First slush

Last day of NaBloPoMo. I wonder if I’ll win a prize this year.

We found a fair amount of snow on the ground when we got up this morning. At least it had been snow, but turned to slush quickly. Casper isn’t fond of the wet stuff on her tootsies. My car is leaking again, thanks to the melting slush.

A grammar find in the toy aisle at Menards: Rule the Sea’s!

After a four day weekend I’m feeling better. I still have a lot of work to do (I have the other computer up too for work) but I got a lot done and was able to nap and relax and feel a bit rested. I have another long weekend in a few days!

Let’s see how much snow we get in the next several hours…

Crotchless!

Having a weird last name is good when you want to be found online (assuming anyone can spell it in the first place) or generally remembered. It’s not so good when spellcheck wants to suggest something to replace it. At work, Lotus Notes suggests Deathly.

Here’s what Firefox just suggested:

Dirichlet
Benchley
Crotchless
Pitchblende

Dollars and lives

Some news recently in the world of pets, both from pet stores and shelters.

Petco announced they will no longer sell rabbits! This is great news, especially for those of us working hard to clean up the messes the impulse buys in pet stores often cause. IHRS as an organization effectively stopped the sale of baby rabbits in nine Indiana Petco stores in the last few years by instituting an adoption program instead, but now the entire chain is going purpose-bred-bunny-free and doing adoptions instead. Thanks, Petco!

Meanwhile the Humane Society of the United States exposed Petland as the nation’s largest retail supporter of puppy mills after an eight month investigation. Yep, we have one of their chain stores right up the road in Carmel. What appalled me more is Petland’s response: We have high standards and you shouldn’t listen to the HSUS because they are extremist. No promise to look into it, no proof that puppy care is good, just refusing to discuss the issue because they don’t like the messenger. Of course that initial response no longer appears to be on their website, but what they put up instead just digs into HSUS again, touts their own “charity programs,” and still doesn’t promise to do anything about the issue. Bottom line: why would you shop with a retailer who sells dogs when there are so many dying in shelters?

In what seems like good news for the Humane Society of Indianapolis (not affiliated with HSUS mentioned above), their new director of ops has a background with some really good local animal welfare organizations like SNSI and they’re talking low cost spay neuter. THAT’S what we need! Let’s see how it all plays out.

Dear HSI Friends,

I’m pleased to let you know about the newest addition to the Humane Society of Indianapolis team, Christine Jeschke. Christine will soon join HSI as director of operations. She will oversee all operations of the shelter, including the wellness center, and will help HSI jumpstart our foray into low-cost spay/neuter services.

Christine joins us as both an accomplished professional and a highly respected member of the animal-welfare community. She’s currently vice president of human resources at Indiana-based Liquid Transport Corp. She also serves as president of Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, Inc., a nonprofit that sponsors low-cost spay/neuter programs. Prior to becoming president, she served as the group’s treasurer for four years.

[picture] Christine has volunteered in many capacities for Indianapolis-based animal-welfare groups Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership, Move to Act, and Indy Pit Crew. She’s the proud pet parent of four dogs and four cats, all adopted or rescued. (That’s Christine with Otis, rescued from Animal Care and Control/ARPO, and Chaucer, adopted from HSI as a puppy.)

Christine’s knowledge of and passion for animal welfare is invaluable to us, and I hope you share my enthusiasm when I say I could not be more excited to have her on the team.

Best regards,
John Aleshire, Executive Director
Humane Society of Indianapolis

(from an email I received this week)

This seems like a healthy response to the many in the community who have been disappointed with HSI’s operations in the last few months and years. I hope to be working positively with them again soon!

How to be controversial (plus contest and recipe!)

My humble blog, just my diary and a way to keep up with friends and family, occasionally attracts some cranky outsiders. Getting involved with shelters confiscating breeders’ rabbits always pulls the breeding community in for a throwdown. Today I discovered my Tofurky picture, part of my meal last Thanksgiving, was linked in the comments on a conservative syndicated columnist’s blog post about people whining too much about Sarah Palin’s turkey-pardoning-in-front-of-turkey-killing interview. I think her interview was in poor taste (or perhaps super ironic but still poor taste) and I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not surprised that the Fox News-watching crowd thinks my Tofurky looks inedible; this is the guy who made my dinner famous. But I wouldn’t recommend reading his work if you think our president elect is more than his middle name or you actually like gay people.

Re: Fox News: I actually check in now and then to see what’s up. But the conservative columnist mentioned touts her contributions to the channel, so there ya go.

The folks who make Tofurky, who must have a sense of humor about how much ribbing their product gets this time of year, have a contest to win an eGO Electric Cycle. You guess how much grain is saved this year by all the Tofurky eaten instead of turkey. (Don’t worry, there’s a hint.) In 2007, 1.6 million pounds of grain were saved by not feeding them to turkeys first.

And now for something to eat with your Tofurky!

Curried Roasted Vegetables

2 large baking potatoes
3 red potatoes
3 large carrots
1 turnip
1 orange or red bell pepper
1 large red onion
olive oil
salt and pepper

1 T curry powder
1 t chili powder
1 t turmeric
2-3 t grated ginger
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 can chickpeas (I drained them)
vegetable stock if more fluid needed
cornstarch if thickening needed

Chop all veggies (except chickpeas) into 1″ chunks. Drizzle generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper on baking sheet. Roast at 425 F for about 45 minutes (time will vary based on size/type of veggies), turning veggies with tongs at least once during roasting.

Saute garlic and ginger in oil and add spices, frying to a lovely aroma (couple of minutes). Add coconut milk and chickpeas and cook (med/high heat) for a few more minutes. Add roasted veggies and simmer until chickpeas get that ‘done’ texture. Add vegetable stock and/or cornstarch to make more of a sauce or gravy as needed. Salt to taste. Serve over basmati rice or if it has a good gravy, on its own!

This recipe came together after I had a similar dish at Georgetown Market. I got an ingredient list from them and used tips from KNH and random online recipes to work out amounts. I used the root veggies I had available (and I wanted to finally try a turnip!), so feel free to sub in sweet potatoes or anything else that sounds good. We would like more zing to the dish so we’ll probably use more chili powder and curry next time, but as written, this is a hearty dish with a mild sauce that has a bit of sweetness.

Who wants a cookbook?

Anyone interested in a copy of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest? Most of the people I hang out with already have it. It’s all vegetarian recipes but generally simple/homestyle/hearty, and is another of Mollie Katzen’s in the Moosewood Cookbook series. This is the new revised edition. We already have a copy (which we use all the time) so I’d like to find another interested person! I can mail it to you (U.S. locations please), so be willing to share your address with me through email. I’ll give it a few days and then use a random number system to pick the receiver if there are multiple responses. Please let me know if you want it by leaving a comment!

You can see a preview of what appears to be the whole thing at Google Book Search. Google’s always doing something cool, aren’t they? Now you’ll know if you are really interested in it or not because you can read it ahead of time!

A fine line between crazy and whatever else it is

This summer while walking the dogs, a neighbor down the block came out of her house to ask about Casper’s breed. She then went on and on in one of those inextricable conversations that covered everything from her dogs (there’s quite an assortment of them, but they seem well-behaved and well cared for) to her sister who grooms dogs to her art studio in the basement to her boyfriend RJ, their relationship self-described as “on and off.” We also heard all about the time she went to Wishard (local hospital generally known for taking in all the riffraff and uninsured cases) and they thought she was nuts and put her in the mental ward and about the police screwing her in some investigation and a bunch of other stuff that you normally might only share with your best friend, not neighbors you met for the first time. She also had the most enormous, un-contained breasts imaginable, and while this isn’t a feature that normally draws my attention, the bralessness made it unavoidable.

So we pretty much call her Crazy Big Boob Susan, which isn’t the nicest thing ever, but I’m probably known as the Crazy Rabbit Girl so maybe it’s even. Living on small lots in the older part of the city has been pretty entertaining.

A few times we’ve gone by Susan’s house and seen painted signs of rants about something RJ’s done. She’ll put her grievances in art and prop them up in the driveway or on a vehicle. A few days ago there were police cars in the vicinity, and yesterday we found a new batch of signs, these just hand-written, taped to the exterior of a car. Today the signs have been moved inside the car but are still there. The one in the windshield is something about RJ Stole My Phone and Took My Money, and you can peruse the others here.

Some of the fine print includes “Hero, In Jail,” a heart with “Steve Fred Love RJ,” and “Not Bipolar / Not Suicidal / Just Hate Men.” It’s all very bizarre. Since the police are already involved I’m not worried that I should be calling someone about her immediate safety, but I’m not sure what the signs are supposed to do.

I guess we’ll have to ask the nosy neighbor across the street for the scoop.