Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last day of March

J got a late Christmas/St. Patrick's Day combo box from Shoeshine today. It was filled with Irish goodies: a book to learn how to "talk Irish", a bumper sticker, some note cards, etc. But, the crowning glory (pun intended) was this:

When he found the hat at the bottom of the box, he started laughing, oh, ho ho. When I told him yes, Shoeshine had given up the hat for him, he couldn't believe it. All the time I was getting the camera, I heard happy chortling, ho, ho, ho. I asked him why he sounded like Santa when it was a St Patrick's Day hat? I could tell he was happy, but couldn't see if he was smiling for the camera.  Afterward I asked him did he really have part of the beard in his mouth?  Well, yes, he had to hold it in place somehow!

J had the pipe prop, but thought he should have a stein in his hand. I told him the cookie jar was good enough.

And by the way, it's time to put the decorations away. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If you don't believe me, read it for yourself

Coincidentally(and are there really any coincidences?) Ameranth let loose with her web site tonight, after I finished my post earlier.  So if you read that and want to know more about her trip, check this out. I must say, I am impressed by her setup there.

I believe she is planning to duplicate it on Blogger, to hit more potential readers. I hope so, because I don't know how to "follow" a Wordpress blog.  I'm slow like that.

Ameranth Goes Walkabout


So, she's given her notice at work and Sunday is her last day. Looks like she's really going to do it now. For several years Ameranth has planned to walk across America with her dog. The plan has had numerous revisions spanning the far-fetched idea of gathering like-minded folks (there are more like her?) to join her walk (ala Forrest Gump, I asked?) to the more realistic (?) idea that her soulmate will find her on the trek(because that kind of guy would think like me, Mom).

And for several years, I repeat her plans to people and see them react one of two ways. Typically any parents or other grown-up type people are horrified and concerned. Younger people or single males think it's great, although they caution her to bring a gun, which horrifies her.

But I could always laugh it off, knowing it would happen in the far off future, if ever. Now, she has money saved, she has her starting date and her dog, which she chose 2 1/2 years ago expressly for this trip. Anna has her pack and both have been in training, taking walks with practice loads.  Today, Ameranth told me she not only ordered new glasses, but a year's supply of contacts as well. People, she's serious now.  I can no longer pretend it will never happen.

Ms. M is not happy with her, Shoeshine is jealous, and I believe that while Sectaurs does not think it is a rational plan, he is also ready for her and her dog to move on, and his ladyfriend and her cats to move in.

As the Plan gets closer to implementation, I find I have conflicting emotions. Naturally, I think she should keep her job and not traipse across the country, practically inviting weirdos and kooks to track her down and attack her. On the other hand, she's a grownup and doesn't need my permission to do anything. She's intelligent; has ADD and social anxiety and 3/4 of a college degree; takes good care of her dog; is a vegetarian; attractive; funny; and adventurous. As silly as this sounds, considering what I've written here, she is sensible and down-to earth, well, about most things she is.

Ideally, she would like to have people follow her blog about her trip, get hooked on her and buy the book she wants to write afterwards. She has a netbook or whatever those little laptops are called and plans to email a friend of hers, who will update her blog. She is also planning to email the friend, and me with her whereabouts each day, "so you'll know where to start the police looking if I disappear, Mom"  Hardy har har.

I do understand how she feels. Like her life is kind of stagnant and she should do something soon, before she turns 30 and "has to settle down and be normal". As if.

In my early 20's, before I met J and knew he was the one for me, it seemed as if everyone else in the world knew what they were doing, where they were going, and has someone to go there with them.  #2 had his girlfriend, # 4 had a steady boyfriend, and #3 had gotten married as soon as she turned 18. I was alone and lonely. I had dropped out of college after 2 years and at a loss for direction. I looked into the Peace Corps, but I knew the same social anxiety that made me leave college would never get me on a plane to Africa.

Ms. M did go into the Peace Corps, after she graduated from college, and spent 2+ years in Moldova. I didn't like having her half a world away, but we all lived through it. Shoeshine joined the Army, and the 82nd Airborne and went to Kosovo. I really didn't like that!  Both of them made those decisions on their own, and I don't remember either asking 'permission'.

I applaud Ameranth for her courage in taking this step, even as I wish she wouldn't. Well, I don't really wish she wouldn't- I wish that she has a good time and meets only friendly, helpful, non-freaky people.  I want one of those umbrellas that insurance company uses in their ads, to hover over her the whole way and keep her safe.

There are still a couple of weeks left before she leaves, so who knows what will happen. I was happier several weeks ago when she said a dog-walking acquaintance had offered to drive her to Albany, since she was having trouble finding walking trails across MA. Her first destination is western NY, where her writing friend and blog updater/ is graduating from college in May. That means she can follow the Erie Canal walking paths and it's only 300 freaking miles.  Now, that dog person moved sooner than expected, and is no longer in the area. We'll see what happens, I told her I could always drive her across the Hudson to her starting point.I was hoping that walking that far would be enough, but she is still planning to continue. Curses!

Oh and by the way, not that I think any of my readers are wacky killers, but just in case, don't even think about trying anything! You'll never track her down.And she will be armed with pepper spray and a very ferocious dog!

I, however, am considering implanting a homing device when she is here before she leaves. Do you think that could be done in her sleep without her knowing? That and a portable web cam, though I guess it would be hard to count on WiFi along the trails.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Testing- yes, it's working!

It was a Blogger/Google uploading problem and seems to be fixed.  Yay!

And let's see if I can get my favorite one up here- She looks like " I am the queen sleeping, do not disturb".
I really wish she were closer to us, not over 1500 miles away. But, at least I get pictures and updates. I sent X a picture of our family so she can use it as a visual aid when Ladyslipper gets older, lol.

Rainy Days and Mondays

It's Monday, it's windy and raining, and that's the good news. Really, it could be snow- we've had major snowstorms in mid-April before, so 46 degrees and sideways flooding is okay.

I was bound and determined not to spend the morning on the computer, but I found I had emails with new Ladyslipper photos. Had to resize and save them, and yes, post a pic.*Many minutes later*  Phooey- Apparently Blogger does not want me to post pictures today.  I am trying not to take this personally. 

Moving on. J has both breakers hooked up in the shed, and we have lights with switches and outlets with power. (The lights have power too) We built the steps we are bringing down to Ms. M next weekend- and I wasn't planning on posting a picture of them yet, so take that, Blogger. We want to totally surprise them with the splendor of the new steps, although anything that is level will be a big improvement from what they have now.

Looking forward to calling Re this afternoon to talk about her son's wedding last Saturday. Her cancer treatment ended a few weeks ago, so she could travel to KY, and I hope she was able to enjoy all the festivities.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

B*tch slap from Mother Nature

I guess the biting of my thumb yesterday may have been a mistake. The flurries continued all afternoon, but this morning the sun was out and it is relatively mild again. However, don't think Mother Nature is backing down-no, she is just making it so the arctic blast we get tonight is that much more painful. Is it too late to say I'm sorry?

But weather aside, today has been a good day. First and foremost, it's Ms. M's birthday!  Hooray for a daughter who is smart, polite, funny, lovely and chose a great guy to marry. (Not denigrating any of my other kids- it's not your birthday- be quiet).

She sent pictures today of the new fence they just had installed. She is so happy that they can just let their dog out now, and I think Mabel is happy too.

Next, I was able find exactly what I wanted for Ms.M's present, so that was very nice, after the disappointment of my first shopping trip. In the course of my search, I also found a great buy on a snowman kit. It's a nice wooden box, with all you need to build a snowman except the snow. Felt hat and scarf, and wooden carrot, buttons, and pipe. For 17 cents each. Yes, that's right!  J had seen similar kits and though they were great, but we would never have paid full price.  Now, I wish I had gotten more than 3 of them. I was lucky to get that many, since one shopper was filling a cart with them.

 I also dropped off a job application, and filled one out online, which I thought was pretty good, until I came to the second part. I had to take a test, one of those that test your common sense and honesty and social skills, with "strongly agree or disagree", "slightly agree or disagree" and the middle one I love "I'm not sure". 

So everyone knows how to answer those questions, right, and I was scooting right along until I got to the honesty ones. I think anyone who knows me would say I am pretty darn honest, but my problem is that I start thinking too much about the answers.  Do they want me to strongly agree that there is never a good reason to lie? Really, never? I did agree, but then comes "It's all right to tell an occasional white lie" Well, yes it is, if it's "your hair looks good", when it doesn't, so much. 

Telling the truth is just so much easier in the long run. You don't forget what you've told people, or who you've told what to, and the truth always comes around to bite you in the ass anyway. Don't lie, just shut up.

So, I probably messed up the test by thinking too much, although I do think I did okay on the 'best choice/worst choice' of actions to be taken in hypothetical situations. Unless "ask the manager" isn't the right pick all the time. Ha! 

Good thing I'm not going for a manager's job.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I read this at In Real Life a week ago, and told her to keep it to herself, and Canada. But no, I just looked up and saw white stuff flying through the air sideways. It's the dreaded flurries and they are here!

And the sun was weakly shining an hour ago.  Oh, I am a sad panda today.

However, I shall pull my cock-eyed optimism out from under the bedclothes and say boldly: "It is 36 degrees outside and snow cannot stick. This is a aberration and shall not prevail. It is spring, darn it!"

*whispers* "It is getting heavier and the hens all ran back to the coop. If I look to the west, the trees are hidden behind a wall of white."

Mother Nature, I shake my fist at you!  I will get all Shakespearean and bite my thumb at you!

(I'll let you know how that goes)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A busy birthday week

This week starts with my father's birthday, then two nephews have theirs, and Thursday is Ms. M's day. This year there is a special ending, as one of the nephews not only turns 27 today, but is getting married on the 27th. We aren't able to make it down to Louisville, but look forward to lots of pictures.

I would mention the problems I've had finding what I want for Ms M, but she reads this blog, so I can't.  [Ha, not a clue either!  However, it will be something delivered in person, not mailed, so you will just have to wait a bit longer. Sorry.  Unless I totally change my mind, but if I do, you still won't get it on the 25th.  End of private message]

Sadly, our weather has gone back to being seasonable, so it's cool and rainy. The good news is, it isn't snow. Shoeshine called tonight and has 5 inches on the ground, with another 3 or 4 due before it stops. He's in Colorado, and their snow often melts the day after they get it, at this time of year.

I went to get this picture which I thought had the groom-to-be in it, but either it was just before he was born, or he was too little to be entrusted to one of his cousins. I decided to post the picture anyway, because I like it.

These cousins represent the offspring of J and 5 of his siblings as of 1983. There are now 9 more, and four of the pictured ones have produced a total of  7 next-gen kids.  My four are in the front row- blue sweater boy, matching-skirts girls, and the thumbsucker at the end.  One of these kids did not want their picture taken. Can you tell which one?   If you guessed Ameranth, sliding off the bench, you are correct!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A poem my father recites:

Spring has sprung;
The grass has ris.
I wonder where
The birdie is? 

There he is
In the sky.
He dropped some
Whitewash in my eye!

I am no sissy;
I won't cry.
I'm just glad
The cows can't fly!

Friday, March 19, 2010


We had a very productive day today, and a nice visit as well. Last year I had cleared a new spot for our garden, and thought it was just fine until the trees in the chicken yard leafed out and shaded it more than half the day.  Those trees are now history. Well, actually they are firewood.

The ash trees  were skinny saplings growing at the edge of our barn when we bought the place in 1987, and we left them alone, eventually using them for a shaded chicken yard. The chickens are out of luck now, my friends.
My brother-in-law G brought up his chain saw, since our big one is out of commission. The largest trunk was more than a foot in diameter (that's across, right?) and two more were just slightly smaller. We removed the chain link fence and the trees all fell exactly where planned, in between the fence posts. (That doesn't always happen, believe me).

The weather was lovely, up to 60, and my folks had good seats for supervising. I know they both wish they could be helping.

Oh, J took down the clothesline as a precaution, since we are moving that as well. We have a small electric chainsaw, so J and I worked on the smaller branches and G and #5 teamed up on the bigger ones. And I was helping, but I also had to take the pictures, therefore you will have to take my word for it.

Doesn't that look like he should be saying " You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?"  *  

* No parents were harmed in the downing of these trees. They were not allowed to use any tools nor tote branches, bales or barges.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Well, we couldn't get Giselle....

I just sent an email to my kids explaining that J was busy painting and prettying up his shed for our company tomorrow, so he did not do his whole St Patrick's Day photo shoot.  Of course, other years I was usually working, so he had no one here to interfere help.

 He came back inside and sighed about no pictures. Then he wondered out loud if the dogs would mind posing in a hat. "Come on, Rosie!" he chortled, and I figured I better grab the camera before he did. He got the hat and I contributed a shamrock doggie kerchief. 

Foreseeing some rowdiness, we went out to the porch, but we totally underestimated Boomer's excitement level about the wearing of the green. Any bystanders would be forgiven for thinking we were running a dog fighting ring, judging by the ferocious snarling coming from our yard. Boomer tends to berate Rosie whenever he thinks she is not cooperating, such as when he walks through the door first, then turns to leap on her because she is not out yet.
Boomer is not biting J, he has a ball in his mouth and he thinks J is stealing it, not trying to get him to face the camera. Totally oblivious to the kerchief, so we tried it on Rosie. Yes, it's a neckerchief, but I think it looks funnier over the ears, like a babushka. Then Boomer was jealous that Rosie looked better than he.

We finally managed to get both "dressed" and in the same shot. I think Rosie looks like she's had a hard night partying! 

She's such a good dog. (That one foot of hers was reaching out to fend off the bad dog).

Anyway, that was the celebration this year.


Happy St. Patrick's Day! Last year I wrote about marrying into an Irish clan, so I won't repeat myself- at least not intentionally. Suffice it to say this is a celebrated and decorated day at our house.

My last post  with Shoeshine's picture drove J to learning how to comment on my blog! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? He hasn't found a similar hat yet though.

 Speaking of Shoeshine, he sent a new picture of Ladyslipper last night, not clad in green, but still very cute- he called it Disco Baby:
  I don't remember those little elastic hairbands when my kids were little, but I love them. And Ms M certainly could have used them, I don't think she had much hair until she was at least a year old. Ameranth came with hair. Ha, that makes her sound like a Barbie or My Little Pony. Fully assembled, no batteries needed.

Anyway, this is a good week for us. Far enough north that we missed the torrential downpours, it's sunny and above normal temperatures, company is coming tomorrow, so the house is clean(er) and best of all, J's tongue biopsy came back all normal, nothing to worry about. A very good week indeed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Odds and Ends

Several projects advanced this weekend- not to completion, but a step closer. Speaking of steps, we have moved from planning to acquisition of material for Ms M's and Mr C's replacement steps.  This is what the house came with:
Amazingly they held up during the move of all the large pieces through this porch. They just settled a bit further askew. Oddly, the step tops are hinged. Why? It's a little big to hide a key. Would you store gardening tools there? I wouldn't.We offered to build a new set for them and J was able to score some pressure treated cull wood on Friday.

Saturday we got that last bench built in the shed, and we have power out there now! Not warm enough today to paint the shelves, but it will be soon. Notice the clever spaces left underneath for the shop vac and the kerosene heater to be stored when not in use.

Today, we spent some time spring cleaning the kitchen- the ceiling, the knickknacks above the cabinets, etc. The dusty stuff you don't notice everyday, but you do when company is coming.  And we are having company next week! One of my sisters, #5, and her husband are driving my parents up for a 3 day visit.

My father has been told he will need dialysis in the near future, probably within 6 months, and then travel will become more problematic. He is a bladder cancer survivor, but scarring from several operations have caused his kidneys to slowly fail. One quit years ago, and the other is down to working at about 14% capacity. Apparently the scarring makes an organ donation out of the question. We'll plan on getting them up here once more during the warm weather.

Lastly, Shoeshine sent a picture yesterday that has J green with envy.

I added a picture of J, just to show that he does not need a(nother) St. Patrick's hat. 
 And neither do his ghoulies.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mr Crazy's daughter

I totally told her I was going to write that conversation down, but Ameranth did it first. And she did a good job, so you should go here and read it for a chuckle. She's a chip off her father's block, that one.

J and Janis

Poor J had some lesions removed from his tongue a few weeks ago, then had to have a little more of the surrounding area taken Tuesday to be tested as a precaution. He went back to work today, and I asked him how he was feeling.

He said this song just kept running through his head:

"I'll say come on, come on, come on, come on, yeah take it!
Take another little piece of my tongue now, doctor."

I didn't see that coming, surprisingly. 

And, along the same note (ta dum dum) what makes that squiggly feeling in your innards when discussing icky things like tongues and knives in the same sentence? I mean, what actually causes that sensation, because everyone seems to get it. Is it some sort of sympathetic primal response? It makes me wonder. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Treasured Tool

J likes his tools grouped together and displayed just so, but there's only one he doesn't like others to touch.

That would be his left-handed Stanley rule, or tape measure as we non-afficianados would say. J is not left-handed(he probably would have been had the nuns stayed out of it) but likes the tape worn on the left. Although the numbers face away, this way the "little lines" or fractions are closest to him and easy to mark. (J also wears his watch on the 'wrong' wrist, his right, as does Ameranth. They both  can bat on either side as well).

Most tapes have the belt clip attached so they face frontwards on the right side and sadly, Stanley stopped making the left-handed tapes more than 10 years ago. J is very careful of the ones he has left. When we work on a project, heaven help me if  I ask to use the one on his belt- he will fetch another for me. He doesn't actually use it himself except for measurements at work.

The eight tapes on the left are the good kind, however, they have all lost their tension or whatever makes the tape go in and out. They are saved in honor of their meritorious service, and for potential parts, I think.

I tipped over the metal strip they are clipped on by mistake last week and after they all clattered on to the floor, there was a dreadful silence. I remarked that at least they weren't the precious ones, and J said quietly that yes, they were. I felt like I had clubbed a baby seal.

As you can see, we do not have a shortage of actual working tapes to choose from. And these don't include the ones in the house. Or car. Most people have a flashlight in their car- we have a tape measure. You just never know when you might need to measure something.

I've suggested that we might find other left handed tapes made by other companies, but so far, J has resisted that idea. He's worn Stanley tapes for 43 years and doesn't want anything else, dammit!

Faithful is good.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gettin' her done

We didn't get the new bench up after all, since we found we didn't have the right size lumber. But we did add a storage shelf to the second bench J had painted, and made a clever support for the chop saw. It is level with the benches on either side, so we can use them for supports while sawing. Great, eh? I saw this in an article.

Still very much a work in progress, but it's getting there. J's moved in a lot of his special racks, etc. to temporary places.

The coffee cans each have a different size screw or nail, all labeled and usually with a sample attached to the outside.
These are the smaller wood and metal screws, nuts and bolts. And yes, those blue boxes on the end are made of cardboard from beer boxes. The smaller boxes inside are made of Prince spaghetti boxes, so the colors match. (J had several layoffs during the 90's and put his downtime to good use. And again yes, I worried about him and his box-making, but it kept him happy)

Oops, I just realized I didn't take any photos of his lights- be right back. 

Over the years, J has saved any number of fixtures that other people have decided were outdated, old or ugly. These have been hanging from the rafters in our old shed, and now are being put to good use. We are definitely cheap packrats environmentally conscious recyclers. Ignore the wiring hanging hither and yon- they are temporary placements while he figures out where he wants them.
(Ha. I just noticed his Kerry/Edwards sign prominently posted here. J collects political bumper stickers and signs, but lets just say this is not one that reflects his opinions. We have a mixed marriage)

J has the wiring all set from our breaker box out to the old shed, through underground conduit to a little breaker box in the new shed.  He just has to run the rest of it inside, meanwhile he is using extension cords.

Let's see, the last fixture is the wood stove that he will have for heat next year. It looks like we'll have to pay for the double-walled stove pipe, which is not something people get rid of. Not in usable condition anyway.  We have our .10 tiles ready anyway. J has it lying on the floor for looks- when we install it, it will probably be built up a little off the floor.

     Looks sort of like a giant bug in this photo. Kind of.

I can't figure out why the old shed doesn't look any emptier yet.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Don't..just don't.

I saw Pearl's post regarding inappropriate and apparently unconscious behavior and had to write about our shopping trip yesterday.  We were picking up a few items on sale at Wallyworld and found a cashier with only one man ahead of us.

This woman was very friendly and oh so polite, holding her hand closely against her wide open yawning mouth, twice. She then leaned forward to rest her face between her palms, while the man tried to get another card to work. I believe she even ran her hands through her hair after that. I was trying not to watch by then.

I am not a germophobe but that was too much! Thank goodness we didn't get much because I had to wash everything she touched. *shudder*

Rude Awakening

Saturday morning. Sleeping peacefully after J successfully got up, showered and dressed without waking me. Yay.

Suddenly, the bed bounces and I get a wet kiss right on the lips. Rosie was sooo happy to have found me, and acted quite surprised when I chased her out, yelling and wiping my mouth.  Ptooey.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My book arrived today

Happy, happy. My replacement book The Gathering Storm arrived today, and I have finished it now. Library lad was right about it being very good too. After the first few chapters I was able to forget that a new writer had taken over for Robert Jordan.

Now I will be able to dive into Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy with gusto. I dipped into the first book this week, but didn't want to commit until I finished off the previous relationship.  And, after that, I have Erikson's The Dust of Dreams to look forward to.  Then, maybe, I will be able to turn to outdoor activities, although that is probably wishful thinking.

It is supposed to be in the high 40's tomorrow, so I think J and I will build another bench in his our workshop. We've got 3 of 4 done, and he's moved in a lot of his storage bins and shelves, but there's still a lot of organizing to do. It's good that he enjoys that so much, he can putter happily for hours.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Finally, a baby!

J and I are grandparents for the first time! We've been ready for this for a few years now, but were not in the driver's seat, so to speak. And I tried not to be a back seat driver, but it was hard.

Of course, since my life is no fairy tale, the baby didn't come to my one married offspring, but to Shoeshine and a girlfriend who was an ex before the stork made reservations.  X moved back to MN to be with her family, so our newest family member is nowhere near to us. Shoeshine and X are working out the details of co-parenting at a distance, and X has been very good about sending email updates and shower pictures, etc.

Born 3/3/10, 7lbs 2 oz, 19 inches long with black hair(supposedly), here she is:


 I think she's definitely the prettiest baby born today! And probably this week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My furry kids

I mean my dogs, people. None of my children are furries, that I know of and I'm pretty sure I would.

Back on topic, and yes, I do have one. At least one.

I tried to get a cute picture of the dogs to use for my March in Maine picture, but they weren't into posing. (I guess they aren't furries either) They did however speak to me about the process.

Now you might think that Rosie feels left out, but she really isn't into the whole fetching or playing thing. Boomer loves fetching-well, the part where he gets it anyway; he's just learning about the giving it back to me part. He still can't bear to put it in my hand, but just over the last two days he has learned to drop it near me, and then bark at me if I haven't noticed.

Rosie does sometimes get fed up with his barking, or excited, it depends on her mood, and what I am doing. She will try to hold him down, or will launch herself in an awkward leap or two.

After the happiness of eating wore off, they were once more being rambunctious, so I sent them out. Boomer went, but Rosie retreated to the living room and did her version of an ostrich.

I started this on the 1st, and more than 24 hours later, I am finally posting it. It took for freaking ever to figure out how to get my video uploaded and onto Blogger. Every time I saw the video, it seemed less and less interesting, but by golly, I am using it!