Monday, July 30, 2007

Nice to have him home

What a sweetie! I was planning to go see Assassins this past weekend only because 4 Birdie cast members were in it. The Chief decided to pass, given the premise and that he's no more a fan of Sondheim than I am. Friday night, however, he decided to go with me after all. "Let's make a night of it and go out to dinner first." The show was well done, but I wasn't surprised to learn it only ran about 3 months on Broadway. The Chief didn't think much of the show at all - not the story, not the music. Fortunately, my friends did well so I didn't have to tell any "lobby lies", and the Middle Eastern restaurant right around the corner was very good. We plan to go back several times to try all the other things on the menu that sounded good.

Another perq to having him home again - he picked up a few groceries for me after work today.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Silly spam!

Just got some spam with this entertaining subject line: Long live your august personage as soon as you have assumed the throne. Until that time, I suppose, you could walk in front of a bus and they wouldn't turn a hair.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dr. Destructo

Today was my first day back at work; however, the Chief doesn't go back until Monday, so he has the rest of the week to spend on his Harry Homeowner projects. Today I got home to find him ripping boards out of the deck. By dinnertime he'd backed the screws out of several boards, cut up a few more, and pulled out one of the deck steps. He was having a great time, playing with his drill and rip saw, hauling up those rotten old boards. We may have a new deck floor by the end of the weekend. (The railing just needs a new coat of paint.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lotsa fauna at the cabin

The last couple of times we've been out at the cabin, we've probably seen as much wildlife activity as we ordinarily see in an entire year. We've seen lots and lots of deer, including 2 or 3 does with fawns (twins, in one case). We had several small groups of deer go tearing past, come by to browse on what the gypsy moths didn't eat, or just pass through.

We also had a visit from a turkey hen and 8 chicks. Not that I was able to count the little fluffballs, between their very effective protective coloring and the way they alternated between utter stillness and surprising speed. Our next-door neighbors, who are full-timers, have seen the family several times and have had more opportunities to count the chicks (poults?); they confirmed the number for us.

Friday we had an unexpected visitor in the form of some sort of woodpecker (a female downy?) which spent several hours resting up on the swing out on the deck. Just sat there, first on the seat, then perched on the back, before flying off again. I also spotted a pileated woodpecker - they're pretty hard to miss, between being at least a foot tall and having that bright-red Woody Woodpecker cap.

What else? The usual squirrels, along with a coupla ground squirrels, several rabbits, and several different kinds of birds. Yep, the wildlife has been out in force this month.

Welcome to geezerdom (geezerhood?)

The Chief and I got our new military IDs last week to reflect his fully retired status (his Reserve pension kicks in Aug. 1st), which had him boasting of his new status as an "old fogey". Then he turned 60 the other day and seems to be rather proud to declare himself an "old geezer". I'm trying to make him realize that he's only a young geezer and pointed out that the 96-year-old I sing with at church could teach a 60-years-young whippersnapper like the Chief a thing or two. :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Car payments in my future

Sigh. I like my little 1999 Saturn, but now that it's up to 91K miles, I'm starting to look for a replacement. I bought this one in a hurry (had just returned from overseas and the meter on the rental car was ticking over at an alarming rate) and would rather not have to make another hurry-up purchase. I paid it off years ago and it hasn't given me any trouble to speak of, knock wood, so whatever I find is gonna hafta have something special to make it worth taking on car payments before I absolutely have to. I'm not the type to name my car or otherwise anthropomorphize it - as long as it's reliable and big enough to haul occasional loads of props, costumes, bedding plants, cabin supplies or whatever, I'm satisfied. That rules out anything "sporty", and I certainly don't need a minivan or SUV. Availability in a not-boring color is a plus, but hardly a sine qua non. (The Latin is for my Latin-scholar godson.)

I picked up the 2007 Consumer Reports car issue and just started wading through it (it wasn't nearly this detailed the last time I went thru this exercise - I feel like I'm doing a research paper!) but would also like to hear from folks who've recently bought a car. Are you happy w/ what you bought? If you had it to do over, would you get something different? Any horror stories you'd like to share, if only to get a sympathetic ear? ;)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Baking binge ahead...

The Chief and I hit several farm markets between Tuesday and yesterday - July is dangerous for that! We ended up buying 2 dozen ears of corn (and have already gone through nearly half of it, with the help of some neighbors), 1 peck of peaches (that works out to 3 dozen or so), 4 pts of blueberries, a small watermelon, and a pt of late strawberries. The first 1/2 peck of peaches was the trigger for the fruit-buying binge - they smelled so good, I wanted to smear them on my wrists and behind my ears! However, I showed admirable restraint, only bought 1/4 peck, and made one heckuva glorious peach pie. Improvised, too, since I didn't have my spiced peach pie recipe out at the cabin. Oh, and when we stopped for the second dozen ears of corn yesterday, we also got a peach-blueberry pie. I wouldn't buy another - I prefer my peaches straight - but not bad at all.

I picked up a small peach recipe book at one of our farmstand stops; the spiced peach pie recipe is wonderful, but I thought it might start to pall after the 3rd or 4th pie. So I went through my new peach cookbook and today I made a peach cake recipe - definitely one I'll make again, perhaps tomorrow, since a single recipe only fills one 8"x8" cake pan. I made a double recipe (took one cake over to a neighbor) and only used 8 peaches. That leaves me probably about 20 peaches to use up. Three guesses what I'll be putting on my cereal tomorrow.

I've already measured out blueberries for a pie and will probably use the rest for muffins, some of which will go next door. (We divvied up the newspaper/mail collection among our neighbors.)

Not sure what'll happen with the strawberries or the watermelon, but the Chief bought himself a new juicer today...

Monday, July 16, 2007

He's home at last!!!

The Chief got home July 3rd so I've been spending precious little time near a computer. I had orders to take him straight out to the cabin when I picked him up at the airport. The weather out there was absolutely perfect, and we finally found a dresser and nightstands for the new bedroom. We stayed at the cabin until just a day or two before we left for a week's vacation in Montreal. Home long enough to do a load or two of laundry, then back to the cabin so he can start digging into his list of projects. First up - scrubbing down the front & side deck and giving it a new coat of stain.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Talking plants!

NPR's Ketzel Levine has a new blog called Talking Plants. Today's entry has an interview w/ one Kati London, co-founder of Botanicalls. Funny interview, about a concept that's just a bit eerie - sensors in your houseplants to tell you if your ficus needs more light or your spider plant needs more water. Imagine your african violet IM-ing you to beg you to move it out of that too-sunny window...

Very punny

When I told TW about buying myself my spiffy little tiller, he came up w/ a new nickname for me which he thinks is particularly clever: A-tiller the Hun.


I've been trying all day not to hyperventilate or break down - TW gets home TOMORROW!!!! I've got a million things I want to get done around the house before then, very few of which I can realistically hope to accomplish, but it doesn't matter - no matter what does or doesn't get done, he'll be getting off that Freedom Bird tomorrow afternoon!

Tonight's checklist includes packing things for the cabin (he wants to go there straight from the airport), cleaning the bathrooms, changing the sheets, shoveling the clutter off the kitchen island, getting the trash out for tomorrow's pick-up, watering the flowers so they don't shrivel up & die, getting the last of the laundry folded & put away... Far more things on that list than I can realistically expect to accomplish tonight, but it'll help me burn off the nervous energy. Maybe I'll even wear myself out a bit so I can actually sleep tonight.

Methinks I might not be at my most productive at work tomorrow...


Teeny bit of background: our home computer is right next to window, from which I can see our next door neighbor's driveway and front garden, and I mean "garden" in both the American & British senses of the word, as it has two lovely flower beds that flank the front walk. Just yesterday I saw a bright yellow goldfinch(?) enjoying the flowers. I looked out just now to see what the birds were going on about and saw 2 robins in the driveway. I'm guessing one was a juvenile, given its fairly muted coloring, though it was nearly as big as its parent. It was cheeping at said parent, who eventually gave in and popped sthg into its mouth. Junior gulped it right down, quieted immediately, and both of them hopped off.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Progress of sorts

Made one last trip to the cabin this weekend to pretty it up before the Chief gets home on Tuesday (HALLELUJAH!!!!). I had hoped to mount a toilet paper holder & 5 towel bars in the downstairs bathrooms and hang all 6 cellular shades, in addition to giving the place a thorough cleaning & vacuuming to get rid of the usual accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and insect carcasses. (Still no evidence of mice moving back in - hurray!) I got all the cleaning done, except for sweeping down the deck, which did need it. The gypsy moth caterpillars have either died or become moths by now, but their mess lingers on. Bleah!

I managed to mount 2 out of 3 towel bars in one bathroom, and one towel bar out of 2 and half the toilet paper holder in the other. Couldn't get the last towel bars up in either bathroom because I kept running into studs and the stud finder I made a special trip to get doesn't work on exterior walls; it kept reading the entire exterior wall as a joist. The problem with the toilet paper holder was that the installation instructions gave a distance for spacing the two brackets that puts them at least 1/2" too far apart (I can't help but wonder if that's a typo). My first thought was that I'd just back out the screws on the one bracket & remount it. Then I realized that I couldn't back out the plastic thingies the screws had to go into, so I can't remount the bracket until I get another pair of plastic things.

The cellular shades were the project I most wanted to get finished, as we have yet to put up any window coverings of any sort in the new bedroom, and with six big windows, that bedroom gets sunny early at this time of year, making it hard to sleep much later than 6 or 7 a.m. I got all the mounting holes for the brackets marked, then proceeded to get them all pre-drilled. All but the very last hole. Wretched battery pack on the driver drill ran through its charge, the inconsiderate, uncooperative wretch! I did go ahead and screw in the brackets on one window by hand, just so I could get one shade mounted and see what it looked like, but because I had been cautious and used a fairly small drill bit for the pre-drilling, cranking in the screws by hand was slow going - a good 10 or 15 minutes for just 4 screws into pre-drilled holes. And because I needed to get back home, I couldn't stay to do them all. Good thing the shade snapped into place incredibly easily, so I could get one shade mounted.

While I continue to be frustrated at how very much time this simple little project is taking, I was very pleased with the results when I finally got that lone shade hung. Not only does it look nice and hangs just as I'd hoped (though it could stand to be 1/4" wider), but it darkens the room beautifully. Once I get the other 5 in place, the room will be so dark with the shades down that I could probably sleep till noon on the brightest day of the year.