Friday, March 26, 2010

What would Leonard do?

I was cruising one of my favorite blogs a few months ago & came across a WW?D that never entered my head:  What Would Spock Do?  Well, what would he do?  Setting aside Spock is in fact a fictional character.. & then I had trouble setting that aside because Spock is not just fictional, he is a complete stick.

So today, on his birthday (& mine, go me!) I am asking that almost as silly question:  What Would Leonard Do?

I know a lot & next to nothing about Leonard Nimoy, all at the same time.  First of all he is several million years old.  Or not.  I listen every year on NPR when he hosts music of the High Holidays, although they might just be rerunning the same show, I cannot be sure.  I googled  ["Leonard Nimoy" NPR] to find a link to that annual program & got a whole lot more than I was expecting.

I guess I do not know what Leonard would do.  Whatever he wants too, without damaging the time space continuum, of course.  Or maybe he has & this is an alternate Nimoy, getting all this random stuff on the record. No wait, that's Rimmer à la Red Dwarf.

//it was hard to know how to tag this.  TV of course, but what about music?  Can you call what Leonard Nimoy sings music, exactly?  Does orchestra narration count?  Movies is a tag-option, but then again when I think Nimoy I do no immediately think of the Star Trek movies (& cannot name a single one he has directed, although he has).  Besides his best movie is Galaxy Quest, which he is not even in, except as played by Alan Rickman.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fat man all in red

Today is the first full day of Spring...& it is 60F & rainy.  Which is just fine with me.  Most of the week & thru yesterday it was bright & warming & we saw a lot of my favorite harbinger of Spring:  a fat man all in red.  No, not him!  Does it help if I tell you he hangs out where it is all pink?  No, it is not gay pride week (I think that is in April, actually.  Maybe it will time nicely with the mayoral run-off.  Or is Gay Pride Week in August?  Those A months always scramble me).

I am talking about this guy here.  He always means spring to me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blatantly soliciting donations

This weekend is the local Big Brothers, Big Sisters annual fundraiser.  They need to raise a minimum 40K over the next few weeks to keep the doors open. 

Not long after I first became a Big Sister, Jeb Bush & the rest of the GOP had dealt many other regional BB/BS chapters a death blow by cutting funding by as much as 97% to this kind of charity.  For those who do not remember/know when Jeb Bush was Governor, the Fladidah economy was BOOMING at the time.

This particular chapter survived through some very generous donations, including that of their own building.  They use one office suite & rent the rest of the building to generate their own income.  The downturn in the economy (& the drop in in potential renters) has cut into this source & others are just not available.

My Little Sister is a grown-up now.  She works more than full-time, she pays her taxes, she has done some volunteering herself, regularly attends book club &, as I like to say, she is not pregnant so far.  I am not taking the credit for this (except for the book club bit-that was definitely me), I am just saying that without BBBS, girls & boys in her situation will just not have the opportunities she has.  

I realize you might be curious what frivolities BBBS spends their money on.  There are the usual overhead charges (you know: lights, AC) but the last time I saw the budget, the big line items were staff & insurance.  Not health insurance for the staff, but insurance for the kids when they are under the supervision of their Bigs (I'm sorry to say that is what we are called; the kids are called Littles.  gack).  You can read more here.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you have seen that there has never been one advertisement, there are no pop-up ads or anything like that.  In return for not having to scroll through ads/wait for loading in the sidebar, you get free quilt patterns, political rants, random recipes, emu care tips, etc.  If you have ever found anything useful here, please put a dollar or two in an envelope & mail it to:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida
1155 NW 13th St.
Gainesville, Florida 32601

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mr. Moses

I have had this post queued for a very long time.  It is not possible to be in the animal rescue business & not have someone like Mr. Moses in your emergency contact list.  As of now Becca is looking better, if still a bit tippy, (we did a spinal tap, we are waiting for results) & I thought this lull might be a good time to get this up there.
Unlike the man of song, our Mr. Moses is not so much a merchant as a knackerman.  For anyone who has never read any of the All Creatures books, first: shame on you & second: the knackerman comes to take the body away & make it into....fertilizer...I'm guessing.

The first time I called Mr. Moses I actually got his wife & mother.  Let me say, Mr. Moses is not a young man.  If he is less than 60, I am something I am not.  On this day we had euthanized an old thoroughbred who had arrived here years earlier without a name; they called her the other red mare.  I decided that was unacceptable, renamed her RedBud for my favorite tree & then went on to discover what complete asshats the operators of the rescue that fostered her were (for example, RedBud was '"unleadable".  It took me less than a week to realize she had an abscess behind her ear, right where the halter pressed. Once treated, she led just fine).

In her last months, summer months, she lost weight almost before our eyes.  She was old & broken & I did not think putting her through a winter (even here it gets below freezing) was the best way to end her days.  I made an appointment with S***** & we put her down in the early fall, the air was already cool until the sun was well up.  She had many carrots while the shots were put together & she went over slowly & died peacefully.

Unfortunately, although I had called Mr. Moses ahead of time & made an appointment, something bad happened to a good part of a herd of cattle & he left to go deal with that. Around dusk, his wife & mother came with the back up truck, winched the body in & drove away. 

I have called him since then, although I have not seen anyone but him since that first time.  he is a hands-on kind of person & does the work efficiently & not unkindly.  There is no other knackerman in our area & we are lucky to have him.

//& happy Saint Pat's.  Like so many he was almost certainly more than one person.  His cult has grown well-beyond the church, although he remains invoked by the faithful to heal snake bites, to calm sufferers of ophidiophobia (who may very well be victims of snake bites, hence the fear), as well as being patron of engineers & excluded people.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Riled raptors react rapidly

The emus have had it.  Long, cold wintery days (this is Fladidah, damn it), dog attacks & today was the last straw.  The contractor hired by the power line people to trim branches arrived bright & early with no notice whatsoever & needed access to the back pasture.  In the past they have gone down the neighbors driveway, as the power line actually runs along this fence line.  On our side, there are intersecting fences making the whole process much more of an ordeal. 

This morning, though, there were a number of reasons they had to cut limbs from our side & unfortunately the back gate was too narrow.  So for several hours today Antonelle ran herself ragged trying to get away from the loud grinding noises of tree limbs being cut & falling & chipped.  She scraped her neck sticking her head through the rails of the fence & pacing, pacing, pacing.  By noon, I was exhausted just watching her.

My problem right this minute is I cannot tell if I am aggravated because of all the other aggravating stuff that has happened this month or am I aggravated because they could not pick up the phone last Friday, last night & let us know they would be here & we could have dealt with the 'big chickens' (their words) before they got here.  I suspect it is a combination of both, although I have noticed a strangely cavalier attitude towards schedules south of the Mason Dixon that would get a person laughed out of business just north of it.  So maybe on top of everything else, this is just another outlander problem.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Better living through chemistry

The past few hours & much of the last two days have been given over to Becca (horse).  We thought she was having a garden variety belly-ache: she was showing signs of early colic, trying to lie down etc.  But she was pooping & peeing, albeit in small quantities & after walking her about for much of the morning we called our large animal vet.  While I was leaving the voicemail message , Becca started spinning like a drunk who had been spun in circles & then told to walk a straight line.  In the course of that voicemail message I went from "when you get this, call me & I'll come pick-up some banamine" to "Oh my G*d, please call, please please please.  As soon as you can, please".

S**** did call & she came right out & she confirmed with a nod what we both had begun to suspect.  This was not colic, this was neurological.  We spent some time yesterday getting antibiotics into Becca, some banamine & tubing her to deliver DMSO straight to her belly.  We don't know yet how things are going to go for Becca.  Although she is looking better, this treatment is not something she can live on, long-term. In some ways we could not live with it long-term either; the smell of DMSO as it does its things is so overwhelmingly bad that I have to walk away & gag every few minutes I am with her.

This made me think about Janet Finch's acclaimed book White Oleander.  I read this book before my own DMSO experiences (yes, I have had more than one) & so I missed a critical flaw in the crime that starts the whole adventure.  The short version is a man is poisoned with oleander, the absorption of which is enhanced by DMSO.  It is the presence of the DMSO that is the difference in differnt degrees of guilt & premeditation.  When I read the book., this did not raise any flag at all.  Now, of course, I wonder how completely smell & taste impaired a person would have to be to ingest DMSO unknowingly. 

On another the other hand, one of A's collaborators is here now (they are preparing for a meeting later in the week) & he swears he cannot smell a thing.  He's an organic chemist.  I honestly do not remember what the murder victim did for a living.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is that all there is?

We took a break (A***** has a real job, can you imagine?), but next week we were supposed to be back with The Monk's Tale.  Then A*****'s job popped up again, but this post was all typed & queued & I figured I would go ahead with it anyhow.  It isn't as though I have anything new to say about the Monk's Tale.

I have read the Monk's Tale.  I have read it thrice.  & all I can remember is it was quite the series of downers.  Wikipedia tells me it is "a collection of seventeen short stories, exempla, on the theme of tragedy".  I was too disheartened to count.  For me it was a waterfall of failure in which the hero's hubris did not play the pivotal role (which makes it not-tragedy in my high school but whatever), it was merely incidental.  As near as I can tell, if you are up on the wheel of fortune, you should kill yourself now because the wheel is just waiting to toss you down & grind you beneath.  Not that you can kill yourself because that is a mortal sin & you will only be making things much worse for yourself.

Did I mention this was the Monk's Tale?  This collection of famous people screwed by fate was being told by the guy you would go to for counseling if you were having some kind of crisis. The nicest thing you can say about the monk is at least he is not overtly corrupt.

As for these list of sufferers, what can I say.  He starts with Lucifer (falling from grace was not his fault - G*d made him that way), moves on through history to Nebuchadnezzar (that whole gold statue worship thing was just a misunderstanding), then Nero (matricide is good-time-party-fun, besides she had it coming) & ends with Michael Vick (those dogs wanted to kill each other).

In the end it took the Knight to say "Shut the F*CK UP you whiny baby", although he said it nicer than that.  He avoided saying what I wanted to say:  Why don't you just kill yourself & shut up about it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hamantaschen, belatedly

I spent many, many years combing through the bible (for what I have been told are all the wrong reasons) while I was getting a degree in literature. It is difficult to get through a study of western literature without a passing acquaintance with the new testament; it is impossible to get through the same study without an intimate knowledge of at least parts of the old testament. I recommend you begin with Genesis.

For the most part, it was a struggle. People who read the bible because it warms them & cleanses them, well more power to you. Do not ever undertake a comparative study of any kind, though because you will never put the pieces back together. In the end, there were only two books I really enjoyed. Leviticus (all that inventory! I love to count things. & those lists of crazy rules; I still quote 19:27 in defense if hippies everywhere, Oliver Cromwell be damned) & Esther. With Esther, I think it is safe to say we are back to that fairy tale thing again: Once upon a time there was a girl who lived with her guardian in an ancient kingdom...

& Esther brings us to Purim or The Feast of Esther, if you want to be that way about it. & Purim brings us to hamantaschen. I am almost as fond of these cookies as I am of the nut & shortbread cookies my mother only seems to make in December. I think there is something about them being limited to just those times & places that makes me love them more. My recipe has been adapted over the years from Beni's Family Cookbook by Jane Breskin Zalben, & Joan Nathan's The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen & they are both great books & they make excellent baby shower gifts. Also they are usually on sale, such a bargain.

It was pure coincidence, but last year, our regular book club meeting was on Purim & the book that had been randomly chosen was Fugitive Pieces by Ann Michaels. It seemed apropos to make something Purim-esque.

So here we go: hamantaschen is actually a two-parter. There is the dough & there is the filling.  & I rolled up my sleeves & got ready to walk you thru it, but the drop dead truth is there is a better recipe here.

//a complete & total side bar: a friend of mine had decided after much soul searching, that she was converting to Judaism. This came as a small shock to her Unitarian parents & a big shock to her Baptist husband. But she was certain. She explained to me that she was herself going to adopt the laws & live as a Jew but in trying to make the transition (I love people who are sure they will change the people they love) easier for her husband, she was looking for ways to reconcile his current deep-South/deep fried diet with kosher law & did I have any suggestions. My answer was "Jewish without the food! What's next, black without the music?" We do not talk much anymore.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

View it in a room

Some one told me, "you have too many blogs in your blog rolls".  Hmmm.  Really?  Can B actresses watch too many movies?  Does anyone trust a skinny cook?

So in lieu of writing an actual post I thought I would take you on an occasional tour of some of my favorites.  First stop:  Regretsy.  If you do not know what Etsy is, well I am not sure where you go to buy all that handmade stuff they won't let people sell on eBay but Etsy will save you all that driving.  There is good stuff there, too.  Lots of it actually, but it only takes one roadkill painting collection to tarnish the whole apple barrel. 

My favorite regretsy is, of course, Calamari Full of Grace.  I have it bookmarked so when I feel sad I can look at it.  When I am really sad, I view it in a room.  It never fails to lift my spirits.

Of course, I am more than fond of anything church-but-not-church & I was hypnotized by the PBS program on cuttlefish.  This particular regretsy may not be for you.  That's not a problem, you will find something I promise.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Joseph's delight

I am way far behind in my Friday Block Party blocks & I have a whole pile of patterns to work my way thru but last week's block made me stop & do just the one.  The block, if you are curious is Joseph's Delight, a good sized variation on one of my favorite shapes: the anvil (& not just because of the roadrunner et al, but that might be part of it).  I would have made the block sooner rather than later because I really do like anvil-type patterns, but then there was that name.  & that name always brings me to my second favorite bible character.  No not Joseph: Reuben.

For those of you who have not cruised Genesis in a while, let me get you started;  Reuben was Jacob's first born son.  His mother was Leah (you know the "trick" bride).  Joseph's mother was the originally desired Rachel.  I only mention this because it comes up.  It comes up A LOT.

For the most part Christians remember Reuben for a single big thought/statement/act.  It was Reuben who said "let's not kill Joseph, let's sell him instead".  Like his father before him, Reuben was master of the gray area & maker of decisions that would bite him in the ass.  Jews, on the other hand, have much more uhmmm just more stories about Reuben.  Yes, he is disinherited in favor of Joseph here, too, but there are some very strange versions of why.

The big one is that Reuben had sex with Rachel's handmaid (& mother of two of Jacob's other sons) Bilhah.  I admit for me this is the point I throw up my hands.  In addition to everything else he did (remember Esau?), Jacob is having sex with everyone, as had his father-in-law before him (Bilhah, in addition to being Rachel's handmaid was also her half-sister), but Reuben crossed a line?  Really?

But that is not my favorite version.  My favorite is the one where Reuben is disinherited because he moves Jacob's bed out of Bilhah's tent (where Jacob moved it following the death of Rachel) because it is some kind of Feng Shui insult to his mother.  In many ways I am disappointed that Jane Austen never tackled the Old Testament.  Can't you almost hear the regency dialogue where everyone talks about rearranging the furniture but it is all really code for who is sleeping with whom?  Maybe that's just me.

So, where was I?  Oh yes, quilt blocks.  So I made the Joseph's Delight block & it was indeed delightful.  It's good sized with many pieces, but they are much the same & can be made en masse & then assembled, so it goes together quickly.  I only regret that Reuben has no quilt block; wouldn't you know Joseph has several?

//my favorite character (&  book) is Esther.  I think it's has a certian Once Upon A Time quality.  My favorite New Testament story is, of course, the Good Samaritan.  Different friends of mine do things with different summer bible schools (different religions, different churches, different parts of the country).  I always ask but no one teaches the Good Samaritan anymore.  Why not?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dogs will be dogs; owners will be shot

We thought we knew whose dog did this (the avian vet confirmed it was certainly an animal, & unless opossum or raccoons have started walking on their tiptoes (what would be required to deliver this strike), we are pretty sure it was a dog.  We even thought we had a good idea whose dogs, but yet another has been sited (& pelleted) while chasing a neighbors cats.  We are waiting for the owner to biotch about the pellet wounds so we can give them this vet bill....

Anyway, the picture below is bloody, but if you eat steak you should be able to handle it.  This happened Friday morning after we had unloaded a hay roll etc. (say by 9/9:15) & before I went out to check on the chickens (10/10:30).  We kept her stalled until Monday 4:30 when her mate broke her out.  He has been taking care of her ever since, which is mostly a good thing it just makes it hard to be sure she gets the anti-biotic laden fruit.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More floral lanes

The February block swap has closed & the April 2010 block is up & running.  The block, if you recall, is Sunny Lanes & the swap requirement is a floral fabric must be used at least once & preferably more.  There had been requests for a "goes together to make a pattern" type of block, like split-9 patch or Jacobs Ladder.  I choose this one because it was NOT a 9 patch & I just had not seen much if any of it around.  It just might be my new favorite scrap-user-upper.

The block alone is Okay, but in combination with itself, it is something else:

If you are not part of the swap & would like to be, go to Facebook & search Quilt Block Swap & ask to join.  Or go here.  If you just want to use up your own scraps & make yourself one of these, the directions are here.  What you see above is two rows of three blocks.  Four rows of three blocks would make a lap or crib quilt.  Add more blocks, add borders & it would not be much before you had a good sized grown-up quilt.

One extra thing about this block that already does so much quilting heavy lifting:  every man who has seen it likes it.  Keep in mind, all my blocks are from foofy fabrics.  Still there is something about the big graphic made from small pieces that does not send testosterone into retreat.

& yes that is not-Thurber in the corner there.  He is helping.  Or at least not actually not helping.