Friday, October 31, 2008

So crazy, it just might work

I have a hare-brained idea (or is it hair-brained?). I've been wondering what to do with that upper level that used to be all in grass, but hasn't been watered in years and is nothing but weeds. I decided that would be next year's project, and have just weed whacked it every few weeks or so just to keep things under control. And then a little miracle of sorts. After the snow melted off from that first storm of the season, the whole area was covered with little grass shoots. They are growing and could actually stand mowing. Now they are still thin, but they cover nearly the entire area. Why would I want to till up actual grass that has suddenly volunteered all on its own?

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

This roller coaster we call life

I think I've said it before, one of my favorite movies is Steve Martin's "Parenthood". It is so full of little nuggets of truth and advice for parents. Some really good perspective. But one of my very favorite parts is when, just as Steve Martin has just lost his job and finds out his wife is pregnant, the old grandmother recalls when she was young her husband took her on the roller coaster and how she loved it. "Some people," she said (paraphrasing here), "only like the merry-go-round. But it justs goes round and round -- nothing. But I like the roller coaster -- thrilling. Up and down!" Okay, I don't have the words exactly right, but the metaphor is right. And point well taken. Life is more thrilling because of its ups and downs. And it's good to remember that when we have some of the downs. Because some ups will always follow. Up and down!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Duchess

Five Stars for this movie!

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!

***Spoilers Ahead***

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

More fun

With granddaughter spending the night after the party, it only made sense to have an outing together. Little did we know how far afield our whims would take us. We started with having breakfast out while we examined our wild bird field guides and determined where we would go for some amateur birding. We chose Bear River Bird Refuge (which was a bust after all since we saw nothing but mudflats and no birds). We followed up with highly successful bookstore shopping and lotion and bath stuff shopping. Light lunch and then a drive out to Antelope Island where we did see many birds and a number of bison, visited the Garr ranch, took a bunch of pictures, and then finally made our way home. We'd been gone about 10 hours in all and we were exhausted. Maybe not a smart thing to do following our previous day that ended in exhaustion, but you take those opportunities with a grandchild any time you can get them.

A good time was had by all

The party was an unqualified success. Everything was so special, so lovely. Mom was pleased. Dad was pleased, too. We had a huge crowd. Just our family makes for a lot of people. But many neighbors and friends came as well. The food was great. The slideshow of the old photos was just wonderful. The cake was nothing short of spectacular. The decorations just beautiful. I don't know how it could have been better. I took a million pictures and will get prints made to add to mom's memory book.

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

Our big party

After months of planning and preparation, our party day arrives tomorrow. Mom's 80th birthday. Her birthday isn't really until December, but she was worried about people driving long distances in unpredictable weather, so we all agreed October would serve better. My sisters are such talented and creative women, and I'm excited to see the results of everyone's efforts. I know it's going to be fabulous. I'll be there with my camera for additional photos to add to mom's memory book. I'm tired from staying up late working on my own part of the projects, but at least I'm on top of it. Just have to do my food prep tomorrow and help with the setup. Then we'll party.

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

Gray day

Dark clouds are moving in from across the lake. A little chillier this morning. It was all predicted. Only a two-day interruption to our beautiful weather. I keep peeking out the window to see if the trash has been picked up yet. I filled the can too full. Spent my lunch hour yesterday pruning. And then digging up grass after work. Got a lot done, but produced many bags -- too many.

So a happy tune is called for.

Good news, they picked up the overflowing trash can with no problem.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Celebrate good times, come on!

Happy birthday to my best friend, my childhood friend. We're gonna celebrate and have a good time! I love you, girl. Have a great day. Forget growing old, may we NEVER grow up!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

First Snow

A powder sugar dusting.
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

Little Women

As a child, how many times did I read this book? Literally dozens of times. Growing up in a family with many sisters, it was easy to imagine myself Jo, with sisters Meg, Beth, and Amy. Like Jo, I loved books, and would hide away in a corner (or often high up in the apple tree), and read for hours. I read mostly library books, and owned a few special ones -- one was Little Women. So when I ran out of library books, I would just read it again. And again. And again. Tonight I was lucky enough to catch on television the 1933 movie with Katherine Hepburn. I still never tire of this simple, lovely story.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No time for personal blogging

I am so involved, too involved really, with writing about the presidential campaign, my blogging time is all taken up with that. It's odd how my life feels strangely in limbo right now. The economy in serious trouble, but I'm not feeling it personally yet except to see my losses on paper. The presidential election gives one the feeling that something entirely new and better could be right around the corner -- or not.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Got the camera

Before running to the airport, picked up some supplies for the sprinkling system. Then found that camera store that was recommended to me. They were really great, showed me not only the camera I came to look at, but comparable ones. I did purchase the camera. Found out they have free classes on how to use this camera. I'll definitely be signing up. The battery is charging now, and then I'll try out the camera for the first time.

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.

Weed-whacking success

Finished the upper level and that's the last of the weed whacking for the year. Everything is trimmed down nicely for the winter. Overdid it, of course. My arms feel weak and shaky from wielding that trimmer for over an hour. I'll have a little lunch and hopefully it will pass by then.

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

It's all in the timing

Took a lunch break, had a bite to eat, watched a little cable news, answered some emails. Almost time to get back to work, I walked outside to check on the yard just in time to see three deer bounding across the street and down into the gully. So they're still around. I hadn't seen them for the better part of a week. Walked around the place and saw the weeds are growing like -- weeds. Then standing on the corner, the water department guy drove down the street and had to stop at the stop sign just feet away. I stood there smiling at him and waved as he scowled at me. He finally waved. Hah! Made a dent in the tough guy exterior.

The water department

It's supposed to be another hot one today, so despite it being October, I'm having to water the yard -- desperately rushing to get it done before 10 a.m. lest I get a citation. I turn each station on and off manually and carefully time them so as not to overwater. As I was just outside turning on the last station, well before the cutoff time, the water department guys drove by in their truck. I waved a friendly wave thinking it never hurts to be courteous and friendly. I received a sneer in return. Well "f--- y--" I said right out loud, totally out of character for me! Then realized I said that loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Good lord, I'm going to get a reputation as that crazy neighbor lady who swears at cars driving by. Good lord, maybe I am!

Going to buy a camera

The clouds to the east last evening were so strange and spectacular, I so wanted a picture. But I know my cheap camera wouldn't do it justice, so I just sat and admired them instead. Then immediately started researching cameras online. I will buy a new camera this week. A decent one for a novice like me.

Go here to see the clouds.