What a messy waste

July 31, 2009

Okay – this is just me bitching about something around the corner.

Please bear with me.

Here goes…  On the corner about a block and a half from my place is a corner lot behind a tall fence.  On the other side of this fence is a tree.  It’s a fig tree.

Now I am a big fan of growing your own food.

I’m INSANELY jealous of Elaine for having her own chickens.  Just MADLY jealous of this woman.

My Dad grew tons of food in our backyard.  I grew squash – zucchini and pumpkin primarily.  (NB – If you put newspaper under the growing squash it won’t get the nasty patch on it’s bottom from sitting in the damp dirt.)

I’m ALL for growing your own food.  As long as you eat it!

So there’s this fig tree.  It’s on the corner that I turn to go to Andronico’s.  And they don’t harvest.

Fig Tree 1

It grows over the fence and drops it’s fruit because no one is eating it.  This pisses me off for two reasons.  Reason number one is kind of dumb.  We had a small fig tree in the back yard.  Dad ate figs and cream for breakfast.  Nice memory.  So not eating them pisses me off because it goes again my happy memory.  And second… the fruit isn’t picked so it DROPS.

fig tree 2

It drops to the sidewalk and goes bad and then … in the summer sun… it ferments.  It’s DISGUSTING!

icky sidewalk

You can’t avoid this junk.  And it SMELLS!  And it’s MESSY.

And since it happens year after year after year the people who live there don’t seem to care.

They have a gate around the corner so maybe they never see this horror.

Yeah – I know I could cross the street but this is the corner that I turn.

Compared to other issues it’s not much but it pisses me off.




Clara tells me about the coolest TV shows.  Over the years she has made sure I watched a lot of very interesting movies …  Dark Harbor and Revengers Tragedy to name only two.  But the TV shows are where she really shines.  Just a few months ago she had me watching Stephen Fry drive around America doing a travelogue for the BBC while driving a black London cab.

I didn’t think she could out do that… and then she did.

It’s called The Supersizers Go … and it’s INSANE!!!

The Supersizer part comes from the Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me.  We all got to watch his health decline while he ate nothing but McDonalds.  In this show the two hosts are checked out by a doctor and then spend a week eating in accordance with a particular time frame.  Mideval times, Elizabethan, the 80’s.  They’ve had two seasons already.  And I’m eager to see what comes next.

I’ve just started watching the show and I have a bunch of episodes to watch but come on…. tell me you aren’t interested in this insanity!

Season One:

Wartime 1940

Restoration 1660

Victorian 1860

Seventies 1970

Elizabethan 1490

Regency 1800

Season Two:

Eighties 1980

Medieval 1100

Fifties 1950

Revolution (French not American) 1789

Twenties 1920

Edwardian 1900

Yeah, I’m addicted.


Chain Mail Macrame

July 29, 2009

This was a FUN experiment.

I didn’t have the cord for actual macrame and didn’t really feel like searching it out or getting it on-line.  It was much easier to go to the hardware store and buy chain.  Oddly the thing that took the longest on this project was picking out the new pots…. they are plastic and bronze… I really love them.

plant holder 1Turns out that Home Depot doesn’t have 3 inch or larger S hooks so I got these white extender hooks that are made for hanging plants.

I started by using twist ties to get the chain where I wanted it….

plant hanger 2After I got the basics gown I started working more and more to figure out where all the chain should go… I got 5 feet of 3 different kinds of chain… probably more than I needed.  Live and learn, but at about 50 cents per foot, it made sense at the time.

plant hanger 3I used wire to connect things when I thought I was close to where I wanted things to finally be.  It went through a LOT of incarnations before I got to the happy / I’m done place.

plant hanger 4plant hanger 5plant hanger 6

See…. I thought I was done with this one.

plant hanger 8

But then I realized it was way to Ab Fab Eddie moves to New York…. some of the chain had to go.  Oh and I switched from twisting wire to pre-made jewelry jump rings to connect and hold the chain in place.

So then I had this….

Plant Holder 9

I’m pretty happy with it.  The only thing I would change is I’d pierce holes through the pot and attach the chains directly to the top so they don’t slip off when I take down the plant.

So there you have the chain mail macrame experiment.


Here goes nothing.  I’m going to try composting on the patio.  It should be interesting if nothing else.

I got the garbage can yesterday.

Compost Bin 1

I took my little cordless drill (I dream of a Makita and tell myself … someday) and started drilling holes in the bottom.  Turns out that compost needs to breathe.  You don’t want the holes really big, it’s for air flow not anything else going in or out.

Compost Bin 2

after a little creative insanity this is what the bottom looks like…

Compost Bin 3

The trick with drilling (I saw one plan that said to use a hammer and a nail) is that you have to go all the way in and all the way out.  Not to make the hole but to get rid of all the curly plastic bits from making the hole.

Then I worked on the sides.

Compost Bin 4and finally the lid…

Compost Bin 5

Now there are TONS of websites that tell you all the layering techniques for compost.  Ratios of brown to green.  Maybe we haven’t meet but I’m much too lazy for that.  I threw together some dirt, a lot of leaves, some kitchen refuse.  Somehow there were worms already in the leaves that were decomposing on my patio already.  I don’t know how that happened.  It’s a concrete patio, surrounded by a cinder block wall… did the worms drop from the sky?  (If you are interested – Here’s a list of all the things that you can compost.)

So I threw all that in and then I rolled the bin around for a while.  I sprinkled it with some water….

Here’s an ugly picture…

Compost Bin 6

Then I put the lid on, bungee corded it down (take that you squirrelly menace!) and put it on top of some plastic shelves I have so it can drain a bit.  Yes I could have gotten a tub to catch the “compost tea” but let’s be honest… I wouldn’t have kept up with it so it would be pointless.

And there you have it.

Compost Bin 7

In a few months, I’ll let you know if it worked.  If not… I don’t know what I’ll do.


So I did some research yesterday and I decided that I should start composting.

In case you didn’t know, I live in an apartment with a balcony populated by demonic squirrels and possibly a few raccoons and possums.  Thankfully I was able to tell my mother than no… despite the name of the college mascot there are no real bears in Berkeley.

So… composting on the balcony.  This is going to be interesting.  At least it will give me something constructive to do with the leaves that collect on my patio and all the coffee grounds leftover after my morning cup.

First thing I needed to do was go get a garbage can with a very well fitted lid.  So off I went to Home Depot… again.

I found a great Rubbermaid can… about $12 for a 20 gallon can and the lid fits very well.  I also got myself a nice shovel.  Because every girl needs a good shovel.  Then I set off for home.

Now a normal person would take the bus but once I got off the Go-Around shuttle at McArthur BART I shoved the shovel handle through the handle of the garbage can.  Hoisting it over my shoulder like some kind of hobo, I decided to WALK HOME.  Right up Telegraph Avenue.  I have issues.  You might have noticed.  If not, you haven’t been reading long enough.  Stick around.  You’ll see what I mean.

I’m sure everyone who saw me got a good laugh.  Shovel in the air, black 20 gallon plastic trash can hanging from it… yeah – I’ll bet some people got a good laugh out of it.

Tomorrow, I’ll detail the transition from trash can to compost bin.


Eggnog in July

July 25, 2009

Constance is right… IT’S COLD!

Which is just fine because on Monday I made eggnog.  Yes I’m supposed to wait until next Monday to imbibe but … it’s my house, which means they are my rules.

Chris and Julie mentioned the insanity of eggnog in July but come on… it’s alcoholic ice cream in liquid form.  What’s the problem?

It’s my Dad’s recipe and it’s a lulu!

I think it has something to do with the 3 cups of Wild Turkey and the 1/2 cup of dark rum.

Or maybe the pint of whipping cream, quart of milk and 8 eggs.

I’ll email you the recipe if you want.

Anyway – CHEERS!


Unexpected Courtesy

July 24, 2009

I am very rarely in a great hurry for anything.  Maybe it’s because I’m such a planner.  Maybe life just works out that way for me.  Maybe I just don’t care enough to rush, rush, rush.  Life happens at it’s own pace.

Or as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.”

So when I am at a residential intersection and there is a car stopped at the line, most likely I will wave them through first before I cross.  They get through quickly and then I’m back on my way.  They seem happy about it and it really doesn’t impact me that much.

Another thing I do is that if I am in line at the grocery store and the person behind me has 5 items or less or if they have a baby… I let them jump in front of me.  It’s not a big deal to me and it makes there life a little better for a moment.

Today that happened to me.  I went to Berkeley Bowl to get fixing for spinach dip because I felt the need for spinach dip tomorrow.  In my basket I had a bunch of fresh spinach, green onions, mayo, sour cream and the handmade style corn tortillas because I had to have them.  I was behind a guy who had a medium sized cart of groceries.

Simple as can be he turned and looked at my hand held basket of stuff and said, “Please go in front of me.”

I tried to say that I didn’t mind.  But he insisted.

It was nice.

I hope people feel this way when I do the same thing for them.