Thursday, April 30, 2009


MK's colleague D has a chicken, Fluffy. D's husband built a small chicken coop, big enough for four or five chickens, but so far they have just Fluffy and a rooster, unnamed because he is not long for this world. D has started giving us eggs. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings I make MK a fried egg sandwich with cheese and serve it on a bagel. Heh, I should tell the story of my disastrous attempts at making my own bagels. MK and her sister actually ate the failed bagels, which blew my mind because they were like dough bombs. I'll attempt bagels again soon, I'm sure. Failure never stops me from trying. In fact, I'm usually surprised when I succeed!
Back to the eggs, I would love to have a chicken coop of my own. Of course where I live there's an ordinance against owning chickens dating back a hundred years because of rat infestation. Rats love chicken scratch, and eggs, and chickens. Oh, who am I kidding, rats will eat cement, and their own kind. Even at the risk of attracting rats, I would like a chicken coop with about three chickens. No roosters, if I can get away with not having one. They crow all day long, loudly. They make you want to hang them upside down and slit their throats, which is the fate of Mr. Nameless at D's once her husband gets the nerve to do it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pittsburgh Passion game 2

April 25, 2009
Newman Stadium, Wexford, PA
Pittsburgh Passion v. Baltimore Nighthawks
Final score: Pittsburgh 49, Baltimore 0.
I don't know what happened in the second half because we left at halftime. What? The score was 35-0 and we wanted to get home and watch 'Vicki Christina Barcelona' that netflix had kindly sent us.
Amanda Haeg, seen here, scored at least two touchdowns. Oddly, there's no game recap up yet at the official Passions website. Not even a tiny box score. Forget about any other sort of coverage of the game because all of the print media in town ignores them. I should take a notebook with me and just jot down highlights so that my posts about the games don't seem so pointless. In this game it seemed like almost every play had some sort of highlight as we dominated Baltimore completely on both sides of the ball. MK was taking pictures, and she did use a monopod this time so they're less shaky. She's improving week by week, I think :)
Next up: Away game at the undefeated DC Divas. Should be a tough game, but I'm betting that the defense will step up. Jo Jo Warner is just a phenomenal linebacker with tremendous instincts, anticipating plays, getting into the backfield to sack the QB or stuff a run. She's a lot of fun to watch, and hopefully Saturday night she'll have a big game for us! I don't worry too much about our offense. Lisa Horton is the best QB in women's football. She throws the ball like it's on a zip-line.
Good luck defeating DC!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the Farm

Mom called this morning and asked me to come and visit. Well, I hadn't seen my dad for 9days and in that time he's really started to look like crap. Between the cancer and the chemo he's really suffering, although he doesn't complain. And he positively doesn't want any of us crying around him. It's all that German stoicism he's been working on for 70 years. He's only half German, but the Germans raised him so the nurturing he received undoubtably effected his nature. Something. Maybe.
Now they've decided to sell their house. The house was built in 1882, two years after the barn was built, and my great grandparents bought it in 1918, when my grandmother was 4yrs old. It was a typical farm, around 180 acres, cows, chickens, crops all worked with the aid of draft horses. No one has farmed it since my great grandfather retired from farming in the 50s, and most of the land has been sold off over the years. On May 31, 1985 a tornado took out the barn and silo. In 1997 my oldest brother and his wife converted the remaining horse barn into their house. What remains of the original farm is the house and a summer kitchen situated on seven acres.
I don't know what was more depressing today. Seeing dad look so ashen or thinking of the 'farm' being sold. I've been going there my whole life. My parents built the house I grew up in a hayfield away. Every Sunday we went to the farm for dinner. When my great grandparents got old and frail my grandparents moved in to take care of them. Then when the grandparents got old and frail my parents moved in to take care of them. Ah well...
There was a pole (before the aforementioned tornado) with a mercury light atop it in the middle of the yard and so many summer nights we sat out on the patio watching the bats gobble up the bugs drawn to the light, Grandpa Herbie telling us stories about the Depression, Grandma Helen telling us about the year she got an orange and a nickel for Christmas. Life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Starry-eyed Dreamers

I stopped by my sister's place for a cup of coffee and to listen to her grandchildren scream while she babysat them. What are they, four and two? That sounds about right. I've mentioned before that my family has a propensity toward shotgun weddings. That's how both mom and Junior became grandmothers by the time they turned forty. I can easily line up four generations of women in our family for a neat little pictorial illustrating dubious choices made as teenagers. They might all be smiling, but in their hearts there's a seed of resentment that couldn't be better tended by Martha Stewart herself. As far as I can tell, the straight women in my family don't have much respect for men. They harbor a resigned bitterness toward the men they claim to love, as if they are feckless pawns at the mercy of their fates and desires. Unable to take an active role in their happiness and thereby left carping about their lot for what may only seem like an eternity.
Maybe I'm being unfair, or over/under thinking their motivations. Whatever it is, I couldn't be gayer about being a lesbian! Oh, and the men in the family complain too, but they've invested a lot less time into formulating their arguments. If you're only willing to present your case during commercial breaks, half your audience is the bathroom and the other half is twittering.
It's a conundrum out there for the straights. I don't know how they hold on to hope, those starry-eyed dreamers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Clogs for You

Oh c'mon! They're clogs, not Crocs! It's for while you're worrying about your feng shui, you might should be worrying about your karma. Just sayin'.

HONG KONG, China (AFP) – One of Hong Kong's tallest skyscrapers has declined to hold a Dutch charity exhibition of clogs because of worries the clunky footwear will bring bad luck, a report said.

The Cheung Kong Center refused to host the show, which was organised by the Dutch consulate, because of feng shui, a diplomat told the Sunday Morning Post.

The tower's management said the wooden footwear show would cause bad luck, because the Cantonese word for shoes -- hai -- sounds similar to a sigh of exasperation, the English-language paper said.

"Cheung Kong Center rejected the exhibition because of the Chinese meaning of wooden shoes. I don't understand. It is difficult to explain as I don't know how to say shoes in Chinese," an unnamed member of staff at the consulate told the paper.

The exhibition, part of an effort to promote Dutch culture, which will raise money for Chinese children, is now being held at another tower in Hong Kong, the paper said.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese system, used to enhance positive energy and good luck.

The system is still very influential in superstitious Hong Kong, and highly-paid feng shui consultants are often employed to advise on the location and design of new buildings, as well as give individuals advice on how to improve their luck.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tina Maas

Tina Maas is an astounding photographer. She works in almost every photographic technique and here we see her mastery in tin types. I'm just floored at how evocative and powerful her imagery is. Her 'Ophelia' and 'Prison' series are particularly arresting, although her entire body of work is nothing short of exhilarating!


There's nothing quite as satisfying as picking some fresh produce from the garden and serving it up with dinner. I don't plant a huge garden, because realistically I'm not going to weed and maintain it properly. But I make up for lack of volume in diversity. I plant some beets, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers. Sometimes I throw pumpkins in the mix too. Not all of these plants are in a plot garden, but in containers. Container gardening takes almost all work out of weeding. Lettuce, spinach, endive and Swiss chard do particularly well in containers. MK and I have discovered that cherry tomatoes are easier to stake and maintain in a large container. We experiment a lot with what we grow and how we grow it. Last year's entire silver queen sweet corn crop fell victim to a violent thunderstorm. Given how much space in the garden plot I had to allow for corn only to lose everything has scared me away from planting it again this year. Maybe next year, but this year I want more beets.
I never thought much of beets because I'd never eaten them freshly roasted before. Once I had I couldn't believe how wonderful they are! So, I'm planting more beets, and butternut squash.
Anyone else garden? Any tips?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

Happy Earth Day! Last Saturday afternoon MK and I worked alongside various organizations to plant trees along the Monongahela River in celebration of Earth Day, since pretty much everyone has to be at their job today, on the actual Earth Day. Which is probably for the best anyway as Saturday was sunny and warm and today is rainy and chilly. Digging holes in the rain turns everything into a muddy hell.
There were 300+ volunteers out on Saturday, and together we put 117 native species trees into the ground. All I can say is: MK can swing a mean pick axe! Kisses angel, kitten, sweetie!
Now, to talk a moment about what any of us can do to help the planet. Consume less. That's antithetical (from a Republican perspective) to a quick fix for the economy, but it's the best thing for the individual and the Earth. I don't live a spartan existence by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think about what I've got, how to best use it, and whether I really need something new. Books seem to be the only thing that I don't question too much when purchasing. I know that I should switch to a Kindle, but I love holding a book. I like the feel of paper. Maybe I should plant an extra tree or two to make up for it. But I do know that I won't be giving up printed books anytime soon. They're like pieces of art stacked on the shelf, holding their secrets but then giving them up freely once you crack it open. Enigmatic art. Yes, that's what a book is to me.
Well, I've digressed enough for this morning.
Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pittsburgh Passion, week 1

April 18, 2009
Saturday 7pm
Pittsburgh Passion v. Detroit Demolition, Newman Stadium, North Allegheny High School, Wexford, PA
Final score: Pittsburgh 29, Detroit 6
The Passion never trailed. They scored on the game's first two possessions: The Demolition gave up a safety after their first set of downs on a bad snap near their own endzone, and then Passion QB Lisa Horton scampered for a touchdown, culminating a successful offensive drive down the field.
TDs were also notched by Wilma Walton, Lori Johnson, and Amanda Haeg for the Passion, in that order. The Walton TD was off a slightly under thrown pass from Horton. Walton was breaking for the endzone along the sidelines when she looked back over her shoulder for the ball, the Demolition defender mirrored her position, when suddenly Walton stopped dead in her tracks, the D-back ran right past her, Walton gathered in the ball and the rest is all glory!
Oh, I can't say enough how exciting and fun these games are, how the level of play is outstanding and well worth the trip to the stadium and cost of admission. More fun than roller derby, which is really saying something!
The Passion have moved from their previous venue at Cupples Stadium on the south side of Pittsburgh up to the north hills suburbs of Pittsburgh. MK speculates that it's because of more parking and a larger seating capacity. We guesstimated the attendance at roughly 5K for the season opener. A raucous crowd that cheered wildly for every TD, break away run, sack, and interception. I was hoarse the next day, but that just meant that we had a fun night!
One bit of absurdity to liven the evening: The song stylings of Groundskeeper Joe Tucci. Yes, he was introduced by that full name. I've never heard the National Anthem delivered quite the way that he sang it, and his halftime rendition of God Bless America should be on youtube, to counter balance the awesomeness of Susan Boyle. Not since Joe Cocker has anyone so completely thrown themselves physically into singing a song. It was like he was having a seizure, flailing about, trying to grasp a key out of thin air and hang on to it for a moment. We tried not to laugh out loud, I mean, these are honorable songs afterall, but damn.
I hope Groundskeeper Joe Tucci sings at this week's game too! Bring on the Baltimore Nighthawks!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kids Getting Older, Me Just Old

Today is not only tax day, but it's my oldest son's birthday! I know that it seems impossible, but I've got a twenty year old kid, proud issue of my womb.
Since he has to work this evening I made an early dinner for him and baked a brownie cake (the only cake like creation I'm capable of concocting).
I couldn't be prouder of the young man that Cree has grown into. Despite having at times nearly debilitating OCD, he's become a compassionate, industrious, artistic, and extremely loving individual. There's a wide spectrum of how acute OCD can afflict someone, and he's worked really hard (along with the best doctor imaginable) to be able to rein in his compulsions and high levels of anxiety.
Happy Birthday Cree! I went into labor with you at 2am and they removed you from my abdominal cavity at 10:24am. It was the first day of trout season 1989, raining, and someone brought me flowers. Believe it or not, back then if the baby wasn't in your hospital room you were still allowed to smoke. As Grandpa Herbie used to say before he died, I loved every cigarette I ever smoked.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Pokey

See these bars? I know somebody who might be behind some quite like these soon. Ok, not much like these since this pic was taken at Old Fort Niagara, but similar enough.
Earlier this evening my exhusband asked me to scan and copy his fishing license. Foolishly I asked why, while I had him choose from an array of papers (I like paper, so I have a lot of different kinds).
Despite the amount of Lucy and Ethel this scheme has written all over it, it occurs to me that I'm now an accomplice, and should probably say no more.
Some of the best stories can only be told after the statute of limitations has expired. Check back in 2-5 yrs :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Me and one of Mine

Me and my one kid at Easter Dinner. I was holding still, but the variance in my phase harmonics skewed my image. Yeah, I think I'll stick with that ;)

Holiday Dinners

Holiday family dinners are never, ever, what you expect.
We had a great Easter, and Droll, I have your cake recipe and will be sending it tomorrow!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Fiend in PA

As my youngest son and I prepare to go to MK's for the Easter weekend, I wanted to leave all of you that visit my humble blog with a heartfelt sentiment. Yes, you have a fiend in Pennsylvania :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Slowly We Turned...

During what will undoubtably be the worst weather week of April in our neck of the woods, MK and I celebrated our anniversary in Niagara Falls. It was scary at times folks. Mostly the drive up was scary because it snowed off and sometimes really ON from Pittsburgh to Buffalo. And though we froze our asses off in the wind and mist at the falls, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. MK loves history, both manmade and natural, and this area can facilitate both. The cultural aspects aint too shabby either.
We were kept really busy doing stuff and eating, and walking for miles and miles to accomplish said things.
All in all it was a great trip! Also, I have to thank everyone for the well wishes and kind words on our anniversary :) I cling to this woman like grim death...
Here we see the remnants of the ice arcing up to meet the American Falls. Photo by MK.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Fifth

Today MK and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary. And they said it wouldn't last. I despise 'they' and their nay saying tendencies.
Anyway, five years ago today, on a day much like this (cold, overcast, dreary early spring) we had our first date. It was at the Log Cabin restaurant. We sat near the bison head. I ordered a grilled chicken salad and she had some sort of sandwich wrap. She had a diet coke and I drank a Yuengling. She was all dressed up and I had on one of my kid's pullovers and I hadn't combed my hair.

Afterward I took her to the Appalachian Rock Shop. She bought her nieces and nephews some geodes and I bought some fossilized shark teeth.
Then we parted and I thought, man, this was the most boring date ever. I'd been so nervous before hand that I'd vomited, and then I remained so nervous that I did a poor job of upholding my end of the stilted conversation. Later I discovered that she'd been really nervous too. We'd gone from exciting, vibrant women, more interesting than string theory on crack, to the realm of the undatable, even or especially with each other. It was sad. Pathetic even.
Fortunately the second date went MUCH better, since we'd both given up on ourselves, if not each other. By the third date I was flashing her 'the twins' and on the fourth date we had sexy times.
It seems so stupid now that we were both so nervous on that first date, but I think that we both knew that we were somehow stumbling into our futures and freaked out.
Happy fifth, MK! Later we can toast the years ahead :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Not My Girl Crush

My sister has a girl crush on Giada De Laurentiis, which is serious business. I've known about this straight girl crush for years, ever since we were watching something on teevee and suddenly the luster and shine that is Giada appeared and Junior went nuts.
The other day Junior called and started the conversation the way she always does: What are you doing? (Notice how she did not rudely ask me what I was thinking)
As the cooking gods would have it, I was attempting to duplicate Giada's recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini courtesy of The Food Network. junior proceeded to ask me all sorts of questions about it beginning with: How hard is it?
Well, that's not an easily answered query with this recipe. It isn't 'hard' as in difficult, but it does require a bit of time in the prep and getting the sauce done correctly. Unless I'm pressed for time, then I don't mind blowing an hour just getting a dish ready to get tossed into the oven. Junior's a little different in the kitchen. She's a good cook, but she prefers quick and less messy prep work. But then, she's really a baker. Like our mom, she bakes nearly everyday. There's always cookies or cake or pie. And I do mean always. I can make tollhouse cookie bars and brownies. And that's all, folks. But mom and Junior can whip up elaborate baked goods that are as good as anything I've ever eaten anywhere. Mom's Kahlua, caramel, chocolate fudge cake is the single best dessert possibly ever created. MK's eyes roll back in her head everytime mom serves it. Junior's double chocolate cookie with cream icing is everyone's favorite cookie. Our brother guards them on the cookie tray every Christmas, to make sure that no one takes more than one at a time (while he eats three at a time).
Anyway, by the time I was done making the tetrazzini, and Junior and I had talked down the battery on the cordless, the dish was excellent, if piping hot and I burned my mouth. I love the sauce, and like most recipes with an intricate sauce, it's really what makes the dish. I just love pasta and eat it almost everyday, so the sauce is what's got make it exciting :)