A few years back I “fondly” recalled my parents’ compost pile.  That was during the Texas years.  It wasn’t fun.  I vowed to never force the experience upon my own kid.

And I have indeed stuck to that principle, though I’ve admittedly since started composting anyway.  But in fairness, there’s a lot of organic waste that needs to be disposed of, and why fill up the trash bins with it?  And we have gardens.  So fine–there are advantages.  But I won’t go crazy with it.

No, I’ll create a quaint and reasonable compost pile.

Right side: last year’s yard waste

Plus, I have a tiller to mix it up, so no manually turning with a pitchfork.

And so far, I’m impressed with how well it’s breaking down.  As new kitchen waste gets added to the pile (something I do make the kid take care of), I simply pile leaves on top from the edges to keep the stink down.

Apparently it’s possible to do these things non-obsessively.  Who knew?



A middle-management banking title, AVP (Assistant Vice President) can mean whatever the company wants it to.  In my case, it appears to mean more to my employer than it does to other banks, as it’s defined with a higher pay band than the junior-level exempt positions, whilst other banks tend to use it solely to define a more senior employee, often devoid of significant pay delineation.  But regardless the salary details, the title identifies a certain managerial level–one specifically higher than a mere supervisor who manages a team’s time cards.

I am, at present, an AVP of Marketing Email Management (AVP, Email Manager, to be exact).

And with that grossly uninteresting introduction, I’ll segue to the actual joke.  As Liz also holds an AVP title at a financial company, we have modified the title in self-mockery of who we’ve become in regards to such socioeconomic standing.  We call it AVP-Ness (say it out loud if you’re having trouble getting it).  Clever, I know.  But it serves a useful function.  It’s a reminder to appreciate what we have and to keep hubris in check, as while job success requires a certain degree of experience and ability, possessing these qualities alone doesn’t guarantee success, to which anyone underemployed can attest.

And AVP-Ness can creep up unexpectedly.  But I will be the first to admit it!  Here are some examples:

Why tomatoes? Because I’m using land to cultivate a rather low-energy plant just because I find them tasty–indicative that I have no need for subsistence farming.
Let’s face it: whippets are elitist. They’re expensive and fairly useless as a utility dog. Plus, we give it blankets and let it on the furniture.
I don’t think a cheese tray warrants further explanation here.
Caviar–expensive and arguably damaging to the species.

And there you have it.  We have achieved success, but in the spirit of the Holidays and in the words of Bing Crosby, and overlooking the religious implications of the exact wording, “I count my blessings”, because “when my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all”.

Hoping everyone had a good Christmas!


The Most Nutritious Vegetable

And it comes from a weed

I don’t know if it’s the most nutritious, but it’s certainly up there.  I speak of the humble sweet potato–a vegetable I never much cared for because people have this tendency to make it sweet with molasses and brown sugar.  Yet the vegetable itself I find to be more savory than sweet, and is better complimented with salt and butter.

Of course, salt and butter are not what make them nutritious.  But they are delicious.  So when the victory garden went in, and we decided to experiment, sweet potatoes made the list.

They eventually took over, so they’ll get their own spot next year.  I also learned that I’m terrible at digging them up, as I severed more than a handful before Liz took over.

There were quite a few, although I was disappointed with their size, save the goliath.  Next year we’ll start them earlier.

And they were about the easiest plant to grow.  No bugs ate them, and they required no attention.  I can see why they’re popular across cultures.  Surely some more attention would have swollen the harvest, but at least I can have the satisfaction of using my own sweep potatoes for the holiday dinners.



I used grow sunflowers back in the townhouse.  It was amusing to see the tops of those giant plants sticking above the privacy fence in that 12×12 area, but the limited space required vertical gardening to get anything resembling a respectable garden, and sunflowers fit the bill.

But when we bought the house, we stopped planting them, for no reason other than all the existing garden space was being used.  But then we tilled up grass for a new garden, and with the excitement of seemingly endless possibilities, sunflowers were thrown into the mix.

Then, as flowers do, they turned to seed.  And sunflowers make a lot of seed.  And squirrels are greedy bastards, but I can’t shoot them in my backyard.  So I harvested the seed.

I’ve tried other tools, but the katana really is the best one for the job

I don’t know what to do with them, so they’re hanging in the basement drying.  Maybe next year I’ll create a sunflower forest.