30 April 2008


The gardening is going great. But just as my excitement is peaking, what does the weather do today? It snows. Off and on, most of the day. Frick.

We got some good gardening done yesterday with the neighbors. We planted all of our onion starts (Walla Walla sweets and candy onions), plus replanted all of the volunteer onions and garlic that we dug from the garden before tilling. We now have just over three 30-foot rows of onions! YAYYYY! We also got peas, lettuce, chard and spinach in the ground last night. Neighbor J worked at digging the rows and planting seeds while partner J and I planted onions. Neighbor L watched the kiddos, which was great. It's so much easier to garden when you can do cooperative labor and child care. I love it!

Today I bought more seeds. Yep, more. We needed more lettuce, spinach, carrots and beets. Plus we've decided to till up the back part of the gardenable area too, so I got some pumpkin, butternut and acorn squash seeds since we'll have the space. Have I mentioned how excited I am about growing all of this food? I only hope that the deer will leave it alone. That said, I need to get some nasturtium and marigold seed...those are good repellant plants for pests, and they're pretty.

Since we'll definitely hit below freezing tonight we've obviously not planted all of our starts out. Well, J has been eager, so we have two tiny tomato plants out in the pots next to the front porch, but we'll cover those and hope they live. Other than that, all the warmer weather plants are living inside. Here are our little photosynthetic prides and joy.

Mmm, basil.

Little tomato

Maximizing space use, even in the terrarium.

Tomatoes and venus fly traps?

29 April 2008


We're starting a garden. A big, cooperative garden with our neighbors on someone else's land. Okay, I'll clarify. There's a lady around the corner with a good plot of land that has been gardened for years. She has to pay every year to keep her canal water rights, and she wants the land to be used. But it's a lot of space, so she offered to let our neighbors garden it. They asked us if we wanted to join in, and we jumped at the opportunity. We get free land and water access, and can garden to our hearts' content. Yippee! Finally, space for all the tomatoes I dream about in the long, tomatoless winter months.

So yesterday we tilled the land. We worked a little on garden planning last night. Today we're hoping to get some seeds in the ground. Tomorrow, when it's cooler outside, we'll plant onion starts.

I'm so excited to have a big garden!

23 April 2008


We have entered the spelling stage. Miss Doodle now recognizes words to the point that, if J and I are talking and the word "swing" escapes our lips, she will start making "uhh..uhh...Uhh...UHHH!" sounds while gesturing at the door. Yep, she loves her swing. That's great if it's a warm afternoon. But at 9:30pm? No thanks! So we've started spelling things around her. For some reason I thought we'd have longer before we reached this stage, but I guess not. Welcome to the land of s-w-i-n-g-s and c-o-o-k-i-e-s and m-o-v-i-e-s.

22 April 2008

Earth Day 2008

Today is Earth Day. I have no desire to get preachy right now. There are things we can all do to be more environmentally friendly. We know that. I just want to share a few things that I do that I feel good about when it comes to my impact on the earth. We all do what we can, and what works best for us. This is what I like to do to lighten the load on the earth:

  • I registered with CatalogChoice. This website helps you stop getting all those annoying catalogs that you never wanted in the first place and that you can't seem to get off their mailing lists. It's really easy, and saves paper.
  • I buy local whenever I can, decreasing the amount of fuel used to bring my food to me. I shop at Sweet Peas Marketplace, a small local-owned store. I'll buy produce at the Cache Valley Gardener's Market, which starts up again on May 10th. I buy beef and lamb that are raised and butchered locally, supporting a family farm.
  • We will be planting a big garden with the neighbors, and are hoping to grow a LOT of our produce for the year (so if you know anyone who enjoys endless hours of canning tomatoes in the summer heat, send them our way in August!).
  • I should do more, but as the weather gets better I'll use more forms of alternative transportation. The bus system here is great for getting around and up to campus. Plus it's free! Miss Doodle loves her bike trailer, and biking is good exercise too!

  • A great resource for re-using and re-purposing stuff is Freecycle. You can offer things up to people in the community that you'd like to see be re-used and kept out of the landfill. You can get things for free rather than having to search the thrift stores, and you can get things (like scrap lumber) that thrift stores won't take. It's great!
  • I shop thrift stores. It's a great place to get inexpensive kids clothes (which they're just going to get dirty and outgrow soon anyhow). Plus they usually support a good cause, like CAPSA.
  • We have a lot of reusable cloth products, from cloth shopping bags to napkins, dish towels, and of course, cloth diapers. I like the dish towels and napkins because they're sturdy, easy to clean and it's a lot less paper products going in the trash. The cloth diapers, well - they're just so dang cute!
  • We use reusable mugs and water bottles for transporting liquids and staying hydrated. Again, less waste.
When we can't reduce our use or reuse what we do have, we recycle it! Packaging matters, so whenever I can I buy things in less packaging or in re-usable or recyclable packaging.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

The Show

This weekend was a blast! We had a great show with some wonderful performances. We even had some baby bellies (our endearing term for beginning bellydancers) dance for the first time. They did great!

We had some press coverage of both our show and Saturday's workshop with Shems. Yes, you can see me in the workshop photo. I'm staring at the mirror and not looking especially cute, graceful or excited. *sigh*

Thanks to everyone who came to the show. It's great to have such a supportive and enthusiastic audience. We love you all!

17 April 2008

Spring Hafla tomorrow!

That's right, folks. Tomorrow is the USU Middle Eastern Dance club's Spring Hafla! The show starts at 7:30pm in the TSC Auditorium. Tickets are $10.

It'll be a great show. We have the radiant Shems headlining, with student and professional level dancers performing in the show. And if you come, you'll get to see me dance! There's incentive for ya.

Hope to see you there!

16 April 2008

Basil = Love

For our first date, J made dinner. His friend left him a note as she was leaving that day, and at the bottom wrote "Remember: Basil = Love". He put basil in dinner (along with a LOT of garlic), and the rest is history. We both love basil, and have started growing some seedlings for this year's garden. So it seemed incredibly appropriate that Miss Doodle wanted to both sniff (above) and hug (below) our basil seedlings.

Because the love that made her all started with basil.

Good Papa

Sometimes it's hard to balance parenthood and grad school. Here's J, showing his multitasking skills.
Yes, he is reading a scientific paper while swinging a sleeping Doodle. So cute. Photo courtesy of our Awesome Photographer Neighbor II, spouse of Awesome Photog Neighbor I.

13 April 2008

Forays in drunken blogging

I warned you...after the bellydance performance (I'll get there, give me a sec) I came home and got a little tipsy. But now I can't sleep, and I'm buzzed. And so, I blog. Please forgive any rambling. It's the rum.

So, the performance. It went GREAT! I can't say I was amazing. I'm not. I am improving, yes. Getting better every day. Which is why I'm not at amazing yet. I am good. I did really well. I am proud of how I did. I felt the music, I flowed with it, I moved around the restaurant. I got tips! People actually gave me money for my dancing!!! That is the strangest thing yet....that people enjoy my dancing enough that they are willing to give me money for it. Totally trippy. (yes, I pretty much only use the word trippy when I'm drunk. Otherwise it seems to stoner-ish for me. Moving on...)

So now I'm on this adrenaline high of excitement, and not really completely believing that I actually did it. That I'm really done, and that the cause of all that anxiety and stress this week is just *poof* gone. But it is. That was so much easier and SO much more fun than I thought it could be.

I think it helped that the restaurant was only ~1/2 full for our late seating. Plus the fact that Josh and our friends were 7 of the people there, and another two tables were fellow bellydancers and their spouses...it really made it a friendly environment. Everyone was smiling and clapping. It was fun. It was really truly fun. I didn't freeze up, I didn't freak out. I truly had fun.

Part of me, Introvert Me, is wondering what in the hell just happened. Formerly-closeted Extrovert Me is basking in the spotlight and loving the freedom to just be. It's such a strange dichotomy.

*sigh* I did it. I danced in a restaurant, to a song I knew without a choreography. And it went well, people enjoyed it, and I had fun. Wow. I think I may have to do this again.

12 April 2008

Today's the day...

...my first restaurant improv solo is tonight. Thinking diva thoughts and hoping for the best!

09 April 2008

Stage fright

I used to have terrible stage fright. Or even just be-in-front-of-a-group fright. It was so bad I would hyperventilate, start to panic, and be on the brink of tears whenever I had to stand up in front of the class for any reason. I distinctly remember almost throwing up and/or passing out while having to recite 20 lines from "Romeo and Juliet" in my 8th grade English class. It was terrifying.

Flash forward 12 years (holy hell, has it been that long?!). I am great in front of small crowds. I have a teaching assistantship to earn money while I'm in school, and so I get practice once a week in talking with authority to a group of students. Piece of cake. With teaching experience and growing bellydance performance experience, I've gotten pretty comfortable with troupe performances. I put on my diva face, go out and have fun. I have come to really enjoy our performances and the chance to be sassy on stage. I really only get a little nervous in the hours leading up to the performance, and some butterflies right before going on stage.

Until now. This Saturday I am doing my first restaurant gig. It is a solo. It is an IMPROVISATIONAL SOLO at that. This is a whole new level of terror for me. Not only will I be dancing by myself, in a close intimate setting. Oh, no. It's improv. This essentially means that I need to be *really REALLY* familiar with my music, and am supposed to just let the dance flow out of me with the music. Hrmm. Easier said than done.

I can dance. I know the moves I can do, and which types of moves go with which parts of the music. But putting it together, making it look cute, maintaining my illusion of confidence and commanding stage presence, all while trying to think on my feet and having to look at my audience?!?! AAAAAAAH!!! Raging crazy backflipping butterflies threatening to evict my breakfast, and it's only Wednesday!

If you need me, I'll be curled up in a ball somewhere, listening to my dance music and rocking back and forth. Until Saturday night I will be a basketcase. After that, I'm anticipating being a drunk puddle of mush. Then I'll be great, excited, happy, and possibly ready to do it again.

Until my next solo, that is.

03 April 2008

McCain and sex ed

Below is an excerpt of an interview with John McCain, showing how out of touch he is. He doesn't know if contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?! How can you NOT KNOW? Or maybe, as my friend Mark suggests, McCain just doesn't care.

From the N.Y. Times political blog The Caucus.

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

Maybe he should go take a sex ed class. Oh, but wait... abstinence-only classes won't teach him any more than he already knows. Great.

It'll be a cold day in Hades before this man gets my vote.

01 April 2008

Trans thoughts

Lately I've been thinking a lot about transgender-related issues. Transgender people and their struggles are an aspect of sexuality that is often marginalized and ridiculed even in the GLBT community. It is hard to imagine how hard it would be to grow up feeling as if you were born in the wrong sexed body. It makes me sad that people have to struggle with that, and that even if they choose to change their physical appearance to reflect how they feel inside they are then ostracized for being weird or freakish. That's a level of struggle and pain I wouldn't wish on anyone.

In the news lately: a transman is pregnant. This is really not that difficult to understand. Biological woman has chest reconstruction surgery and starts taking testosterone to make her (now his) physical appearance match his gender. Happy married couple decides to have a baby, but his wife had a hysterectomy years ago. He steps up to the plate, stops taking testosterone injections, and conceives. I say "great! A loved and wanted child being brought into a loving, caring household!" Unfortunately not much of society feels the same way I do. He has even had problems getting prenatal care from area doctors. Funny, I thought doctors were supposed to, above all else, "first do no harm". Hrmm. I wish the best for them in their pregnancy and beyond. (Sidenote: Thomas Beattie will be interviewed on Oprah this Thursday. So if you have a TV and are interested, tune in!)

Something else to think about: as a cisgendered person (that is, a person whose gender matches their biological sex), I have privileges. Privileges I don't often think about, but are inherent in our heterosexual, cisgendered dominant culture. Here's a good checklist of non-trans privileges in everyday life. Take a look.