Browsing Archives for April 2011

Hi everyone!

It’s me!

Pie Near Woman!

Today – in honor of the royal wedding, I am channeling Kate Middleton!


Make that Katherine the Great!

Congrats to the Royal Couple!

May you sire a thousand royal babies together!

And may they look just like Kate…

And maybe Princess Diana…

And possibly William prior to his hair loss…

But please don’t let them look like William’s dad!

Hey Kate!

This is my Prince Charming!

Isn’t he beautiful!

We sired a bunch of babies too and one of them looks just like him!

Isn’t he darling!


And by the way Kate and Will…

If you are looking for a good deal on pants – this is your lucky day!

Enter Paco.

Paco is my new illegal.

He tends my garden.

And he also models my new favorite pants.

Please note that he is neither high nor wasted.

And neither are his pants.

I got these pants at Talbott’s.

And no, I don’t normally shop at Talbott’s because hello!

Significant lack of $300.00 flowy tops!

But then I thought – what about my readers?

They can’t all be billionaires can they?!?

That would be impossible!

Some of them might even be poor!

And where do poor people shop?


So I decided to go there and see how the poor half lives.

It was so sad!

I felt so helpless!

I only wish I could do something!

In the mean time… back at the ranch… Marlboro Man and Paco have really hit it off.

MM loves dusky, husky outdoorsy men.

Who have beautiful forearms…

And finely hewn abs.

And firm delectable haunches…

And strong foreign accents…

And moustaches…




Hey you guys!


Marlboro Man!

I am right here!

I can totally see you!

I am not even partially obscured or anything!

I’m the red head standing in the WIDE OPEN FIELD in MY WEDDING DRESS!


Enter Tia Juana!

She is also not wasted nor high and neither are her pants!

Here we go again!


Marriage is so full of foibles sometimes!

I hope Princess Kate is strong enough to bear it!

I really just wanted you guys to see how beautiful I am in my wedding dress.

I know.


Perpetually wasted and propitiously high,

Princess Pie Near

As soon as I make up my mind to go back to school, I begin to change my mind to not go back to school.  I feel like I am slowly rotating on a spit.  It is easier to decide to go back to school when my job at the garden center is slow.  I get tired of dusting shelves and moving displays from one side of the store to the other and then moving them back to the original location the next day because there is nothing else to do.  But right now, we are super busy and my job is crazy and fun and I really enjoy it.  I get to play with flowers all day and help people pick out shrubs and trees and answer questions about tomato diseases and pre-emergents.  Why would I ever want to do anything else?

These past four years I have learned gardening through osmosis.  Just by being around co-workers who have true botanical knowledge, listening to them talk to customers about hundreds of different plant issues, I have truly gained an almost respectable know-how about the plant kingdom in Kansas.   These days when customers come up to me and ask me questions I frequently hear myself giving confident answers like I actually know what I am talking about.  I almost feel like I am channeling a real garden person.  How do I know that dogwoods are an understory tree?  Where did I learn that malathion kills bag worms?  How is it that these words about determinant growth habits of various tomato plants are springing from my lips?  And what’s even weirder is that the customers seem to BELIEVE what I tell them!

The other day a guy came in and asked me if he needed to worry about the acidic content of his soil.  He was taking out a row of pine trees and putting in a row of crab-apples.  Pine trees tend to acidify soil and he wondered if this would adversely affect his new crab-apples.

Me – Uh… I don’t think it will be a problem.  I mean.. I suppose it could be really out of whack after years of pine trees – but I kind of doubt it will hurt the new trees.

Customer – Should I amend the soil?  Put in some organic material or something?

Me – No… you probably don’t want to do that.  You want your tree roots to go in search of nutrients.  If they get too comfortable with the soil right around the roots, they just grow in a circle and that isn’t a good thing for trees.

Customer – Oh.  Okay.

And then as far as I know, he went right out and planted his crab-apples just the way I told him too.

But later, I got a little freaked out about my answer.  I wasn’t worried about my answer regarding amending the soil for a new tree, but I was nervous about the acidic content of soil that formerly held pine trees.  So I asked my boss about it and she said the exact same thing that I said.





I learned through the immersion method.

I think that is always a good way to learn anything.

Speaking of gardening!

We have doubled the size of our garden this year.  We added a new section to the east of the first section.  It follows the same pattern except we turned it on it’s side.  I wish I could draw you a picture.  I wonder if I could sketch it out by using the symbols on my keyboard…










I will try and get some photos up to show you what we are doing, but until then just imagine two, large squarish capital ‘C’s’ in your mind.  One turned towards the house and one turned towards the pond.  And then in the middle of these two capital ‘C’s’ is a small garden shed/green house which I think we are going to try and build this summer. Because the Country Doctor loves to build things and since the kitchen table is my current garden shed, he is more than amenable to the idea.


Hey!  Guess what!

Hemant Mehta is coming to Manhattan Kansas!

Do you know Hemant?

He is the Friendly Atheist!

His blog was one of the first atheist blogs I ever read!

I remember freaking out about the title of his blog when I first found it during one of my frantic late night google searches when I was out looking for the others… the others who might also doubt the existence of a supernatural being.

Hemant’s blog was one of the first to pop up and I was intrigued by the title.

The Friendly Atheist?  WHAT THE ????  How is that possible?  How can an atheist bill themselves as friendly?  I can see billing themselves as vile or maybe… full of Satan’s spew… or maybe The Bitter Atheist… or The Antagonistic and Supremely Arrogant Atheist… or maybe The Black Hearted Blaggard with a Large Sucking Hole Where His Heart Used to Be Atheist… or maybe…

I think you get the idea.

But then I realized that I might be an atheist too and wait a minute… I could on rare occasions, even be friendly myself!

Holy Hell!

Anyway – I still follow Hemant’s blog and I am going to go hear him talk tomorrow.

Is there anything else to say to you people?

Has anyone got plans to watch the royal wedding?

I will be staying up late tonite to work on a special project that will hopefully launch on MONDAY and I am very excited about it. I don’t know if I will still be up at 3:00 AM when the wedding is scheduled to show in my part of the world, but if I am, I may watch a bit.

Happy Almost Friday!


Dear Charles,

I am a recent convert to atheism.  All of my close family members are extremely devout Christians.  I still love them and maintain varying degrees of closeness with many of them in spite of our new philosophical differences.  That being said, my family knows that I no longer believe.  One family member in particular insists on wearing ‘Jesus t-shirts’ whenever I am around.  It is always the same Jesus t-shirt and it has a vivid patriotic theme to it featuring a flag and an eagle and bright red, white and blue colors and it says something to the effect of ‘Jesus – he died for our liberty’ or something like that.  I don’t remember exactly what it says.  All I know is that this shirt is not only extremely unfashionable, it makes me feel like everyone who sees the two of us together automatically assumes that I too hold the type of religious beliefs that are displayed on this particular shirt which I most certainly do not.

I am wondering if I should get my own shirt to sort of counter the patriotic/Jesus theme of my relative’s shirt and wear it whenever I am around this particular person just to clear things up?

I have been shopping for one, but can’t quite convince myself that this is the route to take.

This patriotic Jesus wearing t-shirt person is very important to me and we frequently do things in public together and I don’t see either of us changing our behaviors due to her shirts.  However, I kind of think that if I were to wear an atheist shirt (be it patriotic or not) she would not want to be seen with me.

Is it worth the potential trouble Charles?


Currently shirtless in Kansas


Dear Currently shirtless in Kansas –

How much potential trouble it’s worth depends on how much you want to avoid giving gawking onlookers the impression that you endorse the unfortunate message on your family member’s shirt. If discouraging strangers from getting the wrong idea about your beliefs is important to you, there are many possible strategies for doing so, with the simplest being the basic but taxing tactic of suggesting a more palatable wrong idea by pretending you don’t know your relative (which can be accomplished by rarely looking at her and, when you talk to her, pointing and gesturing as if she’s just asked you for directions) or, whenever she’s not looking at you, broadcasting to nearby people that you think she’s nuts by rolling your eyes in her direction, shrugging broadly, and pointing at your temple and making a circular motion with your index finger, all while smiling as if in mild incredulity with a hint of irritation.

How easy it is to pull off either of these tricks will depend on how alert your companion is, and even under the best of circumstances the strain of projecting two faces  simultaneously is bound to leave you feeling drained after your outing, so you might want to instead try something that doesn’t require as much vigilance or maneuvering.

For instance, you could cultivate common interests in activities that can be enjoyed in your own homes so that you don’t have to go out in public with her when she’s wearing the shirt.

If no such interests can be found, there are a few ways to go about discouraging your relative from wearing her cringe-inducing shirt. The nicest of these ways (at least it seems nice if you look at it in just the right light; it’s really just controlling) is to give her a nice shirt as a gift and then, whenever she shows up wearing the problem shirt for a visit with you, act hurt and grill her about why you never see her wearing the shirt you gave her and what’s wrong with your thoughtful gift and whether she would like you to try and find the receipt so she can return it.

Somehow ruining the shirt would be a little more risky but ultimately effective, at least until your relative replaces the damaged shirt with one of the same ilk. There are numerous ways to tackle this project. When the shirt is not being worn, deface it with a magic marker and make it look like the work of vandals. If you’re eating with your companion at a restaurant, order a plate of spaghetti with squid ink sauce and pay a waiter a little extra to “trip” and spill it on the shirt. Offer to cut your relative’s hair while she’s wearing the shirt, and let your scissors slip and cut the shirt. Whatever you do, though, it should look as if you had nothing to do with it or did not intend to do it, and the timing should be such that she doesn’t have time to get a new shirt of the same type prior to your next outing with her.

A further way to keep this bothersome shirt off your relative’s back when you’re with her is to insist that all of your time together be spent in places where T-shirts with messages are frowned upon (fine dining establishments, the opera, funerals, etc.). A less-expensive way to make her feel that she would be underdressed in the T-shirt would be to wear formal eveningwear whenever you are with her, no matter what time of day it is or where you go.

There are other ways to approach the problem with your own attire, too, and it seems that the most straightforward of these would be to wear a shirt with a tasteful atheist message. Any problems your relative might have with such a shirt would surely mirror your own problems with her shirt, and any objections she expresses would give you the opportunity to point that out in your sweetest indoor voice, and the ensuing discussion could result in an agreement that each of you will stop wearing message shirts during your time together. If she doesn’t voice any objections to your atheist shirt, well, you’ll be wearing an atheist shirt and in little danger of being mistaken for a holder of the beliefs presented on her shirt. However, you indicated that you have misgivings about this approach, so let’s consider some ideas with a little more finesse.

One effective strategy might be to complement your relative’s shirt with your own attire to give the impression that the two of you are engaged in a contest to see who can find and wear the most outlandish apparel. One way to do this would be to wear a shirt with a message along the same lines as the one on your relative’s shirt (or perhaps a shade more questionable; any design with an appearance of sincerity that features both Jesus and Elvis would be good) but to also include in your outfit something along the lines of a propeller beanie or a pair of tie-dyed bell-bottom trousers.

A more ambitious variation on this approach would be to design and wear a T-shirt that takes the message on your relative’s T-shirt in such a ridiculous direction that practically no one will believe you really mean it (and by extension, practically no one will think that either your relative or you take the message on her shirt seriously). For instance, since your relative’s shirt apparently connects Jesus’s death with nationalism, you might go her one or two better by connecting Jesus’s death with college basketball team spirit. The centerpiece of the design for the front of the shirt could be an image of Jesus on the cross in unmistakable agony. That could be surrounded by pictures associated with a college basketball team (e.g., images of the team mascot, the team’s coach, a pennant, and the team’s star player making a slam-dunk shot). The slogan could read “He died that we might achieve excellence in basketball.” So that you can avoid any appearance of antagonistic intent, the team depicted on your shirt should be your relative’s favorite basketball team. If she takes offense at the shirt’s message, you can claim that her taste in clothing convinced you she would love the shirt and you can express bewilderment about why she doesn’t. This could lead to an interesting discussion about how Jesus’s death is linked to liberty in the United States any more than it is linked to the excellence of the college’s basketball program. If she likes the shirt right off the bat, you’re home free.

In the unlikely event that each one of these suggestions either cannot be implemented or fails to produce the desired results, as a last resort you might try nicely asking your relative not to wear the shirt when she’s out with you.

Hoping the problem somehow resolved itself while you were waiting for me to reply,