Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sorry if I offend

I can't stand the inconsiderate nature of some smokers. What makes you think I want your disgusting little butts all over my yard?

I just picked up nine butts from my front yard and driveway from barely more than half a days work by my contractor and his assistant. That's without looking for them, just happening upon them.

Should I leave them a coffee can and risk offending them? I don't want anything to negatively affect the quality of their work, but I can't face fifteen butts in my yard every frickin' day. I can't even think of something comparable. At least dog poop disintegrates after a few days.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I spent the day in the hammock rereading another Madeleine L'Engle book, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother. When I read it the first time I was moved by her experiences but could not relate to them personally. This time around so much of what she writes about her mother hits home.

And it occurs to me that this is the first summer of my life without my grandmother. We had such good times at my grandparents' house when we were youngsters, playing badminton, running through sprinklers, all the home cooked meals (fresh corn on the cob!). I could go on and on.

I am also forever grateful for the times we shared while she was in the nursing home. The walks we all took, three generations of women, to the gazebo. We peaked at the hidden house, admired the flowers, and took picture after picture. Grandma used to hide from the camera, but she gave up as she reached the end of her life, so we have many pictures of the three of us crowded around her at benches along the paved walkways.

Pictures are what hold my memories together. Thank goodness my family is rarely without a camera or four.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Village Walking

I was feeling a bit bored with my neighborhood walks, but the heat and humidity usually make for too many bugs in the woods. I had some borrowed items that I needed to return to my dad, so I decided to multi-task and walk in Hometown Village.

It worked out better than I could've hoped. When I pulled in the driveway my parents were standing there in their running gear about to set out. They went for a run down towards the school as I headed down towards the river.

I enjoyed the old houses and well-tended gardens, plus the bonus of having a sidewalk. From the bridge I watched a barge squeeze into the lock with only a few feet to spare on either side. I had a near-encounter with an old classmate who still delivers pizza, but fortunately his attention was diverted and I was able to slip past undetected. The dead tree covered in flowering trumpet vine looked exactly the same as it did in the summer of 1993 when I spent many nights walking around town with friends.

Back at the house, my parents and I sat cooling off beneath the ceiling fan while we visited.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I should be a real estate agent.

I just got home from showing my grandmother's house for the third time. I know the housing market is bombing right now, but I sure hope someone buys it soon because I'm not even getting a commission.

I treated myself to some dinner from McGreasy after the showing and scarfed it down like it was the best thing ever. And heck, it tasted pretty darn good. I could live on fries that tasted like that. Mmnn, fries and chocolate, my ideal diet. Not together though.

On a completely different note (other than the commonality of bad habits), FF told me about a girl who's eight months pregnant that chain smokes cigarettes and was smoking pot last night. Why is it that so many people that would make wonderful, caring parents struggle to see that become a reality and this twit acts like she has no brains in her head? It makes me so sad for the baby.

She also apparently doesn't know who the father is, so I guess I should feel a little sorry for her too. But it's hard to find sympathy for such foolishness.

It's not a soap opera, just small town America.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bullets of too tired to write more

  • My birch tree is being devoured by Japanese beetles. They are practically swarming. The leaves have been reduced to lace and are scattering over the lawn.
  • What is happening to le Tour de France? I nearly drove off the road on my way home from work when I heard about Rasmussen and Vinokourov on NPR. What on earth...
  • Construction has commenced! The hallway and linen closet have been framed in. Siding is in the driveway. Wow.
  • I finally started training my replacement at work today, which means that I may get to assume some of the tasks that go with my new position someday soon.
  • Things are so unsettled at work right now. Practically every week things change. It's a bit stressful.
  • I've been rereading A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle. She is one of my all-time favorite authors. I find her writing so inspiring.
  • As a result, I've been journaling again. I had stopped journaling in my spiral notebooks altogether since the break up with FF. I'd dumped so much into them during that time that I had negative associations with the whole concept. It feels good to be journaling again. It was something that I let slide during much of our relationship, so it feels good to regain the things that matter to me.
  • I continue to meet my weekly goal of a minimum of two walks per weekend. In fact, I exceeded it by one walk this week. Go me!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Give Blood

I posted a thoughtless comment to another blog recently about how annoying the Red Cross is with their incessant phone solicitations. Another commenter pointed out the obvious; they are calling because they need my blood. D'oh.

I decided to get over myself and my perceived inconveniences, so when they called last night I actually answered the phone and scheduled an appointment for this morning. Somehow I had managed to forget the most important thing with blood donation. It helps someone in need. I can give two hours of my life every so often if it means that someone else is helped by what I do.

Now I'm in my least favorite phase of blood donation- the hours spent in post donation with the stretchy band wrapped so tightly around my arm that it is a constant source of irritation. Do I really have to leave it on for 4-5 hours?

My favorite part is the juice and cookies, obviously.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eat Locally

From the farmer's market this morning. All locally grown (we ask) or made. I splurged on the chocolate truffles in the bottom left corner because of the free samples and good selling technique. I'm eating the blackberry moon pie as I type this. Yum! I am in love with the farmer's market.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

My Childhood Home

Now seems like a perfect time for a meme, so when I saw this one at Overwhelmed With Joy and Owlhaven, I decided to give it a whirl. I have a notoriously bad memory, so it may not be as descriptive as theirs. I need to start taking ginkgo or something.

I had one trailer, two houses, and one apartment that could easily be considered childhood homes. A third house came into my life while I was in high school, so that might not qualify. I chose house number one to write about.

My family lived there while I was of the ages two through six. The house itself was in many ways more like a camp than a home. It was on the shores of a small lake, on land owned and operated by the county as a nature center. There was a second house that shared the same driveway, which was used as a camp (I don't think it was winterized?).

There was a dock and a float. In summer the dock would be the perfect place for water snakes to sun themselves. We had five dogs and a barn with chickens and goats and very large rats. Mom would say silly things like, "I'm going out to feed the giraffes and elephants now" when she went out to the barn.

Our kitchen table was in front of the window looking out on the water. Dad would yell "great blue heron" and point out the window. When we turned to look, he'd swipe something off our plates.

Sis and I used to throw the pink jelly beans from our Easter baskets down the stairs into the basement apartment because we didn't like them. We also drew all over our shared bedroom walls with crayon. It was the best place to grow up because we had acres and acres of woods and fields to play in. Talk about a big backyard.

Sis could probably write about the same childhood home in much more detail. Maybe she will? If you decide to write about yours, leave a comment so I know.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blogger's Block

I seem to have a case of blogger's block.

I can't think of anything to blog about at all.

Except one thing, which I am not ready to talk about ("what," you ask, "you mean you can actually stop the compulsive sharing? We thought that was beyond your control." Well, I'm sure it won't last, never fear.) .

It's not really surprising that I lack subject matter. You do the math:

24 hours in a day
-10 hours of work
-1.5 hours of commuting
-1.5 hours showering & getting ready for work
-7 hours of sleep

= 4 hours to eat dinner and attempt to have a life (which usually amounts to vegging on the couch in front of Law & Order, too exhausted to even get ready for bed).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Business Cards

For the first time ever, I am now in possession of business cards.

I am both amused and alarmed that I may actually need them.

In just over a month I will start hiring my first round of temporary staff. I better add straighten up my office to my to do list.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I can see for miles...

During the summer I work four ten hour days so that I can have a three day weekend. Usually that means that I don't take a lunch at all, rather I eat while I work or during a fifteen minute break.

Yesterday was just too beautiful, and I felt I'd been cooped up long enough. I changed into sneakers, grabbed my camera, and headed out for a walk.

This picture makes it hard to believe that I work within the city limits, doesn't it?
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Which would you choose?

Bathroom A is marginally closer.

Bathroom B is a lovely shade of pink.

Bathroom A has a very effective fan, which is always a plus when it comes to public rest rooms.

Bathroom B has no fan to speak of.

Bathroom A has no water pressure, so you're lucky to get a drizzle to wash your hands with.

Bathroom B has rockin' water pressure.

Bathroom A is strategically laid out so that you can open the door with your paper towel and then throw it in the trash while holding the door open with your foot.

Bathroom B is much larger, so the trash can is out of reach. You must carry your paper towel hand protector to the trash can in the hall for deposit.

Bathroom A has a full length mirror, so you can see how your ass really looks in those jeans.

Bathroom B is farther away, so you can walk off some of that Twix bar that is rapidly going to your ass.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Grass Seed

I finally got rid of the big pile of wood that has been in my front yard for almost a year, since the great chain sawing event of last August. Actually, to be more precise FF got some of his young co-workers to take the wood for what sounds like a hell of a bonfire.

I immediately sprinkled the last of the grass seed laying around the garage and began watering like a madwoman. I soaked the spot at least twice a day, watching the little seeds bounce around like little Mexican jumping beans.

Then last night when I got home from work, after a day of rain and the arrival of cooler temperatures, I looked out the window and saw pale green spiking up from the dirt. In less than twenty-four hours the seeds had gone from bouncing around the surface to rooted and a couple inches tall. I felt like if I stood there long enough I'd be able to see the grass growing.

I need to put some more seed down to thicken the grass, but this is already so much better than a pile of old wood or bare earth. One step at a time...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

J is for jeans

I would like to thank a creative co-worker of mine who suggested to our boss that since July starts with a "j" we should get to wear jeans all month long.

A whole month of casual! My office has little or no contact with the outside world, so there's no reason that we should have to dress up.

It was also suggested that the same rule would apply for January and June, so there's hope for those months as well in the future...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some Concerns

After writing about my dog the other day, I took him to the vet for his annual poking, prodding, and stabbing. It turns out that he has a cataract starting to develop in one eye. Yeesh! I thought he was too young to have to worry about things like that (roughly seven years old). Poor little guy.

In other health related news, FF has been having severe chest pain and finally took himself to the doctor. He has what could be "an enlarged or swollen left ventricle." He has a follow-up appointment on Friday for an echo test.

On a lighter note, today is our annual office clean-up day, so the air is laden with all kinds of toxic fumes. My plan is to keep my window open, regardless of the mid-90s predicted, and to blow my dust bunnies off my desk with a big breath of air and call it clean. The smell is already making me nauseous and it's still early.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dog Days

Ever since my dog has reached full grown, I've encountered a non-stop array of questions. Most of them go something like this:

"What kind of dog is that?"

I've had people holler out car windows as they drive by or come out of their houses to inquire as we walk by. The receptionists at the vet ask, as do the vet techs. This evening as I walked on my customary route through my neighborhood, a man stopped his car at a stop sign and rolled down his window to ask the question I knew was coming.

Then he got out of the car and asked to greet my dog. We chatted and he petted. I'm not entirely sure which one of us he was flirting with, me or the dog.

If nothing else, he sure does make for an interesting conversational piece.

And this picture doesn't even give you an idea of what the whole package looks like.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I've mentioned before how I am a big fan of watching grand slam tennis. As you may or may not know, Wimbledon is reaching it's peak after a stretch of miserably cold and rainy weather. I have seen very little play from this year's Championship, so this morning I've tuned in Radio Wimbledon online.

Let me just say, listening to tennis is not like watching it. I never much cared for situations where I was forced to listen to Hometown U basketball games, but this is much worse. Basically, the only thing I'm getting out of it is frequent score updates.

Hopefully, I will be able to watch some matches tomorrow. And hopefully, Henin and Federer will lose. It's not about who wins for me as much as it is about those two losing.

And Le Tour starts tomorrow!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It washes off much easier than I expected.

I just had to go get fingerprinted to exclude myself from the investigation. How exciting.

It would have felt creepy and weird except for the fact that the officer printing me was nice and chatty. She didn't have any updates yet, but I guess it's too soon especially with the holiday.

I did have a sense of deja vu, although I don't think I've been printed before. Maybe I've just been watching too much TV.

Let's get Detectives Briscoe and Green on the case!

Unsolicited Advise

Before you leave home on vacation:

  • make sure all of your windows are closed and locked
  • make sure all of your doors are locked
  • take the window AC unit out of the window
  • do not leave car keys in plain sight
  • set a light on a timer
  • tell your neighbors you'll be out of town
  • leave your contact information in case of an emergency

I know some of you are thinking, you must be kidding, who wouldn't know all of this already? But there are still some very trusting (naive?) people in this world. People that are old-fashioned perhaps. People that will probably not make these same mistakes again.

It could've been much worse. The car was not stolen. Nothing was damaged. We won't know the extent of what was taken until my parents return.

But it was scary and invasive and nerve-wracking. It makes me want to rethink some of my habits at my own home.

It makes me sad that there are so many bad people in the world. Or people that would do such bad things. I really hope their fingerprints are on file.

Monday, July 02, 2007

They're cargo pants, I promise.

I returned to Second Home Nature Center for another lap around the lake early this evening. It was relatively cool again and mostly bug free. I encountered many more people today than yesterday, but I'm almost always happy to see people appreciating what a wonderful place SHNC is. Sometimes I like to beat the crowds though like I did yesterday. Today I took the tactic of walking the trail backwards so that I would be meeting most of the people as opposed to trying to pass them. I don't want to walk the whole length of the trail thirty feet in front or behind anyone.

I am happy to report that I am now up to four weekends in a row of meeting my goal of two walks per weekend. But let's not talk about the chocolate cake I just devoured...

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Impressive Clouds

After feeding my folks' cat this morning (they are on vacation out west) and reading their Sunday paper, I headed out to Second Home Nature Center. The weather wasn't at all feeling like the first day of July, and I didn't end up needing my hat to ward off the bugs, as there were none. But it did keep the sun out of my eyes when I was on the boardwalk.

Back at the building after my three mile walk, I chatted with one of the naturalists whose older daughter will be a senior in high school in the fall. Sis and I used to babysit her when she was just a baby.

I resisted buying a sweatshirt from the gift shop, but I'm afraid I may cave next time I'm there. It's nice enough that I could wear it to work without being fancy.

I've been relaxing, but I need to kick it up a notch and go get some potting soil so I can get my new pink geraniums transplanted. I love geraniums, although I usually go for the red ones.
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