Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summer is coming to an end.

Ah, DragonCon is over for this year, and with the help of two of my dearest friends, we had a great time.

And now, I'm afraid, it is back to reality. Fortunately, my reality is pretty darn good.

I think today we'll go with a garden update as of today:

You can see the cucumbers off to the left are completely gone, but they sure gave it their all this year. We were absolutely swimming in cukes, and though I wish we were still getting some, I certainly couldn't complain when they ran out of steam. The eggplant in front of the bean teepee are still going strong, though a little wilted from the sudden heat. The speckled butter beans will hopefully start flowering soon, since there's nowhere else for them to go!

What is interesting here, though, is the teepee to the front right. That's my Mexican Sour Gherkins, and they are my new trap crop for Mexican Bean Beetles. I had no idea this would happen, and at first I was pretty bummed. But then I realized what was happening, and that the death of those gherkins was the saving grace of my other plants.

I still have the damn beetles and their larvae on some other plants, but it isn't nearly the infestation it would otherwise be.

I thought I was too late when I planted these sunflowers, but they are happy and beautiful as can be. I need to plant many, many more next year. They make me incredibly happy. The one in back is probably ten feet tall!

Four seeds = lots of birdhouse gourds, even given less than ideal conditions. I can't get over how many gourds are on my arbor! Hopefully I can stave the mildew and bean beetles off long enough for them to ripen!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salon music.

The latest project I have been seriously working on is learning to play some early 20th century salon music.

See, I have this crazy idea of starting up a neighborhood Salon Society, where folks would come together over tea and crumpets, dressed in their Sunday best, to discuss art and music and to demonstrate and/or discuss whatever interests them.

For example, maybe someone wants to recite some poetry, even if they didn't write it. Maybe someone wants to bring a painting they are working on to display and talk about. Maybe someone wants to do a five minute lecture on the history of the safety pin. Maybe someone wants to play some music. Maybe folks will even sing to it. 

So with that in mind, I've started working on a piano piece called Rippling Waves from 1905 which is a very sweet little salon piece, as well as a sing-along piece called There's Someone More Lonesome than You (1916) which I find to be a kick in the pants. Both pieces are so...period. It is so easy to imagine the people who wrote and enjoyed this music at the time. Eventually, I'd love to have an entire repertoire of this type of music! Now, keep in mind that I am no pianist. I have a degree in music, yes, but I stopped playing piano when I was something like nine years old. And now, at the ripe age of 40, I've started taking lessons again.

Anyway, what do you think? Would you join me for a Sunday Afternoon Salon Society (SASS) meeting?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fundraiser in memory of Cpl. Parker, East Point Police Department

One of the things I love about living here is the incredible sense of community. I've lived all over this country, from coast to coast, and have never experienced anything like this before. If you get sick, there will be ten people on your doorstep with lasagnas (or whatever). If you need a ride to the airport, or if you need to borrow a tool, a saw, or just an extra pair of hands all you've got to do is jump on Facebook and ask.

We also have an incredible police department. These men and women are some of the most professional, kind, and hard working people I've ever met, and considering that I work in public safety myself I feel well qualified to say that.

A couple days ago, one of our best officers was found dead in her home, the victim of a crime. The department is suffering greatly for this loss, and we are grieving with them.

I've created a fundraiser in memory of Cpl. Parker, and am working to raise money to accomplish three things: a floral wreath at her funeral from the citizens of East Point, a donation to a charity of the family's choice in her name, and a catered meal for the men and women on duty on the day of her funeral. They are going to have a long, difficult day and I think that will be a way to show our support that will touch them individually.

The fundraiser is through, a website I've used before for successful fundraising, and I trust them. Their interface is VERY basic, but they also don't charge any fees. If you have any desire to donate, I would appreciate it. I must make the disclaimer that I am not a non-profit or any type of business, and I will do my best to allocate the donated funds in a fair and appropriate manner. All funds raised will go toward this effort, minus the fee that Paypal charges me to use them. None of this money will be for my personal use.

Here is the widget. It will take you to a gateway page which will then take you to Paypal. Remember, although the gateway page appears extremely basic, it *IS* trustworthy. 

Additional note: you will get a notification that the payment went to Chelsea Smith. This is not an error. That is the name the account is under.

If you cannot see the widget, go to 

August 13, 2013: FOLLOW UP

I apologize for not updating the blog with how the fundraiser worked out, but it has been a very busy month with another tragedy that has taken my time and energy.

The result of our fundraising effort was a mindblowing $2655 which allowed us to meet all three of our goals far beyond the basics I was anticipating. Here's a breakdown of how the money has been allocated:

A gorgeous funeral wreath from Peachtree Petals which they gave to us at cost.

A fully catered funeral repast for the East Point Police Department officers and Cpl. Parker's family. If it hadn't been for this fundraiser, there would have been no reception of any kind. I can tell you that the officers and family were incredibly touched, and several were crying. I got more hugs and thanks than I can count, and I would like to pass that love on to everyone who donated.

A donation to a charity of the family's choosing. Note that the family has not yet decided on a charity, and I am holding the money until they inform me of their choice. Hopefully it will not be much longer.

Incidental expenses including reimbursement for fuel to pick up donated drinks from Pepsi/Gatorade, plates and serving utensils, tablecloths, etc.

A recalled donation from someone who says the donation was not authorized.

None of this accounts for all of the hard work from others involved, including several folks from the EPPD, the Blue Knights, the East Point First Mallaliu United Methodist Church who hosted an absolutely beautiful and touching funeral, Pepsi and Gatorade for their donations, several neighbors and Council member Sharonda Hubbard who helped set up and serve at the repast, and I'm sure others who I am neglecting to mention. And I most certainly want to thank everyone for your support during this difficult time. You all helped turn a tragedy into something beautiful, a true celebration of Cpl. Crystal Parker's life. You have renewed my faith in humanity and community.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lemon-limeade Concentrate

IMG_0883 by ghouliegrrrl
IMG_0883, a photo by ghouliegrrrl on Flickr.
Ah, it's been a while, but I have been creative!

Look at these beautiful jars of yummy goodness. It was quick, easy, and come summer it will be absolutely delicious.

I squeezed lemons and limes first, and measured how much juice it gave me.

Using a 1:1:1 ratio, I brought an equal amount of sugar and water with the juice to a boil.

Then I simply processed in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Easy!