Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Scent of Breakfasts Past

Breakfast meats are delicious. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. The delicious scent that wafts from the pan while they are being cooked and lifts passersby into the air, levitating them to the mouthwatering source.
Spring is a beautiful time of year. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. Birds are singing, flowers are growing, and breezes are meandering past open windows.
Mmm... bacon is in my mouth, in
my heart, and in the very walls
Unfortunately, the lovely smell of breakfast meats tends to stay around, lingering on the walls and snuggling with the furniture long after the delectable meats have been consumed. It’s the downside to the delightfulness. The smell is persuaded to go over to the dark side and infests your home, so that the next time you have guests, they walk in, sniff once, and say, “oh, you’ve been eating bacon recently?” and you say, “not for a couple weeks” and feel embarrassed that you missed the fact that your house is filled with a secret stench.
Fortunately, Spring weather and Spring breezes are just the thing to banish strong smells (even those strong smells which were previously pleasant). All you need to do is toss the windows open, and the wind will carry away any smell that you’d rather not keep in your kitchen for the next three months. And breakfast meats smells are a hardy sort, so don’t worry, the smell will stay around while you’re cooking, at the very least.
The only thing you have to do to make sure your home doesn’t smell like stale breakfast meats for months to come is to remember to open the windows before or while you’re cooking, instead of forgetting until afterward.
Anybody wanna come over and smell my breakfast?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Focus on the Win

I appropriated this image
from a website called LunaMetrics.

My day started with changing a dirty diaper. But it wasn’t a blowout (I didn’t need to peel my kid out of disgusting clothes and do an entire load of laundry just to clean up the mess), so I call that a win.
I also didn’t step on a zillion toys when I went into my daughters’ bedroom this morning. (Maybe just a few, but at least it wasn’t every toy they own, right?) Victory!
And I got to sleep in a little bit today. WOOO!
Sleeping in is relative. It’s got a lot of factors that go into whether it can be enjoyed. Both the time you went to bed and the moment you have to be somewhere to do something important have to be taken into consideration. Whether you have chores to do around the house needs to be weighed. And if you’ve got kids, it’s hard to keep up the charade of still sleeping when they’re standing right next to your head and whining for breakfast.
You can’t properly enjoy lazing around in your bed hitting the snooze button if you’ve got stuff to do. And if you set that alarm before falling into bed at 1 AM after work, getting up at 9 does not count. You’re not going to be thinking about how nice it is to wake up at 9 until it’s 11. “Ahh, sleeping in feels so nice, what is it, 9 AM? 11?! ... Oh well, at least I got some rest.”
If you get up at 7 after going to bed at 10 the night before because you have to be up be at a late meeting, you’re not going to be thinking about how 7 AM is such a luxurious hour compared to your normal 5:30/6 AM rising time; instead you’ll be thinking that you could still be in bed if you didn’t have to drag your butt out to go to work.
And it doesn’t really matter what time you went to bed the night before or what time you got up if you have to go shopping, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, vacuum the kids’ playroom, make all the beds, do the dishes, get dinner (and lunch and breakfast) ready, dust, and prevent all of these things from becoming messes again while you’re doing everything... (I kind of lost my train of thought... oh yeah) you couldn’t possibly enjoy sleeping in. You’re going to be laying there, feeling guilty for not getting up as early as possible to get to doing everything that needs doing.
The criteria for sleeping in gets very technical, but whenever I can get in on a technicality, I’m going to call that mission accomplished.
Don’t complain about your kids. Give yourself a high five. Some people struggle for years with fertility issues or adoption complications. Having kids might be trying on your nerves sometimes, but it’s something that many people wish they could grumble about. Congratulate yourself.
Don’t complain that your house is a mess. There are those out there who treasure their few possessions, because it is all they have. Whining about emptying the dishwasher is only something you can do if you have dishes. Feel blessed.
Don’t complain that you’re Day Six into Nineteen Days Straight of no days off from work. You have a job. And the best part about that nineteen days of work is Day Twenty. Because that day, you’ll be able to sleep in.
And it’s always better to focus on the win.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bag Count: 57

I had a lot of projects to work on this week: Bag the Bag, Bag the Bag Part 2: the Electric Boogaloo, writing and addressing college graduation announcements for my brother, assembling new props for my awesome photo booth, and getting items ready to sell at a consignment sale.. I had to prioritize, so everything with a deadline naturally came first. The clothes went off to be sold. The wording for the announcements was decided on, and I scribbled names on the envelopes. And the Bears superfans that I’ll be taking pictures of this weekend are going to love the orange and navy flags I made.
I was able to work a little on Bag the Bag (and Part 2: the Electric Boogaloo), but it was only as an “unwinding while watching TV” project. I brought P2EB with me to our Financial Peace University class on Sunday, since a majority of the class time is spent watching a video. One of our classmates asked, “Oh, what are you making?” and soon as I was finished explaining, the leaders, both of whom attend the church where the class takes place, burst out with, “that looks just like the project our women’s group just finished!”
“What?” I cried, leaping out of my chair. One of them opened up the doors and turn on the lights of the fellowship hall, where six or seven huge plarn blankets were hanging along one wall. “They’re going to donate them to the homeless,” one of the leaders informed me as I snapped pictures. “All of the blankets are very creative,” said the other, “one of them even has a heart pattern worked into the middle of it.”
Nice job, Gretna UMC crafters! These
blankets are huge!
The clever crafters had also made sure the blankets were
easy to carry.
Looking closer, I could tell they used a big,
thick, crochet hook. Like at least a P/15mm,
if not larger.

When we returned to the classroom, I declared, “those pictures are going right up on my blog!” (Another classmate asked, “you have a blog?” so maybe I gained a new reader! If so, Hiiiii, Wendy!)
When I get a second to think about how much work I’ve done on Bag the Bag, I think I’ll be surprised how far I’ve come since last week. The comparison pictures say it all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday in History: Big Day for France

1792 guillotine
What do most people think of when they hear the word “France?” The Eiffel Tower. Snails. The Louvre. Guillotines. Berets. Sidewalk cafes. La Marseillaise. There is much more to the country than this. They have a rich history and culture. They have gorgeous countryside and amazing works of art. Their capitol doubles as the fashion capitol of the world, in addition to being the birthplace of the modern restaurant.
This day in history in 1792 was a big day for France. Not for everything associated with it, since the Eiffel Tower wouldn’t be constructed for another hundred years or so, snails have been eaten in the Mediterranean since before man started counting time, and berets became a fashionable thing to wear with your military uniform in the 1800s. On April 25th, 1792, two things that were a big part of France’s history happened: La Marseillaise was composed, and for the first time, the guillotine was used as a means of execution. Both of these things had a huge impact on the history of the country, and the world.
Listening to another country’s national anthem is not really something that people (especially Americans) do. Chances are, if you’re an average American, you’ve never heard, say, the national anthem of The Netherlands, which is a song about defeating Spain in battle (it was pretty cool to watch them sing it before the start of the World Cup final in 2010, but then sad because Spain won the game). But you definitely know the tune of the United Kingdom’s national anthem, which is called God Save the Queen, because in our American sassiness we changed the words and turned it into our own patriotic song, My Country ‘Tis of Thee.
And you’ve heard La Marseillaise. Its famous musical phrase goes “DA DA DA DAAA DAAA DAA DAA DAAAAAAAA DA DA” and has been in tons of cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the like. The Beatles borrowed it for the intro to All You Need is Love. Even Metallica has done a cover.
"Of all the gin joints in all the towns
in all the world,  you had to have a
song battle in mine."
One place you can be sure to find it is in the cinematic classic Casablanca, which is required viewing for... well, everyone in the world. The famous scene takes place at Rick’s, the top hot spot for the elite citizens of French Morocco. A group of Nazi officers are boisterously singing the anthem of the Third Reich while the rest of the crowd watches submissively, until one man orders the band to strike up La Marseillaise, and everyone else in the room joins in the song and drowns out the voices of the German officers.

A guillotine, in case you didn’t know, is a contraption used to end someone’s life by parting their head from the rest of their body. Public execution was the norm in those days, and surprisingly, a gruesome guillotine was considered a more humane way of execution. I suppose criminals preferred it to being burned at the stake or being beaten to death on a wheel. And previous death-by-decapitation methods were by axe or other weapon of questionable sharpness, which sometimes took several whacks to complete the job.
The execution of Robespierre and his supporters
There was already political unrest in France prior to the first use of the guillotine as a means of public execution, but sometimes I think that the Revolution began just so the guillotine wouldn’t go to waste. In the time period is known as “The Terror,” (as in “we are in terror for our lives,”) they started executions of the nobility and the politicians, and when they ran out, the leaders of the Revolution turned on each other. The death of Robespierre, the man who sentenced so many others to death for “crimes of liberty” during the Terror, ended the guillotine’s daily use. Public executions ended in 1939, and the most recent use was thirty-six years ago. The guillotine was on the books as the method of execution until France abolished the death penalty in 1981.
Maybe now when you hear the word “France” you’ll think not only of sidewalk cafes, The Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower, but also of April 25th, 1792.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing Prompt: A Blessing and a Curse

writingprompts.tumblr.com #729

They approached the chest. They’d been searching their entire adult lives for this treasure, and the thrill of the chase had worn away. Now all they wanted to do was crack that baby open, grab whatever was spendable, and head to the nearest alehouse to enjoy their well earned reward.
There was enough visibility in the dimly lit cave for both of them to see the face of the other, and what they saw was very similar. A sweaty, dirty, unshaven face with an expression of fatigue paired with relief. They each placed one hand on the chest and pushed open the lid.
It took them both some time to recover from the overwhelming sensation they experienced upon first touching their prize. They staggered to their feet, gathering as many pieces of treasure as they could carry, and exited as quickly as possible from the cave, the dankness of which they could now sense as well as see.
“Could it be some kind of curse?!” one asked the other as they reached the outside air.
“It can’t be,” the other gasped.
As they headed for the nearest road, they both began to notice that the oppression of the cave began to fade. Instead of a dank, musty feeling they felt something much fresher and cleaner. The wind was blowing through the trees, and it was almost as though they could experience the growth of the trees alongside them. They found the road and did not have to travel far before the taste of food floated on the wind to them, and they quickened their pace.
It wasn’t long before they reached the inn, but they weren’t sure that the food that they knew to be inside was worth all of the other sensations wafting off of the inn; most of them were unsavory.
A quick glance and exchange of opinions led them to walk boldly inside, ignoring whatever gift or curse they had acquired in the cave, and hoping that it would go away once they had consumed enough alcohol.
The buxom proprietress caught their attention as they entered the busy inn. “What can I get you boys?” she called, winking at one of them. She got less attractive as they approached, however. Her charms melted away as their new sense informed them it had been quite a while since she had bathed. There was nothing they could see, but the conviction grew stronger the closer they got.
“Food and ale, please,” they requested, trying not to look repulsed.
“I’ll bring it out in a moment,” she said, looking slightly offended at their reaction to her. “There’s a table over there.” She pointed to a darker corner of the room, where the last empty table sat next to a hooded man stooped over his pipe.
The aura surrounding him was worse than those of the other patrons, and they disagreed momentarily over whether the proprietress was likely to bring their food to them outside, as it would be much less oppressive to eat out there. They were interrupted by their order appearing on the table much sooner than they’d expected. Their stomachs grumbled at the sight of it. Despite the overwhelming room and the formidable man in the corner, they rushed over and fell to.
It was worth it. The combination of their already extreme hunger and the new senses they had been experiencing was remarkable. It was as though they could forsee the taste of each bite, and that precognition made every one more savory and delicious. And the ale? It was almost as if they could discern not only which grain had been used to brew it, but also how long it had grown in in the field, and the very day it had been picked. It was the best meal they had ever had.
The only thing that could intrude on their dinner was the smoke from the hooded man’s pipe. With their backs to him, they couldn’t see the smoke, but they knew it was there. It felt dark and tainted. It seemed to seep across the floor in order to permeate their souls.
“Who is that man?” they asked the pungent proprietress when she brought them some bread.
“Who, Old Rufus?” she responded in a hushed tone. “He’s harmless. Crazy, but harmless. Makes his money warning travelers away from some cursed treasure. Bit of a charlatan, in my opinion, but I don’t toss him out on his ear, since he always pays what he owes.” She eyed them. “Speaking of, how were you planning to pay?”
“They already have,” a voice intruded, “can’t you see?” He pulled his chair up to their table and blew a ring of smoke from his pipe at them. They rocked back as the loathsome wave hit them.
“Now, Rufus,” the woman scolded, “you stay out of this. These gentlemen were about to pay their bill. Unless you’re going to pay it for them.”
“They’ve already paid their price,” he repeated, and fixed her with a gaze. “And if there’s a brain in that skull of yours, you won’t take their money, lest you share the curse they bring.”
She looked him in the face and seemed frightened for a bit, but then laughed and responded, “the only curse gold brings is never having enough of it,” and walked away.
When she was gone, the three men at the table regarded one another silently. Food went uneaten on their plates, ale unconsumed in their mugs. For a long while they sat in silence. Then Old Rufus spoke.
“You found it, didn’t you?” he asked quietly.
“How do you know?” they breathed in amazement.
“I could tell the moment you walked in,” he replied, cleaning his pipe and gesturing it at them. “No one else seems to mind this thing so much.” He smiled. “Believe me, it’s an acquired taste.”
They glanced at one another. “She said you warn people away from a cursed treasure,” one began.
“How do you do it?” the other continued, “and why?”
He tapped his pipe on the edge of the table and laughed. “Can’t you tell?” he asked. “I have it. The curse. I found the treasure myself, in my youth, and the curse descended on me as it has on you. I left that revolting cave and breathed the sweet open air. I found my way to this inn and had the most exquisite meal I have ever tasted.” He laughed again, but it sounded rough and bitter. “I was young then. I thought the odor in the cave was just something I imagined in my fear. I thought the fragrance of the forest and the flavor of the food was a result of my elation on finally possessing the treasure. I thought these impressions would fade with time or,” he smiled grimly at their mugs of ale, “if I dulled my senses.”
“Then... this never goes away?”
Old Rufus shook his head in reply, repacking his pipe and lighting it. “Never,” he said, bathing them in a haze of smoke again. “I put back what I’d taken and dedicated my life to preventing anyone else from falling victim to it. I wait here in this tavern, diverting adventurers. Sometimes I tell them my story. Other times I send them off after different treasure. They pay me well for my information, even if it’s false. In my experience, if people are determined to find trouble, they usually will, regardless of whether it’s the trouble I send them after.” After another moment of quiet, he added, “I’m only sorry I failed.”
“If you’ve dedicated your life to keeping other people from the treasure, you could have done more than sit in this putrid inn,” one said.
“That’s right!” the other insisted, jumping to his feet. “And we’ll do better! We’ll make sure that no one ever gets their hands on the treasure.”
“We’ll bury it!”
“Cast it into a pit!”
“Hide it where no one can possibly find it!”
“I did what I could,” Old Rufus interrupted quietly. “Do you ever wonder why it was so hard to find in the first place? You two are proof that adventurers who go looking for trouble will absolutely find it.”
“No one ever will again,” they vowed, and moved toward the exit as quickly as they could through the rest of the inn’s curious patrons.
Just as they reached the door, the proprietress called out, “You boys weren’t planning on leaving yet, were you? You’ve still got to settle up with me, and this won’t cover it.” They turned back to see her standing next to their table, holding a coin that had most likely fallen out of one of their pockets.
It took a moment, but they were able to see exactly when the curse fell on her. She gasped and her face turned white. Staggering to one knee, she looked around wildly, finally focusing on Old Rufus, still sitting at the table puffing at his pipe. “What’s happening to me?!” she choked out, overwhelmed by every new thing she could sense.
“I warned you,” he told her, then he stood, and in a loud voice, addressed the whole room. “These men have unleashed the Curse of the Treasure of Smel,” he turned and pointed at them.
Before the startled crowd could react, they dashed out the door and all the way back to the cave. It reeked so much they could hardly stand to go inside, but they covered their noses and held their breath and it was less terrible.
They approached the chest. They’d been searching their entire adult lives for this treasure, and now they would have to live the rest of their lives with the curse. They vowed, then and there, that they would do more than Old Rufus had done. They would make sure that no one else would ever fall under the curse as they had.
No one ever heard from them again. We don’t know whether they tried their hardest to succeed, or if they gave up and lived out the rest of their lives warning travelers away at an inn. Or perhaps they were killed by the angry mob that followed them when they fled to the cave that day.
What we do know is that they failed.
Because before they found the treasure and dropped that coin, noses were used for breathing and sneezing and another place for hair to grow.
Today, there aren’t very many people who are born without the Curse of the Treasure of Smel. We don’t regard it as a curse much anymore, either. In fact, most see it as a blessing.
There are lots of people who enjoy pipe smoke and no end of those who go spelunking in caves in spite of their dankness. But perhaps the greatest blessing that we acquired from Curse of the Treasure of Smel is the knowledge of our own cleanliness.
There are unpleasant things in the world, and beautiful things. And if the treasure had remained untouched, I’d never be able to smell any of them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Silence Will Fall

Sometimes it’s pretty hard to explain your fandom to a non-fan.
“Why are you writing on your skin?!” my mother cried. “What if it doesn’t come off and you have to go to work like that?”
“It’s Silence Day, Mom,” I explained. “Other Whovians will get it.”
“What will you say to people that don’t understand why you have tally marks on your arms?” she asked.
“I’ll stare off into the distance and say, ‘I... I don’t remember...’ and then get a scared look on my face and make another mark, and when they ask why, I’ll look confused and act like I don’t know what they’re talking about.” She shook her head at me and walked away.
There are many people who won’t understand, but those who will are my kindred spirits. Even if we don’t know each other at all, we’ll be able to talk together at length about Daleks, Cybermen, and Silurians. They’ll be excited to whisper with me about The Silence and how they were defeated by that mad man in a blue box: The Doctor.
Doctor Who is a long running British science fiction show which began in 1963, took a decade and a half hiatus in the nineties (with the exception of that movie in 1996), and then rebooted in 2005. It’s about a long lived time traveler who occasionally brings along passengers to have adventures with him. His TARDIS (the blue box that takes him to his adventures) travels in space as well as in time (hence the name: Time And Relative Dimension In Space), so his adventures take place on earth, on foreign planets, in the past, in the present, and in the future. The show was originally meant to teach history (with trips to the past) and science (with trips to the future), but it evolved into something even more fun, exciting, spine tingling, romantic, and wondrous. It’s got bad guys everyone loves to hate, and good guys that everyone loves to cheer for. It’s got dedicated fans all over the world, and chances are if you know one of them, then you’ve either been badgered to watch the show with them or been indoctrinated after you gave in.
Moffat was inspired by Edvard
Munch's The Scream
designing The Silence.
On April 23, 2011, the episode The Impossible Astronaut aired for the first time in the United Kingdom. Steven Moffat, the show’s executive producer, took the opportunity to introduce some new villains. We’d been hearing about them in passing during the whole of the previous season, with the occasional comment of, “then the silence came,” and things like that, but I never suspected that they were a race of beings. I just thought that maybe some cataclysmic event happened on that specific planet that killed off half the population or something.
The Silence, creepily tall aliens, are literally forgettable. Their power over other beings is telepathic. They are able to plant ideas in the heads of the people who see them, but also immediately able to erase the memory of their presence. This allows them to go wherever they’d like and not have to do any work. Have you ever made a sandwich and then looked at it, realizing that you weren’t hungry and weren’t really sure why you made the sandwich in the first place? If The Silence ate sandwiches, that impulse could have been planted in your head by one of them.
Amy is about to discover that she's seen something that she
doesn't remember seeing.
Photo courtesy of Wired.com
Don’t worry; The Doctor defeated The Silence. It involved the moon landing and a lot of zapping Richard Nixon from place to place, but he got it done. He had help. Some of his companions traveled the world for months to try to learn more about the enemy, but they weren’t able to find much, since The Silence were erasing themselves every time they were seen. The only thing they could do to remind themselves they’d spotted one of their foes was to make a mark on their skin. After they’d forgotten, they could look down and see evidence that The Silence were present.
I found this reminder about the event
on Google+.
Just like fans of any other show, one of the best places Doctor Who fans (or Whovians, for short) like to congregate and talk about the show is the internet. For a while I’ve been seeing chatter about “Impossible Astronaut Day” and “Silence Day.” Fans decided that they would celebrate their Whovianness by showing it off to the world on the second anniversary of the day the episode aired. “Tell your friends!” the messages urged. I haven’t seen any of The Silence today (or maybe I have and I forgot), but any fan of Doctor who that happens to glance at my arm will instantly know that I am a fan as well (and also to be on their guard against The Silence).
If you’re a Whovian, Impossible Astronaut Day is not something that is required. But it is fun. If you’re not a Whovian, I only have one thing to ask.
Do you want to come over and watch Doctor Who with me?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Shoes Make the Man

I need a massage.
I’m not a lazy person. I work pretty hard keeping my house from descending into a pit of filth, and I’m lifting (fairly heavy) things all the time. But housekeeping tasks use different muscles than those needed for my new job.
I can separate a night of work into three sections: loading/setting up, working with customers, and dismantling/unloading. For the first and last portions of the evening, I’m using muscles that I don’t use when I’m tossing my kids around during the week. I guess my three year old also weighs less than 2 printers shoved into a plastic tote, so that probably has an impact on how I hold myself to carry it. I never have to make sure I’m “lifting with my legs” when I pick up my kids.
Setting up a photo booth is a workout. It’s a lot of bending, reaching, and puzzle solving. And if I’m at a prom or a wedding, I’m not going to be dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. By the time I’m finished, I’m sweating in my formal clothes and wishing I’d brought along a pair of tennis shoes for this part instead of thinking I could get everything done in my high heels.
The second section of the night is mostly me standing. I don’t run around too much, just hang out with guests, laugh with them at the silly pictures they took, and just stand. On my feet. For four hours. In high heels. I used to stand around on high heels for hours at work when I was in college (seating people at a restaurant) and my shifts were more often than once a week, so my body could get used to it.
Someone buy me these shoes.
My size is 8 1/2 WIDE.
Seriously, they're pretty cheap.
When the night is over, I don’t have to worry about still being presentable after I’m finished working, so if I get gross and sweaty carrying all my equipment out to my car to play tetris with it, it’s not a big deal. This is the moment in my night that it’s appropriate to break out the tennis shoes, but this last weekend, I forgot them.
So in addition to the workout of standing in my very conservative heels all night, I lugged my heavy equipment around and put it all away while wearing my heels. I could have taken them off, but working in bare feet instead may have hurt my feet more. Although it would have prevented the moment when I twisted my ankle and fell on my butt trying to get a particularly stubborn article out of my tiny car.
I need a massage.
And maybe new shoes...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bag Count: 50

Don't be frightened, citizens, it's merely the next installment of Bag the Bag. Feel free to travel into the past to catch up on what you may have missed.

It’s been a busy week. I got a job, tried to juggle my other responsibilities with trying to get clothes to a consignment sale in time to sell them, and had to deal (alongside everyone else in the world) with the emotional aftermath of a terrorist attack.
Thankfully, crocheting is a way for me to calm myself down when I’m feeling like there’s nothing else I can control. Crazy kids? Car accident? Milk not on sale at any grocery stores this week? Crocheting is something I know I can have a direct impact on. I can see the progress as I work, and I know that without me, it wouldn’t... be.
So my house is a mess and I haven’t done any laundry for days, but I have crocheted. Crocheting is good for the soul.
Good for the earth, too, it turns out.

Bag Count: 50

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday in History: Relating to San Francisco

Studying history is really fun. What’s even more fun is finding your own last name staring back at you from the page of a history book.
In 2009 I ran up to my husband and shoved the book I was reading for my really cool American urban history class in his face. “What am I supposed to be looking at?” he asked, as he disengaged from whatever he had been studying. “Look!” I pointed at the name, excited, and watched his face to see his reaction when he saw it. I was expecting a little more than a calm nod and “hm,” so I jumped around the room excitedly for him. “Isn’t that cool?!” I asked. He agreed so that I would leave him alone, and I went back to read more about how Mr. Livermore and his neighbors worked together to save their homes during the fires that ravaged San Francisco in 1906.
Don't build your house on shifting sand.
Image from wikipedia.
At around 5 AM on this day in history, April 18th, 1906, San Francisco suffered one of its infamous earthquakes. Since America didn’t have building codes until the 1920s, many structures that were architecturally unsound or built on top of questionable surfaces simply toppled. Those that were still standing were at risk of being burnt to a crisp by the fires that had sprung up from fractured gas lines.
Unfortunately, the city’s water main was also damaged in many areas, so smothering the fires wasn’t an option. Boats from the bay were put to use, to carry water to firefighters and to ferry refugees across the bay to Oakland. Firefighters also tried to use dynamite to isolate fires and keep them from damaging any more property. Regrettably, this often ended up doing more damage than the fires themselves would have, since in addition to the property that was blown to smithereens in the explosion, the dynamite would usually start little fires of its own. And those little fires would never stay behind the designated lines that the dynamite was supposed to be making in the first place.
San Francisco aflame
Image from wikipedia
Citizens from many different neighborhoods were ordered by the army and firefighters to evacuate. There wasn’t anyone making sure that people didn’t go back to their homes after they were forced to leave every one of their worldy goods behind, and that was how one particular neighborhood was saved. Instead of adopting an “every man for himself” attitude, Mr. Livermore and his neighbors worked together, extinguishing whichever parts of one another’s homes happened to burst into flame.
Although the homes and property were saved, it probably wasn’t the best idea to stay, since a series of aftershocks shook up the city even more and fires raging elsewhere could have easily made their way up the hill to the very buildings they were protecting. But hindsight is 20/20, and while those who fail are remembered as stupid, those who succeed are hailed as heroes.
And even though this particular Mr. Livermore was probably very distantly related to my husband’s family (the California Livermores came to the area by way of Mexico, while the branch that my husband is descended from made its way to the southwestern United States after several generations of life in New England), it’s still pretty awesome to know that you share a name with someone who was lucky enough to survive and beat back the fires during one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Honey Bees and Honey Peas

I eat my peas with honey; I’ve done it all my life.It makes the peas taste funny, but it sticks them to my knife.-Anonymous

I can’t drink tea. I want to drink tea, but the doctor says that I shouldn’t, and if I drink it before bed, I get terrible heartburn. So I drink hot water instead. With lemon and honey (sans peas). It’s actually not bad, but not as awesome as I know that tea would be.
For boot or honey scraping purposes
There are other problems, too. Like the honey. Honey is a great sweetener, but it’s so sticky. If any gets on the jar or bottle, then the next time I pick it up I’m going to have honey on my hands. And the only way to get it off my hands once it’s on there is to scald it off with boiling water while scraping it off one one of those old style boot scrapers they keep outside the kitchen door while also simultaneously magicking it off: “Tergeo!” (That’s a Harry Potter reference, by the way.)
My husband’s grandpa kept bees, and so that’s something that my husband wants to do someday, when we have our own piece of land. He wants to be able to share honey with the people he loves, just like his grandpa did, which is awesome. But in order to get the honey, you need lots of equipment for extracting it, comb, and a box of bees.
If we kept bees, we’d also need a large vegetable garden where we’d need to grow peas.

Because I really want to try that trick with the knife.