Tigers Game

We went to the Tigers Game on Friday and had a BLAST! We sat in the front row, right by 1st base. We had SO much fun! And, to make it even better - they WON!!

Joseph decided that he liked to suck on the peanuts, but not eat the nut inside. ew.

The umpire gave Joseph one of the game balls. You should have seen how excited this kid was!!!

Birthday, Garden and Medical Mysteries...

33. Wow. I’m old. At least, I feel like I should feel old. Yes, it was a while ago – my birthday was on the 17th.

I always try to equate it to someone I knew when I was little who was 33.

Mom dying at 37, I only have 4 years. Hmm. That's probably not the best comparison...

Joe got me an awesome gift - a huge selection of boxes from Victoria's Secret. It’s nice to know that your husband still thinks you are sexy. It’s a good feeling. It makes you feel young too.

On Sunday, I got up and enjoyed a lazy day at home. I wasn’t feeling so hot, so we didn’t go to dinner. I made a roast chicken though, and it smelled really good! It’s hard to believe I’m 33 now. The number just keeps getting bigger…but I’m not sure I feel 33. Part of me feels like I’m not old enough to be 33….and the other part of me thinks I should start acting 33. What does a 33-year old act like though? I’m not so sure about that. eh.

As for the garden, etc: Tomatoes are in, and I had to enlarge the garden quite a bit to get them all in. HOWEVER, I just found out a resident here in Troy that I work with is bringing me some of his prized heirlooms. Uhh..I don’t know where to plant these. I am SO out of room!! But, pretty much everything else is on that needs to get in.

I finished the patio. It’s done. The plants will grow in over the next year or two. I wish I had made it a little bit bigger. There is only enough room to have 2 chairs on it. I’m thinking that a bench would be a good fit – and very casual. Now I just need to find one. Maybe I’ll check on Craigslist.

In other news: My tummy hasn’t been feeling so great for the past 2 weeks. Other things too…so I finally went to the ER last week, and they found that I was severely dehydrated, and pumped a ton of fluids into me. They also wanted me to get a GI. AND, to completely eliminate all wheat/gluten from my diet. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? I. Love. Bread. I have such sympathy for those that have a gluten intolerance. I’m going crazy, and it is only day 5 of this. So, my GI is tentatively on Thursday. Joy. We'll see what the docs say!

Random blog about nothing...

I am in a Good Mood because:

  • The weather is beautiful right now
  • I’m getting organized
  • People are being nice today at the office, which is oddly amusing.
  • I plan on going home and going for a run.
  • A project that I’ve been waiting for approval on, got the approval today! Yeah!
  • I have really good friends.

I am in a Bad Mood because:

  • I can’t eat wheat (darn doctor’s orders)
  • I’m overwhelmed at work
  • I need to find/make time to work on my thesis research and lit review
  • I need a haircut, and haven’t found the time to schedule the darn appointment.

You ever make a list like this? It was quite satisfying, to put things in front of you and realize that things aren't as bad as they sometimes seem. Put into perspective...life is good.

More later - I have pictures and all sorts of fun stuff to blog about...I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive. Busy, but alive.


Saving Toads

Every Spring, our neighbors ask us to "save" the toads out of their pool before they open it up for the summer. They would rather pour bleach in the pool than save the toads. So...we go over there several days in a row and catch toads and release them in the garden...

Here is Joe, with our first batch of toads...

And of course, he had to bring one in the house to put in his Toad Hut - which was on the table next to his bed all night!

here they are, putting the toads in the garden, underneath the rhubarb...


Environmental Dichotomy.

For many years I have sensed that there is something wrong at the heart of the environmental movement. After thinking about it for years, living in the work worls everyday, reading books, attending and giving presentations, and spending as much time as I can outside, I think I can finally articulate what has been nagging at me.

It is a cultural problem and it has to do with how we view the world and how we view ourselves in it.

From the environmental perspective, we talk about “preserving our environment” or “protecting the environment.” From a liberal perspective, we talk of being good stewards of our natural resources. Environmental organizations talk about protecting and preserving our natural resources or being good managers of wildlife habitats. Everything from trees to deer herds to trout populations are “managed” by a variety of state and federal agencies. I could go on and on with examples but what all of these statements have in common is that they reflect a basic attitude of OWNERSHIP.

We see ourselves as the species that is (and ought to be) in charge of managing every single thing on the planet from mineral to mammal. We do not seem to notice that this is the same view that has led us to where we are today. It is this same view that has led to the destruction of the natural world. This view of the world is rarely questioned. I believe that this attitude is ingrained in us through our culture and probably has its foundation in western religions. Our entire civilization is built upon this view.

If we wish to survive, it will take a shift in this attitude not solar panels.
If we want to be able to live in a way that is sustainable it will take a shift in this attitude not wind turbines.

Even if everything in our wildest “environmental movement”, dreams were to be put into practice it would not change much because our civilization would continue to run full-steam ahead devouring the planet like a swarm of locusts.

What is the shift in attitude? It is about the relationship. Forests, rivers, lakes, animals, and insects are not our friends. We don’t see them as fellow inhabitants of this planet who have just as much a right to be here as we do. If we did we would treat them much differently. We know enough about the how the natural world works but we do not “know” the natural world intimately.

So what then? Should billions of people go back and live on farms? Honestly, I don’t know. But I think a major shift in our consciousness would ignite some ideas. If millions of people suddenly realized that they do not own the world and that we are merely privileged to be traveling through it at this moment in time along with all of the other non-human inhabitants, we as people might be able to see a new way.

Wow. I'm glad I got THAT off of my chest!! It's something that has been bothering me for a while...which is tough, seeing that my entire professional career is based around these thoughts.



Mother's Day Happenings

So many things happening on Mother's Day this year -
It started yesterday afternoon...I got back from the airport (I dropped Big Joe off - he's in Vegas for a guys weekend). And my neighbor came up to me and said they had a package for me, and I needed to come and get it. And I walked into their kitchen to find this:

My Dad sent me flowers!!! They are beautiful!!! I need to call him...
I went grocery shopping with Joseph this morning. After arguing about why he thinks that grocery shopping is boring...I got him to help me with the produce. I asked him to get me a lemon. He brought me a yellow squash. We have GOT to eat more fruits and veggies in this household!

Then, we made it home, and I asked him to help me put away the groceries in the pantry. I should have watched him a little closer - every single thing was thrown onto the floor of the pantry. sigh.

Then, I decided to give myself a little gift - I started installing a cobblestone paver patio by myself this afternoon. What the heck was I thinking? Seriously, I was so in over my head - and I am still wondering how in the world am I going to be able to level the pavers once I install them.

Anyways - here are some pics, showing the progress that was made today:

There is still alot of work to do on the patio - I need to get the cobblestones and install them. UGH.

Then, my neighbor gave me a package of homemade chorizo. (which I had planned to make into paella, but a little 6-year old left it on the counter, so it thawed!!!) So - I made an amazing full-fat, full-cholesterol, not-good-for-you dinner for myself. Garlic, onions and potatoes sauteed in butter, add the chorizo, add some fresh corn, then melt cojack cheese over the top! So GOOD! and add a glass of Australian shiraz...Perfect!

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!!!

Letter to Mom

Dear Mom -

I miss you. I spent alot of time on Saturday thinking about you. I went to Schwartz's early on Saturday morning with a friend, Anne. She lives kitty-corner behind us, and loves to garden as much as I do. We had a wonderful time at the greenhouses. I said a little hello to you as I walked in, and I really tried hard to keep the tears back. I know it was only once a year, but going to Schwartz's with you was always a wonderful time that we spent together.

You should have seen the plants! They've moved things around quite a bit, and expanded alot too. It took me some time find what we were looking for. For the first time ever, the lines were short! Probably because we got there early, and tried to be efficient! (something you and I never were! We wandered around the greenhouse forever!)

I ended up getting 3 flats of begonias. Since we took the tree out of the front yard, I needed something that would be OK in full sun. I know, I always said I hated begonias - but impatiens won't cut it. I also got ALOT of 4-packs of veggies...I'm trying alot this year. (cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, banana peppers, jalapenos, eggplant) What am I thinking? You and I could always share the 4-pack...but now I have to plant all 4 plants in the garden on my own. What am I going to do with all of these plants? If they grow, that is!! :)

I found a tarragon plant too. I've always wanted to try to grow tarragon. Now that I know how easy it is to make hollandaise sauce...fresh tarragon will be wonderful!!

Here are some pics of the garden, all planted...you can't see much...but you get the idea.


More Tball

Joe's tball game on Friday - Even though we are having some frustrations with the coaching staff...tball has been alot of fun. As long as we remember that the kids are having fun...

Here is the 6-year old...adjusting his helmet after a sprint to first base.

Getting ready to run...

Then - he got to be the "pitcher". Which, in tball, means that he stands at the pitcher's mound, and most of the balls come his way...

but...he got bored...

...and distracted by the chest protector.

Watching his learn to play ball is pretty awesome. Especially when I see this...

Big Joe is an awesome Dad. :)

Piano lessons

Joseph started piano lessons last week. He has had a total of 2 lessons...and it is just the most wonderful thing to listen to. He seems to get it - and he is catching on really quick. So far, at least!

Ironically, he is using the SAME BOOK SERIES that I learned with...Schaum Color Series Books. He started with the Green Book (same as me). I made it to the Brown Book. I think. It is level 4, which isn't very far. I didn't go very far with piano lessons. Probably because my Dad ended up marrying my piano teacher, and the lessons kind of ceased when she became my mom. Probably before she actually became my mom. I vaguely remember more of a 10-minute "lesson", which constituted her playing something for me that I couldn't play, then her leaving me at the piano, while she had a glass of wine with my Dad, and I became more and more frustrated with the stupid song. Come to think of it...I think I quit out of frustration. Oh well...I've started to play here and there now.

Anyways - here is his first piece of "music" that he learned. And he rocked it!!


Phone Call

I got a call from Little Joe’s teacher today. He got in trouble in school. BIG trouble.

He was with a group of boys on the playground this morning, and decided to catch a toad. This isn’t the problem. We catch toads in our yard all the time. We save toads. I LOVE toads! They eat mosquitoes!! Anyways…he caught a toad, and decided that he wanted to "help" the toad hop higher...so he threw the toad into the air.

Yes, you read that correctly. He threw the toad INTO THE AIR. He was showing the toad his unleashed hopping potential. No, seriously.

After a discussion with his teacher, who explained that he was being quite a good scientist, using the Scientific Method, to determine how high the toad could actually hop...I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Why was it MY kid who decided to throw toads into the air? What am I supposed to tell Friends of the Rouge, when their frog and toad count is down in Redford, after it has been determined that the entire toad population of Redford has run away, out of fear from that Lawson boy!!



Random Info

You know those email quizzes that you get forwarded to you? I liked this one...So - Here it is for you:

Write 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself

1. My cholesterol is 232, but my HDL is 94.
2. I met my husband when I was 14. (No, we didn’t start dating until I was 19)
3. I talk to my moms, even though they have both passed away.
4. If I ever had a daughter, I would name her Elizabeth Rae.
5. I play the French Horn.
6. I named my dog after a Star Trek character.
7. I lived in Indonesia for 3 years when I was little.
8. I love freshwater beaches.
9. I love escargot.
10. I’m a Coke person – I’d go without drinking before I drank a Pepsi.
11. I was stopped at security at the Oakland County Courthouse for carrying a 15-foot long piezometer. (Google it). They thought it was a weapon.
12. I wish I was a freelance artist.
13. I could be a vegetarian, but my family would starve.
14. I am an obsessive urban gardener.
15. I love venison.
16. I wore running shoes under my wedding dress.
17. I want to be a college professor when I retire.
18. I consider myself Norwegian. (even though I’m only 1/2).
19. I say “Yes” too much.
20. I curse like a sailor. Worse than a sailor.
21. I think I would be a great food critic for the newspaper.
22. I am learning to appreciate Red wine.
23. I wish I relaxed more.
24. I am a list-maker. I have lists OF lists.
25. I love to sing 80’s tunes really loud in the car.

So there - random info about me that you never wanted to know. :)


Thomas the Tank Engine and Joe's first Date

On the Saturday after his birthday, Joe got to take his girlfriend, Kasey, to Greenfield Village, so they could meet Thomas the Tank Engine, and hang out for the day. We were joined by Kasey’s mom too. The kids had an absolute blast, and we all had so much fun. Check out these pics:

Me and Karen, (Kasey's Mom), trying to not get dizzy on the carousel. Little Joe STILL will NOT go on the Carousel. He has never ever wanted to go near it with a ten-foot pole!

Joe - checking out the Thomas made of Legos.

The two love-birds...in front of Thomas.
Isn't this just the sweetest picture EVER?? They were so sweet all day - holding hands, walking next to each other. Little Joe kept showing her some of his favorite things in the Village.

Looking Forward to the Garden...

Here they are - the little tiny seedlings who have grown into monsters. This year is going to be a GREAT year for tomatoes. I am so excited about making tomato sauce! and bruschetta in a jar! and tomato juice! and so many other things! Yeah!! In the front - you can see the butternut squash. I'm thinking I might not have enough room in the garden this year...uh...

And this has to be one of my favorite pictures...showing just how BIG this tomato plant has grown! And this combines into two things that are perfectly food-related!

Something to Ponder

I often read the Detroit News - daily, pretty much. Anyways, this was in the paper this morning - and it got me thinking about the lesser of 2 evils: burning garbage, or landfilling garbage. you can see what this editorial has to say

Monday, May 4, 2009

Our editorials

Detroit council should set aside fears and renew contract to burn garbage

Garbage is something everyone wants to go away as quickly and cleanly in possible. For the past 20 years, Detroit has been burning most of its garbage in an incinerator that converts it to electricity and steam, useful commodities that are sold to raise revenue and reduce pollution.

It is a very efficient and environmentally friendly way to deal with an unpleasant problem. But some on the Detroit City Council, led by Councilwoman Joann Watson, want to shut down the incinerator and truck the city's garbage into landfills. Watson fears the health impact of the incinerator's smokestack discharge.

She's wrong. The Greater Detroit incinerator, operated by Covanta Energy, emits relatively small amounts of asthma-causing particles, and operates 90 percent cleaner than required by its permit. Professor Nickolas Themelis, director of the Earth and Environmental Engineering program at Columbia University, said Detroit would be making a "big mistake" if it pulled out of the incinerator. Themelis says that if Detroit stopped using energy-from-waste disposal, it would need to replace the lost energy by burning more coal. This would emit even more harmful toxins than burning garbage, and would require Detroit to use landfills to dispose of its waste. The truck traffic this would entail, traveling from the city to waste transfer stations and back, would hurt Detroit's air quality even more.

The incinerator also provides low cost steam to Detroit Thermal, steam that heats 70 percent of the buildings downtown -- more than 200 of them -- including the Fox Theatre, Detroit Medical Center and the Renaissance Center. Small businesses that rely on the cheap energy would face higher operating costs.

In response to asthma concerns, Themelis says that it "cannot be true" that the Greater Detroit incinerator is a bigger factor in asthma cases than highway traffic or industrial production. A Columbia University study of energy-from-waste facilities found the Detroit incinerator among the world's cleanest, exceeding both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and European Union standards.

And the incinerator was recently retrofitted, leading to double-digit emission reductions of particulate matter.

Council should weigh the facts. This incinerator is the cleanest alternative to disposing of 3,000 tons of garbage a day. Continuing to burn the city's garbage is the best choice for the environment, and for taxpayers.

For those of you not in the Metro Detroit vicinity - you are so lucky to not have to listen to the messed up politics of the Detroit City Council.

Why don't they address another option - REDUCING YOUR GARBAGE!!! We throw away WAY TOO MUCH in our society. even those stupid plastic water bottles. Seriously - just get it out of the tap!! Get a dishwasher-safe bottle and keep it in the fridge if you want it cold and portable!

Ok, I'll get off of my soapbox, but this kind of thing irks me. It's lazy. As a society, we cannot simply just burn or landfill our problems - we need to address them and fix them!!


Birthday Baseball

Joe's second tball game was on his birthday...too cute!!

Here he is telling another kid what to do...

You may remember that I said he bats left? Not now!! He set up to the tee, and batted right. And did a DARN good job at that too! We have a switch-hitter on our hands!!!

Daydreaming on third base...
And standing ready at third base. Look at that concentration!!

Birthday Surprises

We started out the 6-year-old’s day with decorating his room, so when he woke up, there would be streamers everywhere. I did this last year with a paper chain, and he loved it. So….this year, he actually asked me to this, because he liked it so much last year.

And THIS...is what a sleeping 6-year old looks like. I was thinking of waking him up at 5:56 AM, as that was his "birthtime"...but he was so peaceful, and he had school that day, and would have been a CRAB if I had woken him up.

But, he did wake up eventually, in a FANTASTIC birthday mood, and he was allowed to open some of the gifts that family and friends sent to him…He thought that was great!
It's hard for me to fathom that my son is 6. SIX. Holy Cow. Six. Remember when you were six? what happened when you were six? Do you remember when you were six? My life was a pretty tumultuous year when I was 6. I can't imagine Little Joe as a big kid...dealing with life issues. He's still my baby! Albeit, he's my EXTREMELY INDEPENDENT baby...but nonetheless...sigh.

Lacking a Bit...

OK, I know. So sue me...I've been a bit lacking in the blogging department..but you see...my life has suddenly gotten very busy and I'm feeling a bit yucky...so, I'll try to make up for it with a plethora of posts today....So...Get Ready.