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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I blame evan

I blame evan for all the cheesy hippie use of 'Zen' in the last post. He kept talking about my terrarium building as similar to doing a Zen garden, and I think it was the only adjective floating around my brain....

classes start tomorrow...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Alternate realities

I've discovered a totally Zen past-time. Friday night, I ended up waking up at 4 am with an intense urge to plant (I'm such a weirdo). So I repotted two plants that needed to move to larger pots, and then (still feeling the gardening urge) I picked up my book on houseplants that I'd gotten at the used book store down the street.

At around 6am, I'd gotten to the part where the author was talking about bottle gardening! Planting a whole little garden inside of a bottle! The concept is like building a ship in a bottle, except with plants (hence making it much more Zen and much cooler).

"Bottle Gardening" as a Google search didn't turn up a ton of results, but "terrarium" did. Ooh ooh! A new hobby!

Lemme show you some neat ones I found on the web. (some by Ann Wood, Hello Yarn, and Paula Hayes)

The best part of making terrariums is collecting the moss from the neighborhood. I collected some off the stones from outside my front door. There was a huge blanket of moss around the telephone poll across the street. It's so cool to get it, because it comes off in one big sheet! It's like a rug! I took it home and put it in a tupperware with warm water to get rid of a buggies. It looks fabulous in my terrariums. I now keep a little plastic bag with me so I can keep an eye out for cool things to put in my terrariums.

Composing little scenes is incredibly soothing. And I can't stop looking at these little worlds. Supposedly, once you get an enclosed terrarium stable, it can sustain itself for a good while without additional water, fertilizer, etc. As soon as I make sure I am okay at sustaining them, I want to try doing this with small necked bottles so I can finally make my bottle garden!

Make some too!

To make your own terrariums you need some kind of clear glass vessel. Goodwill is fabulous for this, but I also have some extra quart size canning jars that I thought would fit the bill.

Pour in a bottom layer of pea sized gravel (this will help with the drainage and provide a good reservoir for the water your little world.
Pour another small layer of activated charcoal over that. (both of these items can be found at a garden center near you). It's recommended that you put a layer of moss over this so that your soil doesn't wash into your gravel layers (but I skipped that step).

Add a small layer of dirt. Plop in any cool stones or wood and then start laying down your moss and putting in your plants in cool arrangements.
Buy some cute inhabitants for your world. Position them in your new mini-garden and add your lids. Voila!

Lori's terrarium web album

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Power thoughts

I was scanning google news for the headlines and read a bit about this student that was tasered at a university Q&A with John Kerry. The news sources seemed to cover the scene objectively, but I then watched the this video of the student asking his questions and the ensuing police ordeal.

I have to admit, I think the police way over reacted in this case. It's a university forum afterall. Shouldn't students be able to ask questions like these without being pounced on? And honestly, I know that the Darley and Latane studies all showed that diffusion of responsibility, but it's freaky, really truly freaky to watch that video of this guy being dragged by the police, screaming for help with a full auditorium of students not budging to intervene or even pay attention to him! I can't completely blame them. They were probably afraid of the police given that the treatment of the questioner. But it's scary what will happen when people aren't willing to object when another person is being mistreated before their eyes.

Yesterday, I was listening to Marketplace's radio piece on the RIAA's sometimes mistaken lawsuits. Like the video of the tasering, this also frightened me. That a group with so much power/money can completely wreck people's lives--incorrectly or not--without conscience seems utterly senseless to me. Even when wrongly accused, people are told they should settle and declare bankruptcy! I know the world is not just and fair, but I still can't help being outraged by this. I hope that the class action suit against the RIAA gains speed on this, because it's damn scary that a group like this isn't kept in check.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Squirreled away

Last week we had a squirrel incident. I would walk outside, and suddenly I had a squirrel hopping next to me, barking and wagging its tail. Honestly, I didn't know what was up its butt, although it reminded a lot of the angry squirrels at Stanford (except less black).

Watching the squirrel, I noticed that it ran up and down the ladder my neighbor had placed up against his house. It wasn't until later that night when Evan came home, did we notice why. By the evening there were shrill shrieks coming from the rooftop of our neighbor's house. Apparently, the squirrel had made a nest in the attic of the house next door. Our neighbor had fenced off the opening with chicken wire so that the mommy squirrel couldn't get back in....BUT there were two baby squirrel trapped in the attic!

We went next door to tell our neighbor about the babies--i mean surely no one would want the babies to die up there! But in actuality, he did know the babies were trapped up there. He apparently had some traumatic rodent incident as a child that rendered him non-sympathetic to any creature of that category. But, at our (and his children's) request, he removed the wire. One of the babies jetted out and down our driveway (away from the direction of its mother who was shouting at us from somewhere in a chestnut tree in the backyard). I have never seen such a small squirrel! It was immediately followed by the neighbor's dog and cat. Yikes! I'm not really sure what happened to this one.

The mother squirrel didn't return until the next morning where I saw her reunite with the last baby squirrel in the attic. The baby crawled over the mother and they bounded away from the at least i know one of the babies survived!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

look new glasses!


Woohoo! I look kinda emo now. They're prodesian, and they're the first glasses i've gotten in five years! I had to wear them today, because yesterday i chopped some peppers from the farmer's market. My hand burned all night! And when i tried to put my contacts in this morning, it was seriously burning! So i figured i'd better wait for this pepper stuff to wear off.
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Monday, September 10, 2007

W(h)ining and dining

The erv and his mummy at our rehearsal dinner.

The M's are in town!

I really like my in-laws, and I know I'm definitely lucky in that respect. They've been in town for the past few days which has given us a wonderful excuse to go out and have good food and drink good wine! We did go out to Woodinville for wine tasting, and I have to say, Woodinville wineries sux0r compared to Sonoma wineries. First of all, they charge you for a tasting so it can get expensive to try a bunch of wines. Secondly, even though we were paying for tastings, they poured barely enough wine for two sips! How am I supposed to taste the wine if I can barely freakin' moisten my lips with it? And I should mention, it's not like the erv and I are trying to get drunk off the tastings, but we are looking for tasty bottles to buy. I left Woodinville extremely disappointed.

We did try a great wine the other day at dinner by Cadence winery in Washington. We had their 2005 Coda. I thought it was a delicious drinking wine on its own. It didn't stand up well to the food we got (I had a wild boar dish with gorgonzola), but I'm still very interested in trying some of their other wines!

I'd rather be playing bocce

There's just something so wonderfully simple and fun about tossing colorful balls and walking upon green crunchy grass under a warm sun with friends. It just reeks of a great summer day.

I love the sharp shadows across the grass! Everyone has their own 'technique.' Some people look like they're dancing, while others look like children just learning how to bowl.

I can't believe classes/the academic year start again in two weeks! I'm not ready, I'm not ready! I still have too many research projects to read up on, plan, and finish. A recent visit to my advisor's office led to some gentle-ish nudging to get my projects finished up and ready...things I have been trying to do! sigh

Still, I want to enjoy my summer a bit more still. Anyone up for bocce?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I declare

I am alive....

I'm just stuck in a stale-aired-windowless office, reading another manuscript draft.