Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Garden Update

While I'm battling the head cold from hell I thought I'd give you an update on the status of my vegetable garden. The interest should be great after the rousing response I got regarding my compost pile (...crickets...) If you'll remember I posted a picture about 3 weeks ago showing the emergence of a new squash seedling.

Apparently there's something good in the dirt because it (and all it's friends) are going crazy! The back row is corn, the big middle section is the squash, and the fuzzy stuff in the lower right are baby tomato plants.

And for those who are more into the Fear Factor aspect of gardening, here are some pictures of the various creepie-crawlies I have found over the years. You can either bask in their horrid-ness or click the picture to see what they eventually transform into.

The terrifying Tomato Worm!

The spiky minions from hell!

The ghastly white grub!

The freaky ladybug larvae!

Well that's all for now kids. Keep your noses clean and have a great 4th of July. I'll be sure to share all my adventures from Ol' Hangtown when I get back next Tuesday. Ciao!

They're dropping like flies!

Russell and I finally broke down our co-worker Jackaroo Chucky von Ordner (aka Jack) and he now has a blog of his very own. He's not too sure what to write about, so I'm sure he would appreciate any suggestions. Everybody come on down and check out The House That Jack Built!

Monday, June 27, 2005

More Tales from the Wild West

jump! jump! jump!

I've posted most of my pictures from last weekend, so if want to check them out click here and type ladotyk for the member name. The only ones missing are from our whitewater rafting trip. Hopefully I'll be able to post those when I finish the roll after our rafting trip on the American River next weekend.

So to continue our story, Friday was a lazy day for Christine, Steve, and myself. We had a picnic in Denver's City Park and had to fend off voracious squirrels by shaking scary plastic bags. They were not fooled. We played a bit of frisbee after that and Christine improved remarkably on her forehand. Then we headed over to the Denver Mint, but it was completely booked. Apparently it is so popular you need to make reservations several days in advance. Who knew? Instead we strolled down the hip streets of LoDo and stopped for a while in the Tattered Cover Bookstore, which is a Denver landmark. Later we met up with Kara's family (mom, dad, sister, and grandparents) for dinner at the White Fence Farm Restaurant. It was definitely geared for kids but the fried chicken and fixin's were out of the world.

Saturday we headed to the mountains for whitewater rafting through Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River (Class III). This was my first time rafting and I was a little nervous. To put me at ease the guide made me the lead paddler at the front of the boat (read: wet). Luckily I got the hang of it and had a great time. It was jam packed with hundereds of other rafters but they were pretty good about keeping us spaced apart. We sailed through without incidence, however the drunked bachelor party boys having water fights with their paddles managed to flip their raft. (Can you say shrinkage?)

Sunday the five of us (me, Steve, Christine, Matt, and Mom) headed south of Denver for a day hike in the beautiful Roxborough State Park. Classic schizophrenic Colorado weather, it first rained on us and then turned very hot and humid. And then cool again. The red rocks in this area are spectacular. It was refreshing to be so close to the city yet in such a beautiful, remote place. After five years living in Colorado I still have a lot of exploring to do!

Back in the Saddle Again

I'm now back at work after a fun weekend visiting my family out in Colorado. I'll make a better post tonight after I get my pictures uploaded, but here's a few snippets in the meantime:


Time sure flies when you're doing Sudoku on the plane. Steve-O is so good he even used a pen.


Christine got to open her birthday present early. Looks like I picked a winner! (You bought 1350 lbs of this shirt but you can only carry 200 back to the wagon.)

We had dinner at the White Fence Farm restaurant in Lakewood. It's a cool Disneyland-esque experience, complete with a petting zoo and the best fried chicken you'll ever eat. No joke. be continued

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Denver Bound

I'm all packed and ready for my trip out to Denver this weekend. Off to the land where they call it 'pop' instead of 'soda' and the liquor stores are closed on Sunday. I'm excited for several reasons:
* Colorado is beautiful this time of year
* I get to see my mom's new house for the first time
* Afternoon thunderstorms
* I haven't been on a vacation in 8 months
* Most importantly, I get to see my mom and sister!!!
Mom and Christine

That's right, I'll be reunited with my two best girlfriends in the whole world for a fun-filled weekend (yes I said fun Russell, and you might even agree with me on the terms of said 'fun'). I anticipate a trip to the Denver Mint, whitewater rafting, possibly punting on the South Platte, and a nice hike and picnic in the Rockies. I'll take lots of pictures to share with y'all when I get back. Butch, be sure to get my drawings released on Friday. Thanks kid.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mommy where did I come from?

Recently IBM partnered with National Geographic to create the Genographic Project, whose purpose is to map humanity's migration from out of Africa by studying the genes from people all over the world. Over thousands of years, small mutations occur in the genetic sequencing and these changes are passed down to future generations. The scientists are able to seek out these DNA markers and determine where certain groups of people split to end up where they are today. My sister, as an employee of IBM, was fortunate enough to participate in this study by donating a cheek swab for the greater good. For women the maternal line is traced through mitochondrial DNA so my mother, sister and I have the exact same ancestral trace. (For men the paternal line is traced through the Y chromosome). The results are in, and although not entirely surprising, are fascinating nonetheless. Check it out:
My ancestral migratory map

My path, as well as yours, starts out in East Africa with the "mitochondrial eve": the common ancestor of all living humans. From there we journey north and east to the fertile crescent region, and then on into South Russia. The genetic line (haplogroup H) stays in the Europe region and in fact today is shared by roughly half of all Europeans, as well as many in the Middle East and North Africa.

If you are interested in participating then follow this link to find out how to order your own kit.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

So, do anything fun this weekend?

Since the Monday office routine dictates that one shares one's weekend experiences, I thought I would make a forum to do precisely that. I personally don't have any exciting adventures to tell of, but here's my story all the same.

I went with Steve and friends Brian and Kara to go see Batman Begins. It was a lot of fun and everyone liked it. Definitely the best Batman so far. However, I agree with Russell. Katie Holmes bugs. Go see her in Pieces of April instead.

Saturday was one of those days where you sit at home and think to yourself "I should really get up. I should do something. I'm too young to spend the rest of today waiting for it to be tomorrow!" Steve and I got up late and eventually headed down to the farmer's market in Santa Monica to get some veggies for dinner. There was a crazy lady literally freaking out over a slug on a piece of lettuce. Seriously! If slugs give you the shakes, get your ass out of the organic market and head to Albertsons. When we got home I finished reading the Pulitzer Prize winning Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffery Eugenides, which has absolutely consumed me for the past two weeks. I highly recommend this book. Later still I washed my little Prius and then performed a similar service for the front windows of the house. And then I had to stop because for pete's sake who the hell washes windows on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? Instead Steve and I took the dogs to the Dog Park in El Segundo, and then I made dinner: Summer Steak Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing. I give it a 'B+'.

Ah Sunday, when we throw ourselves upon the alter of the Ultimate Frisbee Gods. Today we had four on four with a sub and no one was injured. A record! For a non-contact sport, we seem to have a high incidence of people breaking themselves. After loosing the first game and winning the next two, Steve and I headed home and prepared for an impromptu BBQ. Nothing like expecting company to make you finally clean up your crap (like you've been meaning to for weeks). For dinner we made those delightful burgers with the hidden pockets of cheese and bacon in the middle. Whoever thought of that is a genius. Nick also made grilled peaches a la mode with a butter-rum sauce for dessert. Mmmmmmmm. The seven of us discussed everything from acupuncture to long-lost Austrian girl-friends, but as it was a school-night, the party ended sooner rather than later. And that's what I did this weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Rock my world

The greater LA area was just rocked by a 5.3 earthquake centered near Yuciapa. We on the 7th floor of the Boeing SDC HQ experienced a prolonged, gentle rolling. It was pretty fun, actually.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Google Thyself

Best Udder, 1994

Ever google yourself? My co-workers decided to search people's names on Google Images. When they looked me up there were only two hits. Of goats. This beauty won the 1994 Lincoln, Nebraska Nubian National award for best udder. I'd be mortified if it weren't so damn funny.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What is that??

Let's test your powers of recognition. Who can guess what this is a picture of? A dozen of my splendiferous cookies to the winner.

Who can guess what this is?

Thanks for playing along everyone. Russell is the winner with his guess of "flower". It is, in fact, a foxglove (digitalis purpurea) from my garden. Click here to see the full picture.

Happy Anniversary / Flag Day Christine and Matt!

Today we celebrate that fateful day two years ago when Christine Doty and Matthew Kennedy pledged their undying devotion to one another on a beautiful June afternoon in Monterey. There were tears of joy. There was a photographer with eyes like a raccoon. There was a blackbird that attacked everyone walking down the aisle. The wedding arch nearly blew over in the wind. And when the groom kissed the bride, the kayakers in the harbour applauded. Congratulations you two!
Christine and Matt



My harumph of the day, directed toward the censors of the Chinese government. Discussing any of the above subjects online has been deemed "subversive" and web owners are subject to fines. Join me in a futile rage against communistic censorship.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Composting 101 (dedicated to Russell)

Recently while dining at In-N-Out, Russell looked at the landscaping dirt and declared "Hey Fergie, not a lot of compost in this soil, huh?" Thus ensued a hearty discussion on decomposition. Russell was apparently so enthralled with the making of dirt that he suggested I make a new post dedicated to this subject. So here you go.

STEP 1: Containerizing your compost
Compost bins
Compost is decomposed organic matter. Adding it to your garden gives your plants nice, fluffy, moisture-retaining dirt that's chock full o' vitamins. You want to keep all this stuff contained in a nice pile about 3'x3'x3'. It needs access to the ground for earthworms and slats for proper aeration (this also helps to keep the critters out). I use two piles so I can have one for adding new stuff, while the other works on decomposing.

STEP 2: What goes in?
Compost goodies
For the best results you needs a balanced mixture of green matter like kitchen scraps and grass clippings, and brown matter such as dead leaves and straw. Recently added to my pile (see photo) were leaves, grass, old lettuce, and hops from Steve's homebrew. Keep adding to the pile, wet thoroughly, and mix it up frequently to give the creepy-crawlies full access to the schmorgasbord.

STEP 3: When is it done?
This dirt is done!
When you get dirt, you're done! The compost (also called humus) should be crumbly and moist, and packed with earthworms. Go ahead and add it to the garden. You can never have enough.

STEP 4: New Life
Squash seedling
You invariably throw out some seeds when you add kitchen scraps to your compost pile. Later these end up sprouting when the compost is mixed into the garden soil. Here's a surprise baby squash growing from the remains of its mother. Thanks mom, you make good dirt.

STEP 5: Happy, Healthy Garden
My veggie garden
If all goes well then you should end up with a productive garden. This was my vegetable garden last year when I grew zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes. And when the plants died I threw them back in the compost pile. It's the Circle of Life!

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Hola kiddos. Today I went to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum with Steve and my friend Nick to check out the new exhibit entitled Collapse?. This exhibit was inspired by Jared Diamond's book Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, and was touted by the museum as being a "rich, multi-sensory experience with contemporary themes". Intriguing, yes! However by multi-sensory they meant bright and shiny with virtually no content. Imagine cartoon orange gumdrops with smiley faces and hatchets attacking green gumdrops. You see, this represents not getting along with your neighbors. Nick searched in vain for the 'smart button', crying out "I'm a knowledge sponge! Fill me up!" Poor Nick. But we did learn some things:
* Shoguns in Japan established successful forest management and today the country is 80% forested
* The Mayans: too many toys, not enough food
* Southern California has a population of 24 million people, but without imported water could only support 1 million.
* There is good fishing on the Bitterroot River in Montana

Final verdict: I will have to read the book to have any sort of inkling as to why civilizations collapse. (Nick, can I borrow it when you're done?)

Collapse of the stick-people civilization

Thursday, June 09, 2005

One more day 'til my man comes home

Having your spouse away on business provides a wonderful opportunity to do things you might not do on a normal weeknight, like spend hours re-learning html coding for your new blog. My hubby Steve has been gallivanting around Toronto and Denver for the past week, but he's coming home tomorrow! In honor of his return I've decided to post what is probably the most disturbing picture of him ever.

Luckily in the meantime I've got Brian and Kara, great friends who feed me and look after me when I'm solo. And get this! They're gonna have a kid! Little does this zygote know what it's in for.


Poor Kara is suffering from morning (all day) sickness. She still has another five weeks to go until she hits the second trimester, which apparently is "the most awesome trimester ever". We'll be checking in with Kara periodically to status her glow.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

And Now it's Time for Shameless Fundraising

(Ok guys, you all knew this was coming)

This fall I'll be participating in the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, which is a 60 mile walk over three days. I am responsible for raising $2,100 which will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. As of today, I've raised $785. That means I still have $1,315 to go! If you would like to donate you can go to my personal fundraising homepage to make a tax deductible contribution.

In the meantime I've got a new pair of sneakers (only new because I lost my old pair at the gym) and am starting my training walks. So far I've been to Huntington Beach (9-mi) and Santa Monica (6.7-mi), and this weekend I'm meeting a group in Redondo Beach (8.2-mi). That is a nice perk for being in the South Bay: pleasant weather and plenty of shoreline to walk for miles. So anyway, please donate if you can and give me a buzz if you want to go walking sometime.

Get ready...get set...wait for it...

Hey all, I'm just testing out this new fangled blog thing that my work-buddy Russell showed me. I wish I could call it something different since the word "blog" bothers me, but alas. I'm not really sure yet what I'll use this site for or who on earth would want to read it, but it's here all the same so enjoy!

For those of you who don't know me (and if you don't know me, what are you doing here??) here's a photo of me from a trip I took to Mendocino with my mom and sister.

And now for a random insight into my life outside of work: I recently transferred my compost pile out to the garden. Here are the baby plants that are now reaping the bounty of my homemade dirt.

I also planted some corn and squash which is just starting to sprout, along with the hundreds of tomato seeds that were in the compost. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted on their progress. Oh yes. I will. (evil cackle)