November 17, 2006


From the North Carolina Sweet Potato Association. Who knew? Some of these are downright nasty. Others sound pretty good. Possibly some cucina bodanza future features.


Head and Shoulders has never been effective for me but we'll give this new intensive version a try.


My travel toiletries are set for a year! So much shampoo, so little time.


I'll be calm and soft.


They claim that this detergent will help retain the shape of your clothes. Good thing. Wouldn't want my jeans and t-shirts to look out of shape.


Anyone need this?


Anyone need this?

November 09, 2006


Well how the hell cute is that? I can't wait to use it up and refill it for travel.


I had to refrain from chowing on this as soon as I opened it. I hadn't made dinner and I knew dinner wasn't for another hour or so. But I also new that I needed a photo. That's willpower, man.


Three interesting flavors. They smell really good. Plus a coupon.


If I understand this correctly, these provide full-size protection. Huh. Well, it's not something I can just try whenever I want. Be patient. I'll get to it soon.

November 08, 2006


And the little ziploc baggie is good for your drugs.


Wasted on vegans everywhere.


Take care of your teeth! That's really all I can say. Just do it. It's important.

November 02, 2006


Well, if we are to believe the manufacturer, this condom was designed by women for women (to still be worn by a man - whew!). From the letter enclosed with the sample, "Elexa condoms make it more enjoyable for you to protect and respect yourself and others by making sure you carry your own condoms." What? Are they addressing women? Women have to take the pill, carry around IUDs inside their bodies, insert cervical caps, get shots, etc. and STILL be the condom carriers? Uh, I don't think so. Women who put up with this crap better wake up. If the man doesn't bring the condom he clearly isn't concerned about protecting and respecting. Ladies, strap on a pair and just just say hell no! I think Elexa will be hearing from me.


The sample is the men's product but there is a line for women. I don't use shave gel/lotion/cream because of the packaging so if anyone wants the sample or the coupon, let me know.


From New Mexico I'm off to Louisiana. And I do like Community Coffee. It's the first of many coffee samples I'm expecting.


From Colorado I'll head to New Mexico.


This is handy. Helps you floss. But you have to buy replcement floss "heads" unless you intend to use the same funky one forever. Not for me. I'll use this one once and then I will be grossed out. the whole concept is pretty wasteful.


This is true 99.9% of the time. To celebrate my girldom, I received tampons, pads and a coupon for hair dye. I'm all set.

October 31, 2006


Ah, fiber. Here is your fiber starter kit. Handy cup with fill line indicated, two packets of the product, a coupon for future savings, and printed info to read while on the potty. Jealous, huh? I'll let you know how things turn out.

October 30, 2006


Got this huge cool poster of life in an estuary from the National Something Something and Something. I wrote it down and then forgot where I wrote it. Yeah. Well, it's really cool. I've given it to J to send to A.


Well, a different kind of clean. A personal cleansing cloth is provided with this Always pad. How nice. Just don't use the Lysol wipes on your delicates. Ouch.


More free stuff. I'll have clean counters and sinks and anything else that needs to be clean. I should bring these to work. Cubicles are really gross.

October 27, 2006


Yes, another bad photo. Sorry. I snapped this quickly right before I left for work this morning. Some time this weekend I will Inflate the flat, as it were. I'll let you know the results.


You've all seen the Braggs Amino Acid and other products. Well, if you need any info on the stuff let me know. I've got lots of printed material and two tiny packets of the actual product (suggested as a substitute for tamari/soy sauce). I'll let you know as soon as I try it.


Sure, free travel info can be had just about anywhere. But this is one of the items I received for free from my Get Free Stuff From The Internet project. Sorry for the bad pictures. There will prbably be more bad pictures during this project.

FREE SAMPLE #4 (but no elixir)

Uncle Henry's Tooth Powder. Just mix with the elixir and you're all set. That's how they get you to have to buy the elixir. I think I'll just use water and take my chances. I'll let you know what happens.

October 24, 2006


More free stuff. Eight Viactiv calcium chews. Erin and I had to taste a couple before the Al Gore presentation we caught last night. Al, we love ya, great show, but stay out of the Shoni's of the world.

I wonder what the mailbox will hold today?

October 23, 2006


The natural choice indeed. Received another free sample this weekend. The Natural Lamb lubricated condom. No, not really made of lamb anything but latex free. If anyone would like the helpful pamphlet, let me know. The condom, however, is mine.

October 19, 2006


Yes, I'm still here. Life has been, well, life. Some changes have taken place. It's a difficult thing but, ultimately, a good thing. In the meantime, I'd like to get back into blogging and even the newsletter. So let me ease my way back into blogging by reporting that I have received my first FREE sample of something. Lately, to ease mental stress, I've been partaking in the Internet's offers of free samples. Everything from shampoo to tea to coffee to t-shirts. My mail carrier will soon hate me. However, the wave of free samples begins as a trickle. Yesterday I received a free Kashi cereal bar. Very tasty indeed. How healthy has yet to be determined. I did consume 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein for my calories. But these types of "healthy" bars and "energy" bars are mostly calories and sugar. Like Gatorade, it's not about health, it's about marketing and sugar. Regardless, I will be documenting the free stuff as it arrives. Stay tuned.

August 01, 2006


We are enjoying the garden almost every day. Even if we just snip fresh herbs. We haven't purchased braising greens or salad greens in a long time. There is no shortage of green leafy stuff. Though still on the small side, we have eaten a few beets and carrots and they were very good. We have begun harvesting red onions. They turned out very healthy. Shallots are ready as well (see all of this in below photo). And Sunday we ate the first potatoes. The smallest container in which we grew potatoes didn't produce too many (about 16 of any size and a handful of grape-sized ones) but they were very delicious once par-boiled then roasted on the grill. Makes the outside crispy and keeps the inside soft. And we are finally eating green beans! We will have the second batch tonight for dinner. I have two lemon cucumbers! The plants have never done very well for me but I enjoy the few cukes I manage to get.

This weekend I sowed more carrots, beets, turnips and a new patch of arugula and two types of mustard green. The cooler temps should allow these greens to thrive. As we eat more stuff I'll start planting more lettuces. We ate the last batch of that last night in a great salad.

In the seed flats I sowed broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, rainbow chard and more peas.

Tonight we are going to make a Caprese Salad with our own basil and our own tomatoes. Doesn't get any better than that.

July 31, 2006


Seems like we have "adopted" a member of the Cat Mafia. We call him Droopy-Eye Cat because his right eye lid droops. He's been coming around for a couple of months. He would hang out in the alley or sit on my car and eat whatever treats had been provided. Or just sit there and stare. But recently he has taken to coming into the yard. He's pretty vocal and very affectionate. Yes, I've made the mistake of feeding him catnip and other treats and even cat food. He's fixed. Perhaps someone simply abandoned him or maybe he has a perfectly good home and just knows a sucker when he sees one. Perhaps he likes the extra attention and the other cat company. But Henry isn't exactly pleased by his appearance. And Idgie loathes him. He wants to come in the house and I shoe him away with noises and gestures. But Idgie simply sits on the other side of the cat door (which is actually just a cat hole because she refused to push the flap with her face so we removed it) and hisses and growls. That keeps him out. And just this weekend he got very friendly with S. He jumped down from the fence, walked over to where S and I were sitting on the bench and jumped onto her lap, did his turning in cirlces and settled in for a nap. Looks like he is here to stay. We don't really mind. I'll feed him (in the alley) and we'll give him attention and he can hang out in the yard as long as he behaves. I did have to chase him out the other day for giving Henry a swat. I'd like it if Henry would swat back to let Droopy-Eye know who's boss. Anyway, we'll see how long he hangs around. Could be gone tomorrow, could be here for good.

July 23, 2006


Blueberry picking is easy if you don’t mind hanging out inside a shrub. The heat, however, was already melting us at 9:30 a.m. And don’t forget that bug spray! We won’t make that mistake again. The heat and the mosquitoes drove us out after collecting only 2 lbs. We’ll be back once the heat wave breaks (today was the third day in a row at or above 95 degrees). The blueberry farm is only a 15 minute drive from our house. The berries we did harvest were very delicious and a steal at $1.50/lb.

Somewhere in this blueberry bush, mosquitoes are feasting on J.

July 18, 2006

There Were No Birthdays In Sicily!

While my mom was in town she treated me and J to a birthday dinner at La Medusa, a Sicilian eatery in Columbia City. J’s birthday was Wednesday and it just so happens that every Wednesday from May through October La Medusa offers a Market Menu. This menu brings together fresh ingredients purchased that day from the Columbia City Farmer’s Market (also every Wednesday). It’s a 3-4 course prix-fixe affair for $25. Such a deal, really. Everything is fresh and original.

Our meal began with caesar salad with authentic caesar salad dressing – including an egg and anchovies – and crumble of bread crumbs on top with a shaving of caciocavallo cheese. I was reading later about this cheese and it’s interesting to note that it’s from southern Italy and the name means “cheese on horseback.” One story indicates that it is believed by some to have originally been made from mare’s milk. “Caciocavallo is one of the pasta filata types of cheeses (like
PROVOLONE and MOZZARELLA CHEESE ), which means it has been stretched and shaped by hand.” Man, oh, man, I’ve got to find this cheese.

SIDENOTE: At the Grocery Outlet (affectionately known as “The G.O.”) I found an English Cheddar made with goat’s milk and it’s amazing!. Not to mention, the price was almost criminal. The block I bought was less than $3. Check the G.O. for cheese, my friends. Just mind the dates, like you would on any cheese from any store.

The entrée was one large ravioli gently stuffed with mascarpone cheese, diced beets and slices of Walla Walla Sweets. On top was a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts and just the juices from the beets and onions and a drizzle of olive oil. For dessert they brought out champagne flutes filled with a Callebaut chocolate mousse topped with cream and few raspberries. The flute was dusted with powdered sugar. Pretty decadent.

While we were finishing the bottle of Bucaro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2003 (organic to boot) and having coffee, J and I were each presented with a birthday cannolo, each stuck with a lit candle. My mom is very clever. Though we were full of food and wine, we ate those cannoli, every last crumb. Cannoli are something we never buy so it was a real treat.

July 17, 2006

Surf and Turf

Saturday through Tuesday we tooled around the Olympic Penninsula looking for hiking trails, wildlife, tide pools and wine. Found all of it.

We camped at the Salt Creek Recreation Area County Park on a bluff right above the tide pools of Tongue Point. In the mornings we mucked about the tide pools. In the afternoons we hiked in the woods. At night we huddled around the fire to capture the heat. The bluffs are a chilly place to camp.

The first morning we got up to discover that the blustery bluff was a thing of the night. Mornings were always calm and temperate. This giant bald eagle sat in this far off tree for a very long time. It was huge. We were to see more bald eagles around this tree and others when we hit the tide pools. They hung out in a group of trees on the beach and a few people told us that a nest was definitely in a tree up on the bluff.

In the afternoons we explored three different areas on foot. The ride up to Hurrican Ridge takes about 45 minutes so we never invested the time to go up there. Besides, part of the reason to go up is the view. Well, with the exception of the first day there (which wasn't a hiking day at all), the mountains weren't visible. If I look up and don't see the Olympics, there won't be much of a view looking down from the ridge. We've been there in the past so at least we know what it's like at the top.

We bought a new National Parks Pass at the Olympic Pennisula Visitor Center. We had our lunch in the shade as we discussed our trail options.

Heart o' The Hills Forest Trail began in the Heart o' The Hills Campground. The place was practically deserted. It was Monday, after all. We liked the way the campground was laid out and would like to camp there in the future. No showers but we can be dirty for a couple of days. The trailhead sign indicated it was 2 miles to the trail's end. Well, that never happened. The trails doesn't end and there is no indication that you have gone to the "end" of anything. We timed ourselves and walked 1.25 hours out then turned around. That's more than 2 miles one way. At the turning point, J had gone ahead to see what the trail would do. When she began to head back in the direction we came but on the opposite side of a creek we crossed, she figured we were done with this trail. It was a nice way to get the blood pumping but it wasn't terribly exciting visually. And there was little wildlife to be seen or heard besides this moth.

However, on the other two trails we explored we did meet a young male deer up close and personal. At one point we were just a few feet apart. I was waiting for my photo op when something startled him and he made a charge at me. But the second he realized I was there, in his way, he stopped cold. We stared at each other, both of our hearts beating like mad. I was sure he was going to trample me. Deer can be dangerous, especially when frightened. I hadn't frightened him, I was literally just standing there watching him. It's a rush I won't soon forget and don't wish to repeat. I got a good shot of his butt but the shots I took of him after the startling were blurry. Was it from my shaking hands or his shaking head?

We also spotted what appeared to be a ptarmigan or grouse and her little ones.

Since 1989 Tongue Point has been a county marine sanctuary. Sea life is everywhere. At high tide you would barely realize anything existed beyond the bluff. But once that tide rolls out it's a whole new world. We specifically picked July 9, 10, and 11 for the negative low tides. This gave us a chance to explore Zone V for the first time. Tongue Point is the easternmost Pacific Coast-style tide pool in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This means that you get to see coastal tide-pool life even though you are near the eastern end of the Strait, just around the bend of Puget Sound. As a result, we got to see for the first time the following: Pacific Blood Star, sea cucumber, red sea urchin, tons of purple urchins, green sea urchin (which is more of a striped appearance, not solid green like the red and purple are solid plus the color that was apparent wasn't green), sea cucumbers (the ones we saw were bright orange),

For much of the area, you can comfortably walk on top of a carpet of mussels and various types of claims. They attach themselves to the rocks with iron-rich byssal threads. These threads incredibly strong and elastic. They "can stretch out to 160% of their length while still retaining 5 times the strength of our Achille’s tendon."

Then again, the tide pools can be slippery. Before Sunday, I had never fallen at a tide pool. However, the spill I took will not soon be forgotten and I'm contemplating a full suit of Carharts for my next tide pool adventure. You can see some of the wounds suffered here. Bruises too. I went down fast and hard but made not one peep. There were people nearby and they had kids with them. So I decided not to cry or swear but I almost fainted from the pain. Deep breathing, deep breathing, deep breathing and mentally escaping to a far-off place with dry sticky surfaces for walking.

The injuries didn’t stop me from hiking that afternoon and the following two days but the next morning at the tide pools I has a trekking pole with me and I moved like someone’s grandmother. The memory of the fall was was still fresh. At one point, to reach a place J claimed held the elusive Pacific octopus (it didn’t) I just sat my ass down on the floor of mussels and gently scooted my way down the side of this trench. Sure, I was wet and it looked as if I shat myself, but I wasn’t bruised or bleeding. I don’t mind at all getting filthy to have fun but I don’t like getting hurt.


Honest. There are stories and photos of our camping trip. Things are soooooooo busy right now. Be patient.

July 08, 2006


Friday we took Concetta to Tutta Bella in Columbia City for real Neopolitan pizza. Here is a shot of the one with roasted eggplant. Man does this place make good pizza. Excellent salads too.

The first Friday of the month some merchants in Columbia City offer live music for only $5. Pay your money and get your hand stamped at any participating venue and then you are free to roam in and out of the others at The Columbia City Beat Walk. Hear a little modern jazz at the book store, tap your toes to 30's style three part harmony at the art gallery, and relax under the mood lighting to easy on the ear ballads.