storms a brewin'

No bike ride for me this morning.
The wild stripey morning sky quickly gave way to menacing clouds and then a torrential downpour.


and now, in other health news

If you know me, you know that I drink a lot of kombucha. It's a pricey habit --well, not as pricey as cigarettes and pints of beer, but at $3 a pop it adds up. So, I decided to get with the program and start making my own. I started a culture a few weeks ago with little faith that anything would grow, but lo and behold, I have a colony:

This evening I brewed up a pot of sweet tea:

Added the culture:

And now we wait.

And yes. OH, yes. That IS a patriotically-themed sun tea jar. On sale at Shnuck's for $3. It balances out the insane hippie-ness of making one's own kombucha.

I was feeling so productive and crunchy that I went ahead and also made peanut butter cookies. Vegan peanut butter cookies.

I like to balance out my healthy kombucha habit with a steady intake of cookies, cupcakes and brownies.


further evidence that my cable bill is a waste of money*

After receiving several notices that "The Rock of Love tour bus is downtown! Right now!" I finally had to cave and google it. How is it that I never hear about reality shows until they are practically to season 6? At least I have not only heard of, but also watched, its predecessor. Wait, no. That's not a good thing, I hate that show.

Cable will rot your brain.

(*a waste b/c i spend $100/month to watch reruns of Law & Order. Which reminds me -- remember when they used to play the original seasons? What ever happened to those? Remember when Michael Moriarty was the DA? Or when Mr. Big was in it the first time around? Or even the short, but great, run with the ADA with the short light brown hair? )

eat local!

More food scares.
Maybe my snobby european 'biscuits' are not all they are cracked up to be.


unanticipated side benefits of working from home this morning

1. Surprise rash of productivity! Everything on to-do list completed by 11.

2. Time to trim a few flowers while the tea water boils.

3. Puppy spying opportunities.

4. Puppy cuddling time -- it only takes one hand to enter data, the other is free for ear scratching.

Off to class now, but it was a grand morning.


flashback whiplash

Remember when you were a freshman in college and you had that teacher who was so nice, but perhaps had not the strongest grasp of English, but you got used that, it was just that there seemed to be no correlation between the slides he was showing and the words that were coming out of his mouth? And then you received your homework assignment, and it didn't seem to be related to either the words OR the slides, but was in fact traveling along some orthogonal axis toward the infinite land of confusedness? But you handed it in anyway, and then in the next class the slides suddenly had everything to do with the homework? Until they didn't. Repeat for four months.

That never happened to me. And I am paying for it now.

I thought grad school was about higher thinking and not about trying to remember stupid obscure* physics equations from high school.

I'm listening to Santogold on repeat and breathing deeply.

*sadly, probably not obscure to anyone else, as everyone else took physics in college, like good science majors, but i studied the history and politics of large African countries instead, and while it informs my processing of the news, I don't get graded on that. I was recently asked by a tutoring place if i'd be interested in tutoring a student in physics. "Hahahahahahha," I said.


believe me, i know.

The only thing worse than spending ten hours on your hands and knees in the desert is spending ten hours on your hands and knees in the desert with "Pink Cadillac" stuck in your head.

Other music gems that have graced this research trip:

-"Total Eclipse of the Heart"
-"You Spin Me Round"

And, only because it is my own personal "Girl From Ipanema", reserved for driving other songs out, "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"


internet, work your magic

UPDATE: WOW! I didn't think anyone would actually respond, but check out all the great ideas in the comments. Thanks! You've inspired me to dig a bit deeper and figure this out for sure. Next stop, Antiques Roadshow, where it is revealed that this once held princely spittoons, and is worth 86 bajillion dollars.

Does anyone have any idea what this thing is? It's been on our porch
since we moved in and I think the reason I've never moved it is
precisely because I have no idea about its intended purpose.

Drink holder?
Umbrella stand?


dedicated to the study of nematodes

This is my new favorite mug.

From the Society of Nematologists, est. 1961.
I found it in the cupboard by the department's coffee pot. It has the temperature sensitive strip that reveals a secret message when you add hot liquids!

Nematology is HOT!
Biology humor-- so hilarious, in so many unintended ways.

(The text is backward because I took this pic with Photobooth.)


crisis averted

Marveling, wondering, that all this hard work, all that time, sweating in the desert, all that data entry can be so succinctly stored in this one, small folder entitled "Dissertation Data".

And then I drag it into the backup drive.


one crazy block

In general, riding a bike slows down your pace enough to let you notice things you might speed right by in a car. But this is mostly true in areas where you would be driving kind of fast. In the city, you have to pay more attention to cars and traffic lights than potential interesting sights, at least along my busy route.

Today, the weather forecast called for a 80% chance of rain allll day long, and the sky looked so foreboding that I completely chickened out and drove to school. Then it didn't rain. At all. I was feeling like a total slacker on my way home, until, stuck in traffic, watching the bikes speed by in the bike lane, I looked over to the sidewalk and saw a seemingly normal looking woman with a cat on a leash. The cat was on her shoulder. Like a parrot. I looked left, across three lanes of traffic and saw a man on a large John Deere tractor. Making a left hand turn in six lanes of traffic.

And then, I SWEAR on my puppy, a flock of pigeons flew across the sky in the shape of Lenin's head.

Maybe I should drive more often.

My People Are Awesome Vol. III

This is my cousin Shaun and his wife Amy. Just this year they said Sayonara, suckers! to city life in Houston and started an organic farm on a charming piece of land in central Texas. And this is no weekend-hobby-farmer operation, no. They are building their farm from the ground up, with their own four hands, piece by sweaty piece.

First they had to create a place to live:

Which turned out splendidly, as you can see below, all romantic Out of Africa safari-esque.

Next up were houses for the sheep and chickens.

They are selectively grazing the sheep to reclaim an oldfield on the farm, so fantastic. You can read all about their journey here.

And lest the pleasing pictures lead you to believe this is all for show, just let me tell you that they are raising, harvesting, butchering and packaging the chickens and selling them at the Farmer's Market in Houston all by themselves. With their own hands. I talk a good game about preferring happy meat, but I couldn't have it without people like them.

Shaun and Amy have joined a growing number of folks from our generation who have decided that if we're really going to get serious about this whole Local Food/Slow Food movement, then we'd better start making locally grown meat and produce more available. I applaud their efforts. It's hard work, farming, (or so i'm told...) and it is made even harder when you're trying to do it whilst leaving as little footprint as possible.