Category Archives: Shoot, I forgot to add tags again

Seedlings!

I planted! Woo!

It took me a long time to choose my veggies for my EarthBox. Cucumbers? No, I don’t want to stake anything. Beans? Same problem. Cabbage? No, the one-to-one ratio of seedling-to-harvest doesn’t seem worth it. Hmmm.

I went to my local garden shop, where I’d bought my EarthBox refill kit, and poked around. Potting mix was way too expensive,  but the prices on the seedlings seemed good. I looked at different plants, I took mental notes, I tried to make decisions, I gave up and went to the grocery store. Directly behind the grocery store is an Ace Hardware, with their new Garden Center, so I stopped in to see if they had more options. They didn’t, but there was a sale on organic potting mix… if I could just figure out which sign on the shelves went with which bag…

“Can I help you?”
“Yeah, can you tell me if this price is for the small bag or the large bag of potting mix?”
“I think it’s for the large bag. Yeah.”
“Wow, that’s a really good price.”
“Yeah… I’ll be honest with you. See how those bags are taped up? The mice love it. They get into the bags and start eating it. Don’t use it for indoor plants. You don’t want to invite trouble.”

I’m using it outdoors, so I picked out two bags and the gal rang them up… and they weren’t on sale. That price was for the little bag. But she was nice and gave me the big bags at the sale price anyway. Whee! Thank you, nice lady at Ace! I picked up a strawberry plant while I was there. One plant for my EarthBox down, how many to go?

I went back to the local garden shop. I made decisions. Tomatoes, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, all to add to that pot of strawberries that I’d bought at Ace. And some petunias for the pot of lilies that became a pot of dirt over the winter. Ooooh, and radish seeds for my window box!

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I spent hours yesterday, scooping and stirring and mixing and watering all kinds of dirt and dolomite and generally treating these seedling with care and affection. I followed the EarthBox directions to the letter, taking no shortcuts and not rushing through the process. I got it all full with dirt and fertilizer in exactly the right places using precisely the recommended method. I gently fit the proprietary EarthBox cover over the top, careful not to rip or tear the fragile membrane. I cut the necessary flaps for my seedlings, I planted them, I watered them, I closed the flaps back up.

Like a concerned mother, I peeked outside a few times during the afternoon and evening, to check on my little babies. The artichoke is going through a bit of transplant shock, but I think it will be okay. Hooray!

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Today, as I left the house to meet a friend for some offsite wifi action, I looked over at the EarthBox to see how it was doing. To my horror, I saw two new holes chewed in the cover. Directly over the line of fertilizer, I expect to see a sick squirrel in the area soon. I have one spare cover, but I’m hesitant to swap it out and wind up with holes in the new cover in due time. I’m pretty sure I have a roll of black duct tape in my hardware stash, so I may try to use that as a stopgap repair.

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As Seen On Lucitebox

Lucitebox Vintage has seen fit to feature my western-wear collection on her Holly Gab blog today. Go take a peek to read Sabrina-the-Mannequin’s interview with lil ol’ me!

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Groundhog Day

My morning went a little something like this:

Me: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning.

Nick: Who the hell is Punxsutawney Phil???

Me: The official groundhog of Groundhog Day! :)

Nick: Oh!
I was wondering if that is who you were talking about.
Didn’t know he had an actual “name”.
Now I’m wondering what crack-head named the poor guy!

Me: Punxsutawney is the name of the town, Phil is the name of the groundhog. ’Cept he’s called “Punxsutawney Phil” so nobody confuses him with any of the other groundhogs. ;)

Nick: All of the other groundhogs???
How many other groundhogs participate in this event?
Are they Union Groundhogs?
Has there ever been a groundhog labor dispute?
Did they have to bring in non-union groundhogs to pull off Groundhog Day?
What would groundhog picket signs look like?
“USE UNION SHADOWS!!!”
or
“WOULD YOU TRUST YOUR SPRING TO A SCAB SHADOW?!?”
or
“MORE PAY FOR BETTER SHADOWS!!!”
How much does a Union groundhog have to pay in dues?
Do they have a Local?
United Brotherhood of Groundhogs and Shadow Casters.
Westminster, CO
Local 247

So…. are they all named Phil?

Don’t trust your Spring to a scab shadow!

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Leopard! No, Jaguar! No, Cheetah!

Along the lines of my post regarding RETRO versus VINTAGE, here’s a quick lesson for retailers regarding what is, and what is not, LEOPARD PRINT.

LEOPARD:
leopard

JAGUAR:
jaguar

CHEETAH:
cheetah

GIRAFFE:
giraffe

Thank you.

________________________

SIDEBAR: I know, I know, I haven’t written in ages, and this is what I pop back in with. If you really want an update of how things are going on my end, from a personal perspective, here you go:

  • One of my Top Three All Time Favorite Uncles had a heart attack on, I believe, Monday night. The last I heard, he was feeling fine, and is undergoing surgery as I write this to unblock … blockages. If I had any more information than that, I would be appropriately worried or relieved.
  • I may have landed myself a guy, and then again, I may not have. My friends are wondering why I’ve been so hesitant about allowing myself to feel giddy, so here’s this: I adore him, but he lives far away and is gunning hard for a job that will, coincidentally, keep him far away. For a long period of time (perhaps a 5-year contract). We have made grand plans to visit each other every month, but the reality is that in his field, time off is a joke. In the year or so that he and I have been close friends, I’ve witnessed him working through birthdays, anniversaries, major holidays, and vacations that he’d already paid for. And not “working” as in bringing-a-laptop-to-the-hotel, but “working” as in on-site, pulling 14-hour days. I hate it I hate it I hate it. The thing is, he loves it. It’s what makes him tick. And I couldn’t ask him to stop, because then he wouldn’t be the guy that I adore. From afar. And with great hesitation. So, there’s that.
  • If my math is correct (although I am not known for my math skills), I have pulled in enough contract work to keep my bills paid through the end of 2008, with a small amount left over for frugal Christmas gifts. Which is good, because Unemployment Insurance in Colorado remains a joke, and I have yet to procure so much as a thin dime from it/them. Also, my health insurance costs a bit more than it did when subsidized by The Man, and the deductible is such that I may as well not have it except for Extreme Emergency situations. I have eliminated my usual charitable contributions, for which I feel pooie, but it was necessary. My shoe budget, if you could call it that, has been reappointed as my business expenses budget. However, I was pleased to discover that renewing my business name with the State cost an entire dollar. I love a bargain! Perhaps this is why they cannot afford to pay out Unemployment claims. Exactly how I will manage 2009 remains a mystery, but my previous-employer-now-my-biggest-client seems pleased with my work as a contractor, and I hope will keep me as busy as their ever-dwindling budget will allow.
  • Related: A big shout-out to the hard-working gals at Fresh Organic Office Delivery, who, in spite of their acronym-friendly name, also deliver delicious organic produce (and the occasional free-range, drug-free holiday turkey) to homes, and are keeping me fed for a very reasonable price. They offer a choice of two different sizes of bins, every other week, and I believe today may be the day I create a Creamsicle®* Pie recipe, because a still have four (organic) oranges left from my last bin. There might also be a pluot pie in the immediate future.

*50/50 bars to my West Coast friends who talk funny

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Windows On The World

I have new windows!

I realize that this seems like an outrageous expense for someone with no real income to speak of, and that’s a good observation. But let me explain: I started this get-new-windows process back in June, after 4+ years of knowing that my windows were the insulating equivalent of having GAPING HOLES in my walls. And, oh yeah, I had a good job with a stable company that I’d been with for years. Oops!

So yeah, anyway. Way back in June, I made a few phone calls and had a couple of guys come out to give me estimates. The local, non-national-chain guy, Rick (whom I also happen to personally know), came in with the lowest bid. By a lot. A LOT. So low, in fact, that Rick asked me to not tell anyone what price he was giving me. He didn’t tell me what his markup was, but I figured, based on the National Chain’s price, that it wasn’t much. (Of Note: I was truly impressed with National Chain’s sales rep, presentation, and their lifetime warranty. If you are not local and able to use my guy, I would happily recommend the Other Folks. Ask me if you are looking.) I officially gave Rick the go-ahead to order my custom-built windows in mid-July. He estimated that their construction would take around 3 to 4 weeks. Woo!

Five weeks later, Rick checked in with me to say that it would probably be another week.

Three weeks later, they were finally ready! And shit. I was out of an income. Silver lining: I didn’t have to arrange to take any time off from work so I could be home for the install!

Delivery of the windows was perfectly on time. The truck drove up on the stroke of 10am, and Rick and his team (the delivery guy and Jenny, Rick’s assistant) unloaded everything in a matter of minutes. The delivery guy left, and Rick and Jenny got to work. By the end of Day One all of my old single-pane, aluminum-frame windows were gone*, and new, vinyl-clad, double-pane, low-E windows were in place. The immediate impression is that they LOOK FANTASTIC. Oh yeah, and I can actually open and close them without having to lift the window out of the track! And the distant rumble of traffic is stifled! Happy Cat noticed right away that the sun didn’t feel as strong, and he promptly relocated his afternoon sunbathing to the front door sidelight (not replaced).

Day Two was reserved for installing the two sets of patio sliders. I poked my head in now and again to check the progress, and actually watched part of the demo of my old dining room sliders. What a chore! There were winches and cables and a Sawzall (woo!), some quiet grumbling, and a surprised observation that the header wasn’t actually attached to anything… or bearing any weight. That, and a few other complications, slowed the process down. By the end of Day Two, only the lower level slider was in place, and it wasn’t sealed or trimmed out. But that would happen on Day Three, right after they finished the upper level sliders!

Wow. Okay. Um… The removal of the upper level sliders revealed that all of the same construction shortcuts had been taken during the original build. So, by the end of Day Three, I had two sets of installed-but-not-yet-sealed-or-trimmed doors. Yet, even with the openings around both sets, I already noticed that the dull roar of traffic was muffled. This is a completely added bonus.

Day Four finished up everything that was left. Rick and Jenny did a BEAUTIFUL job replacing the floor trim and creating new-from-scratch door trim. In fact, they did nicer work than the professional carpenter who had originally done the floor a couple of years ago. And my goodness, can Rick draw a beautiful bead of caulk. (Yes, I notice these things).

Now, with two people for two extra days on site, and the added materials that Rick had to cough up for some of the unexpected trim work, and the reconstruction of the effin’ door frames, it was only fair that he charge me a bit more than the original quote. And he did: $200. For all of that extra work. Two-hundred-stinkin’ dollars.

And then, I found something else out: He wasn’t actually making a dime on this job. THAT’S why he didn’t want me to tell anyone what he quoted me. You read that right, Rick’s markup was 0%. ZERO. Ze-ro. He and Jenny had just spent four whole working days at my house, laboring for free, installing windows (and doors!) that he wasn’t even profiting on. And I know Rick; he was probably paying Jenny for her time. Out of his own pocket.

Dude. I work for free on my OWN stuff. And I barter services, for one client. But to work for free for someone else? I know Rick, but we’re not best friends or anything. We don’t get together for dinner or go on bike rides. Years ago, he was the landlord of my then-boyfriend. This is not the kind of relationship that begs for free work. On the one hand, I wanted to pay him a whole lot more than he was asking for. On the other hand, I’m unemployed. I have no income. I’m not even getting unemployment checks yet. All I could do was round up. So I did. And I will publicly thank Rick for doing such a beautiful job. Thanks, Rick.

If you’re in the Boulder/Denver metro area:
Rick Nistico
Insulated Glass | Screens | Replacement Windows | Service Work
303-995-1209 (cell)

Photos of the install here.

*Rick took the scrap aluminum to recycle, and I have kept all of the “salvageable” glass panes and panels for anyone who might be interested in using the glass for pictureframing or the tempered panels for building a cold frame garden. I also have the screens for the old windows, if you live in my complex and want them for your own unit. Or rinse them off, and use them as the largest earring organizers EVER. Hit me up if you’re interested. Free, but you have to haul. :)

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Dodging Police

Ooooh, sorry folks, that’s a misleading title. This photo is captioned “1961 Dodge Police Pursuits – Public Safety” though, and what else would I have called the post that it inspired? “How to sell a car with ill-advised placement of body bags”?

The others in the series included Highway Patrol and Municipal Patrol. If anyone knows anything about this creepy ad series, please enlighten me!

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Spot Remover

A friend of mine has a daughter who has been taking a prescription-only medication for her acne. The daughter has come to rely on it, but is concerned about long-term effects (we know it can cause birth defects, which isn’t an immediate concern, but how long might it really stay in her system?). I know that I’m no doctor, and that the acne that I’m still dealing with at, ahem, my age, isn’t what I’d call “acute” or anything, but here’s a rundown of the stuff in my own medicine cabinet:

Almay Oil-Free Makeup Remover Pads. Most makeup removers are oil-based, but I have enough oil on my own, thankyouverymuch. These do a bang-up job on the days I actually bother to remove my makeup.
Pond’s Exfoliating Cucumber Cleansing Towelettes. I hate getting my face wet, and splashing all over the counter, and rubbing anything gritty. These disposable cloths mean that I don’t need to deal with any of that. Plus, I can take them camping. Love love love.
Clearasil Daily Pore Cleansing Pads. These contain a mild salicylic acid. I might have an opinion on them, if I would ever remember to use them daily. Or even monthly.
Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment. The tube says 100% of people showed clearer skin after only one day. Who am I to argue?
Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick. If it stings, it must be working, right?

I don’t use all of this stuff every day. Heck, I don’t remember to use ANY of it most days. And no matter what I do, I’m going to get a pimple when I’m getting my period. Nature’s way of saying, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.” If stress triggers your acne, then vitamin B could potentially help.

What are your tricks?

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