Meal Planning

Bison. It’s what’s for dinner… tomorrow.

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Garden Update; RIP Kate and Anthony

I’ll be honest – I didn’t plan to take a brief vacation from my challenge, at least not this soon. Coming up with things to write about every day is hard, especially when not much is going on, except my garden, and I really don’t want this blog to just be about my garden.

But of course I must talk about my garden, and give you a status update. This week I removed the curbing from around The Square (those bricks were HEAVY! Holy cow!), and tried to square off the rounded corners. I say “try,” because I couldn’t get the sod up on two of the four corners. Granted, I wasn’t wearing the right shoes for the job, it was hot and I was already sweating profusely, so I will try again. I did get some landscape fabric down, before I ran out. Meh. I bought more, so I can finish that, and put the mulch down to cover the fabric and make it more aesthetically pleasing. By the way, I got a fab deal on the mulch at Menard’s – it’s recycled wood mulch, natural color, nothing fancy, but it was just what I wanted, and only $1.77 a bag! I bought four bags and paid $7.50! By this time next week I want to have the garden completely done – mulch down, plants in, fence up! Unfortunately, I have some physical limitations that don’t allow me to do as much as I’d like to, so I have to pace myself and take lots of breaks. And some days, I just can’t do anything. As a result it takes me longer to do physical work than it should. But I’m getting there. I’ll post some pics this week.

This week, the celebrity world lost two of its shining stars to suicide within days of each other. The deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain left me gutted. As a former fashion designer wannabe, I followed much of Kate’s career fairly closely. I lusted after her bags, and at one point I would have gladly sacrificed my grocery money to buy one, but I did the responsible adult thing and bought the groceries, settling for a Kate Spade lookalike bag (my Fake Spade). Her designs were brilliant in their simplicity, and she wasn’t afraid of color. As for Anthony Bourdain, well I’m not going to pretend I was a big fan, because I wasn’t. There was just something about him I didn’t like – maybe his delivery, personality, I don’t know. But what I did love about him is how he found the most out of the way, off the beaten path places that showed viewers the true culture of a country or a people through local cuisine. He showed us that food can bring us together. But his and Kate’s deaths also show us something darker – that all the fame, success, and money in the world won’t necessarily make us happy. And that we all have demons we’re fighting every day, sometimes publically, other times very privately. I hope Kate and Anthony have found the peace they weren’t able to find in this world.

Kate and Anthony. May you rest in peace.

Simple Sundays

Since with this blogging challenge I am writing more outside of work than I have in a long time, I thought having themed days might help the process a bit. It’s easy to have lots of ideas for posts, but sometimes it can be difficult to write them out. So, today will be the first post of a new themed day – Simple Sundays, with shorter, simpler posts. Without further adieu, the first Simple Sunday post:

Today started drippy and rainy – and very humid – but the sun soon came out and I managed to get a little gardening in. I relocated my pathetic little Japanese maple to a pot, on advice from people in one of the gardening groups I belong to on Facebook. I bought it a couple of years ago, and each year, it’s completely died back and then begins to grow again in the spring, but never makes it too far. Right now it’s literally 3 inches tall. That’s it. The little thing is practically dead already, so the general consensus is, what’s it going to hurt? In theory I’ll keep it in the pot for a while, hoping it grows and gets stronger.

My poor little Japanese maple

I am excited because I made ice cream for the first time today! I’ve always wanted to try making my own ice cream, and I recently got an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I put the bowl in the freezer last night and made the ice cream today. It came out delicious, but it was very soft so it’s in the freezer to harden and I’ll have some later.

There’s nothing too exciting going on in my corner of the world today (leftovers for dinner, trash night, “90 Day Fiance” on TV, some reading, etc.). It’s been very quiet, which is very good. I will leave you with some words of wisdom:

Careless Memories

One thing most people in my life know about me is that I am a huge Duran Duran fan, and have been for about 35 years. It’s a love affair that began the first time I saw “Hungry Like the Wolf” on MTV. I was instantly drawn to Simon, not only because I thought he was very good looking, but partially because I thought he was the most “normal” looking in the group. And my sister liked Nick. So we could each have our own Duran.

My teen years, that tumultuous time when most people’s taste in music is formed, wrapped around the end of the 1970’s and the beginning of the 1980’s, so I basically came of age musically in an era that began with “Saturday Night Fever” and ended with Live Aid. There are a lot of music genres within that time frame, and because of Duran Duran, who were considered new wave at first (at least in the US), I began to listen to a lot of their contemporaries and influences. They introduced me to the likes of U2, Ultravox, New Order, The Cure, Roxy Music, Simple Minds, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, and a host of others. It was a mind blowing and mind opening time which has essentially shaped my entire life. Even to this day my musical tastes tend to be more alternative.

Me (left) with my mom and my sister, circa 1985. Note my shirt.

My friends were into the same music, so any time one of these groups would come to town, we’d have to go see their concert. Tickets were a lot cheaper back then – each show was around $12-15, so even on a babysitter’s salary, they were affordable. In 1985, I think I saw around 15 concerts, which is utterly crazy to think about these days, especially with the price of tickets. A couple of years ago, I saw Duran Duran at DTE Music Theatre (sorry, but it’s still Pine Knob to me). I paid $130 each for my pavilion tickets, which is a lot of money for most people, and I only paid that much because it was Duran Duran. I’d like to go to more concerts because I think there’s nothing like seeing a band live, but the ticket prices are usually pretty prohibitive, and honestly, the bands/people I want to see just don’t come around very often (or they broke up. Or they’re dead. RIP David Bowie and Prince).

But Duran Duran was always #1. I loved – and still love – these guys. Back in the day, my friends and I would go to the local malls and buy anything and everything with the Duran Duran logo or our favorite band member’s picture on it. I had so many Duran Duran buttons on my denim jacket that my mom said if I ever fell I’d stab myself. I covered every inch of my walls with posters and pictures ripped from magazines, and if there was a tiny exposed inch, I’d find a small picture to put there. I had t-shirts, books, magazines, videos, a beer mug (!), a hat – you name it, I probably had it.

I still have some of that stuff, but it’s packed away in boxes for safe keeping. No Duran Duran wallpaper for me these days. And I no longer have them playing on my Walkman 24/7. That doesn’t mean I like them any less, just that, like the boys themselves, I have grown, evolved, matured. I remember telling my mom 35 years ago that I was going to be a Duran Duan fan for life. She said I’d probably grow out of it. Well, Mom, I haven’t. And here’s to another 35 years. Cheers.

My license plate. I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan, too.

You Grow, Girl

There is a bunch of plants in their little plastic store pots sitting on my patio at this very moment, patiently waiting for their chance to stretch their roots deep into the soil, grow big and strong, and produce various vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Exactly where in my yard the flowers will go is still in question, but I know where the veggies and herbs will go.

I’ve always had an herb garden, but a couple of years ago I decided I wanted a vegetable garden, too. Actually I’d like chickens and a goat, as well, but my suburb doesn’t allow livestock, so I’ll have to settle for veggies. I started reading about the gardening concepts called raised bed gardening (RBG), and square foot gardening (SFG), and became very intrigued. You can do one without the other, but RBG and SFG often go hand in hand.

With RBG, you are planting within a frame that raises the soil above the surrounding soil, generally between 4″ and 10″, greatly reducing or eliminating many gardening issues, like weeding, and offering much better control of the quality and moisture content of the soil. Plus, RBG is great if you have any physical limitations, because the plants are easier to reach. It’s also ideal if you have a limited amount of space or don’t want a big garden. SFG divides your garden space into square feet, often using a physical grid made of plastic, with each square foot containing a certain number of one type of plant, depending on the size. For example, you would plant only one cabbage in a square, because it is a large plant, but you could plant a dozen carrots in a square, because they are small. This type of gardening provides higher yields than traditional row-style gardening, without the hoeing, rototilling, weeding, bending, or stooping it requires.

“The Square”

I purchased two 2′ x 4′ raised bed boxes and had marginal success with them over the last two seasons, but I felt there was one main issue with my raised beds – they were on legs, like tables, so my plants only had access to whatever soil was in the box. While I used a good, quality soil, they may not have been able to get enough nutrients. So this year, my mom suggested I plant my garden in “the square,” which is the flower bed my dad created after he took our pool down. There used to be a crabapple tree in the center (I’m still upset with my dad for cutting it down), and some other flowers, but now it just has my (struggling) Japanese maple and a butterfly bush, both of which will be relocated to another part of the yard.

The weekend weather is supposed to be awesome, so I’m hoping I can get a good start on the set up of the garden, and finish during the week. I will, of course, take photos, and post them as I go along. I’m hoping the relocation of my garden helps my veggies and herbs grow much better this year. There’s really nothing like vegetables straight from your own garden!