Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Seinfeld Post

Yes, that's a small praying mantis there on the corner of those icon prints!  (I wonder what it's doing......:))

I have a serious case of writer's block.

I cannot think of any one thing to write more than a few sentences about.  I think the humidity has mildewed my brain!

So, tonight you get a random mishmash of rather unrelated short paragraphs.  Comment on anything, everything or nothing - give me a prompt for a future post, even!

I've discovered that I much prefer yard work to housework.  I got the yard done in under 3 hours today, and it hadn't been done for almost 3 weeks!  Mowed (push mower, thankyouverymuch), trimmed, garden weeded (thank you Birdman) and flower beds neatened up.  Stuff looks better over here now.  I wish I could figure out a way to get some new grass growing inside the fence though; the chickens have really done a number on the grass!

Some people are very much not who they seem to be, and sometimes you don't find this out until later.

Had my very first Meemaw moment this afternoon!  He's an INSANELY CUTE baby; I have photos on my phone so they won't end up here until I email them to myself and then I'll post something. (and why did I title this post the way I did?)

I have a few ripe grape tomatoes, and one ripe Big Boy tomato, that I will pick tomorrow.  The butternut squash is still producing like gangbusters, and my eggplant is loaded with blossoms.  I have a bell pepper about the size of a child's fist, and green tomatoes on my other tomato plants.  I have to tie them up about every 3 days now.

We are still eating the produce I canned from 2009's garden.

Birdman now has his own "room" in the basement.  I may or may not have posted that I had to separate the boys and that Lightning McQueen was sleeping on a pallet in my room........that was getting old.  So, since I was having Birdman clean up the basement anyway, I gave him a little extra motivation and told him he could set himself up a room down there, and bought him a portable closet and a lamp.  So now there are no overnight guests in my room, YAY!

I really need to start seriously shopping for a washing machine.  Going to the laundromat is faster than washing clothes at home, but it's not very convenient!

I am enjoying my new phone.  It does some neat stuff!  I downloaded a free app called "Daily Readings" from the market; it's published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and has the Saint(s) of the Day, the Epistle and Gospel, PLUS the fasting information for that particular day.  So far the readings match up with what's on my Ruthenian Byzantine wall calendar - some of the saints are different but that's to be expected.  Another neat app I have is "Out of Milk".  It's free too, and it's a shopping list app.  You can either manually enter the items you need from the store, or you can tap the barcode icon and then scan the barcode on the item with the camera on the phone!  There's also a To-Do List, and a Pantry List, and you can have multiple shopping lists (for example, one for the grocery store and one for Wal-Mart type items)

I read the other day that Apple, Inc. now has more cash than the US Government.

One of my favorite recently-discovered websites is The Art of Manliness. If you are a man, know any men, or have sons who are growing up to be men, I highly recommend it.  Chock full of excellent, sensible, PRACTICAL manly knowledge and skills.

So what do you want to read about here?  Leave a prompt in the combox and I'll accomodate as best I can.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just About Tired of Trying

I got the photos uploaded but life happened and I haven't had time to compose a post to accompany them.

I started a second job today, as a seamstress at a local casual-clothing store in the mall (mostly hemming jeans).

Some woman I've never seen before in my life came to my door this evening and told me that "every day for weeks" my kids have been abusing her kids and her neighbor's kids, that one of my kids tore up her daughter's expensive bicycle, and pushed her daughter and hurt her wrist so that she has to take the child to the Urgent Care. She said she is contemplating calling the police. I did ask the woman why, if this has been going on for weeks, did she wait this long to come to my house to say something.  She said that 'the older boy told me he was telling you everything.'

And my mom said it wasn't anyone else's responsibility to check on her and my kids last week.

Ever feel like crying but know that it's just not worth the effort?

Monday, July 25, 2011

West Virginia: Not Just for Hillbillies Anymore

I drove home from my retreat yesterday and reached the West Virginia state line shortly after noon.  Since this was the first time I'd passed the brand new Welcome Center/Rest Area with a need to use the facilities since it opened earlier in the year, I took the exit and parked as close to a (very small) tree in the hopes that maybe I'd get a square inch or so of shade over the car and it wouldn't be six billion degrees in there when I finished my business inside.

I pulled open the door to the building, and what is the first thing I see?

Keep in mind that this is WEST VIRGINIA.  A state with a reputation for citizens whose educational level is somewhere between house plant and second grade, where persons from more economically-advantaged areas think no one wears shoes, everyone walks around with a chaw in their cheek, and outhouses and cars on cinder blocks are common sights.  Coal is King here, at least in the southern part of the state - in my neck of the woods it's natural gas (and Marcellus Shale gas at that, if we can ever get the dang permits to do the fracking so the gas will come out of the ground).

WEST VIRGINIA, where you are either a Mountaineer fan or you prefer the Thundering Herd (rarely neither, and never both).

When I walked through the door into the building at the Welcome Center/Rest Area, the first thing I saw was

Two women.  One in full black burqa, the other in jeans and tennis shoes, but wearing an abaya and hijab.

Just FYI, in the 2000 Census the population of this state was estimated at about 2 million people.  Of the 46% of people who listed a religious preference on the census forms, only a little over 1,500 self-identified as Muslim.  West Virginia has 100 times the number of Methodists as Muslims, and over 95 times the number of Catholics. 

I'd be interested to know what you, dear reader, thought I was going to tell you that I saw.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Well, THAT Didn't Work So Well...

From Tuesday of last week until this morning I was in lovely East Aurora, New York at the annual Confraternity of Penitents Retreat and Conference, held at Christ the King Seminary.  The retreat was great, and full of many graces and blessings, but I'd forgotten (if I ever realized) that the dorms are brick-veneered cast concrete, which means that in order to get a signal on my phone I had to either go outside or sit in my windowsill.  So therefore no posts while I was gone; it was just too much trouble.  It was all I could do to keep up with my email inbox and check in to Twitter occasionally!

Our retreat masters were Fr. Pio Mandato, an eremitical Capuchin Franciscan priest, and Sr. Veronica of the Capuchin Sisters of Nazareth.  Fr. Pio is related in some way to St. Pio of Pietrelcina (sp?), and at the end of his final conference we were privileged to be able to venerate a glove of St. Pio's which Father used to impart a healing blessing on each of us.  Sr. Veronica is the daughter of our Minister General, and is a really lovely person.

I simply must figure out some way, short of not attending, to not be so adversely affected by the heat and humidity at the retreat.  One year it was so chilly and rainy that we had to call Housekeeping to get us some wool blankets, but normally it is in the upper 80s with heat indices in the 90s.  Thursday's readings for this year were a high of 94, with a heat index of 103.

It's very difficult to figure out how to dress for both comfort and decency in weather like that!  (Sr. Veronica says that they say in the convent "hell is hotter" which helps a little).  Normally, when the thermometer reads above 80 at home, I'm in either an above-the-knee skirt or shorts, and a tank top.  With flip-flops.  Not exactly appropriate attire for a chapel. (And the chapel is NOT air-conditioned, YIKES!) So I took a linen shift that I used as my "I can't stand it any more" outfit, and the rest of the time tried to go about looking all serene when really I wanted to go jump in the pond on the seminary grounds.

One thing that DID go well was my presentation!  I partnered with another CFP sister and we did a presentation on fashion and clothing as it pertains to Confraternity members (part of the Rule of Life we follow includes the wearing of certain colors of clothing).  She covered the "theology" of clothing and fashion, and my portion of the conference was about choices, fit and how to choose good things from places like thrift stores - I'd much rather spend $4 on a blouse I can wear for 5 years or more than the same amount on a blouse that will be in rags after a couple of seasons!

Another thing that didn't work out so well was that my mom stayed with the kids, but it was just as unbearable here and they ended up in a hotel because my house has no air-conditioning.  I should have laid the groundwork with a few air-conditioned friends, but truthfully I (a) didn't think it would be as bad as it was, and (b) I mistakenly thought that perhaps one of my friends would either try to reach me about my mom and kids being stuck in a non-air-conditioned house during what amounted to a heat emergency, or at least go by my house to see how things were - I always think that everyone else will do what I would do in a certain situation, lol.

So anyway, Fr. Pio told us that a person ought to take away at least one concrete thing from a retreat to work on, or change, and I have to admit that it was really HARD this time to think of my "project"!  In fact I'm still deciding.  But I did get a chance to talk to him about a problem I've been having and got some advice on how to try to deal with it - it will be very difficult to carry out what he suggested but I will give it a try.  It involves really being quite vulnerable to a few people and it could turn out really well, and it could end up a huge mess.  We'll just have to see, won't we?

I've got some pictures of the grounds but I haven't uploaded them to the computer yet.  It's really a lovely place.  But I've missed you all, and am glad to be back and posting again!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Water-Bottle Orchestra:

performances at random, as long as the car is moving.

A few days ago the kids had bottled water in the car, and they discovered that if you hold the bottle outside the car window you can make noise with it, just like blowing over the top.  They even adjusted the water level in the bottles to achieve an interesting blend of notes, and were putting the bottles in and out of the air to make "music."

I took the following photos with the car sitting in the driveway, but this will show you the proper angle to achieve if you want to try this:
 Here's Birdman demonstrating the proper angle from the side.  He says you may have to fine-tune it, depending on the speed of the car and the amount of water in the bottle, but eventually you'll get a nice singing tone.
Velvet was nice enough to hold her bottle out the back window so I could take a photo reflected in the mirror.  Notice the bottle is tilted towards the front of the car; fine tuning is necessary here as well.

If you try this, let me know how it worked out!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Next Generation

Meet my new grandson! (Which means I'm now a Meemaw).  He needs a blog name.......he arrived via c-section and weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz.  His mommy (my DIL), my son the proud daddy, and he are doing well.

'Scuse me while I go do a happy dance!

Pink is the New Yellow

I think you can click to embiggen it.  But there you go, a pink Yellow Cab!

Da Burgh, 'Nat......

Last week we had to go to the bus station in Pittsburgh to get Birdman when he returned from visiting his friend in Cincinnati.  We'd originally planned to eat at a Turkish restaurant, but it was closed. :( So we ended up at McDonald's.

 After we ate, we still had time before Birdman's bus was due to arrive, so we took a walk.  The pink car in the photo below is actually a taxi (will have to edit that one so maybe you can see that it's a pink YELLOW CAB, which is the whole reason I took the picture).

There's a really neato water feature that runs underneath the Convention Center.  You can walk down the concrete ramp/pathway there and go under the sidewalk, and come out on the riverfront.

Those are the lights at PNC Park there in the distance.  We're standing on the riverfront at the Convention Center; there are bollards at the edge where I presume they tie up the Gateway Clippers.

 On the way back to the bus station we came upon this historical marker about the Lewis and Clark expedition.  In the background is the history museum where we went to see the Vatican Splendors exhibit last year.  We are also about three blocks from the Strip District!

Here's an amusing bumper sticker on a car in the parking garage at the bus station:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My name's not Mary, but I can be contrary......

and look at my garden grow!
Beefsteak tomatoes

Big Boy tomatoes

Butternut squash, a volunteer plant!

The whole thing.

Grape tomatoes

A bell pepper blossom

Russian White tomatoes; I guess they aren't Communists since they are 'White' not 'Red'

Two volunteer potato plants.  I have no clue whether there are taters under there or not.  I'll find out at the end of the summer!
I'll have to water it tonight, I think.  I wish I'd planted more, then there would be less to weed!  I still have some Swiss Chard seed and lettuce that I might try for a fall crop.  And why did I not plant any beans?

The end down there where the potato plants are needs some serious amendments, like some chicken bedding and composted manure tilled in.  It's very clay-ey soil with lots of rocks.  I've only had that tilled up for two seasons now; there was a small tree there that I had removed in order to expand the garden (because I can't afford to shop at our local farmer's market, oh my I could REALLY get on my soapbox about that!). But from the butternut squash to the tomatoes, it's ridiculously rich and fertile (also grows weeds very well too, unfortunately).

I can't wait to have something to harvest besides herbs!  Soon, soon!
I haven't decided what I will do about my blog while I'm out of town next week. I may post a series of short updates daily, or I could recycle some old posts.

Which would you rather see?

I'm leaning towards short daily updates, since I won't be without service (thank you smartphone). You all can read old posts without my help, since the archives are right over there on the sidebar.

I'll also be Tweeting stuff, so you could follow me over there for even more amusement. Just click the Twitter button at the top of the sidebar.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Birdman has to be at the airport to go to a Search & Rescue Exercise at 0645.  Velvet and Lightning McQueen are going to go help with Kids' Day downtown.  I'm going to the laundromat then doing the yard and cleaning house.  I hope I remember to put dinner in the crock pot in the morning.

Oh, I'm still haphazardly shopping for a washer, but have decided to leave the actual decision and purchase until I get back from New York at the end of next week.  It won't kill me to go to the laundromat for a month or so.

Kitchen Decorating

 A while ago I Tweeted that I'd ordered, and picked up, enlargements of some snapshots from Walgreens, and that I was very happy with them.  Some of you may have wondered:
  • what I photographed
  • why I ordered enlargements
  • where I was going to hang them
Well, now you know!  I took over a hundred pictures when we went to the Indy 500 this year, and I chose 17 of the best ones and got them enlarged and printed to put on the walls kitchen! The frames are the very least expensive Wal-Mart sells; I like how they don't overpower the pictures.

You can't see very well, but I have a snapshot of ALL THREE of the four-time "500" winners; A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr. At the very top is a large frame in which I mounted our tickets and camping permits from the past two years.

You can see the edge of the curtains in the picture; it's black and white gingham (very difficult to find.  Most places only have black and ivory).  I have white walls, cabinets and appliances, and black commercial vinyl tile on the floor.  The lower part of the walls is beadboard wainscoting, painted RED, and separating the red from the white is a nice black chair rail.

The color scheme matches a Hoosier cabinet I picked up at a tag sale several years ago. 

When I realized that I'd accidentally painted my kitchen in IndyCar colors, I decided to make that the 'theme' of the room.  Who needs boring apples or cherries when you can have race cars?  And yes, I am completely aware of the coincidence of having the colors of a HOOSIER cabinet be the inspiration for the room.
I have fabric to make slipcovers for the chairs too.  Red and white indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric with a floral design for the seats and backs, and the skirting will be black.  Topstitched in white jeans thread.  The only other things I'm going to add are a fake 'diner menu' laminated to a collage photo to put on the table, and next year when we go to Indy I'll pick up a set of flags in a holder to mount above the door on the wall.

Now that I'm on the downhill slide of doing this room, I'm almost ready to start on the dining room.  Any suggestions for a theme?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Will It Ever End?

I'm going to a conference and retreat next week, and am really beginning to wonder when I am going to get everything ready to go.  I still have to make a trip to the grocery store, pick up one more load from the dry cleaner (vestments that have to go with me, they were supposed to be ready on Wednesday but now they say tomorrow, ARGH), do laundry one. more. time, mow and trim the yard, clean my room, start packing my clothes, yada yada.........

This is supposed to be my vacation, even though I'm usually kept pretty busy during the actual event.  I go up a day beforehand to get the chapel arranged and then I get to spend a half day in the little town, visiting the yarn store and the old-fashioned five & dime and just relaxing before the conference and retreat starts.

At the rate things are going now I'm going to need another vacation just to recuperate from getting ready for this one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Two of the best photos from the July 4th fireworks display here.  I'm still getting the hang of shooting with specialized settings (there is a 'fireworks' setting on my camera) and using my Gorillapod.

I was sitting in a lawn chair with the Gorillapod wound around the back of Velvet's chair in front of me.  We were right next to the garden in our own yard.  It's really nice not to have to go to the fireworks; it's not the most perfect view but it's adequate.

I Can't Stop Laughing

Monday, July 11, 2011

The End of an Experiment

Lightning McQueen asked me to cut his hair today.  He said his head was too hot.

I wish I'd taken a photo of the HUGE pile of hair that ended up on the kitchen floor.

He says he feels much cooler now.

If You Have a Bustline, You Need These, Really.

A couple of weeks ago, on impulse, I picked up a package of CamiSecret (warning: perky promotional ad video at link) at Wal-Mart.  I knew I could return them if I didn't like them, and for less than $10 I didn't figure I could go wrong.

Let me just say that a couple of days ago I was over at Rite Aid (local drug/convenience store chain) and when I saw they had the package of the other three 'basic' colors, I snapped them up!

A lot of blouse and dress styles nowadays are cut pretty low in the neckline, and if you have any sort of average-to-large sized bustline, you are flashing your cleavage to everyone......I don't mind a teeny bit of cleavage if I'm just at home working, but if I'm out in public (or at Church) I think I ought to be leaving more to the imagination, rather than running a full-color ad for the goods.

These little doodads are the perfect answer.  They have permanently-attached snaps on either side of the top edge; these go around your bra strap.  The fabric is shaped like a trapezoid with the wider (lace edged in the ones I bought; they also come with a plain edge) edge at the top, and the narrower one hangs down your top, blouse or dress just enough to keep it from flipping out of your clothes. They are made from fabric that's a bit slick but not obviously lingerie-looking; the CamiSecret stays put under your clothes and your clothing can move around and bit without being bunched up or dragging/pulling on it.

The fact that it fastens to your bra straps means that the top edge lays flat against your skin, so it conceals your cleavage and doesn't gap when you bend over or move. I have several camisoles that, if I pull them up high enough to lie against my skin, they might as well be a t-shirt.  This is not the look I want!

I now have six of them - black, navy, brown, white, ivory and beige.  I've worn them several times and really like them.  They are not sweat-inducing and after a few minutes you forget they are even there. So now I can wear my v-neck and wrap-bodice tops and dresses without a whole other layer of clothing underneath!

Maybe you want people looking at your cleavage, but if you don't (and if you can't stand another layer under your clothes), try CamiSecret.

For folks who like, and can wear, other colors than the basic neutrals, they also offer a set of three different animal prints, and a set in three bright colors.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This is My Story and I'm Sticking To It

I was up till way past midnight last night waiting for the boys to get back from their Altar Boy day in Pittsburgh - they got to see the Pirates whomp the Cubs, YAY - so I am pooped.

Coming up, a product endorsement for something you have to have seen on TV.  You've probably also laughed at the commercial, just like I did, until I bought one (knowing I could return it if it wasn't as advertised).  

And a post about our visit this evening to a local Roman Catholic parish for Saturday Vigil Mass (we'll be on our way to Pittsburgh to take Birdman to the bus tomorrow at our Ruthenian Byzantine parish's Divine Liturgy time).

Have a fantastic Saturday night; I'm going to go get some much-needed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, July 8, 2011

Here It Is, But You Can't Get To It.......

The last time I got any child support money was about three weeks ago.  Before that it was 2008.  Yes, you read that correctly, 2008.  Three years ago.

Now you have the backstory.  Here's the scoop:

I opened a letter from the local child support enforcement office this afternoon to find, as I expected, a summary of 'support payments processed in June 2011'.  No surprise there. The surprise was on the line below the one for "amount collected and disbursed by check" (this line read $150.00 which is the amount of the check I got a few weeks ago).  The next line reads "amount collected and disbursed by debit card".


Yes, I have a child support debit card.  The last time I used it, it had a ZERO balance because the last $17 was taken by Chase Bank for inactivity fees, because I left that amount on the card.  But I didn't receive any more money on the card after that, so for three months I had a $5 fee and then the fourth month after that last 2008 payment they took the last $2.

And the card is expired.

It expired in 2009.

I tried the number on the back of the card, and when I get to part where I enter the card number I get a recorded message that my card is expired and then the call is terminated.  I left a pretty urgent message on my support caseworker's voicemail, whose greeting says she will try to return all calls within two business days.


I'll keep you posted.
If the child support people could make him pay, I wouldn't have to agree to tailor stuff like this.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ringing the School Bell, 2011-12 Edition

After a short break we are back at the books here at Magpie Manor.

I think Birdman would be fine to have most of the actual summer "off" from school, but I know from experience that left to his own devices he can think up far too many ways to provoke my wrath.  So he's back to Saxon Geometry - LOVE the D.I.V.E. cd-rom. And today he had a Biology test, on which he missed ONE question.  Next week after he returns from Cincinnati he'll have the first Quarterly Exam.

He's working on the US Presidents app on my Android smartphone - each of the kids has an app to study and as they finish up they will rotate to a different one.

I got everyone a shiny new composition book for writing journals, and am continuing with this.  Sometimes I give a prompt and other times I just allow them to write about whatever.  Birdman's first entry is an essay about his experience at CAP Encampment.

We also have brand new book list notebooks.  I'm keeping all this stuff under my direct supervision so hopefully we don't have things misplaced like last year.

Velvet has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in picking back up with Saxon 6/5.  She was doing so well that I had her doing a lesson and a half per day before we went to Indy, but we're back to just one lesson AND the proper worksheet for now.  She just doesn't have Math Brain. She enjoys writing in her journal, and I don't have to remind her to read or update her book list.

She likes helping with the garden, although she's still not very good at deciding which is a weed and which is an actual garden plant - although if I'd (a) planted more to begin with and (b) wasn't so busy with work that it got ahead of me weed-wise, she'd do better.

She's studying the Power Vocab app on my phone; it has a definitions quiz and should help her with spelling.  I looked for a free spelling app but there wasn't one that met our needs.  She'll continue with her 4H projects again in the fall (I'm quite happy with the job she did on both her exhibits for the fair, btw).

Lightning plowing through Saxon 7/6 like nobody's business.  Next week he goes to 2 lessons a day (read both lessons and do the lesson practice in both, and do half the cumulative practice problems for the second lesson, if that makes sense)

He's not a kid who naturally wants to read, so I do have to remind him to read every day (truth be told, he's not a kid who naturally wants to anything except eat and play video games, but I digress).  He's got a Countries of the World app that has trivia facts, a map, a picture of the flag and basic information like population and voting age of each country all over the world - even the Tiny Nations!  He'll keep going with his 4H projects this fall as well, and will be showing his poultry at the fair.

For group study, I've decided to continue and refine something we did a couple of years ago - the World Tour of Foods.  The first time around we had one dinner each month for seven months with the menu consisting of foods from one of the seven continents. (Antarctica's menu was granola bars and hot chocolate eaten around the chiminea in the back yard; we were pretending we were polar explorers!).

This time we'll choose a country each month and have a main dish, side dish, dessert and where possible a beverage from that country.  I haven't quite decided how we'll choose the countries; I kind of like the idea of putting all the countries on one continent in a bowl and drawing one at random, but the method of letting one of the kids choose a country also appeals to me.

We're also going to continue working on learning some songs from our Church in Slavonic (I have a Russian alphabet app I'm studying; I hope to teach myself to read Old Church Slavonic). And watch movies occasionally (some people may not 'approve' of my choice in movies, but I have a specific EDUCATIONAL purpose in mind for each and every movie we watch (except for maybe Speed Racer, but there's even a lesson to be learned in that one :)  )

So, let's get started!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another experiment

I am composing this blog post on my phone.  If I could figure out how to print from here, I'd only need the laptop for my business bookkeeping, tax returns and managing the photos from my camera.

Maybe this photo will help some of you who are enduring a heat wave right now. :)

What I'm Reading

I may have mentioned this before but I can't go to sleep if I don't read something before turning out the light.  Right now my current book is Stalingrad:  the Fateful Siege 1942-1943.

A story of two military forces, the ideologies behind both of which I completely disagree with (my, that is bad grammar, but I'm too lazy to edit right now).

Evidently the climate in that part of Russia is particularly harsh in the wintertime.  Add to that the problems of the Nazi German forces being spread very thinly over an enormously long Eastern Front (so thin that in some places they were 'drafting' overrun civilians instead of treating them as POWs); also the distances in Russia are simply LONG and Stalingrad is a very far distance from Moscow, communications were not as instant as we have today, and there you have the recipe for a long, drawn-out tragedy.

Stalingrad held, but just barely, and at what a price!  Party commissars attempted to micromanage every part of the battles without understand anything of basic military battle strategy.  Hitler and his top advisers refused to acknowledge the truth of the fact that their forces were extremely ill-prepared for the conditions they encountered both while advancing the Front towards the city, and the determination of both the civilian residents of Stalingrad and the Soviet forces tasked with defending it.

War is a nasty, horrible, tragic business.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Farmer's Work is Never Done, You Just Get To Take a Break to Earn a Living.

We did a LOT of yard work today.  I mowed and trimmed the grass, Velvet helped organize the trash cans and clean up the concrete pad where they are supposed to be stored when it's not trash day, Lightning McQueen raked up the chicken poop in the yard and fertilized the rosebush, and Birdman helped me get some grass seed sown in one of the many bare spots.

I have several small tomatoes, and some butternut squash on the volunteer plants!

Go here to see a pic of one of them!

I got the mint trimmed off by the back walk too - it was taking over (but that's what mint is supposed to do, so it's all good).

Birdman came home from CAP Encampment this afternoon.  I think I'll have him write a post about his experience, although I will mention that he was one of the Distinguished Cadets this year.  :D

I'm really pooped; I think I'll have a tall glass of tea and relax for a bit, after I get the laundry off the line.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Over the next few days I'll be accessing the internet using my phone' mobile hotspot. I'm also going to experiment with blogging by email (for draft posts).

I need to decide what we're going to do to celebrate Independence Day - we're all going to be in the parade on Monday afternoon, so I suppose we'll have a grill-out on Saturday or Sunday (but I think there might be a surprise from my mom in the works for Sunday afternoon, SQUEE).

I went to get in the car last night to roll up the windows and a VERY industrious spider had built a web across the window.  Since my car has no frame around the glass, the web was actually anchored to the steering wheel, the inner door frame and the seat back.  And naturally I went right through it.

I screamed.

Actually I screeched.

Then I grabbed the nearest handy instrument of arm-extenderness, an ice scraper hanging on the fence that hasn't made it indoors for the summer yet, and eliminated the web (and hopefully evicted the spider).

Never a dull moment.

And we ran a load of towels today, and yes, the washing machine IS leaking.  And not from the inlet hoses or drain hose.  Now I have to debate whether to talk to a handy neighbor (who will probably come try to diagnose/repair the problem for free or a minor amount), or try to find a not-exorbitantly-priced repair service (which of course will have to be paid TWICE, once to diagnose and again to repair).  Decisions.......