Morris Street Project: April 30, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 7
My mother-in-law and her sister came to visit us this last weekend of April to get the garden kicked into gear (because ultimately, TheHusband and I are lazy sumbitches). Of the photos I’ve been releasing onto the world of Throbbing Manor, you may have noticed we have no goddamned grass anywhere and that our plot was landscaped to death initially by the last owners of the house and furthered along by the flippers.
With the construction still ongoing, we’ve have started to lose most of the easement in front of the house which means the bushes, trees and any vegetation you can pick out in the photos in that area will be gone within the next few weeks. The city will replace the trees, but not the bushes or flowers. I spent hours truffling for tulip, daffodil and narcissus bulbs, eventually unearthing between 100-150 bulbs that will be replanted somewhere on our property, exchanged or given away.
While she was here, my mother-in-law’s identified most of the perennials, shrubbery and trees in the yards (front, side and back); which has been a tremendous help with knowing what we have and don’t have on our grounds.
In conjunction with all the outdoor gardening we’ve been doing, we’re also repotting a number of plants given or bought, including an indoor herb garden that is currently blooming in the solarium and will be replacing the outdoor herb garden the flippers marked off in the urban garden area in our backyard (aka the patch of land with chain-link fence around it, complete with beds constructed out of untreated wood (which are now rotting)). The solarium is going to become a poor man’s greenhouse, with the hopes that we can keep the temperatures in the fall and winter times warm enough to continue growing vegetables all year round as well as growing fruit trees.
Morris Street Project: 04/30/11

We refer to this as the landing strip and TheHusband pulled out two wild rose bushes, dug up annuals that were left for dead and replanted some of the truffled bulbs. In addition to a hybrid rose bush growing at the back of the strip (near the brick of the house), we also have tulips, fairy pants, crocuses, daffodils and hostas.

One of two containers with my truffled bulbs. Currently we have shifted dirt on top of the bulbs to keep them happy until we replant.

Morris Street Project: April 17, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 5
Construction is still running rampant on our street, with it slated to be done with our phase by end of June and the entire neighborhood by end of October. The changes to the landscape are so minute, when comparing it to a month ago, it looks like nothing has really changed in the last 30 days; when indeed flowers have started to bloom, buds have started to unfurl on the trees and the smell of fresh cut grass is everywhere.

May the Fourth Be With You

None of the information on the card is real.

Today TheHusband and I celebrate one year of wedded bliss!
As tradition dictates the first anniversary is the paper anniversary, I decided to update my Capital One card with a picture from our wedding. Because really, who carries around paper money anymore?
We’re planning a low key night of dinner made at home (steaks, asparagus, mashed potatoes and TheHusband’s infamous trifle) and exchanging presents – to him, a stack of art books he’s been coveting. From him, a Pride and Prejudice poster. What’s vaguely funny is that neither of us knew that the first anniversary was the paper one when we started dropping hints for our gifts.
This last year has been fraught with so many life changing events (graduation, marriage, two moves(!), buying a house, obtaining a job) that I could not imagine sharing my life with anyone else. Happy anniversary pookie snookums! Here’s to many more years of pain and suffering!

Morris Street Project: April 09, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 4
The purpose of the Morris Street project was to catalog the coming of spring and if continued, the changing of the seasons. Instead it seems its going to be chronicling the construction taking place in our neighborhood. A week before these photos were taken, the neighborhood was given notice that there would be no parking available on the streets from 7am-7pm. That\’s it. No commentary in regards to driveway parking. What they (meaning the construction crew and/or the city) failed to say or even warn was that access to our homes would be incredibly limited and no provision for parking was indicated (if our driveways were being ripped apart). A few days before the photos below were taken, there was a 15′ deep x 10′ wide trench in front of the house. Our driveway remains the only inaccessible driveway on the block, with other houses at least having dirt laid down to allow occupants access.
The purpose of the city’s project was install new water and sewer mains. According to one of the contractors, they should be done with our block sometime “soon,” which soon literally means June. I shall expect loads of the upcoming weeks to be filled with construction process and hopefully, a new bud or two blooming in the background. Yay for spring in Michigan.
Construction season (also known as spring), has started in GRap.
We lost a driveway due to the pillaging.

Morris Street Project: March 19, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 1
Back in high school, I remember for a biology or some class, we had a group project where we tracked a specific area of land over the course of the semester to learn about the subtly of nature and how change slowly happens. A few years ago, armed with that same idea, I started tracking the growth of the daffodils at Wilcox Park, which after a month or so I abandoned.
Three weeks ago, after receiving my iPad2, I stepped outside on a fairly bright Saturday morning and started taking pictures just to see how well the camera worked. The idea of tracking something over a period of time still appealed to me, coupled with spring finally coming into its own after such a long winter. Doing the tracking using my iPad2 to illustrate the camera clarity and use was also bonus. Also showing off the garden work that TheHusband and I are doing couldn’t hurt either.
While I lapsed for a few weeks, I stepped out and shot images this morning after walking Wednesday. But because there is so much happening on our street right now, it didn ‘t seem fair to start today without giving you a context of the before. So thus every Saturday I will publish the images I took the week before.
Below are the images I shot on March 19 and you can still see some of snow mounds, I had not taken the live wreath down yet and to be honest, nothing physically outside has changed much in the missing weeks so I feel comfortable using this as a starting point.
But just wait until you see the images I took from today… 🙂

Looking south, at Morris and Logan streets.

Throbbing Manor

Giving Thanks

I’m going to warn you that I’ve been hitting the bottle while TheHusband and I have been prepping our dinner tomorrow. My husband would also like you to know that the more I drink1, the more affectionate I get. Now on this topic, I think it’s a load of bollocks since I’m a pretty affectionate person by nature but he claims I’m more lovey dovey the more I drink. And of course he has examples, which only the annoyingly sober can do in times of pointless arguments like this one.
But I digress.
The last 12 months have been amazing in so many ways by the sheer amount of life crap we’ve crammed into such a short amount of time. This ranges from getting married, to finishing my second master on to our honeymoon, the travels I’ve done on top of that, the people I’ve met and all the other things I’ve accomplished.
I feel like I’ve been extraordinarily lucky not only for having an amazing pookie bear by my side (aka TheHusband), but for the sheer amount of genuine concern, help, outreach, friendship, love and support I’ve received in all avenues of my life, from the job hunt to the building of my Etsy store and everything in between. TheHusband always jokingly kids that, compared to him, I have too much faith in the kindness of the human population but if anything, the sheer amount of people who have reached out in so many ways to me this year- how can I not? I’ve been extremely humbled by how gracious and kind everyone has been to me, to us, in everything.
While I always make it a point to thank people individually when I’ve received something from them, sometimes I know it is more appreciated when the kindness is remembered later on. I would just like to say thank you, again, to everyone for not only enriching my life but for making me a much better person for it. Your kindness has been accepted with much humility and gratefulness. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

1. I’m currently at 2 bottles of Guinness and I’m feeling ALRIGHT MAN!

To: Enlighten – Allergies are not for the win edition

Recently it’s been discovered I have what is politely termed as “adult onset allergies,”1 which decided today to go into full force, which means any work I planned on doing today has gotten pushed aside in the “itcy/watery eyes, headachey feeling shoot me WHINE” makes it difficult to concentrate for tasks for too long. HOWEVER! I wanted to get get some updates about posts-in-drafts that were to have been published about some upcoming projects I’m working on.
In no particular order:

  • Alice and I have decided to learn a new (dead) language, specifically Anglo-Saxon (Olde English) 2. Details forthcoming (post is currently in draft status), but we’ll be updating Dead Language Society and I’ll be x-posting my entries here.
  • Kristin and I have a poster accepted to Michigan Library Association annual conference, taking place in November 2010. Our poster presentation is, Critical Error: The need for Michigan libraries to represent themselves online and it’s the beginnings of a (predicted to be) long-term research project. We’re pretty excited about this and will be posting a lot of our stuff (findings, research interests, etc) over at our joint blog, Librarianation. I will more than likely be x-posting library stuff between the two blogs.
  • The next installment of So, You Want to be a Librarian/Archivist? is also in draft status, with the subject matter of being proactive within the field of librarianship/archives. I’ve gotten prods from various people around the internets that I need to keep this series going.

Other updates:
Job hunt: Still unemployed and still interviewing but nothing concrete as of yet. To keep ourselves sane, we house hunt via Zillow in areas that I’m interviewing in as well as areas we’re interested in moving to. I’ve been collecting the links of the homes in these areas we’re interested in on my Delicious feed.
Walk, Don’t Run: Justin and I have been power walking nearly every day our neighborhood for the last two weeks, with the idea that next week we’ll start a “couch to 5k” like program next week. I’m not keen on this idea for numerous reasons, mainly that running feels more invasive to my arthritis than walking. I’m told this is bullarky, but I can only report what my bones feel. Our diet is going more or less okay, but we’re always looking to improve it. And last, but not least, Wednesday the Pug has had her bi-weekly bath. That is ALWAYS important to include.

1. Not sure what I’m allergic TO yet, but it was pointed out to me all of my health issues seemingly came into being after recently getting married.
2. Yes, Olde English is purposely misspelled. 

To: Consume: Recipe – The Throbbing’s Granola Mix


The Throbbing’s version of granola.

I had not realized finding a granola recipe that we liked would be that difficult – it’s oats, nuts, dried fruits and whatever else is thrown in the mix. How fucking hard can finding a decent recipe be? Apparently, damned difficult: Finding a recipe that doesn’t depend on granulated sugars, preservatives or some form of artificial sweetening (even from the supposed “all natural” recipes) to sweeten it up proved to be a tricky task. Also, the timing for baking it was also odd as many recipes had super high temps for long periods, instead of a more moderate temp. The super high suggestions nearly ended up near scorching the oats and nuts.
The following is the cobbled mixture with the base nod to Alton Brown’s Granola recipe plus experimentation. We totally love this version and it’s become a staple over these last few weeks. We hope you enjoy it too.
The Throbbing’s1 Granola Mix
3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of slivered almonds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of sweetened coconut
1/4 cup molasses (You can use maple syrup or double the honey instead.)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of oil (I flip between vegetable or sunflower)
Cinnamon (to taste)
1 cup of chopped dried dates
1 cup of chopped dried apricots
1 cup of golden raisins
1 cup of raisins
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, seeds and coconut. In a smaller bowl, mix together molasses, honey and oil. Combine the liquid mixture with the dry mixture, making sure the dry mixture is evenly coated. Spread, evenly, onto sheet pans. Sprinkle cinnamon liberally on the mixture.
Cook for 30 minutes,stir and add more cinnamon as needed. Rotate pans in the oven and then cook for an additional 30 minutes. Total cooking time is 1 hr. After cooking, let granola cool for a few minutes before transferring into big bowl, then add dried fruits and additional nuts. Mix until evenly distributed.
1. Our oven is electric as well as crappy. 250F for an hour seemed to be perfect – anything longer (or at a higher heat) and the whole mix just started getting scrochy.
2. I’ve had same luck with pre-treating the pans with a spray oil as I have not pre-treating the pans before distributing the mixture: stickiness to the pans abounds. Mileage may vary.
3. All the ingredients are organic or local or preservative free or a combination of the above. Dried fruits do not have additional sugar added to them. The molasses used was organic, though arguments about “natural” could ensue.
4. To: Experiment: Swap out the nuts and dried fruits with whatever you’d like as the base of oils/oats is excellent to work from. It’s sweet but not overly sugary. Add 1/2 – 3/4 Tsp of salt to the mix if you want to make it a little more sweet’n’salty.
5. Update 09/02/10: After more experimentation, discovered that cinnamon liberally sprinkled on the mix and baking the cinnamon in adds a wonderful flavor to the granola. Recipe has been updated.
1. Throbbings is our last name nom de plume, as discussed here.


Beer flight at Bastone, Royal Oak.

I’m currently ensconced in the wilds of Illinois, where Wednesday I’ll be heading off to my second interview with a local library system. I’m alternating between being nervous and depressed about this interview, not because I don’t want the job – I do, but rather because job hunting is exhausting and at times, incredibly depressing. But I think the depression is not so much about the looking for the job but rather how much my life will change once said job is obtained. It is not so much about what I’ll be doing as it will be where I’ll be doing it and how much coin will be slipped across my hand for my performance. Justin and I ran the figures on what I needed to stay solvent, independently, to fend off the U.S. student loan sharks1 and save a buck or two for retirement. 2 And then there is the probability if we want to have kids, buy a second home, or even a new car. It feels like everything I want takes money and I will never catch up.3
And if I’m not stressing about money, I stress a lot about time. I never seem to have it and when I do, I never seem to manage it properly. Which is odd since I managed it quite well juggling everything I did while in school. All the silly projects I had set up for the summer, I have not even touched. It feels when I have two seconds to myself, I’m prepping/heading off to go somewhere else or do something else. I always wonder how people can accomplish so much when they have the exact amount of time that I do. Time is not flexible
This is the first summer since I was a bonafied kid that I’ve had “off” – no work or school to contend with. But my time has been packed and while I can easily account for it all – job applications, job interviews, volunteer work, trips to professional conferences and such, it still doesn’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything this summer. Well, I haven’t accomplished I had set out to do: learning new programming languages, research projects, writing projects, knitting projects. Job applications are a two day process and when I have an interview or two a week lined up, even by phone, those interviews require prep work, which means more time set aside when I could have it allotted for something else. I’m not resentful I have to do these things, I’m more resentful that I’ve let so much spare time slip through my fingers.
This will also be the first fall in nearly a decade in which I will not be heading off to some institution of higher learning. Books will not be bought, notebooks will not be scribbled in and notes will not be taken. I will not be graded on my achievements, not in the usual way of a letter grade, but there is something sad about not having grades made instantly available at the end of the term. Now all is the piling of rejection notices and “We’ve not quite made a decision yet” emails. Summer, when I was a kid and had no real responsibilities to contend with, meant cookouts, overnight pajama parties with friends, long bike rides to hidden areas where I would pack a lunch and read for the day. Trips to the exotic lands of Canada or to a cabin up in the Thumb area4 with family. There were many, many days of going to the beach and getting brown like a raisin.
The seasons always have a certain smell to them, each one is completely distinctive from the others. Summer always smelled of fresh cut grass, meat roasting on the grill, and the smell of coconut from the tanning lotions. My skin and hair always smelled of the lake we lived by, and while I did not go swimming every day during the summer, I did so enough that the smell lingered for weeks. I always felt that my best moments, my adventures and my memories, are all romanticized from those days. Even in the summers when I was working or in class, there was still a sense of excitment about them even if they were not close duplicates to my childhood. Then it was more about the sense of getting time off to do some of these things, the freedom and de-stressing form work/school whereas this summer, it’s about the additional stress and in some cases, the derailing of freedom. We’ve made many plans this summer, only to have them curtailed by sudden changes in my schedule, whether that meant I was leaving for job interviews or by Justin’s schedule, with him being on call or there was a strike or two happening within his company.
We’ve tightened our belts, financially, since I have no income coming in. We’re not struggling, no, we’re fine but mini-breaks, cabin overnights or day long picnics all must be accounted for somehow. We’ve been trying to set something up before I get whisked away by a library system and I’m working fulltime, but until the strikes end, when we can call our time our own again, those plans will not be happening. Last summer we planned on driving up around the eastern coast of Michigan, going up as far north as Mackinac before heading diagonally home on I-75. We wanted to sleep in cabins, splash around in the beach, and go walking in the woods. Hunt through sleepy little towns, lounge about in hammocks, reading all day and eat fruit so fresh, our faces are bathed in their juices. We never went because we could never sort out my work/school schedule for the summer and then fall came, and everything went to hell.
In the wilds of Illinois, I would give anything right now for that weekend to happen. Just one more last summer hurrah before adulthood, and reality, sets in.

1. My car will finally be paid off soon, so student loan debt will be all that I have. Before you get all jealous, that debt is nearly $100K.
2. Solvent in that I should be supporting myself, in case Justin leaves me for an (even) older woman or young hussy, or dies by Pug strangulation or something. Since I’m seven years older than him, I should have money in the bank for retirement and since I do not, I have to be aggressive with the savings.
3.. You know, The Jones
4. Michigan is shaped like a mitten, so the “Thumb” is the thumb shaped area that is directly north of Detroit.

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