Friday, October 31, 2008

Civic Duty - Done

As I was passing by the county building today, I decided that the parking lot didn't look too congested, so I pulled on in and did my civic duty. It took about 25 minutes, but I figure that's an improvement over what the wait would probably be next Tuesday.

This is the second time I've early voted. The first time was just a wee bit more involved. I had to go into the country clerk's office, get an application form, fill it out with proof that I would be traveling (plane ticket copies) and take it back in with picture ID, then wait a couple of weeks for approval.

Times have changed. This year in Utah, they're begging people to come one in -- Vote Early, Vote Often. Hmmm... Maybe I added that second bit myself, not that I'm the originator of it, just a copy cat.

Somehow it seems rather poetic that I voted on Halloween, when nothing is as it appears...

Oh, by the way, BOO!

Shortest Blog Poste Ever

It's 3:30 a.m.

I just finished reading the bulk of a 754 page novel.

I have to take the Engineer to the airport at 7:45 a.m.

I'm going to bed.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Over the last few months, I've read several teen vampire romance novels. I'm rather embarrassed to admit it, but I've enjoyed them. Stephanie Meyers is an excellent writer, she pulls her reader right into the story. I've also read her science fiction novel, The Host. The common thread in all of the books is passion. Or, perhaps, obsession would be more accurate. Her protagonists fall in love, completely, truly, deeply. Both the man and the woman feel that they are incomplete without their partner and will do anything to be with them.
Am I weird? I don't get it.

I love the Engineer. The usual proof that I offer up is that I've never hit him with a baseball bat, but it's more than that and maybe simpler than that. I'd rather have him in my world than not.

I don't feel that he and I are extensions of each other. We are discrete individuals who happen to get along pretty well -- not perfectly, but pretty well. I don't want to be an extension of him or vice versa. Sometimes he acts like he would like me to be, but I suspect he wouldn't care for it if I tried. I don't miss him when he's gone on his business trips; I know he'll be back. If he was to go away forever, I would miss him and be very sad, but life would go on.

Am I cheating him by not feeling swept into a whirlwind every time I look at him? For not wanting to feel swept up every time I look at him? Am I cheating myself?

I've never felt the world would be well lost for love.

I would hate it if there wasn't love in the world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 3, or is it 4, Excuses Already

On October 24th I resolved to try to make a post every day if I had access to my computer. Made a post to the Clueless Crafter on the 25th. Missed Sunday the 26th. That didn't take long, did it?

So here's the excuse: I didn't have access to my computer.

True, the computer lives in the basement, but I was upstairs baking pies, yummilicious pumpkin pies. Then I made miniature pumpkin tarts with gingersnap crust from the left over pumpkin filling, then with the left over piecrust, I made custard tarts. Then I had to go to my very first Mormon church service because ChosenSister and her spouse were speaking because they're leaving on an 18 month mission. (I miss her already.) We picked up a mutual friend on the way to the church. After the ward service, it was on to ChosenSister's house for the buffet, for which the pies were baked. After the buffet, we dropped off our passenger and came home, where I started finishing cleaning up the cooking mess. Then the Engineer decided that he needed a light dinner, so I cooked and cleaned up after that, then sat down in my chair to watch the news and finish sewing up baby elf hat number two and fell asleep sitting in my chair with both cats holding me down. By the time I woke up, I decided, that since I had to get up at 7:30 Monday morning, it was too late to go downstairs and turn on the computer.

I think that's a pretty good excuse. Don't you?

Friday, October 24, 2008


True, it isn't the New Year, but I don't think resolutions should have a season. Especially resolutions that one is re-resolving.

Here are the first two paragraphs from my very first blog entry almost two years ago:

2007, a time to practice consistency, one of those traits I've never been strong on. Thus a blog entry to write every day -- every day I have access to my computer anyway. It should build character, or so my mother would have me believe. Setting goals and whacking away at them, consistently, is good for a person's character. I'll bet all the mothers tell their children that.

We'll see if it works.

So, how has it worked? Erratically. Some months, June, July and September of 2007, I hit the mark. Some months. most notably May 2008 with only 4 entries, were abysmal. True I did start a second blog, The Clueless Crafter, to segregate my knitting ramblings, but still, I've not been hitting goal. This past summer and fall especially have been nonproductive. Much of that can be explained by how tumultuous life has been, but even the tumultuous life needs a little discipline, so...

Resolved: I shall endeavor to make a blog post each day to either The Witless Wanderer or The Clueless Crafter. If I make posts to both on a single day, it's a bonus, not a free ticket for a day off.

This offer is void where prohibited by law and not applicable on days I don't have access to my computer.

Now to hold to it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Cats are bloody little predators, or, at the very least, like to believe they are.

I walked out to get the mail this afternoon and saw immediately that Sachi was tormenting something.

It was a big, fat katydid. She'd already bitten off most of his antennae. The fragile parts are always the first to go.
Didn't look like he had long to live in any case. I think there was something growing in his abdomen and with winter just around the corner...

Glad I'm not a bug.

Particularly glad I'm not a bug looking up at a cat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Proper Usage of Pumpkins

First you catch and kill a pumpkin.

Not just any pumpkin will do, it has to be an eating pumpkin, not a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Small Sugar, Triple Treat or Winter Luxury (if you can find them) are good bets. If you want to be a cheap and sleazy cheat, you can use squash instead, just make sure it has nice orange flesh.

To cook a small pumpkin, I get out my BIG knife and whack that puppy in half. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff. (If you got a Triple Treat, save the seeds, they don't have shells, so they're great to toast and eat.) Give a jellyroll pan, or a cookie sheet with deep sides, a good spraying with Pam, then put the pumpkin, cut side down, on it. Bake it in the oven just like a potato, 400 degrees for about an hour. It's done when a paring knife slides in easily.

Some pumpkins put out a lot of juice when they cook, some almost none. Don't worry about it, it doesn't make a bit of difference, though if there's lots of juice be careful to not spill it when taking it out of the oven. It's sticky. I learned that little tidbit from personal experience.

Pour any liquid down the drain, then go to work on the pumpkin. Usually, the outer skin will peal off easily. Toss the skin and remove any stringy stuff that may have been missed in the initial cleaning. Cut the meat into chunks and puree it in batches in a food processor.

Now it's ready for whatever use you want to put it to: pie, bread, cookies, cheesecake, bisque. It is also easy to freeze in zipper top plastic bags and will keep for a good long time.

Here's a quick and easy pumpkin bread recipe. You can use one large can of pumpkin if you want, but it just ain't the same.

Pumpkin Bread
(2 Loaves)
4 Eggs
1 cup Oil
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
3½ cups Pumpkin
4 cups Flour
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Soda
4 tsp (altogether - in whatever proportions you like) Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg & Cloves
5 oz Cinnamon Chips

Beat first four ingredient together until light & fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients and add to batter. Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chips. Divide batter into two greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

My personal favorite is pumpkin bisque. If properly bribed, I may be enticed to share it...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Tis The Season... For Politics

Is it just me, or has this presidential race gone on forever?

and ever...

and ever...

I don't put bumper stickers on my car, signs in my yard or wear buttons proclaiming my party affiliation, but today I browsed the web for political T-shirts that tell a story.

Right now, I can really understand the forlorn hope expressed by this one:
But if we didn't vote, would we ever get here? This one says it for the Engineer. He's got the hots for Palin, I think because he's heard she's a good, beer drinking, oilman's friend. Plus he knows it annoys me. So I'd go with this shirt for that ticket. What do you mean, "Politically incorrect"? What's so correct about politics in the first place?

This one pretty much encapsulates how I feel about the current election.
Wonder if I wore this one if anyone would court me and give me monetary encouragement to vote for their candidate? But, when you get right down to it, this one says it all.Despite my cynicism, on November 4th, you'll find me down at my precinct, canceling out the Engineer's vote.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Morning Snow

This is the earliest I've ever made a Picnic Table Report, and I didn't take these photos until almost noon, so substantial melting had already taken place. Darn impressive for not quite the middle of October.

I wonder if any of my veggies have survived under their dual blankets of spunbond polyester and snow...

This must be what's called "the last rose of summer."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Is It That I Never Have My Camera At The Right Moment?

I'm a fairly enthusiastic amateur photographer. I take pictures of my cats, nature, knitting projects, my garden, stuff that looks cool, whatever happens to present itself to me. Somehow, I never seem to have the camera at the ready when the really good photo ops appear.

Driving home, I see the most glorious sunset with glowing clouds and the lights in the valley below beginning to twinkle. So I drive like a bat, run into the house, grab my camera and drive at top legal speed back to the vantage point, but it's gone like it never existed.

Sitting in the woods, contemplating nature, and eagle lights in a nearby tree and stares at me. I quietly remove the camera from the bag, raise it to my eye and the eagle has flown with just the echo of a high keening cry to prove he was there.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I walked into the bathroom and a cute little kitten head popped up over the rim of the toilet bowl. A cat in the can, how funny. Camera, in the other room.

Or the time the sprinkler junction started leaking. I got home from the grocery store and found the Engineer head down in a hole, derriere in the air, covered with mud. By the time I got back out with the camera, he was done with the job. And, darn it all, he wouldn't replicate the pose for me.

Hate to admit it, but I'm warped enough that I regret the last two instances more than the first.

Maybe next time I'll have camera ready in hand.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Connected By Kittehs and Toilets

One of the nicest things about being a blogger is making blogging friends. Kate of High Altitude Gardening instigated my blogging. We'd been friends for several years before the rise of the blogs.

Then I met Cicada, who now goes by her real name Jess, the Bioephemera art and science blogger. I love her artwork and her sense of humor. Her blog can really make me think. She is one smart lady.

Now Kate and I have made e-friends with Iron Needles, who gardens and knits -- and spins and hikes and reads some of my favorite books and has similar views about politics. Today I visited her blog and saw a picture of her cat drinking from the dog's favorite water supply. It's always a shock when one catches the cat in such a position. Cats are supposed to be much too fastidious to drink from toilets. That's the dog's job.

The picture did, however, bring brightly to my mind memories of Brianna and her training of the Engineer.

Brianna came home with me from the pound as an orphan feral kitten. She was frightened of almost everything, especially shoes, but accepted me as her Mommy almost immediately. Perhaps the fact that I was barefoot most of the time helped. The Engineer is also a barefoot person when in the house, so he soon gained her trust and love as well.
Brianna quickly decided upon our sleeping arrangements; she demanded her own pillow laid longwise at the head of the bed between her two humans. If the bed was not made properly, she would pester me until I fixed it to her satisfaction.

She was a kitty who was fascinated by water from the get-go, She loved any flowing faucet, she supervised me in the shower and would hop on in after the water was turned off and the glass doors opened. She had a water fountain drinking dish. When she grew a little bigger and developed into a better jumper, she discovered toilets. They were such lovely large reservoirs of water. I didn't appreciate how much she liked toilets until the day I walked into my bathroom and her little head popped up over the rim. Yes, she was perched inside of the bowl, playing in the water.

That was the day my toilet lid closed forever (unless, of course, the toilet was being put to its intended use.)

The Engineer is a male who, like most males, has a Y-chromosomal aversion to shutting a toilet lid.

Often, during the night, when Bri decided she needed a little exercise, she would play in the Engineer's toilet. When she was done, she would come running back into the bedroom. leap up on the bed on the Engineer's side, and lovingly pat his face on her way back to her own pillow.

This tended to wake him up. So he would wake me up, "The cat got my face wet!"

I would laugh at him and tell him I was glad she'd wiped her paws on him before she got to me.

The Engineer would tell me to make her stop getting him wet.

I told him many, many times that if he shut the lid, he would no longer get his face painted with toilet water in the night.

It took about three months before he internalized that, but his toilet lid remains shut when not in use to this day.

I guess even PhD's can eventually learn new things.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Booted... Again

One of the things I do is apheresis. Once every ten days to two weeks, I go in to the Red Cross and bleed in a bag. For an hour or more, I sit in a comfy recliner, watching a movie DVD on a private TV, with a needle in each arm. Blood is drawn from the right arm, sent through a centrifuge that removes the platelets and plasma, then the red cells are returned to my left arm in a saline solution.

Yeah, it hurts a little, but not much. Actually, the blood pressure cuff around my right arm throughout the procedure bothers me substantially more than the needles do.

Why do I do it?

I'm a firm believer in giving back, but I'm kinda lazy. Apheresis provides vitally needed platelets and plasma and it's something I am well able to do. Plus it makes me feel virtuous.

Not quite two years ago, I went to Mexico with the Engineer for a conference. The week after I got home, I went in for my usual apheresis appointment. There's a question they asked every time, "Have you traveled outside of the United States within the last three years?" My "Yes" answer got me booted for a year. Seems the area I was in was rampant with malaria mosquitos, so I had to take a year off from donating to see if I had picked up any noxious diseases.

Geeze o' pete, that was a long year without any needles in my veins. Sometimes I fantasized that the platelets would build up inside of me until my whole circulatory systems clotted, but I made it through.

I decided that when my banishment was over I was going to try for 24 donations the next year. That's the max platelet donors are allowed. So I girded my loins, took my slow release iron tablets and bared my arms. As of September, I was on track to accomplish my goal.

Then I had a bad stick. Nobody's fault, the vein in my left arm has gotten cranky about being stuck so often. The needle must have nicked the far side of the vein, because when the platelets and saline started flowing back into me, it hurt like the dickens and I got a big knot above the needle where stuff was going into the muscle instead of the vein. They tried reseating the needle, but that didn't work. They tried a different vein and just succeeded in digging a few holes in my arm before giving up.

Went home, gave my arm a week to recover, then went back and had a successful donation.

Yesterday, I got the call.

"Hi Wunx~, I'm trying to find out why the computer canceled your next appointment."

Turned out the Red Cross has a new rule. If they can't return all of your red cells, you have to wait 56 days to donate again - just like a regular blood donor. I won't be eligible to bleed in a bag again until November 26th.

Booted again!

I'm not going to make my goal of 24 donations this year, but... there's always next year.

Of course, gentle reader, if you'd like to head on in to your local Red Cross chapter and help take up my slack, I'm sure that it would be greatly appreciated. They'll even give you juice and cookies afterwards.

Like the Red Cross says, "Give Life!"