Thursday, December 27, 2007

CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" Pitonyak/Hall Trials' Airing

At Laura Hall's trial I met two CBS "48 Hours Mystery" producers while we were all hanging out in the hall waiting for a verdict. Recently one of the producers told me she thought their show on the Pitonyak/Hall trials would air the first week of February. She was not positive about the exact air date but thought that, because of the writers' strike, the air date had been bumped up to early February.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Old-Fashioned Part of Our Christmas Holiday

When I'm cooking, I have a habit of trying to turn on and off the kitchen faucets with my elbows when my hands are covered with food. This technique is only marginally successful, and last night I shoved the hot water handle too hard and stripped its valve stem. Kurt was able to stop it from gushing for the time being, which means we (for now) have no kitchen sink hot water. (We don't have a dishwasher, either.)

So, until Kurt is able to fix this problem, we are boiling water in the teapot to add to the super-cold dishwater. Very quaint and old-fashioned. Turning lemons into lemonade...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hearings I Plan to Attend Next Month

January 9th I plan to attend the (supposedly) last joint pretrial hearing for the retrials of the so-called Yogurt Shop murders' Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen.

Oral arguments are set to be heard in the Third Court of Appeals in The State of Texas v. Colton Aaron Pitonyak on January 23rd. I have no experience observing appellate hearings, so I called the Third Court of Appeals' clerk just to make sure the general public is allowed to observe such oral arguments.

I have no idea what issues will be argued or in what format, but I plan to go, especially since I attended Pitonyak's trial, in which Pitonyak was found guilty of murdering Jennifer Cave then fleeing to Mexico.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cauliflower Dreams

This morning I went to my favorite local organic farmstand, Boggy Creek Farm, which is where I got this gorgeous cauliflower. I have been a regular customer there for about 5 years now and I am so grateful for them. I had heard of Boggy Creek Farm for years but always assumed it was way out of town somewhere. But upon returning from a great trip to France, I looked them up, hoping I could re-create my own Austin version of Paris' fresh food-market-stands-shopping routine. And I was wrong about having to drive way out of town: Boggy Creek Farm is very centrally located, less than 3 miles from downtown Austin!

The Boggy Creek Farm farmers and their workers--as well as many of their regular customers--have enriched and continue to enrich my life and not only by providing such fabulous vegetables. There's a very special community feeling there: diamond-laden, toddler-toting soccer moms easily mingle with Code Pink women peace activists, local chefs from Austin's top restaurants, and plenty of other seemingly disparate peoples. It is peaceful, inspirational, and invigorating all at the same time. Oh, and YES: their organic veggies are delicious, nutritious, and beautiful!

The other picture is my Boggy Creek Farm wanna-be cauliflower plants (along with some of the lettuce for tonight's dinner!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Know You're on Pins and Needles: Broccoli Update

I see no more yellow spots, but now some of the broccoli leaves have holes in them! The lettuces are perfect and almost ready to cut off into a salad. I anxiously mentioned the broccoli-leaf holes to husband Kurt and he dryly replied, "it's just an experiment."

My Cat's Gratitude

After 3 days of getting treated to my homemade bison-apple loaf, you'd think my cat would be curled in my lap, purring uncontrollably. Not exactly.

Today, I was fiddling around in the kitchen while the cat sat on her food-bowl table, meowing. I ignored her because I'd just fed her 2 hours earlier. As I was about to leave, she jumped off her food table and stared at me with her freaky (very occasional, thankfully) "I'm a reformed feral cat and I can't help it: I'm going to bite you now!" look.

I tried to stare her down--an effective method with the dog--but that didn't work. She hurled herself at my leg, holding on just long enough to give me a quick bite then ran away. She actually drew blood through my jeans! Ingrate.

But I still love her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Real Holiday Treat for Your Dogs and Cats

Thunderheart Bison, out of San Antonio, treats their bison well: not only are these bison grass-fed, free-roaming, and antibiotic/hormone-free, they're killed suddenly and instantly out in the field before they even have a minute to panic or be fearful. I eat very few critters, but sometimes I eat these humanely raised bison.

Your dogs and cats (especially cats because they're solely carnivores) will really LOVE you if you cook them some ground bison with diced organic apple. It's that easy: combine a pound of ground bison with one egg and about a half a diced apple and form into a loaf. Bake it at 350 F for around 20 minutes or until it's medium rare. Bison is leaner than beef, so be careful not to overcook it.

If handling meat disgusts you, wear latex gloves and mix it together and cook it on some foil--all disposable and your skin and utensils never touch it.

After it's cooled off, mash it up a little and serve. Instant pet bliss.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Not "Just" Arguing Semantics: Bishop "Under Investigation"?

Thursday evening, Austin's Fox television news affiliate reported that
"the prosecutor in the Laura Hall case is under investigation for alleged misconduct during the sentencing phase of her trial. That's according to a letter FOX 7 obtained from the Board of Disciplinary Appeals. Hall's attorney says prosecutor Bill Bishop called Doug Connaly [sic] to testify against her during sentencing, but Bishop did not tell the defense that Connaly [sic] was not able to pick Hall out of a photo lineup."
"Under investigation" sounds serious--and it may very well be serious in Bishop's case--but it's impossible to determine from the vague yet ear-catching information provided in that short story. I haven't been successful in finding more information online, either.

In the section regarding filing grievances against lawyers, the State Bar of Texas' website does not use that term "under investigation" so I don't know what that really means in the real world. The Bar uses the terms "inquiry" and "complaint" in its initial grievance process: which word sounds more serious on the surface? Apparently a "complaint" is more serious.

Nothing personal, Fox 7, but it would be nice to hear more specifics in your "top stories." And correct spelling of names would be nice, too.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Urban Vegetable Garden: Spots on Broccoli Leaves and an Indie Rock Band?

The lettuce and cauliflower appear to be happy, growing bigger and showing no discoloration or droopiness. The broccoli seems medium-happy, in that it continues to grow; however, one leaf on each plant has yellow-ish spots.

Because I'm brand new to this, I don't know if the spots are any big deal or not. The information I've found so far indicates the spots might be a common fungus called downy mildew. I remember a band in the '80s from Downey, California named Downey Mildew. They had one good song.

I'm having a hard time finding information on how to get rid of this downy mildew on my broccoli plants, so for now I'm just going to cut those leaves off and see what happens. Not the most scientific approach, I guess.