Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Public Service Announcement

If you live in Texas, especially N. Texas, do NOT go outside onto concrete today without your shoes on.

You guys know I hate wearing shoes. I'd rather be barefoot. Do most of my gardening that way.

In the short time it took for me to harvest the cayennes ... I have FIRST DEGREE BURNS on the bottoms of my feet. Yes, I knew it was hurting at the time, but there wasn't that much to do, so I toughed it out. I have very tough feet and a massively high level of pain tolerance down there (unless it's cold they're touching), so I figured it would be all right. Bad call.

20 minutes later, my feet are still scarlet, a little puffy, and HURT. BAD. DG asked me to go look at something, and I almost shrieked when my feet hit the floor. I 'ow ow ow'd most of the way anyway. When you consider that I'm usually not very vocal about pain, that should say a lot.

I *burned* my feet.


Update: I *seriously* burned my feet. They are amazingly swollen, hotter'n'hell, creasing up through the scarlet -- they look BAD. If they haven't improved by tomorrow, it's a doctor trip. Oh yes, and blistering nicely.

Yeah. *That* bad. For me to willingly go to the doctor, who I haven't seen since last September ... Yeah.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Word from our "sponsors"

Flatout ... yummy.

Talking about Flatout "bread" here, in particular the Harvest Wheat (they didn't have the Garden Spinach, or it would have gone home too). It's like an uber-tortilla/pita bread cross. Long and flat, with lots of options on how to use it.

Yes, I know, there's brown sugar in it. I consider that a perfect trade off for a very tasty flatbread with whole wheat flour, soy flour, oats, sunflower seeds, millet, and flax. Yes, I probably shouldn't be eating it (yes, I do see the corn syrup, thank you, but for 2 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein, seems to be it's a good trade off for regular bread. And I almost never eat bread anymore anyway. I consider it a treat after the day I've had.

It's also currently being used to dip into Athenos Roasted Garlic Hummus, with the occasional bit of mozzarella tossed on. If it wasn't so late at night, and me facing the Heartburn Faerie if I did it, there'd be cucumber slices joining it. Wish to hell I had a ripe tomato. Hell, wish I could eat unprocessed cucumbers without suffering, I'd skip the Flatout entirely and just use cuke slices in the hummus. That's tasty!

Yes, there's a bit of corn syrup in the hummus, but it is WAY down the list in the final three. I don't think there's any at all in the Red Pepper hummus still waiting in the fridge.

There is a sugar-free bread out, I think made by Nature's Own, but ... man, regular bread and hummus just loses something in the translation.

Now, what's REALLY funny is that they also make a "CarbDown" version of the Flatout. Okay, that's not the funny part. The funny part is that while the Harvest Wheat and Sundried Tomato have 18 carbs ... the Carbdown has *24*. That amused me. A lot.

So, 'pita' bread, hummus, cheese, grapes, cherries, and the occasional Mauna Loa dry roasted macadamia. (DG, I'm pretty sure the tilipia had already gone over when you cooked it, it's funky fishy. Drat.)

Hmm. I could sprinkle some sunflower seeds on this, too.

I know I still need to completely push and eliminate the sugars and refined flours entirely. But do you have any idea how hard it is to do? Not the not eating them part, but finding replacements for normal foods like bread that don't contain anything I'm not supposed to have. Read labels, it's just insane.

Interesting to note how my appetite has changed. I can be utterly tummy-growling leap up and throttle brain starving, and yet only a small portion of food on this "diet" fills me up. "Serving sizes" that seemed so painfully small before now make sense.

For the Flatout, a serving size is half a flatbread, with whatever you put on it. Now, mind you, half a flatbread is about the size of a single pita. Just the cheese, and the hummus, I have half a flatbread left right. I've eaten four or five grapes, and a dozen cherries.

And my tummy is saying "NO MORE, ALL FULL DOWN HERE!"

One pita, not even a full 2 tbs serving of hummus (I've had maybe 1 tbs), one slice mozzarella, and the fruit. Full. Stuffed. No, more thanks. Wafer thin mint? BOOM.

I think I'm really starting to like this.

Had another "Where is my ass?" moment in the tub earlier. Just one of those points where the amount of weight you've lost hits home hard, when you finally really realize how much is gone. Actually, it was more of a "When did we get a bigger bathtub?" reaction.

Man, I need new clothes, BAD.

One Step Forward

No pics yet, watering was more important. Freakin Texas summer heat.

I was wrong on the mums -- go figure. Remembered the colours wrong, it's the tips that are white, and the centers that are the deep purple/red colour. So I think it's "Fiction." Cool.

Pulled up the four cuke plants that were in pots and tossed them, after getting the last two cukes off. They weren't really doing much, Cukezilla is producing a lot more, and that gave me two less pots to water. Also ripped out the flea beetle damaged bush beans. They were starting to produce again, but not enough to make a difference with the pole beans going crazy. Right, outta there. Had to pull up one of the sunflowers. Thing 1 was a little careless with a garbage bag and damaged the stalk too bad for it to survive. Sigh. At least it wasn't the rust one, and the other sunflowers are doing fine.

Didn't get the Sweet 100 I wanted to pull out, though. I'm not sure that I CAN. Cukezilla has totally taken over the tomato cage, I'm not sure I can even get into the pot to pull it out, so I guess it stays.

We were out of full sized tomatoes, and DG had a dinner thing up at work last night, so we bought two. YUCK! Store bought tomatoes. Nasty. I sliced up two huge cukes from Cukezilla, and put a bunch of cherry tomatoes on the tray with the store sliced ones. Store maters got ignored. The cherry tomatoes from my garden VANISHED, he said people were standing over the tray just tossing them down, and he brought home very few cuke slices (only for Thing 1 to munch on). If that's not enough proof that you just need to grow your own, I don't know what is.

The new bronze foliage canna looks fantastic in the big pot with the bright green spearmint. Score!

Um. I probably underestimated the number of strawberry plants. Found another 5 runners on a different side that were rooting in the grass. Gack.

Peppers! (You knew you couldn't get out of this post without an update, right?) LOTS of cayennes to pick tomorrow. The alcaldes are still blooming and making more peppers. Chocolate bell is getting much bigger, closer to the point that it will start changing colour. Other bells are happily growing away. Got to remind myself to start stringing the chiles and cayennes tonight for them to dry.

Then again, it'll be hard to keep em in the house when my Dad gets here. I have a feeling some will be going home with him.

DG got the blade on the lawnmower switched out, so tomorrow the great backyard jungle will get mowed. Hopefully that will help with the mosquito problem. I got MAULED last night, even wearing OFF. Damn things.

The weeds and bermuda grass are just out of control. It's a helpless feeling. It's SO damn hot out there, and the weatherman said to expect it to just get hotter. Weeding in 100* and no shade ... This goes beyond Pooka wilt. Had a little help getting everything done today. The sprinkler was on, so I just worked through it. Came in drenched, but didn't have the heat problem. Of course, it also washed off all the bug pseudo-repellent too. Can't win for losing.

And I feel ... awful. On top of everything else, I feel hammered. I hurt, and I'm tired. Not sleeping real well, lots of tossing and turning and waking up exhausted. Leaves me dreadfully brain dead.

Having computer trouble, too. DG's video card croaked this weekend, complete death. My CGI proggies keep crashing when I try to use them on mine, and I'm getting the wonky STOP error messages again like I did when a RAM chip went bad on me before. Bad news if it is. Can't afford to replace the chip, not with having to spend the money to repair DG's computer.

So, unless I can transfer all my stuff to his computer, which is a pain and a HUGE multi-gig undertaking, I'm near worthless for artwork right now, with two jobs I desperately, DESPERATELY need to finish.

And of course my mother has made another of her Annoucements, and she'll be here this weekend to help ruin yet another birthday. Now, before you think the visit is a sweet effort on her part, she's not coming up here for ME. She's coming to take one of the girls, then a week later, trade out for the other one. She's coming for the summer visit, not because of any parental obligation to her offspring. These are the only grandkids she has, and at the rate my sister is going, the only ones she'll ever have, so she feels the need to at least do something about it.

Now, like with most families, there's a Mama's kid and a Daddy's kid. Guess which one she is taking away from me ON MY BIRTHDAY? Right. My girl. Don't even pretend to think that isn't completely deliberate on her part. She KNOWS.

The funny thing is, I can't even burst into tears in frustration over it. It's always something, and if it WASN'T always something, I wouldn't be handling it as well as I am.

Monday, July 12, 2004


I'll have you know that is a THREE POUND cucumber from Cukezilla. One of about 11 cukes I brought in off the thing today. Had to put the shotgun slug with this one to give some perspective in size.

Bell pepper brought in (had to wait till the second trip, since there was a baby praying mantis out there that I did NOT want to disturb. Move in, make yourself at home, snacks are right there, have a good time!).

And a bunch of cayennes, and two more chiles. My chile plant now has bunches more new green babies and still more blooms.

Mandatory pepper pic.

... To the Batcave!

After I was a very good girl and did not beg and grovel at the store for DG to let me buy Batman: The Animated Series, Season 1, Volume 1 on DVD ...

When we got home, he made me close my eyes.

And then he put it in my hands. He'd already bought it for me for my birthday, but because I was a big girl and didn't wail...

I'm now watching BATMAN!

When they announced that they were releasing Season 1 on DVD for the first time, and they were releasing it in July, I swore up and down that it was MEANT to be a Pooka birthday present.

I ever catch Bruce Timm at a con, he's signing this baby for me. And my big Animated book. And ... uh. I hope Timm has a limit to how many things he'll sign, because I could keep him, Paul Dini, and Eric Rodomski occupied for HOURS. :)

(Why do I mention this? Oh, because of BATCON here in October, in Plano!)

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Pooka's Shrinking Soapbox

Atkins can kiss my deflating fat white ass.


So, my clothes are continuing to get bigger and bigger. Looked at myself in the mirror before a shower the other day, and wondered where the hell my ass was. Face it, I got enough junk in the trunk for three sistahs, but it looks like I'm down to two now. I wasn't totally disgusted by what I saw.

Of course, having much less ass explains why I can't keep my pants and shorts from falling down around my ankles. Thank God for hips.

But Atkins. Yeah. Kiss here, pal.

I just had a very happy Pooka dinner. Baked Tilapia (and even if you don't like fish, I recommend trying it. Very delicate, slightly lemony, and overall a damn tasty fish), green beans, some mozzarella cheese, grapes, and strawberries. Joy, happy tummy!

All of it is on my diet. The Four F's is what I follow:

-- Fresh Fruit
-- Fresh Veggies
-- Fish
-- Fowl

That's the primaries for it. No non-natural sugars, nothing fried, no organ meats, low fat dairy, no refined bleached flour, only 2 eggs a week (which is fine, since eggs aggravate my IBS, AND are bad for arthritis).

Weight is coming off, I'm HAPPY eating (Um, I sort of ate almost 2 pounds of cherries yesterday by myself), I don't feel deprived in any way, and I LIKE all the foods I can eat. It doesn't push lots of meat, it doesn't push lots of fat. The only real carbs are from perfectly natural sugars in fruits and veggies (pasta and stuff is limited, unless it's whole wheat or corn, etc).

I honestly don't miss soda that much. I don't have cravings for things I'm not supposed to eat, which is good since DG has been bringing home popsicles and ice cream and cookies lately. (BAD, BAD diabetic!) I don't really even miss chocolate, but I'm sure the craving will hit eventually.

Nightwisp, I DID try Diet RC. And WOW. Diet RC is GOOD. But. Yeah. But. Splenda seems to give me a headache, just like aspartame. Damnit. But at least if I crave soda, Diet RC doesn't have the nasty funky chemical taste of aspartame, and Excedrin actually works on the headache, unlike with aspartame.

Now. It's been about three weeks or so since I started this. The diet is designed for RSD/CRPS patients to help control pain. So far, I'm still exhausted most of the time, but I figure I'm still just adjusting to the detox. And I have noticed that although I'm wiped out, I don't *seem* to be hurting as bad and as constantly. However ...

My IBS is almost GONE. GONE. Cutting the sugar out did wonders, and though if I indulge in dairy, or things that I know aggravate it, I still have problems, they aren't nearly as severe. Normal safe meals don't send me diving for the bathroom. If I avoid triggers, I'm doing damn well, and the horrible cramps are a thing of the past.

Getting rid of the sugar and organ meats (oooo, my poor sausages and Hebrew National hot dogs, I do miss YOU at least) and going more natural with the diet has also improved the severity of the acid reflux disease. I don't desperately have to make sure I take Prevacid every single day now. I can go a few days without it and not be utterly horribly miserable.

And the horrible menstrual cramps that had been plaguing me were almost nil this time. Period started about a week and a half to two weeks after starting the diet, and I wasn't curled up in agony.

On Atkins, I was sick all the time. My body couldn't handle the high fat, high dairy, high red meat content. I was miserable, and missing the GOOD things, like fruits and "high carb" veggies. Reflux and IBS were trying to kill me. Quickly, at least, but still trying to kill me.

I can eat those forbidden fruits now. I'm still losing weight, I'm healthier already, and with my IBS and reflux clearing up, far more comfortable.

Listen to yo' mamas, kiddos. Eat your damn fruits and veggies, and like em. They're good for you!

( The opinions expressed by Pooka do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else other than Pooka. No Atkins supporters were bodily mutilated to create this post. )

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Got Sun?

... flowers, that is.

A dwarf type of sunflower with darker orange petals, rusty-chocolate eyes, and a repeat bloomer up and down the stalks, as you can see.

My butterfly bush seems to be loving the weather. It's absolutely covered with tiny purple flowers in those big clusters, and smells yummy!

As you can see, my Maid of Orleans jasmine not only survived the winter, but is now happily blooming and making wonderful jasmine smells on that side of the yard.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Got Chiles?

Crazy pepper lady strikes again.

OH! And my biiiiig tomato plant now has 7 new green 'maters growing. YEEEEES!

You won't find the Chile Alcalde I'm growing with a regular search. Native Seeds is the only place that carries them, and they specialize in trying to save Native American food crops. A wonderful place, I plan on ordering far too much from them for next year.

The Alcalde is a Mild-medium hot pepper that goes sweet when red. I can't wait to try them.

I have a great double handful of alcaldes now. Mmm. Time to string!

My first cayennes.

Aren't the Christmas limas cute?

Love love love eggplant blossoms. Need to get pics of the eggplant already picked. Before they're eaten.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Space WHAT?

A word to the wise: if you grow Spacesaver cucumbers, do not give them space. I mean it. Seriously. Put them in little pots like the packet recommends. If you don't, and make the mistake of putting them in the ground, be prepared to see nothing but cukes. Everywhere.

I have 10' long cuke vines. The single small plant I tucked into an empty corner of the strawberry bed because I'm such a wuss that I couldn't just abandon the little seedling has now taken over half the yard and has set its sights on invading the airport. They're climbing tomato cages, pulling down pepper plants, and spreading like kudzu.

They'd be quite pretty, really, they're constantly blooming and the vines are neat to look at, but the damn things are taking over. And I pulled only a single full size cuke off it, and there's another smaller one ready in a day or two. Otherwise, just little cuke nubbins. All that, and no fruit. Grr.

Two eggplant inside now, blooms all over the plant, two baby eggplant starting. I have bell peppers growing (6 on the one by the eggplant, 2 on the chocolate bell), the tomatoes seem to be gearing up to bloom again. Harvested 2 cayennes and at least 8 chilis so far. More chilis ready this weekend That is such a gorgeous, sensual red on the chilis and cayennes. Yum.

I need to learn how to rope the chilis up to let them dry. Luckily I have those sites bookmarked.

My cayenne plant is now becoming a damn tree. It's huge, and just covered with long fat peppers. I'm really, really enjoying peppers. With all the bug problems this year, and how disappointing a lot of the garden was, I think I may stick with neat stuff like peppers and not spend the money and stress on growing stuff like zucchini and squash. Hate resorting to a store, but ... you know.

Dwarf sunflowers have happily opened their little heads. The beans ... well, I've almost given up trying to pick them. It's a gigantic shambling mound. Eeek! And the flea beetles have gone crazy on all of the beans. The damage is just astonishing. I don't have leaves, I have lace doilies.

(Thing 2 moment: Mama spots a bean that was overlooked, obviously for some time. The thing is wider than my thumb, and about 9" long. Thing 2: "Holy shit!" I couldn't even scold her for that one, it was my reaction, too)

Cowpeas seem to have given up for the year. I think I'll stick with the green beans in pots and put the cowpeas in the ground next time. Might get more from both that way.

First round of blooms on the cannas have gone, second round started. No blooms yet on Madame Butterfly, which is just continuing to get taller and taller. Hmm. She goes down by the fence next time, and the shorter Lucifers for the bed, I think.

So. This is Texas. And you expect to see things wilting from the heat. NOT from drowning. One of my basil plants is wilting and crying for help, even after we've poured the water out of the pot -- twice. Had to do the same with one of the thunbergia pots.

Of course, Six Flags got flooded out and had to close down, so I consider myself lucky.

Erosion in the yard is horrible, though. We're going to need to do some serious work to keep the lower half of the yard from being dangerous. Can't walk down there without twisting an ankle, no matter how careful you are, and it's a real hazard for DG when he mows.

I've given up and gone for the Deep Woods OFF to keep the mosquitos away. Problem is, I think they like that, too. They're everywhere, in clouds (no, they're not gnats, the skeeters are that bad), and very very aggressive.

Kitiara ... I love you. Worship the Empress!

I'm settling down with my new copy of Carla Emery's "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" with a big stupid smile and a nice tall glass of tea and mint.

The book is even better than Kit has said, and has that wonderfully aesthetically pleasing paper that makes such a neat noise when you turn pages. Yes, I'm a book geek. But the book ...

My only complaint: it needs wider margins for notes! ;)