Monthly Archives: July 2010

Book Review: Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold #1)

Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold, #1)Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was recommended by my brother-in-law, and after the first few pages I was afraid he was possibly smoking crack. However, I kept going (I’m stubborn that way), and soon found myself quite enjoying the story.

The residents of Safehold are the last surviving earthlings – they were hidden away after the rest of humanity was destroyed by a technologically advanced alien race (I know, right?) and have lived in a world devoid of (and with religious proscriptions AGAINST) technology for over 800 years. The story revolves around one person who knows the history & the truth and sets out to change the world.

That’s a rather poor description, but the story, although incredibly more wordy than I prefer in many places, was engaging (once the space battles were over), and I’ve already picked up the second in the series to learn more.

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Dirty Hippie!

So – you all know I’m a dirty hippie. I make my own laundry detergent & grow & can my own food. I don’t use chemical cleaners in my house. (I do, however, clean my house, so maybe I’m a relatively clean hippie?) I use TOM’S OF MAINE TOOTHPASTE and don’t eat HFCS or partially hydrogenated anything.  Hippie.

Last weekend, I decided to take my hippie-ness to a whole special level. I bought aluminum-free deodorant. Now, from what I understand, the aluminum piece is the antiperspirant part (right?), so aluminum-free stuff is just a deodorant.

My particular purchase, after carefully researching & weighing the various alternatives at the store (I went with the 2nd cheapest one, no way in hell am I spending more than $10 on a tube of deodorant), I ended up with a lavender & lichen solid deodorant. Apparently the lichen is supposed to act as a natural antiperspirant.

The results: I did not feel particularly more sweaty than with my regular toxic product. So, the lichen is a big winner.

HOWEVER -I don’t think it’s primary function of deodorizing actually worked. I love the smell of lavender (which is why that’s what I use in my laundry detergent, too). This stuff? Did not smell like lavender. At yoga the other night, our (awesome) instructor kept having us put our hands in the air (like we just didn’t care), and every time I caught a whiff of myself, I cringed. I’m pretty sure my hippie deodorant actually made smell like a hippie. A dirty, dirty hippie.

Weekend in Review

Another busy weekend – are there any other kinds? Alas, this weekend is picture free, due to the fact that my camera is currently a) broken and b) hoarding the photos on it & not sharing.

Friday, I headed to yoga in the park with Emily. It was a pretty good class – yoga in the park definitely offers some balance challenges.

After yoga, we wandered about for awhile before heading to VQ to meet up with The Ambitious Birthday Girl and a few other friends (including the blogless Lisa & Sarah) for a great birthday lunch. After lunch, it was back home for some yard work followed by dinner with the architect, then drinks & dessert with the kick-ass neighbors. Kick-ass neighbor #1 also had a birthday last weekend, so much celebration was in order.

Saturday was pretty awesome – I started the day with a 5.5 mile run in Forest Park. Longest run I’ve done since the Bridge to Brews 10K in April. Good news: no Damian pain during the run. Bad news: the distance + elevation gain + a body unused to such things anymore = super painful quads the next day. It was definitely worth it, though. It was one of those magic runs where everything just feels so perfect & you don’t want to go back.

Saturday afternoon was more yard work in the heat, and then my cousin & her bf came over for dinner. Her bf helped the architect get his job, so we definitely wanted to thank them.

Sunday was a lazy morning, followed by a little yard work & then a trip downtown to the beer festival. The architect & I tried to buy 14 tasting tokens each, but for some reason the guy gave us 50 tokens. A lot of beer was tasted!

Monday (which I’m counting as a weekend, since I didn’t work) was pretty low-key. I’d tweaked my neck in the shower in the morning, and decided that was a good enough reason to stay home. I did some cleaning, made some bread, and made English muffins. The muffins are not perfect, but they are still pretty good. Next time they’ll be better, I think.

Monday afternoon I head up to the ‘Couv to visit Emily’s garden & then we went to Ft. Vancouver for another yoga in the park session – this one taught BY Emily. It was a great class; a good mix of some basic stuff and some really challenging stuff. She’s turning into a GREAT instructor.

And now? Back to work. And a lot of work it is. It’s definitely going to be a busy three days!

Brew Review #18 – Rogue

July 9, 2010 was the 18th (!) Brew Review.

A few of us gathered at Rogue for the usual beer tasting, food eating, and camaraderie.

For some reason, I took almost no pictures this time – including NONE of the beer sampler! For shame!

The beers:

Orgasmic

  • The gazelle: super delicious, all oregon-ingredients, very good
  • The architect: very good

Brutal IPA

  • The gazelle: hoppy, not too strong
  • Emily: too much!

Menage a Frog

  • The gazelle: ewwww…..too weet, too much honey
  • Andrew: I like it!

Double Dead

  • The gazelle: not as good as the original

John John

  • the gazelle: I like it! It’s fresh & green tasting!

Hazelnut Brown

  • YUM! from everyone
  • Emily – it tastes like Christmas

Snickers (1/2 hazelnut + 1/2 chocolate stout)

  • OMG! Thanks for the recommendation, Lisa!

Corn Chronicles 2010 – Part Who Knows?

You guys! I have sucked at doing weekly garden posts. And it’s already July 20! This is one crazy ass speedy summer.

But, fortunately for everyone who’s just been DYING to know what my garden looks like – here are some updates!

The corns are getting so big & strong. Most of them are starting to tassel and if you look really closely, you can see baby corns forming. So far the big winners are Quinta, Amy & James corns. (James is making a surprising comeback after last year’s wimpy-ness…do you think my dad is cheating & using divine intervention?) The rest are not far behind, though!

I’ve got some awesome looking beans that are ready for eating:

And my peas are fattening up nicely:

My carrots are coming along (I’ve eaten a couple of them, and they are EXCELLENT!)

It’s nearly time to make some beet pickles…yum.

My lemon tree is doing its best to make me a few lemons. It’s the first year, so I wasn’t expecting any!

The artichokes are so tall…but they are not very artichokey yet….this was an accidental purchase, so I’ve no idea what’s going to happen here.

I have a few viney things growing – some zucchini and pumpkins, and the cucumbers are starting, too!

The hops are taller than me – and grow a few inches every day!

I am concerned about the tomatoes & peppers – they just aren’t as robust as last year. It’s kind of sad!

I was hoping for millions of tomatoes this year, but so far, this is all I have:

The Serrano is trying to make up for all his lazy brothers & sisters:

I do have some beautiful flowers, though!

It’s so much fun to walk around every night & discover something new. The other night, we had pizza made from our blue potatoes, an onion from the garden, homemade cheeses (goat & mozzarella) & pizza crust made from the leftover whey (although I made the cheese & picked the product, the architect & our kick-ass neighbor actually did most of the cooking) . I love being able to make a meal out of what I’ve grown myself! (The other things on the pizza were artichoke hearts & tomatoes, both of which could have come from my garden if it was the end of August, right?)