Friday, May 28, 2010

Freaky Friday - Memorial Edition

This is a micrometer, also known as a "mike". Behind that is a level.

I used a mike when I worked at my Dad's tool and tie shop. I have no idea if they're still used today; I assume everything's digital now. Mikes are (were) used to measure the exact widths of things. The mike and level shown above were my Dad's; my mom gave them to me after he died.

Dad died eleven years ago today. You can read a little about him here.

I love you, Dad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

.... I'm somebody now!

Yeah, I'm pretty good at getting excited about nothing.

In other breaking news:

The peonies are blooming!

I know! Can you STAND the excitement?!

This is a plant that I transplanted from the old place last summer, so I wasn't sure if it was going to make it at all, let alone bloom, but it's come through like a champ.

Oh! And in what-a-difference-a-year-makes news, I was just toodling through the archives here and discovered that at this time last year, I was struggling to recover from the world's worst case of tonsillitis and was about to be homeless.

Holy shit, I can't believe I made it through all that and came out the other side.

What's new with you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Little Girl vs. the woodpecker

Last night, Little Girl decided she was going up a tree after a woodpecker.

When she was about forty feet up, the woodpecker hopped over to a nearby tree, and Little Girl had to figure out how to get back down.

These cats have a long and storied history of getting stuck in trees, which I'm too lazy to link to right now, but trust me, I knew last night's voyage down the tree wasn't gonna be pretty.

She started out coming down head-first, which works about as well as if you or I tried to come down a tree head-first.

She actually made it about ten feet down before she fell, and then she free-fell about another ten feet before - ooof! - catching a branch with her tummy, at which point she grabbed onto the branch with her front claws and - I shit you not - actually did a loop-the-loop around the branch, just like a circus aerialist, before falling again and - ooof! ooof! ooof! - catching branches all the way to the ground.

And then she sauntered away nonchalantly, all, "I meant to do that", while I laughed myself silly. What can I say - I'm a sucker for slapstick.

A little while later, The Runt decided to show her how it's done, and went up THE SAME DAMN TREE, about fifty feet, before realizing - dang! - he had to get back down again.

But The Runt, being the veteran stuck-in-tree-er that he is, hesitated only a moment before swinging around and heading down butt-first, the only sure way for safe egress from a tree.

Good job, Runt!

Little Girl with a recent conquest:

Check out the size of that frog! Don't worry, I scooped him up and carried him to the swamp out back, where he swam away good as new.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oh, like THIS isn't the cutest thing ever

Check this out:

It's a live baby hummingbird webcam!

I was sitting outside last night when a hummingbird buzzed me on the way to the feeder I set up outside the kitchen window. Hummingbirds are really bold little things, and if you get two males at the feeder at the same time, you're in for an airshow, as they'll attack each other in mid-air to establish dominance.

Check out that link above to catch some live hummingbirds!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hoodlums: The Next Generation

Friday night, I had a front-row seat to some neighborhood kids plotting and executing a ring-and-run on my neighbor Terry.

I thought about chasing the kids away (HEY! KIDS! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!), but heck, they didn't even have the ol' flaming bag of poop. No harm, no foul, right?

But I got to wondering, do kids who pull silly pranks on their neighbors turn out okay? Or do they turn into bad teenagers?

I don't remember ever pulling pranks on adults when I was a kid, mainly because of the fear factor - fear that I'd get caught.

How about you - did you pull any pranks?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Freaky Friday - Neighborhood Edition

Directly behind the parking lot for what was supposed to be the new ice cream store* in my neighborhood lies the hermit house. From what I've been told, a hoarder lived there for many years. After he died/went into a nursing home/nobody's-sure-what-happened-but-he-doesn't-live-there-anymore, somebody bought the house and cleaned all the accumulated stuff out. They replaced some of the windows, and started work on the plumbing, and then, for whatever reason, abandoned it.

I've been told that approximately nine billion feral cats live there, but I didn't see any on the day I trespassed stopped by to take some pics.

Obligatory spooky basement:

Weird outbuilding with grass growing on the roof:

hahaha Rob, see that? IT'S STILL SNOWING HERE.**

I've been calling it the "hermit house", because that's what sprung to mind, but really, I think this looks like a good old-fashioned haunted house. I think I'll start telling the neighborhood kids ghost stories about the hermit ghost who lives in the house, just to scare the shit out of them and infuriate their parents when the kids insist on sleeping with them for the next ten years or so, because THE HERMIT GHOST MIGHT GET THEM IF THEY SLEEP IN THEIR OWN BED. Hey, not my problem! And besides, every neighborhood needs a haunted house, no?

Let's see: He has a hook for an arm and only comes out when the moon is shining .......

*Still just a vacant store. I'm not happy.

**Not really.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Movie Review: Orphan

Hahahahahahaha ...... I wish I could say this one was so bad it's good, but .... no. It's just bad.

"Orphan" is about a couple who adopt a little Russian girl with ....... ooooooohhh ......... a deep secret, and the whole thing is just so bad it's reedonkulus. This piece of crap actually got some good reviews on IMDB, which is pretty much mystifying.

So! You can skip "Orphan". If you want to watch a "bad kid" movie, try "The Bad Seed" from the fifties - that one's actually pretty good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

F*ck tha gutters

I tried caulking the gutters. I tried taping the gutters. I tried taping over the caulk, and STILL the gutter seams all leak.


Screw it. Let 'em drip. A couple of giant tree limbs came down on top of the shed last night, so I've got bigger fish to fry, anyway.

Am I the only one who loves this commercial?:

I watched it about 15 times before I even realized what the commercial was for. I wish I was the person who came up with this - it's genius.

Updated to add: On the way to work this morning, that Lady Gaga song Bad Romance was on the radio, and now it's ricocheting around my brain and driving me crazy. I can't stand Lady Gaga. And then I learned all about the Budd Dwyer suicide on Mental Floss and went to youtube to watch the video, which makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Patron Saints

So! After all the excitement over Saint Jude, I did a little googling to see how many patron saints there are.

Holy cow, you crazy Catholics, there's, like, a ton of them!

As ~~Silk pointed out in the earlier post, Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, which is actually kind of perfect for me. But I did find some others who would also fit:

Patron saint of Doubters: Saint Joseph. Gardeners: St. Fiacre, St. Sebastian. Notaries: St. Luke, St. Mark. Secretaries: St. Genesius. Stenographers: St. Cassian Tangiers.

There's some I can only aspire to, like St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, and St. Sophia, the patron saint of wisdom. I could find no patron saint of beer drinkers, which is probably just as well.

Now, I'm not sure how authentic some of the ones I found are. I mean, there's a patron saint for illegal drug dealers? Really? And kidnap victims? I mean, are there really that many kidnap victims that they need their own saint? Oh, and how about "Tongue Trouble"? Allegedly, there's a patron saint for that, too, which sounds kind of sketchy to me.

Oh, and evidently there's a patron saint for "Enemies of Religion", which is kind of surprising, seeing as how Catholics are not really that tolerant of non-believers. Why would they give us non-believers our very own patron saint? And I mean, it's not like we non-believers are going to believe in our patron saint, or anything. lists a whole boatload of patron saints. Did you know that the patron saint of basket-makers is Saint Hilarion? Sounds like a pretty funny guy. *groan* (Sorry, I just couldn't pass that up.)

I think I'll make up my own patron saint. Saint I'm-Trying-My-Best-Here, maybe. And who's the patron saint of home repair? I could use him right about now.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Frogs. Now she's bringing in frogs.

Looks like you guys were right.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Freaky Friday!

Some of you long-time readers may remember Dead Ted Head, my roadside rescue.

This is Ted, almost two years ago, air-drying after cleaning:

Dead Ted Head is currently residing in a comfortable pile on one of my bedroom dressers. He has a view of the park. He is still awaiting his calling in my House of Odd; one day soon, it will come.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not my experience

The latest blogger to happen big appears to be Hyperbole and a Half, and she deserves it, because she's hilarious.

She's gone from total anonymity to, like, a kabillion page hits a month in less than a year.

That's not my blogging experience.

Mainly because I will never be one-hundredth of the blogger that she is, and that's fine with me. I am very happy with the little niche I've carved out for myself here.

And then there was that convenience store worker down South who played the lottery a few weeks back and won a kabillion dollars.

I've been known to buy a lottery ticket every once in a blue moon, but actually winning money? Not my lottery experience.

I guess I got thinking about this whole "experience" thing when I found out my ex was living in a trailer park. If I had stayed with him, who knows? That might have been my experience. But I left him, and it wasn't.

Not sure what I'm trying to get at here, except that maybe life is equal parts effort and serendipity, and as long as you're happy with where you end up, all is well. I think that most people, when in a good situation, will try to stay there, and most people, when in a bad situation, will work to get out of it. But sometimes, I think inertia sets in, and it's easier to just stay where you are than to try to move on. Personally, whenever I'm in a bad place, panic sets in, like, "holy shit, what if I'm stuck here forever?", and then I get my stuff in gear and work to get to a better place. Sometimes it takes a while, to be honest, but I do get up and go. But I've seen an awful lot of people stay in really bad places, just because they don't want to put in the effort to get out, or don't think they're worthy, somehow, of getting to a better place.

Right now I'm in a good place. I'll try to stay here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Playing favorites

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be buying some plants to fill in bare spots in my garden and around the perimeter of the house. I brought some of my favorites from the old place with me: Tiger lilies, asiatic, oriental and turks-cap lilies, bleeding hearts, lilies-of-the-valley, phlox, hydrangeas and rose-of-sharons all came along and are doing well as transplants. Well, the rose-of-sharons are kind of iffy, but I think they're gonna pull through.

Some things I had to leave behind because they were simply too big or too root-bound to move: Lilacs, ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons all stayed behind. I didn't bring the poppies or the columbine, either, because they had died back for the summer at the time of the move and I was afraid they wouldn't transplant well.

When the trees and bushes at the edge of the new place started to leaf out this spring, I was surprised to find that I had lilacs! The white kind, though, not the purple which I prefer, so I did a lilac exchange with one of the guys at work: White lilacs bushes for purple ones, which he had at his place. It'll take a few years for the new plants to get established, but I've got time.

Oh! And I relocated some bluebells and ferns from the creek to the new place, and ordered some hibiscuses and a butterfly bush and a weeping cherry from mail-order, all of which have arrived and been planted. I'm still waiting on the magnolia - get on that, Michigan Bulb, would ya?

So! Back to the point. I'm going to be buying some more plants. Columbine, I think, to replace the one I had to leave behind. Maybe a trumpet vine, although I never had any luck getting them to bloom at the old place. Maybe wisteria, which I've never tried before. I was at Agway today and they had dutchman's pipe vines, which I remember my mom telling me was one of her favorite plants as a kid. I bought a heliotrope the other day, because the name sounded familiar to me, and then I learned that they're also called cherry pie plant because the blooms smell like cherry pie! So I gave mine a great big whiff, and yep, cherry pie it is. It's only an annual, though, so I'll have to dig it up and bring it inside this fall if I want to keep it around.

The point, the point, here it is: What's your favorite perennial plant? Preferably one with fragrant blossoms, that can make it through a Zone 5 winter (hardy to -20 degrees). Do you have a flower or plant or bush you remember fondly from your childhood?

What should I plant in my garden?

Monday, May 10, 2010

One born every minute

They're selling potted Mayapples at the local Agway. Mayapples look like this:

And this time of year, local woods look like this:

It's like an ocean of Mayapples.

I should go back to the Agway and ask them if they're actually selling any of the Mayapples. If so, I think I'll dig up the dandelions from my lawn and start a little garden stand. Is genius!

Friday, May 07, 2010

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Freaky Friday to bring you ....

............ FIRE!

This was the scene in the park last night:

The view out my front (screen) door:

A brush fire started down by the creek - I suspect the local kids who sneak down there to smoke may have played a part, but it's hard tellin'.

The fire company was there for a good two hours. They finally took in a backhoe to do ...... something. Not sure. I was a little nervous when they left, because the fine local volunteer firemen have a history of ..... well ...... not completely extinguishing fires; often, local fires tend to start back up a few hours after the firemen leave, but all was well this morning.

Let's see. So far at the new place I've had a flood and now a fire. What's next? DON'T ASK.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Home Improvement

Peeps? I've got a confession to make.

I ..... I ..... I can't stop working on my house.

Every night, I go home from work, and I change out of my "work clothes" and into some jeans, and I swear that I'm gonna pop a beer and just chill for a few, and then ....

...... and then ......

....... and then I look out the window and see that the grass needs trimming around the mailbox or that the willow has shed yet more giant branches onto the back yard, and so I go outside to tend to that, real quick-like, and while I'm out there I notice those lilac saplings that I was going to relocate and the windowsill with the peeling paint that needs to be scraped and painted and the drainage ditch that really needs to be dug out and that hollow spot in the lawn that needs to be filled in and .....

...... the next thing I know, the little-leaguers playing ball in the park next door are packing up their gear and I look down at my watch and holy shit! It's eight o'clock - where did the time go?

I need help.

I fall into bed at night, exhausted, with aching muscles, and swear that the next day will be different. That I'll get home from work, pop that beer, and just relax and enjoy the house.

And of course, the next day I get home from work, pull in the driveway, and oh crap those gutters need to be caulked and the grass around the shed needs to be trimmed and .....

I mean, some of this stuff I enjoy. Anything to do with the garden is pure fun, and even some of the grunt work is satisfying in a get-it-done kind of way, although dear God it was raining this morning and those gutter seams that it took me two hours to caulk last weekend are leaking AGAIN and it looks like I'm gonna have to get up there with some kind of thermonuclear device to stop that f*cking dripping and ......

I am actually hoping for rainy days right now. To keep me inside. Except then I'd just look around inside the house and see that the bathroom ceiling needs to be painted and the insulation in the garage still needs to be covered up and .......

...... oh man.

You guys were holding out on me. Nobody told me that once you buy a house, you start a to-do list, an ever-changing to-do list, that will NEVER BE FINISHED until you sell the house. Or drop dead. Whichever comes first, I guess.

What else did you not tell me? Fess up.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Little bug

When I took this pic of the bluebells I "repurposed" from the woods:

I never even noticed the little dude hanging out on the blossoms:

If I'd have known he was there, I would've macroed in on him and gotten some really cool pics.
Oh well. He probably wouldn't have been too jazzed about having his picture splashed all over the internet, anyway.

Breaking News!

Rumor has it that the former carpet-and-tile store three blocks from my house is being converted into an ice-cream store.


Paging Jillian Michaels ........

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Oh, have I got a story to tell you ....

Call me petty, but I experienced a little frisson of happiness this morning when I discovered that my ex-husband is now living in a trailer park.

Now I, myself, lived in a trailer park back in the day. A pretty run-down trailer park. Actually, I lived in a run-down trailer park with my then-husband back in the day. Because we were young and poor.

We were actually living in that run-down trailer park when I packed up and left him. Because, you see, I found out through trailer-park sources that he was sleeping with another woman. A married woman. A married woman with children.

(Note: You cannot get away with ANYTHING in a trailer park. They are like the worst little small-town Peyton Places EVER. Should you ever find yourself in a trailer park, BEHAVE, because if you don't, everybody in the place will know your bizness in about half a day. The trailer park grapevine is a mighty thing to behold.)

So! I left him, the woman left her husband, they moved in together, and here's where the story gets REALLY GOOD.

When I left him, ex-husband and I agreed to split the cost of the divorce 50-50. I should have made him pay for the whole damn thing, but I knew the odds of that happening were zero, so I decided to settle for half. I had my half of the money and went on with my new single life in my new apartment (over a bar) (movin' on up!), waiting for him to cough up his half of the dough so we could make the break official.

Fast-forward to several months later, when I'm in the parking lot of a local grocery store. An EXTREMELY PREGNANT woman walks up to me, says, "Um .... excuse me? Are you *Insert first name here*? *Insert first name here* *Insert last name here*?"

"Yes," I said. "Do I know you?"

Yeah, you got it.

It was the ex-husband's new girlfriend, whom he had managed to knock up in world-record time, and she was just about to pop.

"Why won't you give him a divorce?" she asked. "We want to get married so we can give the baby his last name."

How honorable, I thought. I then explained that we had agreed to split the cost 50-50, and that as soon as he coughed up his share, we would divorce. ASAP would be fine with me. Yesterday, if possible, as far as I was concerned.

"Oh!" she said. "He told me that you were refusing to divorce him, and that's why we can't get married!"

"Honey", I said gently. "Is that the first lie he's told you?"

"No", she said quietly, a sad look coming over her face. "I'm sorry to bother you."

And she walked away.

I don't know what happened to her or the kidlet, but my ex is now living, by himself, in a trailer park.

And because I am mean and petty, this little factoid makes me happy.

The End.

"Ominous trend", indeed

On Saturday, Little Girl got her first snake.

On Sunday, she got her second snake.

Last night, she got a rabbit*.


*I managed to rescue the rabbit, but still.

Monday, May 03, 2010

You better think .......

...... is what I told the lawn mower on Saturday afternoon when it conked out. I left it alone to peruse its options, and when I went back an hour later it started back up. Wise choice.

Other random weekend stuff:

When you've got a bad shoulder, it's probably not the best idea in the world to spend two hours up on a ladder with your arms over your head caulking the gutters.

On the other hand, if it will stop the damn gutters from leaking, it's worth it.

The locksmith showed up! Hallelujah! Now all the locks are keyed the same, which is like a miracle, until of course I lose the key, at which time it will suck. (Yes, I did have him give me a couple extra copies. Thanks for asking.)

Painting window frames takes about five times as long as you think it will. As far as that goes, ANY type of home repair takes about five times as long as you think it will. At least.

Wasps do not like to have their nests moved. Bite it, wasps. You're not nesting on my window frames. Be thankful I didn't bust out the Raid.

Little Girl got her first (that I know of) snake on Saturday. On Sunday, she got her second. I'm sensing an ominous trend here.

The same Little Girl who hunts down snakes is scared of the ceiling fans. And The Runt is terrified of the ceiling fans. It's gonna be a hot summer if I can't get them past this.

I saw a barn owl yesterday, which was very cool.

The trilliums are blooming:

Oh yeah, which way are ceiling fans supposed to turn in the summer? Clockwise or counter-clockwise? I know you're supposed to run them one way when it's hot, and the other way when it's cold, but I don't know which is which.

Of course, it won't matter much, if the cats keep hitting the floor like they're being strafed by the Luftwaffe every time I turn the damn things on.