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My garden burst into life over the weekend. What were tiny sprouts on May 2, at the largest, are now vigorous plants four inches high or more. The beans underwent an especially radical transformation. Even last Friday only one was even poking out of the ground, and now they've outstripped the peas.


peas, before and after


beans, before and after

The parsley hasn't sprouted yet, unfortunately. Also, the oak-leaf lettuce seems to be suffering from some sort of rot, or maybe burn, so I should ask the nursery about what that could be. Might just be the heat. Otherwise, everything's doing very well. I need to add string for the peas to climb on soon.

I added carrots and finally got my zucchini and yellow crookneck squash seeds in last weekend, so I expect them to be springing from the ground sometime next week. I also added some lemon catnip to my mint planter. If all goes well, I'll have a full salad by midsummer!

Garden

Apr. 24th, 2007 11:49 pm
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I grew up helping my parents grow a half-acre garden, and have missed gardening ever since. For the first time in a long time, I actually have space to plant a garden. The inauspicious-looking patch of pink tile in the picture below is the only part of the yard that gets halfway-decent sunlight. Over the break I dug up the tiles, mulched the soil (which was surprisingly good -- I expected clay, but it was pretty rich already), and planted all of my old favorites and a few that I hope will do well in California: shelling and snap peas, green beans, "grape" and beefsteak tomatoes, three kinds of lettuce, sage, variegated "pineapple" mint, leeks, parsley, and marigolds for pest control. (Still need to do the zucchinis.) I planted seeds when I could, but opted for some seedlings from Common Ground, a lovely organic nursery nearby (though one wouldn't guess they were a nonprofit based on their prices ...). I also transplanted my rosemary and thyme bushes into their own pots so all of my mints (two kinds brought over from my dad's garden in Utah plus my new pineapple mint) are in one planter. I feel quite happy about it so far, though it's too early to see any progress on my seeds yet.

I'm really looking forward to home-grown salads later this summer. :~)


Before: the only sunny spot in the yard is tiled over


After
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Hyram Ames, 9/23/23-12/03/06
Originally uploaded by morganya.
He introduced me to Poe and to Calvin and Hobbes. When I read "The Raven" I can still hear his voice. We polished opals together in a small rock tumbler when I was young. In high school I helped him weed his iris beds and listened to him tell stories about growing up on a farm, teaching ballroom dance, and hunkering down in Italy in World War II. Though generally reticent, at times he'd wax eloquent about his collections of irises or tropical birds or historical books, or about any number of other things.

Though he has been having health problems for some time, his death came unexpectedly. On the way to the car after the family brunch last Saturday, he became dizzy and fell on his oxygen tank, cracking a rib. The rib pierced his spleen. He had lost half of his blood by the time the helicopter carried him to the hospital. His last few hours were lived for him by a machine, but as he didn't want to be kept alive in that way, he was allowed to pass away Sunday around noon.

He will be missed by his four sons and one daughter, and also by me, his eldest granddaughter, and his other grandchildren. Though it could be difficult to be close to him, I still regret that I drifted even further from him in the last few years, and I feel deeply for my dad, uncles, and aunt, who are really struggling with the loss. I'm glad I was able to see him last week at Thanksgiving, and I'm glad I'll be able to travel from California to join my family and play a piano piece for his funeral, since he enjoyed listening to me play.

poem )

decision

Jun. 26th, 2006 02:01 pm
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The house it is! We move in two weeks.

Stanford

Apr. 14th, 2006 03:39 pm
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I've decided to move to the Stanford Department of Communication next year. The decision was difficult and involved, but I think it's for the best. I am planning on keeping my Berkeley contacts alive, especially that with my current advisor, and I'll probably be back to sit in on a class or two as well (especially the one Jean Lave and Peter Lyman, though both retired, are planning for next spring). I've been doing lots of research on what classes are offered, who teaches them, and what professors and peers I could work with at both places. Danah and David helped me focus in by suggested a few pointed questions to ask myself: where can I find a community I want to work with? who will help me with the inevitable bureaucracy? where can I learn the skills I want to have? whose job would I love to have, and how do I get there? Ultimately, I know that I can't make a fully-informed decision since I haven't attended Stanford and can't possibly learn everything about it and can't know what will come up at Berkeley that I don't yet know about. Both schools have their strengths and weaknesses, and I'd very likely follow different paths at each. But all things considered, Stanford's resources in various areas put it ahead of Berkeley.
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[Poll #673189]
Under what conditions do you refuse to give money to strangers? (explain in comments)

Grandpa

Feb. 7th, 2006 10:59 pm
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John Henry Golata
January 12, 1920-January 23, 2006
with a full life in between ... )
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Christmas cookies
Originally uploaded by morganya.
We made 20 dozen in a day-long baking and frosting marathon.

The cookies are made with my great-grandmother's recipe, and the cookie cutters are the same kinds my grandma used. The decorating styles are less traditional, though. :~)
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My sister gave birth today at 6:21 to Brecklyn Mae Bowen, a healthy girl of 6 pounds 14 ounces. Congrats to my little sis, and happy birthday to Brecklyn!


Brecklyn's birth

Originally uploaded by morganya
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It's an odd yet familiar ritual that I find myself living over and over again. Hunched over my laptop, I'm still in my pajamas at 3 p.m., and have only imbibed hot cocoa and tea since waking up from my nap after a near-all-nighter of working. Heavily-marked papers, additional laptops, and other research detritus are strewn all around me. It's a scene that I recreate whenever final papers or research publications are due. No matter how much preparation I do beforehand (and in this case, I've been working diligently all semester), it always comes down to this: the last few hours of mad typing, pumped by sugary drinks, hunger, and adrenaline. Bill Watterson hit it on the head:

But it's shaping up nicely, and it will all be over soon ...
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Danah has written a fantastic call to arms over the systematic suppression of youth culture (also reminding me of another essay that resonated with my experience). I was a senior in high school when the Columbine shootings happened, and remember the district-wide announcements of locker searchings, suspensions, and cultivation of a culture of aggression and "zero tolerance" by district officials and the media. I remember when local malls started hassling groups of teens, and when cruising was banned, and when the local Dee's (a regular teen hangout) was closed. I remember being hassled by police on several occasions for breaking curfew. I watched as the physical venues for youth expression (and especially non-Mormon youth expression) in Salt Lake City were suppressed, one by one. Fortunately, I was blessed with a host of fabulous teachers, an understanding dad, and a strong community of fellow intellectuals, loners, and outcasts, including the most wonderful friends I'll probably ever have in all my life. Though I was a miserable pariah in junior high, I was able to ignore much of the high school popularity contest and could dress as I wanted and speak my mind freely. We protested Channel 1, The Gap, and in-school advertising; we attended high-school dances en masse, pairing off randomly at the door, and did the hokey-pokey during the slow songs; my school's English teachers handed out our liberal, queer-friendly 'zine for us; and we were vocal about our liberal views in classes and often had teachers agreeing with us (though few other students did in conservative eastern Salt Lake City). I don't remember instances of friends getting hassled for their gaming or dress in my school, even the most extreme goths. But these articles remind me that many aren't so lucky. I shudder to think what would have become of me if my high school experience had been like my junior high experience. By the end of junior high, I was a mess: I was depressed and a recovering anorexic, and had attempted suicide at least once. And I knew countless others - smart but often shy teens - who were in similarly dire straits. If I hadn't met like-minded others and if we hadn't collectively named and repudiated the insidious side of high school culture, I don't know where I'd be now. Of course, I still had to struggle with low self-esteem, which kept me in an abusive relationship and spun me back into depression before high school was out. But it could have been so much worse, and for many, it is.
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Jeez. Yesterday I felt fabulous, and today I have a fever of 101. What is up with my immune system this fall? This sort of stuff has happened at least half a dozen times in the last couple months. I used to never get sick.

I was hoping to go see Bruno Latour lecture this evening, but I'm feeling all woozy and achy and would like this to go away by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest (so I can go to the 4S conference), so I'm staying home. Did anyone else go? Do tell me about it ...

Edit: Jeez is in the LJ dictionary, but Livejournal and LJ are not. Amusing what their priorities are.
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I didn't realize it at the time, but I was incredibly fortunate to grow up on home-grown fruit and vegetables, and to have a whole half-acre yard (plus the half-acre yards of our two next-door neighbors) for my own uses. Sometimes late at night when I can't sleep, I begin to wax nostalgic about the dry canyon breezes and Utah crickets chirping in unison coming through my window on hot summer nights, the rooster at the house behind us crowing at all hours, eating the "bowl" of the watermelon on the stone bench by the wood-fired hot tub one dew-soaked summer morning, or the long days I spent reading outside and eating fresh-picked peas, beans, and apricots.

My parents made the garden a family affair. The took care of tilling the soil before planting and added manure every few years, but we all planted, weeded, watered, and harvested together. The layout generally changed from year to year, but somehow many of my memories refer to a particular layout. Walking down the flagstones that bisect the garden length-wise, you first see kale and swiss chard in the first row on your right, parsley on your left. I don't remember ever planting these - they might have come up by themselves, year after year. Beyond them are several rows of potatoes and tomatoes. Almost a whole quadrant of corn, though corn was discontinued later because it took up so much space and didn't yield much. Over in the back right were the vines and other things I didn't pay much attention to: summer and winter squashes, some melons (though they never did well either), peppers, etc. To the lower right were the green and wax beans, and in the upper left were the shell and sugar snap peas.

The crops I liked the best were the peas (I defined my summer by their picking times), beans, corn (especially picked fresh and grilled immediately), and zucchini. (My sister and I would hurl the ones that escaped our timely picking and became giant into the fence or feed them to the horses that kept the weeds down next door. My favorite way of eating them was sliced lengthwise and steamed with cheese.) We also grew red potatoes and carrots that came up looking like bulbous gnarled hands but tasted super-sweet, but we didn't eat these until the next winter when my parents would go out back and dig through the snow and the leaves they piled on for insulation (and next year's mulch) to the veggies below. We also grew a couple of rows of tomatoes, but I never liked them much as a kid (and now I may be allergic, in fact).

Flanking the garden on either side was a green strip of grass, then grapes on the right (which I didn't like at all: they had small seeds, were pretty runny inside, and had thicker skins and less sweetness than store-bought grapes, a combination of factors that made them unpalatable to me) and asparagus and sometimes strawberries on the left. I also had my own garden for a couple of years near the asparagus, below the snowball tree. Our next door neighbor had raspberries that we'd snack on all summer, and now my mom and stepdad have raspberries too. Our yard used to be an orchard, so we also had six full-grown apple trees (though they didn't produce much of anything), two apricot trees, a pear tree, a plum tree, and an English prune tree scattered throughout the yard.

Our neighborhood has a communal irrigation ditch, an important part of our garden's success. We usually bought rights to divert the water into the carefully-cleared rows of our garden once or twice a week. It would often pool in the grass at the base of the garden, where my sister and I would cavort and splash. We also played in the irrigation ditch itself, a small muddy stream that went through the back corner of our yard. The Holladay township has talked several times about killing the irrigation water supply to quench the rising demand for drinking water, but so far it's still flowing.

Every summer and fall we'd all pick the fruit and vegetables together, and then my mom would puree and dry fruit leather and freeze and can much of the rest. We also used to pick cherries at an orchard up north of Salt Lake, and these canned cherries were one of my favorite childhood foods. (I used to call them "bobbies" and remember fishing out new cans from the cellar all the time. They were canned with the pits intact, and had the most wonderful sweet juice around them.)

My parents kept goats in a red shed and a fenced-off enclosure when I was very small (before I was born they tended a farm with goats and chickens in Draper), but as long back as I can remember, the enclosure was used for grandpa's fancy irises. (Now the fence is gone and fruit trees are growing instead of irises.) My sister and I knew every inch of our yard: the sandbox, the mysterious and exciting woodpile around the hot tub, the huge fir trees in our yard and the neighbor's, the boulders we'd climb up and slide down. One summer when I was in junior high, I built a treehouse in the apple tree at the top of the garden that's still there, though now it's becoming overrun with grape vines.

I'm just now realizing how unique my experience was, and that even in my neighborhood, it's going extinct. Developers have been buying up blocs of the mostly 40's-era homes and replacing them with twice as many blunderbus houses on tiny lots - no space for a garden, no more irrigation ditch, no orchard trees. (I predict that when energy prices start rising, the owners won't be able to give away these these ugly, homogeneous houses.) Meanwhile, I long for that garden that I don't have space to grow, for the pets I'm now allergic to, for a childhood that's becoming impossible to have.

MSN maps has decent aerial photos of my mom's neighborhood.
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In the spring I always think of Heidi. From second grade to eleventh, I read it every spring. In the fall I think of this:

In the Elegy Season

Haze, char, and the weather of All Souls':
A giant absence mopes upon the trees:
Leaves cast in casual potpourris
Whisper their scents from pits and cellar-holes.

Or brewed in gulleys, steeped in wells, they spend
In chilly steam their last aromas, yield
From shallow hells a revenance of field
And orchard air. And now the envious mind

Which could not hold the summer in my head
While bounded by that blazing circumstance
Parades these barrens in a golden trance,
Remembering the wealthy season dead,

And by an autumn inspiration makes
A summer all its own. Green boughs arise
Through all the boundless backward of the eyes,
And the soul bathes in warm conceptual lakes.

Less proud than this, my body leans an ear
Past cold and colder weather after wings'
Soft commotion, the sudden race of springs,
The goddess' tread heard on the dayward stair,

Longs for the brush of the freighted air, for smells
Of grass and cordial lilac, for the sight
Of green leaves building into the light
And azure water hoisting out of wells.

- Richard Wilbur
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I've had trouble sleeping in my room, between streetlights and morning light coming in my windows, so today I made window shades. Two yards of blackout fabric, two wooden dowels, four three-inch nails, and a dozen staples make two shades for about $7 each. Better than the $33 price quotes online! I just need to add some string to raise them. My housemate helped me saw off the dowels and cut the material, and in turn I introduced him to Cheese Board pizza.

Next I have to figure out what to do about the noise ....

I've almost finished organizing my room, aside from books and wall decorations still in storage, and the occasional heap of stuff on shelves or the floor. I found that my bleach leaked, burning holes in my new corduroys and in my paper globe, and making interesting patterns on my favorite pair of pants ... but it could have been much worse.

I danced with a potential Standard partner for a couple of hours today. He seems headstrong and prone to impatience, but he's very good. Unfortunately, he has had a partner for a couple of months now, though he says I'm a better match for him. Hopefully we can work something out; I haven't had any other leads, so to speak.

Well, this is a somewhat boring entry ... I'll post more of my controversial class notes over the weekend. :~)

Results of silly personality tests:

Ichi
Ichi - "That one with wisdom"

I'm either an Accountant (last night; can't remember the acronym and can't re-create it), an Administrator (Submissive Extrovert Concrete Thinker), or a Mastermind (Submissive Introvert Abstract Thinker), depending on what I put for questions that I feel ambivalent about. Interestingly, if you don't fill in anything you're a mastermind.

I have design taste like fanlain, apparently: Introspective, Sensitive, Reflective; also somewhat Down to Earth, Well-Balanced, Harmonious.

That's all, folks!

ahem

Aug. 25th, 2003 11:23 pm
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Ah yes, another glorious time-sink, this blogging stuff ...
Hello world!

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waxing gibbous in Michigan

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