Category Archives: Rambles

Know When to Walk Away

I finished priming the porch.

By the time I was done, I’d also primed a nice glob of the yard.

And an earthworm.  I felt bad about that.

And most of my hands.

And my favorite shorts, which I’d stupidly worn with an inflated ego, assuming I wouldn’t get anything on them–I only had a few pieces to paint, after all!

And so I came in.  Testy.  Ticked off.

And I made some spaghetti and reheated some only OK sauce I made this week (tomatoes with butter and an onion?  Weird.), but won’t throw out.

And wisely, I’m eating it at the table and not on our new couch.


Free table! Yay!

Early in process--just missing screensThis is an in-progress shot of our screen porch.  Here it’s missing screens and trim, torn down courtesy of dad.  Right now it’s been sanded and the interior parts, as well as the horizontal beams, have been sanded primed.  I need to sand a couple of missed spots and prime the outside, but we’re well on our way to having a proper porch.  The door needs work–I can’t remember what dad said we’re doing about that–and eventually we’ll have to repair the floor, too, as the concrete split and needs re-sealing.  But hey, porch!  Almost!  Yay!  Which is good, as I got this freebie today:

Free table!!  Woohoo!Wahoo!  I was driving from work to the grocery store and saw a guy putting it out on the sidewalk.  As I inspected it, a lady offered to help me get it in the car.  She was awesome, trying every which way combination to get it in.  I still have no idea what her name even was.  Then I drove very, very carefully home as the table was sticking out of the trunk and held in with a bungee cord.  But hey, free table!  It needs a coat of paint, but it’s in good shape and really fits the home’s original mid-50s aesthetic.  Yay, free!


Flora and Fauna

I think it's a helleboreThe gentleman who owned the house before us lived here for 31 years and landscaped the back yard a bit by having plants along the woodsy border of the backyard.  When we were here in late spring, a number of them were in bloom–daffodils, for example, and this plant which I’m pretty sure is a hellebore.  By the time we moved in at the end of May, many of the plants had gotten grown over some by the groundcover and weeds.  Today I finally started weeding them out some.

What is it?
The above plant I can’t identify.  It’s a purplish color, though it looks more green here.  It reminds me of a coral bell, but lacks telltale flowers; it wasn’t flowering, I don’t think, back in early spring.  Anyone know what it is?

Baby blue jay

Lastly, I want you to meet one of the three baby blue jays that live above these plants.  This one is the bravest and most awake–the others hunker down until a parent returns with food, and then all three make a racket.  This one is getting ready to move on, I think, eagerly.  I know it’s hard to see, as I’m not tall and my lens only zooms so well.  They’re fun to watch. Today a cat was in the yard and two adult jays kept swooping down near it in an effort to shoo it away.  I eventually yelled out the window and it ran.  No way it’s threatening these three fuzzballs.

The long silence

Mr. Pea and I are working on getting our own place and I have about a hundred things to grade (in all seriousness) for Tuesday.  So the silence will probably continue another few weeks, until all the grades are out, the boxes packed, the next journey begun.

Well, I tried.

I tried to not hate the winter.  Winter piled it on.  Snow. Rain. Gray. Cold.  I am itching for spring, sick of my apartment, sick of shivering, looking forward to a sunburn.  My fuse is short, my patience, scarce.  Please, spring, come early!

I tried to make something creative and post it everyday in February.  I made it through all of three days.  Not that I didn’t make dinner, bake bread, and so forth on the other days, but had no mojo for photography and posting.  Oh well.

(I suspect item #2 has something to do with item #1.  The couch began to swallow me whole in the past few weeks.  I’d wake up motivated, with a mental list for the days I am not in the classroom, sit on the couch with my computer and coffee (dining room is far too cold in the winter for morning use), and not move until 10, 11 am.  This put a serious dent in any productivity; then, to make it worse, I’d feel bad about my sluggishness–which only made me feel sluggish.  Lousy vicious circle!)

I tried to get my article revisions done this month.  I still have three days, and am hoping to make that goal. I’ve gone from being excited about the piece to being fearful of it–did I revise too much?  Too little?  I’ve abused many of my academic friends’ good natures by sending them copies and prodding them for feedback, which they’ve been awesome about giving.  Now I just need to sift through what I can and should judiciously use.  I suspect my lack of mojo here also has something to do with #1.

I tried to lose some weight and exercise regularly.  Despite the weather, this is actually going fairly well–down six since the last couple of days in December.  I can’t lose more than a pound a week without eating dangerously-low levels of food, so I’m pretty much on target.  The scale didn’t budge this week, but I suspect this has to do with water weight (I haven’t had much water this week, and had a most fabulous burger and fries on Sunday, and pizza and beer yesterday.  Sweeeet.  Or, rather, Saaaaalty).  Hopefully next week I’ll see 1.5 or so, and be pretty close to my 10-pound March goal.  All told I’m hoping to drop 13, but I’m not going to fuss too much about it.

And that’s about all the goings-on here.  I know I’m not the only one aching for spring and the erosion of the snowbanks, and I know, too, we’ll all be complaining when it’s 97 degrees in July.  In the meantime I’ll take the days getting longer, the temperatures staying, usually, in the 30s, and the hope that somewhere under the snow, the crocuses are getting ready to come up.

Winter Walk

Those of you who live outside the eastern seaboard have likely heard about the snowstorm we got this week.  We piled about 2 feet of snow on top of the couple of inches left from the storm the weekend before (Mr. Pea’s journey north to grad school featured train trips threatened by snow at either end).  I think it looks pretty, if crazy; climbing into a snowbank created by the fall and the snowblower, I sank in up to my upper thigh.  I was laughing so hard, I didn’t care that I got snow in my boot.  These are some photos from the next day, when I walked around town.  Frankly, I like these kinds of winter walks: the sun is bright, and though it can be a maze at times (particularly when you walk along the shoveled sidewalk to the corner of the road, to find the corner unshoveled, and have to find a way out), it sure is a good workout, more like hiking.  Three good snowstorms in–and plenty of shoveling (but I like to shovel)–and I still am ok with winter.


Hmm, how to get out?

Snowbank up to dining room windows

Guess we won't be grilling soon.

We all get bored.

I built the cat a sheet fort.Poor Tuesday doesn’t like it when either of us is gone for too long.  He’s been my shadow since Mr. Pea left, for the most part–sits with me, sleeps on me, whines at me.  The whining has definitely picked up in the last couple of days, as has the crazy.  This morning he stared at a wall, meowed at it, and then stretched up its length.  I’ve found him on Mr. Pea’s dresser (a big jump), he’s been scratching the carpets more often, and won’t play with me when I try to entice him with his toys.  Today he started to play and then changed his mind and meowed at me instead.  Maybe he didn’t want to get up at 7:30; maybe he’s losing his marbles.  He is ten, after all.  But I figured that he probably was just bored.  So I built him a little blanket fort over two dining room chairs–this way he has an upstairs and a downstairs.  It’s held together at the corners by clothespins, and I threw a couple of his toys in there.  He likes pawing at the toys I put on the sheet, too.  Right now he’s sitting under it, sticking his head out, looking at the bird feeder.  The birds haven’t been here in a while, since he last scared the hell out of them (it’s a window feeder–he runs up to the window, and they fly away), but the rain is making the same tapping sound on the feeder that the birds do, so I guess he’s hopeful.  At the very least, he’s got a new place to hide, and I might get a little meow-free time this morning.  Now if only I had a blanket fort, my unedited article on the outside, my syllabi far away, and me, snuggly and warm, with a novel.