Zombie Blog

Rising from the dead, this blog has returned in all its glory at the request of Pooder, for whom it was originally given life. The links have all disappeared and may come back one day, when I have time to track them all down again…

A Wee Bit O’Fun
24. April 2010

Below is the last post to the “Old Cat Tails” portion of this blog. I meant to put it up so many times and life just got in the way. The ol’ cat is moving on, new blog, new podcast – see you soon! Darker days are upon us. Nope, not the demise of our economy, nope, not even Mayan prophecy, I refer to the shorter days of Fall. Admit it – it’s wonderful snuggle weather, even if you can’t walk barefoot on the beach! You know fireplaces (light ’em if you have ’em), chocolate soaked marshmelons (thank you Spock for that insight on human delicacies), and rocking chairs that seem to beckon tired feet and expanding behinds. Well of course they are but blossoming with winter winds! We’re storing fat for hibernation, am I right Pooder? I sense your giggle and accept that as an affirmation of my intuitiveness and acknowledment that your keister is expanding too. I did indeed make my foray to the Celtic Jam Session, it was fantastic! I so wish I had you with me. I arrived early and The Fiddler greeted me with warm welcome “Did you bring your harp?” he asked from the stage area, “Nope!” I declared, “Just my knitting”. He scowled. A scowling fiddler, it was quite a sight. I took note of each song so I could find the sheet music and practice. There must have been…15-20 musicians by night’s end, fiddlers, guitar, mandolin, banjo, hammered dulcimer, bass, cello, bodhrain, pennywhistle, and some I had no clue what they were. It was the most enjoyable night of recent memory. I had hoped a local ER doc would come with me as my Hot Date, but he couldn’t make it, oh well. We’re both amateur musicians and I thought we’d have strength in numbers, and bolster our courage to actually come and play sometime.

As I sat upon my bar stool I knitted happily to the tunes of laughing musicians and sprightly aires. A swashbuckler also came in from the night to listen to the music, he was exquisite, right off of Pirates of the Caribbean World Domination Tour. He made a courteous bow each time you caught his eye, it was fantastic! I left when I could knit no longer. That weekend I did finish the lovely watermelon cardigan and also made a matching hat from a different designer – the wee hat I knitted while driving out to Fern-tucky, a small city hell and gone (for me anyway) east of town. Beloved bought me a miner’s light which I place upon my brow so I can knit in the dark while he drives. Works wonderfully.

In my attempts to keep busy and away from Dysfunction Junction, I also went to the Harp Circle. Again, knittin’ stix in hand instead of my harp, but little Margot #2 had to be finished for mailing. It was another enjoyable night of music. The girls played Christmas Carols and prepared for our gig in December at a local hospital. It’s going to be great! But the night of rehearsal was wonderful inspiration to knit, two hours of carols played upon a harp. Bliss. And so, the package did get out on time and the “girls” are off, along with the watermelon outfit and the viking hat to the West Coast Madhouse where hopefully they will look adorable upon the Nieces.

I’m sure I sent this to you, but for posterity, I am also adding a link to that fabulous “Le Duo des Chats“. Gosh that makes me smile everytime I watch it. As you know this is what I imagined as I listened: a sultry moon-lite night, there on the fence, two tomcats decide they are going to sing a duet. A soft breeze brings a piano tune to their furry ears, they take a breath….Now close your eyes…and imagine little Lanza and Pavarotti kitties, they’re singing “Le duo des chats”…remember, close your eyes and just imagine…

I also need to take you back down memory lane to an earlier post about being a fart in a whirlwind – remember? I have found the perfect song for us to warble when confusion strikes and we’re in a mood to twirl ‘about in our insanity. Turn your speakers up, you’re going to love it!

I also found a wickedly good salad you will love – Broccoli Pasta Slaw from Down Home With The Neely’s

New Moon. As you know Pooder, I took my student worker out for the New Moon matinee the other day, during our FABULOUS snow storm, first real snow of the season at least for us desert dwellers, up top they have already seen the white stuff this year. The movie was fabulous, much better than the first. We went to the 12:30 showing believing there would be more adults and less kids. That saying, it was obvious that lots of moms took their girls out of school to see the movie. It was very reminiscent of England when Mom would call me in sick and we’d go to London for a day of shopping. So I looked upon the small ocean of girls with delight, how fondly do I remember those “stolen” afternoons with Momzelle, such wonderful memories. 🙂 During the movie there is one particular scene when the beefier character, okay the werewolf pulls his shirt off. First came the squeals of little girl voices, then the “Aaaahs” from the older gals, and then the grand finale was the squealing of a small contingent of gay men cloistered down in the low rows near the screen. Everywhere screamed with laughter when they got finished. It was great. I did make a pitch for you to read the books, here’s an interesting article about “older women” and the Twilight Series.

The Espresso Machine Cometh
14. November 2009

Feels like forever since I posted! And probably in “net years” it has been. “Life happens” shall be our code word for doo-doo hit the fan and I’m still scraping the walls. I don’t know what I signed up for, but my name got on the Major Mucking list somewhere.

I was slumped in the rocking chair the other evening, crocheting like a fiend trying to finish a project and asked Beloved “How do people just come home and ‘do nothing’?” My weekends are more frantic than my weeks, and I NEVER get to just ‘do nothing’. I have half a dozen projects casting their ol’black magic on me as soon as I step through the door and that doesn’t account for the myriad of tasks I must accomplish before bed time. Hard to imagine your new life herding cats – and for real! But be honest, a dozen small furry children running amok has a larger happiness-quotient than sitting in traffic on the 101 percolating along between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

Remember Pooder when we could spend an entire lazy weekend cross-stitching on the couch watching scary movies? OMG! And the potato wedge feeding frenzy from hell! We ate…what…8 deep friend potatoes slathered in ranch dressing?! Those were the days eh…good metabolisms, the freedom to do nothing, a little house up in the Sonoma mist-lands, remember? We’d stagger out at 4am to hit the gym before going to work…I can’t even imagine a gym that early anymore. What lovely memories though. You at least still have rain, I miss the torrentual downpours where you are, I get sun, and sun, and oh yeah, more sun, and wind, and more sun. Blech! Oh for quaint little Surrey, and trains to London, and rain rain rain. Bliss…

Well, grab your ‘rita Pooder, here’s the rundown from Dysfunction Junction:
Attended the Celtic Festival the other week. I did not see nearly as many attendees as in the past, but sadly that is no doubt a reflection of our economy. They had great pipe bands here. Here’s a short clip of them playing Scotland the Brave after the opening ceremonies. I always cry when the pipers play that. I’m such a Scottish sap! I’ll have to dig through my old archives and find the one I took of me and Momzelle walking in the clan parade in Pleasanton. Colquhoun’s weren’t there in force, just me and Momz, so we walked with the Campbell’s I think, it was wonderful.

The same weekend I spent a lovely afternoon listening to Marina’s recital. She was preparing for an international competition in Israel. Gosh I wish I could play like that! Only on my tiny lap harp, Limerick. Can you imagine?! I hear people are asking me to come back and play at the Temple, dunno if I am up for that, I’m trying to roust my courage to play in a celtic jam session that goes on here in town. I’m not sure if booze and harp strings go well together, guess I’ll have to do some recon work and let you know.

Momzelle and I are going Mongolian at Coronet, and she has been far busier than I working on garb, I’m woefully behind on my sewing – but that’s because I’ve been hooking like a fiend! No, not that kind of hooking Silly, “deviant” hooking, that crazy-eyed crocheting frenzy that takes over people with tiny “sticks” in their hand and a deadline to meet. I’ve finished one hat for the silent auction:

And I’m working on the second. I’ve also nearly completed the bottom portion of Niece’s Watermelon Cardigan and also the dress for the 2nd Margot Mouse. I have thumb fatigue like you can’t believe! Crocheting is hell on that opposable finger.

Coronet was a great success, took lots of great video. You can see the different matches at one of my YouTube sites. There is really only one picture with me in it, I’m in the far right holding the video camera. Beloved will compete again in the new year, and Momz will be kept busy by the current Lady of the Swan – she volunteered to sew her clothes. Momz is the world’s greatest sewing “machine”, everyone should have a retiree in the wings with an eye for perfection and talents to spare.

Fall TV programming has been divine for my crafting. I’m obsessed with Sons of Anarchy, Vampire Diaries, and Dexter. True Blood ended it’s second season recently and I was devastated by its loss (yes, I am a fang-o-phile), and of course The Tudors I must wait patiently for. Beloved has been SO understanding of my lust for vampires, he “attacked” me in the kitchen the other night while I was doing dishes (of course all vampires do that, it’s the dish soap that turns them on), and bit my neck, only he thought he had my shoulder. So I go into work the next day and I meet with the Director and other PhD’s of another department on campus and I can’t figure out why everyone keeps staring at my neck. You can guess I’m sure. I almost screamed in the ladies room when I finally saw “it”, evidence of the fly-by fanging that missed the mark. Oh well, people have always THOUGHT I was weird, now they have proof. Which reminds me, do you remember the vicious attack a frozen turkey suffered that year by a tiny Tinker!? Oh he though he was killing that big bird, what was it 5 times his size, gnawing like a fiend on the frozen carcass in the sink, straddling it like Ahab on the whale. Die! Die! Gotta love tenacity, and kittens.

With unemployment pending on my horizon I have been working on projects to provide a new income stream, and of course ways to save money. Since coffee has proven a great salve to my migraines, and not wishing to support Starbuck’s any longer, I have bought that most wonderful of kitchen gadgetry – an espresso machine. It is small and petite, and capable of hiding under the cabinets. I’m still working out the measurements of everything but I can report that I am in latte heaven. Just thinking about it dripping out my morning cup ‘o joe, I can hear the Zac Brown Band’s “Toes” playing in my mind, and the chorus is “Life is good today, Life is good today…”

As for other “liquid” news, I’ve racked off both fermentation tanks to secondary tanks for the Chocolate Raspberry Port, and there’s still waiting time for both the Apricot Wine and the Plum Wine. The Apple Pie Shine I made last year has mellowed nicely though one must drink it with caution as it its about 151 proof. Best “sleeping pill” around, insomniacs unite! and snooze…. There’s a Redneck “Lemonade” I’ve heard that is really good which is a butt-load of citrus (all kinds, just throw ‘em in) left in a bucket of ’shine (or Everclear in the Wild West), and after 24 hours you remove the citrus-eat-pass out-wake up-rack off shine. I’ve hesitated to try it, my kitchen is getting unmanageable already, and the backyard looks like I’ve got an illegal operation going on. I really need to reclean all the fermentation tanks and re-store them for next harvest season. Ugh, more work. On the upside, I’ve bottled plenty of homemade gifts since I won’t have the cashola to spend on anyone.

Another cute little ditty courtesy of Beloved was when I was cleaning out the raspberry port fermentation tank, I had him take a picture of the “sludge” at the bottom, all the dead or quasi-dead little yeast-beasties, and raspberry seeds:

And as he walks over to the sink and looks down into my palm he says “So Dexter, what have you been up to in the basement?” I almost died laughing! Do you watch that show, it’s about a serial killer. Beloved won’t watch it, but I love it. I know Dexter is going to get caught soon, but I just root for the guy. My bad. And of course I anguish over SAMCRO in Sons of Anarchy, okay yes, they ARE the bad guys, but I’m being manipulated by tv executives to LOVE them…I can’t help it Pooder!…I’m being brainwashed…can’t…stop…watching…
The Diet o’Hell is still keeping me perplexed and hungry but I’ve been experimenting with recipes and have come up with a few that work, and work meaning Beloved would be willing to choke them down again in the future. You’d think that I would have lost weight, but nooooo, I get near “real” food and I’m a freakin’ insane squirrel shoving it into my mouth so I can store it on my hips for the next 10 years. I’m becoming a waddling pear, even spandex can’t squeeze it up into my boobs where it would serve a purpose. Oh the unfairness of it all. A plumber’s “butt-cleavage” is so much more socially acceptable than a woman’s!

Well, I’m off to find more indignities, and adventures to delight you with Pooder. I know times are hard right now, but not only are you surrounded by scampering balls of fur that think you are a god, you aren’t suffering in the Land of Aloha. Truly “Life is good today”.

Vexing victuals, bikers & booze
5. October 2009

“Woe is me.” Do you know Pooder that that statement is over 3200 years old? It was written in the Book of Job, estimated to be from ~ 1200BC. And not only do I feel a significant amount of “woe”, but also “woa”.

Beloved is on a new, and very restrictive nutritional lifestyle change. I thought we were inhibited before due to allergies, etc, but his “new” diet is, woeful and wearisome. Imagine a grain-free world, and your cornucopia of fruits and veg more empty than full. Dairy is right out unless I can keep a goat in my garage. My world is an ever shrinking buffet of delectable delights, and succulent snackies that have disappeared from my banquet never to be seen again. Oh well, is food everything? My belly thinks so anyway.

We harvested apples from our Granny Smith out in the backyard. I sliced them thin and sauteed them in a pan with cinnamon, vanilla, a wee bit of sugar, and organic, unprocessed apple juice. After just a few minutes I placed them in my dehydrator and made yummy apple chips for Beloved. Aside from the added sugar, it’s something he CAN eat, and the sugar, well, we gotta be a little bad, right?! Pooder, you’ll probably also love this recipe I watched on Paula Deen’s show, it’s Broccoli Slaw. Prior to the new Diet o’Hell I had made some preference changes to it, but we can no longer eat broccoli so I made it with sliced carrots, no ramen (because it’s noodles) and amended the dressing a bit. Still very good, just add more sunflower seeds and slivered almonds.

‘course, I still have to try my hand at treats, and when we had Beloved’s Dad over for his b’day dinner, I made donut holes based on Cooking for Real’s recipe. I used the biscuits, but rolled them in two different kinds of sugar for variety – cinnamon sugar, and then 2nd flavor of Hershey’s dark chocolate powder and sugar. They both looked pretty mixed on a plate. Tasted one of each and sent the rest home with Dad-in-Law.

I’ve finished the kippah for my High Holy Days performance. I’m not all that happy with it, but it will have to do. I’d prefer it much smaller, but time is of the essence and I don’t have time to frog (rip-it) it again. The performance(s) went well overall, the Rabbi was happy with them, and that works for me. Of course, I’m way more critical than other people, and happily, the harp is a forgiving instrument. Even in the hands of a novice, it sounds beautiful. I start attending the local Harp Circle soon, which are monthly gatherings of harpists to play and chat.

The “woa” in my life is because it’s been Street Vibrations this past week, yes, the Bikers are in town and the pipes are rumbling through the Biggest Little City.

Sadly, there was a lot less to see this year, and they didn’t let the bikers do a cruise down Virginia Street like they’ve done in the past. Beloved and I had a good time nonetheless, and dreamt of owning one of course and hittin’ the road for some adventure.

I’ve been gravity testing the Chocolate Raspberry Port, it’s not quite ready for the 2nd fermentation cycle; and I’ve still got loads of racking off to do with the remainder of the Apricot and Plum wines. It’s always busy when you’re preserving a harvest – in whichever form suits you. In our case, the joy is in the making since Beloved and I don’t eat a great deal of jam, nor do we drink much wine, we cook with it in the crock, but don’t drink it. Now I *do* have some Apple Pie Shine that I made with Everclear, which is of course legalized moonshine (of sorts). I’ve been giving that away right and left. I’ll save you a bottle for when you come out.

At present I’m working on a Watermelon Sweater for the nieces. Then, a sweet Viking friend of mine laid his bike down, and the other week rolled his car, so I’m trying to finish another pattern in time for the silent auction on his behalf. I won’t post the picture yet, because, well, its a secret and I never know who may fall down the rabbit hole and find this little corner of the net-verse.

I was talking to someone the other day about my knitting needles. Who would think such a treasure of memories was passed to me. I had asked Momzelle to teach me to knit about 8 years ago. She arrived on my doorstep with her entire knitting/crochet needle collection. Sat patiently with me and taught me to knit and purl, which are basically identical stitches, just front/backs of each other, and then gave me her collection. Some are from the US, some are from England, some are from goodwilling, some made my sweaters which she sent me in College. They are little bits of memories and I cherish them. I know you don’t knit Pooder, but I would share them with you if you wanted some.

Well, I’m behind on so much right now, I’ll post this entry and there’ll be another right behind it soon enough!

Delusions of happiness
22. September 2009

Definition: Hap-pi-ness, noun, 15th century, a state of well-being and contentment.

Let’s take stock of our situation here Pooder…our planet orbits around a star; while doing that it spins upon its axis; meanwhile we’re on the surface of the spinning orb, spinning ’round the star that’s spinning round the galaxy and trying, vainly at times, to grasp a moment of happiness and later wonder why we can never quite hold onto it. I think it’s obvious, how can you hold onto anything when you’re a fart in a whirlwind? I feel like that dissipating whisp of flatulence this week: “Oops it was here, but now its gone”, “Was there a sound? Wrong, only silence”, “Oh look! There’s potential happiness, yippee, not.”

Do you remember the Native American, the one years ago who came to your wolf, Shalon, when she was preggers? He had a cookie, and he told her that she would bear one white cub. You scoffed, correct? But there he came, and he told her, only one, and gave her the cookie. And when the pups came, what was there? One – white – wolf pup. She never bore another one, only that one, and he got to have it. I think of Shalon’s white pup when I get excited about the sweet little kitten you promised me from your cattery, the one I’ll really never get to have. I’ll get to see her through Skype, and yes of course I’ve already got her name picked out, but she is that moment of “Oh lookie!” but she’s not really mine. Poof! It’s over. So I guess I’m crying in my saucer of milk today. Or, perhaps I’m just looking at the empty saucer and crying because as you know, I’ve got food poisoning. Nothing annihilates your happiness potential like salmonella. I’ve been told there is an upside, it’s worth 5lbs on your waistline. Charming, I really cherish that little nugget of joy while I’m clawing the sides of the commode trying to hang on for dear life. Oh, but then there’s the other fount of gladness I was looking forward to and that was the performance at High Holy Days.
I’ve been meeting to practice since…oooh, July?? Hours and hours of going over the songs; listening to the CD’s the Rabbi made for me so I could try and get it right and I haul my carcass to work at 7:00am in the morning to be sure I could get parking to unload and load the harp. I’m a fluid explosion waiting to happen but I make it through my 8 hours of desk-jockey work, gather up the harp, rolling luggage that contains my harp chair, foot stool, music stand, music books, video camera and all its assorted equipment and I begin the Trek o’Doom. Yep, in foolishness, ignorance, or just plain old stubborness I set out on the impossible journey, walking from one end of the campus to the other hauling more stuff than I could realistically carry feeling healthy, let alone with projectile food poisoning. But there I am, step by step, encouraging myself like the Little Train That Could. But in my case it couldn’t, nope, no way, fuhgettaboutit. Half way there I have no where to run, let alone run. I can’t drop my possessions and head for the nearest building; there are no handicap accessible buildings along my route, and I am well, karmically screwed. Humbled by this broken vessel, presently dominated by bacteria run amok, I continue on my journey, if only because a bathroom awaits me at journey’s end.

Suffice to say I made it through the performance and then retreated to my car, the freeway, my driveway, the front door, and ready Pooder, ready to have that breakdown that we gals plan for. I held it all in, I made it, I’m ready and…Beloved says “Guess what, the Child has H1N1″. My lip quivers. This can’t be happening…my 2nd performance is in the morning, and now I’m quarantined? Darryl Worley, takes up his chorus in my brain “Sounds like life to me it ain’t no fantasy, It’s just a common case of everyday reality, Man I know it’s tough but you gotta suck it up, To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy, It sounds like life to me…”

Despite Darryl’s words of redneck wisdom, I cry anyway. In the morning, I call the Rabbi and bow out. Delusions of happiness, ah, what a rush, eh?

I do have good news however, you know I’m never all gloom and doom despite the powers-that-be that conspire against me “livin’ large”. I finally finished Margot! I think Neice #1 will love her…

Oh, and then I was inspired and I knitted Ribbit! There’s a tennis ball in his tummy! Neice #3 will gum him into felted glory.

And one more – Creepy Cute’s Grim Reaper…ain’t he cute! He can’t go to a wee one, he’s got polymer clay bits.

I’m also working on a Kippah that I’ll donate to the Rabbi’s Temple when I’m done with High Holy Days, and I’ve got a 2nd version of Margot on the needles which will be for Niece #2. I also learned something fabulous! I met up with my local Stitch n’Bitch group in Reno and we dyed wool with kool-aid, so much fun Pooder! Here’s a picture of my skein, I used Orange, Lemonade and Strawberry.

What else shall I relate, oh…here’s a good’un. I get up Monday morning, head off to the salt mines, and lo and behold we’ve been burglarized. Yep, ain’t that a lovely delusion of “norm” blown right out the window. Buggers hit every office in our suite, that’s about a dozen. If they couldn’t muscle in with a crowbar they kicked the door in. Fabulous freakin’ Monday, welcome to your week.

So I dealt with what I needed to. Made it a whole day without Salmonella kickin’ my lily white tookus, came home and, the best Delusion of Happiness I could find Pooder, are you ready for it….Raspberry Chocolate Port! OMG!

I made 3 gallons tonight. The little yeasties are happily eating their fill for my future bliss, hopefully, otherwise this illusion / delusion will break my salivating heart in a few months.
Tomorrow I have the 2nd 3 gallon batch to make, and then together, some time hence, you and I shall sit quietly, sipping chocolatey-raspberry goodness, and giggle over the delusions of happiness that bewilder and amuse, frustrate and entertain, and both tickle and torment our fancies. Cheers my beloved Sister! I miss you!

The Sky is Falling
3. September 2009 

Today Pooder we pay homage to that little Prophetess of Doom, Chicken Little. She tried very hard to deliver a message but got waylaid by a crafty fox, and her message was lost. I felt that SO painfully these past few days, so let’s take a quick meander back through purgatory…

You know that little inkling that creeps up your neck and dangles from your ear whispering “Danger Will Robinson…”. And you just poo-poo the intuition and go your merry way. Picture me, working my way through Thursday, knowing I’m SUPPOSED to pick up a 1/4 cow from Wolf Pack Meats, only I can’t get through on the phone and no one is returning my emails. Luckily the dear one who wanted it in the Bay Area, decided she couldn’t take it, so I’m feeling pretty good – silver lining, right? I get in the car with Limerick whose set to go under the drill for “lever enhancement” and head West to Madness. The construction on 80 is abysmal but I press on, stopping to eat at Chick-fil-a in Roseville (Yes, it was me, I ate Chicken Little not Foxy Loxy as previously reported. That hen just wouldn’t stop clucking her ominous warnings in my ear).

Late on Thursday I arrive at Madness and set up my stuff: a Seagate 1.5 Terabyte external hard drive that contains the two websites I’ve been working on for clients, a logo I need to email out, and basically my sanity. I’m hauling two laptops (my nearly dead one, and the new Toshiba). Everything boots up, but the Seagate. I’m tired, strung out, and frustrated. Beloved isn’t returning my IM’s in Yahoo Messenger or in SL (Second Life). Oh, BTW, in SL, Beloved cruises the sims as a full-on Jedi Master. He’s made it through all the tests, annihilates Sith with a few swipes of his light saber (you have to make your own to prove you’re worthy) and has paduwans that call him “Master”. Because he’s been a gamer for years and is really good, he’s also a GM “Game Master” and referees the role play, etc. It’s hysterical. So now I get to claim the honor of being bed-buddies with a Prince AND a Jedi Master. Who could possibly be next, inquiring minds can’t wait to know… I do have plans to sew him a complete Jedi outfit so we can cruise the big Sci Fi Convention that’s coming here in 2011. Haven’t figured out who I’m willing to be sashaying next to him, but I’ve got my radar out for someone whimsical or at the very least scandalizing for the conservative mentality of a Jedi. I shall do my best to woo him to the dark side. Bwahahaha…

I get too frustrated with the Seagate and head to bed. I’ve started a new book, Marked written by a mother/daughter team. The windows are open and I can hear the creatures of the night down in the creek talking to each other, but I sleep peacefully, except for the occasional noise from my dear cat, Walter O’Malley, who is pressed against the screen window musing of midnight conquests and high adventure.

Here’s a picture of him dreaming…

Morning comes and I drop off Limerick for surgery. I then rush home and start to make another batch of jam from nectarines and blackberries. Drat the scale, I am short 1.5lbs of fruit so I quickly go the store to sniff nectarines. Have you noticed how pathetically non-odiferous the fruit is these days? I’m standing in a sea of round colored fruit and nothing smells remotely fruity and worse yet it all feels like they took it out of a freezer an hour ago. As I stand there mourning fresh fruit I hear this buzzing, and notice a cloud of fruit flies circling over one pile of fruit in the midst of a long display. Yep – we found da sugar baby! Not only were they circling over the most expensive fruit, it smelled like fresh fruit, and had the lovely soft squeeze to it like it was truly ripe. $9.00 later, I have my fruit. Chopped, mashed and bubbling 30 minutes later, it’s time to run back and retrieve Limerick from the Recovery Room. She came through perfectly – yippee! I jar the fruit, bathe them all in hot water and listen to the pop of perfect canning. On a side note, Pops has found that nectarine-blueberry jam works perfectly as a topping on one’s morning Eggo waffle.

Anyway, I spend the rest of the day fighting with the Seagate, replacing cables, trying to get it to boot, Beloved can’t figure out, remotely what’s happening, and I’m getting a migraine. Literally. Pops has has a health scare and to celebrate his aliveness I take Momz to the local bakery and buy a Lemon Coconut cake to celebrate. It’s yummy. We watch way too much FoodTV, Pops and I squealing as Guy Fieri eats his way through Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and I go to bed saddened that instead of 3 days in Madness, I must return to Dysfunction and see what ails my Seagate. So morning comes and I head East…

I’m slurping my iced latte and begin to take note of all these funky “cars” on the freeway. Converted school buses, weird looking trailers, tarped and strangely packed truck beds. Chicken Little is dead, so she’s not sqwuaking at me, so I drive on in oblivion, passing small caravans of these bizarre contraptions. The light is on, but still no one is home in my brain…
I hit Auburn and decide to take a breather and drive through Old Town. I love old towns, those tiny little one street strips of history just rock my world. And as I slowly make my way down the 1 block of it I am on I see my mecca – a Quilt Store, and that means fabric. . I came, I saw, I bought, or as they used to say Veni Vidi Visa. Whoopie for Retail Therapy!
So I’m back on the freeway and have passed Colfax, and the rest area. More weird cars, what is this? Then I see it, an old ford truck, stopped on the side of the road. It’s like Pops, circa 1970 all steel BIG truck bed. It’s overpacked, but that’s not what you notice first…it’s the neon pink hairy fabric that has been glued to the ENTIRE body. It reminds me of the flying dragon from Never-Ending Story. And suddenly the heavens open and this chorus of angels begins to shout in unison “Hail the Burners! Good tidings and great ganja do they bring!”. Yep, the yearly migration has begun. At about 5000 ft, I begin to see more broken down buses, hoods up, mohawk-ed people running up and down the freeway helping each other; I see the giant stuffed animal-bikes tied to the backs of vehicles; and structures that will become the artsy Black Rock City. Ah the seasons of Nevada….Spring Summer Groovy Fall and Winter. Gotta love it.

Anyhoo, I roll into Dysfunction and Beloved is busying himself in the kitchen making fig cordial, and then happily harvests some fruit from outside.

For the three images above that are Beloved’s (the amateur photographer), #1, 2 and 4, here’s what it looked like behind the scenes…

Egads! Look how messy it is, and you can see all the hooch fermenting in the buckets! Well, that’s an exaggeration, there’s more, they’re just not in the picture. Doh! Actually, the house is a lot cleaner than you knew it, that Feng Shui book REALLY worked it’s magic and on Monday we hauled the old white couch to the sidewalk and put a “Free” sign on it. After we returned into the house I declared “We have exorcised the demon! Moby Dick is dead”. Hallelujah!

I am coming to the end Pooder, I could go on, but I’m just avoiding the sad ending…the Seagate was indeed dead, according to Beloved the quiet “tick ticking” you hear if you press your ear against it is the “Tick of death”, the sign of a dead hard drive. I am devastated. I have not known this kind of grief since my sweet Rotten Rotty, Hurricane Harley Davidson passed on. I’m crying, meandering around the house like a lost soul. Finally in frustration Beloved whacks it with that nerd punch they do to high tech equipment plugs it back into my system and walks away. 24 hours later, I am visited by memory of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”. As I stand in the living room, ambivalent to living, I see a window pop up on my laptop and its my Seagate asking me what I want to do “Execute File, Open File, etc”. AAAAHHHH!!!!! Am I being tormented by the beating “heart” of my Seagate? Is it some phantom message driving me insane? I start screaming, literally, and Beloved storms into the living room and slays the popup window – the Seagate indeed lives long enough for me to extract the files I grieved over.

And so I would like to have a moment of silence, and offer a prayer for Chicken Little, who died much too soon but tasted really good!; and for the Burner’s – may they have water and sunscreen in abundance; and finally for my new laptop and external hard-drive, long may they live…

Puckered, Pickled and Pooped
25. August 2009

Have you ever collapsed at the end of the day and wondered “How the hell did I get all that done?!”, I seem to be doing that alot lately, or perhaps its deja vu. All I know is I keep surprising myself with what I’m getting done this week. Especially in the kitchen…

Either Saturday or Sunday (escapes me now) I had a portion of the day and house to myself, all was quiet until I turned my iPOD to the Puppini Sisters album “Betcha Bottom Dollar“. They are a sister trio from England that sing like the Andrew Sisters, love them love them love them. But back to my fermented tale…So here I am enjoying my solitude and my tunes blasting through the kitchen and I turn to the fermenter, the plum wine, or that which has been sitting in my kitchen for 13 months waiting to be transferred to wine bottles. The recipe was from Alaskan Bootleggers Bible . I actually thought it would come out better than it did, but no use crying over bad wine. I just pour it into the crock with a hunk o’meat, onions & herbs, and call it good. Well, the kitchen is a mess and there’s no way I can get the tank onto the counter, or into the sink to provide the distance for the gravity hose device to do its work – remember sucking gasoline out of a tank? Once you get gravity working down into the container, life is good? Well, that’s the basic idea here, only you don’t turn green. So I clean the kitchen, fill the sink with clorox/hot water and sterilize the wine bottles. Turn on the oven to bake them dry and then wait for them to cool down to put the wine in. Meanwhile, I’m cutting the beef I bought to make Beloved his jerky. He loves Teriyaki so I’ve also got the marinade to make…Meanwhile, I’ve got parts from Home Depot to buy so Beloved can finally hang the mirror in the bedroom. It’s huge but as it sits, the top of my head gets cut off – that’s bad Feng Shui Pooder, must change that….

Beloved’s Dad has another bag of golden plums for another batch of wine, so I run my errands, the bottles cool down and I’m once again standing in my kitchen, and all is still quiet, except I’ve moved on to Ripe, by the Dixie Beeliners. So I get an empty fermenting tank into the shower in the bedroom, fill it with water and some iodophur (to sterilize) and go back to the kitchen. I put the plum wine tank in the sink and get everything set up. I’ve got the hose running down into a filter that’s sitting in a funnel that’s on the top of a bottle. Life is good. I get the wine pumping down the tube and Holy Cow, the bottle is filling up, I’m trying to hold the hose at the top, and not make a mess and without thinking I grab the hose at the bottom at the filter and try to bring it quickly above the level of the tank so the wine won’t come out. Guess what, it doesn’t stop fast enough and now I’ve got a mess. I stick the hose in the tank, turn around to get a dish towel and the hose flies out of the tank and sends this very artistic spray of red wine arc-ing through the air until the hose lands on the floor and starts swishing around like a wild snake. Lovely. I pounce on it like a demented cat, my shoes, knees, clothes are soaked in wine and I finally get the hose back above the line of the fermenter.

I’m standing there looking at the carnage wrought upon my kitchen and muse about the ATF busting through my door and determing that I’m not up to no good, I’m just incompetent. So I decide rather than bother to clean it up, I’ll just wait until I finish the task at hand in case another crisis strikes. And it does, but I do get all the bottles I had sterilized filled with wine, but there’s still gallons left. This is the fermenting tank of a genie, it’s endless. So I reseal the tank, go to the bathroom, empty the sterilized tank and allow it to dry, return the kitchen and begin the golden plum wine. Peeling, weighing, measuring, etc. My iPOD has moved on to Darryl Worley’s “I Need a Breather” from his Have You Forgotten? album. “Hey I need a breather, a stiff margarita Bring’em as fast as you can” Now there is an excellent idea, only I’ve already consumed all my margaritas so I pop the top off a Pear Cider from Fox Barrel Cidery. It’s very yummy, if you can find any in your neck of the world – buy it! It also comes in Regular and I think Blackberry but I like Pear the best.

So I manage to get the golden plum wine put down to rest a night (before I pitch the yeast), prep dinner and cozy up to the TV for True Blood on Showtime. Aaaah. By the end of the day I’ve managed to make a lovely Marsala Chicken dinner for Beloved, racked off most of my Santa Rosa Plum Wine, have another tank of golden plum wine going, have jerky marinating in the fridge, and I’ve got a lovely mirror up on the wall in the bedroom along with new jewellry racks that I’ve painted and Beloved has hung for me. The de-cluttering continues…

Also this week, our nectarines decided to all be ripe NOW!, so I picked, bought some blackberries and made nectarine-blackberry jam. I’ve canned lots of jam but I never recall the mess. I guess this is the week for messes. I’ve had my hands in water so much trying to clean out sponges that my fingers will never lose the puckering. That jam bubbled and spit like nothing I have ever cooked, burned the hell out of my thumb – nothing like molten sugar on your skin! It came out lovely though, will be delicious on biscuits, hoping to take a jar to Beloved’s dad soon.

I’m still desperate to finish Margot (I totally suck as an Auntie, it’s getting ridiculous!) and with cheers and applause to the fine ladies on Ravelry who helped me decode the typo-abbreviation on the pattern, her arms are nearly finished. I dug out my Halloween beaded lariat I started last October, funnily enough, I had it at October Coronet when Dan won and still haven’t had time to finish – but it’s off the back burner and sitting by my rocking chair. I did make myself a new sweatshirt sweater, I’ll make one for you too – I just keep forgetting how cool it gets there? Would you wear one?

Anyhoo, here’s my last tidbit of life at Dynsfunction Junction this time around. We’re late for work so Beloved cruises through Jack-in-the-Box for breakfast. I hate fast food so, as usual, I get whatever version of iced coffee/latte they offer. I sip this off and on throughout the morning and about 11am I’m in a meeting and get to the bottom of my plastic coffee cup. Guess what’s in the bottom??? Answer – who the hell knows but it ain’t coffee or milk! It looks like worms. I am not kidding. You remember the worms you feed the fish? The long skinny ones you take out in a clumps? THAT is what this blob at the bottom of my freakin’ cup looks like and I am about to have a meltdown as only a paranoid hypochondriac can. Logic flees from my brain and I am little more than a screaming monkey throwing poop at tourists. I leave the building drop the container in the nearest garbage can and head straight to my office to be sick. After work I buy something akin to “Para-Kill” a natural remedy for internal parasite destruction. It smells to high heaven, but worth every quesy gulp if it will kill whatever I just swallowed and is happily breeding in my digestive tract.

Oh Pooder! The horrors. I feel sick. Did I ever tell you that while in Moscow (when it was still the Soviet Union and there were armed soldiers everywhere). I was sitting in the hotel and the waitress places this steak in front of me. I looked at this anemic pasty gray unidentifiable piece of meat and watched a white worm wriggle from the center. I motioned for the waitress who came over, looked at me like I was a complete idiot. Picked up my knife, scooped it up, smashed it into my plate, handed me the knife back and walked away! Holy Mary n’ Joseph and Fried Cheese! I’m having a flash back and the hallucinagen is worms – AAAAHHHH!!!!

Hail Bacchus! God of Hooch…
18. August 2009

Ever have one of those “I told you so!” moments, but to yourself? Well, I just really love being prophetic…So Beloved and I get home from work last week, and our neighbor is waiting to give us an earful. Apparently while their family was visiting (I’m thinking a gathering out in the garden) my vicious Bees-of-Destruction descended upon the defenseless humans and attacked without mercy. Indeed one man was hospitalized and two children and another man needed medical attention. You can imagine Pooder how upset that made me – on a number of levels. First and foremost that I am being accused of harboring killer bees and two that my next door neighbor’s family was attacked next freakin’ door! The paranoid in me is screaming “I’m next!”. Since I go zero to Bitch Queen in about 5 seconds these days (thank you Mental-pause) I go straight into the house to pour me a glass o’hooch. Beloved eventually comes in shaking his head to give me the blow by blow. Seems “my bees” chased them down the street and swarmed on them, blah blah blah. He tried repeatedly to get them to understand that “my bees” are Mason Bees, there’s a picture here, but mine look more like big black flies. Anyhoo, they don’t swarm, they have a stinger, but don’t really sting, and my particular masons are actually just a bunch of little white larvae in paper tubes at the moment. They don’t fly right now, they’re just…worms in coccoons. (I move them into my vegetable tray in the fridge as soon as October rolls around to keep them safe through the winter.) The neighbors finally accept that okay, maybe “MY” bees didn’t do the deed, but my beehive attracted the killer bees and I’m still to blame. Argh!!

Then, my red-headed man, finds yet more patience to channel and tries to tell them that my beehive doesn’t attract other bees (unless they are masons). You remember my little beehive on the porch? Looks like a paper coffee can, with papertubes poking out of it. REALLY ominous….ooooo….scary….. But God bless the man, he did try to make them understand that my bees are completely harmless. Well, by the time morning arrives I’ve got shingles from my hip down the back of my leg. Oh stress is so grand! I love it love it love it. Tequila was obviously useless in calming me down, note to self: try Mudslides next time, the chocolate alone should make you feel better.

Then on Friday She With Endless Patience, our wondeful Momzelle, asked if I would return her from Truckee back to the Bay. Pops had injured himself and needed her home. Luckily the wee babe had indeed arrived and our sweet Sis-in-Law had recovered and could take care of the family, so I headed West with my precious cargo. I hear our baby-brother is doing so well, he’s broken the cycle of abuse he started life in, I’m so proud of him.

It is still unknown what the problem is with Pops, but he has been bedridden since at least Friday. Mom is able to bring him food and tend to his care, and the Doctor has prescribed Prednizone (sp?). I spent a lovely Saturday practicing with Limerick for High Holy Days and taking Momz wherever her heart desired. We had a wonderful day and truly shopped till we dropped. After getting home and taking care of Pops’ dinner (we made a yummy curry), she and I collapsed in the living room and glued ourselves to the Food Network. I took my needles out and worked on Margot’s little pink dress. I was supposed to knit 20″. I happily announced I had 18.5 at one point, only to later discover I was down to 14???? Knitted like blazes and then only had 16? My measurements jumped around endlessly and Momz managed to rouse herself to bring back the carpenter’s tape but she couldn’t get 20″ or any of my other measurements either. At that point we decided I was too tired to knit and neither one of us was capable of counting so we went to bed.

I arrived home Sunday to a bag of yellow plums from Beloved’s Dad. Since he knows how much I love making hooch, he had scored me a wonderful bag of yummy ripe plums. Unfortunately I was WAY too tired to deal with them so I had to forego the pleasure and put them into the fridge. I did retrieve those little bundles of sugary joy this evening and have spent a good 3 hours in the kitchen preparing them for fermented goodness. I’ve got over 2lbs of sugar, covering ~4lbs of fruit and there’s over a pound of honey all melding it together. By Christmas we MIGHT have something worth sniffing. 🙂 I have come to the conclusion that brewers, my gender specifically, require manservants to massage our feet after toiling over fermentation tanks. I think it’s a fair trade, hooch for massage, what do you think Pooder? If WWIII ever hits I’ll bring the booze, and we can trade it for other rations.
Oh, and I decided I have a solution for the 5 gallons of Santa Rosa Plum Wine I made from last summer’s harvest. It never tasted quite right to me, but since Pops is pouring my good plum wine into cheap stuff from the grocery store, I’m going to give him my not so good plum wine, to mix with the good stuff and see if he will drink it. It’s that or the drain Pooder and I think it would break Pops’ heart to know I sent it to the water treatment plant. So, I’m going to bottle it this weekend and offer it to him.

Did I tell you of my adventure with Mead last summer? Well, I had a couple jars of sourdough going in the kitchen, if memory serves, I think I named the “dough” Herman. The house smelled divine, it was glorious. Anyway, with all the yeast “bugs” floating all over the place I decided to try some natural mead. Basically honey and water in a jar with a hanky or thin cloth over the top so the yeast can get it. I placed the fermenter with Herman, and let him have his way with it. Well, what came was the most unbelievably active mead I’ve ever heard of. I THOUGHT I did everything right, but almost a year later, the freakin’ corks are still blowing off the bottles from the yeast – it is STILL that active. I cant’ believe it. Herman is alive and well in every bottle, and I must have 3 dozen bottles of the darn stuff. Well, I’m not a big mead drinker, so I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to do with all this hooch? Inspiration Pooder, it hit me shortly after I heard another cork popping off a bottle under the table. I had a scrumptious fresh salmon steak one night and rather than poach it in white wine, I thought I’d try the mead. I figured even fermented, the sweetness would come through. It did, and was so incredibly good, I wish I could make some for you. I have found a use for my mead – I’m in heaven! I’m going to send a case down to Pops since he can put fish in it too.

I did finish Skin Trade by Laurell Hamilton, unfortunately the story was a bit lacking but at least I didn’t have to live through chapter after chapter of orgies. I’m sorry, the whole multiple partner thing is just a tad TMI for me when explained in all its sordid glory, page, after page, after page…. I also finished Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I think I have followed the advice admirably and am very impressed that without pushing or prodding, my Beloved has also cleared clutter – but heaven forbid it was because good chi was flowing around the freakin’ place! The last chapter was on clearing out your colon. Now there was some fabulous reading, boy howdy. Actually, I had done a colon cleanse a few years back, lost four inches off my waist – but what an ordeal. Holy cow, I swore I’d never put myself through it. At one point Beloved came into the bedroom where I was laying on the bed throwing myself one helluva pity party because you feel like utter doo-doo AND you’re doing doo-doo just about every spare moment of your day…my nose is running, I’ve got a headache from all the toxins leaking out your body, and he marches in on me with nasal spray and assortment of pills in hand and demands that I cease and desist with the cleansing and “THROW THAT SHIT OUT!”. If I recall correctly, I retrieved it from the garbage can and hid it under the sink, where I took it in secret like a damn crack addict. ‘course, then I had to hide the fact that I continued to feel like doo-doo but after the weeks of hell I had already lived through, I wasn’t going to stop half way.

Anyway, I did raise the courage to ask if Beloved would be my colon-buddy and we could cleanse together. HA HA HA. I won’t retype the little ditty he decided to say in response, but let’s just say if I wander down the path of detoxifying again, I shall have to be the stealthy and cunning little minx that I am and hide it once again under the sink.

I’m almost done with Patricia Briggs’ Moon Called. It’s werewolves and shapeshifters, but the story is quite slow. I’ve also almost finished Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. I had checked this one out a month or so ago when I had a particularly sensitive problem I had to address in a very public forum. I had read the parts I needed most and was successful in writing what I needed to. I’m just trying to finish the rest of the book now. It’s very thought provoking.

I’ve also purchased a new cheesemaking book. I’ve got quite the collection now, and I also bought a cheese press so I can move from fresh cheeses to the holy grail – hard cheese. Ooooh, Aaaaah. I had to set aside my passion for curds while Dan and I reigned but I’m back in the saddle and ready to take the reins of my guild again. You did know I was Guild Mistress of the Cheese Guild right? I need to get my…ssshhh….….goat milk suppliers back on board. It’s illegal to purchase here in….Armpit City. Makes me so freaking mad! We can have life and liberty but forget pursuing fresh milk, noooooo. We get to buy the ultra-pasteurized completely dead crap in the grocery store that doesn’t do a body good unless you’re the embalmer at the mortuary. I have got to get out of this damnable state and move somewhere with affordable land and a good water supply. Raw milk! That’s my battle cry. If God wanted it pasteurized it would come out the cow that way.

Aaaah, the Power!
12. August 2009

Hang on to your whiskers Pooder, here comes the first episode from “Dysfunction Junction”. Since neither of us live at “The West Coast Madhouse” anymore, I’ve had to progress from Madness to Dysfunction. Is that an improvement? I’m not sure. I do like to frolic through Madness occasionally. Went there last weekend with Beloved – caught the ferry to Frisco walked up to Chinatown, and you guessed it, bought BOXES of dim sum. Luckily our sweet Mom handed me a rolling carry-thing to haul my bounty home. Same ol’ place we’ve gone to for decades, hole in the wall “bakery” deep in the heart of Chinatown. Saturday drove out to the coast to eat deep fried fish and greasy fries, yummy! Our fish shack has turned into a surfer-dude hawaiian themed place. I missed the grittyness of the old shop. Fish in a piece of paper and eat with the seagulls dive bombing from the sky. Now you’re inside slammed up against a widescreen tv of surfing video. I did enjoy the biker dude who blew in on his luxury bike and complained they didn’t serve cappuccinos. No fish for him! So he left.

As Highway 1 wound it’s way up the coast, (the fog was in), I remembered all the trips we made years ago at dawn to conquer the abalone hoardes. Watching you and Pops squish into wetsuits was hysterical! You were so brave. Jaws did me in, its irrational I know, but you rock! We ate so much freakin’ abalone, it became “poor man’s chicken” to me. Wow, and what do people pay for it these days! $200 a lb or something ridiculous. But I got so tired of eating ’em – playing with the gut sack looking for pearls was about my only joy. I was too young to beat my frustrations out pounding the flesh into something tender, and booze wasn’t even on my radar yet. I think Pops raised a glass to the killer abalones that escaped him, wasn’t it Thunderbird?! Reminds me…I made some EXCELLENT Santa Rosa Plum Wine from 70lbs of plums the folks brought me last summer. I think I’ve given him 2 or 3 cases of it. Believe it or not, he loves it so much, he’s adding it to the cheap stuff he buys at the store to make it taste better! When I asked him why he’d ruin my wine, he said it makes it last longer…go figure. I’ve got about 30lbs of apricot wine snoozing until next year, we’ll see if he treats it with the same TLC.

How are the kittens doing? I can’t wait to name one of your new queens – so exciting! We’ll have to schedule a Skype session soon so I can see the wee babies thus far.

I’ve been super busy lately, so many irons in the fire…first I’ve been trying to finish a really awesome doll for our nieces (one each). I had wanted to finish before the new babe emerged, but Rebekah has joined us already and I’m not near done. It’s called Margot Mouse. She’s so adorable, I want her for myself!

I’ve also got two beading projects in process, both are from A Muse Ink, Eye Tie and Pyra. Pyra will be my third in the series to finish. Yippee!! A local magazine editor saw me wear Gaia and asked if I’d sit for a photo shoot and story, but I didn’t want people asking me to bead these gals. They’re too much work!

I’m building websites for two local companies and that’s been hectic. My laptop has decided to go “toes up” and I’m absolutely devastated. I will never NEVER purchase another HP laptop as long as I live. It has been the worst waste of money and time imaginable. They’re customer service sucks! AND they managed to put an illegal copy of MS Vista back onto my PC after they changed out all the hardware the last time it died. They’re horrible, HORRIBLE! Enough said…

It was my anniversary the other night. Went to a lovely little steakhouse in town so Beloved could get his meat quota. I learned a very valuable lesson, never trust a waiter who giggles when he tells you how big a drink is…it was my own fault, but I *really* did need to see how big a mai tai could get in a hurricane glass. Wow! I was so gone by the time the entree showed up I couldn’t eat it. Oh well, Live Laugh Love. Unfortunately I passed out for the latter.

You know how awash my life is in clutter. Too many hobbies and too small a home, so I checked out a book from the library called “Clear your clutter with Feng Shui“. OMG! It works, I am not kidding. I know our Great-Grandmother would always align her bed and follow specific placing rules in the house, so perhaps what chinese blood pumps through my veins took a hold of me – but it was amazing! As a point of interest, the book tells you not to nag a spouse who isn’t into clearing clutter, leave them be, the good energy released from clearing clutter would inspire them to get cleaning too. Its true! After two days of cleaning Beloved comes over to me and says “I’m going to put an organizer in the closet.” That’s 13 feet of shelving heaven! I couldn’t have believed it. Yippee!!! By 11:00 that night not only was it organized I actually got to get rid of old pants and shirts from HIS side of the closet. . Pooder, it was unbelievable! Go to the library and get the book, you’ll be amazed.

I’ve also volunteered to help a wonderful friend with an event at her Temple. She needed musicians so I stepped up with Limerick to meet the challenge. You knew I had a harp right? I can’t remember, I’m succombing to Mental-pause in a BIG way. Anyway, four days of music apparently, I’ll have to ask for time off from work. Lovely tunes. It would be better if I actually spoke Hebrew because once they start singing if I lose my place, I can’t figure out where they are! Should be fun though, it’s an enjoyable challenge and it keeps my mind off unpleasantness. Rabbi Beyer is so wonderful, I wish you could meet her.

The book on my nightstand is Skin Trade by Laurell Hamilton. I’m sure its considered horror genre but I call it vampire romance. I’m just a sucker for it. Get it?! Work with me Pooder! It’s late and I’m tired… Happily, Laurell has stepped a little farther away from all the sex. I think I hit page 260 and no orgies have occured – that’s a rarity in her books.