Saturday, December 27, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Walked through the dark house as is my habit, and noticed deer at the bird feeders. A three-point buck and four does. I watched them a long time and finally got my camera. I can't figure out how to get picture of them in the dark through the glass door. So I stepped outside. They didn't run. Finally after I said "go, go" a few times, they walked off. They are not afraid of me. This is the best picture I could get. Blurry, but you can make out four deer. The buck went the opposite direction.
Went to Celia's party last night after all. I was going to skip it after shoveling snow for an hour and a half. But she called and said try to come anyway, even if late. So I did. The I-215 part of the drive was treacherous, but I made it there with no real problems. Half of the party had gone home, but it was fun to be out. Drove home on the ciy streets to avoid that terrible curve at Parley's Canyon.
Today I will wrap and deliver all remaining presents, drop of donations to The Road Home, and finish decorating the tree. Then try to enjoy the rest of the week until Christmas. After Christmas we have the big go-live for our software implementation and my life will not be my own for the following two weeks, possibly longer.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I am becoming a weird old woman talking all the time about birds, deer, and snow.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Worse, though, they changed the entire board of my Lexulous game. It no longer resembles Scrabble. And now they are giving us 8 letters instead of 7. My Scrabble partner and I are still trying to play but I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around these new rules. Worst of all, it isn't Scrabble and that's what I want!
Wordscraper, the other scrabble-like option on Facebook is changing as well. The board has changed three times in the past day, and we now have 8 letters there too. Not surprising since both games were designed by those genius Indian brothers (the original Scrabulous). They have put up messages that they'll soon explain the changes. I have a feeling I'm not going to like the explanation as they have now made the customizable board unable to accept a duplicate of the Scrabble layout. Grrrr.
Oh yeah, I finally switched from IE to Firefox. It's mostly okay now, I've gotten used to where things are. But on my laptop I can't log into my bank account, I have to switch to IE. I know it's some setting and I could probably figure it out, but I just don't want to spend the time.
Okay. Enough whining. Life is good.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
One bright spot is sitting by my patio door in the mid-day and watching the birds gathering at the feeders. The aggressive jays entertain me the most as they chase one another and fight over the peanuts I put out. I'm stingy with the peanuts as they are expensive. The jays seem to almost be watching for me to put them out as they are there within minutes cautiously looking around before snatching one and then flying off a ways to hide it. I haven't seen one actually eat a peanut yet, they just hide them. I tease them a bit by putting the peanuts in odd places -- even right by the door. They always find them and even if a little nervous about it, they'll even grab one by the door.
Nothing exotic yet at the feeders: Scrub jays, finches, black-capped chickadees, and juncos, with the quail cleaning up all the seeds that drop to the ground. We'll see more variety when the snow comes. Plenty of natural food around still.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I devised a tall pole to hold a couple of the feeders. I planted it in a pot below my deck so I could reach and fill the feeders while keeping them out of reach of the deer. I used PVC pipe (two pipes taped together with duct tape) and some sprinkling system fittings. It leans a bit, so I devised a brace to hold it just the right distance from the rail. Not quite perfect yet. I need to work on it a little more.
I'll post a picture if and when I actually complete this little invention.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
There's still so much to do in the garage, but the progress is more apparent now. I just keep breaking it up into smaller tasks and not worry about getting the whole thing done. I''ll get there eventually.
I was so tired after I finished, I went to bed early without even watching the news. Now I'm awake too early, but can't get back to sleep now, so I'm going to put the coffee on and start my day.
I think I've never adjusted to daylight savings time.
Well, that was day one of five. I made a list of things I wanted to get done. Today, I leave the garage for awhile and do some of the outdoor tasks. Some weeding, put down some weed preventer. Kill another gopher or two. I might even transplant some thyme. Making fine progress on that list.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My boss said, why not take Friday, too? You can miss staff meeting. Really? Well all righty then!
So no big plans, not going anywhere special. Hopefully make some progress on that big project, the garage. And do some final puttering around the yard. And maybe continue my records shredding project. And maybe, just maybe, call my contractor about starting the remodel of the kitchen. Gotta do my part for the economy. So many projects, and just five days.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Got my hair cut today. I like it.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I keep thinking maybe it's time for a pet of my own. I don't know.
Here's tonight's video:
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A school bus is parked by my house where it broke down today. I heard voices and looked out to see a swarm of little children running all over my yard waiting for the backup bus to come. I had no cookies to offer them. No cookies at all in the house!
"?" and I have decided to stop seeing each other. We're both sad but think it's the right thing. I'm just keeping busy. Been here before, after all. We parted friends.
After work tonight I shredded about two decades of old bank statements -- part of my goal of getting rid of old saved paper. Then went to the grocery store and bought mostly things I don't need but were on sale. I feel productive but tired now. Have to go in to the office tomorrow, so must sleep now, early morning.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's kind of like trusting your gut. Sometimes when you sit quietly and think about things without distractions, you get some very honest understandings about things. But we want to listen to our conscioius mind and ignore our gut or hunches that so often prove to be right.
Memory takes many forms, not always entirely conscious. It can be very helpful to listen to the subtle clues that come to us at such times.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This was not a Reel Women outing, I viewed this one on my own, but decided to do a review anyway.
Here's what I felt: The movie itself was well-done, well-acted, but the subject matter was like reliving a nightmare. I found it hard to sit through the entire thing.
There's no plot to give away since everything in the movie is a matter of record. The movie shows Bush as the arrogant ne'er-do-well from college years through the Iraq war. We were spared the devastating crash of our economy.
Do I recommend seeing it? Only if you have the stomach to watch as Bush makes blunders and mistakes and the outright lies that led to the Iraq war. The history is so recent and painful, it can be hard to take. But Oliver Stone has done a remarkable job of recording the Bush administration for history.
May the world recover from the Bush presidency.
We soon shall have snow
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing
She'll sit in the barn
To keep herself warm
And hide her head under her wing, poor thing.
Today we rolled the clocks back an hour -- I didn't do it before bed, but I shut off the alarm and slept long and soundly. Almost eight hours. That's rare for me. Now I have my coffee, I think the sun is up, but it's gray, cloudy, sort of rainy. Walked around the yard with my hot coffee in hand. The rain is very light. I love this November look the yard has taken on. Leaves everywhere --I still haven't cleaned them up. Some flowers still doing their best to put forth blooms. The fire bushes all in red. Gold and brown everywhere.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I think I'll fertilize and cover with mulch. Probably mow it first. And then let nature take its course. Hoping that next spring I'll have a nice little lawn there where the grandkids can play croquet and badminton and boules.
Here's the crazy part. I'm about to rake up the lovely autumn leaves that are nearly finished falling. My friend says he just mows his and doesn't rake. Well I'm thinking, hmmm, I have a mulching mower. What if I spread my leaves over the entire level and then mow without bagging -- will it mulch them up into a nice layer to help those tender shoots in the spring. Seems like the leaves would make a nice blanket for the winter.
Ok, that's my plan for Saturday. If I end up with a little lawn on that level, the ONLY actual flat place in my entire yard, I'm going to be very happy!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I'm a little slow getting around to this - we saw this about two weeks ago. It wasn't our regular Reel Women movie. We were celebrating Celia's birthday--dare I say it? The big 60! Welcome to the darker side, Celia!
The Duchess movie is like reading a delicious historical novel. It is, in fact, based on true characters. The Duchess of Windsor (Kiera Knightly) was said to be one of the most powerful and influential women of her time. She grew into the role through the remarkable events in her life. Married at a very young age to the Duke of Windsor (Ralph Fiennes), she found she had but one purpose to him--bear a son. After the births of three daughters, the cold, loveless Duke turned openly to lovers. Turmoil and intrigue ensued. When he made a lover of her best friend, the duchess reached her limit and sought her own love, Charles Gray. She endured great sorrow as a result, giving up her child fathered by Gray (who would later go on to become Prime Minister). Ultimately she made peace of sorts with her husband, living with his lover/her best friend as husband and wives.
We found ourselves riveted with this film, though we decided later the men in our lives probably would not enjoy it as we did. The costumes in this movie are surely destined for an Academy Award nomination. The videography as well. And the script and acting. This is a nearly flawless and beautiful movie and our group gives its unreserved recommendation.
We preceded our matinee movie with luncheon at Bakers de Normandie where we celebrated Celia's birthday. Between lunch and the movie, we visited Betsy's home to see her fabulous waning autumn garden.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
My granddaughter came home with me to spend the night. I think we'll have some quality girly time together today. What an amazing girl she is. Thirteen years old, still child but becoming adult. At one moment talking about anime cartoons, and the next discussing the problems with trickle-down economics. She just tickles me.
My body aches today from hard work and being on my feet for so many hours, but my heart feels good.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sunday, I'm taking the entire day off from any kind of housework or yardwork. Think I'll go to the bird refuge and perhaps a movie too.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
So a happy tune is called for.
Good news, they picked up the overflowing trash can with no problem.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I may just get used to having fun not work on the weekend. This time I remembered to shut off the alarm last night, and slept all the way to 8 a.m. -- late for me. Drank coffee a long time while doing crosswords, sudokus, and watching the news. Then off on errands. Stopped in at the wild bird store in Layton as I knew they were having live raptors today for photographing. I got shots of bald eagle, golden eagle, pergrine falcon, and American kestral. Got a new bird feeder and a Utah birdwatching book autographed by the authors. Dropped in next on Nance and had a nice visit followed by shopping.
It was the first snow of the year. Slushy in places on the road, even a little slick. Required the defroster. I'm going to have to replace those windshield wipers. I don't think they're supposed to leave a smear at eye level on the driver's side. I always get an excited feeling when we have the first snow. Now I'm settled in to watch a detective movie, "Twilight" with Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner.
What a nice day.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Poor Jenn got food poisoning her last night in the Philippines. She looked so pale and frail. But is doing better now, ate a little dinner. We played a few Scrabble moves online during the debate.
Have to go in to the office tomorrow, so off to bed now.
Then I'm off to purchase that camera. I've done a little research, gotten a few opinions, and made up my mind. Thanks to one recommendation, I found that model at a shop in town for nearly the best price I found on the internet (probably the same once you consider shipping). Excited!
Jenn gets home from the Philippines today at 4 and I'm picking her up at the airport. So looking forward to seeing her and hearing all about the trip.
Then after catching up and probably some dinner with Jenn, I'm settling in for the big event of the day: the debate. This should be fascinating.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Go here to see the clouds. http://utahamicus.com/2008/09/30/clouds/
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It was an exhausting day and I did sleep better. I woke up once as usual, but went back to sleep with no difficulty. Still have a lot of things on the LOTTD for Sept/Oct. So I'll be outside soon.
But shorter days mean more time to do things indoors. Time to make that transition. I can hardly believe summer is over.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
There are things I do in the middle of the night. Surf the web, watch TV, play piano or guitar, do a load of laundry, do a crossword puzzle, write in my blog. Sometimes I just sit in the dark and look at the view from my window. It isn't always calming. I turn on the lights.
A friend of mine who is a counselor said this is an indication of depression. In my case I think she's wrong. I know what's disturbing my sleep. It's the many things yet undone in my house (and in my yard, but mostly in my house). I've been divorced a year, yet my garage is still full of junk my ex didn't want and left for me to deal with. There are some thiings I want to keep, like the lawn games for the kids, my golf clubs, a desk I want to sell. But everything got dumped on top of everything and some of the things on top are too heavy for me to move alone. The task of clearing out is so daunting, so overwhelming, I get started but it seems I don't even make a dent. I don't feel depressed about it, but anxious because it's not done, and not sure how to get it done.
But I never have the solutions when I'm awake in the wee hours. Those thought processes work better in the light of day. So I'll do a crossword puzzle, and pretty soon I won't be able to keep my eyes open, and finally sleep will return. I need to remember to turn off my alarm on the weekends. No sense getting up at 5 if I don't have to.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Not that I mind the traffic as I notice some of the visitors stick around and visit some of my other posts while they are here. And it's fascinating getting hits from Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, all over the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. (Add Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, U.S. Armed Forces Pacific, Japan, Taiwan; so far nothing from the state of Alaska. I can't keep up with all the locations. Too many hits.)
But when you consider that an estimated half million people play Scrabulous every day, it's not surprising at all that a lot of people are trying to find out what happened to it.
I suppose this might very well be my 15 minutes of fame.
And off to a bad start, posted this by mistake to my Reel Women page first. Hmm, maybe I'd better take the day off. Not too sharp.
This movie, written and directed byWoody Allen, is all about love. The beautiful people and scenes from Spain enhanced the story. The movie provided a lot of passion, some romance, a little eroticism, and inevitable examination of feelings as you would expect from a Woody Allen movie. The story held few surprises, and yet was quite satisfying. We Reel Women liked this movie and give it our recommendation.
Attending an art opening, Christina spots a young handsome artist. Later at a restaurant, Vicky and Christina see him again. He approaches them, asks them to go with him in a hour to a Spanish village to spend a couple of days to see some sculpture and make love. Vicky is indignant, Christina intrigued. They go. After a day of seeing the beautiful sights, followed by good food and wine, Vicky returns to her hotel room, Christina goes to Antonio's room. But the lovemaking does not proceed as Christina is suddenly taken ill.
The next two days Christina is confined to bed and Vicki and Antonio after spending much time together and growing to like one another, fall into a passionate encounter, but it is to be just a one-night stand.
Returning to Barcelona, Vicky throws herself into her work and Christina and Antonio take up a relationship. Antonio's ex-wife, the exotic and fiery Maria Elena, enters the story when he takes her in following her suicide attempt. Christina is not jealous and the relationship of the three becomes first friendly and then erotic with encounters among all combinations of the three.
Vicki meantime is questioning whether she really wants the man and life she has chosen. But he surprises her with a suggestion that he join her in Barcelona where they will have a Spanish wedding. They do marry and he remains in Barcelona while she continues her research, but Vicky is melancholy.
Inevitably, Christina tires of the relationship and decides to leave. Since she was the "glue" of the group, Antonio and Maria Elena return to fighting and subsequently part as well. A few days before returning to America, Vicky encounters Antionio by chance and realizes she wants to be with him. He calls her to meet him for lunch the following day. She declines, but ends up meeting him, lying to her husband about where she is going.
At Antonio's home they are about to fall again into lovemaking when Maria Elena appears with a gun. The ensuing tussle includes some firing of the gun and Vicki receives a graze on her hand. She suddenly comes to her senses and realizes Antonio is not who she wants after all. She and her husband and Christina return to America.
The story unfolds at a comfortable, unhurried pace, though I wouldn't say it ever dragged. The dialog is distinctly Woody Allen. You can almost hear Diane Keaton speaking some of the lines. And yet it had a different flavor that felt like a fresh Woody Allen. If you like Woody Allen, this is a good bet for you.
We began the evening with a repeat visit to Stoneground Pizza for some of that very special pasta. All of the group was together for dinner, but a couple were unable to stay for the movie. As I looked around at this eclectic group of women, I was struck with what a smart, savvy, talented group of women they are. No wonder I so look forward to our monthly get-together.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tonight, of course, I have to do my civic penance and attend traffic school so as not to have points applied to my driver's license. It's only an hour and it's at 5 p.m., so I'll still have time to do another small yard project and a walk, too. My friend formerly in law enforcement advised me "don't talk" at traffic school. I wonder why he would advise me that -- perhaps knows me too well. I assured him I would keep my lips zipped.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
A friend introduced me to a term "cognitive dissonance". It's been bugging me ever since. Here's a good example, I like to think of myself as a "nice" and "law-abiding" person. Yet I exceed speed limits which not only breaks the law, but also possibly puts others in danger - not at all nice. That's cognitive dissonance.
So now either I need to change how I behave or change how I think of myself.
Monday, September 15, 2008
While I was there, I went all the way out to the island and drove the shoreline to Garr Ranch. Saw several hundred bison along the way, most in one large herd that happened to be crossing the road. I forgot my camera and so have no pics of those mammoth beasts. They seem so tame, and a few people got out of there cars to get photos. Not advisable. I also saw actual antelope, the first time I've seen them on Antelope Island (and that includes numerous visits there). I had stated to think the island had been misnamed.
On the way home I took my second drive on Legacy Parkway. I blogged about it on my RedStateBlues blog today, so won't repeat it here except to say it's very nice, the state did a good job meeting the goals of the parkway.
So take my advice, get out to the causeway and see those phalaropes before they move on south. And drive the Legacy. Two very nice drives I recommend.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The full moon reflecting on the lake shone directly into my west window as I sat in the dark with my coffee. You can't really see the moon moving except in relation to the horizon. But as it imperceptively sank in the sky, it grew larger becoming first pale yellow and finally full orange, the first hints of a harvest moon, before the final sliver melted into the mountaintop of Antelope Island. By then its brightness that had illuminated my neighborhood was rapidly being replaced by the first light of the approaching sunrise.
I am already dressed and coffee'd up waiting for enough light before hitting the myrtle patch. That's today's project. I am looking forward to the physical work of it. I have so many things on my mind today and this will give me a chance to think through them all.
I know changes are coming. I'm prepared for that. Some of it is within my control. But so much is yet unknown. It's not ominous. It will ultimately be good. I'm a person who likes predictability, but since we cannot see the future, we have to wait and allow things to unfold on their own. I am also an intuitive person. Sometimes that can be unsettling. Still I listen, pay attention, but do not act. Just wait, let things take their own course.
One of my sisters and I took in a chick flick last night, both of us single and without a date on a Saturday night! But a sister can be about the best company a girl can have. The movie was fun. Silly, but fun. And, as always, I came away with a little nugget of something to think about: What do I want? The character in the movie wrote it down and posted it where she would see it, and then added to it.
So that's where I will start this morning as I tackle the myrtle. What do I want? It's a big question.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I looked around at this Griffin family - beautiful people, physically beautiful. The younger generations I don't know but recognize as they have those Griffin genes and I see the eyes, the build, the hair, the smile, it's remarkable. The Griffins are a musical bunch -- didn't we all have piano lessons? We sang a couple of hymns during the service and the voices were beautiful. At one point all of my uncle's grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang a medley of songs. I counted over 50 descendants.
Uncle was a renowned singer in the community, and his daughter today played for us a medley of songs he loved to sing -- an emotional moment during the service. I am proud of my five cousins who each gave short speech, a prayer, or music. Everyone remembered, as I did, that uncle was like a big kid, and indeed would rather be outside playing with the kids than inside talking with the adults. Many, many good memories. Not that his life was without problems, but that he offered something special that influenced many people, his children most of all.
The funeral was not the long, sad thing I am used to. The speakers were brief, positive, reflecting on happy times, telling stories about their father. There was almost no preaching nor even much talk of being together in the next life - as though that's a given and we needn't go into that. The bishop did offer something at the end, but I spaced out his words as I admired the old Garland tabernacle with its dark beams and stained glass windows, rare for a Mormon church.
We all then drove the 20 miles to the tiny Newton cemetary for the graveside service. And then much more hugging, reluctant to have to say goodbye to our dear cousins, our aunts who have grown so small and fragile. Dad and mom were tired and we skipped the dinner served in Garland and instead went straight home.
Before parting, Christina and I said we would try next year to organize a family picnic if not a reunion (reunions sound like a lot of work and a picnic sounded easier). We have good intentions to try to see each other more often. I don't know if we'll follow through. But I do know I'm a very fortunate person to be in the middle of such a big loving family. No, it's not a perfect family, but taken as a whole, a very good place to be.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
By the way, this video has had over 1,600,000 views on YouTube. Not bad for a hit from 1955. I was a pretty little kid then, but to this day I remember all the words to all their songs.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Salt Creek Refuge looking southeast. This is at curve in the road that takes you out to Promontory Point and Golden Spike Monument. Click on the picture for a larger view and you will see hundreds of Canada geese which we startled into flight with our loud talking.
A partial view of Salt Creek refuge from the parking lot looking northeasterly. Farming towns of Thatcher and something else in the distance.
More Salt Creek looking east at the mountains that are east and somewhat north of Brigham City. Sorry this is blurry; might be the one with a snowy egret in the distance (click to enlarge)
According to a song by Noel Coward, at least (Mad Dogs, etc., see title of this post). However, add me to that list. I, too, was out in the midday sun today attempting to catch up on yardwork delayed by much playing this weekend. And although the temps were in the mid 80's and I've certainly mown the lawn in that heat before, I usually save it for the evening when the sun is less direct and some of my lawn is shaded. 'Bout did myself in this time. But I did manage to complete it as well as prune the wisteria, cut back a little more of the pfitzers, cut down something that I think might be poison oak, and did some weeding. Oh yes, tried to poison gophers. They have made two hills under the wisteria and one in my lovely flowers. The neighbors who refuse to combat them have hills all around their yard. And my rock wall is riddled with their tunnels. But I am getting serious with that area. I have decided to fill the burrows with cement. It will permanently fill the burrows and it will help strengthen the wall as well. Well, I've spent the last two hours recovering from the heat and I think I am finally feeling nearly normal.
Yesterday a good friend and I took an outing to Bear River Bird Refuge. We had planned to meet up and have lunch in Brigham City, but we encountered Peach Days and what with closed roads and crowds of people, had to change our plans somewhat. Then upon driving to the refuge, we encountered a gate forbidding entry by vehicles or pedestrians. At the visitor's center they explained to us that the drivable dikes are being paved and should be finished around the end of this month. They referred us to Salt Creek refuge northwest of Corinne. We decided to try it and it turned out to be a lovely place to visit. We had the entire place to ourselves. We saw great blue herons, snowy egrets, white-faced ibis (I challenge you to find the white face on this seemingly all black bird), pelicans, double-crested cormorants, something we thought were Phalaropes, but now I think were Western Grebes, hundreds of Canada geese, a variety of ducks, swallows, and hawks which we didn't identify.
A strange sight we encountered was decomposed and half eaten carcasses of sheep. The workers at the refuge told us the sheep did not die there, but died elsewhere and were brought in to attact the coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and other predators that normally feast on eggs and young birds in the nests along the shoreline.
The workers also told us many of the Canada geese had been captured from parks and golf courses in Salt Lake City where they are considered a nuisance, and relocated here. We decided they took the prize yesterday both in population size and in noise.
I think I have fallen in love with this remote and beautiful location. I will visit it again alone sometime in an early morning, with a good supply of coffee and a folding chair, I'll set up a site where I can sit quietly and wait for the birds to come in close. (I so need a good camera.) I could not get good pictures of any birds yesterday, but some nice landscape. With my new field guide and handy quick reference guide, and notebook for jotting notes, I'll spend some serious time observing and logging my sightings. The migration is just starting and the next couple of months will provide some excellent viewing. I wish I had a little canoe for rowing amongst the marshes.
So now, the weekend is all but over. I think I may do another hour of weeding in a shady part of the yard. And then I'll do a little grocery shopping and call it a day.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Filled up the four-day weekend with so much fun. As usual, have to go back to work for a rest from all the fun.
I need to get serious about a few inside projects. I dislike having construction going on in the house - it's so disruptive. But I do need to buckle down and do it.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
When will I remember to take my camera with me when I'm out in the yard.
Hoo boy, it was a big job this morning. A couple of hours and managed to do serious damage to those old pfitzers. Lot of scary things in and amongst the limbs, creepy crawly things. As the song goes, I don't like spiders and snakes. I know there were lots of the former, and I fear possibly the latter. My practice is to make a lot of noise going in so anything scary has a chance to leave. Filled the trash can to overflowing and have a large pile of limbs besides. Do you suppose one of the city crew might stop by on one of their trips down the hill and take those limbs? They have a "green" drop-off site at the city shops, but I have no vehicle good for hauling such things. No I don't suppose they would do that.
And the humming birds are out in full force today visiting the hyssop (my friend whose name I am forbidden to mention in this blog says I manage to work the word "hyssop" into every conversation), and chasing one another away as if there wasn't enough for everyone! Ah, what a lovely day!
Friday, August 29, 2008
What thing has occupied more of my time, energy, strength, finances, love, and devotion this summer than my yard (as evidenced by this very blog). I am always out there mowing, clipping, weeding, planting, watering, hauling huge heavy loads of mulch and steer manure. I've seen them in their trucks staring at me as they drive by. I imagined them down at the city shops saying to one another, "That Mrs. S. up on the hill, doesn't she work hard in her yard, always out there in the heat of the day. And have you noticed that she consumes far less water now than in the past? What a fine citizen!" Not unlike Ralphie in my favorite Christmas movie, "The Christmas Story", when he turns in his theme while dreaming of his teacher's reaction: A! Plus! Plus! Plus! And then reality when the graded themes are returned: C! Minus! Oh, nooooooo.
Yes, that's exactly how I felt. Like I had been outside most of the summer with my body aching and sweat dripping in my eyes, expecting to get an A plus, only to get barely a passing grade.
Upon this realization, I made a tall glass of iced tea, and went to sit on my patio intending to do absolutely nothing the rest of the day. Which I nearly managed to accomplish. And a small flock of finches joined me and sat patiently in the apple tree until I moved a little further away so they could visit the bird bath. And with that nice visit, I was over my pout.
Okay, I was in violation, but I was nearly done, the temps were not hot today, and I was only 15 minutes into the prohibited time. The cowardly guy didn't bother to ring the doorbell and just kindly remind me. Instead he went to the trouble of writing me up and posting the warning on my door. I had heard him pull up, so was opening the door just as he was getting into his truck to drive off. No words were exchanged.
According to my written warning, I get one such warning. The next one entails a $100 fine (though inexplicably the fine drops to $50 per occurrence after that). So now along with my backflow inspection, I must be extra careful to keep my watering within the proper time bounds.
And since I know that at least one city councilman reads my blog from time to time, I am suspecting that they didn't like my previous post about the backflow inspection and sent the little water gestapo guy to lie in wait. Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they?
So now I'm sure I'd better get that inspection done too, although I haven't received the promised warning in that regard, they will no doubt abide the letter of the law and pull out my fingernails one by one (to mix my metaphors) until I comply.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
We learned our department will be working round the clock January 1st and forward several weeks to support a major software installation. So we lose the holiday on the 1st and our weekends. No vacations can be scheduled. I need to use some vacation before then as I will be in a use-or-lose situation by then. I noticed I'm schedule for graveyard shift one week. This will be interesting. I've never worked a graveyard shift in my life. Well, we're all in the same boat, so I'll tough it out and hopefully survive it.
Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think I need Friday off.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Apparently I should already have known about this as the article tells us inspections are to be completed "ASAP". I think I had a backflow device installed when I had a guy work on the sprinkling system a few years ago. There are water boxes next to my front porch, and I remember him telling me something about what was in them if I were to open the lids. I never have. But now might be the time.
I went to the NSL city website to see if I could find out more about this and discovered I'm actually delinquent. The inspections were to have been completed by August 15th. If not, homeowners will receive a reminder and will have 15 days to complete the work. If still not completed, homeowners will be cited and fined. And, I noted, the city will no longer perform this work for free (they used to do it for free?).
The city was good enough to provide a list of companies and the associated rates they charge for the inspection, needed repairs, and reinspection: generally $45, $65, and $45 respectively. I'll study it further and try to find the best price. Some of them say they will charge less for up to five neighbors who have the inspection done at the same time. But the savings is small, not worth trying to get my neighbors organized. Certainly none of them have contacted me to arrange this savings.
How did I miss this? I looked up the July newsletter which was still online. No mention of it. Did it come with the water bill? Unlikely, since that is just a little postcard. Well, I guess it has to be done, and I certainly don't want to be polluting water for people downstream, so to speak, from me.
Put it on the LOTTD.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tonight I want to watch Hillary's speech. I also intended to saw off some big branches from the pfitzers for the past three days and excused myself due to the heat. But tonight is a good 15 degrees lower and I have no excuse. I could get it done before the speech. And I want to start up my daily walking again. This time I won't drive down to Bountiful, I'll simply walk the hillside around my own house. I won't obviously walk as far as on the flat streets, but the strenuousness of the hike should make up for it.
Still, tonight I'm simply sleepy. So it remains to be seen if I will complete any of my three goals for tonight.
UPDATE: Well I sawed off two large limbs, cut them up into managable pieces. Watched Hillary. Didn't walk, but did water the yard.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Based on Evelyn Waugh's 1945 classic British novel, Brideshead Revisited is a poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War.
Young Charles Ryder leaves the home of his emotionally abusive and cruel father and sets out to begin his college education at Oxford. There he meets and befriends Sebastian Flyte, a wealthy, gay aristocrat with a following of fawning friends. Sebastian takes Charles to the family estate, Brideshead, where we are introduced to sister Julia and other family members including mother Lady Marchmain, played by Emma Thompson.
Charles who is an atheist learns the mother is rigidly Catholic and has driven her husband away with her fanaticism (he living in Italy with his new woman), and has caused untold emotional damage to her children, of whom Sebastion and Julia have apparently abandoned their faith, and practice only to please their mother.
The story winds its way through romantic encounters and conflicts, spectacular locations, and unexpected plot twists. Charles first becomes involved with Sebastion, but then is attracted to Julia. This discovery breaks apart the friendship of all three. The contolling mother informs Charles at any rate he cannot have Julia as she can only marry a Catholic. In the ensuing discussion, the mother asks Charles why he thinks he is on the earth. His reply is to enjoy life and be happy. She responds that happiness is not important; the only thing that matters is the hereafter. Not unlike religious fanatics of all persuasions
Julia marries an exploitative man who meets her mother's criteria of being Catholic. Charles marries an American girl, but goes to Africa alone for two years to paint. Upon his return, at a showing of his work aboard a ship, he encounters Julia and the two fall into a passionate love affair. They vow to break up their marriages and at last be together. They return to Brideshead where Charles intends to confront Julia's husband and inform him of their plans. It turns out badly as the husband cleverly tricks Charles into "buying" his wife for the price of two paintings. Julia is hurt. As they are leaving they are passed on the road by a car occupied by, among others, Julia's father who has returned home to die. Julia cannot leave.
A priest is summoned and Charles attempts to interfere saying it's not what the father wants. But the father asks Charles why he is in interfering in matters that don't concern him. Charles is confused. He watches the grieving family, including his beloved Julia, kneel in prayer around the bedside as the father receives the last rites, and finally the father acknowledges his sins and accepts the rites to the great joy of all his family.
Julia chooses her Catholicism over her lover, and Charles is left alone. Sebastion slips further into alcoholism and finally goes with his latest lover to Morocco to escape the life at Brideshead. The mother in later years tries with no success to get Sebastion to come home before she dies, even asking Charles to go to him in Morocco on her behalf. She never sees her son again.
Throughout the movie we feel Charles is the good guy with only the best intentions, but one character does slip in a hint of doubt for us. Sebastion's earliest lover encounters Charles at Brideshead and tells him that it wasn't love that drove Charles to seek first Sebastion and then Julia, but a selfish desire for the beautiful Brideshead estate and its wealth of art and sculpture. Charles looks as though he had never considered this, but it might somehow be true.
The friends are all separated never to meet again.
Besides the wonderful and well-acted story, the beautiful location scenes made this movie one of the most enjoyable we've seen. We are 100 percent in agreement, we recommend this movie.
We started the evening at the charming old Lamb's Cafe in downtown Salt Lake. The old-world ambience and excellent food provided a good entre for our British movie.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
They visited twice this morning while I was outside. They are so unafraid of me. The does are young and the fawns are just tiny. No sign of the two-point today, but I've decided they probably stay together pretty much, though some may be out of my sight. I managed to get a couple of pictures, not very good because of the lighting and distance.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I know they are destructive, but I never tire of watching them, especially so up close.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
And wasps or hornets or whatever the heck they are. I tried looking them up on the internet, and it seems they are one and the same. Those devils are everywhere suddenly. I got stung on Sunday so I'm being a little more cautious. They tried building one of their charming multi-celled creations on the back of my hose trolley. I have sprayed three times and broken up the little nest, but they keep coming back. I have a paranoid feeling as I water my fragile new plantings that the wasps are sneaking up behind me ready to attack.
And yes, the deer are once again cleaning out the bird feeders.
One happy note. I had an entertaining moment yesterday watching the scrub jays take turns bathing and sipping the fresh water in the front bird bath. It was hilarious to watch.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday a man stopped and told me my garden was looking nice and when I finished, I could come work on his. We both laughed. I have no idea who he was. Another man stopped, a young guy in a big pickup truck, clearly pissed off. "How do you get to the golf course?" He almost demanded. I pointed up the street and told him a few simple turns to make that would take him right there. "Thanks." He drove off. In just a moment I remembered I had told him to turn at David Way rather than Gary Way. Big difference. Oh, dear, I can usually be counted on to give very good directions. I'm sure that didn't improve his mood.
I sometimes wish more people would stop and talk.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Walking back to the garage, I felt something sharp sticking into my hand, I looked down thinking it was a weed poking out of the garabage bag, but it was a wasp giving me a good hard sting. Ouch! Luckily I am allergic to very few things, and a little topical Benedryl fixed me right up.
The project about did me in, but inspired me to move on to the next areas. I finally know what I will do with the myrtle hill. That needs to wait till cooler weather - September. So this week I'll make a round of weeding and maybe trim a little of those pfitzers. And do some edging.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I've tried filling the bird feeders again - I'll see if I can keep the deer away. Though the summer is hot, I'm enjoying it so much. There is much to enjoy, much to appreciate.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Fireworks, I suspect. Young guys living on all sides of me in this neighborhood foolishly have aerial displays of their own most every year. Strangers stop their cars in the street to shoot off bottle rockets. We have been very lucky so far. Let's hope our luck holds.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The kids have done a fantastic job on those floors - just beautiful! Neither of them had much experience with DIY of any sort, but they have no fear, and that's the key to success. Starting with painting, they were meticulous about the quality of their work. I gave them all my pointers -- things that make the job easier, faster, and neater -- and they followed them all. But I had little experience with power tools, and it was a learn as you go project. I got a kick out of watching my petite daughter using that chop saw to cut floor boards to exactly the right length. Again, with no fear, they both jumped in, learned what they needed, and proceded to cover floors in two rooms, three closets and the pantry, and the result is awesome.
Tonight we'll start the moldings. I primed them last night while the kids finished the last closet. And I bought that nailer. Two different guys at Home Depot said we would love it. I had a small battery-powered drill, screwdriver, and even a little saw before this, but never tools like I bought for this project. I'm excited to start some projects of my own. Now that power tools have entered my life, I have a feeling things are going to change around here.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Into the Woods was charming yet dark. We've seen it before, so the story and music was familiar. Outstanding characters included the witch, the baker and wife, Cinderella, and the two princes Charming. The end, of course, brought tears to my eyes when the Baker's wife, now dead, sings her advice to her husband faced with raising their son alone:
Sometimes people leave youI think my heart is stilll too tender for such thoughts.
Halfway through the wood.
Do not let it grieve you,
No one leaves for good.
You are not alone.
No one is alone.
Aida offered a "lite" staging version but did not scrimp on powerful voices. Our tenor Radames started out a bit weak on the terribly difficult "Celesta, Aida" at the very start, but did not disappoint. Excellent performaces from Amneris, the king, the high priest, and a truly remarkable chorus. But without a doubt, Aida was the star in both name and performance. The ensemble piece at the end of the second act is always my favorite and the beauty of the combined chorus with the soloists, each distinct voice rising about the chorus, was so powerful and moving, you did not want to see it end. The staging was effective with a few huge pieces strategically placed to simulate a palace, a temple, a tomb. If I have a criticism, it is with the not-so-grand procession. Four spear carriers does not a grand procession make, and since it's a non-singing role, I think a few extras would have served nicely. But that did not take away from the music which was so well done.
Between performances we met some good friends for dinner and ice cream and leisurely conversation, rounding out a really great day. We arrived home exhausted after midnight. And we'll do it all again next year.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Behind the Mask of Civility, the Battles Rage OnSounds wonderful, doesn't it? Well, I didn't get it, and neither did three of four of our group. The pace was slow to the point of exhaustion. The characters never gained my sympathy. The so-called plot was tiresome. One of our group left without seeing the ending after over two hours into the movie. The one member of our group who had anything good to say about the film admired the costumes and scenery. Yes, I'll agree with that.
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: February 22, 2008
Jacques Rivette’s “Duchess of Langeais” seems to me a nearly impeccable work of art — beautiful, true, profound. Based on Balzac’s 1834 short novel and set against the French Restoration — Napoleon is in exile and a Bourbon king again sits on the throne — it traces how a passionate affair of the heart curdles into cruelty and obsession. Originally titled “Don’t Touch the Ax” (a threat guaranteed to make noble necks twitch), it is a story about manners, language, power and society and the bodies caught in their grip. “Life,” one character observes, “is simply a complication of interests and feelings.” Art too.
The story is of a Duchess (a married woman) and her flirtation with a French general, set in post-Napoleon France. She flirts with him. He wants her. He gives up trying. She flirts with him, he rebuffs her. Back and forth never getting together. The film offers many distractions, the worst of which was brief written explanations of the passage of time in white text on a black background reminiscent of silent movies. Finally, after a final rebuff from the general, our duchess joins a group of cloistered nuns in Spain. He searches the world over and finally finds her but she refuses to leave the convent. He gets his thugs together to kidnap her only to find her lying dead in the convent. He kidnaps her anyway and takes her with him to sea where his friend convinces him to bury her at sea and think of her as just a story her once read. He agrees and the credits finally come up. I had hoped as one last romatic gesture he might dive into the ocean with her and be buried at sea together. Ah well. I chose this movie, so I do apologize to my friends. But I trusted the reviews I had read.
Still, we had a wonderful dinner beforehand. Celia and Pat's mom, Carol, joined all of us at Stoneground Pizza for some excellent pasta and salads, and of course, dessert. The best part of the evening, as it always is, was the chatting, gossiping, laughing, and eating. It was so nice to have the whole group together.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
by Stephen King
I have read exactly one Stephen King novel. I saw part of Kujo, the movie, and I'm still scared of barking dogs. So, I'm not exactly sure why this book appealed to me. But it turned out to be a really great read, both from the standpoint of a writer and for sheer entertainment.
King tells us this is not textbook, and it's not. But it is full of advice. For example, "Adverbs are not your friend." He tells us how he writes. That he writes constantly when he is writing, even on holidays, lest his characters get "stale". He listens to loud rock music. And he says he does not "plot" his stories. I found this last particularly interesting.
In my view, stories and novels consist of three parts: narration which moves the story from point A to point B and finally to point Z; description, which creates a sensory reality for the reader; and dialogue, which brings characters to life through their speech . . .
. . . my basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow . . .
. . . I lean more heavily on intuition . . . my books tend to be based on situation rather than story . . .
. . . The situation comes first. The characters--always flat and unfeatured, to begin with--come next. Once these things are fixed in my mind, I begin to narrate. I often have an idea of what the outcome may be, but I have never demanded of a set of characters that they do things my way. On the contrary, I want them to do things their way.
The book is also highly autobiographical and we learn so much about King's life and experiences starting from a very young age. His story is as compelling as any novel.