Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Bye Little House

Well, it's been an interesting summer for Donald. Two days ago, Joe and I moved out, in between rain showers, into a rental house where we still can't use the shower or kitchen; the workers are still finishing it up. But we crammed our stuff into the two bedrooms and carved out spaces to sleep on the floor. The Little House is much more spacious now, with two guys' stuff outta the way! I'll still be around from time to time, kicking it on Sundaze and unschooling Kaleigh.

But before I sign out, I gotta point y'all to this page on The Illiterate Minority. It's basically patriotic protesters with misspelled signs, but the pics are PRICELESS. I needed that laugh!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

happy satan tomato and a new bike

Seriously. It even has the little goat horns and everything.

I didn't end up going to see the Rev. Peyton, which was really disappointing. I was supposed to go to the show with my roommate Joe, but he decided that he wanted to keep his options open after the show, and I didn't feel like walking or biking home at 3 a.m. by myself. Next time, I will make sure to go with someone I can count on, someone who does not get blackout drunk and need to keep their options open.

Saturday, Kaleigh and I went to Super Saturday at the Illinois State Museum and learned about archaeology. It was cool, and I got to meet the new educational intern. She's really nice, and I am looking forward to talking with her more in the future. They were making and playing with old timey kids' toys in the discovery room. Kaleigh made a button spinner, using a piece of wood instead of a button. I don't know what they are actually called, but that is what we called them when I was a kid. I remembered too we used to make hankie babies, and if I'd had a hankie on me, I would've showed the kids how to do it.

Sunday was an awesome fun day in Zomba. Mike and Don and Kaleigh went down to Don's future rental house to do some mudding on the walls. This is what Joe had told the landlord he could do in exchange for the security deposit, but Joe was nowhere to be found. Luckily, Mike knows how to mud drywall, and he's a nice enough guy to give up many hours of his free time to help out. Kaleigh learned how to mud drywall as well, as she mudded over the screw holes, and also cleaned up the tools. Patrick, Abby, and I stayed here and made PIZZA!!! It was wonderfully yummy, complete with currant tomatoes and other veggies from the garden, as well as local cheese. Even our vegan wheat-free friends ate it! There's something to be said about sacred food shared in community with good friends. The recently-bottled raspberry wine was also delish.

Ahhh, a new bike! Well, it's an old old bike--even my mother would have been too young to ride this bike when it came out. But it fits me. It's a 24" girls' cruiser, a Hiawatha. With the seat up and the handlebars tilted up, it fits rather well. The coaster brakes will take some getting used to, but I like it. A lot. Thanks go to Bill, who bought it, and brought it over to see if the size would fit me, and who was nice enough to sell it to me, even though he wanted to chop it and make it into a trike. And also thanks to Bill who raised the seat and adjusted the handlebars. Woo! I can't wait to ride it!!! I haven't ridden a bike in 4 or 5 days now, and it's starting to get to me. I need to ride my bike!

Tonight we're going to Sarahlin and Julian's house two blocks down from here that they picked up cheap at tax auction. They refer to it as The Sanctuary. Mike is helping them get the house ready to put the electric back on. It'll be a lot easier to repair and clean when there is electricity and water. I'm going down with loppers, clippers, and a hand scythe to see if I can make the yard somewhat presentable to give the house a claimed look. I feel like I've been receiving so much help lately, it will be nice to be on the giving end again. Ahhh, community--giving and receiving being the flip sides of the same coin.

I wrote a bit the other night, and at some point, I'll post it here. I'm still working on making my thoughts clearer. I hope to get a Folktales book together and (self) published this winter. It's just nice to write again. I've had it bottled up for some time now.


Friday, September 11, 2009

tomatoes, spiders, and bikes

Tis the season of spiders. Anywhere you walk outdoors, you are likely to walk through a web or strand, or even smack into a spider. I took this picture this morning in a tomato cage of a beautiful yellow garden spider. They are huge, but are quite harmless. This one had a couple of small bugs wrapped up for lunch.

We've had a few 80 degree days, and the tomatoes are booming. I picked four bowls of them this morning, and there's many more that need a couple more days to ripen up. The tomatoes have some yucky fungus. So far, it hasn't affected fruit development, but the plants are looking sad. The stems are not very strong either, so I've picked up several fruits off the ground. Oh well. Next year I know: yellow fungus gets trimmed immediately.

And bikes. I biked out to Rochester on the Lost Bridge trail a few days ago. It's about 13 miles round trip from my house. I am surprised I managed the whole 13 miles pretty much in one go. The last mile home was hard and slow, but I did it. I'm hoping to find some more low-key bike rides, like the critical mass bike ride. I can't afford to pay money or wear fancy clothes. And biking to the far west side to begin a bike ride is too much for me. The Springfield bike club has two weekly rides that go on the Lost Bridge trail, so I hope to go on one of those before winter hits.

I went to the bike shop today, and there was a really sweet used bike. It had a 15" frame, and it fit me well. I couldn't get my feet flat on the ground while in the seat, but pretty close. It has the handle bars kind of raised up, so I wouldn't be hunched over in my seat, killing my shoulders. It's a hybrid bike, meaning it has not thin racing tires or fat mountain bike tires, but ones (new) suitable for city riding. The price? $250. Oh well. Maybe at tax return time I can think about that, but otherwise, I'm going to have faith the universe will provide.

I'm thinking about putting Kaleigh's tag-along on my current bike and trying it out with her. It's not the safest thing in the world, but I hate riding the bus when I could be saving money and getting exercise at the same time. We'll see how it goes.

I'm looking forward to the Rev. Peyton tonight. Hopefully I won't get too trashed I won't be able to bike home.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

good music

Since I don't know how to pirate music, I listen to youtube.

Here's the nimble Curtis Eller, playing Sugar In My Coffin

and the Talking Heads, Don't Worry About the Government

the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Cornbread and Butter Beans

John Hartford does a kick ass Long Hot Summer Day, which I especially enjoy since I spent my first seven years looking at the Illinois River from my upstairs windows. Sarah Watkins does a great rocked out live version.

the Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band are playing in Springfield next Friday, and I am going to see them. I am looking forward to it.


Friday, September 4, 2009

biking again

Today I biked to Wal-Mart. Really. I had never been to the south side Wal-Mart, but today I broke my tradition of not patronizing any business newly built, and biked out there. The only vision care provider in Springfield that accepts the medical card is, you guessed it, Wal-Mart. I don't link up the words Wal-Mart and quality very often, but the eye doctor seemed competent and all that (and had the same name as my dad).

Since Wal-Marts are usually built in sprawl, they can be a challenge to get to on bike. Fortunately, the frontage road goes right to it, and that road is not too scary. Courage!!! It took me about 25 minutes to bike there, and I didn't nearly die playing in traffic. I like to bike in the driving lane, as generally the road is smoother and I can go faster on the street than on the sidewalk. I've learned, though, if I hug the side of the road, cars pass me ridiculously close. But if I get waaaay out there in the middle of the lane, they tend to pass me more like a car, staying well beyond my perceived safety zone.

I rode to the bike shop on MacArthur to check out their used bike selection. I am looking for a bike that fits me a little better. They had a couple of nice old bikes, but nothing that fits me any better than what I currently have. Partly, I am just so short. I can't touch the ground on my current bike. I'd like to be able to tag-along with Kaleigh, but I don't feel safe enough when I can't touch the ground. The other issue with my bike is that the handlebars require this aching shoulder kind of position. I can sit straight up on my bike as long as I'm not too worried about being able to reach my brakes. I'm biking enough that it makes a difference to my body, and I want to be comfortable.

I've looked into bike auctions. The city only auctions off the bikes that aren't functional, and the rest they donate to Catholic Charities (although no one at CC knows how to apply for a bike, and they swear they don't get donated bikes). The county auctions off recovered bikes, but they haven't had a bike auction for two years, and don't know when the next one will be. I will keep my eyes open and hope the universe provides something for me.

Did I mention how much I enjoy riding my bike? I think I rode about 11 miles today, which is the most I've ever ridden in one day. I am hoping in the next week or two to bike out toward Rochester on the trail. I'm told it's really pleasant out there, and seeing a river and trees and hearing quiet sounds like a nice change.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I think nothing beats riding a bike. It's not only great exercise, it's so much fun. I like to bike and sing (horribly off key, but whatever), bike and talk, bike and observe, and just plain old bike. I had a wonderful time biking and getting to know people at the last Critical Mass bike ride in Springfield. I had a great time biking south and west and back east tonight; it was my first biking at night experience, and it kicked ass. I think I biked about 9 miles altogether. I love riding a bike. I hope winter doesn't come for a while.