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How not to welcome guests to your home

Yesterday, due to a miscommunication, my parents came to visit a week before we expected them.  They were only passing through for a few hours, so it wasn't a big deal, but it reminded us of a time a few years ago that makes a much better story...

Why I'm a top Pocket user

I got an email a few days ago informing me that I'm in the top 5% of users of a service called Pocket -- I've used their free service to read more words on more Web pages than 95% of their users.  This is a totally unpaid and unasked-for endorsement, but chances are you haven't even heard of this service, so let me introduce you to why I use it so much:

Savannah trip, part 3

Saturday, July 14

Ben outside the Contemporary Art CenterOn Saturday morning we paid our respects to the farmers' market in Forsyth Park before hitting the Interstate to Atlanta.  Our first stop in Atlanta was the Contemporary Art Center, which was in a surprisingly rough-looking neighborhood -- we were pretty certain our GPS had led us astray!  It doesn't help that the museum building looks kind of like a warehouse that burned up in a fire, but we had to assume that was intentional.  The exhibit featured several artists who were aiming to stretch our comfort zones.  There was a mostly-nude lady dancing erotically with a dead salmon, for example.  And there was "Hennessee Youngman's" thought-provoking (satirical) video on "How to be a Successful Black Artist."

Savannah trip, part 2

convention center on the far side of the river, ferry dock in foreground

Monday, July 9

On the first day of the conference, we rode the ferry together over to the convention center and had an overpriced breakfast in the conference hotel; then I rode back to our hotel on the Savannah side of the river.  Jessie attended an all-day workshop on image-based narrative inquiry, while I gave my successor at Prairie Star District UUA an orientation to her new tools and responsibilities.  I also drove out to a grocery co-op on the far side of Forsyth Park to pick up some food for future breakfasts and moved the car to a cheaper lot for the week.

When Jessie returned to the hotel, we went for a swim and had dinner at Vinnie Van Go-Go's before attending the conference's opening reception.

Savannah trip, part 1

At the beginning of July, Jessie and I drove to Savannah for the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) annual conference.  I was excited to return to Savannah and see part of the South I had gone around on my bike trip (namely, the mountains); Jessie had not been to the South before, with the exception of Memphis.

Biking (Halfway) Across Kansas

It's been over a month now since I joined 800 other people in Biking Across Kansas.  This was my first "supported ride," meaning that I was not carrying my own gear but only responsible for bicycling to each day's destination.  It's taken me this long to blog about the experience because, well, I didn't have a great time, and I quit halfway through, and I needed some time to put a positive spin on the experience.

10 lessons learned from rewiring our house

A big part of the reason I haven't blogged here since March is that around that time I took on the project of rewiring our 1920 house (replacing the old knob & tube wiring with modern nonmetallic cable that meets code), and it's consumed much of my spare time ever since.  It looks like I'll finally finish the wiring part of the project later today, and then it'll just be a question of patching holes, etc.

Finally, a travel mug that Does Not Leak and is Easy To Clean

For Christmas, my cousin Tiff gave me a stainless steel, double-walled coffee mug made by Stanley, pictured at right.  I must admit I wasn't enthusiastic at first.  I've had a lot of travel mugs,

Hoop house in the snow

Here's what happened to our hoop house after we got six inches of drifting snow:

interior of hoop house in snow

Sheet mulching with ragweed

ragweed and cornstalk layer in an okra bedMidsummer poses a number of challenges here at our urban farm.  It's when I've finally gotten around to preparing garden beds for sheet-mulching, but that means I need a large volume of green organic matter, as well as the leaves or straw I've saved from the previous fall.  Grass clippings are easy to come by, but they tend to turn slimy and smelly under sheet mulch conditio


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