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The ComPOOst Experiment

As the Girl to two charming dogs and one particular cat, I deal with what metaphysicians cheerfully refer to as “elimination” on a daily basis. Consuelo and Violet are Cavalier King Charles spaniels — small dogs with a big name and, thankfully, their daily deposits are small although quite regular (the little poopers are pictured, V on the left, C on the right). And after glorious years of being the perfect indoor/outdoor cat, Miss Edina has reverted to the litterbox. As much as I don’t like that, it was either that or constant surprises on my bathroom rugs.

With all of the poo-filled plastic bags going into my trash can then straight to the landfill, I’ve been wondering if there’s a more environmentally correct way to deal with these elimination issues. But with conventional composting wisdom warning against dog and cat contributions to compost heaps, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I ran this quadary by my good friend Renee Studebaker, who “cultivates” the superb Renee’s Roots gardening (and more) blog. Renee has a fabulous organic garden and is something of a composting queen. She suggested digging a poo hole and then adding dog/cat waste and layering it with dirt and leaves like a regular compost pile. Just let it sit, on its own, away from the other compost pile, and it will eventually become its own compost, she said.

Renee’s suggestion made perfect sense to me. So I asked her if she’d take me on as her comPOOst experiment. We’ll do the hole in my yard and see what decomposes!

So stay tuned for more scoop on the poop!

Literary Amuse-Bouche

My favorite literary tidbits of the day:

  • Virginia Woolf spent seven years on her first novel, The Voyage Out: “By 1912, she had written five drafts of the novel, including two different versions that she worked on simultaneously. Between December 1912 and March 1913, she rewrote the entire novel one more time, almost from scratch, typing 600 pages in two months.” Courtesy of Garrison Keillor’s wonderful Writer’s Almanac.
  • Agatha Christie helped her husband excavate the Nimrud ivories in Iraq — and even cleaned them with her face cream!
  • And finally, let’s finish it off with this masterpiece from The Onion:

Fab Veggie Wraps

This weekend, my Heritage Awareness girlfriends (Austin edition) convened at Judy’s house, and I made my current favorite lunch: veggie wraps. Here’s my recipe:

Wrap bread  (I like Flatout Flatbread)
Mustard (I use sweet/hot mustard)
Hummus (today’s choice is a red pepper hummus)
1 to 2 T. chopped pepperoncini
1/4 c. sweet/hot pickles
1 to 2 T. grated carrots
Handful of washed arugula leaves

Spread a thin layer of sweet/hot mustard on the wrap, followed by a thin layer of hummus. If the layer is too thick, the hummus will squeeze out when you roll the wrap. Then add a sprinkling of chopped pepperoncini, a few spicy/sweet pickles, grated carrot, and arugula. Roll it up and cut it in half, and there you have it.

Options: You can create whatever type of hummus, mustard, and veggie combos you like. I sometimes add sliced avocado, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped olives or an olive tapenade, grated cheese, other types of greens, cucumbers, a sprinkling of red wine or balsamic vinegar, etc. But my foundation is always the hummus and the  hot/sweet combo of those pickles and mustard!

If you’re entertaining, you could cut these into pinwheels for appetizers. Easy peasy!

 

Announcing Alleyway C

It’s official! There’s yet another writer in the family, my niece Cait Gordon, who just launched her fabulous Alleyway C blog. I’m so proud of her, I just can’t stand it!

 

Cruisin’ With Carol!

Highlights from Cruisin’ with Carol in January!

“Official” cruise photo with Carol aboard the Carnival Glory

Flower girls!

Carol goes for the guac in Cozumel!

The view from my beach chair in Isla Roatan

The view from my beach chair in Cozumel

The view from my beach chair in Costa Maya

Children’s Book Awards Get Snookied

The children’s book world is abuzz for good reason. In what should have been a banner week — the American Librarian Association announced the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery medals, the kidlit equivalent of the Oscars — Snooki from Jersey Shore bumped the winners off their traditional Today show appearance.

The Snooks pretends to have written a book (come on, who would she be foolin’), so she poofed into that book slot for the week, I guess. And the producer tried to claim that the show was booked in advance (but I guarantee everyone who can Google “American Library Association” would be able to find the date of the NEXT awards announcement pretty darn soon).

I was delighted that a fellow Kansan, Clare Vanderpool (below right) of Wichita, won the Newbery for Moon Over Manifest (Delacorte). And Erin Stead of Ann Arbor won the Caldecott Medal honoring outstanding illustration for A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Roaring Brook), which was written by her husband, Philip Stead.

I just don’t understand the Today show. First off, Snooki does NOT need any publicity — I mean, isn’t her 15 minutes LOOOONG over?! Second, isn’t Today the No. 1 morning show? Why on earth would they be worried about viewers switching to GMA or whatever that CBS show is these days.

Author Eric A. Kimmel had a thoughtful post about the brouhaha, pointing out that even within the publishing industry itself, the awards don’t necessarily ensure long-term success or even a next book contract.(Thanks to Roxie Munro for linking to that one on Facebook!).

This is just one more sign of the cult of celebrity driving the book world these days. Why should two really good books that can reach probably the most critical audience — our children — be booted in favor of Snooki?!

Author Jodi Picoult summed it up best on Twitter: “Valid questions: Who rushes out to buy the Snooki book? Why does Snooki think she can write a book? You don’t see me acting on Jersey Shore.”

Exactly.

 

Constitution Crisis

Let me get this straight: During today’s first-ever reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives, the following happened:

  • There was preliminary squabbling over which version of the Constitution to read — the Rs insisted on the politically corrected version (otherwise known as “amended” version), which basically ignores  some of those  unpleasant items from the early days — like the 18th Amendment, which kicked off Prohibition.
  • New Speakeasy, I mean, Speaker John Boner, I mean, Boehner kicked off the long-awaited festivities by reading the Preamble, then sneaked out shortly thereafter for a frackin’ PRESS CONFERENCE?!?!? Guess we know what’s most important.
  • Testosterone Moment: the reading of the much-coveted Second Amendment by Rep. Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, the lucky bastard.
  • Mike Fitzpatrick, one of the two reps who still hadn’t been officially sworn in, participated in the reading, raising the question of whether his reading might be stricken from the official record.
  • By the time the reading was completed, not only was the chamber nearly empty, but someone realized that pages had been stuck together, so some of articles IV and V had to be read after the fact!

For entertaining reading on the reading, check out this summary from David Weigel at Slate.

Of course, that was all after Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick (the aforementioned non-sworninees) had missed their swearing in because they were at a fundraiser/party celebrating Fitzpatrick’s swearing in. Then they tried to rectify their gaffe the way Americans usually do, by raising their hands and talking to the TV!

All I can say is that Nancy Pelosi must be licking her chops. You go, girl!



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