31 January 2006

Open the pod bay doors

I have a gas problem.

OK, all potty-brains settle down. My propane heater has been fussing all winter. The pilot flame dissolved away seemingly at will, the heater didn’t respond to the thermostat and my gas guy has been here on two separate occasions for at least 8 hours total (charging me only a hug, which is another story).

The second time he rigged it so it responded, fairly consistently, to the thermostat, and the pilot no longer winked out. He did this by overriding something or other and leaving it rigged so that the “off” position was now the “t-stat” position and “on”could force it on if it seemed sluggish in responding to the thermostat setting. It shut off if I turned it to “t-stat.”

So, two hugs and a bill for $346.75 later, it now responds to the thermostat instantly, on every setting including “off.” There is no way to shut the beast down! No manual override to shut the sucker off. I feel like I’m sharing a house with HAL!

Barking in the wind

6:02 am: 24°. Sipping dandelion/leek miso broth and being confounded by a soft barking sound. I can’t seem to locate the direction or determine if it is an animal (fox perhaps) or an object squeaking in the substantial wind up this morning.

I did another painting last night. In the bath. By candle light only, with no glasses on. I could scarcely determine color in the paint box.

I’d love to show it to you but I live with the world’s most temperamental scanner. Grrrrrr.

And now a word from our weather: Today: Light snow likely. Cloudy, with a high around 31. East wind between 10 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

6:29 am: The barking is gone. I have to assume it was an animal as the wind has stayed the same...

29 January 2006

Burn baby, burn

I treaded on a mill today. 20 minutes of up and down 3° inclines. I “travelled” 1.5 miles. The machine said I burned 110 calories. No red squirrels ran across my feet. I’m now going to put away some groceries, go visit a friend and then... I don’t know.

The day will unfold regardless of my plans. Days always do.

I bought this bouquet for one of my sisters. She was opening a club and a show and I wanted her to know I was thinking of her. Isn’t it gorgeous? She’s a yellow/orangie kind of gal.

I’m a red gal, through and through.

But my friend RS is teaching me to love all colors and see them differently than I used to see them. I am using colors I wouldn’t have chosen to use for art making and getting pleasing results.

I'm listening to Mason Williams "Classical Gas" from: Phonograph Record

28 January 2006

Jaye P. and purging

I’m listening to Jaye P. Morgan singing some tunes and avoiding the task of purging the years of accumulated crapola I have in my bedroom.

To hear the tunes go to Lee’s marvelous site listed to the right of this post. “Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else”

Yes, Jaye P. was a judge on the Gong Show and a regular on Hollywood Squares. But, she was much more than that. She had her own TV show in the mid-twentieth century, was a regular on many of the best variety shows of the ’50s and ’60s and she made some pretty great records, several of which made it into the top 10.

I’m listening to Jaye P. Morgan “That’s All I Want from You”

27 January 2006

Patsy DeCline

If you live in Denver, go. If you don’t live in Denver, go.

You have got to see this show and hear this voice! (Unless having the roof blown off by amazing pipes and wetting your pants while weeping with laughter is not your idea of a good time.)

(click image to see it better)

25 January 2006

Pagers and prosimians

6:08 am: Waiting for my Darjeeling tea to brew. I’ve been up since 4:30. I had “working” dreams all night. What are “working” dreams? Dreams in which my pager goes off and I spend most of the dream trying to respond to the page and working in some way with the person who needs help and had me paged in the first place. In the case of this dream: a woman who was half in the bag and said right off “I punched her.” And suddenly, in dream style, we were facing each other in person.

Swell. And now I have to go to work for 8 more hours. I think I should get paid for and then get the rest of the day off after working all night!

My tea is done and here comes our tea lesson for the day:

Word on the block has it that this tea is the tea of teas. Darjeeling tea is considered the “champagne” of teas. So, I am sipping champagne at 6:00 in the morning. OK. I can tell you that it is a mild tea and I prefer Lapsang Souchong in the morning, but I am out of it. I don’t drink anything caffeinated after my early morning beverage, even if my morning beverage isn’t caffeinated, so I won’t be trying it in the afternoon when it is so highly recommended. From what I read, the reason it is so valued a tea is that the region is small, the terrrain is rugged and the production is low.

Worldwide, prosimian scat production is probably low compared to, say, bovine scat. Does that make lemur scat the champagne of scat? Perhaps.

24 January 2006


Merriam-Webster defines sodden:
Pronunciation: 'sä-d &n
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English soden, from past participle of sethen to seethe
1 a :dull or expressionless especially from continued indulgence in alcoholic beverages
1 b: Torpid, sluggish
2 a: Heavy with or as if with moisture or water

5:52 am: I am sipping “water sodden with ginger in it.” Flakes and tiny pieces of grated ginger floating in my cup. I chew each of them as they flow from the cup into my mouth. Little ginger explosions on my tongue.

This is the grater I used. A little Japanese job. Sharp as all get out. One can use it to get just ginger juice also. Scrape the ginger into the trough at the bottom and press on the ginger and out drips the juice. Nice. Neat. Functional. I appreciate design like that. I also appreciate ginger and all those who helped get it to my belly. I know that the produce manager in the store where I bought it is named Pooch. And the owner of the store is John. Beyond that, I’m at a loss for who had a hand in gettting it here. Oh, the cashier’s name is Lori.

I will ask Pooch the next time I’m in the store where she buys the fresh ginger.

I might have said I am sipping ginger tea this morning. But that would not be true. Tea is the name of a specific plant: Camellia sinensis. Therefore, I would be wrong in saying ginger tea as there is no Camellia sinensis in sight. So, I ought to say I am sipping a ginger infusion; which is a solution obtained by steeping or soaking a substance (usually in water). Try that the next time you go to a restaurant and start to order herbal tea.

“I’ll have a peppermint infusion, please.”

23 January 2006

Eat, drink and be berry

I found this: On their third day in the New World, sometime in July 1584, Sir Walter Ralegh's reconnaissance party under Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe met three natives. Having no language in common, the two groups quickly resorted to the universal media of polite discourse: food and drink.

Barlowe did not record what beverages the Indians served him and his companions, but he did say that the Indians customarily drank wine “while the grape lasteth” and water “sodden with Ginger [sic] in it, and blacke Sinamone [perhaps dogwood or magnolia bark], and sometimes Sassafras, and diuers other wholesome, and medicinable hearbes.” (Black drink, made mostly or exclusively of scorched yaupon leaves, was common throughout the region, but the spiced beverages Barlowe describes were not, and wine, if he was not mistaken, was probably unique in the Western Hemisphere.)

Text based on “Indian Food and Cooking in Coastal North Carolina 400 Years Ago,” by David Stick; edited and expanded by lebame houston and Wynne Dough

And this: The Indians of the Americas never distilled alcohol from plants; however, naturally fermented beverages were utilized in some places. Fruits of various cacti were sometimes fermented by Indians in Arizona to make a wine (H. E. Driver 1961). Unlike the Indians in many other parts of the Americas, those of northern North America did not adopt maize (corn) as a source for an alcoholic beverage before the conquest. This was remedied sometime later by people of European descent who used maize to prepare a whiskey that became known as bourbon (after Bourbon County, Kentucky), and this is the only distinctive important contribution of northern North America to the world's alcoholic beverages. A beer from persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) was reportedly made by Indians in the East (U. P. Hedrick 1950). The early colonists tried to make wine from the native grapes in eastern North America without much success. The Old World grape (Vitis vinifera) was successfully introduced into California by the Spanish and became the basis for the development of the wine industry in the United States.

On a personal note: I often have water sodden with Ginger in it.

(Ginger is native to southeast Asia, was brought to Spain, and then America, by the Spanish in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is now commercially cultivated in tropical regions of the United States, India, China, and the West Indies.)

And another little tidbit, Mythbusters proved that ginger taken for seasickness is an effective remedy, (which I’ve known for years) as is the heavy hitting Dramamine et al, type drugs. (Dramamine is a close cousin to Thorazine.)

You decide: Ginger or mind altering medication with these as some of the more mild “side effects”
  • difficulty breathing
  • closing of throat
  • swelling of lips, tongue, or face
  • hives
  • drowsiness or dizziness
  • restlessness, excitation, nervousness, or insomnia
  • blurred or double vision
  • dry mouth, nose, or throat
  • decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • difficulty urinating
  • an irregular or fast heartbeat

World travel

It is 5:54 am. I just finished making a cup of Assam tea. From the Indian state of...Assam.

Imagine. This little cup o’ came all the way from India. How many people had a hand in getting it to my belly on a 19° January early morning in Maine? Oh, and I put a teaspoon of coconut milk in it. That came from Thailand! Really!

Here’s a look at the relationship between India and Thailand. Just for a cup of tea! My head is reeling.

What in the world would I be drinking if I lived truly locally!? Dandelion root? Nettles? (Both of which I have in my cabinet.) Are they native? The dandelions aren’t. Not originally. Not pre-1600s. Certainly not decafe coffee! Not even apple cider. Probably good ol’ warm water.

You tell me.

21 January 2006

I'm all wet or the rain in Maine stays, mainly.


I took a walk today looking for deer antlers. Never found any. But, the sun came out, I lay down against a spruce and I did have a squirrel sit on my foot.

Came home and took a long bath, and a watery nap. The first in months. The long part. What with hot flashes I haven't been able to enjoy a long bath for a long time. Being able to enjoy and relax into a hot tub of water was a treat I’ve missed.

Thanks be to you, oh, bath water goddess and hot flash queen.

07 January 2006

Look at this

I don’t paint. But I have been recently, in a pack of 3x5 ring-bound index cards. I am using a tiny little brush and a Windsor & Newton watercolor set w/12 colors. I was looking at this and thought “Paint it!” So, I did.

02 January 2006

Meta what?

My friend JC (not the JC, the other JC) and I came up with a new name for my blog:

I Never Metamucil I Didn’t Like
Regular Output by an Older Woman

01 January 2006

one one two thousand six

I woke up several times in the new year morning. I got out of bed at almost eight. Eight to me is like noon to a lot of other people. I am an early riser, usually. Early as in 4:00ish.

It is a cold, grey day. Right now at 1:25 pm it is 23°. Very light snow cover on the hard frozen ground.

Yesterday, I went looking for deer antlers with my friend PS. We didn’t find any. There just aren’t enough bucks around to make finding antlers very likely. The conditions were perfect: not too long after they have been shed, so few Rodentia are likely to have chewed them up or carted them off, and little snow cover to make seeing them possible. But no luck. We had a good hike. This shelf fungi is deceptively small looking. It is easily 14" wide.

My neighbors S&L helped me get a good load of wood in the house. L did a lot of splitting of the larger pieces (she says splitting wood keeps her from getting splitting headaches) while S carried and stacked the wood inside. I tossed wood on the porch from the pile outside so S could load up the cart more easily.

While I enjoy the activity and the organic experience of moving the wood around, I can get frustrated. I am impeded by the limited use of my right hand. I can’t easily grab a stick of wood. They’re just a bit too large for me to grasp easily. I am limited to using one arm almost exclusively for all the wood handling.

I have a pot of Hoppin’ John on the stove. (I leave out the dead pig parts.) I’ll bring it up to S&L’s for dinner. We’re gonna play Scrabble later.