Saturday, March 21, 2009

Plans A, B, and C

I have three plans to get me where I need to go, to preserve my independence. The first is my 1997 Geo Metro. It's fairly reliable, 3 cylinders, great gas mileage, utilitarian, has heat and defrost and windshield wipers and good tires. It will haul all three dogs and a month's worth of groceries. That's Plan A in the wintertime, Plan B in the summer.
Then there's Plan B in the winter, Plan C in the summer--my 1993 Ford F-150 Pickup truck. It's a supercab, so it will also haul all three dogs and a month's worth of groceries, but the gas mileage sucks, literally. The tires are there, barely. It almost always starts, in spite of long periods of disuse. It has a very useful cargo area and a V-8 engine. It will haul a dead motorcycle in desperation.
And I have summer Plan A, sometimes Plan B, and extreme weather plan C--my 2001 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200S. The piglet. I think I'm pretty well covered for transportation.
On Thursday, I had a pretty important medical appointment about 60 miles away. Had to be there. On time. The Geo, aka "The Mouse" picked that day to crap out. The battery didn't seem to have enough juice. It was parked in such a way that I could still back the truck into the garage and nose up to it to try a jump start, which I did. The truck, aka "the Nightmare", decided to pick that day to not operate it's charging system much. It started, but wouldn't start the Mouse.
I was looking at a clear, sunny and chilly sky, about 40 degrees. I checked the weather hourly graph on Not looking good, but I was running out of options, time, and nobody to call. Sweetie was in Chicago taking care of the P's.
So, I suited up. Extra long johns, woolly scarf, pack the polar fleece-insulated chaps (I made those and they have saved my ass on more than one occasion) for on the way back, and extra shirt. Helmet, definitely the helmet. Thinsulate gloves.
To make a long story short, it was 40 when I left, and 27 degrees Fahrenheit when I got home after dark. I didn't get frost bite, and no, I don't want to do it in that kind of cold again soon. But I got to ride my motorcycle and it felt good to do that!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rain and Soap

This is our happy place...we took pictures so we could go back without having to pay for plane tickets as often...

It's been raining, I've been soaping, and the Pink Lady sits waiting, as does the Silver Streak. Sounds like code from an old war movie, doesn't it? But it's the story of my life.
Day job work trickles in, a day or two here and there. Sweetie continues to shuttle to the city to care for his parents, and sometimes things work out so I can go too and spend some more time with them. But mostly I'm getting us ready to sell soap at farm markets and the huge market in New Berlin called 7 Mile Fair. 
We have decided to keep our stock more fluid this year and only purchase enough scent for one or two batches of soap at a time of that scent. We will be able to offer new products more often this way, which seems to be what customers want, always something new. Which keeps us always making soap! It also keeps our stock very fresh. I like that.
I made another long teal scarf to practice my already learned knitting skills and use some of my new tools, and they do make manipulating stitches easier. I haven't used any of the new strippers yet. The two scarves have been put to use insulating soap loaves while they saponify (I know, I know--technical jargon. The chemical reaction when oils and lye get together and make soap is saponification, and it creates heat all by itself.) If I lay the wool scarves over the soap loaves, it conserves the heat evenly through the loaves, ensuring even texture throughout the soap. I cut the two loaves I made last night this morning, and found delightfully smooth texture! You can find our soap at  I have a blog there as well that will tell you a little more about my recent scent shopping.

More happy Place

My motorcycle. Oy. It has now rained for 3 days here, thus washing the salt off the roads. That means that on any given day that the temperatures go up to rideable weather, I will want to ride. Because of all of the above, we have yet to go out to the garage and perform the usual springtime tasks of fluffing and buffing the bikes--rechanging the oil, going over all the fasterners, checking fluid lines, checking and adjusting throttle and clutch cables, tire pressure, detailing, etc. Not to mention cleaning and oiling our leather riding gear.  
I noted one thing while taking care of Mom and Dad: Mom has always been a master of organization. At her house, everything has a place. While we were staying there with her, I marveled at how Sweetie knew where to find things in his boyhood home, even though he hadn't lived there for close to 20 years. This is something I have struggled with, and have been reading books about, trying to learn it in vain. Mom's example and simple way of doing things have showed me things the books simply couldn't explain. I brought it back to our house and thebits of  clutter that drive me nuts are disappearing! Thanks Mom!

Someone asked me if I was going to plant tomatoes to transplant this year like I did last year. I asked if it was time to do that already. Last year I was itching to see green things so badly I planted tomato seed in January, and had gangly 2-foot-tall plants by May, a few of which still miraculously produced tomatoes with much pampering after transplanting. Time has really flown by this year, and I'm not sure I'm going to have time to tend a garden properly. Although, I seem to be getting a lot more done than I did last year. It's a paradox...hmmm. Maybe I'm learning time management. Finally.