Saturday, December 27, 2008


Yes, it's pretty.
Yes, it's natural.
But enough already.

There is like 2 feet on the roof of my trailer (I'm in Plummer).
The landlord says he's not worried about it collapsing. I'm worried. I have a guy coming tomorrow. It's going to cost me at least 100$ to get it shoveled off. I'm praying it falls off on its own. There is a snow roof, but the snow is not sliding off like it is supposed to. Oh well. The snow is not behaving in anyway as it is supposed to. I hear that Spokane has set yet another personal best...snowiest December on record. Woohoo. I just looked at the "plow" map for Spokane. They are flattering themselves if they think they are going to get plowed out any time soon. If it rains on this (as is predicted) we have what is commonly termed a cluster....well, you know.

Here in Plummer I can get around on foot but it is nearly 40 degrees according to my little thermometer and STILL FRICKING SNOWING!!! GEEZ. I shoveled the car out again. If I don't stay ahead of it there is no hope. I also talked to the neighbor lady. She's walking to work now too since it takes a half an hour to get her car cleared off in the mornings. She can walk to work in about 10 minutes. She too is worried about her roof. But her husband is a plow driver and has worked every day for 3 weeks. I'm sure those are long days. I need to bring them some jam. Seriously.

Anyway, enough bitching.

El Kid is in Spokane and is planning to take the bus down today. Hope he can get a ride to Post Falls to get the bus that's legal for him to take. If not...well, he'll just have to make other arrangements. I'd post pictures, but I left my camera up in Spokane. The phone camera pictures of snow look like a whiteout. You lose all the "Dr. Zhivago" romance of a wider, less grainy shot. I must say. It IS beautiful.
Thank god I'm not having to drive this week. And thank god I'm not a plow driver.

OK, now I'm going to try to order a replacement part for my loomtastic so I can continue my career of making stupid looking hats for people who don't want them. Not very frugal or simple but it keeps me busy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Xmas

It's Christmas Eve and I've just suffered a great tragedy...I broke the little tool that came with my "loomtastic" knitting loom that I got at the thrift store. I had finished my second hat (see photo) and was trying to be all fancy with a different knitting pattern on my third one. Just when I was thinking "wow, this is too tight" the little tool broke. I think I can use a crochet hook or maybe a nutpick, but I'm just being bummed for a bit. Sad.

Sorry it's sideways. But I have limited technology. I'm on dial-up from the trailer and since I glued the phone wire into both the caller ID unit AND the phone, I'm using the curly phone wire that normally goes from the phone base to the hand set. So my super fancy laptop is being run through the base unit of a cheap translucent purple phone, a cheap translucent purple caller ID unit (with a dead battery), and then into the wall jack. Pretty sweet and efficient.

I went to the luxurious Plummer Public Library today to download free internet services. Between the 2 I have 20 hours of internet surfing per month free...though at least 19 of that would be spent waiting for stuff to load on the dial up. But there are starving children somewhere with no internet so I'm not really complaining.

I AM also watching the BEST deer hunting movie ever.
Escanaba in Da Moonlight. Right now, we're at the fart scene. It's probably on youtube but no way do I have the time and patience to get youtube videos on dial up. Just look it up yourself.
For those of you who have seen it just say quietly to yourself "one potato, two potato, more" over and over. Then end with "That explains my dream."

I'm in Plummer, Idaho and it's snowing again. I shoveled for an hour today to clear the car out of the drift that had RE-buried it. I've had about 2 feet clear on all sides. I don't think it will last. I warned El Kid that he may have to hop on the casino bus to get down here. The bus has gotten through the worst snow during this whole event. But cars are littering the ditches.

Just in case I haven't mentioned it yet...sometimes it's good to work for the Tribe (that's not a metaphor. I work for an actual Indian Tribe). Every fulltime employee got a Pendletonchristmas present from the Tribe! No wonder they switched to a potluck over the big dinner. I'd rather have a Pendleton anyday.

I've opened a couple of presents already. The one from Aunt Billie came a bit mangled so I opened it to see how the gift faired. It did fine. It is a HANDMADE!!! reversible tote bag in multiple animal prints. I LOVE it. I feel like I need some shiny stretch pants, big glasses with a sparkly glasses chain, a sweater with a sequined cat on it, and BIG hotrollered hair. I've been using it for everything. Groceries, taking packages to the mail. It's awesome. It came with a coordinating scarf! I will never be badly accessorized again. Now if only I could put together a basic outfit worthy of such accessories. I'll try to get a totebag action shot.

Aunt Marcie sent a TON of delicious spices and spice mixes. The most exciting one to use will be the sandwich size zip-top baggie of spices labeled only "HOT". She also sent some spiced mexican hot chocolate mix which is delicious and should make incredible mochas (speaking of which, I should start grinding some coffee if I want a cup tomorrow).

Sher sent many gifts. She recommended I open on in particular early since we had so much snow. I did...SNOW SHOES!!! AWESOME (I must use them while carrying my animal print tote). BUT Sher is under the impression that I'm thin. So I've sent them back for a larger size more suitable for a woman of I should get the replacements in 2 or 3 weeks. I would be just too awful to be out snowshoeing and sink up to my hips having the shoes now working as anchors rather than floats.

Aunt Chris (lots of Aunts...) sent many things as well. Two of these said to open before xmassanta or elf with a red outfit, white face (two black dots for eyes) and a tall red hat. Here's a lame phone photo of it in action:

Tomorrow I'll open the rest. I'm sure they will be as cool as the first batch.

El Kid got me some toys (don't know if I put that in a previous blog and I don't have time to wait for another window to open so I can check). My fave is the ice tray that freezes dentures! So it looks like you have grampa's uppers in your drink. I'll have to bring that to work.

OH, and my office mate and his wife, Sally of Peace Radio on Radio Free Moscow with me, gave me a harmonica, a t-shirt, and homemade toffee. Excellent.

Ok, bad things are happening, like the cursor has disappeared. So I'm going to close now. Sorry for typos. No time to spell check.
Blanket for our so I could enjoy the contents during the holiday. I did and I am. One is a straw-crafted mobile of little reindeer or something. very cute and hanging from the ceiling fan in the kitchen of the trailer. The other was a very very cool conical candle in red, white, and green made in such a way that it was a little

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy SNOW, Batman

So, I'll admit that a foot of snow in 24 hours and then 8 or 10 inches in the next 24 hours (apparently the weatherfolks are sure it wasn't 9 inches...reminds me of David Sedaris' story 6-to-8 Blackmen) .
STILL...the plowing in Spokane is SHAMEFUL! I'm not blaming the drivers. They are apparently following policy and would likely be fired if they took matters into their own hands.

I drove down to Plummer today (El Kid is with his mom for the holiday week so I'm in Plummer) and about 10 to 15 miles south of Spokane, the amount of snow drops to a total closer to about 15 inches or so. BUT, the plowing in Washington remains CRAP. I go over the state line and there is an ACTUAL LINE on the road where one goes from the Washington method of allowing a lot of snow to build up on the road and be packed down onto the road. (The depth on the side street next to our apartment is about a foot...that's PACKED a foot deep. The ruts are amazing and dangerous). The country highway I was on had several inches of packed snow on it. No sand. No gravel. No traction. One car in the ditch (my question was "why just one?").
At the Idaho line, amazingly, the road is pretty well scraped. There are some chunks of packed snow on the road, but you can see pavement and there is SAND and GRAVEL on the snow/ice/pavement. In Washington, the "plowing" (down to the packed snow) covered only one lane each way. No shoulder and no second lane even when I know there is on on the pavement. In Idaho, except for the ramp going from one highway to the next, the WHOLE ROAD is plowed.
It's not perfect and given the fear of salt in the greater Northwest, it isn't as good as I remember the midwest, but it's not bad. I drove 35 to 45 miles per hour the whole way and was OK.

But why is Idaho better plowed? There are fewer tax payers total. Fewer tax payers per mile of road. Fewer pieces of equipment (they are maintaining the local roads with a road grader as the plows are on the main highway) and fewer equipment drivers per piece of equipment.
So what gives?
What do Washingtonians have against the plow?

Anyway, it is what it is. And what it is, is crap road maintenance. Hopefully I can keep the commuting to a minimum.

Being trapped in Spokane was not pleasant. I don't like city life. I appreciate the store across the street. But I'd rather be on the rez. This week I plan to be here until Friday afternoon spending a blissful quiet week in the trailer baking and cooking when I'm not at the office catching up on missed work.

And can I say that while in Spokane they routinely plow a burm across the side streets (they don't plow side streets), here in Plummer, they avoided even plowing in my driveway and they know full well I'm rarely there. They did dump a HUGE load of snow in the yard, but didn't burm the drive. That is manners. As a result, it only took me an hour or less to dig out a parkign spot and a path to the trailer. In Spokane, I dug the 2 feet of snow (we only have a foot or so in Plummer, maybe less) away from the car, only to be faced with a burm at the end of the street. Thank god that guy was wandering around with a snow blower yesterday. I paid him to snow blow a clear area around my car and the neighbor's car. He wasn't asking for cash, but he was clearly spending a bit on gas to run that blower for hours and hours. He even snow-blew the alley so a few more people could get out. Really nice guy.

Anyway, trying to let the road crap go....breathe....

So, I brought Hammy to the rez in his little travel kennel. It's a bit wee. He was not comfortable but I thought, "if I go in the ditch, I can't leave Hammy in the car to freeze and he won't stay in a pocket. " And I was not going to carry his large rubber tub home (open roof for air) around in the snow. He'd freeze that way too. So, I brought him in the little kennel which I could stuff in my coat if we got stranded. Now he's living temporarily in the recycling bin (re-purposed ...may I say "recycled"... for his convenience). I put a piece of cardboard in the bottom so his hamster tinkle wouldn't go out on the carpet, but, being the big boned hamster that he is, he quickly levered it up and was apparently trying to put in a lower level. I had to put him back on top of the card board and wedge it down tighter. I gave him a few toilet paper tubes to amuse him. It's kind of sad. His head pops out the far end before his butt has disappeared at the other. It's like a fat kid at McDonald's Playland...wanting to have fun, but just getting stuck in the equipment. I'll have to find him a bigger tube to play in. He's got an old food box (pasta or something) for a house. He seems happy enough.

And now, I'm off to watch movies BY MYSELF. Cook BY MYSELF. And have a nice evening BY MYSELF.

Happy Holiday of your choice and I hope everyone travels safe.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stuff in a Jar Recipes and the WEATHER update

I've had a request for some recipes for "stuff in a jar".
A couple of years ago I bought a book at a silent auction for 2$. It's a set of recipes for "stuff in a jar" with cut out directions and gift labels. It's been a very good investment. I've given away a few different things for Christmas/Solstice/Whatever. People seem to like it.

Last year was Oatmeal Scotchie Bars:
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
2 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Layer ingredients in the order given into a wide-mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pack each layer in place before adding the next ingredient.

Put this on the label you attach to the jar:
1 jar Oatmeal Scotchie Bar Mix
3/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350deg. F. In a large bowl, cream the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add the Oatmeal Scotchie Bar Mix and stir until the mixture is well blended. Spread batter into a lightly greased or sprayed 9x12 inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. cool in pan. Cut into 2inch squares.

And now for the weather:
we got 12.5 inches in a 24 hour period during Weds and Thurs. This was followed by another 8-10 in the next 24 hours. This, combined with Washingtonians' belief that you should not plow until ALL the snow is on the ground, made for some crap road conditions. We had something like a dozen semi's jack-knifed around town blocking the main drags (which had had only nominal plowing...they SERIOUSLY leave the blade 4-6 inches ABOVE the pavement while "plowing" so that they don't wear out the blade. I called and asked what was going on and this is what I was told.) So, we have anywhere from 6-20 inches of snow packed into ice on the roads. They don't salt, though sometimes they put down some sort of ineffective chemical. And apparently there is a sand and gravel shortage in the greater Northwest. I live next to one of the busiest intersections in town and there is NO traction material laid down. As a result, people are rocketing or slowly sliding through the intersection all the time. lovely. I've not gotten the car out yet. I dug it out yesterday and will have to redig a bit today, but I'll get to it. Just had the vehicle tuned up and am assured by a guy who only works on subarus that it is in fine shape now that it has spark plugs and a clean throttle plate, an air filter that air can actually go through, and a fuel filter that fuel can actually go through. I've got walnut tires on it so I should be fine, but I don't like to drive when the locals are out driving. Their style is very different from mine.

OK, that is all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'No 'Poo Update

Isn't it time for a serious 'No 'Poo update?
Well, it's my blog and I say it is.

"But Jill," you say, "How are you blogging? I thought those bastards took away your free internet."
Well, I'm typing it into "Notepad" and saving it on my thumb drive, then taking that to work and posting from there while still not abusing our internet privileges.

Anywho, it's been too cold to leave the house (apartment...trailer...)
(that's a Girls Will Be Girls reference for those following along at home)
{{I can't find a Girls Will Be Girls clip that is REMOTELY appropriate to include here}}

in the morning with a wet head, so I washed my hair this evening. And, rather than take another shower I washed it in the sink.
I think that actually works better. It's hard to get my hair wet now that it is all coated with healthy hair coating stuff (sebum?) so soaking it in a bowl actually works better than trying to get it wet in our shower with mediocre water pressure.
And scrubbing the scalp with baking soda takes a bit longer than working up a shampoo-y lather. Also, I like to let the long bit sit in the vinegar rinse for a bit and that is easier in a bowl than in the shower with just a cup.
The final benefit: it's good to finish with a cold water rinse. That is an issue in the shower because even if you just stick your head under the cold shower spray, you still get cold shower secondary spray all over your nude body (sorry for the visual...pretend I'm hot) which is fairly traumatic first thing in the morning.
In the sink, the water stayed pretty much just on my hair and my head. Much easier. Of course, in the apartment our water pipe runs up 2.5 stories of uninsulated exterior wall and it was 5 degrees outside today. That was some seriously cold water.

Coincidentally...the apartment fix-it guy called me at 3pm to tell me that there had been a "serious flood" and thus the water would be off for a while. I had just got home from the library (I worked in Spokane today as the car is in the shop getting a full physical) and had chosen, STUPIDLY, not to pee at the library, but instead to wait until I got home. After about an hour of thinking about the fact that I wasn't supposed to pee...I had to pee REAL BAD. We have a grocery store with a whizzer right across the street, but what if the water still wasn't on by bed time? (I was saving the single flush of water in the toilet tank for the inevetible morning whiz)
I didn't want to run to the grocery store multiple times this evening having it become obvious that I was just going over there to piddle. I get all my groceries there and thanks to Sher's gift of a teal colored handbasket that I shop with and all the check out chicks love (see previous entries), I'm quite well known over there and can't just slip in unnoticed. At about 4:15 I give up and go back to the Gonzaga University Library to enjoy a relaxing, unobtrusive whiz.

I thought this was bad until I called my friend BLANK (name removed to protect the potentially humiliated) to ask how things were. She lives with her sister and brother-in-law about 10 miles out of Moscow, Idaho on a mini-farm. Well, with the cold weather their toilet, which is always a bit iffy, had decided that it would only allow liquid to pass through the system. And I mean ONLY paper. No..well..."solids". She refused to say what they were doing to cope with non-liquid-toilet-appropriate-items. She did concede that whatever the current system was not, apparently, dog-proof. (EEEEEWWWWW) I've always argued that dogs are better than cats because if you die alone in your trailer/apartment/house/mansion with a dog, it will NOT eat your face. I may have to rethink that because it seems that the cats are uninterested in human effluvia, unlike their canine compatriots.
They have several cats, but I did not suggest that they put all the cat litter in a giant box...and...well....

As I type, I'm enjoying the classic film "A Christmas Story" [Angela: I know that should be underlined or italicized as should the title above, but I have limited capabilities on Notepad and limited time to post the blog at work. Please forgive the inappropriate formatting.]
{to everyone but Angela: She's a tenured Professor of English and quite unforgiving about spelling, punctuation and formatting. More than one student has shed a tear when cut by her razor like wit. My favorite current story is when Angela had to inform a young ADULT student that "you" is spelled Y O U, not "U". F'ing text messaging is ruining our youth.}

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Of Blogs and Blind People Canes

OK, I'm behind on blogging because the free internet at the apartment never came back! Those BASTARDS!!
How dare they get us addicted to the interwebs and THEN stop. They are internet pushes. If I had any idea whatsoever who "they" were, I'd write a sternly worded letter.

As it stands, we're sucking it up and I must say, I'm getting more done.
I do more yoga, watch more movies (I'm watching one now while I draft this in notepad), the laundry is caught up and I just made 4 candles (or a mess in the kitchen and ruined 4 jars...we'll see after they cool) from scrap wax left over from the unburned nubbins of real candles that I bought at the thrift store. (Have I just crossed some line...have I become the crazy thrift lady?) (I don't care, I'm just wondering).

ANYWAY, a couple of blog-worthy things have happened.

Let's start with my accidental impersonation of a blind lady. Not any particular blind lady.

Here's how it goes. So about a week ago I'm thrifting on a Saturday morning as is my wont. I see a blind people cane at the great thrift store. I text Jonny (Hi Poodle!)
to see if he wants it for his costumery activities. I don't hear back until I'm long past that thrift store.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I have a meeting to go to in Spokane for work so I just stay in town rather than driving to the rez. After the meeting I have some time and walk home via the thrift store. The cane is still there. I buy it. Turns out it is there not only due to the missing tip, but due to the fact that it no longer breaks down into a manageable size that would fit in a bag.

I have to carry a full length blind people cane home. That's about a mile and a half. I try casually slinging it behind my arm so it won't look like I'm blind. People in cars are slowing down...apparently thinking that the blind lady is not using her cane and could meander into traffic at any minute. I try carrying it in all sorts of positions and nothing works. So I carry it in a way that is vaguely like a blind person would...fewer people stare, or get freaked. At least not until I am at the corner waiting for the walk-light to change and texting on my phone while leaning on my blind people cane.

Right near the apartment is an eye doctor. I wanted to walk in and say, "You know, I've been feelingbetter lately. Could you check my eyes?" Then, when it turns out my eyes are fine, I could scream, "It's a MIRACLE", throw my cane away and run out of the store in mock glee.
Instead, I just laughed to myself, appearing to not only be blind, but nuts too.

I'll send the cane to Jonny as soon as I find a mailing tube big enough for it.

Other funny things: Hammy bit me. OK, not particularly funny, but with a hamster there are only so many activities. He eats, craps, runs on the wheel, and once he escaped. I put him in the big play pen again and he seems happy enough, but how would I really know?

OK, so now I hate Starbucks and will be boycotting them. I went to the Starbucks to use the internet and bought their non-fair-trade coffee and whatnot. THEN I find out that their wifi connection is NOT free. It is for fee. I'm going to try one of the other far nothing works.

I moved over to the organic free trade FREE WIFI coffee store. No more Starbucks. I'll just come here on the weekend.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Betty's OK!

Betty is my car.
It was the alternator. It must have had an attack and died on the road.
I asked them to check out the rest of the car before I paid for this repair. They said they already had (they've met me), and the transmission etc look fine. So, it's fixed. I drive down to Moscow tomorrow morning at some ungodly hour and pick it up. I'm hoping to get there in time to take a yoga class while I'm in town since I'll miss the one in Plummer.

To celebrate Betty's miraculous recovery, here is my current favority Willie Nelson video:

And, just because this was emailed around work today and CRACKED ME UP: