Saturday, April 24, 2010

Life's too short

My brother chastises me for fretting about stupid little things. The thing is, a lot of little things add up to really big things. This is a little thing that drives me nuts -- only because it's so incredibly stupid.

Why, oh why do manufacturers find it necessary to put a plastic screw top on a waxed cardboard carton??? Are consumers so stupid they can't operate a cardboard carton? I know it's pointless to be weirded out by something so trivial, but when you think about how many cardboard cartons there are in the world, why make something so beautifully biodegradable into something that's not??

This seemed appropriate to me today, since yesterday was Earth Day. I also want to talk a little about plastic grocery bags. I hate them. Grocery stores are kind of obsessed with them. I take my own bags to the store, but I have to stand guard over the sacker to keep them from giving me plastic sacks. Today they tried to put my eggs into a plastic sack. I have no idea why. They also try to put things like bags o' taters in my bags. But the main thing is, they try really, really hard to underpack the bags. Someone must have told them that people don't want to carry heavy bags, but come on . . . three cans of frozen juice and a bag of potato chips makes a full bag?

Okay, enough of that. Here's a few more reasons why I love my yard in the spring:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Summer Cooking!!!

I'm so excited!! I have an outdoor summer kitchen!!

After sitting idle in our dining room for 25 years, our antique wood cookstove has a new lease on life -- in the back yard.

It's no mean feat to move a 600+ pound chunk of cast iron, but with Hannah and Tony's help, we got it accomplished.

The picture below is Tom trying to make it level.

And here he is, putting together the stove pipe.

Getting closer . . .

Of course, once it was all hooked up and ready to roll, I couldn't stand the idea of waiting until tomorrow to cook something on it. It wanted me to cook something on it. So, we cooked several things on it.

Ummm . . . taters.

Tomorrow, I will attempt bread, and maybe cookies. It's been nearly 30 years since I cooked on this beast, so it will take me a little time to get re-acquainted with it. The whole thing is yet to be finished. The brick floor will be expanded, and it will have a roof and three walls (a lean-to). But, it can be used at this point.

Oh, and the picture below is an update on my bathroom herb garden. Looking good!

Squeaky Wheels and all that

I don't know if any of you noticed the comment on my last post, but it was from Sears. We had a horrible week wrangling with their "service" center trying to get our water heater fixed. After 6 days without hot water, and complaining through every avenue Sears had to offer, and $150, it got fixed. I mentioned it in passing in my last post -- I was sick of dealing with it. Lo and behold, someone from Sears read it and commented. So, I talked to a very pleasant woman named Tammy; and the upshot was that they refunded our money AND sent us a $50 gift card. Now, having mentioned "Sears" by name in this post, they will probably read this one, too.

We learned two things from this experience:
  1. Buy appliances from local merchants, with local service.
  2. If you don't get satisfaction with service, complain in a public place (like a blog).

We're totally satisfied with the results we finally got from Sears, but definitely won't be buying any more appliances from them. My blood pressure can't take it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring has Sprung

I've been mentally formulating a righteous rant against Sears, and the fact that their absurd "customer service" system deprived us of hot water for nearly a week, but the weather is so gorgeous, and my flowers are so pretty, and our water heater seems to be working (for now, anyway), that I can't quite summon enough curmudgeonliness to effectively describe how pissed we were last week. So, enjoy these photos of my spring blossoms.

I planted the pussywillow and forsythia the first year we lived here (1986) -- sort of as an homage to my mom. Those were two of her favorites, and are planted at either end of my clothesline.

The photo below is my new indoor herb garden, situated directly under the bathroom skylight. I'm having fun with my Anthony Bourdain cookbook, but I've gotten really tired of paying $5.00 or so for a few little sprigs of rosemary or thyme. So, my little garden contains rosemary, thyme, chives, and sage. When watering them yesterday, I noticed that they are already sprouting.

I'm excited about being able to just cut some whenever a need it. I'll plant some more outside in a few weeks -- probably some parsley, cilantro, oregano, etc.
We're going over to Tom's folks' for pizza this evening. I guess it's a holiday or something. So, Happy Whateveritisyoucelebrate!