Friday, May 29, 2015

Free plants!

The newest addition to the garden - some hen-and-chicks.  The Chief & I set out for a walk - stopped at the post office to mail a few things, got coffee at the local "roasterie", and wandered about the neighborhood admiring people's gardens.  As we were a couple of blocks from home, we passed a woman pulling grass out of her rock garden.  She was also thinning the hen-and-chicks she'd planted there and offered us some.  We didn't have a bag, so I cupped my hands together and she filled 'em up.  I got them planted and am hoping they'll fill up some holes in the bed along the sidewalk so the weeds don't try to take over again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Excellent judge of character?

... or too trusting for her mother's cardiac health?  The Chief and I sat across from a woman and her 2 little ones on the rental car shuttle on our way to the family graduations.  The 4-year-old, all curls & big eyes, was very chatty, which of course the Chief loved.  He didn't get to chat with her long, though, as it's only about a 5-minute ride.  Saturday afternoon, as I was waiting in line to board and the Chief was off searching for a restroom,  I spotted a familiar family.  Little Miss Curly-locks obviously recognized me, as she lit up and ran at me full tilt with her arms open wide for a hug!  Naturally, I couldn't disappoint the dear thing, though I quickly released her, not wanting to make her mother nervous.  The poor woman smiled a bit sheepishly and said "She's very friendly!"  I commented that the girl obviously recognized me from the rental car shuttle the week before, hoping to reassure Mom a little that I wasn't a complete stranger to her little girl.  That's a tough balancing act - you don't want your kids to be afraid to talk to people, but you don't want them to be too trusting, either.

That's this year's batch of family graduations

Three nephews are now graduated - congratulations, gentlemen!  V, I hope your freshman year will be a relatively smooth transition.  J, best of luck on your job hunt.  S, may your roll continue at your new institution in the fall.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First college graduation in the family

Today my godson received his B.A. (Classical languages), making him the first of that generation of our family to earn a college degree.  Beautiful day for it, despite a wind that sometimes had hats, gowns, etc., blowing wildly.  The keynote speaker gave an excellent commencement address, the transcript for which I hope will be available on line for future reference.  The ceremony closed with the singing of the alma mater, the cheer, and the fight song.  Great fun!

It was interesting to see what was the same as my graduation from the same institution, and what had changed (e.g., the fancy-schmancy electronic scoreboard, on which we saw J and his friend as they started into the procession).  I also couldn't help wondering what the commencement festivities are like at the institution where I hope to be enrolling this fall. :)

Had another nephew graduate from high school Thursday night.  He'll be attending his dad's alma mater in the fall - the other state university.  As I teased both him and his dad, I suppose someone needed to try to balance the distribution in the family. :D

Friday, May 15, 2015

The sparrows have figured it out!

A week after the Chief & I brought home the new bird feeder, the sparrows not only have it figured out, but seem to have claimed it as their own.  They're certainly the most frequent, and greediest, visitors.  The cardinals have stopped by to check out the feeder, but don't seem to stay long at all.  And the bird feeder seems to be making good on its claim to be squirrel-proof - the squirrels I've seen have contented themselves with eating what the birds drop on the ground.  Or maybe the sparrows have been "discouraging" the squirrels from poaching on the sparrows' territory... :)

The feeder holds 3 or 4 lbs. of birdseed.  The level wasn't moving much at all until last night; it's dropped quite a bit since then.  I wonder how long it would take the sparrows to empty it completely - if we go on vacation for a week, will the greedy little things empty the bird feeder long before we get back?

I was amused to see that a black bird in the raven/crow family had a different feeding technique than the sparrows, which park on one of the 4 perches and chow down.  This black bird would perch, take a piece, hop to the adjacent fence, and eat its morsel.  Then it would go back to the perch, take another piece, and go back to the fence to eat it.  It's taller than the sparrows, so the feeding hole is not at its beak level; maybe it's too awkward or uncomfortable to sit on the perch and eat.

Scenes from a busy day

Had a good day Wednesday, saw some interesting things:
  • City employees planting coleus and begonies in beds at the foot of some city trees.  I was so busy examining the plants that I walked right past my destination, had to double back.
  • On public transit 3 times; each time I saw more law enforcement personnel in mostly casual clothing (e.g., T-shirts or polo shirts with the logo of their unit) wearing badges with a black band.  Turned out there was a memorial service downtown for National Police Week.
  • The usual array of characters - folks in T-shirts and shorts, or business suits, parents with kids of various ages, and the crazy lady (me!) juggling a tote bag (purse, book & water bottle), shopping bag, and bakery box with the results of my cooking class.  Yes, the baked goods arrived safely home. :)
Had a heckuva time figuring out how to get from the subway to my cooking class because the street exit dumped me two blocks away from where I thought it would.  It took me at least half an hour to find my way through and around the intervening mall (which was undergoing a lot of construction, which shut down at least one of the main exits) and the adjacent parking garage.

The pie class was so much fun!  Only 6 of us, and everyone had good questions so I learned a lot.  We also learned from seeing how the chef-instructor finessed an "oops" (the crust & ganache for the black-bottom banana cream pie took a header out of the freezer).  The resulting black-bottom banana pudding was delicious!  I like people-watching at that store - they get yuppies, military types, younger people, retirees (like me!), people who know exactly what they want, don't have a clue, or just want to browse the "toy store".

I got my hair cut quite short - a "summer cut".  It's the shortest I've worn it since, I think, my senior year in high school, short enough that it'll take a little getting used to, but I love it - so easy to take care of, and so cool!

The "Mattress" read-through was fun.  Only had about half the cast, but we got thru most of the dialogue & music to get a feel for the show.  This is gonna be fun!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This year's garden

I went off to the nursery on Mother's Day and came home with
  • a red begonia and assorted portulaca for the "mailbox bed";
  • 2 varieties of lavender for the corner of the house where the squash failed;
  • coreopsis, rudbeckia and a "blanket flower" (gaillardia) for the now-sunny patch out front;
  • a red geranium, white petunia & blue lobelia for the single railing planter;
  • dianthus, lantana and phlox for the double railing planter (in reds, pinks & whites - it already looks like a valentine!);
  • rosemary, basil and parsley; and
  • two varieties of cherry tomato and a zucchini plant (fingers crossed that no squash borers find it!).
Yesterday the Chief & I went back to the nursery so he could pick out what he wants for the shed.  We got a dutchman's pipe for the trellis (nurseryman: "if you're really lucky, it'll attract pipevine swallowtails") and begonias and new guinea impatiens for the windowboxes.

I got most of these in the ground (or planter) today, and came into the house filthy from head to toe.  As I was getting ready for my post-garden shower, I had to laugh - I had a big smudge on my forehead that made it look as though I'd just been to church to get ashes! :D 

I got a lot done, but had to quit before I got the tomatoes, squash, and 4 of the 6 phlox plants in the ground.  Won't have time for that tomorrow (see earlier post), so that'll be Thursday's gardening project.  Gonna be fun!

A busy day in the life of a retiree

Taking advantage of having my weekdays open, I may have overdone things just a bit.  Tomorrow I have a haircut appointment at 11, a pastry class in a different part of town (accessible by public transit, fortunately!) from 2:30-4:30, and the first read-through for Once Upon a Mattress at 7:30.  I'm looking forward to all of these, and they aren't scheduled so close together that I'll be lucky not to be late, but they're sufficiently scattered geographically that I know I'll be oh, so happy to get out of my car for good when I get home after the read-through.

Happy 10th anniversary to me (a bit late)

I've now had my blog for 10 years as of last month - April 11th, 2005, saw my first-ever blog post.  I don't cover certain topics (I try to avoid politics, for example) but if you're interested in theater, gardening, or cooking, I hope you've been at least mildly entertained.

Since playing Pitti-Sing, my first lead, I've done 2 more G&S leads (Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Dame Carruthers in The Yeomen of the Guard) and nice, meaty roles in several plays (biggest were Sara Lee Turnover in Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? and Veta Louise Simmons in Harvey).  I'm still taking voice lessons and working on my technique, and am now looking to become a Theater major this fall and a Voice major next fall.

The Chief and I still have the cabin and are looking forward to longer, mid-week trips there now that I'm retired.  I also have spent a larger percentage of time in the kitchen trying new recipes.  My issues of Cook's Country will now get a closer reading. :)  Today I spent well over 3 hours out in the garden planting most of the flowers we bought yesterday and Sunday.  So lovely to have the whole week for that, not just Saturdays & Sundays!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Grocery shopping a deux

Tomorrow the Chief & I are going grocery shopping together.  This will be interesting; this has been primarily his purview since he retired over 6 years ago, though I retained primary responsibility for drawing up the grocery list.  He has proposed dividing the list, taking opposite sides of the commissary, so we can get outta there that much sooner.  All well and good, but I suspect he'll finish first, being more familiar with the commissary's layout.  I'm not really worried, though; we came to an understanding about packing suitcases, we'll work this one out too. :)

My next show - "Once Upon a Mattress"

This audition round was a tough one - I went into it Monday night with a touch of laryngitis (thank you so much, tree pollen!), started my monologue and drew a blank just 1 or 2 lines into it.  But I managed to sing decently, and pulled off my monologue when I restarted.  The dance combo was a short, very easy one - just 3 sets of 8.  I obviously didn't do badly, as I was called back the next night.  I was one of seven candidates for Queen Aggravain, and I know at least 2 of the "competition" are strong performers, so I wasn't exactly surprised when I didn't get the role.  I didn't get cast as any of the named ladies in waiting, either, presumably because those went to young women.  'S OK; I'll have fun in the ensemble, and I've already offered my assistance to the costumer.

Friday, May 01, 2015

"So long, it's been good to know ya"

That's it - I'm now retired!  ID handed in, IT with instructions to turn off my accounts tonight, and done!  I was all smiles right up to the second I dropped my badge in the box on the way out and blew the building a goodbye kiss; suddenly I got all teary - quite surprised me!  I suppose it shouldn't have, given that I've worked there since graduating from college, and I do tend to get sentimental.  I just wonder how long it'll take for it to sink in that I'm not just on vacation, that I'm actually retired and not going back.

My immediate plans are pretty basic - I really need to dig into the library/sewing room/music room/junk room and try to make some order out of chaos.  I'll start that next week.  I've reached out to a couple of organizations to volunteer, and of course I plan to start back to school in late August.  I'll probably start with a light schedule, just 12 hours, while I learn a new way to study.  Oh, and I've got an audition Monday night - wish me luck! :)