Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Mother, My Dinner.

So, I've become my mother in one more way. Damn it!
Not that Sher isn't fabulous. I just thought that I would be different. I would not become my mother.

But, now that I have El Kid in my care, I find myself acting like my mother. It could be worse.

For example, I cook dinner now pretty much every night. We go out to eat about once a month, otherwise we're home. I've always cooked. But cooking for one person to eat in front of the TV or standing over the sink is different than cooking for a teenage boy.
For one, the quantities have had to change dramatically. I just made meatloaf tonight that I thought would last a good 4 meals. Yeah. More like 2. Unless he gets up and eats it for a snack tonight. Then, just one meal. It was an entire pie pan of meatloaf.

Now I understand why parents make epic amounts of food. It goes away so fast.

Then there are the selections. When cooking for myself, I could make whatever I wanted. Often these were one or 2 pot meals and then I would eat it for days. I still cook a large pot of something but then, I feel like I need to put on a balanced meal. Thank god for bag-o-salad!
Tonight's meal as an example:
Meatloaf, squash, salad, watermelon. If it was just me, that would have been meatloaf and salad. Squash was my entire lunch today (El Kid was still asleep).

When I used to make spaghetti, that was the entire menu. Now, thanks to Sher's model, I must serve sides with it. When I can't think of what goes with the main dish, I use the menu from the lunch lady in Plummer. She has a lunch delivery service that is incredible. When SHE has spaghetti she always has a side of green beans. So now when I make spaghetti, I serve a side of green beans. It goes very well!
She serves mashed potatoes with meatloaf. I was going to serve that but El Kid tried squash earlier in the day and liked it and that was already cooked so that's what we had.

Actually, even the meatloaf idea was stolen from the lunch lady. She served banana cream pie for dessert that day, but I hate bananas and don't eat cream so that was out. We had the watermelon instead since it was on sale and I'm cheap. Also, the worms like watermelon rind so it was a treat for all residents of the apartment other than the hamster.

So what are we having tomorrow?
Probably thawed out blackbean and sweet potato chili, or pasta. Who knows. But for sure there will be bag-o-salad and a side dish. Damn you Sher with your square meals.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recipes from Our Readers

Thanks to Angela and Laurie who added recipes to the comments on a previous post.
They both sound DELICIOUS and here they are:

From ANGELA (making this "Ma Gulick's Apple Crisp"):
My Mom's [heart] Apple Crisp
• 8 large apples, peeled and sliced
• 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup oatmeal
• 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 2/3 cup soft oleo

Grease large Pyrex dish and place peeled/sliced apples. Mix remaining ingredients and place topping on apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 50 minutes.

And here is a GREAT Squash Soup recipe from Laurie who got it from the Moosewood Cookbook:

1 cup diced onions
1 celery stalk
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 butternut squash (about 1 lb) peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 potato, diced
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 6 oz)
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of dried marjoram
2/3 cup evaporated skimmed milk
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine onions, celery, garlic and apple juice in large pot. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the squash, potato, water/stock, bay leaf, thyme, salt and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the veg are very soft, about 20-25 min).

While the soup simmers, saute the mushrooms in an uncovered skillet with the sherry, soy sauce, and marjoram until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 min)--set aside.

When the squash/potatoes are very soft, remove the soup pot from the heat and, working in batches, puree the soup with the evaporated skinned milk in a blender or food processor. Reheat gently. Add salt and pepper. Serve topped with the sauteed mushrooms.

I think starting a meal with squash soup and ending with apple crisp would be a fine fine meal.

Thanks Poodles!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chasing the Dragon...

of the perfect cheap rental place.

This is an addiction I've had for years. This is why I've lived in something over 20 different places. Sure I took a little time out to own a home in Iowa, but that was because I'd run into the world's WORST landlord (and one of my other landlords was a child molester who would stand in the hallway between the various apartments and listen to me the one who inspired me to buy a house was REALLY bad).

I have a rental on the rez AND a rental in Spokane that meet my requirements:
*Maximum square footage per rent dollar (like over 3square feet per rent dollar on rez, about 2ft/$ in Spokane!)
*Laissez-faire landlords (the rez-landlords did not question why there was a deer skelton on the porch roof, the Spokane landlord does not come over unless there is a problem)
*Lots of light and air
*I can walk to everything I really need (groceries, work (well, the Spokane rental flunks this but you can walk to thrift stores so it is redeemed), coffee)

And yet, once I discovered craigslist, I became addicted once more to finding the perfect rental. So I obsessively check craigslist to see if there are better rentals (cheaper? better location? better windows? space for a garden? no lawn care? weirdly entertaining neighbors?).

Craigslist has photos. It links to google maps where you can click on street view and see the places! Maybe THIS one is on a country road that also has bus service...let's check the Spokane Transit Authority website against the googlemap street view and see if that bus stop really IS that close...

But what's the point?
I like my apartment in Spokane even if I hate living in Spokane. Once I'm home. I don't have to drive. There are 3 buses that go past the place and a grocery store across the street. The chick who lives downstairs is in her last year of law school and way to busy to make noise. The guy I share a wall with is quiet too (though may be moving soon). The walls are real plaster so unless someone is being a super a--hole, I'm not going to be bothered. Sure there is the drive to work, but the trade off is no drive once I'm at the apartment.
I'm drawn to the rentals on craigslist that would be closer to work, yet still in Spokane (El Kid needs to stay in school and do other things that require him to a) be in Spokane and b) either be near a bus stop or have me drive him all over hell and we know that last bit ain't happening.
The bus service on the edge of town towards work is spotty at best.
That would mean I'd have to drive El Kid all over town. This would cut down on his independence and cut UP on the actual amount of time I spend driving around town. I would hate that. I'd save about 10miles in the daily total commute, only to drive 15 or 20 around town since there is no bus in the area.

And yet...those apartments or duplexes on the edge of town...they wouldn't feel so much like I lived in town. And yet...I'd have to drive around town constantly often during rush hour. I hate that. Spokane has the worst traffic and road maintenance for a town its size. It's actually famous for the ruts in the pavement. So why would I want to live on the edge of town and then drive in it every evening and all weekend? Why not stay where El Kid can take the bus, I can walk to a thrift store, coffee, and to get groceries?
Why craigslist? WHY DO YOU TEMPT ME SO?

I always have liked looking at floorplans and then deciding why they suck and why I would hate living in those houses. Maybe this is similar. I like looking at the apartments and thinking the grass would be greener...but I hate to mow and I'm allergic to grass so I need to just stop.

Is there a way to block craigslist from my computer?

I should switch to only searching craigslist in Paris and Prague and Petaling Jaya. Then I could at least be finding vacation homes.

Actually, I do search craigslist for various locations. You get some insight into the local culture when you check out what's on the "free" section. Here there are lots of couches and big screen TVs and moving boxes. Things students and the working poor buy then chuck when they have to move to a cheaper place (which they found on craigslist).

In Paris what's free?
A bathtub with no feet that you have to set up on bricks...
Crappy Ikea bookshelf
Moving boxes

You see the difference? In Paris, it's FRENCH crap. In Spokane it's boring American crap.

Wonder if Rekyavik is more interesting?
They don't have a craigslist so we'll never know.

Oh well. Perhaps I can change my addiction to the apartment ads over to an addiction to the best-of-craigslist and think about those poor slobs who write what they think are long creative missives and post them in cyber space as if anyone gives a crap.

Oh wait...uh...Trust me blogging is TOTALLY different.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not Much to Say

I don't have much to say today, I just want to stay at least 40 posts ahead of the Flood Blog.

Actually, I have a question today.

It's time to make some changes so I'm wondering if any readers have a recipe or two they'd like to submit. We're coming up on squash and apple season and I get sick of just eating apples and baked squash. I had some squash soup today and frankly, I like my homemade better than the purchases stuff even if it is organic. So I'll probably make that.

What else can I do with squash?

Any non-dairy way to jazz up eating all those apples? (I can take the dairy out of some recipes but probably not something like "cheese on apples" or "apples in creme fraiche") ... (....apples in creme fraiche. That would be delicious).

To get you started, here's my recipe for squash soup. I got it out of some free healthnut rag they give out at the co-op.

CRAP!!!! I've lost the recipe. I love that recipe. OK, if anyone has a recipe for butternut squash soup with apples or pears (it was an option), please please send it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Toddler Buddhist Lessons

So, this one time, at band camp...

Oh wait, it wasn't band camp. It was the Moscow, Idaho Public Library.

I heard the best Buddhist lesson EVER from a toddler.

Buddhists say that all suffering comes from attachment and I've been thinking about that lately.
When we are attached to things/people/plans/thoughts/habits it can cause suffering.
Part of simplifiying my life is trying to cut back on my attachment to crap (of course my biggest step in this was leaving most of it in Pam's basement which may not quite be what the Buddha was getting at).

So, back to the library. Last summer I was there and waiting in line to check out books (probably liberal diatribes, how to live off the land, and something by Kinky Friedman). I'm standing in line behind a mom with 2 kids. One was a baby and one was a toddler. The toddler had had enough of this standing around crap and went to get a sticker out of the little box of stickers on the counter (which they put there to amuse kids and to avoid handing out sugary treats). The kid liked her sticker and wandered over to the fish tank while admiring it. The mom was juggling the baby, stroller, about 100 books, and trying to deal with checking out all these books. There were questions, something on hold. It took a while.

Meanwhile, back at the fish tank, the toddler girl had taken the backing off her sticker, and stuck it to the tank. She admired her work. Then tried to pick the sticker off with her right index finger. It wouldn't come off. She came up with a sort of toddler rap that went like this:
I waaant myyyyy sticker back.
She repeated this over and over and over while picking at the sticker with her finger.
Her mother was trying to reserve books or something and still at the counter.
After a few minutes of the mantra: I waaaant myyyyy sticker back
The mom goes over and gets the toddler. They manage to finish the checking out process and leave.
All the while I hear: I waaaant myyyyy sticker back.
I can hear them going down the walk....down the block.

They forgot something and come back.
I waaaant myyyy sticker back

That toddler was suffering due to two attachments: Hers to the sticker and the sticker's to the tank.

Her mantra actually made me think of that.

And I still repeat the mantra (partly because it had a really funky beat to it. I've heard far worse on the radio).

OK, in case any of you are wondering if Kinky Friedman is a real dude...he is. He has a band called the Texas Jewboys and he ran for governor of Texas (hey, they've done worse!).
Here's a clip for those of you unfamiliar with his work:

The classic "I'm Proud to be an Asshole from El Paso" (WARNING: SATIRE!!)

And a campaign ad:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ups and Downs of the New Semester

So, the city apartment is in campus town near Gonzaga University. The students are back.
There have been some up-sides to this:
Great free crap in the alley when they all moved on August 31st
A livelier neighborhood on the weekend
Good turnover of stuff at the thrift stores
A few of them are actually reusing their re-usable grocery bags which gives me hope for the young people of America

And some downsides:
The downstairs neighbor had her mail stolen!
There is more crap and wasted stuff in the alley
A livelier neighborhood all night long
The new basement neighbors may have packed 4 or more people into a quite small apartment and they are quite loud.

Hopefully most of the downsides are just part of everyone settling in and getting used to habits and schedules.

And it IS nice to see some of the neighbors putting things out on the curb with "free" signs before they throw them out. And to see them reusing those reusable bags their moms bought them. Now if only the new baristas would learn to make a decent f'ing americano!

I wish I had a picture for about a funny video (sorry they make you watch an ad! I in NO WAY endorse whatever crap product they are hawking):

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Day at the Fair

The Latah County Fair.
El kid and I went down to Moscow, Idaho to meet up with a friend at the Latah County Fair. This is truly a smalltown fair. There were pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, miniature horses (didn't see any big horses), scary fried food, cheap carnival rides (hopefully I'll have a picture to post soon), and scary carnies.

All in all, a lovely way to waste an afternoon.

There was a small section where people were showing pet rodents in the rabbit barn. There were a few hamsters, a black and white (pinto style) rat, a few guinea pigs, and one fluffy thing that was either a tribble or a weird guinea pig.

For your reference, some tribbles and one really crap actor:

After the fair we went to the friend's house out in the boonies and looked at her chickens, dogs, cats, fish, frogs...hmmm....she sort of lives at a fair except for the carnies.

For frugal fun this weekend (the fair was free...but we did drive 75 miles to get there and eat overpriced fair fare which was not frugal), we watched a movie I got from netflix.
The movie:
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
It was hysterical. Ricardo Montalban was sporting some serious cleavage though El Kid, me and El Kid's friend all think it was some sort of falsies arrangement because it moved oddly and his outfit appeared to be attached to his chest. Let me see if I can find a photo...

Yes, here we go. That is some serious man cleavage (meavage?).

Surprisingly, Khan did NOT have a wardrobe malfunction, no nip slip, so I do not know if he, like Janet Jackson, was wearing some sort of freaky starburst nipple ring. But given the outfit, I'm thinking he probably was.

I wonder if Shatner's people will find this entry and complain that Ricardo's picture is bigger than the Shat's. That would be awesome*.

*the word awesome is appropriate in this instance as the movie came out in 1982, the peak of the misuse of awesome.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well, I thought since the meditation class was so good. How about taking the 90 minute yoga class before then. I need it (tense and what not) and it would be a better warm up to meditating than just walking on the treadmill.

Yeah. Um. This was the toughest yoga class I've ever had. NOT because of the difficulty of the poses. I'm good at the poses and quite bendy for a fat girl.
BUT have you ever gone to sit in a chair, but stopped say 4 inches above the chair? Then held that pose for say 90 seconds?

Go try it now. Really...I'll wait.

Here's something to watch while you do that:

That was 15 seconds too long, but you know you couldn't do it anyway.
I do get a kick out of that group, The Zimmers. They are old.

After that yoga class I felt old enough to join the group. The other woman in the class (yes, I said the other woman...not that there was just one other WOMAN, there was just one other PERSON in the class), was about 20 years older than me and that sucked because she could do everything. My form is better, but she can hold a pose forever. I apparently have a very heavy ass. I cannot stay in Plank Pose (like the "up" part of a push-up) for 90 seconds without putting my knees on the floor (fortunately the boobs are pretty well already down on the floor already in that pose so there's a couple of pounds I didn't have to hold up). I'm pretty sore today. But eventually I will get better or be humiliated out of class. I did have more success on handstand than the other student, but I think form is more important than strength on that one.

Fortunately today at work the plan was to screw around so being sore and tired worked out OK.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


So they just started offering a meditation class at work!
Well, not at work but at the wellness center in Plummer, Idaho. I get a free membership there as a job benefit and the classes are all included in the membership. (How frugal is that??)

Yesterday, they started a meditation class. It was great. Yes, it is a bit like nap time without the graham crackers and milk (I'm thinking of bringing some granola and soymilk though). But still. It was lovely. 5 people showed up. This is alot. The yoga class just before meditation had one student in it. I'm going to try the yoga class too. It would be a 2 hour break from work twice a week. But I'm working 5 10s anyway so I'd still be 6 hours over my minimum work week. I use that extra time as comptime when I need a day off and don't want to take vacation time. My boss is cool with that.

Anyway, in meditation class, we all laid down on the floor on mats and blankets for a bit of cushion. The teacher put eye bags on our eyes (tiny oblong silk pillows filled with flax and lavendar) (she put a tissue right over our eyes first so no one would get pink eye on the bag). Next she put on some soothing music and told us to focus on our breath and to take slow breaths.
Then suddenly she was talking again and I'm thinking "WHAT THE HELL!? I'm TRYING TO MEDITATE HERE. SHUT UP!" I thought we'd only been lying there like 5 minutes. Turns out it was 30 minutes. Very relaxing.

Then I went to the office and ate more of that Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili for lunch.

I hadn't been to the wellness center in a while (which is a gym really). There is a new sign on the inside of the women's locker room door:

I like it because it makes me wonder what happened. And how many times did it happen.

While it would never normally occur to me to meander around half dressed (I don't even much care for shorts), this sign made me want to go up to the snack bar in my bra and undies and order a smoothie or something.

Who was not fully dressed?
How not "fully dressed" were they?
Was it that they were not "fully dressed" or was it more about the person's...uh...body type? (fat? hairy?)
Is there a similar sign in the men's locker room?
Do those hideous bike shorts that are so tight I can tell you have prostate cancer count as "fully dressed"?
(Have I blogged about the bike shorts incident at the cafe?)
So many questions. No answers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Enough With the Preaching

So, that's about enough of the preachy crap for now.
How about a recipe?

Here is the recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili that I made the other night.
It is from one of my favorite websites,

They have vegan recipes for everything. This is handy for those of us who do not do the dairy. I put the chicken and eggs back in (and sometimes I add buffalo meat where they have TVP (textured vegetable protein)) which is probably sacreligious to the vegan crowd, but good for those looking for non-dairy recipes that aren't total crap. Am I saying "crap" too much in this entry? Well, crap!

Anyway, here it is:

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 tablespoon olive oil (more if onions start to burn)
2 cans (4 oz) diced green chiles
2 tablespoon spices (cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder to taste)
1 large lime (or 2 small), zest and juice
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cubes
28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
4 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
2 chipotle chiles (canned chipotle in adobo sauce), chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped leaves
1/2 - 1 cup water as needed
Buy organic when possible!


Saute garlic and onions in olive oil on low-medium heat till limp. Add lime zest, squash, 1/2 lime juice, and spices and cook covered for 15 min (add a little water or olive oil if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom). Add tomatoes, black beans, chipotle chiles, cilantro and cook until sweet potatoes are tender. Add remaining lime juice and more spices to taste if necessary, and simmer covered for 10 min, adding more water if needed.

Serve with brown basmati rice and vegan sour cream!!!

Serves: 8

Preparation time: 1hr

VEGETARIANS STOP READING NOW (This means you, Laurie):
I think this recipe would be fantastic made with buffalo, elk, deer, or moose in place of some of the black beans.

I've been putting it over brown rice in "tupperware" (used margarine tubs a friend gives me) for lunch at work. Since I started with dry beans, used a fajita spice packet I had left over from christmas, and most of the other ingredients are fresh or almost-always-on-sale-canned, it's a pretty frugal dish. And what's simpler than beans and rice? (which is also a complete protein)

And yes, Pamela, I like this recipe because there is no juice to the chili. I find that juice in chili, stew, or soup is really just wasted space. I know others think it is "broth" or "sauce" or whatever. I don't care for it. I prefer my chili/stew/soup to be more like a stove top casserole.

Last night I served this over oven fries (made from organic purple potatoes) with cheese on top...the hippie version of chili cheese fries. El Kid loved it. Mine was good even with almond cheese. Wish I had taken a photo...oh well.

Anyway, I think this chili would be fantastic camping food! You could leave it simmering on the wood stove all day and eat and eat and eat. Then, fart all night providing your own heat when the stank hits a candle and the whole place blows up!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Simplicity and Frugality 102....

The sequel...
Since I got so much response on the previous post (3 different commentors! wow!), I thought maybe we could have the advanced course today.

So, what does one do in the second semester?
How does English 101 relate to English 102? Anthropology 101 to Anthropology 102?
Well, I guess more of the same.
So let's pretend we've moved on to the 200-level course and started talking about motivation.

Here are some of my personal motivations for simplifying and frugalizing.

Firstly, I'm loving the debt free lifestyle. More and more each day. I see all these home foreclosures and whatnot, and know that I'm OK. I have 2 homes...both rented and both pretty darn securely rented since I'm a good tenant who pays on time and doesn't trash the place.

Also, I tend to be very focused on future goals and being frugal works with that. I can feel an immediate reward for saving or not spending since I know it's getting me closer to the dream of buying land and a goat and yelling at people who try to set foot on my little homestead.

Of course there is the environmental aspect. The less I use, especially the less chemical-based stuff and the less new stuff, the smaller my impact on the planet. The allows me to have that lovely self-satisfied feeling when I see the horrible slideshow about plastic bags killing the planet..because I know that I'm not contributing much to the plastic-bag-waste-stream. It's a petty motivation, but it's there. Also, I actually give a crap about the planet and realize that I can only really control my own contribution to the problem/solution.

And part of the motivation is being an atheist or agnostic (I'm not sure which right now). I don't have a "do-over" or afterlife to look toward and be my moral compass. I have to make the most of this life right now and in some ways that means making the least mess with this life. I don't think I'm doing to great of a job yet...but it's something to shoot for.

That's enough pontificating for now.

I'll just go to bed on the mattress on the floor bought from a thrift store, and use my milk crate night stand and the other nightstand which was donated by a friend, read my library book, watch my videos on the public computer dial up....on the computer which was unfortunately newly built....oh well.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Simplicity and Frugality 101

Turns out this is the 101st post! Cool. I missed the 100th post. That's the previous one.
So, I'll celebrate this one.

I guess I should post something basic...
Well, I just posted on wikihow about how to hang laundry on a rack and thusly dry it for free.
That's pretty basic frugality. I've been using a clothes rack, sometimes a clothesline (but that doesn't work when it's raining or smoky or dusty which is much of the time here) for years. Your clothes last longer and if you hang carefully, you cut down on ironing. I cut down on ironing by almost never wearing things that need ironing. Of course if you have a job where you can't wear a sweater, t-shirt, or sweatshirt everyday, you won't be able to use that technique.

By the way, you want that second rack for darks mentioned below because if you dry lights on the "darks" rack you can end up with a strip across the light item. This sucks if you've hung a shirt with the front down and folded over the rack at about boob-level.

Here it is:

  1. Buy or make 2 sturdy wooden clothes drying racks, each large enough to hold 1 medium size load (about 30 feet of drying space)
  2. Decide which rack is for whites and very light colored clothes and which is for darks.
  3. Get a load of wet laundry out of the washer (or, if you are really frugal, out of the bathtub you washed it in).
  4. Take a garment (good to start with shirts or pants) out, shake out the big wrinkles
  5. Lay the garment along the rack with the folds either on the seams or where you want a crease. For t-shirts this means the shirt will be flattened out in a 2-dimensional shirt shape. Pants can be hung in a flat pants shape, or you can hold the bottoms of the legs, put the seams together and "snap" the pants so that the legs are folded along the creases and hang that way.
  6. each larger garment or towel gets its own rung for now
  7. As you take out clothes, put the socks, undies, hankies, bras, and other small items aside.
  8. Once all the big stuff is hung up on the appropriate rack (white/lights on the whites rack, darks on the darks rack), go through and make room on the rungs for the small stuff.
  9. Socks can be hung in the joints of the rack rather than on the rungs, or even on the supporting, angled, bars.
  10. Thin towels can be folded in half.
  11. In an emergency, thin t-shirts can be folded in half.
  12. Button down shirts go on hangers rather than on the rungs. These can be hung from the edges of the rungs if there is room, otherwise use the shower rod.
  13. Wait for the clothes to dry on their own.


  1. turn a fan on the rack
  2. put the rack near a heat vent (but away from electric heaters or anything with a flame!!)
  3. Lay a shirt or something on the hotwater radiator if you have it. It will dry very quickly. Dust the radiator BEFORE laying the clothing item on it!
  4. wear something else


  1. Put clothes racks in rooms that you want humidified and skip the humidifier
  2. Clothes racks over hot air vents make for nice toasty towels and clothes


  1. A fan blowing across a rack of wet clothes (in a dry climate) can cool a room off enough for you to get to sleep on a hot night.

  • If you want to save a bit or start slow, get one rack. use it until the rods start to darken (a few years) then designate it as the "darks" rack and buy a new lights/whites rack
  • Plastic racks or flimsy and develop breaks and cracks that snag clothes
  • Spend a little more upfront and you will not regret it. A cheap rack will not last
  • Sheets can be hung doubled over or even in 3 or 4 layers. Just come back to the rack now and then to flip them around and refold in another direction and rehang. This will get them dry rather than let them mildew.
  • In humid climates like Florida summers...good luck! You'll probably need a fan or to put the clothes near a dehumidifier which could negate the energy savings
  • In summer, set the rack out on the porch or near an open window


  • Keep hanging clothes away from anything that could start them on fire
  • Don't hang wool or cotton sweaters on a single rod. They need to be draped over several rods or dried flat to avoid stretching out of shape.
  • Flip jeans over now and then to keep them from mildewing if it takes more than one day to dry

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Sturdy clothes racks with at least 30feet of hanging space per rack
  • a little patience
  • the ability to plan at least 8 hours into the future for your clothing needs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thrift Score!

So I was out thrifting per usual on a Saturday morning.
In my favorite store, the Volunteers of America store, they had a blue and gold sari! 18.95$.
How cool is that?
Here is a picture:

It IS true that I don't need a sari, I do like to have fabric lying about incase I need to build another wall or cover a window.
I called Pam while I was in the store and she said she'd like it and will pay for it. It will just be one of her solstice presents though. Don't tell her. I want it to be a surprise. Which is easy because she forgets even if you do tell her.

On the Hammy the Hamster seems fine, though resistent to taming. We take him out to play and he just leaves. We had him in a big rubber tub with some stuff to play on (as recommended on hamster websites) and he manages to climb out and take off. If you let him run around on you, also recommended on the websites, he still leaves. He JUMPS. I did not know hamsters could jump but they can.

I'm pushing to get his new more interesting home constructed so he'll have a richer environment, though he seems pretty happy with the wheel, a bit of water and food, and somewhere to bury himself in bedding. A toilet paper tube and he's in heaven. I think he's into voluntary simplicity too.

Since there have been recipes on the Flood Blog I think I should put one here.
I made some killer buffalo soup the other day and it's getting better with age.
Here's the recipe:

1 lb ground buffalo
3 cups left over stir fried veggies (garlic, onion, broccoli, carrot, zucchini)
1 cup mixed corn and green beans from bags in the freezer that you don't remember buying
more chopped garlic
veggie broth (the brand in an asceptic box with that guy's face on it. Some chef. It was on sale months ago and still sitting on a shelf in my pantry/stairwell)
worcestershire sauce

Fry the buffalo in a dutch oven.
It was pretty lean so I didn't drain it.
Toss in the left over veggies and fry in the buffalo juice a bit
Corn/broccoli that you've heated up over another burner because you don't want to chill the soup
Add broth (it was like 4 cups)
Add w.sauce
Add spices
Put the lid on and let it come to a boil then turn down and simmer.

While it's simmering, make some egg noodles that you've had sitting in the cupboard since April.
Put the egg noodles in individual soup bowls. Cover with buffalo soup.

We had cheese toast on the side (mine was fake cheese made from almonds. It sucks the least of you non-dairy cheese options).

It was pretty good. We've been eating on it for 3 days and there is still some left.
Yesterday we had sweet potato oven fries on the side. Tonight...probably more sweet potato fries as well as normal potato fries. Because those are the vegetables going bad.

I also still have a giant zucchini but I'm freaking sick of zucchini.

Tonight I'll be making up some black bean chili from dry beans (soaking now), and dehydrated veg that I put up last year. I haven't dried much this year, but I apparently did plenty last year and need to eat it up.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Darn Kids!!

So, my home...well...ONE of my in a college area. Since it is the end of August and the new school year begins tomorrow, many people were moving this weekend.

I go to the dumpster behind the house to put something in the trash. And I return to the apartment with 2 things! There could have been more. The people in the basement apartment seem to have moved out. And they threw out perfectly usable things!
I was actually looking for a dish drainer and there was one right on top of the pile of CLOTHES and stuff. I washed it with vinegar and borax so I'm sure it's fine.

Also, there was an old computer tower case thing. The kid had been wanting one to turn into a cool hamster condo. This is a pretty good sized one so I think it will work fine. There are some computer bits in there but those can be removed and the sharp edges covered with some sort of soft tape or something (I'm thinking medical tape). Maybe we'll even line the think with food-box cardboard (thinking that that should be relatively non-toxic and keep the hamster away from the cold metal walls in the winter). It has some interesting features like the fan vents and the box for the power supply and another box. We think we can build ladders to those. One side will be removed and covered with 1/4inch hardware cloth (wire mesh). It looks like the wheel will even fit.

I got Hammy a wheel. He loves the wheel. I want to kill him. It's plastic (had to do it...the metal ones break their little legs according to the hamster care websites) so rather than squeak, it rattles. The kid reports that Hammy was up running on his wheel until 6am. Only took a break now and then for water. So the estimates of 3-8km per night for a hamster on a wheel may be accurate! Cripes. Glad he has a hobby. We were thinking we should put up a little water station like they have for marathons so Hammy could grab a water, drink a little, throw the rest over his head to cool off, then continue the marathon on the wheel.

One interesting bit about Hammy and the wheel...he'll only go one direction on it. Is he trying to get somewhere? What is to the west? I'm going to turn the cage around later and see if he'll run east. Is it the cardinal direction or just the direction relative to the wheel? Inquiring minds want to know.

Back to the wasteful bastard students here...
So I'm walking around this morning going to get a coffee while my laundry does its thing. And, as usual I walk in the alleys because they are more interesting. People use the front of their homes to try to show who they wish they were. The back yards by the alleys though are usually more "real". People are throwing out EVERYTHING. There is someone's gramma's afghan in the TRASH! Gramma would be pissed. Granted, it's hideous orange, brown and green, but still. Someone took the time to buy ugly yard and make a gross pattern and create that afghan. Now it's in the dumpster under food debris.
There are chairs, couches, cookware, silverware, etc.

What the heck happened to putting it on the curb with a "free" sign on it?
You know, I got a 6foot tall shelving unit and a perfectly good chair outback last spring. I could have furnished the place quite nicely today. I resisted taking anything other than what I was shopping for at thrift stores. But damn, I could totally open a junk shop.

In Moscow, Idaho, a group of students are starting a service to pick up people's stuff when they move at the end of the semesters, and then store it and sell it cheap at the beginning of the semesters. I think it's a great idea. I wonder if anyone at this school would go for it. Many of these students are pretty wealthy (well, their parents are) so much of the stuff is good.

We still need a desk so if any local readers would like to put a desk out in the alley this week, it would be appreciated.