Thursday, February 17, 2011


I subscribe to the Vegetarian Times magazine because I love to try new recipes with strange and exotic ways to cook veggies. I am not a huge fan of meat - except for bacon. I love bacon. I can do without almost every kind of meat.

One of the downsides of living in the Midwest is that, being a traditional agricultural society, we tend to boil or fry our veggies and slather them with butter and salt instead of getting creative with them. No wonder my husband wouldn't touch a veggie with a ten foot pole. There are a lot of veggies that I just recently learned to like because all of my life they were improperly prepared. Plus, I learned how to roast them - and that has changed everything. :)

Anyway, so I subscribe to the Vegetarian Times, which I appreciate for the recipes, but hate the politics.

So I'm going to cancel my subscription and start searching for recipes online again. I'm sorry about it, because I would really like this magazine if it wasn't so preachy!

Is there a single vegetarian community in the entire USA that ISN'T a holier-than-thou, liberal, tree-hugging, in-your-face, animals rights, environmental terrorist organization? Because I might have to start one pretty soon if there isn't. Where are the vegetarian communities for those who don't live in California and feel like the world is going to end if we don't stop eating meat? Are there any vegetarian communities that don't feel like they have to convert the entire country to their way of eating, which in itself is like a misguided form of religion?

Would you actually believe that there are people out there that would enjoy a vegetarian diet without shoving it down someone's throat and treating that poor carnivore like a convicted sex offender for enjoying his cheeseburger? The preachiness is what turns people away.

The issue of VT that I got this week had a former NBA player as a primary interview and he said "You can't be alive if you're eating something dead. You are what you eat after all."


Plants are LIFE. A carrot IS a living, growing, breathing, pro-creating thing. When you take them out of the dirt, and chop them up on your cutting board, you are killing something. So answer me this - just because it isn't staring at you with giant brown eyes like a cow, or bleeding all over the place, does that make it any less living?

Chew on that.

And since you're sitting there, thinking to yourself what a moron I am, there is a LOT of research to support a vegetarian diet, but there is a lot MORE research to support a well-balanced omnivorous diet. For every study out there that says we should eat a strictly vegetarian diet, there are approximately 5 completed studies that say we should be eating more vegetables and balancing our protein intake with carbohydrates and fiber.

So my vegetarian recipes and meal plans will be for people like me, who are simply looking to eat more veggies in new ways. I shall never hold any political ambitions, such useless endeavors anyway.

And I'm heading out to the market in about half an hour - we're going to have a vegetarian dinner tonight, because we ate McDonald's last night. Balance!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heat Wave

It's almost 40 degrees Farenheit here in Northern Indiana right now, and I actually just ran outside in short sleeves with no coat! Just for a moment though, it isn't THAT warm yet. But I think it's funny what our bodies do to adjust to fluctuating temperatures. In September, 40 degrees is downright frigid, but in February, after 2 full weeks of single digits and negative temps, 40 degrees is practically a heat wave!

I talk a lot about the Territorial Seed Company, which was brought to my attention when I started reading a book by Steve Solomon, founder of Territorial Seed, titled Gardening When It Counts. I requested a catalogue from them last year, but I wasn't prepared to purchase anything yet. This year I am. And with the recent success of my etsy shop, all those sold baby shoes are going to help finance this year's garden, which I am expecting to be a showstopper.
To begin with, I heard on the news yesterday that there is a drought in China's wheat belt, and a cold snap in Mexico that is ruining imported produce. Corn prices are at an all time high, and food prices are expected to triple all across the USA. It will be easier for those of us in the Midwest because we're very close to our food sources, but for those in the city, things could get downright tough. By the way, you can thank good ol' President Nixon for our corn woes. It was at his behest that things like corn-based preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup were put into almost every single food item in the grocery store shelves! It helped people be able to keep their food longer, but it also introduced a dependency on corn that is unsustainable, and has been a chronic suspect in the creation of things like learning disabilities, food allergies and immune system disorders! BUT, you can also thank other presidents for pushing E-85 ethanol fuel production - because that's going to cause an even greater strain on the production of corn products in our country. But I digress...

Anyway, I can see the earliest of golden light coming through the glass in the back door, and the depth of the snow is down to left than 12 inches. We've even got grass poking up here and there! And in between trips to the post office, episodes of 'An Idiot Abroad' and cups of tea, I am going to place the first seed order from Territorial Seed Co. I am quite anxious for fresh produce after the winter's menu of hearty stews and protein-laden dishes. I'm ready for fresh greens, fruit pies, and grilled veggies.

So if you're plotting out your garden in Zones 4-6 right now, remember that March is the time to plant cabbages, peas, lettuces, brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, onions and potatoes! Some are quick to grow (lettuces) and some take a looooooooong time (cabbages and onions), but they will be so worth it when they are smiling out from their beds at you in April, ready to be picked and prepared!

This year, I'm going to be very adventurous with the preserving and canning, so I'm warning you ahead of time - there will probably be sauerkraut, every manner of frozen and canned oddity and jellies and jams made from the strangest of fruit combinations. Be ready!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gnomeo, oh Gnomeo....

We saw Gnomeo and Juliet last night. I didn't really research anything about it before going to see it, except to see that the critics gave it a C+ when looking for show times. I never believe the critics. Ever. When I see that professional movie critics give a rating on something, I automatically raise that rating mentally in my head by a full letter grade.

I didn't know that Elton John was the executive producer and that his last 40 years worth of hits were the soundtrack. And I LOVE my Elton. :) I loved all the little prods and jokes that were geared towards his eccentric costuming and styling. (Elton wore insane outfits and pulled crazy stunts decades before Gaga was born my friends.)

Okay, beyond that, this is basically Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but told a little differently. The Montagues and the Capulets are Mr. Montague who lives in a red house, and Mrs. Capulet, who lives in a blue house. The two humans detest each other and are constantly trying to outdo one another's garden with ever more exorbitant statuary, decor and plants. Likewise, the red gnomes and the blue gnomes in each respective garden detest one another and try to sabotage each other's work on a regular basis.

Gnomeo is a blue gnome, son of the Lady Blueberry, head of Mrs. Capulet's garden. Juliet is a lovely little red gnome who is over-protected by her father, who is the leader of Mr. Montague's garden, and forced to spend her days standing up high on a pedestal when she will be safe from the only way that gnomes can die - being smashed.

You know the story - boy meets girl, they fall in love, it's a forbidden love and things get ugly and someone dies. Except that the someone who dies is Tybalt, a chubby troublemaker, who flies through the air at top speed and smashes into a brick wall. Gnomeo gets carried away by a slobbering bulldog and then placed high atop a bronze statue of the Bard himself, where he tells Old Will that killing Romeo and Juliet was a rediculous way to end a love story and he wasn't going to let it happen that way. Later, it almost happens at the blades of a lawnmower called the 'Terrafirmanator' run amok. There is also a pink flamingo with an accent that is somewhere between Jacques Cousteau and Desi Arnaz, a blue mushroom that has the instincts of a lap dog, and a two chubby blondes with southern accents. (Ever wonder why Hollywood always gives the chubby blonde a Southern accent?? It happens a lot.)

I came away with full determination to have gnomes in my garden this spring, and I am relatively certain that I MUST have an Elton John weathervane. I also really enjoyed this delightful, colorful retelling of a great love story. It's the kind of film that made me want to sing along with the songs, and made me laugh and smile throughout the whole thing. My fellow gardeners, you should definitely go see this. Yes, it's a cartoon, and a kid's flick, but there are enough gardening references to tickle your fancy.

Final Grade? I give it a B+. It will definitely be something I will buy when it is available on DVD.

Oh, and there are two things that I can't stand when going to the movies. First - the young folks who leave the theater complaining about how terrible the movie was in extremely loud voices because they have the delusional notion that someone in that hallway actually gives a damn about their opinions.

Second - the Trash-tastic mom who walks in with her 6 children during the last 30 minutes of the film, having come from the 3D theater across the corridor, saying to her kids, "See, now we can watch the rest of this movie for free!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Watch this video. Watch this stunning, tall, thin redhead.

Her name is Sarah. She is my 'twin'. We've been best friends since the 2nd grade.

I wish we had each gotten the same amount of legs sometimes. Then we would be even.

But I am insanely proud of her. She has really fought and worked hard to do get this far.

I love you Sarah Liz, I am watching your future with excitement. We always knew you were going to go somewhere special!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No longer completely useless...


I landed the job! I am now employed again and I am praying that this time I can handle this job.

I'm going to be a bank teller for our local 5/3 Bank branch. Part time, and it looks very promising that this one is going to work out well. And this time, I actually have an offer letter, and I have accepted it. It happened very fast - first contact call on Monday, hired by Friday. All pending on a background check, but seriously, I have nothing in my background. My background is as boring as a tree stump.

I am excited to begin, and I am even more anxious to remind myself that I am not useless. I allowed a lot of people to make me believe I was a failure - no one that I love of course - but people that I had to come in contact with. I do not have thick skin, and honestly, I don't want to ever bother growing thick skin. I believe my feelings are essential to who I am - I feel deeply and personally. Now that does create some drama, but it also helps me empathize.

I am not longer a failure! Woo hoo!

Of course, the piano lessons and the Etsy shop will continue. I will probably just do fewer promotions with the Etsy shop and I am not likely to take on too many new students. Wedding season is around the corner, so I am filling up the Saturdays!

If we can get the debts paid down, we might go on vacation this year. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I had an interview with 5/3 Bank today and I think it went very well.

I hope that they felt the same way!

I really hope that this is the kind of job that I want.

I hope I made a good first impression.

I hope that my lucky red lipstick made me stand out as a confident, and yet self-controlled woman.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Sigh About The Winter

I really do not like the winter. And right about this time every year, I start liking it even less. It's getting more difficult for me to wax philosophical about winter's virtues, because I am cold, depressed, exhausted and lonely.

There are aspects that I admire about the winter. It is a time when everything is white and clean - unless the plows just went by or the neighbor children have tromped all over your new fallen snow. (Just one hour! That's all I'm asking for! One hour to enjoy the beauty of the snow!) It's a time of rest and renewal for the earth, and a time to make plans for the coming Springtime. And it's a great time for the innately lazy, like me, because I can hibernate, which I have been happily doing for 2 months now, content with my hot drinks, warm blankets and toasty fireplace

Its a whopping 0 degrees Farenheit right now. Our furnace can't keep up with extremely cold temperatures, so it didn't come on last night. Our house was about 58 degrees inside this morning. More snow coming on Friday. The snow that has drifted over the garden is almost as deep as I am tall, as it now swallows the yardstick completely. I have grown tired of crocheting, although I still have 4 orders to fill.

I learned the some of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska have Zone 7-8 temperate climates, like certain parts of Oregon and Washington State. (To put that in perspective, Northern Indiana is Zone 5. Their winters are much milder than ours.) So now I no longer have reservations about moving to Alaska. But I would still rather go to Virginia or Texas. :)

Well, the winter IS nearly over. I have been pouring over the seed catalogues and making the lists for the early spring crops. Back in December, we had a wonderful thaw that allowed me to get some cabbage seeds started in the garage and although they're to cold to sprout right now, when it starts getting warm again, they will be the first to poke their little green stems up. I will give February a little praise - it's a short month, followed by March, which is always a welcome month for this little 'farm' girl. :)

Cabbages, potatoes, broccoli and onions. The smell of the earth, resuming it's natural cycles of decaying and composting and then spreading and growing. I grow more anxious for the last frost and the first thaw every day. There will be plenty of water this spring - our snow has been record-breaking.

So don't think badly of me for putting out yet  another deep sigh regarding the season of Winter. Dear Winter, I know you are necessary and I appreciate what you do, even though right now I'm not showing it. When your sister, Spring, finally arrives, I will bid you adieu with the greatest of joy and thank you for refreshing my little patch of earth. But for now, I will sigh and long for warmer days, watch more television, listen to a few more audio books, and crochet the winter away patiently.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Pianist

Alex and I spent the morning creating promotional advertising for me as a special event pianist. This reason I don't do this very often is because I have had precious few good experiences playing for special events.

The last wedding I played for knew how much I charged for my services, and gave me half of that total. They said they left my payment in the church office in an envelope with my name on it. Imagine my surprise when I opened it expecting $100 and found a single $50.

The wedding before that put my keyboard off in a corner behind some fancy draped tulle and I couldn't see what was going on. No wonder the bride's entry march started early.

The wedding prior to that one required my chasing down the groom in the reception hall in order to demand my payment. The wedding planner chewed me out for daring to start the prelude music 3 minutes late. I had to stand in the middle of the stage, right next to the bridal party, like an idiot for 90 minutes because 'that's where we always plug the keyboard in'.

I do enjoy playing for cocktail parties and receptions though. My favorite to date was a large reception at the big Marriott Hotel downtown. I also played cocktail parties for Remax Realty at the Tippecanoe Restaurant in the ballroom, 4 years in a row.

I am not an entertainer - I am strictly a pianist who provides background music, or event music.

The gloves are off! I'm loading my weekends up with weddings and I'm starting today!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Tiny Toilet

I'm waiting on the guy in the van from the city utilities company that is sitting in front of our house right now to get out of his van and knock on my front door.

The reason he is out there is because we got a call regarding the large increase in water usage in the last few months. Since we haven't increased the showers, the laundry or the overall water usage at all, it's been an expensive mystery that leads to well over $120/month in JUST water and wastewater billing.

I am so afraid that it's leaking pipes under our house in the crawlspace.


30 minutes later:

The verdict is A LEAKY TOILET. Whew! The one in our upstairs bathroom. All it's insides need to be replaced. The utilities guy turned it off and now we just need to get the stuff inside the tank replaced and our bill should decrease substantially.

Yeah, it's that same bathroom that I've been trying to remodel. Did I mention the shower doesn't work either?

I would really love to have one of those low-flow toilets.

Why is all the eco-friendly stuff so completely unaffordable??

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Giveaway Promotion!!!

L.Peek Designs has made some FAB new friends this year, and Kelsey, from Family Fashion and Facts, has been a wonderful blessing! Currently, she is hosting a giveaway for L.Peek Designs Etsy shop on her blog! Check her out so you can enter!

Family Fashion and Facts: I Peek Designs Giveaway!!: "L Peek Designs Giveaway!L Peek Designs has <3 <3 A*M*A*Z*I*N*G <3 <3 Crochet items! They are more than adorable! The first..."

New Look, New Attitude.

Well, if you have just found me this morning, you will have been greeted by my all new background and 'look'. I must say I am quite pleased.

My motto for this beautiful new year is "Necessity is the mother of invention."

I am determined to constantly be seeking new and creative ways to be self-sufficient. I'll admit, yesterday, I was so depressed I couldn't get off the couch. (We also had a blizzard, which is the most opressive of the weather patterns I find.) But today, the sun is OUT, the snow has finally stopped, my back muscles are positively screaming from all the shoveling I did yesterday, I have friends, love, and life, and most importantly a FUTURE.

What brought about this sudden change? The sunshine outside helped. My husband suddenly deciding that we are going to pray together every night after some time of reflection and study in God's word was a huge part in my attitude adjustment. And it occurred to me that I do so much that ensures the survival of our tiny family that I have no reason on earth to feel useless and unwanted. My cats would DIE without me. It's true. My husband would live with his grandma without me. (Not so bad - she doesn't nag him like I do.)

I am returning to my original plan - to be a pianist! I didn't go through 22 years of piano lessons and 7 years of music school to be worthless. I sure as all get out didn't go through all that to be an insurance agent.

Alex is my manager. Beginning in March, I will begin marketing myself as an event pianist for weddings, receptions, etc, and an accompanist. That means I have to buckle down and practice every day again. I hope I have that in me.

I will continue to work the Etsy shop like my life depends on it.

I will try to take on a few new piano students.

I will grow my best garden to date this year. Hence the new background - veggies are one of my great loves.

I will preserve more food than ever this year.

I will create new recipes and try new things every week.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll convince that husband of mine that we should be thinking about starting our family?

Nah - I'll save that one for next year. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life is Green.: What A Find Wednesday!

L.Peek Designs has a new friend! Head over to Life Is Green and show her some love for promoting my NFL Baby Chucks. :)

Life is Green.: What A Find Wednesday!: "Its Superbowl time!!! With the Superbowl just around the corner I wanted to do this weeks What A Find Wednesday on some great superbowl items..."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stardust Audio Book Review

 Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, was recommended to me by my dearest Sarah Elisabeth, whom I trust implicitly for book recommendations. (Sarah and I used to write 'novels' together in middle school. We were pretty good for 13 year olds! We still talk about someday writing the great American novel together.)

I dowloaded Stardust from, which, as I have already made mention of, is my newest great love on the internet. It's only 6 hours long, which was a bit of a disappointment, and had some parts that I thought were a bit....descriptive for a kids' title. (Let's just say, I wouldn't listen to this one around my kids until I had 'the Talk' with them.)  But Neil Gaiman himself narrated the audio book, and I loved it.

Gaiman's vocalising of the individual characters, combined with his delicate British accent was delightful. I didn't jump or cringe at any point due to bad narration. Being narrated by the author himself gives it a sense of purity. You're hearing it straight from the Source.

The first half of the tale regards Dunstan Thorne, who, sadly, doesn't get to have any great and wonderful adventures. However, he does get to engage on a little tryst with a faery woman who is enslaved to a witch, and 10 months later is presented with a son, I'm sure much to the chagrin of his wife, who is not made much mention of after this occasion. It's the little half-mortal, half-faery boy, Tristan, who gets to have all the fun.

After foolishly promising to go on a quest to retrieve a fallen star for the girl he admires more than any other in the world, Tristan leaves his home and embarks into the Faery Rhealm to find it. The star ends up being a beautiful girl and together they have a journey that Tristan could have only dreamed about. But he isn't the only person in Faery that has ambitions to retrieve the Star, and herein lies the adventures...

So this might be the shortest review I've ever written because I didn't have a single complaint. Except maybe that it was too short. I could have stayed in the Faery Rhealm and read the adventures for much longer than they lasted. I am not yet inspired to watch the movie that was made because I just enjoyed the book that much. I really love fantasy stories. I love places where anything can happen and there are always things happening that lead to adventures and quests and honor. Real Life is so distressing, especially for adults, and a good trip to Faery often cures my soul when I feel opressed by Life. 

Final Grade: I give it an A-. (The minus is because it wasn't long enough for me.) :) 

Still Searching

I still do not have a job.

And my husband is getting very nervous and high-strung about it.

And that affects our marriage because when he gets high-strung, he tends to wave his arms, stutter, and grab my wrists. It's very off-putting and makes me shut down. Then we can't talk because he's freaking out and I am imploded. One of those little things that they warn you about when you get married that you don't believe.

We are not destitute. We do not have immediate needs. We have food every day, and even if we didn't, we could go to his family or mine for any meal.

But it's very depressing to not be wanted. To feel like you aren't qualified or deserving of a certain position because so many other people with the same qualifications want the same job.

Good news and a good job offer would be very welcome right now.

This economy is bad, but I don't think it's as dire as the media claims. Great ideas come from jobless people. They get creative. Very creative.

My motto until I have real work again is "Necessity is the mother of invention."

I wish the ground would thaw.