently about changing my job; when the opportunity presented itself though I find that I have stronger priorities than I had thought.  My goals are still the same:  to live as debt free as possible and as well as possible without debt.  I can only accomplish this if I stay where I am (well, as quickly anyway).

How I spent my ‘vacation’


I have five days off between my old schedule and the beginning of my new one.   I have been busy!  DH and I took a pick axe to the yard in order to level the ground where the new garden boxes are going.  I dug all the dirt and plants (and about 900 weeds) out of one of the beds that was poorly placed so that I could drag it to its new home.  Then we put the dirt into a new box and used some of our finished compost (yay!) in the new box.

the new beds, and fence

the new beds, and fence

You can see next to the cinder block beds more lumber; that will be a second 4 x 8 bed to go next to the one in the corner there.  DH thinks I’m getting a little psycho about the gardening, but I already have an offer from the produce woman at the indoor swap meet to buy my produce and I haven’t even gotten any yet!  She heard me telling someone else that I grow only organically, and said that she gets better prices for organic than regular.  Frankly, if I’m going to have to work two jobs to make ends meet, I’d rather spend my other job time in the dirt.

Yesterday I transplanted all my seedlings that are too tender to go directly into the garden, and the seedlings I am hoping to sell, to peat pots.  It surprised me how long that took!  And I had promised Mr. Tin Foil that I would only do attractive things in the front yard, but the tubs were next to free (and two of them WERE free) so up they went with all our vining veggies, and some nasturtiums and summer savory to make it prettier.

front of the front deck

front of the front deck

I’ll tie some string to the deck railings to give the peas and beans something to climb on.  On the wish list is that trellis stuff that you can get premade from stores like Home Depot, the slatted stuff.

side of the front deck

side of the front deck

I’m hoping that I won’t have a problem with the javelina in the front yard now that we’ve cut off their pathway which was through the back yard and into the front.  If we do though, I’ll just put up some fencing around the front deck as well.

I got my sweater completed and sewn together, only to find that it’s too big.  I should have made the medium size not the large…but I’m wearing it anyway, dammit!  I have to knit some i-cord to make frogs and get some snaps for behind the i-cord for reinforcement.  I didn’t want to do buttons, I didn’t like how the modelled sweater bulged in between the buttons.  It’s one of my pet peeves.  Either put a backing on the ribbing or do something else, but bulges are yucky!

Off to Home Depot tomorrow for more bags of dirt, and to finish the second new bed.  Tuesday will be my resting up day before I go back to work.

A day to curl up with some yarn and knitting needles


It was a dreary, cold, windy day here at the homefront.  It rained a little in the morning, and looked like it was going to rain again until about 330 in the afternoon, but it didn’t.  So, other than visiting with my chickens, and visiting with our neighbor, I didn’t get much done that was on the list.

Our newest cat, Bari, is peeing on the couch, the pillows, the laundry,…basically anywhere but in his box and I don’t know why.  We’ve gotten the enzyme stuff that removes the odor even to cats, put him in the bathroom with the litter box until he pees in it so he gets the idea, yelled when we see him peeing elsewhere (no spanking or rubbing the nose tho), and nothing helps.  The final straw was last night — I came home from work and the entire computer room reeked of cat pee.  Since I got home after midnight, I left it til today to deal with; he had literally peed the entire length of the futon, ruining an entire package of computer paper along with documents, DH’s CD case, one of my dresses I had left on it, the comforter, and a pillow.  I really don’t know what to do other than to take him to a no kill shelter; this can’t go on and DH keeps saying he’s going to call the vet to see if there’s anything she can do but he doesn’t.  I’m supposed to call tomorrow to make an appt for when he (DH) gets back from his business trip.

Days like this make me alternatly want to just go to bed, or to knit compulsively.  But.  My sweater, which I’ve been working on for months now, is still not finished.  Why, you might ask?  Well, because I STILL don’t have enough yarn, thanks to losing a portion of the skein used to finish one of the sleeves.  I won’t have enough to finish the collar I don’t think, with the skein I have left, and I definitely won’t be able to finish sewing it together.  I was on hold because I underestimated the yardage I needed when substituting yarns, and the yarn store has been OUT of this particular color since the day I wiped them out of it…and no word on when it’ll be back in stock.  So, I ordered it from a website, paid the ridiculous shipping charges, and thought I was back in business.  Until I cleaned the living room and did SOMETHING with my partial skein that would have allowed me to finish!!! I guess I just keep knitting til I run out of yarn and deal with it later.  Maybe this sweater will be finished by next cold season.

Well, at least DH helped me put up the fence that will hopefully keep out the javelina from the garden.  That was a huge weight on my back that is mostly gone.  Now I can at least begin the task of building my new boxes and sinking them into the dirt, filling them, and getting my starts into them without fear of being raided again.

I’m taking a class called Adapting in Place that Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton are putting on.  Between the weather, my sudden loss of job security, and this class I’ve been in a sober mood lately.  I had really hoped the weather would be nicer so I could have gotten out and at least ‘blown the stink off’ as my mom used to say.  The stink in my mind from all my depressing thoughts as I contemplate the worst possible futures and try to make us ready for them needs to be blown out for a while.  The class is a positive thing, really.  It helps me frame things in a much more organized and positive light, but it is also sobering to realize just how much we too depend on cheap fuel and intact infrastructure.

Tomorrow evening I go to a presentation on rainwater harvesting, green building, and solar at the community college; my friend Little Red Raven is one of the sponsors and I am very excited to get to go to this.  I really wanted to go to Tucson, but DH invited friends over and family/community time takes precedence over road trips to meet authors, I’m afraid.  And it was a good, enjoyable, and productive evening.

Of burkhas, veils, trade goods, and the future


I belong to Tribe.net which is a social networking site.  Pretty much any kind of tribe you might be interested in, up to and including sexual ones, are there (or used to be, anyway).

Given that I have a wide variety of interests, I belong to tribes about bellydance and several subdivisions of that such as Egyptian bellydance, American style, Turkish style, and of course my locally based tribes.  I also belong to handspinning tribes, gardening tribes, natural health tribes, and one post apocolyptic tribe.  This is the one I’m blogging about today.

One of the topics posted on Saturday which I replied to on Sunday, was titled Post Apocolyptic Trade Goods.  One of the posters brought up women as a trade good.  Several men replied joking about an appropriate price.  I replied because I was offended by that…my post was simple, to the point, and without hatred.  I of course got completely flamed, quite viciously, and was told to ‘go make me a sandwich, woman’ along with other more vile comments including accusing me of being a typical manipulative woman who is not capable of actually doing anything myself so I have to use my sex as a weapon.

I have as my avatar there, the same picture I have of myself on my blog.  That of course was also brought up as an issue.  I know that ignorance is bliss, but people really shouldn’t comment on stuff they don’t actually know anything about.  Comparing my colorful silk veil to a hijab, and making cartoon caricaturish comments about Islam while accusing me of being  a Muslim hypocrite who wears the veil yet accuses them of sexism doesn’t place them in a positive light in my view.  It only proves my point.

Here is my reply to them:

First of all, you are displaying your ignorance by comparing a silk veil, used in AMERICAN STYLE bellydance, to a hijab or to a burkha. A hijab being a traditional religious and cultural modesty artifact, and a burkha being a male imposed means of control and dehumanization.  I do happen to be a bellydancer.  I have MANY friends who are from the Middle East, and yes I DO speak some Arabic. The fact that women dance in the Middle East, which to the average American male is ‘stripper lite’ while in the Middle East it’s just a dance, and some women make money at it (and some use it as a front for other things), is typical of the misunderstanding. Women dance there as a rebellion against their culture.  They dance for themselves.  Just as those of us who truly fall in love with the artform here do.  We share our love with the audience if there is one, but we don’t do it for them.

I am well aware of what goes on in some parts of the Middle East.  That was exactly my point.  So are men just basically, secretly, waiting for TEOTWAWKI so they can go back to being chauvinistic jerks like most of the rest of the world?  To be ‘real men’?  Oh, you poor put upon men, that can’t just do and say whatever they want.  So oppressed.  That’s the feeling I get from many of the survivalists I know, and I have corresponded with.

Thousand, I am the very LAST person you should accuse of being a whiney manipulative woman trying to use her sex as a weapon or a reason not to do something.   My husband would laugh to hear you accuse me of using my sex.  I would never ask my husband or any other man to do something I am capable of doing myself, unless I was planning to pay him to do something I didn’t want to do myself.  So sure, I’ll make you a sandwich…on my own time…and you might want to think twice about eating it if you want to live to eat another, if you keep talking like that.  My, my…such sensitive men we have here…almost as though you are just as easily offended….

My point was, and is, that this is one of the things that I wonder and worry about — my ability to be in a place, and just be looked at as a person, with skills and knowledge to share, and be treated as an equal, is something I fear will be lost in a TSHTF situation.  I truly do fear this for women generally.  Equality as something closer to reality is something that seems to have been made possible only by cheap oil and lightning fast communication.  What will happen when those go away?

This is perhaps the crux of my post.  Sharon Astyk puts it much more elegantly than I ever could in her blog post Peak Oil, Gender, and Power what it is that I am talking about, and why I found it so offensive.

Women historically, have not been considered equal to men.  This is not opinion.  It is fact.   Sharon points out that “…Most of those weird, queasy moments that don’t quite fall into any category, but where some man makes a woman know that they are only safe because the man chooses it to be that way…”  I’ve been there.  While I was on duty, no less.

The thing is, that my avatar photo is kind of offensive to some in the ME community, and I chose it deliberately because of that.  I do see the double standards, the fact that women are supposedly on a pedestal but that the reality in many cases is that women are seen and treated as objects. It’s a controversial subject.  Although if you are a man you probably don’t even realize it, here in America sexism is alive and well.  However, over there it’s much more overt.  How do women maneuver successfully?  How can I learn from them?

I probably would not even realize the extent of sexism in the US today if I had not chosen a traditionally male profession as my first career.  I was a firefighter for 10 years.  Believe you me, sexism IS alive and well.  As is racism.  I got out of the business because I became so disillusioned with our ‘public servants’ who are not any such thing in many, if not most cases.

So.  As the depression worsens, what will happen to us as a society?  What will happen if the federal govt and its ‘protections’ for women and minorities are no longer enforced, due to either lack of money/staff or due to the breakup of the US?  What will happen to worker protections generally?  The prohibition against children working?