Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Treatise on Typha

Yesterday and today I've been working. A lot. Hard work. That ends in "ow." I've been getting ready for my research season, and that means setting up one square meter enclosures, adding one square meter of sod, either Phragmites australis (common reed grass), Typha angustifolia (narrow leaf cattail) or a mix of native wetland plants. The cattail sod- she's an SOB.

I've cut sod before. I know how it goes. It's nothing unbearable, but not easy either. Cattail sod just kills you. Takes so much freaking work. It *is* unbearable. It's been a great "know thy enemy" couple of days. And here's what I've learned about Typha.

Typha is superior to humans in all ways- better defenses, stronger, more benevolent, and more cunning.

By rights, Typha should be ruler of the land as it has the upper hand in all things.

It is by the will of the cattail alone that humans spread as we do across the land.

Typha is my benevolent master, and only because Typha allows it can I study Typha and manipulate it as I do. I am nothing without cattail.

All that being said, I'm just one human and like humans, I am malevolent, stubborn, short-sighted, and dull witted. Being all of these things, I will continue my pursuit of the destruction of Typha until it is done. I shall not just study, but destroy Typha angustifolia. I shall not rest until I have eaten the heart of the beast.

Or, more appropriately considering that it's a plant and I'm a vegetarian- until I chew the root of the Commelinid.

Vegetarian- an old Mayan word for "bad hunter." :-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Balance

It's been a couple of crazy weeks lately- getting ready for my research season, setting things up, still have to clean up last semester's lab room, and trying to survive until vacation (where I plan to spend most of my time writing). Meanwhile, I feel like I've abandoned my son, garden, house, husband, and self. I do this too much, swinging between extremes of home and work. I admire the women that can keep things going at an even keel and find balance in their lives (or at least give more of a facade at that than I can). There's no pretending, I'm not good at balance, in any regard. I used to tell myself that in the end it evens out, but now I'm not so sure. Is there a way to do this balancing act of life well? Does anyone really know the secret? I sure don't, but I'd love to find out. I do mostly enjoy life the way it is- the crazy swings, the mad pace, burning the candle at both ends (and sometimes in the middle). It's exciting. It's invigorating. But not conducive to mental harmony. Or household harmony, for that matter. I'd like to be able to choose my level of franticness, and not have it thrust upon me due to an imbalance greater than usual.

Is that what we're fighting for now? the right to choose how much imbalance we have in our lives? Will there ever be a time when both men and women feel the strain of life on a tightrope? More accurately, given a set of duties, will both sexes ever divide them equitably? Or will we always be working that second shift after our daytime job is done? Is it even possible to divide family or home life equitably if you choose to nurse or do attachment parenting?

As crazy a goal as it may seem, I'll be happy if my son's life partner some day finds him or her self not having to walk such a thin tightrope, and feels that thanks to my son, his or her life has balance a bit more easily than I typically feel. Is that such a bad goal? To raise a male feminist?

Friday, May 22, 2009

A tale of two Kens

Kenneth Alan Regula, 1991

Lisa Regula Meyer, 2006

Kenneth Alan Regula Meyer, 2009

Do you see a pattern? :-) Or is it just a little family resemblance?

The first picture was of dad helping either maintain or put up a repeater for Don, owner of House of Hindenach, dad's good friend, and patriarch of my second family. The second was me on that same tower, taking the repeater down with Don for the last time. The third was Ken playing at the playground this evening. I just thought I'd share some happy times. Have a great evening!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let's have a little talky-poo, shall we?

Something that has been bugging me for a while is this whole buying thing. Why do you buy what you buy? I try to know why I'm buying what I buy, and usually I have a pretty good idea. Do you know what options are out there? Did you consider alternatives? Have you thought about the impact that it has? Do you know where you can get it- not just the cheapest store, but what those stores represent? We can all do better in these areas. We could all live a little more thoughtfully. We could all live a little more conscientiously.

And a little reminder- there is no free lunch. Everything has a cost, even if you don't pay that cost yourself. Coupons- figured into the cost of the product. Freebies- usually donated by someone, thus paid for by the donor. Samples- marketing cost. Stolen/spoiled goods- figured into cost. Sale price- figured into cost. Not to mention all the costs not figured into the retail price but still very real, like the ecological damage caused by production of a good, health hazard to workers, the cost to dispose of the item, just to name a few. Check out Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff, she really illustrates the problem well. There's a cost to everything, and all of those costs have to be considered when making a purchase.

But instead, the message lately seems to be "Let's spend our way back to national prosperity." Does this strike anyone else as ludicrous? Was it not over-spending that got us into this economic mess? Are we not currently facing lots of congressional hearings (and new legislation) because of questionable practices by the lending industry that let us- nay, encouraged us- to over-spend in such a manner? And repeating this cycle sounds like a good idea?

So I'm asking (begging) that you start thinking about your buying habits. Think about where your money goes and if it's going to principles and ideas that you support. Think about whether or not you would object to treating you in the way a retailer treats their employees, the environment, and society. Think about whether or not you enjoy getting paid what your product is worth, whatever your product is. Think about what your values are and how to stay in line with those values. Just take a moment to think.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Checking things off

A few things I can now tick off my "To Do Before I Die" list

- Ride in a police car
- See Willie Nelson
- See a mud-wrestling match
- Get stuck beside the highway

So how was your weekend? ;-)

Oh, you want an explanation? I suppose. This was the weekend of Nelsonville Music Fest, formerly HockHocking Folk Fest. It's a wonderful festival that we try to go to every year and really look forward to seeing friends and hearing great music. Some gems from previous years include North Carolina Chocolate Drops, Reverand Peyton's Big Damn Band, Spikedriver, Guy Clark, Todd Snider and tons of others that I'm forgetting right now. And camping. In Ohio. In May. Legendarily spotty weather. Sometimes freezing, sometimes sweating. Gotta love it. And if you don't, wait ten minutes, the weather will change. Plus side visits to the Athen's farmers market, the Village Bakery, the Farmacy, and enjoy local food (you know I love that part). It's a magical place full of spectacular moments and amazing friendships.

This year's headliner was Willie Nelson, and after finally figuring out the logistics late in the week or two prior to NMF, we were planning on leaving Kent Friday after Dwight got off work. Then he had to work late. Then we stopped for dinner instead of just eating in the car like I had planned. We finally got to the campground a little before 11 PM. Where the short staffed volunteer crew didn't have our name on the list as paid. After, for the first time ever, I had had to pay for the weekend (normally I volunteer instead of paying for the passes), because I had been told by the organizers that they didn't need any more help. Grrr. Weekend not off to such a great start.

The nice vounteers dedided to let the crazy lady who claimed she had paid go ahead and camp, so the craziness subsided slightly. The tent erecting went reasonably well, and more craziness subsided. Then we went over to listen to a little music. Our tickets were there, ready to be picked up (well, wristbands- we never got ticket stubs so I'll have to do something else for the scrapbook). And then I hear that nope, kids don't need a ticket/wristbend, after I had paid full price for Ken's because I was told they needed one. Another Grrr. Music by the Spikedrivers abated the grrr-factor and weekend enjoyment commenced, especially after finding a good friend.

Things went well Saturday, albeit not as much friend time as I had hoped for (understandably so, I had slightly unrealistic hopes) and before we knew it, it was almost time for Willie. The man's a beast. Not a breath between songs. Machine gun Kelley style of singing. Wow. Only down turn was loosing a beach towel. Not so much lost as with a friend- I think- whom we don't see often.

Sunday began fairly uneventfully, coffee in the morning, good talk about festivals past, and a decision to head out since Ken was being a complete lunatic. So we packed up and headed north, until we hit Newcomerstown. Where the alternator intake got a hole and we were dead on the side of the road. Thanks to a good friend who basically reassured me that what I had been thinking about doing was the right path to take, we had a plan, got a tow, spent the night in a local hotel (lucky point- people like my family name around Coshocton) and had a auto shop ready to look at the car in the morning.

Monday things went according to plan, minus a couple hours longer than expected. But we eventually got home safely, and the car is all fixed up, and we had one last adventure. All's well that ends well, right? As an added bonus, we came home to iris blooming for the first time since we moved here and a note from Marco, our newest sponsored child. In Nelsonville, the yellow iris were gorgeous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring has sprung!

Finally started weeding the garden this evening. I sharpened the mower, Dwight did the lawn, I weeded. OK, I started weeding. There's a lot of weeds. Little saplings of some sort. They *ALL* look exactly the same. Covering the vegetable patch. Arg... But I did manage to find some veggies coming up as well. Carrots, tomatoes, onions, lettuces and spinach, peas and beans, a few squash/melon/cucumber mounds, lots of unidentified herbs, beets, turnips, and garlic accounted for. The beans and peas were being snipped off by that damned gopher, but not as much lately. Maybe I won the battle? I think the war is far from over with that stubborn beast. Also some buds on the raspberry bushes, strawberry blossoms out, and leaves on the elderberry, cranberry, and paw paw seedlings from Soil and Water Conservation District. YEAH!!! We might have food this summer!

The local challenge is going well still. Found some PJ's for Ken, but no light fixture yet. Ken needs new socks, but I'll either wait and get some Maggie's from the Pharmacy or KNF, whichever has his size. Or just wait until June and order online- they're not local, but they are a small business that's very much worth supporting. I did have to break down and get new sandals from Arizona, but they're Piper sandals. The best sandals ever made. And I've talked with the owner multiple times, so I'm counting them as "local" in spirit. And you can't stop me.

Supplies for the field season are going to present a bit of a challenge, but I think doable. Found local rebar and mesh screen, using thrift stores for the barrier cloth, recycling for the tadpole tanks, and a lot of Kent Hardware trips. Still have to locate a local sporting goods store for seine net and new waders, and other field stuff can wait until June for BioQuip. All in all, it's been fun.

Speaking of fun, this is the weekend of Nelsonville Music Festival, featuring Willie Nelson this year! Camping in Hocking area, good music, good friends, and good food (taken with us or local to Athens). What more could one ask for in a weekend? Oh, yeah, not overlapping with Jenn's graduation party. Hi Jenn! Oops.

Well, y'all have a great weekend, and I'll report back with news of the weekend (and pictures- no trip is complete without hiking, although I might take the GPS with me this time) later on. Belly Dancing at Empire starts Sunday afternoon, so I have to be back by then. Take care!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oooh, {drool}...

I'm not the only nerdy one, I swear! Other people like this bike, apparently, and what's not to love about it, from the looks. And for free?! Admittedly, I've never understood how someone could drop over a thousand dollars on a bike (which some people I know can justify doing multiple times), but for this one I might actually get it. We have a trailer for the bike, but it's, how do you say? Unwieldy. To be generous. We also have paniers, but again, kind of not the most comfortable ride. Especially loaded down with tent, poles, sleeping bags, cook stuff, and occasionally clothing. Not quite the definition of excruciating, but close. It looks like this could maybe do what we want it to, and still be vaguely not a pain in the ass to ride!!! Probably more durable than the nylon on the trailer as well. Now if only I could find a dealer near me. Hmmm...

So, go, check out what I'm talking about, and maybe we can petition Eddy's Bike shop to get one in! Support local business and sustainable transportation! Now that's soomething I can sink my teeth into.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from the zoo!

Well, both zoos. Our house and the Akron Zoo. We did their Mother's Day breakfast because I knew there was no way a three year old and Dwight could make a breakfast other than cereal without help. Love 'em both, just the kitchen is definitely my territory. Hope all the mama's out there have a great day, and all the kiddos out there remember to give mama a hug/kiss/thought/flower, something to let them know they're loved.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pictures I thought I posted last night

One of my most prominent memories of my dad is trying to keep up with him. He was a tall guy, and walked quickly, so I had to take these HUGE steps and practically run to keep up. Lately I've noticed Ken doing the same thing I did when he and I walk together. I find it amusing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Update on our little world

We've been busy around the Regula Meyer household this week! OK, I can't really remember when we haven't been busy around here, but that's beside the point.

It's the end of the semester, so I've had to give exams and grade papers. It's spring and the yard needs attention, as well as the garden. The local challenge has been tremendously fun, albeit more time consuming than thoughtless consumption. It's time for research season to start up soon (if not last week) and my prospectus is behind. Not to mention swim class, mother's day, challah baking, and just plain keeping up with life.

This was the last week of swimming, and I'll miss the lapswimming that I had been doing. Ken "graduated" to the highest preschool class at the Rec for his next session, whenever that is.

We've found some great places in Kent, and still searching for others- feel free to make suggestions! So far, we know that Kent has:

Food! Thanks Kent Natural Foods Co-op, Mustard Seed Market, and Taco Tanto's!
Natural cat litter- But not he Swheat Scoop that we usually get, so we'll see how Leucopus takes to it.
Office supplies- Right around the corner from us is Kent Office Supplies/Miracle On Main. Delivered next day, even, so I can walk over there for some exercise then get what I need delivered (they don't keep much in stock ready to go).
Ink cartridge refilling- Inkling, right on campus in the student center. Run by students, they can refill lots of ink cartridges and have ecofriendly office supplies. Sadly, they can't refill my cartridge.

Things I haven't found yet:

Kid's clothes- Admittedly, I haven't gotten to the thrift stores yet, but Ken needs PJ's badly. I might just break out the Singer. Dang boy keeps growing.
Bathroom light fixture covers- Kent Hardware lives up to its name- hardware. Not decorating stuff. Hmmm, this one is proving to be a challenge. Maybe try Habitat's ReStore?
Hummingbird feeder- One of those nice glass bubble ones, with the fake glass flowers to act as tubes. Mine broke over the winter.

I really need to try some of the other coffee places now that Susan's is gone. I want a mocha like no body's business.

Ken, Edith (from Kent Environmental Council) and I all went out to Breakneck Creek Preserve today and got a few pictures. The goal is to try and get a story in the Record Courier about River Day next week, before the events take place. Trying to boost turn out, since it is the year of the river. Unfortunately, we'll be in Nelsonville, Ohio with friends watching Willie Nelson. Come on, it's Willie Nelson! We have to go.

Challah baking for Hillel was last night. I want to find some sort of spiritual place for our family. I've heard suggestions of the Unitarian Universalist church here, and I want to check out the Friends church (I like that they're pacifists and active in social justice issues). The Jewish center seems much more focused on students, but we might go back there again since it's been a while since we were at Shabbat. I also want to check out the Masjid, to be well rounded, and it would be nice to find a Hindu and/or Buddhist temple, but the closest is probably Cleveland. Ugh, trying to raise a child with enough religious background to make up their own mind is enough to drive one batty. If only we could all just be pagan...

Spent today out in the yard when I should have been finishing with grades and such, but so goes life. The yard is mowed, the flower beds are weeded, new grass seed to fill in the bare spots, and started weeding the garden. There's a lot of weeds in the garden. Or maybe there's a lot of vegetables coming up. I can't really tell right now. Lots of green, but the little indistinct just two leaves (or a single blade) make up these damn plants. The only distinct ones are the beans and peas- which the groundhog fancies. I might resort to dynamite, except his burrow is under the garage. How much do we need a garage?

I think that's everything! I need to write more often, because these long posts are killing my fingers, and probably boring the crap out of you. It's OK, I know you've stopped reading by this point, so PHLEEEEEEEEBBBBB!!! That's a cyber-raspberry, to hold me over until the real ones are ready.

Adieu, farewell, alweiterzane, goodnight...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Public Service Announcements!

First, my apologies for not writing this yesterday. For the month of May, I'm going to try a little experiment. We've been into local food for a while now, but this month I'm taking it to another level. All local, for the entire month. If it's not made less than a hundred miles from me, or sold by a local store, then it doesn't come into the house. Well, not thanks to me- I can't control what Dwight does. No Target, no Starbucks, no Dunkin Donuts, no Amazon, no Ebay- none of it. I'm excited about it. There will be some gray areas that will have to be dealt with, I know. What about Netflix? Or our internet- provided by Time Warner? Do those count? I'm sure I'll come to some conclusion, but even the exercise of considering these things should prove interesting. I invite you to try it as well. Just think what it could do for your local economy. Take back control from multi-nationals and huge chain stores.

And for the locals in Kent, especially any gardeners, I want to ask you a favor. Kent Social Services and the Miller Community House are really feeling crunched right now, as are most providers of social services. Their demand is increasing, while their funding is shrinking. I'm asking you to donate any extra produce that you might have as it comes in. We're heading into the full-on growing season, and I know some of you will have planted more zucchini than you could ever try to eat. I probably did, too. Some of that delicious bounty, consider offering it to others in need. Because, really, doesn't everyone deserve fresh, nutritious, local food? Even if you're not in Kent, consider doing it for a group in your community. If you're not sure where, give me a buzz and I'll do a little charity-forensics.

And, finally another one for the locals. Blue Moon Co-Op is getting a little sparse and could use some help. If you're looking for reasonably priced, quality food, Frankferd Farms is a regional company that is a huge find. They're in Pennsylvanis, granted, but they deliver to Kent once every four weeks. Dry goods, canned foods, some produce, dairy, and meat substitutes; organic or conventional- none of it drek. Real food. Decent prices. By the individual or case. Check out their catalog at, or ask me, I've got extra hard copies. I can give you all the details on delivery and how to order. You can also call Pam at Frankferd and she'll have a real conversation with you about what they do and why they do it. My plan is to try and get things a little more organized so we can work out case sharing or social stuff for our little group as well, but that's still in the works- more info to come later.

That's all I wanted to chat about for now, and I hope some of these thoughts spark something in you and encourage you to think about what you buy and where you buy it, and who your habits help the most. Not to mention, are there any habits you can change.

Farewell, and hope you're looking forward to Haymaker's Farm Market as much as I am!