Friday, April 30, 2010

Freaky Friday!

The subject of today's Freaky Friday has been on my blog before; forgive me if you're seeing a repeat.
I'm pretty sure this was some grade-schooler's art project.

I like to imagine what a massive papier-mache mess must have been created to come up with this thing. The bow tie's a nice touch.

He likes to look out the garage windows. Keeping an eye on things.

(Oh, and doncha love the supa-dupa paint job on that window frame? I DID NOT DO THAT. Thanks, previous owner! Thanks also for painting the garage windows shut. Jeezus.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More hare-brained schemes than Lucy Ricardo

So! Some of my mail-order plants arrived yesterday. You know how it goes: They show giant, full-grown bushes in the catalog, and what shows up on your doorstep is a couple of sticks with a few leaves on the top.

I was going to put the weeping cherry out in the far corner of the backyard. But right now it's only about six inches high; if the lawn mower doesn't get it, the deer/rabbits/whatever-else-is -roaming-around-back-there surely will.

I think I have a plan. I think I will plant that weeping cherry in a pot-with-drain-holes, and then plant the pot itself in the garden close to the house where the lawn mower and the deer can't get at it . In a couple of years, when the plant is hopefully bigger and more able to cope with the wild wild west of the far backyard, I'll dig up the plant, remove the pot, and re-plant the plant itself where it's supposed to go.

That's it - my Cruise-azy idea. Is genius! Or not? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Speaking of death .....

While rooting around in one of my cupboards the other day, looking for the jar of mayo I was sure had to be in there, I discovered a bag of goldfish crackers with a "Sell By" date of April 5, 2008.


You know what that means? It means that I bought that bag of goldfish crackers sometime (presumably) before April 5, 2008 and stuck it in my cupboard. At the old place. And it sat there for over a year, until August of 2009, when I packed up and moved. And at some point in the packing process, I picked up that bag of goldfish that had expired OVER A YEAR AGO, took a look at it, evidently shrugged, and packed it up to move to the new place*.

Where it sat, for almost another year, until I rediscovered it the other night. I took a look at the expiration date, sighed, and took the bag to work to snack on. (I mean, I'm going to snack on the crackers inside, NOT on the bag itself, although at this point in time, there may not be a whole heck of a lot of a difference.)

I'll let you know how they taste.

Or, you know, not, depending on the outcome.

*And I can even tell what my thought process most likely was at the time: "Meh. It's only been expired for a year. It's still good - might as well pack it." I swear to God sometimes I think I'm a guy.

So bad it's good. Almost.

On Saturday afternoon I stopped at a cemetery to visit my Grandma and Grandpa's graves. I hadn't been there since my Grandma died over twenty years ago (the cemetery is a ways out of town), and I decided to take a walk around while I was there. The last time I was in a cemetery, I found some, well, unusual headstones, and on Saturday I found another doozy:

You can click on the photo to embiggen. Sorry about the poinsettia in the way. (Dear relatives: It's April. You can remove the poinsettias.) Basically, it's a bucolic nature scene, with a man, a woman, and a cat (!) on the left; the man is reaching across a stream to a buck on the other side. Why is he reaching out to the deer? I don't know! Maybe he had a pet deer as a kid?
One thing's for sure: They had a cat named Morris.

I have all kinds of questions about this headstone, namely: Why is the lady so flat? Granted, I myself am not chestfully endowed, but if I was going to be represented on a headstone, you'd better bet I'd give myself a nice rack. Why not? I'd be dead; who's gonna call me on it?
Also, who's the artist? Oh, wait, was it Morris? And he signed his name? Nah, I'm pretty sure Morris was the cat. I am guessing that the artist was one of the deceased (before they died, obv), or possibly a family member. Frankly, the artwork leaves a little to be desired*, but then again, maybe the headstone maker was at fault. Maybe he was presented with a fantastically detailed piece of art, and this was the best he could do.
And I got to thinking, having a bad headstone is kind of like having a bad tattoo; you don't have to look at it, but everybody else does. Forever, in the case of the headstone.

And then I wondered if the cat was buried with them. I mean, he is in the picture, after all. But then ....... what about the deer?

It keeps coming back to deer, doesn't it? I found YET ANOTHER set of deer remains on Sunday; I'm not even kidding you. One of these nights I'm gonna hear a tap, tap, tapping on my front door, and it's gonna be a deer, wanting in. Wanting his dead relative's bones, probably.

*Could I do better? NO I COULD NOT.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Freaky Friday!

Meet Gatorduck:

Gatorduck was a white ceramic goose in a previous life.

Here's Gatorduck being sprung upon by his archnemesis, MoonCat:

Their battles are epic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Step AWAY from the tree

The Runt got himself up a tree the other night. WAY up. With bluejays circling his head, just like in a cartoon.

When he was a kitten, he had a nasty habit of getting stuck in trees. And needing neighborly intervention to get back down.

So when I saw him in the tree the other night, I was relieved that at least it was a many-branched tree, one that he would have a good shot of getting out of all by himself. Unlike the no-branches-for-the-first-forty-feet pine trees he was so fond of at the old place.

And thankfully, within a half-hour he had made his way out of the tree. No neighbors with extension ladders and tuna-smeared-poles were involved.

Stay out of the trees, Runt. Trust me on this one.

Holy SHIT he actually came through

If you've been reading here for a while, you may know that my boss has a habit of ignoring things like Administrative Professionals' Day (it was yesterday, btw) and work anniversaries.

I am not above using subterfuge and guilt to collect my due on special occasions.

This year, I was truly not expecting anything, especially as my boss has his foot in a cast and is, well, not doing so hot with the whole crutches concept. Actually, I almost took the day off, but decided at the last minute to come in.

Little did I know when he grabbed one of the guys from the office yesterday morning "to go to a job site" that he was actually going to the local garden center to get a flowering almond for my yard. He even got a card! And put money in it! Without me guilting him into it!

Duuuuuude. Thanks!

Oh! And the icing on the cake? The guy he took with him to schlep around the garden center and cart the plant around (because the boss is on crutches) was this guy. How do ya like me now, brudda?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How appropriate that this should happen during Administrative Professionals' Week

Dear CAD drafter:

When you said that the secretary (i.e., me) should take over some of your job responsibilities, implying that because I make less than you, it would save the company money?

What you didn't know is that I make MORE than you do, not less.

Get ready to do a bitchload of filing, asshat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The bluebell thief

I was down by the creek the other day and discovered a huge patch of bluebells growing wild. We're talking at least a hundred plants. So I went back to the house, grabbed a spade, and dug up a couple of them for the garden.

I am a bluebell thief.

Now, as far as I can tell, bluebells are not endangered in any way. This particular patch of bluebells possibly arrived via the recent floods, as they're in an area that got about three feet of water in January. And, the spot where they're located is very likely going to be overrun by Japanese bamboo in a few years, as it's already within about thirty feet of the bluebells.

Justification blah blah blah

I stole some bluebells.

And just the other day I noticed a bunch of ferns popping up where the new playing fields are going to be put in .......

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Osprey Cam is back! The Osprey Cam is back!

Guys! The Osprey Cam at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge is back up and running for another year!

Last year Mama Osprey hatched three - count 'em, three! - little ones, so be sure to check in and see how many baybies appear this year!

Click here. The link is also over on the left, there, under ..... wait a minute, let me find it ..... Okay, it's under "Interesting People" - click over there on Osprey Cam!

Or, you know, click here. Heh.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Freaky! Friday!

First off, many thanks to the kind Jess Riley, who sent me milkweed seeds to plant. Thanks, Jess - I can't wait to get started.

Also, the lawn-mowing-Mexican-standoff in my neighborhood has officially ended. Everybody was holding off on mowing their lawns, knowing that once they started, the lawn-mowing season would carry merrily on for the next SIX MONTHS. So everybody was waiting, waiting for a neighbor to mow first and shame them into mowing their own lawn.

I resisted the peer pressure when T. across the street had her lawn mowed, but when L. right next door to me mowed? I bowed.

Lawn-mowing season has begun. *sigh* On the plus side, that's a pretty good sign that snow-shoveling season has ended.

Okay, on with Freaky! Friday!

I picked up this book at a thrift store (where else?) - it's a Christian Science book. An inscription on one of the title pages is dated 1919, so it's at least that old.

The thing that kills me about this book is the seal on the cover:

In case you can't see it, it reads "Heal the sick - Raise the dead - Cleanse the lepers - Cast out demons."

Raise the dead? Sounds like zombie action to me. Count me out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The former owner of my house left behind an upright freezer in the garage. He left behind a LOT of crap, actually; boxes and boxes of old shit up in the attic, and a couple of garbage cans full of old shingles and ceiling tile out IN THE BACKYARD, and cans and cans of paint, opened and God only knows how old, in various places.

Thanks, former owner! It's bad enough that I had to clean out the place I was moving FROM; it just adds insult to injury that I had to ALSO clean out the place I was moving TO.

Sheesh. I don't get paid enough for this shit.

ANYhoo, I had myself a freezer. Unfortunately, I do not have a ton of kids or a husband who hunts, so I had no need for said freezer. And it was taking up valuable real estate, i.e., a corner of the garage that I would prefer to fill with crap of my very own.

First, I tried to barter it with the various people who were doing repairs on the house. No dice. Then I tried to GIVE it away. Nope. Finally, in desperation, I put an ad on craigslist.

And let me tell you, the squirrels come out of the woodwork when you put an ad on craigslist. Dear sweet lord, there are some ODD people out there. Along with the old deaf people who try to talk to you on the phone without actually being able to, you know, HEAR what you're saying, there's the scammers and the spammers, and there was ALSO one enterprising individual who actually HIGHJACKED my lowly listing in an attempt to sell some old Nissan. DUDE: Listings are FREE. Get your own.

But! The freezer is sold. Fifty bucks, in my pocket. And hallelujah, because that thousand-dollar timing belt job that I got talked down into three hundred bucks? Has morphed into a timing belt-water pump-tensioner EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAR EXTRAVAGANZA* under the hood of my car.

Don't ever buy a Saturn. I am telling you right now, DO NOT EVER BUY A SATURN. I won't go into all the reasons right now, but a main one is that Saturn is proprietary with their parts, meaning that if something breaks on your car, you can't go to the local parts store and buy a replacement. You have to go directly through Saturn, which in this area means a warehouse an hour-and-a-half away, which means it takes AT LEAST a day to get parts.

Which means my car has now been in the garage, on a lift, for THREE DAYS, patiently waiting for various and sundry parts.

And the garage dude is all, "well, I'm having to rearrange the schedule here at the shop because your car's on one of the lifts", and I'm all, "YOUR schedule? I'M the one with no car, brudda!"

On the plus side, Little Girl was kind enough to bring me a mouse this morning. Thanks, Little Girl! Maybe I can trade it for some car repairs.

*Updated to add: Did I say eight hundred dollars? I just got off the phone with garage dude, and I MEANT to say eight-hundred-fifty-two-dollars-and-seventy-one-cents. SON OF A BITCH.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's like the Deer World is trying to contact me

It all started with the antlers from Jimay's. Then came the Big Box O'Antlers. Then there was the deer bones by the side of the road. After that came the bones I found by the creek.

On Saturday, I was out mucking around and found yet another area where deer had been field dressed last fall.

These remains have a little more, well, decomposing to do before I'm willing to load them in the back of the wagon. I'll keep an eye on them.

And then, Sunday, I was out walking someplace else, and looked down and saw a big ol' antler just laying on the ground:

Look how big this sucker is!:

Did you know that white-tailed deer shed their antlers every year? I did not know this. In all my time wandering around in the woods, I had never found an antler. Until yesterday. I had always assumed that you could tell how old a buck was by how big its antlers were. Silly me. Although, as it turns out, in general the older a buck is, the bigger its (annual) rack will be, so I wasn't totally off base. Just some.

But with all these bones appearing to me, it's like the deer are trying to tell me something. With their bones. I just can't figure out what it is.

Maybe they'll get ahold of me via the radio station in my house.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random cranky Monday-afternoon-office thought

People who leave time on the office microwave clock are like people who leave the seat up are like people who litter.

Inconsiderate of those who come after them.

And hey, kid, GET OFF OF MY LAWN.

Awake and dreaming

First off: TURRRTLES! The turtles are up out of the mud and sunning themselves on logs and rocks. Welcome back to the topside, guys! A hearty welcome as well to the snakes and the rabbits, also spied out and about this weekend. See also: Mayflowers, spring beauties, skunk cabbage, bluets and trout lilies. The fauna and flora are back in abundance.

Okay, here's a weird thing. On Saturday morning, around six-fifteen, I had a dream. (I'll keep this brief; I promise.) And in the dream there was a radio playing really LOUD. I woke up, and I could still hear the radio. At first I thought that one of the cats had knocked over the radio in the bathroom and it somehow turned on, but as I listened, it sounded like, you know how when you're dialing around to find a station and you somehow get in between TWO stations and you can hear bits and snippets of both?

Except it was just, like, syllables. Like, "kay-do-me-by-ee-lan-ma-dee". Really LOUD.

And I laid there, wondering, what the heck IS this radio station? And where is it coming from? And I thought, well, maybe the paperboy's got a radio. But instead of sounding like it was coming from one specific place, it sounded like it was all around me, like I was in the middle of a stadium and all the speakers were going at once. LOUD. And I was pissed off, because THIS IS WHY I MOVED.

And then, just as I was about to get out of bed and find out what was happening, the sound started to fade. Over the course of about a minute, it went away completely.

Okay, the way I see it, there's two options here:

1. I was still dreaming. Waking up and still hearing the noise was all part of the dream, and I woke up for real some time later.

2. The mothership came back for the damn winged rabbit, and was hovering over my house beaming down instructions for return to the homeland.

The rabbit's still in the kitchen, so I guess I've gotta go with option 1.

But it was still weird.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Freaky Friday - Peter Cottontail edition

Okay, so, the antiques store where I bought Saint Jude has a Table O'Crap right by the cash register, where all the dealers pile the cheap, often broken stuff they can't get rid of. Everything on the table is a dollar.

The dude behind the sales counter was bullshitting with the customer ahead of me and I had to wait to buy Saint Jude, so I turned around to purvey the Table O'Crap, when what did I see but this:

(Note: Not actual antiques-store-Table-O'Crap. This is my own personal Table O'Crap, one of several at my place.)

What in the hell IS this? It's about ten inches tall. It seems to be made out of plaster. It's got rabbit ears and and a rabbit nose, but also wings. It also has a human body, with what looks like six-pack-abs, along with a freakin' belly button, evidence that it was not crafted to look fur-covered as a rabbit would be. Rabbit head; wings; human body. WTH?

Peeps, I don't find this stuff. It finds me.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

One born every minute

So, I was driving back from the bank the other day when I passed a house with a blooming magnolia tree in the front yard.

And I remembered how, this time last year, I drove past a different house with a magnolia, and I instantly wanted one, and even looked into the details of getting one, but then realized that the backyard where I was renting was already pretty shady, and did I really want another tree, and hey, I wasn't gonna live there forever anyway, RIGHT?

What a difference a year makes.

Now I am in my own house, with my great big backyard (photo taken last year; everything's still pretty brown right now):

Jeezus, I love that backyard. Even if it DOES get squishy this time of year.

And I can plant all the trees I want.

But not too many. I like sunlight, not shade.

Side note: According to my neighbor, that tree to the right of the willow is an elm. Evidently the neighborhood was once full of them, but then Dutch Elm Disease came along, and I've got one of the only ones left. Go, elm tree!

Back to the story: I went on line and bought a magnolia. I thought about buying a Catalpa, but you guys told me they were a pain in the ass, so I'm going to pass for now.

I don't know about you, but I find it impossible to go to a nursery website and buy just one thing. Plus, Michigan Bulb (I know. I KNOW.) is having a special where if you buy forty bucks worth of stuff, you get twenty bucks off the order. Who can resist?

Not me.

So now I've got a magnolia on the way, and a weeping cherry tree, and a butterfly bush, and three hardy hibiscuses. Hibisci?

Oh! Oh! And then I was in Crapmart the other night, and there was a whole shelf full of peony plants, you know how they come, just the bare roots in dirt in a bag? And one of them was struggling to start growing, inside the bag, inside the store, under those crappy Crapmart lights.

I'm not made of STONE, people. I bought that peony. If it's trying THAT HARD to grow, against all odds, I'll give it a home. I know this photo is blurry, but check out those shoots poking up:

And then I had to stop at another store, and they had a display of starter lilacs for four bucks. Four bucks! I had two lilacs, a white and a purple, at the old place, but they had grown too big to move and I had to leave them behind. So I had to buy one of the four-dollar lilacs, natch.

Time to start digging some holes. C'mon over!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Up next: Kazoo

What is going on with American Idol? Last night, that one gal was accompanied by a guy on a didgeridoo, or whatever you call those giant Australian horn thingies, and that other dude's performance featured a dramatic entrance by a ....... bagpiper.

And OH MY GOD could they have dragged that show out any longer? Gah.

Too bad none of this year's contestants can actually, you know, SING. Oh, I know, a couple of them have passable voices, but really nothing terribly stand-out-ish.

So said the girl whose cats flee the room when she sings. Heh.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Oh, boy, am I pissed (Now with updates!)

People I am currently waiting to hear from:

1. The mechanic, with an estimate for replacing my timing belt. Okay, okay, the car's timing belt. I called him yesterday, and he said he'd call me "right back" with the price. Yeah.

2. The locksmith. I've been trying to get a doorlock situation at the house remedied since, oh, last August. (Dear robbers: All of the locks work. I just don't like the type of lock. Repeat: All of the locks work. Just so you know. You robbers.) This particular locksmith got involved about a week ago, and said he'd have someone give me a call and let me know when one of his guys would be stopping by. Still waiting.

3. The furnace guy. Jesus CHRIST what is with this guy? He finally showed up a while back to put in the new blower motor, but the furnace STILL isn't running right, and he was going to just pop by when he got a break in his schedule. That was ....... weeks ago? Maybe months? F*ck.

4. The plate-glass window guy, who was out to lunch when I called an hour ago and ...... oh wait! He's on the phone. Hallelujah. Be right back.

Okay, so the plate-glass window guy said come right over, bring your windows, and I did. And he said he could replace the broken glass in my storm windows, no problem, and he'd - uh oh - "give you a call when they're ready." Shit. F*ck me.

I know I've ranted about this before, but WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET SOMEONE TO FIX SOMETHING AROUND HERE? I am paying GOOD MONEY to get this shit fixed and WHY WILL NO ONE RETURN MY CALLS and HEY KIDS GET OFF OF MY LAWN.


Updated to add: The mechanic just called back. He wants a thousand dollars to replace the timing belt. A. thousand. dollars. Granted, that includes a new water pump (which the car does not need; it was replaced two years ago, thankyouverymuch) and a system flush, but still. It's a THIRTY-FIVE DOLLAR PART. Calling other garages in three ....... two ...... one......

Updated AGAIN to add: See the comments for the latest development!

Saturday, April 03, 2010


...... singular sensation.

I quit smoking one year ago today.

Can I have an Amen?

For those of you who may be new here, I smoked a pack-and-a-half a day for almost thirty years. And then I quit. Cold turkey.

One last run of the numbers:

Number of cigarettes I would have smoked between April 3, 2009 and today, had I not stopped smoking on that date: 10,950.

Amount of money saved: $1,952.75. (Just to clarify: I smoked cheap cigs I bought on line. Had I been buying name-brand smokes at the 7-11, that number would have easily been double. I used a figure of $3.56 a pack, since that's what my cigs cost at the time I quit.)

I've owned cars that cost less than that. A LOT less.

I suppose I really should get all introspective up in this space right now, but I'll try to avoid it. I've been posting Nomoblowsmo updates one a month for the last year, so I think I've pretty much said it all by now.

I hope to shit that this is not gonna come off as pretentious, but I do think that if you've got a kid, you may want to print out some of those once-a-months (posted on the third of each month) and show them to him/her. You may want to black out the swear words, but show him/her some of those posts.

Because when I was a kid? I bought all that smoking-is-DEATH stuff they taught us in school - hook, line and sinker. I remember making up anti-smoking POSTERS and parading through the smoke-filled family room, BEGGING my father to quit.

A few years later, I was bumming smokes from him.

When you're young, you think you're invincible. Lung cancer happens to OTHER people; YOU, on the other hand, are going to live forever. And besides, you can quit any time you want. It's easy!

Um, no. It's not. And maybe if you show your kids some of these posts, and they see the way I've struggled for A YEAR to quit, they'll get the picture. Just a little. Probably not, but maybe.

And I just want to mention, real quick-like, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allan Carr. You can get a used copy for less than ten bucks, including shipping, on Amazon. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have been able to quit smoking without it; I don't know that. One of the attractions was that you could smoke while reading the book; honestly, I probably wouldn't have bought it if not for that. I just know that I bought the book, smoked as I read it, put out a half-finished cigarette as I read the last words, and haven't smoked since. I was actually kind of afraid to read it, if you want to know the truth; it was kind of like, holy shit- what if it actually works? What if I actually quit? What will my life be like if I don't smoke? What will I DO without cigarettes?

It works, and I quit. And there was nothing to be afraid of. What do I do without cigarettes? Everything I did before, just without a cig in my hand.

I made it.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Funny? Or not-so-much?

First off, I am pleased to report that the spring peepers were peeping away last night, which is VERY cool, because at my old place, I had to go down to the creek if I wanted to hear peepers. Here, I just open a window. AND, I found coltsfoot on my property. It's blooming away, which means spring is surely here. It also means that I have a very soggy yard, but we'll skip over that part, shall we?

Okay, so I have been delegated to bring dessert to Easter family dinner. And because it's impossible to accurately predict how many people are going to attend beforehand, I thought I'd just make a sheet cake and be done with it.

Except I thought that a sheet cake was kind of boring, so I thought, well, I'll frost it in a pretty spring color. Like pink, or yellow, or green.

Hmmmm...... green......... If I frosted it green, it would look like grass, and I could go to the dollar store and get some little plastic bunnies to put on it. Festive! *cough*

So! I go to the dollar store, and what did I find but ...... bunny peeps! Cool, I thought, I can put the bunny peeps on the cake.

And my mind keeps churning, and I'm thinking, I can do a whole Easter scenario with the peeps! Like, "Christ is risen", with peeps! And I can put one peep on a straw to get him up above the cake, and I can make a little halo, and all the other bunny peeps can be looking up in amazement ....

See, here's the thing: I think that's funny. I'm pretty sure some other people who will be at Easter dinner will think that's funny. But there's some others, in particular the Catholic deacon ...... well, I'm not so sure.

What do you think? Christ in peep form, or play it straight?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

..... and these were the last images found on her camera after her death.

Duuuuuuudes, check it out:

Sorry for the poor quality - I was trying to get some pics quickly, before he stabbed me to death with his bloody horn.

It's hard to tell from the pics, but that horn is definitely not after-market or what remained after something else was broken off. The red color is original, too, and not the work of some emo kid with a Sharpie. You can click those pics to embiggen.

Here's a pic of something similar I found on Flickr*:

Who is this dude?!

Right now he's on my kitchen windowsill beneath the Cabinet Wall O' Religion. (Whole other post, right there.) But I would not be surprised if I woke up some morning to find him on my nightstand, peering up at me. **

*When I went to look it up again so I could credit the photog, I could no longer find it. Spoooky.

** ha ha, not really. Because then I would die of fright.

DISCLAIMER: This totally counts as this week's Freaky Friday. Shut it, Rob.