Monday, June 30, 2008

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Landlords are from...

I don't know if anybody has had as charming experiences with landlords as I have. But, if I were completing the Mad Lib, "Landlords are from [place]," I would have no choice but to write "a psychiatric ward." My landlord experiences have run the gamut from legitimately insane on one end to extremely quirky on the other. I think we would all be hard pressed to come up with any examples of "normal" landlords. I'm just quite convinced that they don't exist. I think that terms of release from a mental institution must include buying a home for the purpose of renting it out.

Just tonight I received an email from a lady who I had emailed almost precisely 2 years ago. I had inquired about a condo for rent in Provo. Now, 3 houses, 3 cities and 2 years later, she capriciously decides to return my email: "Hi, the condo is available so give me a call." Hey, thanks, but I think that people usually need a bit more prompt of a response when it comes to finding housing. Most of us don't look for housing years in advance. But, it's a nice thought...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Brain time share

My brain: a war zone. Multiple parties vying for attention. Mostly petty fighting. Enter stage right - two megaglomerates, who start developing the territory with no thoughts of subprime mortgage. Like drug lords, they crush the competition. The real warfare begins. Who will win (I ask)? But you may ask, who is fighting?
These developers have reached a deal: 60% of brain property devoted to work-related thoughts; 40% of brain property devoted to food. Isn't 40% a bit high, one may wonder? Fair enough, I say. But if you question the 40%, you apparently have no inkling as to how stressful my food situation is. Being part of a CSA is wondrous, but it introduces new challenges into life. Most of my spare moments (when I'm not working) are focused on what ever I shall do with all that kohlrabi kale swiss chard beets turnips scallions mint spinach bok choy cilantro cress. And not just what to do with it, but how to use it all before it goes bad. And how I can use my best persuasion skills to get my roommates to eat any of it. How can I possibly combine all those into one meal, plus that rotting banana in the corner? I tell you, I am surprised that the food constituency compromised at 40%.
So, if anybody would like me to be able to think about anything besides work and food, well, help a sister out. The following are ways you can help:
  • Coach me so that I don't feel so utterly stressed out when I waste even an ounce of food
  • Give me creative ideas for combining a whole lot of food that I've never cooked before
  • Send me recipes
  • Eat my food. Yes, please, eat my food.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Dear public buildings:

I have a question that has long befuddled me: Why, why, why do public buildings insist on setting their thermostats so low during the summer? I came into work today and noticed that the temperature was set at 65 degrees. Of course, the thermostat is locked, so nobody can remedy the situation. More than being upset at the fact that I'm wearing a sweater and a shawl at my office when it's 90 degrees outside, I'm mostly just puzzled. Businesses are bottom line seekers, and NGOs are always trying to save a buck. So, if for no other reason, buildings should keep the temperature up just to save a little cash. Don't worry, I won't launch into a diatribe on its negative effects on the environment, but seriously... Do you know how much CO2 you're emitting unnecessarily? (I'll give you a hint: it's almost 1oo million metric tons per year.) Why haven't public buildings jumped on the green wagon with the rest of society?

I urge you to address this issue with as much haste as possible. Remember, people are freezing in their offices, money is being wasted, and the environment is going to pot. Thank you for your kindly consideration.

Heather Sanders

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Measurements of joy

An axiom to live by: Joy is directly proportional to the amount of dirt found under your fingernails. All right, it's not proven, but it's self-evident.
I love getting dirty, and I love manual labor. Perhaps that is why I find such joy in gardening. And perhaps that is why I feel that yesterday was a day well spent. Tiffani, Tyler and I spent the morning getting wood and other supplies for our square foot gardens. Ignoring the 100 degree/95% humidity weather, we slaved away - with sweat dripping down our faces - to make our boxes and grids. We sorely underestimated the amount of soil we would need, so we made repeated trips to the local nursery. But, we finally got our compost, peat moss, vermiculite and pearlite all set, and we were able to plant 16 square feet of vegetables. (Can you imagine anything more fantastic?) We've got tomatoes, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, and cucumbers. I can't wait to harvest. But, until then, I'm content just looking at the garden. I catch myself gazing out my bay window at the beautiful garden. And, I - like a toddler needing confirmation - drag every visitor out back to experience the magnificence of the square foot garden. I might need to be more careful about who I drag out there, lest the word get around and people stop visiting us.
I highly recommend everybody start a square foot garden, especially if you get anywhere near the same sort of satisfaction I do out of being outdoors and getting your hands dirty. Here are some of the perks:
  • Requires less water than an average garden
  • Requires less weeding
  • Reduces seed waste
  • It's pesticide/herbicide free
  • Easy to do with limited space - you can even make them on a patio or deck
  • Maximizes space (better than planting in rows)

May the fingernail dirt gods be with you in your ventures. Namaste.