I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

28 September 2007

Recipe Exchange

This morning, someone* invited me to join an online recipe exchange. I was to email a favorite quick recipe to name #1, move up name #2 to line #1, add my name to line #2 and mail this request out to 20 of my closest friends. I had to decline, for four reasons. First—twenty friends? I don’t think I’ve ever had that many friends at any one time (perhaps, ever in my life?—nah, let’s not go there, I don’t want to get depressed on a Friday!**). Second, I had a pretty good idea who two other people were on this person’s mailing list, so I’d have to delete them from my list, which would make my friends list even shorter (and more depression-inducing). Third, doesn’t this smack of a Ponzi scheme to you? Maybe we should ask our friend Norman. Or, maybe we shouldn’t (remember, it’s Friday). Fourth, although the sender wisely sent this email out to the internationally known “undisclosed recipients” list, did I really want my email address everywhere and in everybody’s mail program, to be sucked up when a naïve Internet Explorer person got their mail hijacked by a nasty ’bot?***

But just because I didn’t participate in the email exchange, doesn’t mean I can’t share a recipe. So, here is my quick recipe offering.

Fresh Tomato and Corn Soup

Note: This is only worth making when the tomatoes and corn are vine-ripe and local (from your garden or local farmer’s market). DO NOT make this with crappy vegs. You'll just end up with crappy soup.

2 Tablespoons butter
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves
1-2 ribs celery
1-2 carrots

1. Chop the vegetables, melt the butter, saute them all together until they begin to get brown (10 mins.)

2. While Step 1 is going on, core and cut up:

3 lbs. (5 very large or the equivalent) tomatoes

3. Add to the pot:

those tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Generous grinding of fresh pepper

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a burbling simmer and cook 20 minutes.

5. Take pot off the heat, process with a hand-held blender or in a food processor (really, just go out and buy a hand blender. They’re $20 and make your soup-making life so much easier).

6. Return to the pot, and stir in:

1/2 cup parsley, chopped
the kernels from 2 ears of corn


NOTES: The heat of the soup will “un-raw-ify” the corn without overcooking it. It'll still be crunchy when you eat the soup. I love this soup, and if you wish you could make gazpacho with your garden tomatoes, but really don’t like the bitterness of raw garlic and onion, this is a good compromise. The cooking sweetens the onions and garlic, and makes this soup a more palatable choice for non-gazpacho-loving humans. If you have time, make it early and let it cool. That’s good, too.


Now, if you’re feeling a bit depressed that I don’t have more friends, you can go cheer yourself up by watching this YouTube video.****

*Who shall remain Nameless. I don’t want a black eye!*****

**No, no—the correct reply is, “Oh, Imperatrix, it’s just that you go for quality, not quantity!” [pat, pat, pat]

***It’s inevitable. It’s Microsoftworst.

****My sister Cowgirl shared it with her email list yesterday, and I thought it was very funny. I’m not really swiping her find, because 24 hours have passed, so it’s now in the public domain. Also, since she isn’t visiting lately, I bet she won’t even know I’ve used it. Hah. Take that, you non-blog-visiting sibling! (Oh, but she’s not the one who sent the Ponzi scam.) (Not that I’m implying it was Three of Four who sent it, either. Nope.) (It was that Other One. The Nameless One.)

*****Yes, you did! You gave me a black eye! I don’t care that you say it was an accident. Three-year-olds do not “accidentally” punch their peaceful 5-year-old sister in the eye (even if by “punch” I may mean “run one’s head into”).

27 September 2007

Last Night's Debate

So, did everybody watch the Democratic debate* last night?

Good for you. We didn’t.

Not for lack of trying. You see, we (being the weirdo non-TV watchers that we are), only ordered Basic Service (and pay 20 bucks a month for the privilege of knowing that, if we so chose, we could watch crap without fuzziness) – because that way we’d get good reception of the “traditional” stations, which should be enough to get what we might ever need: general news and live coverage of political events. Heck, with Basic Service, we get two CBSs, two ABCs, two NBCs, and two PBSs. Surely someone other than MSNBC would show debates, right? Wrong!!!! Even the PBS stations were showing some “War” show, which could be shown on any other night, right? (Shame on you, Vermont and New Hampshire Public Broadcasting. Shame, shame, shame.)

Of course, MSNBC was streaming the debates live online. Except that you needed Microsoft’s video software (rather than Apple’s QuickTime or the free [gasp!] RealPlayer). The Consort has it on his laptop, but his is an older machine and it would huff and puff and freeze up constantly. I never downloaded any of the MSCrap, because – well, because Microsoft sucks, and we all know it.

So we ended up listening to the debate on New Hampshire Public Radio. Impera had wanted to see the debates, so she sat in with us for a while, the Consort and I calling out the invisible speakers to her when they’d begin their answers: “That’s Edwards,” or “Obama’s speaking,” and so on.

But, can someone please tell me who the heck the older guy who bragged about sticking his credit card companies with $90,000 of debt when he declared bankruptcy was???

(I felt so bad for him. Call me crazy, but I don’t get the feeling he’s going to win the nomination.)

*Do you know that even though it was taking place at Bouche de Dard, they only gave out 30 (thirty!) tickets total to faculty.

25 September 2007

Twelve steps

Twelve steps
Originally uploaded by friuduric.

Twelve fabrics. Washed, pressed, and trimmed. This is for a project I've had in my mind for a couple of weeks now. The problem is, it's all in my head, and I'm not sure the physics of the real world will allow my idea to work.

I'm anticipating lots of frustration ahead. And lots of cries of "Why can't I just make something like this from a pattern??!!!!!"

We'll see. And the only hint I'll give here is: loon.

24 September 2007


Go, UAW, go!

*raises fist*

Best quote heard today: On how long the union can afford to strike: "We can afford to go one day more than the company can."

Runner up quote: "“Workers should not solely bear the brunt of decades of bad business decisions by G.M. management."

20 September 2007

Worst. Ideas. Ever (Episode 72)

Hey! New York Times online articles are free now. No need to use bogus registrations. So I can link to articles with wild abandon!

Photographing the Proposal. The new "in" thing is to hire a photographer to record your wedding proposal for posterity. I don't know -- if some skeezy guy in dark clothes was hanging around taking pictures of *me* when I'm out with my lovey, I don't think I'd be able to focus on anything but the stalker. "I love you, honey. Will you--" "Boyfriend! Have you noticed that guy?" "What guy?" "Him! Over there!" "Forget about him. Listen to me honey. Will you--" "Boyfriend!! I see a cop at the corner. I'm going to tell him!" "What? Wait! Come back here, honey!"

Genital Mutilation. Every time I read about this practice, I feel terribly sad. And angry. And I feel a desire to adopt an entire nation of girl children. But heck, I never thought I'd think of Saudi Arabians as enlightened!

Wiring the Subways. The Metro Transit Authority is planning to have all 277 subway stations wired for cell phone usage. Great. Now we'll all have to hear conversations like this when we visit New York. (*Sigh* I really really really don't like cell phones.)

PS: The Consort felt bad about my nonposting blues, so he's come up with a solution. He'll just BANG AROUND in the kitchen at 5 am, ensuring that I'm wide awake two hours before I expect to be. This will be particularly successful after going to bed later than usual the night before.

19 September 2007

Note to My Readers

I have abandoned my promise of a return to daily posting, I know. I'm sorry. *Sigh*. It's that darn Daily Photo Diary at flickr. You see, there are only so many wasted minutes (in all truth, hours) in a day, and adding another daily chatty / creative place means that I've been running out of energy for posts over here. (Stop that snickering in the back row: Yes, as a matter of fact I do consider this blog a creative outlet. [Not that I lie to you all, of course, I don't mean "creative" in that way.]) Every day I think, "today for sure I will post at both places" -- but then 8:30 pm rolls around and I just can't do it.

While we're talking, I should also point out that I've been slacking off in my conventional crafting, too. Heck, I've got a pair of socks for Trixie that simply need the picot edging finished on one sock and it's done. But have I finished it? No. (Let's not talk about that seascape shawl, OK?)

I did complete something recently, though, and I realized this morning that I could hug two dogs with one arm (as Trixie says; she doesn't like phrases that include animal brutality. Stones? Birds? --Barbarism!). I can post about it here!

I bought some used window treatments at the thrift store and cut them into strips:

I armed myself with a size P (11.5 cm!) crochet hook, and started single-crocheting. I added increases at appropriate points. And I ended up with this:

A sheepish dog rug!

(No, a bathroom rug to set by the sink, there just wasn't enough light in the bathroom, and I put the dog there for perspective). The entire set is, as you guessed, on flickr.

I used the directions from this site, and I liked doing this so much I'm thinking of making a larger one for the living room.

(Edit: In the comments, Carri said something that reminded me there was a bit more detail I wanted to give. When crocheting a rug, you have to be careful that it doesn't curl up on you -- it has to remain flat to be useful! After reading about rag rugs, I was very conscious of the possibility of the "bowl effect", so as well as adding increases at every row (two increases at each end), I would tug and wiggle the stitches around the perimeter when I made the increases to make sure things stayed as flat as possible. Also, after I was done and started using the rug, I still noticed a bit of curl, so I just flipped it over, and now it doesn't curl up. For the next rug I make, I will plan on the bottom side (the side I don't see as I'm crocheting) being the top side when it's done.)

But, there's also a wall-hanging that I want to get to. Oh, and a sweater for me. And some projects with yarn the Consort and girls insisted I buy at a garage sale several weeks ago.

Uh oh. Something's gotta give. (I wonder if I actually have to do all that client work?...)

17 September 2007

Hiking Lessons

This weekend we went on another hike: This time to Black Mountain. I took a bunch of pictures and you can see the entire set, if you like. (You can even check out the hike collection, if you're really bored.)

This one was pretty steep climbing. And the steepness wasn't a big deal, actually. In fact, the cooler weather made it much more pleasant than, say, the Moose Mountain hike we did just a month ago.

The descent, on the other hand, was hell. Oof! My knees! Not pain, really, just muscle annoyance. You're supposed to go down as slowly as you go up, but where on the ascent lugging your frame up means you're going as quickly as you can, on the descent you're holding you body back from gravity, and the power of that restraint is all in your knees.

It made me realize something. You know those childhood stories of adults saying they "had to walk to school, three miles uphill in both directions"? At this point in my life, I would *much* prefer hiking up a mountain both coming and going.

13 September 2007

Forgive Me, I Was Unclear

Originally uploaded by friuduric.

When I said yesterday that I missed my washer and dryer, what I meant was, I miss my high efficiency, front-loading, runs-a-load-of-laundry-in-more-than-10-minutes washer and my matching-large-capacity-dryer-whose-automatic-drying-sensor-actually-works.

We did pick up a used W/D pair from a local garage sale. I took a picture of the washer. Does it look familiar? Of course it does! Everybody's mom had one in the early 1970s.

Which means that I'm washing our clothes in a 30+ year-old machine. One that figures that if you get the clothes wet, rinse them, and spin them out under 10 minutes, you've done your job. I think I'm going to start lying to the machine and tell it that every load I'm washing is HEAVILY SOILED. Because then it might actually wash them for a reasonable amount of time.

And let's not even talk about its partner in crime (the dryer that thinks that a 10-minute* tumble is the way to a lady's heart).

*What is it with these two and ten minutes?

12 September 2007

Some Things

Some things I miss:
A microwave
My kitchen scale
My washer and dryer
The big garden
A second toilet
A second towel bar
Enough storage furniture (shelves, cabinets, etc.)

Some things I don’t miss:
Weekend party-people on the street at 2 a.m.
Neverending upkeep of big garden

Some things I get:
Free (yes, free!) public transportation between/within 4+ towns in this area

Some things I don’t get:
Trash pickup not provided by town (recycling, however, is provided by town. [???????])

10 September 2007

Last week, MizMell named this site as one of the blogs that makes her smile. I was honored, and I have to say, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been silencing myself. More and more people are visiting the blog, and my anonymity is pretty much hanging by a thread. Innocent comments by the Consort had me questioning whether I should be saying some of the things I say in this forum (I never thought I was being over-the-top, but I do have a tendency towards melodrama). Add to that a move near family (sure, it’s my in-laws, but moving close to my family would have created the same tension, believe you me [as the comments to my Christmas return post 9 months ago proved!]). So, even though my in-laws haven’t visited the blog since I began it two years ago, and even though I wouldn’t have said anything terrible about them, I’ve felt muzzled.

Then there’s the changing family dynamic. My kids are some of my most loyal readers, and right now I’m trying to get a handle on being the parent of two … errr … hmmm … growing kids. (Trixie at 11 insists she’s a pre-teen, Impera at 13 refuses to define herself as a teenager, despite showing textbook symptoms of teenhood.) I was comfortable in the role of Benign Dictator that comes with the territory of parenting young children. Whatever I said, went. I was the be-all end-all of happiness, information, and comfort. That’s changing, and although I believed in my heart of hearts I would be a near-perfect mom of teens, I find that I was deluding myself. Who am I, and who are these strangers in my house?!

So, today, I come back to tell all my readers: Caveat Lector. This is my web log. If you know me in the Real World, reading this is like reading my diary. It’s OK -- I know you’re reading it (I left it open on my desk, didn’t I?). But it’s mostly about my take on things; it’s not true journalistic reportage. If you don’t like how I’ve painted a particular encounter, well, I’m not going to change anything. (Come on, have I ever mentioned the orangutan foot fetish of one of the siblings? Or the warty nose of that one relative? No! I haven’t even mentioned that mustard and engine oil incident with the Sheriff in Anchorage.)

I think the move took more out of me than I expected, too. It had seemed like such a simple thing: move to a town 20 minutes away from where we had been staying. Except, now I don’t have my sister-in-law downstairs to cover all the bases I left in Iowa.

For example, I wanted to do some laundry.

BUT! We needed to get a dryer exhaust vent to be able to use the dryer.

After I bought one, we realized that it still wasn’t long enough to reach from where the monster electrical plug is set in the wall to the vent hole.

When we fixed that, I realized that I didn’t have any laundry detergent.

When the Consort bought some at the corner store, the used washer we had purchased wouldn’t start.

This morning, the Consort came home from work to put on new water connectors. (He was out of underwear, you see.)

I started some laundry, and was able to wash the fabrics I bought for a project I’ve been meaning to start for a week.

BUT! I forgot that although I brought the iron, I didn’t bring our broken ironing board, so I need to got out and buy one. Soon.

And then, for no apparent reason, this weekend I found myself wondering how pleasant or unpleasant it would be to have my mood chemically enhanced.


04 September 2007


The second move of the summer is over. Boxes were packed, lugged down the stairs, lifted into my BIL's 4x4 truck, driven to the itty bitty house, taken off the truck, lugged into the itty bitty house, unpacked, broken down, and are now awaiting the recyling truck to take them away.

The house is tiny, but larger than the apartment we lived in during the summer.

After organizing the kitchen, then taking everything out of the cabinets and starting over (three times), I finally got everything to fit. In a manner of speaking.

Now that things are un-topsy-turvying, I hope to follow through on some promises I made back in July: I owe several of you mix CDs -- I haven't forgotten, they should be coming soon!

Oh, did I mention I took on another client? They came to me, I didn't search them out. This will be very good, seeing as living the adventurous life on 70% pay does have its drawbacks (we jumped in with our eyes open, but still).

And, a last tidbit: It's amazing how many bruises one can get in 10 hours of bending, lifting, and carrying boxes, furniture, and large appliances. And the color variation: impressive!