Posts Tagged ‘food’

Christmas Past

December 27, 2008




December 1, 2008

Warning to the weak of stomach:  Read no further if you are easily grossed out.

Let me say first that I am not a filthy person.  Nor am I a clean freak…but I do keep my house and self up to a standard that would pass health inspection.  I don’t dust the top of the refrigerator more often than about once a year (who looks??) and I’m not great about floor scrubbing.  I do find green stuff growing in the forgotten containers in the back of the fridge, but they’re removed before they start crawling out the door.

So when I noticed a few little things fluttering around the kitchen, I wasn’t overly alarmed.  I’ve had these pantry moths before, from time to time…I bring in some nice organic rice or crackers and those little organic bugs hatch out and start partying.  I sigh and go through all my foodstuffs, toss everything that looks like it might possibly be a nice home for them, seal up the rest, and  that’s it.  But this time, I was too busy, kept putting it off…it’s not the most fun task and it takes a fair amount of time.

Fluttering wings over the kitchen table, flutters in front of the tv screen.  I swatted or brushed them away. A few days ago i saw something wiggling on the ceiling and Jerry knocked it down…we put it on the table and watched this cute little caterpillar hunching along, then carefully escorted it to the garbge can where it could happily munch.  The next day I saw a couple dangling on webs, and then I got out a skillet and one plopped into it. I had to face the fact that these were not charming visitors, these were pantry moth maggots!  The word maggot is nasty–I have a maggot story that I just can’t share here–so I could call them larvae, or caterpillars, but a maggot is a maggot.  These weren’t maggots bred on feces, and the pantry moths aren’t dirty like roaches or flies, after all, they’re harmless, and probably a good source of protein.

But then I checked my ceiling…oh my god…there were a couple dozen crawling across it. Vacuumed up pronto.  That was it.  I tore everything out of the pantry and all the cabinets that contained anything remotely food-like, scrubbed and sprayed….and still they gathered, with their adult counterparts, mostly in the corner above the fridge.  We cleared the top of it and found the source…a bag of cashews I’d tossed up there and forgotten about it.  Out it went, the fridge was pulled out, cleaned behind, and still they are gathering.

Today was warm, so instead of my coat I grabbed the jean jacket that was hanging on a hook next to the pantry.  Jerry started picking at my back…a maggot.  And another, and another. I ripped off my jacket and the inside of it was crawling with them!  Yeah, I got all girly and screamed.  And shuddered.  The jacket remains out in the rain, and now I have to go through EVERYthing in my kitchen, the linens in the drawers, the dishtowels, all of it…in hopes of eradicating these beasts.

Maggots are not bad.  They’re part of nature, they do a job.  Pantry moths must have a reason for being. Buddhists meditate on maggots.  I do not want to live with them.  I googled…seems they are almost impossible to get rid of.  They are called Indian Meal Moths. Read all about them here: I’ve found them nesting in my stores of expensive computer paper, they could be anywhere at all.  Pennyroyal and bay leaves are supposed to help…I’ll try that.

Meanwhile, my blog name, Drawing Flies, seems to have a whole new meaning….


To Kansas and Back

November 4, 2008

Today I stopped at the carwash on my way to vote, and got 3,000-plus miles’ worth of dirt rinsed off my new Subaru.  I cleared out all the trip-trash, washed the mats, vacuumed and polished it, and it’s ready for its second oil change in 2 weeks.  Jerry and I returned from our road trip last evening; I deposited him and his stuff after a celebratory dinner at La Florentina, then came home to my very happy cat, who purred and rubbed against me all night.  It’s nice to be missed.  I spent much of the night in a half-awake state wondering which motel I was in…my house and life always feel strange to me after time away, and it takes awhile to settle back into my routines.  This morning I was dumping hundreds of junk emails when there was a pounding on my door; I opened it to a police officer asking me if anything was missing from my car.  It seems that at about 2-3 AM some teenagers from Middletown ransacked all the cars on Boxwood Court and many more in the neighborhood, stealing Ipods and GPS devices.  He had looked into my car (how embarrassing, with all the junk strewn everywhere!) and we checked…GPS and Ipod were safe and sound, and I don’t know why I was the lucky one on the street–usually I do lock the car, but I was tired and left it open to greedy hands.  Maybe the thieves were grossed out by the mess, or maybe the light that goes on automatically in my studio when the door is opened came on, if they came near the house–I don’t know, but I’ll keep the thing locked–and clean–from now on.


It was a great trip.  We set the Garmin to the address of my old friends John and Elaine Brewer, in Lawrence, KS, and adjusted it to find out-of-the way eating spots and motels.  How easy that thing makes travel. img_4713We got a late start on Wednesday, and stopped in Lock Haven PA that night, Carrolton Kentucky the second night…a grim dark town where we were lucky to find a pizza place open after passing on the local dive, where desultory youths tossed darts, slurped Bud, and chewed on greasy unidentifiable substances.  img_4738Boonville MO was our third stopover, a rather pretty place where we dined in a high-ceilinged old hotel, and on Saturday we landed in Lawrence which was mobbed with football fans, a party at every house. (KU lost the game badly but the celebrants were having a grand time anyway.)  Elaine has created a very beautiful living space in their large, graceful Arts and Crafts house, full of elegant furniture, plants, and art, a grand piano and two harps.  She’s a harpist and a Rolfer, and Jerry and I each got treated to an hour of body work. John is the primary cook, and he dished up fabulous Indian dishes for us.  John and I have known each other literally since birth–his father delivered me–and I’ve known Elaine since she and John were dating in graduate school.  HIghlights: the evening I sat back and just listened to Jerry and John deep in conversation while playing with John’s Soma Cubes and Elaine and a friend practiced harp and flute pieces.  img_4839The Doggy Halloween party at a local jazz place, all wiggly tails and silly costumes, ballerina dogs, skunk dogs, clown dogs. img_4830 Being guests of honor at John’s weekly “salon” session with his good friends Sally and Christy, both delightfully eccentric women.  img_4872Revisiting spots I knew during my first grade year spent there, when my dad had a Sabbatical at KU and my brother was a student.  Food.  Lots of food.  Art shows.  Watching Chris Brewer dance wildly with his DDR thing–a computer game activated by elaborate dance steps. The Spencer Art Museum at KU, where the fire alarm went off and we were hustled out an exit and had to wait till the firetrucks left before I could retrieve my coffee mug, which was left at the front desk.  (Maybe they thought it was a bomb??) Elaine’s garden–what a massive and gorgeous piece of work, an oasis of stone walls and paths, ponds and waterfalls.  We left on Tuesday morning, to head on west to Hays, my hometown, where one of my oldest and dearest friends, Pete Felten, stone sculptor, lives.  But this is enough for now; I’ll add some photos (I took hundreds, mostly out of the car windows) and continue the rest of my travel tale tomorrow.img_4736