Feb. 4th, 2010 11:12 pm
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I very legitimately needed toilet paper, so I went to the grocery store tonight. I don't know if you know this, but it's supposed to snow over the weekend. Quite a bit, I hear.

Snowpocalypse in the safeway!

Almost all the red meat was gone. The two for one chips were ravaged. Lines extended back into the aisles, making it hard to actually, you know, shop. Most of the water was gone, and the frozen foods were down to okra and spinach. All people had carts packed with food, as if they were starting from scratch and expected to be snowed in for a month. I bought t.p., laundry detergent, and ingredients for a chicken casserole. And some chips. I can not live on this for a month, but fortunately, I also have food at home! Glad I bought bread Tuesday.

So I plan to work a half-day tomorrow, since it's not supposed to start until noonish. Then I will trek back to my warm home and release the weasels from their mouse-imposed exile in their cage. I will putter and clean and cook and generally enjoy the snow. There will likely be a bath, and big band music, and the snow-proof boyfriend will walk himself on over to the house. Saturday, weather depending, I will walk to a friend's house for the afternoon (since I don't plan on unparking until Sunday at the earliest) - or, if not, I will lie about, watch tv, and continue to enjoy the snow. Sunday is the Superbowl! I have a party to go to, but as it's not within walking distance, I have already pre-cancelled. If this turns out to be a bunch of hype, then I'll go, but otherwise...see above re: lying about. Think of all the books I can read! And if we honest to god get 24 inches, I suspect I won't be going to work Monday. Or ever!

It's a good and snowy end to a week that started with a cold adventure. Tuesday morning, I went out to my car to go to work, unlocked it, popped all my stuff in, and then shut the door while I went to wipe off the windshield. My car assumed that since I had opened the door, but not turned on the car, I must have just forgotten to relock it. So, it helpfully locked it for me! With my keys, phone, and (worst of all) breakfast, locked safely inside. Hooray!

Fortunately, one of my neighbors is also up freakishly early, as his wife (a nurse) catches a 6.30 am bus - so he let me use his phone to call a lock place. And he said I could hang out until the people got there, but I was convinced they might drive up, not see anyone waiting, and leave again - because that would be awesome. They said they'd be there in 30-40 minutes. I waited inside for about 20 and then went out. They arrived an hour later. I have actually been colder, but I was pretty darn unhappy. Teach me to trust my car!

Oh, I also bought windshield wiper fluid at the safeway tonight. Shoud help fix my locking-the-keys-in-the-car problem...:)
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1 - This is exactly the kind of movie that scares the hell out of me, and it did.

2 - I managed to convince myself I was totally safe, though - not because scary things don't exist, but because surely if there was anything bad in my house, I would have known by now.

3 - If you find creepy-noise-in-the-dark movies scary, try watching them alone, in the dark....with ferrets sneaking about the house. Jesus, weasels. Like to kill me.

(I swear I have all the lights on to keep the mice from being able to hide in the dark...that's the only reason!)

Books, 2009

Jan. 3rd, 2010 10:05 pm
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I decided to keep track this year, and made it to 49 books read (I thought it was 50; then I went back and realized I stopped reading one in the middle because it was very bad). Now that it's a new year, I thought I'd pick the top ten and also some of the worst, and make some comments. For your general amusement, and in no particular order:

1 - The Wrong Mother - Sophie Hannah: Murder myster - good read, suspenseful, nice twists. Manages to sort of seriously talk about motherhood/family life, and the dissatisfactions thereof, while still bringing good thrills.
2 - The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman: Nice story (more of a series of short stories) about a boy raised by ghosts. Typical Gaiman, always worth reading.
3 - Into the Beautiful North - Luis Alberto Urrea: Three women and a guy sneak into America from Mexico, to bring back men to protect their hometown, but not as serious as that description might sound. A good south-of-the-border look at immigration, not quite magical realism, but some definite touches of that. Probably the second best book I read this year.
4 - Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin: Another murder mystery, this one set in medieval England. Nice characters, and I'm a sucker for a historical setting. It's first in a series, though I hear the others are not as good.
5 - What I Talk About when I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami: Non-fiction; a writer talks about his reasons for being a runner. Lent to me by a running friend; after reading it, I don't particularly want to run myself, but I understand much better why someone might. Very nicely written; the author is a well-known Japanese writer, and his other stuff is good too.
6 - Alex & Me - Irene Pepperberg: Non-fiction; by the woman who taught the famous and now-deceased African Grey parrot, Alex, how to communicate. It's very persuasive, showing that at least some birds are not mimicking, but actually communicating, and capable of complex thought. Take a look at some of the Alex videos on youtube - he's a smart bird!
7 - City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers: About a literary lizard who goes on a quest for the Best Book Ever - fantastic children's book, very sweetly written, and engrossing. Opposite of not being able to put it down - I kept wanting to put it down, because I didn't want to finish it and not have any more to read! Best book I read all year.
8 - Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson: Historical fiction about the cholera outbreak in the US in 1793. A young girl has to take care of herself in plague-ridden Philly, when many people have died, and most others have fled for the countryside. This is something I didn't even know had happened, historically, and was both a fun read (the protagonist is funny and tough), and educational.
9 - The Complete Persepoils - Marjane Satrapi: Non-fiction; graphic novel telling the story of a young girl growing up during the 1979 revolution in Iran, and the aftermath. Engrossing as well as educational.
10 - The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch: I think someone described this as Ocean's Eleven but in a medieval-type fantasy world. It's a very fun read - complicated, betrayals, good characters, and a satifying story. Another first in a series, though again I hear the others are not as good.

And a few to skip:
1 - Couch - Benjamin Parzybok - from the website, the first sentence of the summary is: In this exuberant and hilarious debut reminiscent of The Life of Pi and Then We Came to the End, an episode of furniture moving gone awry becomes an impromptu quest of self-discovery, secret histories, and unexpected revelations. In other words, just as pretentious and pleased with itself as it sounds. Also, not hilarious. One of only two books I actually stopped in the middle of, because life is too short.
2 - Songs of the Humpback Whale - Jodi Picoult - Okay, I like Jodi Picoult, though all her stories end up with kids dead, or in court, or both, and it's the most blatant, typical tear-jerking you could ever expect. But I do like her - she's reliably entertaining. So when I really really hated this one, I had to look online to try and figure out why it was so bad. Turns out it was her first one, so, forgiven. But I didn't finish it - the resolution comes at the beginning, and the characters are not interesting enough to make me care how they got to the end.
3 - My Disillusionment in Russia - Emma Goldman - I know this is a classic by an anarchist, sorely disappointed by the actuality of the Russian revolution, and it was interesting up to a point, but after about 15+ stories of "And then this happened, and I was very disillusioned...and then I met this person, and I was very disillusioned....", I think I'd gotten the point. She was (spoilers!!), quite disillusioned by the end of her trip. I finished the book, but only because it is short.
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The family next door, whose house caught on fire back in May, is moving back in today. Seven and a half months after the fire.

People: Don't set your houses on fire. It's a huge pain in the butt.

Happy New Year!


Dec. 20th, 2009 09:20 pm
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The snow prediction started at 5-8", revised upward to 10-15", and settled at 12-24", which I thought was probably going to be an overestimation. Nope. It started slowly on Friday night, and by the time I rolled out of bed at 11 on Saturday, there wasn't too much on the ground. But it snowed, and snowed, and snowed, sometimes with great force, all frickin' day, and did not stop until well into the night. Since I am not one of those people who thinks I should shovel out multiple times, I stayed safely inside all day, peering out at the snow and frolicking about. I thought I would let the ferrets see the snow, so I opened the front door for them. Otto was thoughtful and looked around - and Butters shot onto the porch, took a hard left, darted through the porch rails, and went *poof* onto the snow below. Panic! I was in my jammies, no sox, and Otto was also getting outo the porch to run around himself. I grabbed Otto in one hand, and leaned allllll the way over the porch rail (covered with snow), to snatch up Butters as he whuffled about happily. Then we all went back inside, and certain weasels puffed up and hopped about, while I tried to de-snow myself. After that, I cooked. Oatmeal for breakfast, soup for dinner, and caramel as well. Near-disaster with the caramel, as I didn't have enough golden syrup, and had to swap in some molasses, but it turned out quite yummily. And that was Saturday - very cozy and lovely and exactly what one would want on a snowday!

Sunday, we lolled about in bed until 12 (I had been wise enough to import the boyfriend before the snow started). At some point in the morning, there was a loud scraping-crashing sound, which we initially thought was a big chunk of iced-together snow falling off the roof next door. However, when I went down a bit later to shovel out, I realized that it instead had been the gutter tearing off the side of the house next door, and crashing down to the ground. Or, rather, partially the ground, and partially the bay window. So that was no good. All my gutters seem intact, though. So far.

Being a somewhat industrious person, I layered myself up, fetched the shovel from the basement, and set off to shovel out. First, I let the ferrets out - this time, I was fully dressed and ready. Butters did try and escape again; Otto again was more conservative, but there were no disasters, and there were some cute pics. Sadly, the people next door (see earlier entry "Oh My God, The House Next Door Is On Fire") are still not there, and so in order to be useful, I actually had to shovel both my space, and their main walk, to get to the house by the road that was shoveled out. But it wasn't bad; enough to make me feel like I'd gotten something done, without being too much work. Overall, I'd have to say I got 15" or so by the house; it was deeper in spots due to drifting. The road was mostly plowed, amazingly, though it is a snow emergency route so they got on it pretty quickly. Upon returning to the house, I changed from wet jeans to warm (radiator-top) jammies, and realized I had a bruise on each thigh from my adventure over the porch rail the previous day. Thanks Butters!

After the hard work of digging out, I sat on the couch, had soup, and watched some football. Useful boyfriend then helped me dig out the car; I'd parked back in the fancy neighborhood, on the sunny side of the street, and there wasn't too much drifting, so it was not a bad job at all. Easier with two, though! And then, much to my excitement, I found out I would be off Monday! Woo hoo! Since then, it's been non-stop frolicking, and I have every intention of staying up late and lying about tomorrow. I have a nearly full DVR, books to read, soup to eat, and only one real errand to run tomorrow. Luxury! There may be a hot bath!

I'd put my snow pics on flickr; fb didn't pull them through (heck, I don't know if this will come through either!), but in any case: pics of snow!
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I think in my next life I'm going to be a vigilante. I'll drive a big old Chevy Suburban with a cow catcher on the front, and go around town hitting illiegally parked cars. Like the people who park in the No Parking During Rush Hour lanes. Towing's not good enough for them!
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Amount of time it took to organize a day to do the rebuild: 14 days
Amount of dithering on the day of the rebuild to see if we'd actually have enough time: 14 minutes
On a scale of 1 to 10, amount of fear felt when "format" was clicked: 10
Number of times we looked at the screen while having lunch, to se if it was still working: 23 (each)
On a scale of 1 to 10, amount of joy felt when Kara was not totally bricked: 24 (across two people)
On a scale of 1 to 10, excitement at improved speed and stability: 7
On a scale of 1 to 10, excitement for getting to play with new color schemes and wallpapers: 9
GB of files backed up on external HD: 27
GB of files waiting to be reinstalled on Kara: 26.5
On a scale of 1 to 10, frustration with the need to install Vaio touchpad drivers again: 6
Number of freeware programs diligently downloaded and reinstalled: 6
Number installed before remembered to install anti-virus: 4
Number of email messgaes victoriously retrieved from server on first try: 13
Number of email messages accidentally deleted, unread, when old email profile was restored: 13 (if anyone mailed me anything important, please send again!)
Number of programs left to install: 13
First one on the list: Torchlight!
No, really, first one on the list: stupid Vaio touchpad drivers
Thankfulness for friend like [ profile] kyriotate: infinte!
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I awoke at an hour which was signifcantly more godly than usual, and took the car in for a checkup and general maintenance.  And to correct the disturbing shudder when I brake; that's not good.   Then I walked back, once I'd looked at the map and realized it was only a couple of miles.  Plus, on the way was the Unfortunately Named Cafe, which I stopped at for tea and a waffle.

Now, I am home until they fix the car (maybe today; likely tomorrow), doing some of the household tasks I never manage to get around to on weekends.  The first was my fishtub project, which came out wonderfully, if I do say so myself.  I ended up with a spare sheet of vinyl fish (nine fish, one flower, one lilypad) - if anyone wants them I'm happy to share.  They were super easy to put on, and are removable (though  not re-affixable); they are meant for painted walls but I thought the tub would be more appropriate for fish.  In any case, I likely won't need them soon, so if anyone wants to experiment with fish, I'm here for you.

I have other things I could do...but instead, I think I will make tea and watch my netflix movie.  Then I'll get up and be more productive!  Yes I will!

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I think Twitter has ruined my LJ urge; now when I have somethng stupid to say...I just say it there.  Sorry, LJ!

Made soup tonight, despite the warmth.  I'd finally gotten ready for fall: bought some scarves, pulled out my gloves (one of which the ferrets promptly stole...luckily I had another singleton, and mismatching gloves are still warm).  And last week, I even went to the extent of sitting in a freezing parking lot for four hours (*shakes fist at [ profile] kyriotate*), waiting for football, and trying to embrace fall.  It was cold - I was ready!

Today, it was 74.  Sigh.

But I made soup anyway, and am having tea.  At least it's chilly at night.  That's something.

See, that's totally longer than 140 characters!


Sep. 18th, 2009 08:42 pm
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After my arduous two-day work week, I came home and had a hot bath.  The nice thing about the tub is that it takes so long to fill, I can do some household tasks, thus making the bath even more deserved.  [ profile] domesticgoddess, thanks for the bath treats - I smell fabulous!

I think I had an ephphany as to why I'll never marry, as well.  It's the double whammy of hating to meet new people, and the true fact that lying in a bathtub full of hot water, with a nice mud mask on my face, and the radio on and a book in my hand, is just preferable to talking to strangers in bars.  Not preferable to a proper relationship, mind you (as long as the proper relationship involves a person who allows me time to take hot baths, and doesn't giggle *too* much when I say I'm going to give myself a facial) - just preferable to the annoying, meeting-people part...:)

On the upside, recent experimentation indicates that the ferrets will no longer bite every new person they meet, as long as that person has relatively sharp reflexes.  So, that's a good thing should I manage to meet a new person...say, in my bathroom, or standing outside my house.

And that came out creepier than I intended....
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Ah, the beginning of a holiday weekend.  Labor Day is a good holiday, in part because pretty much everyone I know is out of town.  Not that I don't love you guys, but I enjoy the solitude.  Maybe I'll go a whole day without speaking to anyone!  Except the ferrets, of course; they don't count, as they don't understand me and can't speak back.  Yet!

Things I've done today:
1 - worked
2 - catsat (Zoe is fine!)
3 - mowed the lawn (hopefully this will be one of the last few times it has to be done before the fall)
4 - had a bath (while reading the book version of Let The Right One In, and looking through the windows at trees)
5 - eaten the Krab out of some truly dreadful supermarket sushi (yes, I know all supermarket sushi is meh, but this was double-plus dreadful)

Things I will do yet tonight:
1 - watch some taped bad reality tv
2 - watch a horror movie (with accompanying popcorn and soda!)
3 - play Professor Layton 2 (omg so happy)
4 - sleep!

Things I will do over the long weekend:
1 - take ferrets to get their rabies shot (for anyone bitten recently by the ferrets - they are up to date, so never fear).
2 - catsit a few more times, for various cats.  Ratsit for one specific rat.
3 - clean my upstairs bedroom, and actually make it into a bedroom, by building a bed to put in it.  Among other furniture.  So grown-up!
4 - buy sheets and a french press and other fun house treats!  But not fun-house treats; those mirrors make me look fat.
5 - sleep
6 - watch a ton of bad tv
7 - play Professor Layton 2 (!!!)
8 - god, three days?  I am going to run out of things to do!!!
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Number of guests (appx) - 32
Number of guests under the age of 4 - 2
Number of guests from out of state -10
Number of guests from out of country - 0
Number of guests whose miserable but plucky husbands let them stay for two hours, which was more than we had expected - 1
Number of bottles of beer/cider left in my fridge (appx) - 28
Number of boxes of booze bottles to recycle - 2.4
Percent of mantids living on my porch, still alive the day after - 100
Number of times I showed off the large mantis to party guests - 4
Number of times I showed off the weasels to party guests - 4
Number of times the weasels nearly escaped and had to be shoved back in their room with a broom - 1
Number of donut holes left after draft, lunchtime, and the party - 5
Number left after I discovered there were any left - 2
Number of unpleasant surprises under my couch this morning - 0
Number of blank spaces on my bookshelves where I swear there was a book yesterday - 1
Number of loads of laundry I need to go do now - 3
Number, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is best, that this party was - 10+
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It's Thursday.  I left work a bit early because I felt, and still feel, under the weather.  I think the dental work done on Tuesday stretched all the muscles in my head, and I've had a headache I can't shake with pills or naps.  So here I am on the couch in the living room.  The crickets are very loud.

I see movement in the pantry; it's Butters.  He's moving with a purpose, heading for the empty box with the hole cut in the side he likes to hide things in.  He reaches into the box, grabs something, pulls back, folds himself up and falls over backwards.  He now has the stuffed turtle in his mouth.  And off he goes, porch-wards, probably to hide it in the cabinet he and Otto like to nap in.  Just as mysterious as when he arrived.

It happens all the time; I'm just sitting here, and they cruise through, rattle down the stairs, carrying things from room to room.  They aren't like cats or dogs; they don't necessarily want to hang out with me, or be on my lap.  They'll follow me around when I let them out, or when they want to play; I'm often surprised to turn around and find one lying behind me.  Otto will put his head on my foot while I'm at the sink sometimes.  But mainly, they're tiny, adorable little mysteries.  Domestic weasels - who would have imagined!
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"Okay guys - I'm sorry it's come to this, but I don't have a choice.  It's time for you to go.

You're four now; that's forty in people years.  Honestly, I'd think that you'd be ashamed you were still living at home.  Don't you want to go out on your own, live your own lives?

Maybe if you'd once offered to get a job, contribute to the household in some way, it would be different.  We've discussed this before.  Otto, I really think your athletic abilities would have served you well as a fitness instructor.  And Butters, with your ability to find good places to hide things, you have a great mind for architecture.  And don't say we didn't have the money to pay for school; I would have found a way.  But you guys never even offered, and now I think it's just too late.

I can give you until the end of the month to find another place; I know a lot of people are reluctant to rent to weasels, but you'll just have to look around.  You don't have much of a credit record, but I can co-sign if you need me to.

Butters, I'll get you a little bag so you can pack your mousies, and the ray.  Otto, I'd appreciate it if you would keep an eye on Butters.  Change is hard for him, and I know he can be pesty, but he's your brother.  Try not to let him bite anyone.  Your rabies shots have just about expired.

I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't love you.  Good luck!"
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When you find out you have something in common with a girl, and you want to get to know her better, it's totally a good idea to talk about that thing with the girl.  It's even okay to bring it up when you see her again, make it sort of a 'reason to talk' to her.  But please, please, don't make it the only thing you can talk about, because then you just become creepy and disturbing, and she may start figuring out what your schedule is so she can be where you are not.  Sweet mother of mercy, how many times can a girl have the same frickin' conversation?!  I mean really!

{note: not that this has happened to me, of course.  people don't talk to me.  i'm just sayin'}
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The last day at the beach is grey and rainy - yay! Not very rainy; just a drizzle, but enough to drive folks off the sand. I am in the hipster beach cafe (free wifi!), having a waffle and tea, before my last visit to the water. Then to pick up my stuff at the gayest b&b I've ever stayed in (the courtyard opens onto the Lambda Rising bookstore and the community center with the rainbow flag; the tour given by the owner included the ladies bar across the street (which I did not go to, though the other ladies staying at the b&b were nice, and invited me)), and hit the road. I passed a creamery on the way down, so may stop for fancy ice cream on the way home, and maybe milk as what I have in the fridge at home is probably playing with the ferrets. Also, a veggie stand too, likely.

Overall, a good trip: saw dolphins feeding off the beach, walked around a lot and sanded most of the callouses off my feet, got a massage, ate too much, wrote postcards (in this modern age!), saw the new hp movie (sigh), and generally enjoyed myself. As usual, though, looking forward to being home. So lame.
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So far, my Birthday Vacation Extravaganza is turning out well on all counts.  My weekend was full of nerds, but they're my kind of people, so it was good.  Also, managed to clean the dust off of most of the house, so I can appreciate my fixed walls and ceiling without wheezing.  Stayed up late last night, and slept in this morning - and did *not*, for the first time in a while, dream about work.  Hooray!

Today, slept in, then got up and mowed - okay, it doesn't sound fun, but it needed to be done, and now the lawn looks nice.  Also herbicided another section of the "garden", so that should be cleared out soon.  One of the tomato plants has a flower on it!  I think it's too late in the season to expect an actual tomato, but it's a good sign.  Then I went to the dentist.  Yes, I really know how to have a vacation.  It wasn't too bad, though, and there's only three...maybe four...appointments left!  Tonight, I plan to do such exciting things like, do laundry, read the Sunday NYT, and watch Torchwood. 

Also, I have to pack, for my exciting vacation!  It's only Rehoboth Beach for a couple of days, but I am looking forward to it.  On the way, I'll stopping off to see my mom, having lunch and picking up a birthday gift (which, given that she works in a vintage furniture place, *may* be vintage furniture, which is awesome).  On the way back, I may partake in the fabulous Outlet Shopping I am told is nearby.  In between those two things, I will go to the beach, sit around and read, and generally do a whole lot of nothing.  Doesn't it sound good?   Mmmmm, solitude.

And when I come back, I still have a few days left before work.  This vacation thing is awesome; I should do it more often!


Jul. 4th, 2009 01:24 pm
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There apparently was some sort of mad run on puff pastry dough, because I could not find any at two different supermarkets.  Shelf tags where the dough should be, yes.  Puff pastry sheets, no.  So, I am going to try to use phyllo for my chocolate tart.  It may be a disaster, in as much as anything involving chocolate, fruit, and pastry can ever be a disaster.  So there's a comfort.

At the Starbucks this morning, there were approximately eight squintillion children.  Six of them were in line ahead of me, four with a couple and two on their own.  The two on their own were about seven or so, and had between them, twenty dollars and a Blackberry.  Also, probably some parents, though I did not see them.  Maybe they were at the other end of the Blackberry.

A lot of the kids were face painted, had balloons, streamers, and other fun red white and blue nonsense.  There must have been some sort of Patriotic Event off the main drag, but fortunately I didn't end up trapped in traffic.  That would have added to the irritation of being woken up this morning at 8.30 by people finally starting to work on the house next door.  Just last night, I remarked aloud how the fire was a month an a half ago, and there'd been no obvious repair work in that time.  Teach me to bitch where the fates can hear me.

Off to finish tart and wash dishes.  Happy Fourth!

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...even if it means I'm only talking to Jeff.  Hi Jeff!

I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords.


Jun. 20th, 2009 11:35 am
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It's been a while since I got on the internets and babbled, so here you go:

1 - Making blueberry muffins.  This is my third recipe - I really liked the first one, but failed to bookmark it, so am searching for a satisfactory replacement.  The batter looks good, though left me with about 2/3 of a muffin of leftover batter, which was odd.  We'll see how the muffins do.  There will be a fb pic I am sure.

2 - The tree which fell on my power lines has been removed, finally.  I have to say, that worked out better than I could have hoped - I got my dead tree taken down and stacked on the side of my yard, and nobody lost power, and I didn't have to pay $2000 to a tree-removal company.  All told, good end.

3 - It's a lovely grey day, and the weather is still quite cool.  This weekend is the official start of summer, but it hasn't really been hot yet at all.  My hydrangea out front is sad, though, because the blossoms are so heavy with rain, it's bent down to the ground.  And my tomato plants, while still alive, are unlikely to produce tomatoes.  But, they're alive!  I'll take the small victories.  Next year, I may plant lilies.

4 - I bought more lovely lights for the hall stairs, and also a solar powered blue globe light for the front walk.  It's not very bright, but it is very blue.  The hall lights are nice, but they are glass/fragile plastic, and I've already broken one.  That's fine, excpet the ferrets like to get to the low ones and poke them with their noses, which makes me nuts.  Don't electrocute yourself, Butters!

5 - I am going to try to go to a crafts fair today.  The muffins are in the oven, and there's a couple of things I need to do, but I hope to get out of here and check it out.  Not that I need to spend money, but if I do, it may as well go directly into the pocket of someone who lives in my neighborhood.

6 - Dude, it is pouring again.  I just went up to check on my newest discovered-and-patched roof hole, and it's not leaking - hooray!  I can enjoy the rain.
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