Sunday, December 28, 2003


They're going to give me my Test of Adult Basic Learning (TABE) when I go back to school. Maybe I can convince them I need to bring a calculator in with me. "I can't do math on my own, I have dyscalculia!"

Scientists say our brains aren't wired for math

Not Eating

As I sit here and reminisce over the delicious slice of cheesecake I just had, I wonder about this guy ....

Fasting Yogi

Friday, December 26, 2003


I spent a long time today making this delicious Cheesecake.

New York Cheesecake

2 vanilla beans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

Split 2 vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape the seeds into a medium bowl, and stir in 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel. Add in one egg yolk, diced butter, and salt. Knead the mixture until it just forms a dough. Flatten the dough into a round and chill, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.

Remove the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, and lightly oil the bottom of the pan. Press two-thirds of the dough, about 1/8-inch thick, onto the bottom of the pan. Bake in a 400°F (205°C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown; remove from oven and chill.

Meanwhile butter the sides of the pan, attach to the bottom, and press the remaining dough, 1/8-inch thick, to the side, sealing to the bottom crust. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese with 1-3/4 cup sugar, slowly add in 3 tablespoons flour, grated orange peel. 1-1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add in eggs and 2 additional egg yolks, one at a time, beating lightly after each addition. Stir in cream. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake in a 500°F (260°C) oven for 12 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200°F (95°C) and bake for 60 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a rack. Chill, and then remove the sides.

Makes 12 servings.

(This recipe from Cook's Recipes )

It's only been out of the oven a few hours and already 1/4 of it is missing....

Thursday, December 25, 2003


I'm feeling lazy today, so I'll just cut and paste a portion of a letter I sent to a friend recently.

<< My honest opinion is that perfection makes everything more difficult. >>

Why sure, but what else am I going to amuse myself with? Life would be very uninteresting if it was easy. Perfectionism is a quest for something better, a more vibrant existence. It drives me crazy to only be "good enough" I want to be better than! If you think about it, perfectionism is what makes the world go 'round. Without that quest for a better product, a new and easier way to do things, we'd still be living in caves.

Perfectionism is where we get Alpha males and females. Without striving to be better than the previous example, evolution would grind to a halt. I look at my perfectionism as challenging the pervasive apathetic attitude and furthering the evolution of the universe. Ok, by now I'm sure you realize I'm being cheeky. :-) There is a real point there though...wanting to be better than the previous examples is not a bad thing. It's called evolving.

Sure, some people strive to be perfect. That's unhealthy. What is healthy is always searching to better yourself and not settling for "good enough". Problems come when you expect other people to live up to your high personal standards. That's when I swear off people for a while and go read a good book instead.

Apparently I've been like this since birth. That doesn't mean I've always been a goody two-shoes...for instance when I was 6 months old... Mom, her sister and I were in the grocery store. Mom dropped a can of soup into the cart and I VERY loudly proclaimed; "Shit!" All the little old ladies turned and stared. I still get flak for that one. Mom insists I must have learned that language from my playgroup and not her.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lost Spork

Last night I was packing in preperation for going back to school. Only 12 days left! I realized I had no idea where my spork went. I need my spork! It goes camping with me everywhere! I even wrote a review on it:

Spork Love

I sincerely hope I find it before heading to school. I don't think I'd be able to survive a camping trip without it. I refuse to carry a wimpy spoon when I could have my spork...

Free snowshoes

I'm neglecting my essays again. I have a bunch of half-finished ones going all at once. Why do they award verboseness and not brevity? Time to dig up a thesaurus to fill page space. Maybe I'll insert some graphics. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So technically it's not cheating...

I'm getting free snowshoes soon!

Tubbs Snowshoes

As part of a test for Backpack Gear Test, I'm getting a free pair of Tubbs Pinnacle 30's. They're supposed to be on my doorstep within the week. I can't wait!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Low Carb

My fingers are rebelling against typing my essays. Instead, they've been leading me through the search pages of Google and into interesting topics that have nothing to do with hypothermia or any of the other required report matter. Instead, they just found a study on low carb diets.

Low Carb Dieters Can Eat More Calories And Loose More Weight

Doctor Heckling

I'm back! I'm procrastinating from writing my essays. I'm also singing all parts of the chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody. (While making the different pitched voices)

Today mom went to her doctor. I usually tag along and heckle him. This time I informed him on how many gallons of water a condom can hold. I asked his professional opinion on why there are large size condoms, if regular ones can be inflated so hugely before bursting. I swear he blushed. :-) He got all flustered and looked over at my mother before answering.

Oh well, back to work. Must....type...essay...


I'm almost done with the 4 page essay on clothing materials, types and applications. I'm now moving on to the 8 minimum pages on everything hypothermia related! They want to know the causes, effects and cures for hypothermia, including symptoms such as frost bite, frost nip, and trench foot. I don't know how I'll manage to stretch the information for 8+ pages.

I'm getting prepared. To my right is my french press. In about a minute I'm going to depress the plunger and pour out fresh, highly caffinated irish cream roast.

Heather's Coffee:

Heat mug of water for 2 minutes in microwave. Pour into french press along with two tablespoons of freshly ground Irish Cream coffee.

Into the mug, pour 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Add 3 dashes of Vietnamese cinnamon. Grate 1/2 teaspoon of Granada Nutmeg into mix. Add one to two tablespoons of mexican vanilla. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of sucanant sugar. Add coffee, stir and enjoy. Make more. Repeat all night until essay is done.

How Condoms are made

Tonight while looking up outdoor clothing for an essay, I somehow stumbled across an article on how condoms are made. I was fascinated :-)

How Condoms Are Made

I've always wondered why you would need a "magnum" condom. I mean can fill a regular condom with up to 40 liters of air before it bursts! For comparison -the backpack that I fit all of my hiking gear, 3 days of food, and 2 liters of water in (with room to spare) is also a 40 liter capacity.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Heather's Childhood

I've been writing to one of my dorm wing leaders from school since I got back home. Today we were talking about our respective childhoods. I'll eventually post some of that history here. For now, here's a snippet from the last email. I was talking about our trip to Mexico when I was 7...

We took rickety old buses up breathtaking winding mountain passes, down into torrid, green jungles, and bumped along dirt roads out in the middle of nowhere. We rented a tiny 1960's era VW bug and drove it to all of the huge famous and rinky-dink, out of the way ancient ruins. We snapped lots of pictures. Mom bought me a lot of cute little cotton sundresses with intricate local embroidery. I have a picture of me in a delicate looking white dress, perched on top of an altar to Chac-Mool. Thousands of years previous on that very altar, they used to throw down screaming victims, plunge a knife into their chest and slice out the still-beating heart as a sacrifice for Chac-Mool.

I miss Mexico. :-) One of these days I'd like to go back. I'm mainly drawn to the country because of its food. I could go for some fresh chicken tacos and a baggie of fruit juice right about now.

Navy Seals

Speaking of, I was just watching a documentary about Navy Seal training. The instructors were hassling the enlistees about the conditions of their rooms during room inspection. I looked closer and realized - the Seal dorms are the same exact layout and design as the dorms at school!

They had the same purple lockers, the same masonry block walls, even the same fake wood dresser drawers as school does. The guys didn't do as well at room inspection as I have, though. I've gotten perfect room scores my entire time at school. About 3/4 of this class failed this particular inspection!

I'm reveling at being home at the moment. I haven't brushed my hair in 5 days. My room looks like the military has been detonating clothes bombs everywhere. I've been sleeping in well past my school wake-up time of 5am.

Well, back to plugging away. I'm trying to complete all of the required essays for phase one and two of Outdoor Rec. When I get there, I want to plunk down every required essay...on my very first day in class. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

My dad called after 18 years

Last night my father called. I haven't seen or spoken to him since I was two years old. He suddenly realized I existed again, and decided to ring us up.

He filled me in on past family history and such tibits as the fact that our family (Hotchkiss) has killed more human beings than any other family in history. What a claim to fame, huh? It was achieved by inventing a number of things, including the Hotchkiss gun and the mechanism that allows a car to turn corners while going more than 5mph.

It was odd talking to him. He denied paternity when I was born. I grew up quite liking the fact that I didn't have a father. I didn't have to be involved in messy custody or visitation issues, I didn't have to share mom with anybody, and I only had to be embarassed in public by one parent, not two. (That was enough, trust me!)

It was interesting to hear some family tidbits. One of the relatives is a comander in the Navy SEALS, something I've always wanted to do. A lot of the family is involved in Universities or libraries in some way. One of them is the Major of North Syracuse, NY. On the other end of the spectrum, my 12yo half brother recently stole his mother's car and smushed it into pieces.

I hope I got the good genes out of the mix. :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'm home!

I just woke up from a 15 hour nap. My last day at job corps saw me getting 3 hours of sporadic sleep during 38 hours of being awake. I feel much better now. :-)

I'll be home on Christmas break until January 5th. I'm already looking forward to going back! They have me fast6 tracked ... instead of going back into 5 more days of orientation, they're going to let me straight into my vocation. Yippie! They're also pulling some strings to get me into the outdoor recreation dorm the second I step foot back on campus. Everybody else is going to have to move back into the newbie dorm when they get back.

So far I've enjoyed 90% of the Job Corps experience. What I haven't enjoyed is that a lot of the black kids take everything as a racial affront when it's not. There's also a lot of ghetto posturing going on. Being white, I'm now the minority. Being a girl, I'm also outnumbered 3 to 1 by boys.

The outdoor recreation program sounds and looks even better than I originally thought! Us OR's go skiing/snowboarding 3 days a week, kayak, swim, and practice lifeguarding skills in a nearby heated pool, are the ones who get priority over the rock wall and the pool trips, we have to spend 75% of our schooling time on hands-on work, etc etc. Even thought I'm not in OR yet, I've managed to aquire phase 1 and 2 materials. I'm going to do all of the paperwork while I'm home on break. I had bet another OR kid that I could do all of the essays in phase 1 on the weekend. I stopped two short of completing it, because he decided he didn't want to cough up the $20 he bet. :-)

Why is my blog not working?

Friday, December 12, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

Website changes

My Pocketmail service expried, so last night I erased that address from the pages it was on. Since I was already in our web design software, I played around with a few of the other pages. I redid the disclaimer on my boyfriend application page to include specifics regarding Italians. Today I had two letters from Italian sounding guys in my inbox. Amusing. :-)

I leave for Maine tomorrow. I'm ignoring packing. Everything is all strewn around my room again. I'll get to it in due time....

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Van curtains

Updated the van page with pictures of the curtains. It took a while, because we had to reinstall our website editor and fix Windows. When the power went out a few days ago, a tree bounced on our line and caused the computer to turn on and off in rapid succession. It fried a few things...

Anyhoo, pictures are at Interior Design

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Getting ready to go

I'm in from the frigid cold and getting more measurements for my van curtains. Didn't want to delve in curtain making right away, so I logged on to check my mail. I'm anxiously awaiting to see if I'll get accepted for a snowshoe test at backpack gear test

I've entered that highly distractable state of elevated excitement....I can't wait to (hopefully!) get selected for the snowshoes, I can't wait to go to Loring, etc etc. Instead of concentrating on one thing, I'm bouncing from project to project.

Everything is already all packed and ready to go. I've managed to cram all of my stuff into my 40 liter capacity backpack, including a pair of sandals and my hiking boots. I'll carry a small canvas tote to hold a couple of books and drawing supplies. Greyhound and the airlines better not torture my luggage. I love that backpack.

I've always liked traveling on Greyhound. You meet the most interesting people.... :-) My favorite seat is the first seat on the passenger side. You have the most footroom, a clear view through the windshield, and you're the first person off or on the bus during potty breaks or bus changes.

For an interesting link, check out this guy. He just wrote me a letter. Fascinating site! I actually remember reading about him many times over the years. It's surreal to actually get a letter from somebody I've read about. :-)

Van personality

Last night mom asked me what type of personality my van has. I thought for a second and replied, "It's definately gay. It has good taste, but it's also rugged" She burst out laughing. Turns out she's been thinking my van has a gay personality, too.

Today I'm making curtains. I found pretty patchwork fabric on sale for $1 a yard at Walmart and bought the last of it. I've sewn black fabric on as a backing and will probably sew on tabs at the top for the curtain rod to go through.

It's been in the teens and single digits outside, so I've hung out next to the woodstove instead of working out on my van. Too cold! Pretty soon I'll be in the cold all of the time though ... the job corps called back with my itinerary. I'm going to take a Greyhound from Montpelier to Boston, then fly to Presque Isle. Less then a week to go!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeee! I turned two decades old on December 1st. To celebrate, I made myself decadent cream cheese brownies. Making them creates approximately a dozen different dishes if I plan it right. (It was Peter's dish night. :-) )

The day before my birthday, mom took me out to the local Indian restaurant for Sunday brunch. Mmm mmm mmmmm! I would love to cook like that some day. Everything is so spicy, pungent, the textures are sublime...Every time I eat something like that, I get the urge to move to the country of origin and study culinary arts.

Yesterday I actually went shopping. It felt sacrilegious! I've only bought new clothes a few times in my life - excluding underwear. I'm never here in the winter, so the only bottom pieces that aren't work pants are shorts or skirts. Every pair of pants I own are for work, and they have numerous paint splatters and the occasional rip. While I was splurging on three pairs of pants, I bought myself a sweater and a much needed pair of winter boots. Everything came to about $80.

I was forced to shop out of necessity. I'm going to school up in Limestone, Maine. I'm going for Outdoor Recreation, Diesel mechanics, and carpentry or culinary. They prohibit extreme hairstyles, facial piercing or tattoos, and you must wear neat, clean clothes. They give you an iron and expect you to use it. :-)

To find out what I'll be learning, check out this short list:

They also offer certifications that're administered by third parties...
Recreation Certifications & Trainings Offered :

My goal is to get every single one of them. :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Van update

Spent 4 hours working on the van today. Pictures in the usual place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

My Dish Philosophy

As mentioned in a previous post, I do the dishes every other night in rotation with Peter. It's somewhat of a rivalry to make sure the other person has more dishes on their dish night then the other person.

I cook, so I make sure to use every dish in the place. He doesn't really cook, so he goes with grossness...eating things that crustify on the dishes, not running the dishes through prewash (Zeke the dog), and I swear he looses leftovers in the back of the fridge on purpose ... to dredge up the containers on my dish night.

I was nice and only made one dessert tonight - poppyseed cake with cream cheese frosting. I make it about once a year around my birthday. (I turn 20 in 9 days!)
The religious piece below reminded me of a joke:

What's the bad thing about being an atheist?

No one to talk to during sex.


Religion gives me hives.

To me, religion is nothing but the bureaucracy of spirituality. It's rules and regulations dreamed up to keep people in line, not to bring them closer to God.

Take Mormonism. They're not allowed to drink tea or coffee, because they're caffeinated. (Some mormons wiggle around this rule and drink soda, because soda is not specifically mentioned in the Book Of Mormon)

I fail to see how partaking of caffeine will keep me from becoming spiritually enlightened - or how abstaining from it will make me closer to God.

I think Religion is inherently good ...It was created as a vehicle to understanding spirituality. Kind of like a user manual and customer support for a computer, religion has a users manual (Your religious book of choice - Torah, Book Of Mormon, plain old Bible, etc) and the customer support - the priests/priestesses/annointed ones etc that you call upon to help you figure out the user manual.

What I object to are all of the insane rules created by religions (not God). I'm currently reading a book the Jehovah's witnesses gave me, entitled "Questions Young People Ask" It's a Q and A format book, with questions ranging from "Why does God let bad things happen?" to "Is Masturbation Harmful?"

Masturbation isn't mentioned in the Christian Bible. (A fact this book clearly states in the body of one paragraph.) Yes, there is that reference to Onan spilling his seed - which was him having sex with his dead brothers wife, but pulling out at the last minute so that he failed to get her pregnant.

Somehow, the religious leaders got from that or some other obscure passage in the bible that masturbation is wrong and should never be practiced. The Jehovah's Witness book I have says this about masturbation:

"Since masturbation is not directly condemned in the Bible, does that mean it is harmless? Absolutely Not! Though it is not classed with such gross sins such as fornication, masturbation is surely an unclean habit"

How do they know? Aren't they supposed to be teaching God's word, and not mankind opinion?

I think religions should go back to teaching spirituality and helping people become kinder, more loving souls....Not by putting their noses in issues that aren't even covered by their religious book of choice.

Van update and cooking

Did work on the van. New text and pictures here: Interior Design

Also new pics and text on the page one back from interior design - use the navigation menu to get there.


Mom entrusted me with a 13 pound turkey today. When I insisted I don't know how to do whole birds, she told me to look it up in a book, and left for the day.

I do the dishes every other night in rotation with Peter. Tonight is his dish night. I went hog wild in the kitchen. :-) So far I've made a pecan pie and pumpkin pie with homemade lard crusts, bread stuffing with sauteed veggies, and brewed ice tea. I've been basting the turkey every half an hour. Soon I'll make mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, and the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag - you whir up the cranberries with a whole orange and a bunch of sugar. Mmmmmmmm. I'm still undecided on bread products - what form would make the most dishes? Rolls, loaves, or maybe I'll try my hand at cresents...

Hopefully mom will feel perkier when she gets back. She's been at the hospital since 9am, getting two blood transfusions. Her iron level is 8.8 - anything 8 and under is considered to be immanently life threatening.

She's had about 20+ blood transfusions in her life. Every time she gets another, they have to type her blood and find blood that won't have antibodies that will react to all of the ones floating around in hers from the other transfusions.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Music I love

Paul Simon - The Obvious Child
The drums get me every time. I can never resist turning up the volume. Pretty much anything by Simon is a winner.

Oh Fortuna (Carmina Burana) - Carl Orff
I can only take classical music in moderation, but this is one piece I could listen to all day.

Whip It - Devo
I saw a bumper sticker recently that said "Devo was right" Hmm....

Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
Cake is a favorite of mine to put on when I need some enertia.

Liberi Fatali
I first heard this one because of "Final Fantasy" (A PS2 game) It's another classical music piece with goose-bumpy voices.

Britney Spears
The Blues Brothers
They Might Be Giants
Dar Williams (I sign along to Iowa and Christians and Pagans when nobody's listening)
Kasey Chambers
The String Cheese Incident
Louis Armstrong
Johnny Cash
Harry Connick Jr.
Billy Joel
The Beastie Boys

Country is the only type of music that will come in when driving in Texas. After years of being force fed country via mom's radio choices, I've learned to like Toby Keith and Tim McGraw.

(shhhh....if she finds this one out, she may turn the radio up next time she's listening to country! That happened once - she turned the car radio to the highest volume it would go, and it got stuck...we had to hang our heads out the window until the volume would go down again.)

My revenge is to genuinely like music from the 80's. She grimaces at the thought.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Bad Blogger

I'm not a very good blogger. I get too wrapped up in actually living my life to sit down and write about it. That, and it's been boring lately. :-)

I recently checked out a 7" high stack of magazines from the library. I never knew that Kellogg-Hubbard had a subscription to Fine Woodworking! I'm in awe at the full page spreads on furniture making, stain color mixing, the different specialized machines and intricate chisels used to make these works of art. I'm thinking I'd like to make furniture at some point.

I'm very proud of the fact that I recently learned how to use a carpenter's square. Also called a steel square, it's an L shaped piece of steel or aluminum with tables inscribed into it. The tables are various measurements to help lay out hip, valley, common and jack rafters as well as braces. Once you learn how to work a square, it's pretty easy. Breaking through the initial technical jargon will give you a headache though. Example:

Fig. 8. Problem 7.

Let 37 degrees be the required angle. Place the body of the square on line FG, and, from Table 1, lay off LS (12.04) on the tongue and LM (15.98) on the body. Draw line MS, then angle LMS = 37 degrees. Line MS will be found equal to 20 inches to any angle, because the values given in table 1 for LS and MS are natural sines and cosines multiplied by 20.

I lay in bed with the book and my square past 2am, while trying to make sense of it all. That morning I went to work and banged out perfectly cut and angled valley jack rafters my first try, in no time flat. Success!

I still have no idea what sine and cosine are.

I also started putting up siding in my van. Pictures are on my mom's blog. The weather hasn't been cooperating for painting. Everytime it's nice out, I'm at work. When I'm home, it's either snowing or below 40. Tonight we're supposed to have blizzard like conditions, up to 8 inches of snow and gusting winds. I'm staying inside, baking bread, and figuring out what to do with my life.

This week I've been disgruntled with my carpentry skill level. I feel like I've reached a standstill. I want to work for a big construction company and expand my repertoire. I want to work on BIG projects. I want to learn more about framing. I want to build the perfect set of stairs. I also want to get more into detailed stuff...detailed mortise and tenon joinery, handcut dovetails, and elaborate detailing.

I've been crawling around on the internet looking for anything to do with carpentry in this area. I've called the local carpentry union and the Department of Employment and Training about their apprenticeship programs. Step-Up and WomenBuild aren't hiring at the moment, but I'm filling out applications anyway. Job Corps, Youth Build, and other such programs sound really interesting, but aren't geared towards my level.

What I really need to get ahead in life is to have my van fixed up and finally get my driver's license. I've been putting off both because I know all four brakes need new shoes, the oil and coolant should be flushed, and they may have issues with my muffler. After getting that fixed and inspected, I need to get a license. Once I get a license, I have to cough up big bucks for insurance, to the tune of $800 every 6 months.

Can I go back to being a kid again? I want somebody to take care of me while I tromp around the woods, build treehouses, and do nothing but read books and magazines for hours straight.

I guess I'll have to either work for a living or marry rich to attain that standard of living. :-) I'm too young and crabby to get married yet, so it looks as though I'll go back to looking for the perfect job.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Van Update

Oh yes, and I worked on my van today. It's so exciting ... it's starting to look like a home! After I get it all gussied up I need to bite the bullet and take it to a mechanic. It needs some brake work before it's inspectable.

I'm not confindent in my (non-existant) mechnical skill yet to take on brake work by myself! I'd love to be in the garage while they work on it and learn a thing or two, though.

Van Update

Blog World

I finally got around to reading all of my Mom's blog. Hmmm, I just learned that she plans to follow me when I hike the ECT a year from now. Funny that she neglected to tell me this in person. Hey, we can let each other know of our life plans through our respective blogs!

Things I plan to do soon:

1) Hike the ECT starting in about a year
2) Become an apprentice carpenter to somebody and go through Step Up
3) Install a stove/oven in my van
4) "Borrow" her scrapbooking supplies and make a book about my life
5) Give Zeke the dog a haircut and paint some new spots on him. (Just seeing if she's paying attention...:-) )

Saturday, November 01, 2003

New Van Work

Yay! The weather was finally nice on a weekend! I painted the top of my van, built the start of a bed frame, and generally enjoyed the day. I'm currently hunting around for some good lettering styles to copy and use for painting my van's new name on it tomorrow...if the weather holds.

Pictures of the van work can be seen HERE

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


I'm sick of people in positions of authority who don't do their job, or do it crappily. The state trooper should have had her lights on. Bush promised to expand Americorps and other like programs, and instead he's slashed them so much they're teetering on the brink of extiction. The President of the VYCC gives lip service to the motto "Teaching individuals to take personal responsibility for all of their actions" but fails miserably to do so himself. And last but not least, I'm still dealing with the paperwork and aftermath of the Michael incident.

I think I'm going to start a revolution...I'm sick of having to be polite to people in authority who aren't doing their jobs.

Monday, October 27, 2003

How To Build Your Own House

I get a fair number of emails each month from people asking me "How do I build my own house, like you did?" I'm finally sitting down and doing a webpage about it. I'll have a building terminology primer, basic tool list needed, places to get plans, etc.

What would you like to see? Send me an email at and let me know.

Free Backpacking Gear

If you're interested in backpacking and want free gear in exchange for writing a number of reports on it, check out Backpack Gear Test.

Great Place!

Women's Conference

Oh yes, so that conference I was telling you about ...

It was a one day event sponsored by our Governor. It's a free day of workshops punctuated by a free lunch. Who could resist? The workshops were geared towards non traditional jobs like carpentry and plumbing, how to start your own business, estate planning, resume writing, and how to help other women thrive.

We walked away with some freebies and a lot of great information. I'm all fired up about entering Step Up for women and a carpentry apprenticeship program. I'm going to call tomorrow. :-)

Police Warning

It's been raining for 24 hours straight. There are flood watches in effect through Vermont, New York and New Hampshire. Thankfully, we have inside carpentry jobs. :-) Today was spent on runs to the lumber store for a bunch of upcoming projects, estimating for other jobs, and building some boxes on wheels for storage under the community center stage.

The lumber yard is situated at the bottom of a divot in the road. You can't see very far to your right. Once you're in the road, you're committed - you can't back up, or you'll get smushed by the oncoming traffic. As I was pulling out to make a left hand turn, a dark colored car without their headlights on popped over the hill. I had no choice, so I kept going. Turns out the car was a state trooper. We went approximately 4/10's of a mile down the road before she turned on her flashing lights.

I was let off with a warning and told not to cut in front of anybody. At least I only got a warning. I'm still miffed that part of the blame lay on the trooper for not being very visable - driving in a dark car without headlights on during a dark, rainy part of the day. It's a state law in New York that your headlights have to be on while using your wipers. Why not here? It would make sense. I had MY headlights on.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

At a conference

This blog is coming to you from Randolph Techical Institute. I'm at a conference geared towards women. Currently I'm in the workshop called "High wages, high skills. Whoops! it started...

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

New Van Updates

I've been a bit busy again. My work life picked up over the past few days. I got to hoist a 3x8 balcony 10+ feet into the air and nail it back onto the house, do some sheetrock, grade a basement, and uninstall some shelves.

At the home front, I've been digging new raised beds. Each of them is 4x10, with a 5 foot walkway down the middle of the bed area, and 4 foot wide lanes between the beds themselves. I'd like to procure a massive ammount of old railroad ties and use them as permanent bed side supports.

I also worked on my van, and updated the van poll.

New Van Pictures

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Lost Files

We recently installed AOL version 9.0. It had a snit fit, had to be reinstalled, and lost our filing cabinets. As a result, all of our previous mail dissapeared.

If you've written to mom or I in the past few days and haven't received a response, it's because we no longer have your email. Please, write back. :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2003

New Garden Pictures

In case you're wondering why I dropped off the face of the blog the past two days - Garden Work!

After I get all of the beds done, I'd like to calulate how many cubic feet of dirt I've moved. That, and how many tons it adds up to.

Friday, October 17, 2003


I want to know without a doubt that I'll find and live happily ever after with my soulmate sometime in the future, when I'm ready. In the meantime, I'd like to live blissfully and without a care in the world...knowing my soulmate really is out there, and will arrive at the right moment.

While on that thought train, I'd like to suddenly become independently wealthy and have every ounce of my time free to devote to learning to rock climb, building a sailboat, building another cute house, writing a few books, traveling Asia and New Zealand, become the star of an acapella group, finally learn to draw realistically, tour the US by bicycle, foot, and Harley, build a multi story treehouse, work as a chef in an exquisite restraunt with an unlimited budget, give running a marathon a whirl, hike the Eastern Continental Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Superior Hiking Trail, get a pilot's license, buy houses to remodel and sell at a huge profit, do the same thing with vintage automobiles, practice firefighting out west, learn mushing in Alaska, and actually finish all of the projects I've already gotten myself in to.

But back to that soulmates thing. I really don't want a relationship now or anytime in the near future. Too busy. Have other things to concentrate on. Instead, I'd like somebody to talk, banter, converse, argue, debate, orate, and snuggle with when needed. Best of both worlds. Keep the intellect fresh and sparkly, and get the tender physical contact we all crave - without the pitfalls and hurdles of a romantic relationship. I guess a nice gay guy would fit the bill. Now where would I find one...

Garden Work

I've been getting a great workout in the garden lately! So far I have created 12 new 4' x 8' x knee high raised beds. One of these days the entire garden will have raised beds that are neat, tidy, and lined up with one another.

I'll post pictures in a few days.


Vegetarian culture fascinates me. It seems to go hand in hand with a lot of new age hot air. For instance, this article about why humans as a species are overweight, versus wild animals, who are not:

The Pleasure Trap

A lot of points go unmentioned - like the fact that wild animals don't have access to a lot of calorie dense foods. It takes grazing animals all day to injest enough calories to keep living. Give me a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and I can do that in 20 minutes. Pretty much every sentence in the article amuses me. :-)

On another note, below is a delicious recipe for vegan french toast. We had some this morning. Mmmm...

Vegan French Toast

3 Cups raw, unsalted cashews
Soy Milk
6 Ounces Maple Syrup
6 Ounces Tahini

Put Cashews into blender, then add soymilk until it's 1" over the Cashews. Add Maple Syrup and Tahini, then whir until creamy. Coat bread with mixture. Fry in oil. Eat. Have another slice. Make more the next morning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

New Van update

Put up one new picture and a myriad of name choices for my van. Vote for your favorite! I have a soft spot for Toby. Like I said, I've always wanted to name my dog Toby. I figure it will be another few years before I get a dog - so a van will have to do for now. :-)

Van picture and poll

Monday, October 13, 2003

Back from the gathering

Home again, home again. Where are all the hikers? I miss them all already!
The past 6 days have been jam packed with talking to other hikers, hanging out, and running around the Dartmouth college campus to go to different workshops. The slide shows were phenomenal! The one on the John Muir Trail gave me goosebumps. Western scenery is jaw dropping...every time I see a picture of out west, I'm sorely tempted to hop into a plane/train/automobile and visit the cacti and ocotillo.

One of my favorite things at the gathering was seeing Radar again. :-) He's such a sweetie! He also presented a fabulous slideshow/workshop on digital photography and keeping an online journal. Radar is a great computer geek! I'm not the only one who thinks so - droves of people kept coming up to him on campus afterwards, complimenting him on the great workshop.

As I mentioned last night, there was a rolicking good contra dance. I only danced two sets, but had so much fun! Both were with a hiker whose real name is Toby. I've always wanted to get a dog and name it Toby. :-) I ended up sitting out the rest of the dances and yacking with Radar instead.

This morning we packed up and hit the road back to home. We arrived around 1pm. I hauled everything into the house from the van and started in on the garden work. Death to weeds! I whipped out the weedwacker and went to town for 4 hours. My arms are still vibrating...

Sunday, October 12, 2003

In Between Classes

Dartmouth is one of the most expensive colleges in the country. One of the really nice things about being around so much money is that the halls in this college are lined with state of the art computers. They all have pretty fast internet connections.

I just came from a slideshow/workshop about the John Muir Trail. Absolutely fabulous pictures! I want to go! :-) Next I'm going to a workshop about the Pacific Crest Trail. My resolve to stay home next year is wavering. :-)


Saturday, October 11, 2003

Heather is in Dartmouth

Hi! I'm in Dartmouth college at a contra dance. We're in between sets. Time to go back out! More later.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Gone to the Gathering

I've gone to the hiker gathering. I'll be back Monday or Tuesday. Have a nice weekend :-)


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Full Disclosure

It may suprise you to learn that I'm a very private person. I'm not much of a talker in real life. It drives my mom crazy - she says I'm too much like her sister, Liz. Apparently we don't volunteer information - you have to pry it out of us.

Although most of my life is on the web, I do leave out a lot. Take my recent trip to Maine...

I was depressed and cried a lot the first week. I spent a lot of time reading the book Motherless Daughters, hoping it might have some advice on how to cope with the possibility beforehand, to stop worrying. It only made me more depressed. Stupid book. I was also aggravated by the whole court fiasco that I had to deal with because of Michael. Replaying the court scenes in my head only depressed and pissed me off even more. Stupid court system.

I make great miles when I hike mad. Mountain? What mountain? I actually paid a couple of bucks for somebody to slack pack me 10 miles. It was kind of neat not to have mom be the one doing it.

The town of Andover was the first place I had paid to stay in indoor accomodations. There were a lot of firsts on this trip...first time I took Zeke on an overnight. First time I hiked topless. (It was hot, and no shirt was heavenly!) First time I did 3 miles in a day and felt totally beat. First time I intentionally night hiked. First time I blue blazed to get somewhere quicker. And at Shaw's Boarding House, the first time a guy got down on bended knee and asked me to marry him. (Jokingly, of course)

Why am I suddenly pontificating about everything to do with my life? Well, I'm trying to become more comfortable with letting people see every side of be comfortable talking, to not hold back when I really don't have to.

Michael was the first person I had ever met whom I could talk to about literally everything and anything, with no qualms. We talked about everything from the viscosity of snot to theories on why the Pope exists. He was fun to debate with. But as we all know, Michael turned out to be a horrible, abusive bastard who will eventually get the come-uppins he so richly deserves.

I'm tired of being on guard. I want to trust again. I just wish I would stop getting hate mail when I do post my true thoughts. The fan mail is nice. Thank you.

Sleep Deprivation

I didn't go to bed until 4am this morning. I got a little carried away with researching garden projects and jotting down my ideas. :-) I started a new page at my uncollege - Biodynamic Agriculture. I also freshened up the college index page.

I tumbled out of bed a little before 11am when the pile of books I had been reading earlier slid down my pillow and hit me in the head. Spent the gorgeous day outside giving my van a second coat of red paint and working in the garden. The highlight of my day was building a new compost bin to corral all of the garden clippings I generated.

My brain isn't up to speed yet...

Monday, October 06, 2003

Penpals Wanted

I like this blog because I can publish updates instantaneously. I don't need to spend as much time on the computer, which I'm trying to cut down on.

I'd like to get back into the real mail scene. Remember stationary and 37 cent stamps? I'd like to open my mailbox and find some real letters for a change. No offense to Gevalia and Discover, but direct mail isn't as exciting as a real letter.

If you're interested in corresponding with me via letters, postcards, or perhaps by sending me messages written on the fly of a new red Hilleberg Akto tent, drop me a line at:

Heather Martin
739 Collar Hill Road
Worcester, VT 05682


I like to pop into the vegsource Unschooling board every now and again to see what other unschoolers are up to. I keep hoping to find info on others unschooling college.

Last night I tried searching for other uncolleges, and came up irked. Every reference to college pointed towards how to get your homeschooled/unschooled kid into a traditional college. Spending your unschooling time preparing to enter a traditional college seems like an affront to all that unschooling stands for.

The point of unschooling is to learn outside of a school-like environment. The focus is on exploring your passions and learning for the sake of delight - not because learning something new will earn you an "A".

Why don't more kids choose to do unschool college? Why do families abandon the unschooling approach when the kid graduates highschool? Don't they see the disparity?

I'm currently working on my Outdoor Education degree.

I just posted the following message on the Vegsource Unschooling board. I can't wait to see the response. :-)

Last night I perused some other unschooling message boards in search of anybody else who's unschooling college. I came up empty handed. The only references to college I found were about how to prepare your unschooled/homeschooled kid to enter a traditional college.

What gives? Why don't more people continue their educational adventure, and unschool college?

I see unschooling as a way to learn for the sake of learning, to discover and refine my passions ... and traditional schooling as mainly a thing people do to earn a 4.0 GPA and good credentials.

Why don't more unschoolers see the disparity between pursuing their passions for years, then packing off to college and paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of only learning what the bureaucracy tells them to?

I'm in search of other kids who unschool college. Where are they? Why aren't there more of us? Are you planning to continue unschooling through college?


Uber Homestead!

I'm contemplating sewing myself a superhero cape to get into the mood. I want to have a super homestead! I was up until 2am last night reading gardening books and sketching new homestead layouts.

Today found me mowing over the rampant mugwort, weeding beds, clipping back the raspberries and rose bushes, making new pathways, tending the tire gardens, battling burdock, and planting purple iris near the outhouse. Managed to smack myself in the nose with a stinging nettle and become covered in burdock burrs...

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Current Life Plan

Long Distance Hiking is temporarily out of the picture. I've decided to devote this upcoming year to learning everything my mom knows about gardening, running the business of our CSA, chickens, grapes, making wine, propagating, greenhouses, when and what to plant where, permaculture, etc etc. I don't want mom to die on me and then suddenly realize I don't know a thing about gardening.

I've been spending my free time getting the garden ready for winter. All weeds must die! It's taken me three days to do 12 raised beds. I really let the garden go this year. I'm really excited to get it back into shape! I've been paging through the seed catalogs already, designing new garden layouts, calculating how many yards of manure I want delivered...

I'm still dreaming and planning on completing the ECT in one fell swoop. I've also tacked on the dream of flying across the pond to hike the remainder of the Appalachian Mountain Chain through Britain.

I've been getting my hiking fix by reading up on friends at Trail Journals

What am I doing up at 2am? Well, I haven't been able to sleep. My bed is currently strewn with back issues of Wooden Boat, Backpacker, and Scientific American magazines, three sketchbooks, 1 box of 24 colored pencils, a dog eared copy of Blue Highways, a half eaten bag of Sour Patch Kid candies, the library book "What Should I Do With My Life?", and two sleeping bags.

(( I really miss life on the trail. I have to confess that my bed isn't really a real matress is out in my house. I've been sleeping on my closed cell foam camping pad and snuggling up to my sleeping bags at night. I do have real blankets, because I don't want to wear out my bags too much by sleeping in them at home, too. ))

I'm not in the mood to clear off my bed to go to sleep, so I've been on the computer researching what I should do with my life. It's an amusing but never ending cycle. There are just so many interesting things to do! Currently I'm looking into nursing.
I've created this little spot on the web to update about my life with more frequency and juicy details. I'll also be using it as a space to go off onto tangents and to polish up my writing skills.