Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remember, You are the Dreamer, You Build This World

How to build a Frankencoop: 

Step 1: Find a structure resembling a deep bookcase by the side of the road with a "free" sign attached. Take it home. 

Step 2: Find cabinet doors and hinges by the side of the road with a "free" sign attached. Take them home. 

Step 3: Find a discarded wooden pallet next to dumpster. Take it  home. 

Step 4: Find free chicken wire. Staple chicken wire to the bookcase to make the floor. 

Step 5: Attach cabinet doors with the hinges. Attach laminate left over from previous floor project. 

Step 6: Set up chicken yard by using a dog kennel the previous owners left in your backyard.

Step 7: Set up coop around the kennel by making legs out of wooden pallet. Make sure the whole thing is secure with chicken wire, lattice, cinderblocks and bricks, or whatever else you happen to have lying around. 
Step 8: Make nesting boxes out of 5 gallon buckets, padding and fresh cut grass.

Step 9: Add ramp: 
Step 10: Add chickens: 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What About Dinner? Kronk, This is Kind of Important. How About Dessert? Well, I Suppose There's Time For Dessert

I love dessert. I love eating them, I love making them. Life is much better with dessert.

For Father's Day, I wanted to make Drek Cherry Cream Crepes, but cherry pie filling is expensive and packed with red dye 40 and High Fructose Corn Syrup. So I took a deep breath and plunged into the unknown: Homemade cherry pie filling.
Oh, it is awesome. It is both simple and delicious. It has fresh cherries, corn starch and lemon juice. I used Xylitol instead of sugar. The texture was perfect, the taste was yummy.

The crepes were also delicious:

But that was only lunch. After dinner, we needed dessert! We had my good friend Bonnie and her son over for Dinner. We were celebrating. Jordi's birthday. He is sixteen. SIXTEEN!! I was taking care of that kid when he was five. I remember is cute little round face, his love for everything Thomas the Tank Engine, his silly laugh and his endless question.

But now he is sixteen, driving, and is old enough to request dessert. He didn't really want cake. He likes tropical fruits like Mangoes and he likes pudding. So I created a two mango-strawberry-coconut trifle.

It was a masterful creation. Most delicious. I made vanilla cake from scratch for the cake part. As soon as I finished it occurred to me that coconut cake would have been a better choice. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make dessert again tonight...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time for Some Thrilling Heroics

When I was seventeen I worked as a lifeguard at at water park. One day this little boy (I'm going to guess around ten years old) went off the rope swing, got scared, clung to the rope, and thenlet go of the rope at the exact wrong moment. He hit his face on the cement and then fell back in the water. I jumped in and with my year of experience, pulled off an underwater spinal save. That part was fine. The scary part was coming to the surface and seeing that the kid's whole face was covered in deep, dark, gushing blood. The blood was all over him, in the water, and just kept gushing. When he coughed, the blood oozed out of his mouth.

The water park's EMTs pulled the kid out of the water, rushed him away, and I was given a nod of approval. Later I was told the kid was just fine; it was only a mouth injury.

I think of that as my big calamity situation; as gruesome, but with a happy ending. Up until today, that was my crisis situation: I may have been scared, but I handled it with composure, calm, and correct action.

Until today, when my little toddler fell off a swing and landed on her face. I picked her up and to my horror, saw that blood was already gushing out of her mouth and down onto her shirt. I knew in an instant it was a mouth wound, that it would bleed a lot but be just fine, that there was no risk of a spinal injury and certainly no risk of drowning. I didn't need to jump in and save her, simply calm her down and eventually clean her up, but I was terrified. This wasn't some random ten year old, this was my child, my baby. I have never been more scared in my whole life. I have never felt more guilty. I have never felt more helpless.

Outwardly, I calmly picked her up and carried her to my friend's house. I waited for the bleeding to stop then cleaned her up examined the wound. I took her home and rocked to sleep before I called her pediatrician who confirmed what I already knew: I had done the right things and there was no reason to bring her in because they couldn't do anything for mouth injuries.

And now she has a swollen a lip and a bruised face. It looks awful, but she seems ok. I hope she will recover quickly and forget the whole experience. I hope I am the only one traumatized by this experience.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Listen. We'll Either Die Free Chickens or We Die Trying. Are Those the Only Choices?

Drek and I are building a chicken coup. I'm very excited. We should have chickens by the end of the month. 

We already have one chicken...sort of. She runs around from one backyard to the next. No one owns her. She's free and doesn't really have a place to call home. I named her Kate. 

A few days ago I discovered Kate had laid two eggs in random places in our yard! Delighted, I decided to make a nesting box for her so she could have a proper place to lay her eggs (and so I could collect those eggs). I also got her some water and some food: 
Voila. A chicken trap. Except I'm not really trying to trap her, I'm just hoping to get some eggs out of her. I'm also hoping that she'll join our little coup as soon as we have one. Maybe she'll be able to call it home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm a Damsel, I'm in Distress, I Can Handle This. Have A Nice Day

Drek is away on a business trip. He come home today. I'm so glad. I do not like it when we are apart. I find I need him more and more. He is so wonderful. 

On the day he left, after he was gone I climbed into the shower to see this on the wall: 

Awwww. Best husband ever.

Also on the day he left  I came out to the kitchen to find a GIANT spider on the floor. GIANT. I freaked out and dropped a plastic cup over it. And then I froze. I decided to just leave it there until Drek came home:
But two days later I realized I was avoiding the kitchen and developing an unhealthy fear of red plastic cups. So I took Charity's advice and used a long vacuum attachment to suck up the spider out from under the cup. It worked great. That is, until I kept vacuuming and accidentally sucked up a small thumb drive. I can't just get it out of the vacuum because there is also a spider in there. So that will just have to wait for Drek.

See how much I need him?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

This Will Be a Day Long Remembered

Welcome to another edition of "K La's crafts: What NOT to do "

I am not a crafty person. I really don't know why I am so craft-challenged. Perhaps it is my short attention spa...hey look, Darth Vader at Disneyland!

What was I blogging about? Oh yeah:

A while ago we bough a little Radio Flyer tricycle from a yard sale for two dollars. It looked old and rusted, but in surprisingly good shape. I discovered later that what looked like rust, was actually gold spray paint. I guess someone didn't move the trike out of the way when undergoing a craft project of their own.

I wanted to make it look a bit nicer. So I decided to take on a craft.

Step One: Tape it up. This is always a must for me because I am so messy with spray paint. It gets on me, it gets on the grass, it gets on a passing squirrel, it finds its way into the smallest crack in my tape job:

Step Two: Spray Paint. I went to the hardware store in search of spray paint that would both stop rust, and make the trike shiny and new-looking. I found spray paint that promised to do just that. Alas, the colors were limited so I picked silver. Because silver and chrome are the same color, right? 

Tip: Silver and chrome are not the same color. 

Step Three: Remove tape. It turned out ok. Silver spray paint managed to work it's way onto some red areas, and it looks more retro than shiny, but I do think it's an improvement.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I Will Give You One Hundred Pounds to Save This Man's Life. Madame, I Would Pay One Hundred Pounds Just to See Him Hang.

Community Yard Sales have become my new favorite thing. And it just so happens that they are pretty popular here in Sun Land. Hooray for me!

Why do I like them so much? It's just more fun to buy things at yard sales. Part of it is that buying things other people don't want anymore is a form of recycling, so I'm saving the planet, some of it is that everything is so inexpensive, so I don't feel so guilty about spending money, but I think a lot of it is the treasure hunt and the social interaction. I also find the money aspect so interesting. If you charge too much, people don't even try to bargain. If you charge too little, people think the item is worthless.

In a way,  I think people at yard sales are only pretending to ask for money; they don't want the item anymore, to them, it is junk. If you don't buy it, they will throw it away. But if they don't ask put a high enough price on the item, no one will value it enough to take it home.

Yesterday I went to a community yard sale and found the treasure of a brand-new still-in-package boogie board. The sign said twenty-five dollars. I offered ten to the middle-aged women drinking iced-tea in the shade of a giant umbrella." At that point, she knew I wanted it, and I found out later she was desperate to get rid of it (so she wouldn't have to ship such an awkward item to her son). But she had to ask for something. She countered with twenty, I offered twelve. She agreed, but then didn't have enough change. We both shrugged; I didn't care if it cost me one dollar more, and she didn't care if she earned a dollar less. so I ended up paying thirteen and we were both happy.

I was not alone in my treasure hunt. My good friend, Jen, went with me. We finished up and decided to stop at one last sale. As I was still climbing out of the car I heard Jen shriek and rush across the driveway  toward a very old and very small box. Apparently it was an old game that Jen played with her Grandma. The game was no longer made and Jen had been looking for it for several years. She recognized it immediately from all the way across the yard. The women selling the game was delighted she had helped out and was even more delighted to make a dollar and get rid of some clutter. See? Everyone wins! Maybe that's why I like yard sales: Happy endings all around.

Friday, June 03, 2011

If this Keeps Up his Hand is Literally Dead Meat. His Hand is Connected to His Arm; His Arm is Connected to... I'm Not Sure, But I Bet It's Important

I'm a huge in believer in people taking charge of their own health care. I think people should memorize what prescriptions they have taken and should know everything about what they are currently taking. I think people should have their own copies of their own medical records. Sure, doctors are smart and educated, but they aren't magic. I think we need to help doctors to help us.

I think I should take my own advice.

Four years ago I went to a doctor to get some issues worked out. She gave me a cream.

Now, four years later,  I am in a situation where I think that cream would help. I know my body well enough to know that it helped last time, that this is a very similar situation, so I wanted to use that same cream again. And yet, I didn't remember the name.

I googled it, but I couldn't find the name or the brand, only the type of cream. Still, I got some good, very general information: I need a prescription.

I hoped my last doctor could just re-write the prescription, even though I am in a different state now, and it has been four years. This doctor had moved offices in the last four years, so she didn't have my medical records and, sadly, Neither did I, but I held out hope that she would remember me.

I called up that doctor's office and spoke to the receptionist, who has his own God complex. After three phone calls over a one week period, I finally realized there was no way he was going to let speak with this doctor unless I agreed that it was a phone consultation and paid $120.

I asked my child's pediatrician if he would write a prescription for me, he said no, but gave me a phone number for another doctor who might. She wouldn't give me a prescription either, unless I did lab tests.

 I finally asked my insurance for a local doctor who could help. They found me one and I made an appointment with a local doctor for a check-up. After a mountain of new-patient paperwork, and a  check-up, I asked for a prescription for the cream. Although she was very willing to write one for me, she didn't know what I was talking about. I tried to describe it to her, but even after a phone call to the pharmacy we still didn't know the name of what I wanted. If I didn't know what I wanted, how was she supposed to know?

Defeated, I went home. I tried calling my old doctor again, but the office isn't open on Friday. On a whim, I decided to use Google Images to see if I could recognize a picture.

It worked! I did recognize it!

It's over-the counter. It costs $15 on Amazon.

And I am an idiot. Well, lesson learned. I hope.