Thursday, January 31, 2008

on sleep or the lack there of

today is inspired by my most recent challenge of carving out for myself, a good chunky night of sound sleep. to nap or not to nap, that is one of the questions.

from the new york times:

study gives key role to sleep in helping brain learn anew

and this one which is quite extensive and interesting...
the sleep-industrial complex

from the bbc uk
science & nature: human body & mind

from stuff works

and for a bit of fun. check out this trailer for the movie the science of sleep. i'll be sure to see this one.

i believe in naps. naps are good. now, if i could just get one...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

wooosh! life fit for a frog

yes, it's been nearly a week and not an entry on the blog. truth be told, i'm lucky to be here to report so. i have been a working fiend and i mean serious working fiend. this rain pours thing turned rather to a rain monsoon bit.

a perfect life fit for proverbial frog.

but here i am, still going, and not feeling too worse for the ware. i could use a few days of sleeping in but ultimately i do not feel broken.

strangely enough, i've been able to keep up with classes. keep a cheery demeanor and find happy things to keep my self spirited through it all. there has been no use of aide aside from coffee and a good wake up shower. the fridge was filled with healthy soups and home made bread which has made the food side of the struggle pleasant.

and i'm happy to report this current light plot is off the drawing board. it's now in capable hands awaiting it's hang. this one was tough but it's done. yeah yeah yeah.

there are many things round here that could use my attentions; mr. t supercatycutiepoo for one. he's been so understanding, sticking with me through some very late nights. he's a good man. aside from that, the list is less personal; the house could use a good vacuum, the floors a good scrub, some washed clothing needs putting away and some of the seedlings could use a larger pot for optimal growth. and then there's me, i could really use a nap or two or three...

all said, life is good. we are keeping our heads above water and smiling all the way. that's what it's all about. don't you just love this guy? he's perfectly grand!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

so much for the canning of all nighters

sometimes i wonder if i should have titled this blog crazed work-a-holic desperately in search of an adventure to sustainable happiness. it seems the work keeps coming and i stay awake to get it done. some call this success, i call it insane.

sure, sure, it's nice to be liked. and sure i am one who enjoys to busier than most but there is a such thing as too busy and i'm there and i've been there for a long while now and i'd like a bit of a slow down but that does not seem to be in sight at present.

this has a whole lot to do with the fact that i'm a tenure track professor and a working professional designer all at once. and baby that's the rules these days at least at ut austin. the bar has been raised and to gain that long term job security you have got to be one of the best out there in whatever field you specialize in which means teaching and additional outside work if you're a creative type or teaching and writing and publishing a truly kick booty book. i'm of the first type but i assure you either route is a tricky load to balance.

so here i am trying to make time ends meet. paying dues and the dues is high. granted the dues is high because my own self imposed standards are quite high. i do not believe in half efforts. my theory, if you're not going to go all the way then why bother go at all? so i do nothing half way, save for sleep, rest and take care of my own body in the way that i should. at least, i cook for myself, grow my own food and eat healthy, that's pretty good. i could regularly use more rest but i do possess and uncanny endurance that serves me well in times like these.

so i'm spending the night in the office. working until class tomorrow at 11am. i'll get a lot done. i'll be sleepy tomorrow but i'll hit deadlines and then i hope a bit of the tension will lift. no need to carry this around any long than i have to.

advice (even though i no right to give it)
don't do what i do - it costs - if you can go to bed - i'm not a hero, i'm tired.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

yup yup i think i've got it!

today is the very first "i officially love my own home made bread day" in the hippy chick universe.

got home around 8pm hungry as heck. today was nutso! class went fine, then booom, a gigantic lump of mushy "we need to get all this done right now and you're the only one who knows how to do it sorry for the lack of notice" mashed potato mess was piled on my already full "got a lot to do" plate. doom set in.

i did something i've not really done for myself in the past. i took a little visit with the big guy in the department to say, "hey wait a minute here, can't do this alone, let's try to find some balance here". that worked a bit. at least it's out there in the open day one rather than the too late in the game, can't help you now type of thing.

so, still i was in a bind with a list too long and not enough time to get it done. had not eaten anything other than a single tangelo and a cup of iced coffee for the day! hungry!

i'm still there right now (in a time bind) and it looks like it will continue to be so for the entire week but i've decided to go to bed at a decent hour, rise early and take my best shot.

off track here, got ahead of myself. reel back to the moments before i started thinking about bed.

anyway got home, hungry for a turkey sandwich. you see i had figured out what dinner would be on the ride home and i was ready. whipped it up. set up mr. t with a bit of plain low fat yogurt (which he adores) and took a sit. not only was the turkey sandwich fabulous, the bread the on either side of the turkey was more fabulous. i had really kicked it with the last batch of home made hippy chick universal bread.

for a short while folks, i forgot about the bind i was in and that's a tough thing to get me to do if you know any small bit about me. what i'm saying, that is was some seriously good bread.

i can now say with tall strong armed confidence that i bake a mean loafage of bread. small beans to some, sure, but a mountain of happiness for me. you know what i'll be taking to work with me tomorrow? yup another turkey sandwich on some super dooper dooper dooper good bread made by... me!

hooray for little things that become big happy things!

daisies are happy things too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

cold wet rainy monday - perfect for inside work

i've got a whole list of tasks i need to crank out today; varied, complicated and many unrelated but needing to be completed in the now and it looks like the weather is going to work with me; by keeping me focused and happy to be inside.

it's one of those wet, cold, chill you to the bone kind of days. the temps are not so low but the wet and the wind make it feel worse than the thermometer reveals. so it's a good one for hot tea, hot soup, cozy socks and warm mellow music.

termite seems already to understand the day's form. he's sacked out in a curl with his tail wrapped around his body. happy clam status a go.

i slept until 8am this morning. a major feat and well deserved. day off from school today being mlk day. i am not one who follows holidays very well. i've had to work through so many of them, i don't quite know where the fall in the grand scheme of things so it was a surprise to learn last friday that classes were not to be held today. once i knew why, all was clear but sure enough, had someone not made the mention, i would be at school presently wondering where all the students had gone. probably for a while wondered if i were in some sort of twilight zone until maybe the brain kicked in. just the same, school or no, there is much to be done.

i've had breakfast. a nice slice of the home made bread toasted and a cup of coffee. i spent some time early reading a few chapters about light and color, checked in the transplanted tomato plants (all fairs well there), fed a bit of what i soon hope will be sourdough starter and took a peek out the window noticing the blustery day outside. thought of pooh and his friend christopher robin. wondered if the woodland creatures would decide also to take a day of cozying up as i have. the twilight feel when light passes through a blanket of clouds makes the idea of naps a tempting one. i guess i'm truly quite tired from the heavy demands of last week.

i could i think go right back to bed. ahhh but then how would the work get done? alas, it's off to the drawing table to draft designs, to the computer to write statements and to reference texts to prepare lectures and presentations. the nice part will be the being at home and the company of my home companion, mr. tsupercatmandoobydoobydoo.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

youngling seedlings gain new digs

a short few weeks ago, i planted some seeds. tomatoes of various sorts along with companion herbs and flowers for the garden neighborhood. today the tomatoes move into their new digs. bigger pots or paper cups for some in this case because it's what i had on hand.

all the kiddos seem to be doing quite well. nearly every seed sprouted and grew. i was surprised.

i've now got 72 pots of tomatoes that are planted together in pairs and some playing together in the form of a trio. that leads to a whole lot of tomatoes down the line. looks like i may have enough to share with friends and maybe sell a few a the local market.

and this does not yet include the eggplant and other flowers i planted last week; everlast, echinacea (white & pink) and tender sweet annie. all planted to help attract the goodie good bugs which come to the rescue of the edible plantaroos and to provide variety and beauty to our happy happy kitchen veggie, flower garden.

the sweet peppers have been slow to sprout but they are finally showing signs of life. i suspect the temperatures in the house are not quite warm enough for their liking.

as you can see in the photos, i do not run a special fancy pants seedling operation. i just pop in them in some soiless seed starter pumped up with a bit of vermicompost, dried molasses, soft rock phosphate and crushed volcanic rock. the combination of additives give the babies a good bit of strengthening vitamins and minerals right at the top of their lives. then the soil mix and seeds are set in whatever containers i've got on hand. i add a bit of water and pop them on the table near the window and hope for the best.

once they sprout and gain some leg, i water with diluted compost tea that i make myself out in the garage. i use seaweed, alfalfa pellets and vermicompost for the tea. it's a good mix and keeps the babies fed well and strong.

last year did not turn out so well, this year, it's a home run all around. my attempts last year did not include the amendments or the compost tea drinks. i'm sure it's got something to do with it; possibly everything to do with the success. good thing the table i'm using for the seedlings has additional fold out leaves otherwise i'd be out of room already and wondering where the heck everyone will fit.
message to hippychick, choose wisely what to start next or find yourself another table. probably i'll find myself another table.

i'm happy to see the tomatoes doing so well. I hope to raise quite a number of plants this year. the tomatoes last year were oh so good. i canned and froze and roasted and pureed and now i have but one jar left. i guess with me, one never can have enough stewed tomatoes. stewed tomatoes are one of my all time favorite additions to soups. for me, they go with everything. so i've gotta grow more.

and this year i'll need to plant them inside the fence rather than on the fence line. sad to say, i had a whole lot of tomatoes swiped by passers by last season. nice for them i guess.

i've decided to take a day of rest today. it's been so crazy as of late, i'm tuckered out. aside from prepping new digs for the seedlings, i baked three loafages of bread. TURNED OUT GREAT! i think folks this is the very first time i feel truly truly proud of my own home made bread. and this batch is super yummy.

i've been sprouting mung beans for the past few weeks. using them in salads, in soups and in sandwiches. today, a few handfuls went into the bread and wow oh wow oh wow did that turn out right. bean sprouts, chopped fresh dill, a dollop of honey and 2 tablespoons of butter - nice combo. the result is super soft and fluffy with a tiny tinge of sweetness.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

show up show down

sometimes they go just as quick as they come. shows that is. we work crazy hours prepping, rehearsing and in technicals. audience arrives, bing bang boom, audience goes home, run over, show down and back to the personal life tasks we had to place on hold for that 10 days or so.

and breathe...
here's hoping my body allows me a bit of sleeping in in the morning. it's hit or miss. once i'm in the alert at all hours mode, it's hard to just quickly fall out.

fingers crossed.

one thing i can say is that it will be nice to spend some time with my good buddy, mr. t supercatmandoo. he's been kindly understanding of his mama's work schedule. the man deserves some cozy napping time. so if the sleeping in does not work out, we'll shoot for a nap. naps are good.

had to cover the gardens up tonight, temps dropping to mid 20's. everything should hold out. these temps appear to hang with us for a single one day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

super lighting geek alert

folks you've got to check this out. an excellent article in the new york times.
click on the photo to take you there.

why is this a super lighting geek alert?
well it's what i do.
i am a full fledged lighting designer proud card carrying geek.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

super steamy - compost update

big big big excitement this morning! i had a whole five minutes for a morning stroll around the garden and yard bits. i thought i would stop by the trio of compost piles to see if last week's turning, addition of alfalfa pellets and watering had done any good.

to my surprise each and every one of them are steaming hot!!!

i immediately performed the happy compost dance and spoke great and encouraging words to each of them. i then buried the past few days kitchen bits on one and continued the stroll aglow and with a smile on my face.

to me, that's the start of a great day.

nothing like some really good dirt i say

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

someone to watch over me

a bit of a drizzly night this evening but nice for the long ride home. i don't know about you but rain calms me. the repetition of the pattering sound, the element of water and the visual of drops, sometimes misty, sometimes heavy streams; it's all very nice and helps me to release pent up stress or to let go of work concerns and simply focus on the falling of the rain.

tonight it's light, not loud enough to hear upon the metal roof but nice enough to give the garden a good drink.

took a short stroll in the garden this morning and was taken by something beautiful that i saw or rather found beauty in that which i saw. eye of the beholder they say. just the same...

before me the artichoke fronds lovingly sheltering baby lettuces. i might have even said awwwwe. my artichoke nannies. i found the image quite lovely myself. we all need someone to watch over us don't we? maybe not always but it's nice to know of someone willing when the need is high.

you have to admit...
pretty darn sweet.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

porting portfolio - bragging wares for an artist

today has been spent preparing a new book - topic - my work in lighting design. the process is long and slow so gotta go but here's one shot from a production of august wilson's jitney. the photo credit goes to my friend steven mark johnson.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

it's official - all nighters are on their way out

yup it's official - my days and nights of all nighters are growing thin. it hurts too much these days.
frankly, this is ok with me. i have been enjoying my sleep more than i ever have. i still have trouble drowsing off but once i'm rested it's quite nice.

i've also noticed that my later evening tea and coffee drinking now proves much more of a sleeping detterent than it ever has. you turn 40, elements shift. ahaa.

time to live life a bit differently, maybe a bit kinder to self.
that's not so bad.

Friday, January 11, 2008

help me rhonda!

only the gods can help me now. i'm freakin' out.
well not really, well maybe a little, not so much that i've lost it.

i am a mulit-tasking fiend.
i'm telling you folks, i think i might just make these deadlines by a hair.
hang on tight! overdrive kickin' in.

later that day...
i cooked a couple of "not your average quiche". i cheated on the pie crusts. just don't have the time right now to go all the way. mmm, mmm can't wait, can't wait. i'm hungry.

quiche on the left - stinky cheese (a.k.a. ripened soft blue cheese) & prosciutto & okra
quiche on the right - wood ear mushroom and feta

Thursday, January 10, 2008

stretching for balance

i knew last night that i was in great need of some outside fresh air time. days had gone by working morning to night on the computer, banging out projects, planning for classes, prepping reports and reviewing materials back to back to back. and the work is still there, still compressed and still driven by deadline.

but i found a way to get out a bit. and maybe it's not the way most would choose but it worked for me and i feel so much better for it. i got up at 4am.

yes, i got up at 4am in order to get ahead on some work so that i could spend some well deserved but just does not fit in the schedule out of doors time. i don't regret it one bit.

now i'm not sure that getting up at 4am to gain a few extra hours could be considered strong time management since sleep is also important toward working at one's optimum but the situation was that i either found more hours or made a choice to miss deadlines.

i guess i could have chosen to miss a deadline but it's just not my way.

the good news, i got outside, hoorayyyyy! and boy i got a lot accomplished. i wanted out but i also knew it had to be productive outside time. here's the list of tasks mastered.

  • turned 3 big compost piles
    • pulled out completely
    • turned and mashed around a bit
    • re-piled and watered with alfalfa pellets as green
  • raked a whole lot of leaves
    • they sit now in tidy piles
    • get to those... don't know when
  • planted some pansy flowers
    • cheery cheery
    • pulled these from a container they've been growing in
    • new place, new cheer
  • up'd the ante' w/the vermicompost tea
    • brewing 50 gallons w/seaweed
    • added fish emulsion
    • added alfalfa pellets
    • should be ready in 3 days
    • plants are going to love it!
  • planted potatoes, 3 kinds
    • yukon gold
    • colorado rose
    • nicola
      • found space for these out of nowhere
      • a determined gardener always finds space
in this case i found space at the end of the garden and in between the beds. that's what the above photos are about. the window covered bed is the colorado rose babies, the yukon golds are in the super skinny (skyscraper) bed and the nicolas are in the wider hay covered bed. whatever works is what i say. i've got more potatoes yet to go in but they've not chitted yet. once they do, they'll go in.

yup yup some of my fellow texans may think i'm dropping the potatoes in too soon. it is early but i've got them sandwiched in between a cozy bed of hay top and bottom. it allows for good air flow, good drainage and warmth; everything they need. i'm not worried, even if we get some freezing temps.

now, of course i'm back inside, feeling very refreshed. took a shower, enjoyed a bit of iced tea, mixed up some bread dough, put on my comfy clothes and my cozy sweater and now have to think about something to eat

i've not eaten a thing today! i forgot. i was so happy out and about that it never occurred to me to eat and now, i don't even know what i want. maybe some pasta. i've got loads and loads of pesto and some fantastic home grown tomato sauce. who knows.

soon, very soon. i'll be back to work. but oh i cannot tell you how much better i feel.

question is: shall i do the same tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

professorial planning - if the students only knew

teacher day today and aughhh i can feel it in my back. i've been sitting at the computer all day re-planning and re-structuring a new course for the spring semester. starts next week, better be ready huh?

yup, i can now say, "I AM READY."
but oh getting there can be truly tense at times. why?
because i care.

if the students only knew what it takes to prep for a course, much less a new course, they might... ah they probably would not bother doing anything about it until they themselves one day find their own bodies sitting in front of a computer, questioning weather they know anything worth teaching the universe and if even a little bit seems worth teaching, how the heck they plan on doing so. it ain't easy babies.

but once it comes together, i tell you it's a piece of art. you ooh and ahh over your creation like a new born. you are in wonder over your ability to cover so much material, in such depth and still keep a few classes open for review, feedback and a little kickin' back in 15 short weeks.

once finished, your back aches a bit if you're anything like me. like me meaning that once i get myself going on a project it's intense. i don't hear things. i'm focused completely on the matter at hand and often times the stress gets caught up in the body due to the fact that i might have been sitting here steady for five straight hours without moving too much.

that's my case now and all i can think about is a nice walk outside. i will take that walk outside as a gift to myself. it will help me to calm down, enjoy a bit of the sunlight before she sets and work out a bit of the intensity still riding inside.

it's done though, it's done. and this syllabus is a thing of beauty. that may sound strange to some but i bet those who teach understand completely.

hey all you teaching folk. give yourself a pat on the back, this is tough stuff. good job!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

greens glorious greens and purples and...

today a tour of all the glorious greens blooming in the garden. i've planted quite an assortment.

i mix them all up together when it comes to making salad. the varied textures and flavors prove outstanding so much so that the greens prove to be a meal on their own. i can't get enough of them.

i've got to enjoy them while they last, as soon as the temperatures warm up, poof, too hot for greens. for now, happiness in green and red and purple, well you'll see.

the twin chois - purple leaved beauties

borage, borage, everywhere, litterally, it's popping up all over.
the bee's are going to love it once they start flying again.

some frilly red leaf lovely

mesclun market mix, mild red and green painted leaves

mache' (corn salad -the itty ones) and ruffled leaf lettuce
this one has great texture, heartier than it looks

i am a cilantro fiend. got lots of it and happy for it.

beets and greens happy together

ah my favorite sweet lemon flat leaf parsley
get yourself some of this, it's so refreshing and light

a bevy of oak leaf lettuce babies. i like them when they are small.
i'll trim it down then they'll just grow right back.

and beautiful red mustard. ooh la la!

Monday, January 7, 2008

in just one day

in just one day we went from a single tomato seeding braving the universe to a whole troop of courageous souls venturing forward. thrilling!

here's the birds eye view

kind of a blah day out there, can't decide if it wants to rain or not. spitting here and there. go ahead, pour i dare you. truth is we could use some rain round here.

today i made efforts towards down sizing. it's been on the brain for quite some time but somehow i've always found some way to put if off. well today, while working crazily, i decided for a bit of a procrastination break. come on creative types, you know how this works.

rather than just lie on the sofa and ponder, i got up and started shooting photos of all the items i have decided to sell. that went too quickly so i started writing the ads for them, got that completed in record time so i decided why not upload everything on craigslist austin today? why not? well because i should be getting back to work. see freelancing means you are your own boss and you argue with yourself about such things. sound neurotic? yes, indeed it is, very much so. anyway i loaded everything up and already two items have takers which is great. all the money from these sales are dedicated towards paying off debt.

well maybe a little will for an enjoyable beer out this weekend. i have worked my butt off, even with the procrastination breaks. gotta have some fun! and it's the last weekend before the semester's teaching begins, and i'll be in theatrical technicals beginning sunday through all next week as well. that's a double whammy, teaching and technicals back to back. that means at least 14 hour days, at least, sadly probably longer.

anyway, my favorite austin musician/storyteller, matt the electrician, is coming to my smalltowntexas this weekend. i've got to go. i'm going. all work and no play makes hippychick not only dull but a crankypants and who wants that? not anyone trust me!

no comments please from my loving family members. they would agree whole heartedly on the crankypants bit. be kind family. i love you.....

Sunday, January 6, 2008

the babies are growing - running free

proud parent
allysum and herb babies popping up

an itty bitty tomato seedling

went for a bit of run this afternoon. just needed to get out and breath for a while. working too many hours back to back makes me a bit crazy. it was nice to get out. and i've decided that this year running will be for relaxation.

in the past, running has been about the next race, the next marathon, the next 10k or whatever. it's always been associated with a goal of distance. maybe that was built in discipline for myself. i'm a goal oriented person. i plan though lately in the past year or so i've begun to feel differently about planning. i think i'd like to plan less.

in regards to running, removing the race pulls the pressure off of making the miles through the week. at the same time i find that i enjoy the run more. i feel more free to allow the run to be whatever it wants to be. the goals change, sometimes it's about making it to a mailbox, sometimes it's up and down the hill a few times and sometimes it's once more round the route.

upon the pondering of the freedom i came the following: i declare 2oo8 the year of free running. rather than go for mileage i'm going for frequency. a little bit everyday and more when i want to or when the spirit catches me.

it was nice today. lots of neighbor and town folk waving. people around here say hello back. today there were kids walking, two little ones looking out the window, two separate fellows out for a leisurely bike ride, two individual woman out walking for fitness and a babysitter with five little ones (five!), bless her.

once i landed the final turn towards home i noticed there were a number of bushes needing some trimming, looking a bit slumpy after last week's freeze (2 days ohhh! - joking). and i noticed the lawn on the outside of the fence could use a trim. so i hopped into the garage and started out by mowing the front area. i then cleaned up a lavender bush, a rose bush and the mexican petunias.

the picket fence around the house is really the worse for the ware. ants have eaten out quite a bit of the wood where the picket meets the supporting beam. i bet the fence has been here for at least 10 years. i've been here short of 3 years now and it's looking like i'll be doing some big fence work in the near future. i've been doing small fixes here and there on a pretty frequent basis but now i'm considering replacing it all together.

i'll have to price it out. i'm sure it's not a cheap deal. some of the pickets are so eaten out that they really can't be fixed. better make some extra monies. for now i think i'll need to get my hands on some liquid nails and see if i can get the pickets back up temporarily.

i've got a neighbor down the road who really needs a new fence too. i thought of maybe talking with them to see if they are going to make a replacement soon. i wonder if we both used the same fence folks if we could manage some kind of discount. our houses were built by the same man, maybe if we chose the same style fence? something to think about anyway.

took down the holiday lights.

started a 50 gallon batch of compost tea. i use worm castings for the base feeder. i added dried seaweed and fish emulsion to this mix. i'll let it brew for 4 or 5 days before feeding it out to the garden. it will prove a nice pick me up for the plant folk.

hope you enjoyed your weekend.

sunday's soup - lentil w/tomato and okra

funny... already, a few short days into my own what do you consume in a year tracking for 2oo8 and i'm incredibly conscious about what next to eat and/or prep for the week. i've caught my mind immediately going to thoughts of "what should i go pick up at the store"? hmm. interesting. not the best thought to have but interesting to observe about how my mind works. note to self: the store is not option #1.

after checking that thought, i decided not to go to the store, not to include the store as an option and that is was best to consider those items already in hand. why, i wondered was this not the first instinct. still hmmphing about that? bad hippychick bad.

after the few seconds inside the interior monologue, i opened the pantry door and noticed oh! i had a missed a light bulb. there it was a halogen bulb looking right at me. so i changed it to a cfl then got to looking at the stores of goods. lot's to choose from here. what was i thinking... store, phf!

i knew i'd be making soup. i love soup and it's easy for weeks when i'm crazy busy which is most of the time. i don't have a problem eating the same soup day after day until it's gone. in fact, it's pretty habitual for me to do so. and if i do get bored i simply freeze what has not yet been eaten.

i happily settled on brown lentils and a can of stewed tomatoes. i've got bags and bags of frozen okra from the garden. i'd add a bag of okra, i pulled out two dried shitake mushrooms (great for flavor) and then headed out the garden to snip some rosemary. done, soup fixin's found, no traveling, no troubles, no extra cost for the month. i'd add herbs from the cubbard and some ground pepper and cook it all in water from the tap. lentils have their own earthy flavor that i love so no need for much more than a few scant herbage bits.

it's been on the stove now for about 20 minutes and i think it's pretty close to done. this batch should last about a week. in turn i've several loaves of bread still lurking around - quite a number actually that should last a month or two. (some fresh, some frozen) not bad for a quick look in the cubbard on a sunday morning.

what have you got?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

what do you consume in one year?

ever wonder how much food, how many different household goods, how many extra dittys you purchase in a year? i do. i wonder on this quite a bit actually. i am curious... how much exactly do i consume, waste, use, give away and save in a year?

here's what i'm going to do and you can watch. i am going to take a shot at tracking all purchased food goods & household stock materials for 2oo8.

i will make effort to track goods obtained from the vegetable garden, the fruit and berry trees and materials that i already have on hand. ( for example: toilet paper, flour, dried pasta, etc.) i'll note materials given away. i'll note materials gifted to me from others (veggies or fruits from neighboring gardens) or goods traded in kind. in short we'll see what one woman and one cat in a texas small town consume and use in a year.

sound crazy? i don't think so. i believe it will prove most enlightening and might be the next best step in the continuation of my adventure toward sustainable happiness.

reality is that i have no earthy idea how much i consume in a year much less a month or even a week. it's not something i've ever thought of keeping track of. why? because food and household goods are so easy to come by these days. it's not a matter of survival so much these days. yeah most of us still need some type of income to put food on the table and to provide for a roof over our heads but the abundance of goods keeps me, at least, from truly thinking about exactly how much i consume.

i look at it this way, if i really want to make an honest effort to lessen my impact on the planet then i should first clearly observe my current habits. only then will i be able to truly understand how i might make the most effective changes toward good.

and i'll need to know in case i ever do decide to live in the woods or way far out somewhere far far far out of the way. i'd have some chickens then for sure. but for now, smalltowntexas.

ok a little background on who we will be tracking
  • one shewoman
  • one boycat
  • live in a house
  • one car
  • keep a fairly large garden
  • put up tomatoes, pickles and jams each year
  • bake our own bread
  • lives in smalltown
  • works in austintown
  • travels fairly frequently for work
  • tries like heck to keep it simple at home
  • runs for exercise
  • reads lots and lots and lots of books
  • works many hours
  • will never ever ever give up coffee or tea
  • does not yet make her own clothes (knitting aside)
  • owns a sewing machine
  • knits not often enough due to time
  • works too much
ok ok
take a look in the sidebar for tracking 2oo8. there you may follow how goes the tracking.
nothing better than acting on a wonder.

here's a look at what's already in storage: what are we looking at here?
photo #1 pantry
top shelf: candy left over from halloween, fancy snacking crackers, taco chips

middle shelf: homemade bread crumbs and croutons, biscuit, pancake and brownie mix

bottom shelf: canned sardines, corn, beets, bisque soup base, water chestnuts and tuna packets.

photo #2 pantry
top shelf: peach jam, blueberry jam, tomato sauce, pickles of various sorts, olive oil and pasta

middle shelf: dried goods, beans, nuts, rice, flour, brown sugar and peppers

photo #3 refrigerator
top shelf: pickles of various sorts, bread, yogurt, homemade salad dressing, one bottle of wine

middle shelf: beer, turkey (in foil), fruit

bottom shelf: milk, iced coffee, iced tea, soup

door: jams, home made pesto, peanut butter, dressing

drawers: home grown goods - greens, bok choi, radish, peppers

i can't get enough of these greens lately. salad anyone?

the peppers are those harvested earlier this year. the bag with the tag is not store purchased. it's a bag i re-used.

i've got buckets full of pecans - doing pretty good.

follow the tracking at my ever wonder what you consume in a year page.

Friday, January 4, 2008

thank you mom and dad!

ok i think i've mentioned before that i have a truly lovely family. i do.

mom and dad gifted me with a $$ card to williams-sanoma for the holiday and this is what i purchased. ain't she a beauty? a great pot with lots of fantastic bits for steaming, stewing and souping.

love it love it love it. thank you mom and dad!

this will work wonders when it comes to putting up tomatoes and pickles in the summer! i'm thinking now about the next batch of soup. what'll it be? what'll it be? corn chowder, lentil soup, butternut squash soup - don't know yet but boy that soup will feel special.

slick soup in it's slick silver pot. slick soup slick slick soup.
( i like saying slick soup, it's kind of funny)

thanks again, i don't deserve it. but then you know that already. xoxoxoxo love ya.