Saturday, November 29, 2008
I know, I know, a certain member of Guns n' Roses has spewed some viscous hate speech in the past. But I still like their early music and have always been a big fan of Slash in particular, so I thought this was pretty cool. And with all of the hatefulness that is surfacing after the election, I'm really glad to see people standing up for what they think is right and doing it in a positive way.
My second selection isn't at all related to politics, but I really like this song, it has Slash, and it's happy, so enjoy.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
For some reason known only to himself, my dad, who doesn't even like when my mom puts chili powder in chili, felt the urge to plant jalapeno and habanero chilies this summer. As a result, when I visited a couple of weeks ago, I drove back home with a paper grocery bag full of a few tomatoes and a whole lotta peppers; 48 habaneros and 5 jalapenos, to be exact. I've learned that it's not worth the time and effort to figure out my father's motives, so I just took the bag and wondered what I was going to do with the contents. Bare in mind that my husband thinks pepperoni pizza is spicy, so he would be no help.
After a little Internet research, I decided to try to make barbeque sauce and some chili paste. I started out this morning with the sauce, which involved roasting the chilies and then pureeing them in the blender. (Note to other short women who may try this at home: let the mixture breathe a little before sticking your face over the top of the blender, otherwise the proximity of the paste to your face will trigger tears and a sneezing fit.) About half way through roasting, Chris decided to take a road trip. I didn't think it was that bad until I made a trip to the composting bin and came back inside. My eyes stung when I walked back inside. No wonder the dogs were nowhere to be found.
Anyway, long story short, I now have 2 1/2 jars of barbeque sauce and two ice cube trays filled with chili paste (for easy freezing and use later). And the house still smells like the inside of a chili. I wonder how long it will take to dissipate...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But some things are worth blogging about. Even if you're not for Obama, this is a hoot.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
You can have all the fun and excitement of an up-close encounter just minutes from your very own home. Here's how: Just strap on a pair of your favorite running shoes and walk out the back door. Make sure that it's twilight so that both humans and animals have a false sense of security. Start walking. It's preferable to head for a neighborhood with large stands of old trees with low hanging branches to maximize the experience. Finding just the right place will enable nature to come straight to you with no annoying middleman.
Once you've found the perfect spot, keep moving but look up to admire the dozens of bats flying about gobbling up all those pesky insects. Before you know it, you'll have all your very own bat fluttering around against the decal on your tee shirt (and we do suggest a tee shirt rather than workout top -- what with the bat pee and all).
Try to refrain from yelling, "Jesus Christ! That's a bat!" as there are children present. Running three blocks at a flat-out sprint is acceptable.
Later, we've added a special bonus encounter.
If you see a raccoon arching its back at you, make sure to make a motion toward it accompanied by some sort of vocalization. When the raccoon charges you -- and our hand-fed neighborhood raccoons will charge you -- see if you can outrun it.
Bonus points if you don't drop your keys or the pepper spray that you forgot you had with you.
Monday, July 28, 2008
My butterfly and bird garden has turned into more of a bee and chipmunk garden. It's all good, though. I'm just hoping the chipmunk doesn't get so used to me that she tries to move into the house with us. It's not exactly airtight, so it wouldn't be too hard. And I know it's a she because she's had lots of babies over the past couple of seasons.
This is great time to shop for plants. Some of the more unusual flora is gone but the remaining stock is half off or more. Gardening is such a crap shoot anyway, so why not try a couple of bargain plants? One of my favorite shrubs from a couple of years ago was reduced to 1/4 of the original price and is covered with butterflies and bees in late summer and early fall. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow. The sun is going down already and my camera battery is dead. The photo I'm using is of one of Mom's peonies.
My latest addition was something my mom insisted on buying me -- Sedum 'Angelina'. It's not something I would normally buy but she was really excited by it and it was only $4. The chipmunk seems to think digging in the middle of it is a grand idea, so we'll have to see if it makes it. The other plants from earlier this spring are doing pretty well. I didn't realize I was buying so many violet blue varieties. Next year I'll concentrate on some other colors like pink or yellow.
This is a real ad from the local paper that ran sometime this Spring. A couple of us in the HR department dialed the number to try to figure out the company name. The guy answering the phone said it so fast we couldn't understand what he was saying and a reverse number look up only told us it was somewhere downtown. Shows we're not the only ones with hiring problems.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I went to the SHRM conference in Chicago in late June. I'll post more about how folks couldn't make the connection when Doris Kearnes Goodwin spoke about Lincoln's leadership skills and the relevance to HR, Sidney Poitier, and human resources professionals being escorted out of a Lionel Richie concert. A great time.
I've been on a party bus to see Tom Petty at Deer Creek/Verizon/Whatever the Heck It's Called Music Center. More to come on the bus ride to the concert and the MASSIVE headache I got. And the three full minutes between the main set and the encore.
My father-in-law has had his second round of chemo and lots of ensuing problems. If my husband and I make it out of this with our marriage intact, I'll be shocked. Today was a bad day and I'm not sure I'll post about it. That's more of an over-dinner-with-friends kind of thing.
My oldest dog had a stroke last Saturday. It never occurred to me that dogs could have strokes. She's still with us but it was very touch-and-go for the first part of the week. We may be doing doggy-therapy in the near future, so stay tuned.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The moral, Dear Reader, is that when you're feeling down -- don't despair. At least you know the difference between "here" and "there."
Sunday, June 1, 2008
While I was working outside, I heard a very strange humming and chirruping from my neighbors' maple tree. I think we may have a pair of hummingbirds staking their territory. Either that or we're being invaded by some huge, vocal insects of some sort. It's hard to tell without my glasses. Maybe they'll discover some of my plants soon.
In my ideal world, I would spend one day per week cooking meals for the entire week but that rarely happens. I've had my menu planned for three weeks before actually getting everything at the grocery. In any case, now we have curried chicken salad, a reduced-calorie (yet still delicious) version of red beans & rice, oven-roasted chicken, meatloaf, and terriaki salmon. I made the meatloaf with bison meat. There's so little fat that I'll have to up the binding agents next time, but it's still really good. The next task will be freezing the portions that I can't eat right away. Groceries are way too expensive to let anything go to waste. I always have lots of fun when I cook even though it's a lot of work.
This evening I spent some time playing in the butterfly garden I started two years ago. During the Fall of 2006, I mapped out the area for the garden and covered it with black plastic sheeting, the contents of my compost bin, leaves, and straw from my parents. In the Spring of 2007, I pulled up the plastic and used the rototiller to mix it all into the soil. Apparently this is a technique referred to as lasagna gardening (because of the layering of materials) although I was just being lazy since I didn't have to remove the sod layer before tilling. The bonus I didn't expect was how much healthier that part of the yard is now. In the past when I would work in that area, I'd find a lot of grubs but now I can't pull a weed without disturbing an earthworm. It's a shame I don't like to fish because I have access to a whole lot of bait.
I got a bit overzealous when I ordered the plants and didn't get them all planted. That plus the fact that the birdseed I used was apparently not sterile like it was supposed to be made the butterfly garden a bit of a bust. Some plants did survive though: 2 Caryopteris 'Dark Knight', and 3 Sedum septabile 'Brilliant'. One shrub, a dwarf "cranberry" Viburnum, that I bought on clearance in 2006 has played dead until this spring. I saw one tiny green shoot near the bottom (when I was getting ready to dig it up and inter it in the composter). I decided to give it one more summer and cut out all the dead stems. It certainly isn't flourishing but is showing some nice growth, so that's kind of a pleasant surprise. Hopefully by next year, it will actually look like a shrub.
Four plants that I ordered last year actually survived overwintering in their shipping containers in my garage, so I stuck them in the ground tonight. If they're that tough, they just might survive my low-maintenance gardening style. They didn't have their labels anymore, so I don't know what they're going to look like if they survive. Three of them are the same type of plant (possibly Tradescantia ohioensis) and the other looks like some type of clover (possibly Dalea purpurea).
I've added a number of new plants this season:
- Coreopsis 'Rising Sun'
- Salvia 'May Night'
- Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Spangled Star'
- Dianthus 'Firewitch'
- Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
- Campanula carpatica 'Blue Clips'
- Aguilegia 'Winky Mix'
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I was reading an article in The New Yorker about studies of language cognition in African gray parrots (see "Birdbrain" by Margaret Talbot in the May 12 issue) when I came across a little something my dear friend Davo would appreciate.
The author was discussing the results of ape-language studies and how the apes could not form complicated combinations of words when communicating. To illustrate her point: "And, when [the apes] produced a longer utterance, it tended to be a string of repetitions of the sort rarely encountered outside a Gertrude Stein poem. (A quote from Nim Chimpsky: 'Give orange give me eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you.')"
One of our manager's has some challenges when corresponding with customers and must submit letters to HR for approval. I nearly laughed so hard I fell out of my chair.
The premise: a transaction was completed incorrectly and the manager had to write a letter of explanation to the customer.
The result: muddled information with an enclosed "recite" for the transaction (rather than the "receipt" that most of us would want) and the priceless quote:
"...please except my apologies for any incontinence this may have caused."
I'm curious to know exactly what kind of transaction could cause me to wet my pants. Did it scare me? Surprise me? Excite me? I just can't imagine, but I'm pretty sure I would indeed take exception to whatever went on.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I have to admire a man that can work the following two items into the first half hour of his show.
1) When referring to Hillary Clinton's claims to be pro-gun while campaigning in Pennsylvania: If she was really a fan of guns, Bill would be dead.
2) When giving advice to Jenna (Jena? who really cares how you spell it) Bush's fiance re: getting along with Daddy Bush: Avoid topics that will make him uncomfortable like Iraq, the economy... and his general stupidity.
What a guy!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
"I was looking at our Dental program, I didn't understand the part on orthodonics. Dose it cover $1000.00 or not? I will be signing up for insurance and was wandering."
What I wanted to reply but didn't: "We don't cover orthodonics because they don't exist nor do we cover orthodontics."
At least the employee isn't singing up for insurance. Oy.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tonight we shared a new experience. I was at work until 6:45, came home for about 10 minutes, and then spent the next four hours at my father-in-law's. Apparently, that did not afford Mr. Precious adequate me-time. When I sat at the desk to check my emails and do various other things on the computer, he climbed up in the chair behind me. He does this occasionally as sitting on my lap is *completely* out of the question. Instead of settling in behind me per usual, however, I received a pretty good chomp on the behind. Now, I'm no animal communicator, but I'm pretty sure that means, "I'm unhappy with you."
So, to any pet owners out there: beware and don't neglect your four-legged furry ones. Or at least watch your back if you do.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Today's quote from an insurance agent: "My requests for information from [insert insurance company here] have fallen on deft ears since March 17."
Oh, my kingdom for a six-figure salary and talented ears...
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Since my last post, a lot has changed. My father-in-law has had a brain tumor removed from his head that was the size of an egg. It was in the control center for speech and he has pretty severe aphasia. Whether that will improve over time is yet to be seen, so we just have to ride it out. He was in a rehabilitation hospital until Thursday. He was making good progress with the intense rehab he was getting, but today I could tell that he hasn't had therapy for a couple of days. Luckily, my husband pushed the local hospital to make room for him to get started again next week.
We have a caregiver coming in during the day to help make lunch, take him to appointments, etc. and someone has to be with him in the evenings and through the night. I always thought of myself as a fairly organized person, but I'm realizing just how lax my time management skills have been. I've also come to realize how totally unprepared I've been for this sort of thing. We have no idea what his insurance will cover, whether he's filed his taxes, etc.
Along with the practical questions raised by this incident, I have one philosophical question that keeps coming up: What is the point of cancer? I really hope that when I die, I get to ask God that one question. I can usually find the silver lining to most things but I just can't seem to do it with cancer.
So there we have it. My sunshine-y blog for today. Enjoy!
Monday, February 11, 2008
President Bush's comments re: the death of Rep. Tom Lagos, Democrat and Holocaust survivor:
"After immigrating to
Truly moving words from man whose administration regards the Geneva Convention provisions as quaint. Sometimes it's better not to say anything.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
The problem is not boisterous children but a mob of nasty, constantly squawking birds. We have a bird feeding area set up at the corner of the building that attracts a variety of feeder birds. An enviable viewing area is set up inside the building where visitors can view the birds, squirrels and bunnies dining through one-way glass. There are two mics set up as well. On most days, I get to enjoy the birds singing and woodpeckers cackling. This morning was especially nice with about two dozen doves cooing and feeding outside.
Now, however, we have apparently entered one of the levels of hell. An invading squadron of European starlings has run off all the other birds and are constantly screeching and fighting each other for the suet. Did I mention that the commotion is constant? And deafening? My kingdom for a volume control. Even the Cooper's hawk changed his mind about grabbing a meal after doing a couple of flyovers. (Of course, he could have changed his mind after knocking himself silly against the glass the last time I was here. The photo above is of the feathers he shed on impact. I didn't photograph the other evidence he shed on impact (you're welcome).)
Usually I don't like when people talk about "good" animals and "bad" animals but if I could catch all of these little minions and send them back to Hades, I would do it in a heartbeat. If there is an afterlife, I hope I can meet the twit who introduced these birds to the US so I can thank him properly. Seriously folks, this is a good example of why introducing non-native species to an ecosystem is a bad idea.
... that I would ever post a blog? Certainly not me. Davo assures me that I should and, apparently, whatever he says must be true. Hmm...
I'm not at all sure I will have anything interesting to say as my life is fairly average (read boring) but I'll give it a shot. Maybe I'll be inspired to do something exciting or at least new. We'll see what happens.