Thursday, September 24, 2009

The night before

So I am lounging there in bed, lazily sketching in a notebook falling asleep, when it dawns on me that it's Thursday night. That mean one thing, garbage pickup in the morning. My mind leaps to the large overflowing Rosauers bag next to the kitchen counter. Then to the fact that I will have to take out said garbage now or at some god-awful time in the morning, because Sean is out camping. Then to the more daunting and horrifying realization that with Sean gone no one is here to actually put out the garbage cans to the side of the road.

Now this may seem like a small problem, but trust me. This is a monumental task. Not that I fully realized it in the moment. At that time all I thought was: "shit, I'm going to have to do that."

Taking a cue from that morning's attempt to rise early, and its subsequent and epic failure, I decided to pull myself out of bed and complete the task of taking out the trash myself. It was what a responsible human being would do. I was responsible I would do it. If only because Sean did it every week since the giant snow storm and somehow our landlord thought this sufficient excuse to shirk his erstwhile duties. (By the way I don't think that is a good excuse. He took out the garbage every week before that snowstorm, why can't he do it now?)

I threw on some clothes, turned the house lights back on and found my cell phone (in case someone tried to attack me) and my keys (to lock my door behind me in case someone saw my momentarily empty house as sackable) and grabbed the overflowing sticky brown bagged mess of a garbage. Really this was important, I mean look at the state of this garbage! Taking a deep fortifying breathe (luckily the garbage, though full and sticky, was at least not stinky) I plunged outside in my over thick brown sweater. I ran around the corner of the porch to see if by some fair bit of fortune, someone, anyone in our apartments might have seen it in their hearts to actually pull their weight and take out the cans, but alas and alack, no. So I trudged up the other side of the 1890's mansion and found the two lonely garbage cans, twin brown squares of smelliness, sitting under the buzzing alley lamps. I opened the one that wasn't sticking a tongue of garbage at the neighbors recycle bins (we don't have recycle bins, but Sean sneaks stuff into the neighbors per out landlords instructions) and contemplated my next move.

Now our bins rest on the highest point of a very steep, rocky and crevassed slope that is difficult to walk down, let alone with two awkward brown barrels rolling behind you. Now add about 300 pounds of garbage to the equation and you have a pun intended. I just have to say that my first attempt at moving the larger of the canister failed, not because I couldn't move it, but I had failed to estimate the proper force. That thing was HEAVY! With a hefty pull of my arms and a little help at the bottom with my foot I manged to get the canister onto its wheels and mwde my way to the hill, the part where flat ground becomes the rollercoaster from hell. I had a wild moment where the can tried to wrestle out of my hands, aided and abetted by a large rock jutting from a particularly well established crevasse, before turning the can around and getting it to stop for a moment. I then had a crazy notion that I could somehow drag both of the garbage cans at the same time, but I regained sanity after moving the other one next to the first and realizing that was a one way ticket to being stampeded. The next couple minutes were ridiculously scary as I dragged the larger can behind me, feeling like a hostage being push along at gunpoint by a three hundred pound thug, until I could finally turn it around in the alley's mouth. Then I had to go back UP the alley to retrieve the other can. God I hated garbage day eve.

The other can I decided to let run in front of me, but this didn't turn out to feel any safer as it jostled and jumped along dirt sand rocks and, obviously, magical springs that made it possible to be completely airborne at certain moments. That garbage can too managed to make it to the bottom of the Hill of Absolute Terror and Certain Death, without running me over or getting away from me and killing someone. I breathed a heavy, but not too heavy, sigh of relief and, keeping my hands from touching any part of myself, jumped-ran up the steps and to my front door, I fumbled for the keys, wishing I hadn't had to touch them with greasy garbage smelling hands, and I was inside. Done and Done.

Sean, I now appreciate the hell you go through on a weekly basis, from now on I will try to remember and come help you in you Sisyphean task. Wish you were here!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodbye Mary Travers

It seems like a lot of celebrities have died this summer, but so far none of them really affected me with much more than a tinge of sadness, (and sometimes annoyance for the overdone publicity) until this evening when I read that Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary passed away.

When I was a kid I used to listen ad infinitum to the album Peter, Paul and Mommy. It was a collection of children's songs including Puff the Magic Dragon and The Marvelous Toy. I loved that album so much that as an adult I purchased a compact disc of the music as well, I am listening to it now and thinking my childhood wouldn't have been the same without it. I used to sit in front of the record player and carefully set the needle on the record, the speakers would crackle for a moment then spring to life with music. I remember the record had an olive green label in the center and that when it was dark it was hard to see which side the record was on, so sometimes I would have to flip the record over to play "the Marvelous Toy" side rather than the "Going to the Zoo" side, since you had to play Marvelous toy first cause that was side A. I could sing any song from that album at the drop of a hat, they are so much a part of who I am.

The minute I said Mary Travers had died out loud, I started in on my favorite song, "Leatherwing Bat" I hadn't heard the song in a few years, but I could almost sing the whole thing from memory. Hearing that Mary is gone really affects me. I don't know what else to say except thank you for all you gave me and you will be missed.

Ally, Ally in free...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summer is an impossible time to start projects. Especially large cumbersome and scary ones like starting a business, there are just too many distractions for serious focus and responsibility. The sun is out, go out and play. That said summer is a great time to gather herbs and resources and look around at farmer's markets.

So as summer winds down I find that I am left with a large plate of things to do, but it isn't so overwhelming because I have basket loads of herbs and veggies, I have half of the major equipment I need including a blender, a gram scale and an tincture/oil press (I still nee a mini fridge, a proper grinder that can powder herbs and a (wishful thinking) new computer for business purposes) I could also use an industrial kitchen with a gas stove, a heavy duty counter, a percolation unit and a distillery, but that could be pushing the limits of the word 'need' at this point.

I started, and amazingly finished, a batch of comfrey oil. I had to powder the herbs which was a fun process and startlingly loud, I had to use two different blenders in small batches. It got kind of dangerous with all the powder in the air so we had to go find our dust masks in the basement halfway through the process. I let the oil sit for three weeks (it's usually just two, but I got busy so it got an extra week) and then I got to use my brand spanking new herb press! It's so shiny and new, though its quite a lot of work to use it, our hands and wrists were aching and that was only two pressings! I cannot imagine when we are processing several batches in a day. I hope I have a more efficient set up by then.

Also, a cautionary tale about popping pimples. Sean, my love, popped a pimple on his eyebrow and it got infected and his eye swelled up. I had to give him the witch doctor treatment, you can see him here with clay mixed with plantain leaves, and whole boiled bee balm leaves on his eye. (I also tried boiled carrots) The best treament turned out to be french green clay with echinacea and st. john's wort tinctures mixed in and applied to the area like a plaster. This pulled all the fluid from the area around the eye and didn't get leaf juice in his eyes so much. Though it didn't look quite as cool.

I just hit send on a large (the largest) order of herbs and some other supplies (cocoa butter and wax) so production should start soon. Now all I need is labels and some more tins. I will buy those of course at the last possible second just to cause myself a little strife, but also because I can only stretch the budget so far so fast. Luckily it looks like I will be putting in more hours of paper flower making soon, and then aNeMonE will be opening the new Downtown store in Octocber, so I will be back to retail as well! Fun, fun and more fun!