Saturday, December 21, 2013

a merry solstice to all and to all a good night

It's been a while.  Not because I don't like blogging.  It's been a while because there has been so much happening- good, bad and in between.

I'm home tonight, with the kids fast asleep in their beds.  I am somewhat doubtful that there are visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, since they've never seen a sugarplum in their lives, and honestly, I haven't either.

Gita has gone to an anniversary party for some friends of hers.  The kids both have strep throat, and I volunteered to stay home with them and put them to bed early.  This works out pretty well for me, since I'd be sitting in the corner at the party with the kids, watching the Disney channel, while all the other guests speak animatedly in a different  language and I try to make polite but awkward conversation when people come to sit near me.  I've been to many of these already.  Better to stay home and catch up on all the things I haven't done in a while.

I talk a lot about gardening here, and you may be checking in because you're also a gardener.  I have to say, with a small amount of shame, that I was glad to see the gardening season end this year.  Part of it was the weird weather.  Part of it was my stepping down as head of the community garden that I helped to start.  Part of it was just the sheer exhaustion of trying to do too much and not doing any of those things well, and being relieved that mother nature stepped in to take one task off of my plate.

My carrots froze into the ground before I could dig them out.  Usually it's one of my favorite jobs of the season- pulling up  a bucketload of super-sweet post-frost carrots and root cellaring them or making a batch of carrot wine.  This year, they've turned into green manure for next spring's garden.  My potatoes froze into the garden too.  Granted, the freeze came earlier than average, at least for as long as I've been gardening- and it came on quick.   They might re-sprout in the spring.  At least that's what I tell myself.

 To be honest- we did do a lot of putting stuff away for the winter this year.  We canned almost 30 jars of applesauce from foraged apples this fall, and a half dozen jars of apple butter from the peels.  We made a dozen or more quart jars of salsa from our tomatoes and more than a dozen jars of marinara sauce.  I made a big batch of pickles from a bunch of cucumbers I picked up from the farmers market.  And we have 3 5-gallon carboys of dandelion wine and applejack fermenting away in the basement. 

The competing use of time is our kitchen renovation.  In mid-November I tore out all of our existing kitchen cabinets, the floor, parts of the walls, all of the lighting, and with some help from WHD of Off the Grid in Minneapolis, I am rebuilding the whole mess.  The previous kitchen was a slapped-together 1980's remodel and was a non-salvageable mess of particle board and laminate.   Everything is now being done with quality materials and to code.   I've hired out the plumbing, but otherwise between myself and WHD, we've done it all and have done a pretty good job if I do say so myself.

Also competing for my time is an opportunity which involves fermentation, and which also involves getting lots of licenses and certificates at the city, state and federal level, which I am in the thick of at the moment.  I'll elaborate at a later time, but if you're interested in imagining what that might be, I'll refer you to a couple of previous blog posts:  'how to make homemade wine'  and 'carrot wine?  why not?'

Of course being a good dad and husband is a lot of work too.  It takes a lot of time.  But I love that job. 

So it's the winter solstice today and I'd like to be making a bonfire in the back yard, but instead I'll stay inside.  It's warmer in here, and if the kids wake up, I'll hear them.

So, being the end of a solar year, I'm thinking through where we are and taking stock.  Here are a few things that have happened lately that I'd like to think through and hope you'll have the patience to think through them with me.

One is the appearance of 'crazy ants' in Texas, that has come out of virtually nowhere, and which is making life on the American Gulf coast difficult.   If there's a story which embodies the maxim that "Mother nature always bats last"  this is it.  These ants swarm over things made my people, and are so prolific, their bodies pile up to the point that they create obstructions to human habitation.  They also seem to be drawn to electrical gadgets, frequently invading them and short-circuiting things such as electrical outlets or computers, and rendering them worthless. 

But this is a cold climate, here in Minnesota, and it's unlikely crazy ants will make it this far north.  Except that  a far more subtle and sneaky mutation in the world of small things hit much closer to home this morning.

I mentioned that both of my kids have strep throat at the moment.  They first had it around Thanksgiving.  We took them to the doctor and they were, as is pretty common, prescribed Amoxicillin, an antibiotic that has been shown to be effective against strep.  They both took it for the recommended 10 days and we figured it would be done with. Except that it wasn't.

The sniffly, sore throat lived on, and we took our daughter in again on Thursday- to a clinic full to the gills with kids with similar symptoms.  I had really never seen it so full- the parking lot where we had always parked was completely full, the overflow parking was full, and I ended up parking on the street and walking with my sick daughter to the clinic, a little further than I had expected (but glad to be in the city where they at least allow parking on the street).

So we did our thing there, and I asked the doctor about the possibility of antibiotic-resistant strep, and she glibly blew it off saying 'we haven't seen resistant strep around here- they probably re-infected themselves with their toothbrushes, etc.'  Which I took at face value, since, after all, she was a doctor.

Then last night our son started having the same symptoms.  So this morning, I took him to the little cheapo clinic in the department store, since our regular clinic wasn't open on Saturdays.  There he was seen by a very friendly nurse practitioner who had seen him 3 or 4 weeks before when we were dealing with our first round of strep.  She was less glib.  "I've seen a lot of this lately"  she said.  She told me that she had stopped prescribing Amoxicillin for strep throat not long after we had last been there because she had seen a number of kids on whom it didn't seem to be working- one of whom went to the same school as my kids.  She also said she was going to send an email to the other practitioners at the other clinics at the big box to be watching for non-responsive strep.  And she prescribed him a different, more powerful antibiotic.

So there we were- at the forefront of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria outbreak.  No mention of it in the news just yet.  Spread the word if you are able.   I am hoping that the new (and much fouler-tasting) antibiotic she prescribed will work for my poor little worn-out sore-throat kids.   I like home remedies, but know that strep is no small thing to deal with- having had it many times as a kid myself.  I don't want to have to rely solely on honey and cayenne pepper if I can help it.  For myself, OK, but my kids-- I just want the sickness gone.

So mother nature bats last.  Strep bacteria can number in the billions in one human body.  It has a doubling time of 20-30 minutes, meaning, even at the 30 minute rate, it can have 24 generations within a day.  Meaning, you can multiply 24 generations by a few billion, and that is the number of opportunities that strep bacteria has to develop a mutation that will allow it to resist an antibiotic in every infected person, every day the infection lasts.  It's amazing this resistance didn't develop sooner. 

So do we really want to feed this stuff to animals, and multiply that risk by the billions of domestic meat animals kept worldwide?  Which we're pretty much already doing, at least on the majority of farms in the United States.    Risking losing one the best weapon against bacterial disease in order to fatten the profit margin of feedlots?   Not worth it in my  book.  But inevitable given the lack of backbone amongst regulators in this country.   And of course by the overprescribing of antibiotics for things such as the common cold, by the medical profession. 

So that's no bright ray of sunshine.

But it's the darkest day of the year, at least here in the northern hemisphere, and if I'm going to discuss dark things, it may as well be today.

Which brings me to sulfide mining.  Which, unlike crazy ants and antibiotic resistant bacteria, you can actually do something about. 

The state of Minnesota is right now deliberating whether or not to allow mining of copper and nickel in northern Minnesota- in one of the most pristine areas of the lower 48 states.  This is an area which has been mined for iron ore, but not for copper and nickel, and not using the methods proposed.  The process they would like to use would likely end up sending acidic waste to Lake Superior, the second-largest body of fresh water in the world, and one of the cleanest. 

Yes, there are people who would like to see this mine developed for the jobs it would bring to the northern part of the state.  There are always people who will trade a paycheck today for the health of their children, grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren.  That's a decision that is considered rational in current economic thought, but personally I'd like to err on the side of the health of future generations.  I hope to have great-great-great-grandchildren, and I know that the choices that my generation and a number of generations before me are going to leave legacies that are less than stellar.  I'd like  to see that mistake not made again.  I don't want to be responsible for leaving the largest body of water on the continent undrinkable in a future age of heat and desertification.   We are leaving them that, yes, so we may at least leave them clean water to drink. 

See here to send a comment to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about sulfide mining.  If you expect your offspring at some point in the next 500 years to depend in some way on Great Lakes water, you have an interest in the quality of that water.   You don't have to be a Minnesotan to care about such things.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

creating kid habitat

You learn a lot of interesting things when you do landscape design for a living.

I get to call myself a landscape architect now after running the gauntlet of higher ed, board exams and internships.  As a result I get to design parking lots and ballfields and sidewalks and other projects which, while not all that interesting, pay the bills and keep me out of trouble.

Monday, September 9, 2013

today I love my city: Saint Paul's Urban Oasis

artist's rendering of the proposed urban oasis food center in saint paul
Saint Paul is not my home town, but I've lived here for  11 years now- about as long as I've lived anywhere at this point in my life.  Almost exactly as long as I lived in the other, very nice city across the river, Minneapolis.  I love them both, the way I love both of my kids.  They're different, but both good in different ways.  One is more chatty and talkative, with a better art and music scene, always recreating itself and following the newest trend and trying to keep up with Portland and Austin and Seattle and Boston.

That would be Minneapolis, for those of you not familiar with Minnesota.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013: the fruit trees are bare

red and white currants- the only fruit from our yard this year.

I have, admittedly, been a bad steward of our little pieces of the earth this summer.  Our yard, our community garden plot, the yard at our little rental place- the weeds at all of them are growing faster than I can manage to pull them out.   We are, as usual, crazy busy in the summer so that hasn't helped.  But I still don't feel good about it.

In addition to the kids- who always want me to play with them (which I don't really mind), work is really busy again this year for some reason, the rental place needs lots of little repairs- and we have another project to work on- which I will get into in future posts- but for now I won't.  But it's eating up just about all of the time I would have spent gardening in a normal summer.  And the garden looks it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

mother nature is not amused

our roof- after a big branch went through it early friday morning

I haven't been here for a few weeks, but the time has been anything but uneventful.

We've had a series of big nightime thunderstorms over the last few days, which have dropped large, heavy tree branches on our house and in our yard.  One of those branches cut a nice sized notch in our roof and took out most of the soffit on that side.

So we're now working through the process of finding a roofer and of making an insurance claim- the first one ever on our homeowners insurance- and waiting to find out what will happen.

This isn't something I enjoy, and really don't want yet another project to work on, but there it is.  There's no way around it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

some thoughts on neonicotinoids

 I was sitting down to lunch on Friday, and had a rare treat- somebody had left behind a pile of newspapers in the skyway food court where I eat my lunch on the days I don't bring my own.

Though this is downtown St. Paul, in the pile was a copy of Minneapolis' Star-Tribune.  I love the Strib, and in general love reading an analog newspaper, though I've never gotten into the habit of subscribing to one.  Mainly because I'm a cheapskate, but also because they have an army of telemarketers who will harangue you into submission if you ever let your subscription expire. 

So I was eating a burrito and paging through the Star-Trib and found an article on neonicotinoids that, I'm sure most people breezed by, but which nearly made me choke on my lunch.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

winter to summer in sixty seconds

Our street- April 23rd 

 The picture above is from Tuesday morning.   Fresh snow, broken tree branches, another day of extended winter.  That was April 23rd and we had 4 or 5 fresh inches of heavy, wet slushy snow blanketing the ground. I, along with most of the population of Minnesota was ready to scream.

This has been a long, painful winter.  Not super cold, just super long.  The Arctic Oscillation decided to go negative at just the wrong time and the cold got stuck over us.  The days were getting longer- the light lasts until after eight o'clock now, but outside- snow, grey skies, bare trees, and brown grass when you could see it at all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

raising kids in a time of uncertainty

Gita and our two kids- the three people I love most
I'll call it a time of uncertainty- though every time is a time of uncertainty.  Nobody knows for sure what's coming from one day to the next.  You can have a pretty good idea, but you never really know  for sure.

What is fairly certain, is that the next generation is probably not going to live as well as the current one- the one I'm a member of.  And the next will probably have it even harder.

Monday, March 18, 2013

searching for a cure (to cabin fever)

light starved seedlings- just recently moved to the south-facing window

So the St. Louis winter in St. Paul is less cold, but is clearly still a real winter.  The couple of inches of snow I cleared off the sidewalk this morning is now blowing back onto the sidewalk in a 30 to 40 mile per hour wind.  I walked to the bus stop after shoveling, slipping on the thin layer of powdery snow on top of a layer of glare ice every few steps.  I almost fell on my butt, and a car slowed down as if to ask if I needed help, but I looked away, not wanting to let go of the little bit of pride I still had.  I do know how to walk in snow, thanks.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

another St. Louis winter in St. Paul

This year's low temperature: -13F on February 1st.  Image courtesy of

Now, thirteen degrees below zero may sound awfully cold, and it sure feels that way when you have to get up early in the morning, go out into the dark and catch a bus in the blowing wind.  Thirteen below is no picnic.  But it's not the historical norm for the Twin Cities.

 -13F was where our temperature  bottomed out on February 1st this year, and I'm going to be the first one to call it the low for the winter, as we're pretty unlikely to get that cold again at this  point in March.  The 10 day forecast is calling for highs above freezing, so I think that's about it for old man winter.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

propagating roses in the winter

winnipeg parks and morden blush roses- in july.  not now.

Edited January 23, 2014-   to follow up this posting from winter 2013, I have to report that this method didn't work for me.  Most of the cuttings rooted, but did not transfer to the growing media afterward.  I didn't get a single viable rose out of the almost 150 cuttings I tried to root.  If you try this method and are able to make it work- please leave me a comment and describe how you did it.

So of course I live in Minnesota and of course the winters are long and cold here.  That is not a surprise.  It's expected, and what is a surprise is the brevity and warmth of recent winters.  This one is fairly true to what the historic record shows, though not as harsh as the USDA plant hardiness zone map would indicate.

One very good thing about long and cold winters is that people who love gardening have time to do eccentric stuff like propagate roses from hardwood cuttings.  For fun.  Because there isn't much else to do, unless you like to ice fish or watch TV.  Which I don't.

 And I wanted to get an early start on raising something to sell at our community garden's spring plant sale.  I was fishing around and found some interesting articles on propagating roses from hardwood rose cuttingsThis video illustrates it pretty well and these two linked sources are what I used to figure out how to make a whole bunch of new rose plants from cuttings I'd normally end up composting.

I'll post some info on the plant sale later, by the way.  If you are in the Twin Cities, feel free to stop by Merriam Park on May 4th.  I'll elaborate on another day.

freshly cut stems- still had some leaves in january!
For my cuttings, I took a bunch of  one to two foot trimmings off of my Winnipeg Parks, Morden Blush and Bonica roses in the yard.  These are some cold-hardy and mostly disease-resistant roses that I've had in my yard for four seasons now, and which I feel fairly comfortable with.  I've never sprayed them with anything, and have never fed them fertilizer, except for once on the day that I planted them.  They're the only thing in my yard  (besides the  rescued azaleas) that I've ever given chemical fertilizer to.

They've all done pretty well, if you take into consideration the advice that's usually given when you raise roses (spray, spray, spray, feed, feed, feed).  I even get some pretty decent rose hips from them (which taste pretty good when they're not full of fungicide).

Not all roses have done so well.  I planted a 'hardy' variety of tea rose at the same time as these- 'Lily Pons' was the name if I recall  correctly.  It didn't make it through a single Minnesota winter.  That was my first and last attempt at planting high-maintenance roses.  If it can't survive winter on its own and summer without chemicals, then it's not worthy of a place in the limited space of the eighth acre farm.
stems after cleaning-

I did a little research, and found that all three varieties- which were once patented- are no longer.  Morden Blush just went out of patent last year, in fact.  And it's a gorgeous rose.

This is not to say I am a great believer in plant patents.  I'm not.  But I want to give some respect (and revenue) to breeding programs like that at the Morden Research Center in Manitoba that brought us a whole slew of roses fit to the difficult conditions of an Upper Midwestern (and Canadian prairie state) winter.

Unfortunately, the Morden rose breeding program has been discontinued, and even more unfortunately, some of their roses are already becoming harder to find.  Winnepeg Parks is now out of most catalogs, which is a sad thing because it's a fantastic rose for organic gardeners.

So I'll do my small part in continuing the spread of some good and out-of-patent roses. 

So once I had taken all of my trimmings in early January, I trimmed them down to about 5 to 8 inches long, removing the bottom few buds, and leaving two or three at the top.  I scored the bottom inch of the cutting with a paring knife, and dipped each cutting in water, shook it off, then dipped it in some rooting hormone.

Rooting hormone is something I've never used before and was a bit apprehensive about getting.  I've heard that agar works in much the same way, but didn't know if it would get moldy over such a long time, and besides didn't know where to find it.  So I took the easy way out and used IBA, which as it turns out, was not as much of an all-synthetic thing as I had assumed.

I had to look around  a fair bit to find it in midwinter.  I went to a suburban garden center and waded through the kitsch and leftover Xmas schwag and unusable purple birdhouses to find it on a sad looking shelf in the back of the store.  It cost about six bucks and the bottle said it could make a thousand cuttings or so.  Good enough for me. 

So I dipped all the cuttings in it, and wrapped them in damp (not wet) newspaper, then put the newspaper in three plastic bags from local stores.

and seven weeks later
And by golly it worked!

The original cuttings went into the bags on January 6th, and I unwrapped them today, 7 weeks later, to find roots and/or callouses on about 3/4ths of the cuttings.  That was way better than I had expected.

I potted them up in some old #1 containers that I washed in the laundry room sink, and put them in a large clear plastic container that will be a temporary greenhouse for the  new rose plants.  If all goes well, I should have a nice little crop of roses for the plant sale.

That is, assuming that I don't accidentally cook them all by leaving the lid on the greenhouse on a hot day, or forget to water them.  I'd probably do that in the summer, but right now my plant deficit disorder is making that unlikely.  Bringing anything to life right now is so deeply satisfying that I will go far, far out of my way to make it happen.  So I'm more likely to water these little things to death before I let them cook.

I ordered seeds last night too.  So many things to do to prepare for the growing season.  I'll be trying long beans  again this year, as well as WHD's rattlesnake beans.   And even though I've had lousy results with hot peppers most years, I've ordered Anaheim peppers to start from seed too.  And more parsnips again even though they make me itchy.

a banyan tree in hong kong
And in a total non-sequitur, I have a couple of travel pictures.  These are from Hong Kong, when we were there almost three and a half years ago on our way to visit Gita's family in Nepal. 

I was looking through travel pictures tonight- and appreciating the green- the life- and the remembering of what it's like relaxing outside next to the water in a short-sleeved shirt.

The picture above is a banyan tree- one of many we saw.  This one was on one of the smaller islands that make up Hong Kong.  It's a fishing village mostly, but a really densely packed one, made up of four-story apartment building and tiny little winding alleys.  The banyan had it's own little stoop among the concrete, and I think it was some sort of shrine, though I'm not completely sure.  

Even if it wasn't a shrine, it said a lot for the Chinese appreciation for nature.  Maybe due to the lack of actual natural space in a place like Hong Kong.

And below- that's us at a noodle house by the boat dock, within smelling distance of the fish market on the same island.  The little guy couldn't get enough of the noodles, even though he hadn't been eating solid food for very long at that point.   Maybe we shouldn't have given him the local street food- but then again, what other choices did we have?

He was perfectly fine by the way.  And is still an adventurous eater for a kid.

noodle shop on the street.  little man demolished the noodle soup at 16 months.
I love looking at pictures of warm places in the winter. 

There's not a lot of it left.  Three cheers for that.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

february blue

me.  enjoying the snow.
Oh, to be a kid again.  Not so much because it's fun being bossed around by grownups, or being made to eat food you don't like.  No, because today was a day made for kids, not for grownups.

When you get four or five inches of really wet, heavy snow, a grownup looks at it and sees a lot of work, and a potential car accident.  Kids see potential snowmen and snowballs and snow forts.

I got out with my shovel and dug paths through the snow, flinging it onto the roots of my fruit trees wherever I could- a little extra moisture in case we have a dry spring again.  I stopped to commiserate with the neighbors who were also not happy to be digging out yet again. 

But the kids didn't notice.  They were having a blast.  When I was done with my work, we went to the mini-sledding hill at a nearby church and sledded down a 5-foot slope a bunch of times- making a game out of who could make it to the bottom first.

our kids and the neighbor kid making a snow fort
The neighbor girl came over later and they all worked together to make a snow fort, with a kid-sized snow shovel, a hockey stick, a broken shovel handle and a snow-block maker.  It turned out pretty well, I have to say.

And as much as I complained about having to shovel show once again, I have to admit that I need the exercise and need to get out of the house.  I need to spend a bit less time in front of a computer screen, and a bit more time in nature, even if that nature is my front yard in the city, and I am communing with it by means of a snow shovel.  

I am ready, very ready, for winter to be over.  I am tired of looking out the window and seeing shades of white and grey and blue.  I am tired of smelling nothing but snow and diesel fumes when I walk down the street.  I'm in need of spring.

Gita is getting edgy too.  I've noticed and this doesn't make for a great deal of domestic tranquility.   She pointed out the obvious the other day- that I'm sitting on my butt in front of the computer too much these days- and of course I didn't like hearing it.  But she's right.  

I'm not really interested in joining a gym and working out.  I've done that before, and my feeling is that, now, I want to work hard, but I want it to serve some sort of a purpose.  Turning the wheel on an orbital machine or lifting a stack of metal plates a foot and a half again and again doesn't count.  I want to have a good honest tired at the end of the day.  But that's not easy to come by this time of year.  

In April or May, yes.  There are beds to dig up, stuff to plant, weeds to pull, things that need painting, stuff to move around the yard.  But in February?  Not much.  I pruned all of our fruit trees last weekend and pulled a bunch of dead Virginia creeper off of the garage.  Not much left to do now in the winter maintenance department.

the back yard today
So I shoveled the walk, and shoveled the roof with my 20-foot 'roof rake'.  Played with the kids some.   Made a batch of cookies with them and hand-printed some valentines for our son's preschool.  Tonight I feel tired.

And I sat down to write, as I try to do most Sunday nights, and set a beer- the first one of the night and last one in the house- and spilled it all over the floor when I turned on the light. 

Being a nice housebroken domestic husband and all, I kept my expletives to a loud whisper, since Gita was putting the kids to bed upstairs, and went to get a paper towel to take care of the mess.  And made a note to keep more beer on hand in the future.    I understand why they drink so much of the stuff in Canada by the way.  This time of year, it feels like the water of life. 
swelling buds on the blueberry bush
 My relationship with winter is more of a love-hate relationship than one of pure dislike though.  I've spent a couple of winters in warm climates and it felt all wrong.  Like I was cheating on winter.  Like I was supposed to be suffering in one way, but was suffering instead in a totally different and unfamiliar way- from the guilt of not facing the winter I was supposed to face.  For not paying the price of the really truly beautiful Minnesota summer I  had just enjoyed, or some such thing.

My first winter in a warm climate was in Puerto Rico.  I was an exchange student at a small college in the southwestern part of the island.  The climate, by most measures, is just about perfect.  It was hot when I got there in August, but the fall and winter months are sunny and mild, with fruit growing on the trees, and the smell of flowers always in the air.  There would be a light rain shower every day in the late afternoon, then sunshine again.  Perfect weather for being outside

After a few months I absolutely hated it.

Part of it was the unfamiliar culture-  but that wasn't all of it.  I had to get out of there by Christmas, and back home to the cold.  I was never so happy to shiver.

I chalked that one up mostly to culture shock- but when I spent a winter, years later, in Austin, Texas, I had the same experience.  I should have been happy to be away from the  cold, but in a perverse way- I missed it.  I had intended to stay there longer but only lasted four months.

In between both of those times, I had gone traveling- to see the world on a shoestring after college- and, through a series of coincidences, ended up spending most of the winter on a kibbutz in Israel.  At least there, they had thunderstorms, so it felt a little bit like winter, but still, I missed the cold.  After all my complaining about it- I missed the cold and misery of a Minnesota winter.
view from the front door
So here I stay.  I don't think I'll make the mistake of trying to cheat on winter again- at least not for longer than a week or two.  That much I can still get away with. 

At least we didn't get two feet of snow, or three  or whatever ungodly amount they got in some of New England this weekend.  At least it's only a few inches.  

Actually- I probably would have enjoyed it to be honest.  Two feet of snow gives you street cred.  Four inches is just a backache.

Now I need to get into my seed catalogs.  Where the hell did I put those? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013



There are only a few films that I can say that I've enjoyed watching more than once and fewer that I'd watch again.  This is one of them.  Maybe the only one.

Yes, the music is nice and all- that's what most people focus on when discussing it.  But there's a lot more than that.  It's remarkably current in it's illustration of the situation that we, as a species have put ourselves in, despite the fact it was released 31 years ago.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

the great indoors

This is the time of year for turning inward.  At least in our part of the world- the center of the North American continent.  At the 45th parallel- exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole.

This is the coldest time of year, and the weather feels much more like that of the North Pole than the equator.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I've been a full-time single dad for the last 12 days, and it's cutting into my ability to just about anything else.

This is not an appeal for sympathy, rather it's an explanation of why I'm not putting together a more thorough or well-researched post this week.  I resolved back in November that I would post something every Sunday night in the coming year, managed to do it through the month of December, and really enjoyed it in the process.

But Gita left for Nepal on Xmas day to see family and friends and take care of some family business.  She planned for a three-week stay, as that's more or less the minimum reasonable stay given the cost of the ticket and the 36 hours of combined flight and layover time it takes to get there.  Not to mention the jet lag.

When she  was going through chemo and radiation the thought of going back to Nepal again sustained her through some of the difficult weeks, so I couldn't hold taking the trip against her.  But I wasn't looking forward to being alone with the kids for three weeks.  What would I do?