Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

My garden is growing!!! I'm so excited. This is the first year I've started plants from seeds (most of them anyway) and they seem to be hanging in there. We had a rough patch with very little growth for what felt like a couple of months, but I think I've figured out what was going wrong, and now everything is heading in the right direction again. When I was trying to problem solve I first turned to fertilizer. When that didn't help, I thought about it some more and decided to cut back on my daily watering schedule. Bingo- after not watering for a few days then going to every other day, all of the plants are greening up and getting noticeably bigger. I have 10 tomato plants, 3 collard green plants, and a row of lettuce that I planted using a pre-prepped strip. My tomatoes from seed are Brandywines, red cherries, and jelly beans. I also picked up two tomato plants from Home Depot. One of those is a container variety and I can't remember what kind the other one is. The collards are also from Home Depot.

The lettuce strip was so easy to plant and now I have a full row of little green seedlings pushing up through the soil. I started some lettuce from regular seeds and tried putting it in a container but it bolted right off the bat, so I planted the strip directly into the garden to see if that would yield better results.

I'm hoping we'll have tomatoes like we did last year- they were so delicious! I think I waited to late to start the new plants, and then I had the difficulties with them not growing, so we're really behind. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though! Gardening is a learning experience for sure, and I am such a novice, but it's fun and the results, when I get it right, are so mouth watering that it's worth it to keep going!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I fell down the stairs yesterday. Luckily, I was almost at the bottom when I tripped. I thought I WAS at the bottom, which is why I tripped. I was looking at a paper and kind of multi-tasking, watching the stairs around it. I guess that distorted my depth perception, and I went forward like I was on the flat landing when I really had a couple of steps still to go. Doh!

Wow, did it hurt at first. I fell hard and thought I'd broken my ankle. I grabbed for my phone and called home in a panic, but by the time DH got to the phone I managed to sit up and the pain was lessening a bit so I figured I'd be OK. Well, I am and I'm not. Even though I was sore as all get out I ran my scheduled errands, which involved walking, before finally settling down to assess the damage after I got home. My left ankle is so swollen! I haven't had cankles that bad since I was pregnant. My right knee is all scrapped up, which is minor but it stings like the dickens. My right toe is barely scrapped at all but I got some sharp, shooting pain for an hour or so after it happened. There are a few other little scrapes here and there, but my ankle bore the brunt.

DH put me to bed with my ankle elevated and iced and an Aleve for good measure; he's a pro at treating foot injuries. His expertise comes from lots of personal experience since he's a soccer player. (Yes, I married a jock.) I slept with it elevated all night, but even with that the swelling is worse today. I'm staying off my feet as much as possible, but the lack of movement triggers the fibro; can't win!

I am so aggravated with myself for not paying attention when I was going down those stairs. I'm normally so careful on stairs, typically hanging onto the banister. All it takes is one time, and wham, you're sidelined. I'm just thankful it wasn't worse; I could've done some real damage if I'd fallen at the top of the stairs. In the scheme of things, I got off pretty darn easy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: the Movie

After finishing the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt I had to watch the movie again. I saw it a long time ago but only vaguely remembered it so on to the Netflix queue it went. I was bitterly disappointed. The book is SOOOOO much better; how John Berendt could allow his wonderful book to be so mangled by John Lee Hancock, who wrote the screenplay, is beyond me. (To give credit where it's due, John Lee Hancock has improved- he also wrote the screenplay for The Blind Side, which was great.) The book was loosely factual; Berendt apparently took some artistic license here and there. The screenplay then took that and mixed everything up even more. People who didn't know each other at all in the book were all of a sudden bosom buddies in the movie. According to IMDB, both the book and the movie also made gay characters straight. They even gave the writer in the movie, John Kelso, who was played by John Cusack and is loosely based on John Berendt, a female love interest. John Berendt is gay too but he doesn’t have any sort of love interest in the book so I didn’t know that until I read it on IMDB. (There are too many Johns involved in this movie!!!)

I can understand why the characters were all mushed together- there were so many quirky, colorful people in the book and they all needed to be tied in to make one cohesive story, but it was not well done. They also shortened the trials that took place from four to one and left out the political aspects of the vendetta against Jim Williams by his neighbor and major supporter of a largely incompetent DA. Williams, the main focus of part two in the book and the focus of the entire movie, was found guilty of murder twice in Savannah. He also had one mistrial before the fourth and final trial, which took place in a different city, ended in a not guilty verdict. The real life trials took 10 years and Williams spent a good amount of that time in jail, which made it all the more tragic when he died just a few months after his acquittal. Of course they had to shorten that up to get the movie down to a reasonable time, but they lost some important aspects of what happened by doing that. In addition to leaving out the political vendetta, they lost the implications that the Savannah juries found Williams guilty in large part because he was gay, not because the evidence was there. The gay aspect was touched on, but it wasn’t central.

The casting was good for the most part, but I think Jude Law as Billy Hanson, the murder victim, was a mistake. Jude Law is a good looking guy but he's not drop dead gorgeous and that's what they needed for that role. I couldn't find any pictures of the actual Billy Hanson on-line but he was described as being "the finest piece of *** in Savannah", and I'm sorry, but Jude Law just didn't cut it. Somebody buff, too- there was a need for muscles and a six pack, and they dressed Jude Law in baggy, baggy jeans that did nothing for him. He’s talented enough that he carried the acting part convincingly, but visually it didn’t work for me.

The Lady Chablis played herself and she was hilarious. In the book she's in Part 1 and I don't think she knew Jim Williams or Billy Hanson in real life. (I could be remembering that incorrectly- maybe she knew of them but didn't interact with them?) There was one of her scenes they included that should have hit the cutting room floor because it made no sense in the context of the movie, but it was funny. In the book Berendt makes friends with a wide variety of people in Savannah and is invited to all sorts of social events. One of these events is a cotillion hosted by a black fraternity for their chosen debutantes. This has nothing to do with his association with Jim Williams and the trial, it's just another thing that happens as Berendt is in Savannah.

Well, the motivations for this are not made clear in the movie at all so it makes no sense. The movie isn't about an author's adventures in Savannah, the movie is about a murder and the subsequent trial. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, John Kelso is going to this cotillion for no clear reason. He mentions it to the Lady Chablis, why I have no idea, and they have a conversation about how she wants to go and he's trying to talk her out of it. In the book he tries to convince her that she would be bored by telling her that the girls are all goody two shoes types, they've never done drugs or had abortions or stolen things or gotten into any trouble whatsoever, and he gives this whole list of criteria the girls have to meet to be chosen as debutantes. In the movie, he says something like "most of the girls have never shoplifted". Huh what? Going from these girls are sweet innocent goody-goodies to "most" of them haven't shoplifted? What the heck? Anyway, in the book Berendt thinks he's convinced her that she would be bored to tears, but she shows up anyway, as she does in the movie. It's probably the funniest story in the book, and it's pretty funny in the movie too so I understand why they wanted to put it in, but it doesn't fit. If I were part of the black community in Savannah I would be upset about the way Kelso described the girls, too- "most" of them haven't shoplifted. These are upstanding, decent girls who deserve better than that. Sheese.

I could go on nit-picking about the things that bugged me in the screenplay, but I'll move on to the positives. John Cusack and Kevin Spacey were, of course, amazing. They are both really talented guys and gave great performances. This is definitely a case of watch the movie first and save the book for afterwards. Or skip the movie and just read the book- it's a treat.

My linky thing still isn't working, so here are some links for you:
The book:
The movie on IMDB:
John Lee Hancock, who wrote the screenplay:
A picture of Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey captured his look perfectly):

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bittman Goes Semi-Vegan

You've probably heard of Meatless Mondays, with the idea that going meatless once a week is good for you and the planet. Now Mark Bittman from the New York Times is advocating semi-vegan, where you go vegan for a few meals each week. Sounds good to me; sounds like what we do already, actually. DH and I aren't vegan and don't aspire to it, but we do enjoy vegan meals. I was toying with the idea of going vegan but I realized I had my... issues, shall we say, with soy so that went right out the door. Not that you can't be a vegan while avoiding soy, but soy products make the vegan diet so much more enjoyable. Products like tofu, soy bacon, (which makes the BEST BLTs) and Earth Balance, to name a few of the soy products we were starting to really enjoy. Going out was not a problem- tofu and soy-sauce-seasoned meals abound at ethnic restaurants all over the place. This darn soy sensitivity makes things so complicated!

But that's not what I intended to blog about; got carried away with a rant for a second there! What I want to blog about is the many, many delicious vegan recipes that you can find on the web, and that yeah, going vegan for a few meals every week really is a good, tasty, healthy way to eat. Try some of the links I have listed on the right; many of them are to vegan blogs. Robin Robertson at Vegan Planet is a good place to start; I always have several recipes out of each of her cookbooks I've purchased that I really enjoy.

For me personally, I don't advocate going vegan 100%. I don't think it's healthy for a lot of people. Some can do quite well and even thrive on a vegan diet, but there are many others who can't. You have to know yourself and see what makes you feel the best. I can tell you I feel pretty darn good on a vegetarian diet- I'm happy DH and I made the switch.

Here's a link for you since my link embedder thingy seems to be malfunctioning tonight: