Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to Succeed in Business

N and I have wanted a side business for awhile. Years. Lots of discussions.

Options included: Building management. Real estate inspections, both residential and commercial. Landlords. Laundromat.

But then Big Bertha fell into our laps. Luckily not literally, since she weighs 3000 pounds. It just so happens that this is the exact same model N worked on for 18 years. Did I mention he’s in tool and die manufacturing? Yep.

My point in this side business thing all along has been, if we are risking the money, I want to capitalize on my husband’s many talents.

He was going to get a degree in project management, but although I’m pro-education normally, why start all over when he already has so many areas of expertise?

When we put on the addition, N did all the plumbing, hot water heat, radiant heat, most of the electrical, trim work, flooring (with help from his lovely wife), two of the three staircases, etc. etc. What the hell does he need a degree for?

So. Back to Bertha. How many people have precision surface grinding carbide experience like N? Not many. So now all we have to do is bump out the garage a little, figure out how to heat it, and voila. A side business.

And props to Arlopop, for the funniest comment ever. Check out the comments on my last post. I tried and tried to come up with a decent response but failed. Although I guess the moniker fell right into place, didn't it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And ain't she a beaut!

Look what we bought! Wanna guess what it is? OoooOOOoooOOoo. Pretty.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why the bailout passed

It took me a few weeks. It’s no secret that our dearly hated president has been looting our country for 8 years on behalf of his bastard rich friends. Yet it took me some thinking time. What’s with this pathetic bailout? How does this work? I can be slow at times.

The republicans realized that Obama will win the election. So they set us up. They lined their pockets and guaranteed the next president’s failure in one move. Eleventy-seventy godzillion dollars for themselves, and the bankruptcy of our nation at the same time.

Finally the bailout makes sense.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The game

There’s a game I play every time Nea and I go to a new doctor. How long can I go without telling them she’s mostly non-verbal?

Nea had a piece of metal in her eye this week. She managed to blink it out over time, but she ended up with a “rust ring.” There’s rust in her eye. Obviously, we needed to see a doctor. We went to the pediatric ophthalmologist’s office.

The nurse said, “Does she know her letters?”
I said no.
So we got a big card with V T O H on it. Her good eye was patched. The eye chart had those characters in smaller and smaller versions, as is traditional with an eye chart. Nea pointed at the matching version on her card in her hand. She did a fabulous job until the characters were too small for her to see with her irritated eye.

Pass. Never had to mention her speech problem.

The pediatric ophthalmologist came in and examined her cornea with his magnifying lens and lights. He said we could either sedate and operate, or wait a week and see how she healed on her own. Guess which I chose? Yeah.

Again, she passed. Why mention her limitations in front of her unless I have to? But I feel uneasy every time. Withholding information from the medical profession. I feel like I’m getting away with something. And I guess I am. I’m getting away with Nea’s dignity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Garden mystery

OK, you sleuthers. Here’s the challenge. I leave the house with a small bowl, heading towards the raspberry bushes. Time elapses, and there are raspberries in the bowl. I start walking towards the house, but by the time I reach the back door, the bowl is empty!

Is it fruit evaporation? Invisible fruit bats?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Resolutions for next year’s garden

Hill the potatoes. The potatoes, mid-season white Kennebecs, were in the old compost pile this year, and I think it was actually too well-drained. I need to mix in some regular old dirt. I’ve started this, but I need to do more. This past season I also tried the “build up as they grow” potato-growing method (some people use old tires – I just used chickenwire), but I didn’t try particularly hard and didn’t get a single potato out of that area.

Rotate the tomatoes out of the area where they’ve been for a few years already. Boo’s tomato plants outperformed mine because they were in a new patch. And sadly, I think I’m throwing in the towel for heritage tomatoes. They don’t produce enough for the space they use.

Try some new stuff. Soybeans, aka edamame. Beets. I just heard you can roast them on the grill. I love beets.

Grow both bush beans (we had a good year for them) and pole beans. Neighbors of ours have what they call “magic beans” and they promised us some seeds.

N says he’s going to change our biggest (12x12) raised plot into 3 sections with walkways in between. This will help with weeds and productivity.

Try eggplants again. Now that I’m flushed with the relative success of my green peppers, I should try eggplants again. I could never figure out when to harvest them when I last grew them.

Did I mention that we are ripping out ornamental trees and shrubs (purple plum, Bradford pear, golden privet) in the spring to plant our new honeycrisp apple, red rome apple, and some sort of self-pollinating pear tree? They are all semi-dwarf varieties. We have a lot more sun in the front yard, so that’s where they are going.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We simple womenfolk

I've had several men tell me that they actually know women who will vote McCain/Palin because they were Hillary supporters, and they still want to vote for a woman. Uh. Really? I hereby give you a belated IM conversation that I had during the Oct. 2 Biden/Palin debate.

Friend: Is it just me or does it bug you how she calls everyone by their first name.
Bluestem: everything she does bugs me. but wait! we have girlie bits! we have to vote for her!
Friend: I prefer to call them my lady parts
Bluestem: but do you vote with them?
Friend: It's hard to make them pull the lever, but I practice when my husband is out of town
Bluestem: har!
Friend: It will be difficult as Child #1 wants to come vote with me.
Bluestem: oh, awkward.
Friend: But Mommy, why do you have to wear a skirt to vote? Just wait honey, you'll see.
Bluestem: "it's part of the democratic process"

Seriously, I can't imagine a Hillary supporter saying that she would throw all her political beliefs into the shitter, just to continue to vote for a woman. How illogical.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The statue of liberty and machine guns

Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to these things, but I found it in very poor taste that these three machine-gun toting men were posing for photos with our Lady Liberty this past Monday.

Is it for some pathetic flag-waving rah rah calendar? Look for it in stores soon -- "2009 Calendar - Liberty means never having to say you're sorry"

Send word if you hear about this exciting new product.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bluestem talks politics

Everyone else is talking about politics so much that I feel like I don't have to cover any of the chaos. However, baywatch twittered this McCain article, and it's a must-read.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Foreign Countries, here I come!

Just 13 days after mailing my passport renewal form, to my great surprise, I received my new one. Not even 13 business days. 13 average normal days. Knock me over with a feather, I tells ya. Glad I didn't pay to expedite it.

Especially since I don't actually have any plans to leave the country on Ye Olde Travel Agenda. But now I could, again, take off with nary a backwards glance. You know, except I have kids now. That sort of thing.


I could, you know. Take a little suitcase and go somewhere. With my cute little blue passport. If I wanted to.

I could.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

First frost coming up pretty soon

Well, I brought in all the green tomatoes and put them in the basement. It’s always a little sad pulling the garden apart at the end of the season. Looks like we’ll be having the zucchini pancakes one more time tomorrow.

I need to start using up my butternut squash, too. Made chili the other day and totally forgot to add a few cups of cubed squash – it’s excellent in chili. Anyway, just surfed around a little for inspiration and found this gem. I love her style. She’s always that amusing. Great photos.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Break your bottled water habit

Oh, how I loathe plastic water bottles. I really really do. They are a sign of the incredible waste of our culture. And the laziness. And the stupidity. I have very strong opinions on water bottles. Can you tell? If you love the earth at all, stop using water bottles of the non-reusable kind. There are exceptions, of course. These exceptions should add up to maybe 5 bottles of water a year. (“I was in the desert, unprepared, and I couldn’t find my car. But, lo! There was a water bottle stand. I bought one.”)

Here's a good resource with more information:

From that site:

Top Five Reasons to Give Up Bottled Water
  1. Disposable plastic water bottles are not meant for multiple uses.
  2. Bottled water is full of oil.
  3. Bottled water is expensive!
  4. Your tap water is fine to drink.
  5. At least 40 percent of bottled water is tap water anyway.
Top Five Ways to Break the Bottled Water Habit
  1. Check your water utility’s “Consumer Confidence Report.”
  2. Have multiple reusable bottles available to suit all your life’s needs.
  3. Encourage your local city officials to create a policy to limit municipal spending (i.e., your hard-earned tax dollars) on bottled water to emergency needs only.
  4. Talk to your office manager about the water situation at your workplace.
  5. Spread the word to friends and family about the environmental and financial problems with bottled water.
There's much more info on each of those points on the site.