Sunday, April 26, 2009

River Bar Rendezvous

Another first for me on the water, I joined with a couple dozen others for a paddle with the State Park Rangers on the Eel River. It was a fun group with a variety of vessels, from long aluminum canoes to short river kayaks. From wetsuits to shorts and sneakers. We put in at the rocky beach at Williams Grove on the Avenue and, after a group shot and a "kumbaya moment" (in racing, they call it a driver's meeting), headed out for what the Rangers Richard B. was sure would be the last chance for the season - water levels were dropping and we dragged our collective bottoms more than once.
We took out at Canoe Creek and climbed up to see the affects of the 2003 Canoe Fire. The area was showing signs of recovery, covered with bright greens of redwood sorrel and wild roses. Ranger Alan pointed out the distinct differences in damage done, the charring reaching much higher on trees that had been surrounded by slash left behind during timber harvest.
We continued on, working our way through the shallows and ripples and wind, lunching on the beach at Burlingame then (finally) pulled out where we had shuttled our cars, at Leatherville, just south of Dyerville. It was fun and exhausting and another notch in my belt. We are truly fortunate to live here, people. I love taking opportunities to see this county from a different angle.
My title is intended to taunt Eko back from the dark side......come on....we KNOW you're out there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Know That It's Time For A Cool Change

I laughed at my ugly lunch ensemble at work a while back so thought I would share it, in honor of Earth Day. You will see no frozen entrees. No prepackaged cheese and crackers. No plastic forks. I use this worn-out little tote that I got from the blood bank eons ago. There may have been some yummy leftovers (my kids would call that an oxymoron) or maybe one container had crackers and another, some cheese slices. It looks like a cut up orange in the salsa tub. Real fork and spoon.

I'm environmentally conscious but I'm even more cheap but that's not bad, is it? I carry home my apple core or orange peels to be composted or fed to the hens. The containers are things I can't avoid - yogurt, feta and ricotta cheeses, salsa....but no plastic trays wrapped in plastic wrap, packed in a box. I'm reusing the containers. And I know what I'm eating. It's ugly but like hemp shoes., it's the right thing to do. Reducing. Reusing. Nothing to recycle. Happy Mother's Day to Mother Earth. And enjoy this from April of 1990 when our Girl Scout troop in Minden, NV coordinated a neighborhood trash cleanup. That would be Miss Monica on the right.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Come Back

So what am I to think here.....? Upon receiving word of the demise of Gottschalks, I contacted the credit department and closed my account. Even with a zero balance, I figured there was a potential for drama on my credit report that would be impossible to clear up for years to come. This week, I get a lovely letter expressing dismay that I have chosen to close my account.... Hello, you closed your whole damn store! Reading further, they offer me a discount for reconsidering. So, do you suppose the liquidators will honor the discount considering they won't even accept the card on sale items? I understand this is a bank not really affiliated with Gottschalks. In fact, I have a Bose account through the same bank and I have my eye on a sound you suppose.....? Seriously, this mailing must have cost someone (who could ill afford it) a chunk of money.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sometimes It's Roses, Sometimes It's Weeds

I was pleased to see artichokes "springing" to life in my garden in spite of my absence. As much as I love to get out and get dirt under my nails, lately I've been tasked with the taxes. I am no accountant and have always hated doing this though Turbo Tax generally gets me through the rough spots. Doing business taxes is a whole different ball game however and I have vowed never to do this again. I will find a CPA versed in the subtle nuances of vehicle repair and pay him whatever he wants to save me this pain again. It's keeping me out of my garden while the lemons are preparing to sacrifice their young for the sake of an alcoholic beverage.
The success of Mark's motorcycle shop is a good-news/bad-news thing in my book --more profit translates to more work to find the deductions I know are there (we're not livin' THAT large in this house so there must be deductions). And as good as he is at fixing bikes, my man is equally bad at organizing his record-keeping. He actually HAS the records, he just doesn't remember which bag, box or drawer they're in. It has become a regular thing over the last few weeks for me to present him with a post-it note list of items to locate so that I can enter them into the little boxes in hopes of bringing us closer to clear. Entering that initial "gross" amount in Turbo Tax incites an ugly number to appear in red in the "taxes owed" box on the top. Although I knew the number would go down as I progressed, it still yelled at me in a frightfully ugly red tone, taunting me, invoking the curse of the IRS.

Sure enough, I have managed to bring it down to a very quiet green color, indicating a refund, though marginal. After all that red, ANY green is good....which brings me back to the garden. I have earned it. I will grab a snack then head out with a tub to fill with weeds and bugs for the hens. After all, it is they who laid the Easter eggs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes

Am I the only girl out there that doesn't mind creepy crawlies? I was talking to my friend, Sandi, over at Cheaper Than Therapy about a frog her hubby and urchins brought home (watch for her future post). As she described the long, gooey arm of the frog, she was mortified that it would make good on it's escape attempt. I, on the other hand, thought it sounded awesome - no one brings me frogs.
Hope has a zoology assignment to take five invertebrates to class at HSU. She was more than a bit squeamish so I offered to track them down. I was in the garden on Saturday and uncovered a little salamander that I was hoping would be where I left it but no such luck. A curious neighbor caught us crawling around in the dark Sunday night, her holding the flashlight while I overturned rocks throughout my herb garden. I ... oh, I mean WE managed to find a worm, a snail, a slug, a sow bug and a little black beetle. No potato bugs. No salamanders. Dang! Hope had to provide their scientific ID and pray they made it to HSU alive - she had the opportunity for two points per critter but would lose one each if they were dead. We tucked them into a plastic tub with grass and dirt, poked holes in the lid and left them on the porch for the night. Naturally, morning inspection found a dead worm and a missing beetle (I think) so, after a scurried morning search they were replaced. She carried them to school in her trunk, nervous they would somehow escape....and the teacher wasn't in the office. So, home came the container, the worm was returned to the garden. The others found a new (if brief) home in the chicken pen.

Tonight, we try again. Hopefully it won't be so cold and our treasures will survive the wait. Hopefully, too, the professor will be there to count her critters.

The photo? That was Hope at Brownie camp - Davis Creek Park between Carson City and Reno. We overturned rocks to find toads and I actually got her to hold one. First and last time, I suspect.