Throw your yard away

I always think about this, but didn't know that other people do too:

"Tree roots draw minerals from deep in the soil in order to grow leaves and branches. If you throw away leaves instead of recycling them, you are literally making your soil poorer and poorer every year." From
Organic Gardening's Cheryl Long, as quoted in Great Garden Formulas.
I thought that mowing your lawn and throwing away the clippings was the ultimate in waste. We cover our yards with these things that are able to convert solar energy better than any technology we've come up with yet, and we just throw that solar energy away. What a dumb thing to do.

I think I'm going to get a goat.

Thanks R&M B. for lending me this book.

if you need some pretty paper

I know some beautiful, clever people who went to the National Stationery Show in New York this week. And I love the things they took with them to show off. I swear, everything these two touch turns into something well designed and wantable.

How nice that—assuming you do want things they create—there's now a way to get them. Their website is full of fun and pretty things: cards, journals, magnets, gift tags, picture frames, and even a way to print out custom party/shower announcements. Everything you want to write or print just got a whole lot prettier.

the law of the universe

The universe has a law that goes like this: If you leave the house looking like you just rolled out of bed, you will see someone you know—most likely someone important, someone you haven't seen for a long time.

Sometimes you look like that, but you think you are safe inside your house. You are not tempting the universe in any way. And even then, the law of the universe will sometimes come to find you. For instance, if you decide to deep clean and thoroughly rearrange your apartment, buy and assemble a new couch, throw everything you own into upheaval, and place pieces of junky, disassembled furniture just outside your door, your landlord (who has been out of the country for a year) may just drop by. You should have at least done your hair today.

26.2 things to blog about

My brother sometimes says that he doesn't know what to write on his blog. Last week he ran a marathon. A MARATHON—in LESS THAN 3.5 HOURS. I think that would be a good thing to blog about. I would try to blog about it for him, but I might just end up whining about how crackly my knees are.

cheap crap breaks

On Thursday afternoon, we shut the front door after coming inside from a walk. And our bookshelf promptly cracked and toppled over for no obvious reason, other than that it was made of crap.

At another time, I might have said "Oh no!" and rushed to try and prop it back up again. But we just looked at each other with a look that said, "Figures." We took a picture. And then we made some lunch.

We had just come home from a neighbor's house, where we had watched The Story of Stuff—a cute little animation on the process of industrial production and consumption. You can watch it HERE. While the 20-minute video oversimplifies its issues a bit, it's entertaining. And it includes this little guy, who got me thinking:

You gotta wonder if some people in the Thanksgiving stampede last year were actually performing a highly spiritual, sacrificial ceremony to make them worthy of the stuff they bought.

I looked at the article that the cartoon man wrote. I'm not sure if he's saying that's how he thinks things SHOULD work. Or if he's just observing that this is how our current system DOES work, like it or not. Either way, his quote changed my point of view long enough to prevent my otherwise-predictable freak out when the bookcase keeled over.

a backward view of our garden

There's something awkward about positioning a laptop low to the ground to take a picture of a patch of dirt—especially since everything is backwards, which makes the computer trickier to aim than a normal camera. (We really need to get our camera fixed.) But I don't care how ridiculous I looked to the upstairs neighbors, because I am so excited about the work we finished that I have to say this:

Ta da! We have a garden.

It's a little one, with a few strawberries and tomatoes, and with my luck, its production from the entire summer will only yield a single salad. But I'm delighted anyway. And it's not just because the plants are in the ground.

On my other blog, I mentioned that I'm horrible at asking for help. I think I have a weird, genetic mutation that makes me think that I'm not interesting or charming enough to be helped. I also mentioned that a certain friend gave me some advice on my thesis. That dear friend decided to give me some more advice that sounded like this: you should let me help you plant your vegetables and clean your house.

Her advice is usually sound, so I took it. We planted the little garden together and then tackled the disaster in my kitchen and family room. Now I have a clean, pretty place to live. And so do my plants. You can see it in this backward, oddly lit, poorly composed picture that I looked like a moron to take.

i always do this

Every summer while I was growing up, my family went to Mill Hollow up in the Uintah Mountains. We stayed the weekend in cabins at a science camp where my parents worked during summers after high school. They led us on hikes, taught us names for plants, and took us to the little general store that the camp director opened for an hour or so on Saturdays—just for us, as the school kids who visited the camp had already gone home.

My parents gave us each some money, which we used to buy magnifying glasses, Mill Hollow Stickers, or long strips of colored plastic we could use to make boondoggle lanyards. My brothers spent their money fast. But I rolled those dollar bills up so tight that they turned into little slivers that got all sweaty in my hands. Should I get three feet of the green boondoggle? Or two? Would it match the blue better? Or the purple? How many keychain clips should I get?

And on and on—until it was time to close up shop and I wouldn't be able to buy anything unless I decided RIGHT NOW. You have no idea how many painful decisions went into those crappy lanyards that I made.

Unfortunately, that indecisiveness has followed me until now. I take AGES to make a decision. And once I finally do, it's sometimes too late. For instance, I've deliberated for 2 months now over a rug for our apartment. I finally found one that I love, took some time eliminating all other possibilities, made up my mind and...

It's sold out. Unavailable. The general store has closed. Go buy your boondoggle supplies somewhere else.

Such a pretty rug. Such a silly girl. If any of you see another rug just like this one, tell me. And if I manage to get over what I always do, I'll unroll my dollar bills and buy it before it gets away.

Happy Birthday!

My super-cool mom is having a birthday today. I could list one reason I'm glad she was born for every year she's been alive, but I won't, for two reasons in particular:

1. I just barely finished putting together one PRESENT for every year she's been alive and I'm all out of creative juice.

2. If I did that, you would know how old she is. And I learned very young that you don't just go tell the internet how old a woman is.

For example, when I was 4 years old, I shouted to the neighbor across the street how old my mom was turning for her birthday, and then that neighbor chastised me ("You never EVER say a woman's age"). It seemed weird to me then: I mean, at that point in my life, my age was the first piece of information everyone asked me for. And I dutifully held up my four little fingers and said something that sounded like, "Foe. I'm foe yeews ode."

I'm off track. It doesn't really matter how many years my mom has been around—I'm just glad she has been. She better stick around for many, many more.

Hugs. Happy birthday, Mom.

just wondering:

How does a woman decide to dress in black, sparkly, skin-tight, plastic pants and shoes like these to go shopping at Target with three kids under the age of 5? And are they her own kids? And do they notice that she looks ridiculous? Are they developmentally capable of being embarrassed? I wondered these things in the checkout line.

I would have tried snapping a sneaky picture, but our camera fell from a great height last week and has now decided to only take pictures like this:

So, unfortunately, you will never know what she looked like. And I will be left to wonder how she got into those pants.