Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Excitement

This time of year we gardeners start getting our seed catalogs for next year. All the 'varieties' and, for the last few years, rediscovered heirlooms. So far the Park's, Seed Savers, Seeds of Change, Jackson Perkins and The Cook's Garden have come. This is first year I have received the last one and I didn't ask for it but it looks like a good one. Lots of organic seeds and varieties you don't see in the regular catalogs.
The Seed Savers Exchange is brilliant again this year and you can't help but want some of everything. All heirloom and some very hard to find varieties. Gardner candy for sure. My lists will be made in the next few weeks and I will have the seeds on order soon after...I need a bigger garden.


The latest news that our elected representatives are richer and that we are poorer is one of those "duh" pieces of news. Why else do they vote to protect the 1% over the 99%? They are part of the 1%...duh!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone!

Even though I have to work from 11a to 5p today I've already gotten a start on things. Up well before light and off to the market to beat the rush. I had settled on a nice brined pork loin but as luck would have it the market only had some prepared ones stuffed with various things like spinach and feta and apples and cranberries. As the Goddess would have it there were some excellent beef rib roasts and were on offer at $9.99 a pound. Picked out a nicely marbled specimen that came in at just under 7 pounds so it is back to my original thought of traditional British fare with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. We'll also have some grilled asparagus(from Peru unfortunately), proper English style roasted potatoes(par boiled and then roast in oil in a very hot oven), green beans, and fresh bread. Oh! and real gravy for the Yorkshire pudding.
Dessert will offer pumpkin pie and/or pecan pie and any or all of the assorted cookies I just baked.
I picked a nice Claret for the dinner wine and we have Champagne or Prosecco with the dessert.
Everyone but me has decided to go see the new movie War Horse after dinner but I will stay home and baby sit the mini monk's dogs. We might even snack on a bit of left over roasted beast.

Everyone have a lovely holiday and be safe.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's The Season

I had to drive out to Tractor Supply this morning to get bird seed and it is out in the country a bit. On the way back it dawned on me why I was feeling a bit down over the upcoming holiday. I needed to make cookies! After a quick stop for some supplies I came home and went into cookie baking hyperdrive. Company's Coming Oatmeal cookies, pecan sandies, old fashioned molasses ginger cookies, pecan and cranberry biscotti and last but not least a big batch of Chex snack mix(my own kicked up recipe of course). Since the oven was still warm from the cookies I even made fresh buttermilk biscuits loaded with Honey Baked ham for dinner. A fine day of baking. I feel much better now. I'm scheduled to work tomorrow and Christmas eve but we are closing at 5pm Christmas eve so I will get to enjoy the holiday. Still haven't settled on the menu for Christmas Day but it is leaning British with a roast prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

Tonight is the Winter Solstice so take advantage of the triumph by the Sun over darkness to cast your wishes for the coming year and beyond. I don't have to be at work until 3pm today so I managed to get a session in the gym in and I always feel good about that. It has been about three months or so since I started this workout business and I think I can detect some changes. If nothing else I am definitely stronger judging by the increasing weights I can push around.

Today is a "potluck" at the store and since I am coming in late and am sure most everything will be either gone or be well on its way to spoiled, I decided to take something sweet. We'll see how a big tray of  sliced panettone goes over with this crowd. Madam waits all year for the season and the panettone. We have gone through two already and there is one more in the queue. While they are sinfully good I need to limit myself to a small slice now and again but a small slice spread with a little marscapone is a very nice treat indeed. A double espresso is brilliant on the side but then so is a cool, bubbly glass of prosecco or champagne.

Enjoy the longest night of the year and now we can look forward to longer days and spring even though it is the first of winter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What's Over?

How can the "war" in Iraq be over when we never declared "war" in the first place? Just asking.

Mail Merge Weirdness

I have been trying to do a mail merge in Word 2010 with my xmas addresses in an Excel 2010 spreadsheet. It refuses to do more than 105 addresses. I recreated the spreadsheet and even reduced it to only the necessary fields (took out phone numbers etc.). I finally had to create a second spreadsheet for the balance of the addresses before I could get all the labels printed. Very strange.
I should say that Word 2010 is pretty easy to use and has a lot more power than older versions. I created the entire newsletter in no time with pictures and everything. Almost like they rolled all the stuff that used to be in Publisher into Word.

Not So Exciting

When you sit down to do your Christmas newsletter and can't fill a page you know you need to rev it up a little. This was a very quiet year. Madam got a new knee. I worked. We gardened. Everybody is in pretty good shape for the shape they are in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not A Problem

You can read the details here at Digby's place but in a nutshell, the Russians studying the East Siberian Ice Shelf are reporting massive up-wellings of methane gas from underneath the ice shelf. In a sane world this news would shock and dismay most people but in the world we are living in such tragic news doesn't even hit the papers in the U.S. It should be a headline.
Why the concern? Methane, in the near term, is 72 times more effective at trapping heat that CO2  which means that we are all going to be closer to the beach in the very near future. Well, some of us might have to tread water for awhile but you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
Besides our leaders have to resolve all the problems around gays in the military and how to keep us 99% a little more timid. Expect some really "good shit" in the tap water soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Newt and Palestine

As unusual as it is, Newt is partially correct in stating that Palestine is a "made up state" but also, as usual, he leaves out some facts that most Americans either don't know or choose not to remember. True...Palestine didn't exist before 1920 when it was created as a "pseudo state" by Britain in breaking up the Ottoman Empire. There is no distinct Palestinian language and history and effectively they are Arabs just like most of their neighbors. By the same token Israel is a "made up state" as well. It was created in 1947 when the UN decided to partition Palestine and create the state of Israel. You could say that the "Palestinian state" predates the state of Israel.
It should also never be forgotten that Israel would not exist today were it not for the billions and billions of dollars(in cold hard cash and military aid) pumped into it by the U.S. since its founding. Israel never has been able to stand on its own two feet and probably never will. The harsh reality is that Israel is somewhat of a rogue state and its actions with respect to the Palestinians are in violation of numerous UN sanctions and the Geneva Conventions.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Make It Stop

Hours are up at my "part time" job and in some ways that is good. I'm off again this morning but the real problem is the music. Hour after hour, day after day of the same loop of pablum Xmas music. The same songs over and over. The really horrible part is that you find yourself humming along and realize that your "soul" is gradually dissipating into a plastic tree forest with days more of the pain immediately ahead. It's going to be a long haul.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

All You Need to Know

All you really need to know about the Republican's amongst you is that they now consider Newt the best they have to offer for the presidency. It's very sad.

Need Fast Ship

It's very exciting to hear that scientists have found a new planet that appears to be very earth like and it is only 600 light years away.  We should be putting every spare penny into the FTL (faster than light) spaceship research because we are going to need to get the hell out of here real soon.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.

Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.

Friday, December 02, 2011

What A Pain

Another 4 hour shift at you know where this evening (4:45-8:45)...what a pain and what a way to ruin what has been a pretty productive day. Good two hour workout, more computer recovery, etc. The silver lining, as it were, is that I am scheduled for the outside garden and not returns. Thank the Goddess!

You Want Rights? Show Me The Money

Governor Walker needs to be educated on exactly what the word 'abridged' means.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration could hold demonstrators at the Capitol liable for the cost of extra police or cleanup and repairs after protests, under a new policy unveiled Thursday.
The rules, which several legal experts said raised serious free speech concerns, seemed likely to add to the controversy that has simmered all year over demonstrations in the state’s seat of government.
The policy, which also requires permits for events at the statehouse and other state buildings, took effect Thursday and will be phased in by Dec. 16. Walker administration officials contend the policy simply clarifies existing rules. State law already says public officials may issue permits for the use of state facilities, and applicants “shall be liable to the state . . . for any expense arising out of any such use and for such sum as the managing authority may charge for such use.”
But Edward Fallone, an associate professor at Marquette University Law School, said the possibility of charging demonstrators for police costs might be problematic because some groups might not be able to afford to pay. “I’m a little skeptical about charging people to express their First Amendment opinion,” he said. “You can’t really put a price tag on the First Amendment.”
My best guess is that this idea would not stand up to a court challenge but I'm no lawyer.

China Syndrome

Just how close did we come to a "china syndrome" at Japan's Fukushima plant?
With each report, it just gets worse. Early on they reported the possibility of some meltdown but now we find that we came damn close to a complete melt through. Or at least that is the story so far. I won't be surprised to learn that we did, in fact, melt down completely once more of the truth comes out. So far TEPCO has been rather timid about telling the whole truth about what they know.
Molten nuclear fuel at Japan's Fukushima plant might have eaten two thirds of the way through a concrete containment base, its operator said, citing a new simulation of the extent of the March disaster. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said their latest calculations showed the fuel inside the No. 1 reactor at the tsunami-hit plant could have melted entirely, dropping through its inner casing and eroding a concrete base. [...]
Until now, TEPCO had said some fuel melted through the inner pressure vessel and dropped to the containment vessel, without saying how much and what it did to the concrete, citing a lack of data.
"Almost no fuel remains at its original position," TEPCO said in the report.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Not Easy

Finally, a day off. This new computer scheduling is not so hot since it is scheduling me and others for four or five hour shifts which means these tiny shifts are ruining what would have been a whole day off. It is also a pain to have to get ready and drive to the store for just 4 hours. To add insult to injury I've been put on returns for the last 4 straight days which really sucks and especially so at the end of the month when contractors are cleaning out material they've over bought. You get boxes of pipe fittings and electrical stuff(with no receipts). A lot of the stuff no longer has readable UPC's so its a major headache. Thanks goodness I am scheduled for the outside garden for the rest of the week and I can just freeze to death instead.

Still on the marathon of restoring my new computer. Most everything is back....though I had a battle with Itunes. I had to go out and buy a utility (CopyTrans) to restore my music libraries back into a new install of Itunes from my Ipod Touch. The good news is that the CopyTrans program was a snap and did everything, music, playlists, stats with the click of a button. I love it when a program does what it is supposed to do with no hoohah. All the finance stuff is back into Quicken with the exception of my IRA, Roth stuff. I'll work on that today but it will be all manual since it is not available as a data file...Quicken or other. It is at least online.

I'm also trying to catch up on my reading(online) which is a challenge since Google Reader indicated I had a couple of thousand things to sort through. It is amazing how much stuff gets generated in just a few days. One thing is apparent though, and that is the Rethugs are getting dumber and more dangerous everyday.