Sunday, November 30, 2008


The days become shorter and shorter. It is dark for a long time after I get up in the morning. It is becoming dark when I get off work, even if I only work till 4. I could get so much done in the summertime with daylight lasting much longer. The dark discourages me from my projects. Makes me want to snuggle in a blanket on my couch in front of the TV. It's not just the dark, it's the cold. After 60 years in this state, you'd think I would be used to this. But this year I feel more acutely aware of the dark and cold than ever before. Perhaps because many days can go by that I simply stay at home and don't have any human contact. This is a result of working from home, I know--the downside, I guess.

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

Nine is enough

Counted my bird feeders--thought I had four or five. I bought another one, and another. Then I counted and thought I had eight, and then remembered the one in the apple tree. That makes nine. I think that's enough . I'm clustering them around the back patio so I can see the birds more easily from indoors when the snow sets in. I think I'll leave two in the front so I can watch the birds when I go out to shovel.

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

A dirty job

But someone's got to do it -- right? Worked three hours in the garage today (no, yesterday, it's a new day now!). A good portion of that was spent taking apart old metal shelving. I know, why bother? Well, by taking it apart, it ends up in small enough pieces to fit in my large garbage can and I don't have to try to find some way of having it hauled away. But there are other large pieces of cabinetry in there that will probably require a dumpster. Then I remembered the contractor who did my exterior remodel offered to bring his large trailer dumpster and let me put as much as I wanted in it no charge. I think I'll call him today.

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

Five Days Off!

I thought I'd just ask for Wednesday and Thursday since I have a meeting on Friday. I have accumulated so much leave, I'd be in a position of use-or-lose by sometime in January, and I'd rather use the time now while the weather is beautiful and the yard needs attention.

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.

Five days!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dog Progress

Today the dog had his frequent weekend buddy with him in the yard. This is an older, bigger, and much louder barker. He means business. So I tossed a couple of doggie treats being sure they each got some. The older guy ate it up and then continued barking as loudly as ever. The younger one kept looking at him as if to say, don't do that or we might not get more treats.

Got my hair cut today. I like it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making friends with the neighbors' (dog)

Every time I sit on my deck, the neighbor's dog barks and barks and won't stop. I don't blame him. He's in a small yard with high fences and my deck looks down into his yard. I'm sure I seem threatening to him. I don't blame his owners--I'm sure they don't dare leave him alone in the house all day, I've seen what he can do to cushions, styrofoam, and other delights. But I just can't enjoy my deck either. Finally, I bought some doggy treats and today I tossed one down to him as he barked. He snarfed it right up. Then he looked at me and started to bark and changed his mind and sort of said 'rrrruff' quietly as if to let me know he'd give me a pass today, but don't start thinking I'm going to be nice all the time.

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

Keeping busy

On my lunch hour today, I put gopher poison down several gopher burrows -- careful to cover them up again so no birds or other little critters might partake. Also tried some new locations for bird feeders to try to thrwart the deer. We'll see how it goes. The mild weather makes me want to be working in the yard again. Nice weather is predicted for the weekend.

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

Still raining

How many days of rain has it been? I've lost count. It seems more than we usually get this time of year. The grass and weeds are growing. If this keeps up, I'll need to do another round of weeding and mow the lawn sometime in November -- if it ever dries out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday at the Sheraton

Well these are videos from another venue, another time, but very much what we saw.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do Wop

I was still pretty young when 50's do-wop was popular, but I still loved it. I loved poodle skirts and bobby socks and American Bandstand and rock and roll. Years later when I heard Huey Lewis and the News doing this great revival of the old do-wop style, it became my fave of theirs. How can such a sad song sound so happy?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning I like to play the piano in the dark. The problem with that, of course, is you can only play tunes you've memorized. I have one Chopin Etude I like to play but don't have entirely memorized. But almost. I've played it a million times--at least (exaggerating). I can get it started, but at some point I start thinking about what comes next, and then I lose it. But if I turn on a dim light in the kitchen that provides just a tiny glow in the living room, and then look at the music book as I play, somehow, even though I can't really see the notes in more than a vague way, I can play it. I realize the memory is in my fingers, and I just don't trust my fingers to remember, and having that crutch of a music book, even if I can't see it, helps me remember.

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


I'm cutting back to two cups of coffee a day - just in the morning. I've already given up soft drinks, and rarely drink tea any more, so this will significantly cut my caffeine consumption. Determined to get more sleep.

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.

So November

The North wind doth blow
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.

I see things I want to do out there. Now I may have to divide my time between the yard and the garage today. With the ground nice and wet and rain predicted for a couple more days, I can split some of those thyme plants and fill in the spaces still needing some (just like free plants). Fertilize that upper level to encourage the volunteer grass. I could stand to do some random weeding, but that will wait for a dryer day.

Making even just a little progress in the garage encourages me. I love these Sundays with no specific plans, just wide open free time to do whatever I want.