Friday, December 22, 2006


I thought of telling you the wonders of parchment paper for all of your holiday baking needs – but I have other, more pressing, thoughts today.

The holidays can be a stressful time.
Ah, the dichotomy of December. A time… as advertised, so full of joy and gaiety.
A time when so many people fall prey to the pressure of the season.

Shopping for that perfect gift, feeling tense about cash flow, running your credit cards up and credit score down, organizing family gatherings, even holiday baking can all be sticks on your camel’s back.
While each situation has a solution or at least some relief…the time is late for that now. The holiday is upon us, emotions are mounting.

So let me say this to you instead, my dear bloggy friends.
Please take a moment over this week or weekend… take a moment away from your holiday – be it Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza or even a New Years celebration – a moment away from loved ones, from the kitchen, from the mall.

Don’t tell me you don’t have a moment. You do. It’s just a moment.

The season is about giving – so give yourself a moment
Do what you want with that moment. I know my spiritual wife would choose Reiki…
You could light a candle, sit quietly in the dark, take a bath, take a walk, pleasure yourself… whatever works for you.
Find a smattering of joy.
Joy is like a rolling snowball – it grows once it gets going.
Joy is also contagious.

The holiday is and has always been –in our hearts. And believe me; I know everything around you is fighting against that. But there is joy. Sometimes you need to look for it.

When Aunt Mabel is yet again bitching about your housekeeping or your Uncle Simon is criticizing your child rearing… avert your gaze, you may instead see your nephew hugging your dog, or perhaps your teenager sneaking some nog – see… there is joy everywhere.
Look for it.
Be blessed by it.
And remember – while a dry roast for Christmas dinner can be problematic, its nothing that an extra bottle of champagne won’t fix.

So your Holiday Friday tip-o-day is to get to the liquor store early and stock up.

From my festive wife and I
We wish you a most Happy Holiday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Remarkably, I still have this pesky cold.

I decided this morning to get right back on my cold medication.
The gel caps I took this morning were a gorgeous azure blue.

Now my runny nose has stopped, my nasal passages are clear and I am breathing smoothly. Not to mention the FABulous buzz I have.
I just love Guiafenisen. It not only makes me peppy - but I won't need food for several hours.

I also thought you might like to know - I am wearing a Santa hat.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I do so love to sing

Our church organizes groups to go out Caroling the week before Christmas – it’s really a wonderful small town tradition.

They always make a point to visit our neighbor, Marie. We have been living next door to Marie for all of the 19 years we’ve been here. In fact, Marie’s parents built our house which was one of the original farm houses on our street. She tells stories of walking the cows up our road to the high pasture. Our road… now with its double yellow line was a dirt road back then.
She and her husband eventually built the house next door for themselves, and she has lived on this street her entire life.

This year the happy Carolers knocked on our door to see if we might want to join them for a carol or two over at Marie’s house.
Since I was drunk… and wearing antlers at the time – I was more than happy to join in.

Tis’ the season folks.

Friday, December 15, 2006



If you have a cold - don't waste time on any other tissue - get Puffs with Lotion right from the start.

...and for a good nights sleep, take 3-4 Michelobs followed by 2 Nyquil.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Taking one for the team

I am sick today.
I have a headcold, runny nose, stuffy achy thing... you know.

But I am here at work.
I came in today because there is a late luncheon followed by a happy hour for the Director of our department who is leaving the company. Far be it for me to miss free food and drink over a silly little cold.
When I emailed my concerned wife earlier this morning, I told her I was trying to decide whether or not to take cold medication to help me get through the day.
Her response:
"Four out of five doctors recommend Robitussin to enhance the therapeutic effect of Michelob lite."

Can you see why I love this woman. :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Too many problems

There are too many blogger or blogger beta problems today to even bother to post.

Maybe later.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are you tired?

Because I am.
The odd thing is ...everyone I talk to today is tired.
What is up with that?

Monday, December 11, 2006

cut your own

As is common in New England, we cut our own Christmas tree.

(the finger is Ferris' way of showing endearment.)

I guard a candidate from other eager families as a reconnaissance team is sent out to scope other possiblities

The final selection.

The cut is complete.

Our men carry the tree.

Friday, December 08, 2006



Today are our company holiday parties.

What I mean by that is my technical wife and I work for different companies and both parties are today.

Hers will be a luncheon, for employees only. Most likely with an amazing array of tasty delicasies. She works at a company where cooking and food preparation are a big part of some of the products they produce (there... that should be vague enough). Even their daily lunches in the company cafeteria are prepared by only the best of chefs. Their lunch menu reads like a 5 star restaurant. I would wager there will be a lovely selection of well aged wine as well. It's sure to be a exquisite event.
My company party is an evening dinner event held at a Country Club. The food will be of the so-so wedding catered variety. There will be a DJ and an open bar, and many will be dressed to the nines.

Today's tip (which is really for me) is to find that fine line between getting the most of the open bar, and remembering that it's a company sponsored event.
And since my wine-swilling wife will have a head start - should make for interesting dinner conversation with my boss.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Scary scary night

What a night.

Even tho we would be installing our new counters ourselves we decided a few days ago to have the plumbing done professionally. Sometimes that's just smarter.

That left us with simply installing the new counters on the base cabinets and tiling the backsplash... piece of cake for us - oh well... then there was the sink hole.
We would need to cut this ourselves into the beautiful new pristine counter.
Since the plumber was schedule to arrive first thing this morning to set the sink, we needed to finish our part last night.

Cutting the sink hole into our new formica counter seemed to be the scariest job we have taken on yet. And there is not much we don't take on. I suppose it was so scary because there is no room for error. A mistake means replacing the entire run.

No pressure.

Ah but, my patient wife and I are a crack remodling team. At each tenuous step we stopped - knocked back a shot...o -- no wait - that was at the end...

We literally put down the pencils and saws at every juncture to discuss various methods of execution. Gently tossing an idea around long enough to uncover possible failure points and adjust as necessary. If it weren't for these break points, the project could have easily ended in disaster.
After hours of such discussions, several erased pencil lines, some head scratching and a couple of snacks - we cut a successful sink hole!

Pics coming soon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blame it on the 80's

We have green kitchen counters.

And no one to blame but ourselves. We picked these out.
But hey… it was the 80’s.
When we did this back in the 80’s we actually liked them.

See this faucet?

I bought this about two years ago because our old one was leaking and after replacing washers and cartridges I could not get it to stop.
I told my skeptical wife that I would buy the cheapest faucet I could find at Home Depot, because it was temporary. Well …that was two years ago. I suppose it depends on your definition of temporary.

The sink is chipped and irreversibly stained. I think it was the original with the house. When we had the hideous green counters installed we saved money by putting the old sink right back in.
Hey…have I mentioned it was the 80’s. Plus it was our first remodel and we were stupid - or quite possibly high.

Well it ain’t the 80’s anymore – time for a change. Its actually been time for a change for quite some time. We started picking out counter surfaces and colors about two years ago (around the time of my temporary faucet installation).
It's taken us this long to make our final selections.
We selected a material and the color, made careful measurements (including scale drawings of course), and finally ordered the counters.
They were delivered this past weekend.

New counters are currently being installed… by us.
Pictures to follow.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Ferris has been ill.
He came home from school over Thanksgiving break in rough shape.
After some misdiagnosis - we finally found he had Mono and Strep.
Needless to say he has not been moving around much.

He came home again this past weekend with severly swollen tonsils and in a good bit of pain.
So they started him on Prednisone.
When he is not completly zonked in his room, you can find him on the sofa watching HiDef, his laptop resting on his chest, various drinks and snacks within arms reach on the coffee table.
Saturday morning he was in just this position, dozing occasionally, when we pulled in the driveway in my rugged wife's new-to-her Wrangler.

He rose like Lazarus, dressed himself, got behind the wheel ...we didn't see him for the rest of the afternoon.

A true Christmas miracle.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Apparently perfume has a shelf life.
Who knew?

I had a change of routine today and went to the gym during my lunch break.
I do so love a shower in the middle of the day.

I had with me an old but not quite used up bottle of my perfume*.
Evidently it was too old.
Kinda reminds me of bug repellent.
I am trying to pretend I am camping here in my dark, warm cubicle.

*I have been wearing Opium every day since sometime in the early eighties.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And the beat goes on...

For anyone who may be interested - I am still going to the gym.
I also continue to watch what I eat.
My weight... remains the same (actually its a little higher today).
My personal trainers* tell me I must be amassing muscle.
I looked for this muscle this morning.
Standing buck naked in front of a full length mirror.
I didn't see any muscle.
Tho I feel my head is getting smaller.

*thin people that i work with

Monday, November 27, 2006

While we're out...

We were going to Target to buy more lights... my luminescent wife requires ALOT of lights -

on our way we picked up this for my rugged wife:

stock photo - I will take actual photos when we go pick it up later in the week.

Oh, and we got the lights too - only 1.99 each!

Saturday, November 25, 2006



I was still all juiced up on tryptophan yesterday... couldn't post.

You're Black Friday shopping tip of the day is...
If the '40%-off toy' you were looking for seems to be sold out - circle.
Keep returning to the place where the toy used to be.
Sometimes, more will appear.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let the holidays begin

sprakling wine... not just for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eat, Drink and...

Happy Thanksgiving.

My frugal wife and I love to participate in the Black Friday festivities.
It's not that we have a long list of purchases, on the contrary we buy very few items for Christmas. But we just love the excitement that Black Friday whips up.

We will be up and out by 6:00 - starting out with a Grande Caffè Latte of course.
We usually stick to a couple stores in the mall, snagging a few items from the list. Often times - we wait to purchase items we need around the house - to take advantage of the super deals and early bird specials. I mean, if you already need a new coffee maker - why not get it at 60% off.
When things really start picking up around 9:30 or 10:00, we head home.

One of the things we enjoy the most - is going out of our way to be courteous, friendly and helpful in contrast to all the mayhem.
So if you're shopping on Friday take the opportunity to give up a prime parking spot, hold open a door, wait patiently in line and never loose your cool over something as shallow as shopping.
You will not only come home feeling great about yourself and your experience - but you just may make someone else feel that way too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clothed Captains?

At the gym, while doing my time on the 'thing that I hate*', I usually have the TV on and tuned to Ellen.
The TVs at the gym always seem to have that closed captioning feature turned on. I have a hard enough time changing the channel with the remote while bobbling around on my 'fitness machine from hell*', so I just leave it.

Have you ever tried to follow a show using the closed captions? Not only is there a long and wildly variable lag time but the spelling is at time almost incomprehensible. Who the hell types this stuff in? Clearly English is a second... possibly their third language.

* otherwise known as the Elliptical

Monday, November 20, 2006

And the dieting goes on...

In addition to going to the gym 4 times a week, I have been recording my intake online using
This journaling type method works for me. It's not for everyone for sure. But for me, I feel it makes me more of an active participant in my own progress.
I can also look back at the day, or the week and know that I am on track. Instead of just 'thinking' that I am.

The other great thing about FitDay is that it allows you to enter your activities and shows the calories burned.
I like to put in my gym activities and I also include any heavy yard work that I may do. I figure that counts.
FitDay has all sorts of stored activities to choose from. For example under the Lawn and Garden selection I can choose from raking, chopping wood or digging in the garden. If I put in how much time I spent at a certain activity it will calculate total calories burned.

While browsing through these lists I noticed that I can also include Sexual Activity.
There are three levels of activity to choose from:
- Active, vigorous effort
- General, moderate effort
- Passive, light effort, kissing, hugging

Moderate effort? I am still trying to get my head around that one.

Friday, November 17, 2006



It's going to be a warm here in the NorthEast this weekend. Why not take advantage of the temperature and put up your holiday decorations.
You can leave your lights off if you like until its closer to the holiday... but why wait to string them up until the mercury dips below the freezing point.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I have an inclination

The Catholics have published new guidelines on homosexual outreach.

''Mini stry to P ersons with a H omos exual Inclin ation''

This is a wonderfully helpful 'training' document put together by celibate Bishops to assist Catholic priests in guiding their homosexual parishioners spiritually.
It's so much easier to minister to a homosexual once you understand they are suffering from a disorder.
And... further good news - Gays and Lesbians can now enjoy taking the Holy Communion-- guilt free, as long as they are abstaining from any of that unholy gay sex.

But just so heterosexuals don't feel completely left out - the document also reinforces the churches ban on artificial contraception, promoting their tried and true 'rhythm' method instead. So, you folks who toss out your condoms, rip out your IUD's or flush your birth control pills are also welcome to join those celibate gays at the alter for your tasty piece of the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Abusing the system

You know those prolific 20% coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things?
Well over the summer we had been stock piling them to buy supplies for Ferris big Freshman Adventure.
He turned out to be a pretty light traveller.

But this worked out well for us, since we are in desperate need of new curtains. Yes, we are desperate for curtains. I can't fathom to think what would happen if we didn't acquire some soon.
So we found some at Bed Bath and Beyond that we just love.

As you know, the coupons are good for 20% off an individual item.
Yup, you guessed it - so far my frugal wife and I have made 4 trips to two BB&B stores.
We each buy one panel, with one coupon.
4 more trips to go.

Friday, November 10, 2006



We have hardwood floors in the living room, and a sofa that is positioned somewhat in the center of the room. Since there is no rug under it every time you sat on it, or espcially when Ferris flung himself on it - it would move.

I tried cutting small pieces of those rubbery rug underlayments - but the sofa still moved.
Finally, I put some duct tape on the sofa feet - no... not sticky side down, I simply stuck a piece of tape on each one.
The sofa hasn't move since.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I didn't know him well...

I took the day off today - to get some fall clean up done around the place.
While I was sweeping out the garage this morning, I came across a dead mouse.
Looked like a recent death.
I didn't have the heart to just sweep the little guy up with the leaves and toss him out in back.

So I gave him a proper Christian burial.

Mice are Christians right? I think I read that somewhere...
My benevolent wife would tell me not to make such assumptions.
So just in case I also said Shabbat Shalom and Namasté over him as well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's all about how you look at it

As you may remember, I have embarked on a weight loss program.
This program is strongly based on exercise.
This will actually be my first week where I will go to the gym to workout at least 3 times. I am looking forward to this regularity. I do so like routine.

I rushed out of the office today to fit in my full workout in before it was time for Wednesday Wings Night (for anyone who doesn't know, this is our family dinner night at our local sports bar - we get a pitcher of beer and 20 cent wings).

I arrive at the well appointed women's locker room and begin unpacking my workout 'gear'. My 'gear' consists of sneakers, a pair of Old Navy sweats, and a loose T. Let's just say its more functional than fashionable.
Aaanyway... I start up packing and find that my 'gear' is drenched. I mean really wet, like 'there is no way I can wear it' wet.

It's pouring out, my bag was in my back seat ... and I have a convertible.
Uh o.

So I pack up my soggy stuff and go back out to the car. Upon further inspection I notice the backseat is also wet.I spent some time trying to find a leak. Oddly the roof seemed dry. The water must have leaked from one place and run along a seam or something. I decide to wait until tomorrow and test it with a hose to find, and hopefully patch, the leak.

So, I go home. Sad about missing my workout.

The phone is ringing as I walk in. It's The Daughter. Poor little thing is sick, and the 'bo' is coming down with it too.
So we cancel wings night.

No workout, no wings.

It was then that I started to unpack my gym bag to toss my soggy stuff in the wash - when I found my leaky water bottle.

true - no wings, no workout... but more importantly - no new convertible top!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did you vote today?

In our town they have 'new' voting machines.
Gone are the levers and pale green drapes. Frankly, I miss them.

But wait… these were not the ‘touch-pad’ voting machines I had seen in the commercials.
This was more like… the SATs.

Once I had given my name and been manually crossed off the list by pencil and ruler, I was handed a BIG sheet of paper. This paper had the names of the candidates, in large text, with an oval to each name. I was then directed to a 'voting station' which looked sorta like a cheap restroom diaper changing station. Evidently this was supposed to make me feel like no one could see my selections. The privacy concept is sorta lost by the fact that you can see over the walls and there is a constant stream of people walking back and forth directly behind those who are voting.
I was told that I would find a marker at the station and I was to 'color in' the oval next to the candidate of my choice. Hmm, a black dot test.

Then I was to take my completed ballot and cross the gymnasium to a machine that greatly resembled a small copier. There were optional, and inadequately sized manila folders provided to afford some semblance of discretion for my trip across the gym.

At the machine, I simply placed my ballot in the feeder – and it got sucked in.

How this is more advanced than the old trusty lever selection method sorta eludes me.

Oh, and I did not use a manila folder.
I was actually reading the directions on the back of my ballot as I crossed the gym, making my boldly colored ovals plainly visible.
I have reasons for my selections, and they are not a secret.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Cone

Look at this!

Its one of my birthday presents from The Daughter. Isn’t she clever.

I have it right next to the wood stove. It's dashing... and no more messy wood bits, dirt, or ash.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just not up to it

I know I know... this will be the second friday with no tip.

I have been feeling woozy on and off for just over two days now.
I can't blog like this.

Go off and start your fall cleaning - we'll catch up on a tip next friday.
(yes, fall cleaning... its like spring cleaning - but better. fall cleaning is not a cleansing of the season. it's the preparation for one. winter is a healing time, a time to regenerate and rekindle. it's a time for us to rest our spirits and souls... the house needs to be clean for all that)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A picture is worth a thousand words

I thought of this on my morning commute.

We had a light rain last night but the sun was out this morning. While it was a cool morning, it’s still mild for November in New England so I was comfortable in only a light jacket.

I opened my car window as I drove into the office around 7. The air smelled thick with freshly fallen leaves, and there was a heavy dew rising- creating a mystic fog. The ground was littered with these brightly colored fallen leaves but the trees still clung to many of them, their color made more vibrant by the low morning sun.

I passed my friends, the cows. They stood together at the crest of a hill, their breath coming in big puffs of cool morning air, the sun behind them… a bovine silhouette.

Closer to my office complex there is a small town green I drive through each day with requisite churches ubiquitous here in New England. It’s a lovely green, typical of the area, though my daily passage has made me numb to its quaintness. Today tho, the sun was positioned perfectly behind a comely white church – making its long stained glass windows glow as if from within.

Right then, I wished I had my camera - noting that I should probably toss it in my backpack when I got home.

But as I thought more about the picture I would take, I dismissed the idea of a photo. I am certain that, with the light and the mist and the amazing fall foliage, I could capture a fantastic image. But what I was feeling tactilely and emotionally was not going to translate to pixels.

A picture is a great way for me to show you the wood bin I built, or a snapshot of our kids, or perhaps my new car.
But sometimes a handful of words are worth a thousand pictures, and sometimes only the memory….

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Training...

As I eluded to last week, before I go off in a wild rage to my Doctor demanding amphetamines – some of my co-workers have decided to take me on …as a project… to get me back to my fighting weight.

On Friday – I went to the gym.

Now working out is not completely foreign to me. I have at times in my life gone to gyms… granted it’s been several years.
Well, perhaps 10 years.
Give or take.
Ok, so it has been a long time – so I guess I am a rookie.

Friday’s visit was to acquaint myself with the machines.
Helloooo machine
Helloooo weese

One of my several trainers went with me to demonstrate the machines and make suggestions on their use.
She had me work on an Elliptical, and then with various weight machines.

The Elliptical was fun. Tho I had some trouble getting into a good rhythm. It has all sorts of options and flashing lights, and a heart rate monitor which I found very entertaining. Tho I think at my age and current level of inactivity, playing with your heart rate probably shouldn’t be sport.
This gym also has TV’s mounted in front of all the Ellipticals and Treadmills. So there are certainly plenty of things to do to pass the time.

I learned a few valuable tips that day.
1) Don’t wear a sweatshirt. As much as you think it will be comfy and concealing – it’s too damn hot.
2) Bring a water bottle. I got dehydrated as soon as I opened the door.
3) Tune to your desired TV channel prior to starting your workout on your elliptical device– unless you just want to be good entertainment for those working out around you.

I am going back today. Alone.

Friday, October 27, 2006

More than just Friday

Happy Birthday to ....

The Daughter!

who has just quietly
slipped past the quarter century.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gettin' into my own pants

Shall I let you ponder that title for awhile...
(Syd... Syd... snap out of it)

Ok...enough fantasizing.

Now that I have your attention, let me say it another way.
I would like to fit into my own pants again.
I currently have several pairs in my wardrobe that are simply to 'snug' to wear right now.

I have been trying to lose weight for a little while now with no result. In fact, I see to have added more weight.
Weese is getting ticked.

My next course of action was going to be heading off to my doctor to demand medication.
ah... I don't care what kind - amphetamines... thyroid meds... crack - whatever.

But - before I put this plan into action, I have some friends here at the office who seem to feel they have a better plan for me.
Hey, what have I got to lose … well pounds and inches I suppose.

I start officially on Monday.
That would be Monday, October 30th 2006.
If this plan works, I will be 'in my pants' by Monday, November 27th 2006.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Women are amazing creatures. Each month we completely renew ourselves.
It’s a special time, a time to be revered. It’s a time of healing, and rejuvenation. It’s a time to center ourselves and to turn inward and feel the wonders of our powers. This cyclical process that cleanses our bodies to ready us for the greatest wonder of all is to be truly revered. As a woman in her mid-40’s this time each month is wonder….
Oh fuck it.
Where’s the chocolate.

Friday, October 20, 2006



It's still not really cold enough to warrant draining the hoses and putting them away. However, I have been caught unaware from an early overnight freeze before, and since it blew out my hose fittings I am a little more cautious now.

So at this time of year I leave the hoses disconnected. It's easy enough to attach them when necessary. For us here in New England, I will leave the hoses out until around Thanksgiving. Once the gutters have been cleaned out, they will get drained, rolled up and put into the garage for the winter.

I do keep one short hose available on an inexpensive plastic portable hose reel. That way on those infrequent warm days, I can just roll it out to wash the cars.
But be sure to drain it well... or that will be the last time it's used until spring.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Do you have a leak?

I have a leaking snow thrower that is on my list of things to get straightened out before winter. I have been putting it off because I was unsure how to approach fixing this unknown leak... I am not much of a mechanic, and we no longer have the van to transport this behemoth.

Have you ever seen this stuff?

A friend at work suggested I try this on my leaking snow thrower. I am so excited (it doesn't take much to make me happy).

But THEN... I got to thinking (which often frightens my dear wife) my car also has a small leak.

I already know it's a gasket that needs to be replaced to the tune of $250. So I figured what the heck - it's 5 bucks.

I will let you know if the stuff works.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I am not a real Lumberjack, I only play one on TV

Not to be outdone (completely) by Suzanne-not-Susan and Wendy-the roof raker but this weekend we discovered the joys of woodsplitting.

We do not own fancy wood splitting tools and ...not that its relevant -but I am also afraid of heights.

You see, we have a wood stove, and while we do not use it to heat our home - it supplements where baseboard heat leaves off… in that my chilly wife likes it WARM…. 76° is not uncommon on our first floor.

To effectively use a wood stove you need wood. We have been very blessed when it comes to acquiring wood. We get wood for free.

Now wipe away those images of my frugal wife and I stopping along side the road and hacking up fallen trees with a McCulloch tucked in the truck.
Nope - doesn't happen.

These days, our wood gets delivered, and sometimes stacked. Yes, for free. Yes, we are very grateful. My Italian wife does supply a tray of her amazing meatballs in exchange for the free wood. (so if you do bring us wood – please expect meatballs.)
Other than bringing it in and lighting it on fire tho, that is pretty much the extent of our involvement with our firewood.
Until this weekend.

First, we have been limb’ing some trees around the yard to bring some more light down to the lawn. These were good sized limbs and we didn’t want to see any waste.
My patient wife used her loppers to trim all the branches, and then I used my circular saw to cut them into fire lengths. Right.. I do not own a chainsaw.
(Tho I am still waiting for a ‘chainsaw review’…you know who you are…)
Here is some of the wood we cut up that afternoon.

Later that day, after hours of general yard work and limb cutting, my petite wife re-discovers pieces of tree trunk from a maple tree we had removed last year.
We had asked them to leave the wood. They left us pieces from the trunk which were about 12 to 18 inches across. We just stacked them up and left them – we had no idea what we were going to do with them.

She decided we should split this wood. We had a dull ax, a sledge hammer and a wedge.
I was skeptical to say the least… ok… I believe I called her a lunatic.
She is persistent, that adorable-lunatic-wife of mine.
It was a slow start – since neither of us had ever actually split wood without the use of a hydraulic log splitter, so there was a learning curve.
But once we got the hang of it… we found it rather gratifying.
It’s a job that has immediate results. And (as Suzanne points out) it’s also great for those middle-aged triceps.

We sorta wish we had more to split. Maybe I need to tuck a chainsaw in the back of the convertible in case I see a fallen tree along side the road…

Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006



Here comes the cold weather. This weekend will be in the 50’s. Not that I am complaining mind you… Buffalo got 2 feet of snow last night.

But with the winter fast approaching its time for some planning. This weekend and possibly next weekend will probably be the last times you are going to want to be outside near any running water. So its time to get any chores done that may require your hose.
Some suggestions of watery things I may be doing over the next week or two:

□ Wash/wax cars
□ Rinse off the screens as you put them away
□ Scrub patio umbrella (I am going to put a coat of scotch guard on our this year)
□ Wash the house (washing the house frequently with your garden hose can alleviate the need for power washing)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't tread on me

I got new tires yesterday.
I really like them. They seem very 'grippy'.
When you drive a car the size of a roller skate in the Northeast -'grippy' is good.

While my car was being shod, I sat in a small waiting area surrounded by tires. Stacks and stack of them. So many tires, so many treads.
They all have different tread patterns. It's fascinating really. So many different patterns... I got to thinking that it's actually someone's job to design tread patterns. Can you imagine that job?
What's talk around the water cooler like...
"Morning Ned, I heard that you came up with a really clutch rain tread last week! "
Do they have 'Tread Design Reviews'?
I wonder what the 'Tire Tread Designer' job burnout rate is?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rock bottom

I have heard that sometimes in order to rise above, you have to ‘hit rock bottom’ first.
I think we’re there now.

I have mentioned before my plans to have cable shut off, and to invest in an antenna for the house. TV is free you know.

I figured we could get local broadcasting with our snazzy new antenna so we wouldn’t be too out of touch. Then we could sign up for something like NetFlix for say 20 bucks a month, and watch movies and most series on DVD.
This would save us over 100 dollars a month.

Then we got HDTV. I like to think of it as our ‘gateway’ drug.
Yes, I became addicted.

Standard television broadcasts were no longer enough. I needed HIGH definition.
Most programming that we watch is now broadcast in HIGH definition.

However, we ran into some issues when the fall season started. There were some overlaps as well as the problematic 10:00 show. I say problematic because often times we are tired. And staying awake just to watch a show on television (even in HIGH def) just doesn’t make sense.
So we started taping. Sometimes we would tape a 10:00 show if we were feeling sleepy. Sometimes we would tape an overlapping show upstairs and watch something else downstairs. There were tapes in the VCR upstairs and tapes piling up in the TV cabinet downstairs. Sometimes I would write on them, though sometimes I would forget. Often taping over something we hadn’t yet watched. It was very confusing. Not to mention … the quality. O, oh ohhhh the quality.

I just couldn’t do it anymore.

And so folks, we added HD-DVR to our menagerie of cable options.
Actually – at this point, I doubt there is a cable option we don’t have.

But let me just say…from deep down here in the cableTV dredges, that HIGH definition DVR is …

Friday, October 06, 2006



I am not sure how or why this works or if it will work for everyone - but I was so tickled that I had to share.

My driver’s side headlight has been out for a couple weeks. Well, you know me - I am handy enough to buy a light bulb and install it myself, and normally I am quick to a minor repair such as this.
Admittedly, I was procrastinating. It seems that on my VW replacing the driver’s side headlamp often involves removing the battery to access the back of the headlight.
Added degree of complexity means… hmm, drive less at night?

Well, wasn’t I just thrilled this past week when The Daughter’s bo’ evidently noticed my headlight impairment as I was backing out of the driveway. As he is walking by my car he bangs the headlight with his palm, waves and continues on into the house in one fluid motion.
My light came on instantly, and has been on ever since.

So the tip for today… sometimes things just need a good whack.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Due Process

Had I only know 'Due Process' took soooo long...

The trial is over and the verdict is in.
I however, as Alternate Juror #2, did not get to participate in the deliberation or the decision.
I was released just after the closing arguments. The judge made it clear however, that I was still part of the jury until the decision had been made. It made me feel loved. He, His Honor, actually did take some time to thank me, and to tell me how important my role was, and that I should be proud to have served.
I was proud, and a little sleepy. This was not a riveting trial.
The court clerk, an adorable, extremely well dressed young man, called me this afternoon to 'release me' and to tell me that my juror-mates had decided in favor of the defendant.

This was the only right decision to a case that really should never have taken up any of our time or tax dollars.
It is our right as American citizen to a trial by a jury of our peers. But this fellow could have saved everyone alot of money and time if he just ran it by me first.
I could have told him not to bother. There was no way this guy was getting any money out of any jury.
America - the land of the free and the brave and handful of greedy idiots.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

If it pleases the court, Your Honor

I like to eat at noon. 12:00 is when I eat lunch everyday.

Evidently, they eat lunch at 1:00 at the Superior Court.
From 12:00 to 1:00 I heard no testimony, no witnesses, no objections...nothing.
I heard my stomach.
It was unhappily grumbling about the time change.

Other than that, jury duty is going swimmingly.
I cannot discuss the case... but I will say the process is maddening.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My civic duty

I served my first day of Jury Duty on friday, this is the day where you are potentially selected to sit for a trial.
Now I understand why school buses need all those flashing lights and moving objects.

I was actually selected for a trial which will begin tomorrow. I look forward to serving my country.
I am 'Alternate Juror Number 2'. This basically means I get to sit quietly through the entire trial, then when it comes time to actually make a decision I go home instead. I suppose unless someone on the active jury gets sick or say... goes missing suddenly.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Friday (well almost)


I have jury duty I am getting a jump on my friday post.

Time for your fall feeding.
…not you… your lawn.

Fall feeding is often ignored because we tend to focus on anything but the lawn at this time of the year. It’s been a long summer of cutting and trimming, fertilizing and weed control…sheesh can’t it be done already!
Well almost.
The last feeding of the season will make a big difference next spring. You will notice your lawn green up sooner, and fill out quicker once the temps start to rise.
This year I am using Winterizer with Weed Control. Often times at the end of the summer weeds try to make a comeback. If left untreated they will seed and return with a vengeance next spring.
Remember that weed control has no effect on crabgrass. Not to worry tho, crabgrass is an annual and by fertilizing now to create a thicker healthier lawn it will help control the crabgrass next year.

If your leaves are already coming down heavily, apply the fertilizer after you rake.
If you do decide to use the weed control formula – put it down while the dew is still on the grass and rain is not expected for 24 hours. This way the weed control will stick to the leaves of the offending plant matter and have time to work systemically.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Are you more stupider?

What the hell is the matter with us?
I was behind a school bus on my way into work this morning.

Do we not know that we need to stop for school buses any more?
Perhaps we too busy blue toothin' it with our pals to notice them?
I never really thought of it as challenging to notice a HUGE yellow bus with prominent red flashing lights. When you see the lights, you stop. Seems pretty simple.

But I stopped behind a bus this morning that was like a laser light show with props.
Now... in addition to the standard yellow and red flashing lights, they have extra lights along the top and along the bumper, this thing also had not one ...but two flip out stop signs with those little flashing lights on them, the ones that flash really fast - so either you can't miss them or they throw you into an epileptic fit. One in the front and one toward the back of the bus on the same side… you could clearly see them both from every angle – so I am just not sure why they needed two of them. Then, of course it had the new standard in school bus design – the 20 foot yellow ‘fence’ that swings out in front of the bus as it stops. These were devised because the bus driver can’t see very small children standing in front of the bus or crawling in and around the front tires... and evidently neither can the 20 parents it takes to put kids on the bus these days.

You know I am a big advocate of safety first, but before we go spending all these tax dollars on making our school busses look like Emergency Rescue vehicles… how bout we put down the coffee, hang up the phone, quit ogling in the mirror which is meant to view the road behind you... and start driving.

This has been a public service announcement.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Speed Flossing

Over this past weekend my italian-home-cooked-meal-making wife and I had the pleasure of hosting an absolutely lovely soiree with some really good people.
Warm and genuine, lighthearted and funny.
It was such a lovely time.

Oh, and the title of this post? Well, I suppose it's an 'inside joke'.
Let's just say - what happens at weese's stays at weese's
(with some requisite teasing of course).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fantasy... Football

My competitive wife and I are in a couple of Fantasy Football leagues together.
One is with some other rather competitive blog friends (you know who you are).
We aren't the only 'couple' in the league... and when a couples match-up happens - so does the smack talk. My competitive wife loves the smack talk.

Last week my competitive wife and I had our match-up...
the league smack talk started like this:

Re: Ooooo
by: Big O (words_rock) Sep 13 9:17pm
I love the "couples" match-ups. It's always such a joy in our house when my team beats Win Wit's. ;)

I don't know who to root for in the weese/wife match-up. However I think it may be a safer bet to root for MAW after seeing what she did to that tree...

Re: Re: Ooooo
by: Agador Spartacus (my wife) Sep 16 9:31am
Hey Commish, whadya say we crank this up a notch? For "couples matchup" weekends, let's combine the rules of strip poker with fantasy football. We've all got Stat Tracker... yes? All we need are WebCams.

Re: Re: Re: Ooooo
by: weese's saints (me of course) Sep 16 12:03pm
hmm, what makes me think I am gonna be the one sitting around with nothing on but a coozie on my beer bottle.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Ooooo
by: Theleastgrebes (sporksforall) Sep 16 8:44pm
I absolutely encourage naked FFB, especially for those in committed relationships. Blinds or curtains should be drawn.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ooooo
by: The Rudeboys (E) Sep 16 11:33pm
I guess that means no web cams? I want to see Weese's koozie.

[next day during the 4:00 game - I was ahead]

4:00 Status Update from MAW
by: Agador Spartacus (my wife again...) Sep 17 4:16pm
I still have my earrings on -- not much else! Pumped up for the 4:00 games. -The Naked Wife

[by the end of the day my lead is but a memory]

Re: 4:00 Status Update from MAW
by: Big O (words_rock) Sep 17 10:59pm
I trust by now you've put your clothes back on and relieved weese of hers?

This is about how our day went.

Good luck to Big O and Win Wit today.
We will want pics.

Friday, September 22, 2006



Ladies, if you are over 40 - please go and get your annual mammogram.
And don't be whining about the squishing and squeezing... it's a small price to pay for a simple test, that takes just a few minutes of discomfort, that can literally save your life.

I am getting mine at noon today...and really, much worse than any squishing might be -is having to sit here 'till noon with no lotion, powder or perfume.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My blog-pal Sporks' post got me to thinking today...

If I remember correctly it was middle school where I learned a very important life lesson. My fuzzy memory puts me in Home Economics class... yes... Home Economics 101 - where I learned to sew, cook and basically care for the home. There were only girls in those classes back then. Boys took Auto Shop. I ...being the dyke that I am ... had absolutely no desire to take Auto Shop. Dirty hands -ewww. Perhaps if the engines were steam cleaned and shiny I would consider it - since the mechanics of it do appeal to my logical mind. But really folks, I belonged in Home Economics. I should probably consider teaching Home Economics…but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

My Home Economics teacher would often veer off the standard HomeEc syllabus and lend us valuable life-advice. She was a heavy set, jolly woman – and I liked her and the class, so I actually, mostly, listened.

One day she was giving us random tidbits to prepare us to adjust to our inevitable married lives. It was on this day that she explained the simple beauty of purchasing two brands of toothpaste. Toothpaste brands were not worth causing an argument between spouses. She also made sure we knew that it was completely unnecessary to be the demure wife and use her husband’s choice of tooth cleansing products.

Buy two tubes, she said.

This is true and sound advice on so many levels.
Learning is all about interpreting and interpolating.
Hey, if I could learn to sew from making a stuffed hippopotamus pillow – then surely I could garner valuable keys to my future relationships from two simple tubes of paste.
Those tubes are my independence, as well as my willingness to be accepting and not judgmental.
Thanks Mrs. C.
It has made me a better person and a better spouse.
21+ years of buying Crest AND Colgate… and counting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Freshman

It’s been two weeks now that Ferris has been away at school.
I think we're adjusting quiet nicely. We have spoken to him a few times already – mostly about stuff he needs. Being a parent …of course we want everything to go well for him, we are hoping he is acclimating to his new schedule, that he likes his classes – and that he is making friends of course. But having been overly doting parents for all these years, we also understand his need for independence and therefore have been judicious in our questions when we have the opportunity to ask.

So any information we do get …we try to read between the lines a bit

A good example from our conversation this past weekend:

Ferris: “How do I wash whites.”
Weese: “well… you can just separate them from your darks in a separate load.”
Ferris: “I mean, how do I use bleach. I need bleach.”
Weese: “no, no, you’ll be fine without bleach, really you don’t want to use it too often –bleach can be…. “
Ferris: “No, I need bleach. I need to get red face paint off my sheets.”

I suppose he is making friends just fine.

Friday, September 15, 2006



Fall is here. Time to start prepping for winter - you know gathering nuts... getting ready to hibernate. There are many things to get done in the fall around the house, gardens and lawn. So for the next couple/few weeks tip-o-day will focus on getting ready for the season change.

We like to acquire and stack our firewood at this time of year. That way you get it into a dry location to finish its final seasoning before you start burning. But remember, it’s not a good idea to store firewood in your basement, garage or even up against your house - even moreso at this time of year. Wood harbors all sort of insects... especially insects that either eat or bore into wood. Your house will be as tasty to them as the firewood. And fall is a very active insect time.

Stack your wood in a location away from the house. Keep your wood dry under a tarp or in a wood bin. If your wood is wet (or green) stack it in a cross hatch pattern to allow air to circulate and speed the seasoning process.

Once the temps fall below freezing you can bring small amounts of wood up near the house. We keep a small rack on our covered porch. This will hold a couple days supply, but stays cold enough that the insects don’t thaw out and start poking around.

Also remember, fireplaces actually draw heat out of your house. If are burning for an evening of ambiance this may not matter so much. But if getting toasty is your goal, invest in glass doors to retain and radiate heat. They even make them with small circulating fans to distribute heat out into the room, without allowing indoor air to be drawn back out and up your chimney.

Oh, one more thing... don't forget to use a hearth rug to catch stray sparks. That way, if you are say…lying naked in front of the fire with perhaps tall fluted glasses of champagne and a spark should jump out toward you – you can safely roll to one side or simply flick the spark onto the hearth rug with confidence. This can save not only your floors, but an entire glass of Veuve Clicquot.
Safety first.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Focus

for the office voyeur in you:

If you sit in a cubicle, as I do, having a rearview mirror is essential for your Chi.
This model works well. Its one of those 'see everything behind you' mirrors made for old men driving oversized cars.

E gets bonus points for knowing this is a 'Peace' lamp. This sits next to my monitor so I can gaze at it and yet appear to be working.

This crazy lady has a clothespin mouth, as demonstrated by the pushy pin in there now. She has had all sorts of stuff in that mouth.

This is my cup. It holds only water. I use company provided cups when enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning so as to keep mine unstained and perfectly white inside.

Of course I have pictures of The Fam.

Tho, I really need to get around to updating the dog pictures. The dog in the frame is my little minpin...Joosey. She is no longer with us. So it became sorta weird to have a picture of a dog we no longer had...and not to have a picture of the infamous FREE dog.

I love this little guy. He is bendable and posable. I like to pose him in a different position each day. He often does yoga.

He also guards my stash.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

work is blurry today...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

She loves me...

When we first bought our house we were typical first time homeowners. We were in our twenties and had bought a house we could afford … planning to 'fix it up'.

I learned quickly in those early years to never leave my imaginative wife home alone.
A couple of my first solo outings ended in major home renovations. Renovations started by my creative wife… finished by a team of professionals.
It’s only recently that I have taken the sledge hammer out of deep storage.

After years of these spontaneous home renovations, my dirt loving wife turned her energy to the yard and gardens. She has over the years planted expansive perennial gardens and several specimen trees all around our property. She had done a splendid job with what was a blank green canvas.

Last week, on a cool late summer evening, my loving wife and I sat on the porch enjoying a beverage, and admiring our side yard and gardens. There she has an exquisite collection of peonies, lilies and, across the driveway, what I like to refer to as the evil Wisteria. It’s evil because it is engulfing all that is close to it – it grows at an alarming rate. So much so in fact, that it tries to pull me off the tractor as I drive by. My caring wife loves this gigantic shrub, and so I tease her about it often.
That same evening, I commented that the tree across the driveway was casting too much shade to grow adequate grass and that I was beginning to feel a bit closed-in by our maturing plantings. We have trees now that we planted close to 20 years ago. It’s amazing what can happen to a plot of land in that amount of time. Things have really filled out.

The next day, after our sweet evening together on the porch, I was busy puttering around with various projects around the back yard. Mind you …I never left the property.

My attentive wife … she listens to everything I say.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I will, again this year, share my 9.11 exerperience in honor of this day.

My used-to-be-executive wife was working in Manhattan at the time.
Here, at my office, someone in an adjoining cube had just shouted out that a plane had hit the trade center. My first thought was of a little cessna type thing and perhaps the pilot had a heart attack or something. I tried to log onto a news site - but the internet was slow.
Before I could get any real information I recieved this email from my wife.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:22 AM
"a few minutes ago, a commercial airplane crashed into the world trade center. the plane was flying directly above park passed directly above my head as i was walking from grand central. i couldn't believe how low it was flying, and then i saw the billowing smoke from downtown.

absolutely horrible. ambulances, firetrucks, and helicopters are everywhere, racing down town."

My attempts to call her cell were futile. So I replied to her email:
I heard the pentagon has been hit... can you get out. I can't call you!!!

I sat staring at my monitor... waiting for her reply.
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:56 AM:
"yes, the pentagon was hit too.
i heard the plane that i saw was highjacked from boston.
they've shut down lower manhattan.
they're also shutting down the subways, airports, and bridges.
i can't call you.
call [our sister in law] and find out when my parents' flight gets in."

I heard from her once more that morning before she began the long trip home.
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:04 AM:
"i am going to try to come home now."

She spent the next several hours, I found out later, running for trains, being evacuated, waiting in the streets... looking for a way out.
We had no further communication until she finally got home around 4 that afternoon.
I was waiting on the porch, I had just hung up our flag.

Friday, September 08, 2006



Fall is for grass. Grass loves fall.
If you have any grass to grow in bare spots or places overrun with weeds - this is the time to do it. ANYONE can grow grass in the fall.

Here are some things steps that will ensure your success.

□ Use the right seed.
o Grass seed has an expiration date - so don't try to plant stuff you found on a shelf in the back of the garage.
o Select seed specific for you lawn and lighting conditions. The packaging will tell you if the seed is for Sun, Shade, Sun and Shade or Deep Shade – pay attention to that.
o If you are patching – try to buy seed that will blend with the rest of your lawn. If you don’t know what kind of grass you have, take a sample with you to your local nursery.
If you don’t care… buy the Scotts seed that best suits your needs. (this is actually what I do – it eventually blends with the other grasses … its my little foray into grass equality)

□ Prep the area.
o If you have weeds where you will be planting, first remove them or spray them with a systemic product like RoundUp (be sure NOT to use the season long variety of RoundUp - this prevents germination).
o Wait 7 days after the RoundUp application before planting.

□ Rake up the area to be planted.
o Once the area is weed free, rake to loosen the soil to accept the seed.

□ Rake in the seed.
o After spreading the seed (I spread it generously), rake the seed into the soil. Seed needs to be covered to germinate.

□ Protect the area.
o Put something over the seed to keep it from washing away in the rain and also to help retain moisture. You can use hay (be sure to buy hay for seeding new laws, otherwise it will be filled with seeds that will simply plant a wheat field for you instead). But personally, I find hay to be a nuisance and actually prefer to use clippings from my own lawn. This way there is no clean up and clippings actually have alot of moisture in them. Be sure not to spread them too heavily, or they will smother the new seed.

□ Fertilize
o Not required, but using a Starter fertilizer will give your new grass a stronger, faster start.

□ Then water, water, water.
o New seed must remain moist. Water every day. Twice a day if you can. Don’t water so much that there is puddling – just be sure the soil is moist down through the top layer. Set up a sprinkler to make it easier… you can even put the sprinkler on a timer and then not worry at all.

You should have germination in 7-10 days.

Since I will be doing all of these step over the weekend… perhaps I will snap some pics of each step along the way.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

geek week

I am a little preoccupied this week.
I have decided to resurrect our antient Gateway desktop.
I am not sure why exactly - I just feel I must.
So that's what I am doing with my lunch hours...instead of blogging.

Format c:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New spaces

I didn’t expect this. I know myself pretty well. I am generally calm, level headed almost unemotional in some situations. Oh sure, I have my faults and I can be a bit …well … anxious about things -- but I know my neurosis, I am comfortable with it, it fits me like old shoes. I go into most situations knowing how I will feel, and well aware that I may react emotionally at times.
This was not one of them.
I expected my sentimental wife to react the way she did. She was perfect; she was herself…in all her softness. But me... the rock, the strong one, the analytical one – ran amok.

My internal static was his discomfort. It was like ET and Elliott. As soon as he started to bristle and worry – I uncontrollably followed.

The new space felt too small, we had to track down some misplaced items, there were some repairs and cleaning to be done. It all seemed insurmountable to him. But his organized mom and I got it done. It began to feel homey and larger and better organized. This helped, but still… when we left that afternoon my emotions continued to bounce all over the place. There were loose ends to tie up the next day, it wasn’t all settled yet.

I write this all in retrospect. It’s done now. And I am admittedly feeling better. This is because he did something very important for me that second day when I went returned to tie up those loose ends. He told me not to come back. No more visits. He was all set and didn’t need anything else.
See ya.
And this… this is what made it ok for me. I needed for him to be strong, for him to be the man that he is. Not my baby boy. Because I would not have been able to leave my baby boy there… in that dorm… with all that drinking and fornicating and all…

Now, we are working on centering ourselves. Enjoying the little freedoms that come with our new space. That, and we are cleaning his room.

Friday, September 01, 2006



The main entry to our house is through our kitchen door. We are casual that way.

There -- we have a long, deep covered porch. This is also the north side of the house and so there is not a ray of sunshine. We have a small table by the door which I made out of recovered barn wood. Since we sit out there frequently in the evenings, we keep an array of odd candles and some punks to help deter mosquitoes.

To add summery-ness, I like to keep some plants on this table as well -but have struggled over the years to find something that would survive the deep shade.
I have a fern there this year - which is loving the darkness. But I still yearned for summer color.

So I am trying something new. I planted two clay pots with sun lovin' marigolds. I keep one by the door ... in the dark, and the other at the end of the walk in the sunshine. Every week or so - I switch them.

I may try 3 next year...clay pots are cheap enough, and marigold seeds are free. That way each plant should get loads of sun-time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I gasped when I noticed that gas is $2.99 at my local station this morning.

Then I broke out into song.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's a good thing they passed that law where you can't use your cell phone while driving. Now, regular folks who have moral issues with things like stealing...or say murder - can break the law too.

Friday, August 25, 2006



Here's a little photographic tip for you today.

Let's say you have a printed photograph that you would like to send digitally or say... post on your blog, but you don't own a scanner (or in my case, have a corrupt and un-repairable scanner driver).

Simply tack up or tape the photo to the wall in a well lit room. I prefer flouresent lighting for such purposes. Be sure there is no glare and adjust the placement as necessary. For larger pieces I sometimes use an umbrella between my lighting source and the photo/painting. Adjust the umbrella until you don't see a cast shadow and still have good ambient light. Since you wont' be able to use a flash, even a steady hand may blur... so use a tripod or table to keep the camera still.
I actually use this method to image all of my artistic wife's paintings (i.e. my masthead).

Download the picture from your camera and use an editing tool to crop or rotate if its askew. You can even adjust the brightness, sharpness or contrast to bring out more detail and better color.
The results may not be perfect... but certainly presentable in a pinch.

Here is an example of one I did this morning:

This can come in very handy when you have been asked to guest post on the blog of an old high school friend, and want to express your gratitude.

(easy there ladies... remember, Zahava saw him first)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In your dreams

As I am sure is quite common, as a child I used to have dreams this time of year about going back to school. The classic, of course, is showing up naked, tho in my dreams I generally showed up in my pajamas. In my twisted mind this is even more horrible, because being in my pajamas would mean that most likely I had not showered that morning (whereas if I were naked...certainly I would have). Leaving the house un-showered...well, simply must never happen.

Anyway - last night I had a dream about us bringing Ferris to college.
(I suppose you won't need a doctorate to interpret this one.)
We were moving him into his dorm room, and basically had forgotten most of the stuff we have been busily preparing for him for the last couple of weeks. In the dream we were supposed to have him moved in by 5:00 and of course by 5:00 we had not even taken things out of the car. Evidently, we needed to be done by 5, so that all the college freshman could go off to the dining hall for some special welcoming dinner, and we...the overprotective, and overpacked parents were supposed to go home. So I went off looking for Ferris to tell him we were leaving and instead found some creepy guy in a robe living in the room next door selling cable channels to freshman. He showed me his brochure, I politely declined. I also noticed that the dorm rooms seemed to already be equipped with HBO, as I noticed a bunch of kids across the hall watching the Sopranos.

So finally I see Ferris walking down the hall... but he is small - like 10. Then I notice all the kids are small. And I am thinking - we are gonna leave all these little kids here in this dorm alone... what with all that beer drinking... and fraternizing?

No really... I am not worried.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

a guest

I am honored to be a guest blogger over at my blog-father's place today.
Please stop in and visit me there.

(I simply couldn't do two posts in a day... I do have a day job you know)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Checking things off the list

We finally finished our gravel project. So we were able to cross it off our list.
We like lists.


...We actually had it on several lists.

You see a couple years ago we had put up a temporary carport on the sideyard, and we put some gravel so that the cars parked in this carport would not sink into the earth.
Gravel is handy.

We took the carport down last year, but still had the gravel.
Since gravel is handy, my creative wife and I decided to repurpose this handy gravel to other areas of the yard where we might find the addition of gravel useful if not attractive (I suppose pictures would have been helpful here...perhaps later in the week).

There was ALOT of gravel to be moved.
See the illustration below:

This is the area where the gravel used to be ... now, take these measurements and use this handy-dandy gravel calculator (lets assume a gravel depth of say 2") and we will find that my hearty wife and I actually moved 3 TONS of gravel!

Now I know what you are thinking... why are these two old ladies out there in 100 degree weather moving gravel around when there is a perfectly healthy and rather muscular 18 year old somewhere close by.

Its simple really. It saves money.
Why would I sit on my ass while my son moves gravel around the yard and then pay some astromical inflated fee to join a gym somewhere so that I can get some exercise because I am sitting on my ass while others are doing work that I am perfectly capable of doing.

Of course now that the gravel project is done, its as if my gym membership has expired. And my triceps were really just starting to get cut.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Brief Update

When I selected that title I first intended this post to be short.
Then I remembered that I am wearing line-dried underwear.... and while I do love the fresh scent of line dried clothes, as many of you pointed out - line drying has its drawbacks. (there's the 'brief' update).

1.) dryer part: not yet arrived; not sure if 5-7 day estimate includes weekends... one can hope
2.) one car: muffler has been installed; neighbors rejoice.
3.) other car: still in the shop, part to arrive tomorrow; we continue to commute together.
3.) window: still rotting, not yet triaged.
4.) dorm supplies: shopping is complete; washing and packing to commence soon (with a critical dependency on item #1)
5.) trees: we have opted to only trim two trees rather than the 'all-day-tree-event' suggested by the tree guy; considering gas and match as alternative.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dry Time

Did you know that it takes ALL day for clothes to dry on the clothes line...

Appliances rock.

Friday, August 18, 2006



It seems we’ve had a spate of unfortunate incidents just recently.
But I wanted you to know …that for us –this is no reason to get upset or angry or to feel like the universe has it out for us.
Anger does not make the car start, sadness does not repair the window, and despair certainly is not going to kill grubs in your lawn.

So while the checking account is drained – we'll enjoy the patio and the cool late summer evenings for free.
Having one car in the shop simply allows us to spend extra time together commuting to work.
And this morning I did an early load of laundry and hung it on the line while we wait 5-7 business days for the dryer part to come in. Thinking how fresh and clean our clothes will smell and how much energy we are saving… and --- ah ok, ok – not having a dryer is making me nuts… but you get the point.

So my tip for today is not to worry about these minor bumps in the long road of our lives - step on the gas, raise your arms up high and take the bumps at full speed… maybe catch some air.

The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.
~ James Taylor

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Would you care for another lemon?

What is that saying- when the universe give you lemons, make lemonade...
Something like that.

With all that's going on, can you believe that another one of our cars broke down yesterday?
The universe is stacking the lemons up on our doorstep.

Ah. But we are clever Italians and will make limoncello instead.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mr. Mom

Have you ever seen Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton. Very funny.
There is scene in that movie where he is home with the kids and there are all sorts of goings on ... a washer repairman, a tv repair woman, an exterminator...

That's me today.

The place is a flurry of activity. Right now there are a pile of trucks and vans in the driveway, 4 guys on the roof, 1 guy buried in lint in the laundry room and our neighbor is having a converstation with one of the guys on the roof. My mom just stopped in, and the daughters boyfriend came by to pick up a car. There is also a enourmous, adorable brown dog laying in the driveway.
I periodically go out there to direct traffic, dodging falling bricks and debris from the roof.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When it rains...

What is that saying - when it rains it...
When it rains, things get wet. And when things that should not be wet, get wet and stay wet - what happens? Anyone. Anyone.
They rot.

At first, we thought we might be able to fix this ourselves...we are pretty handy you know. But the rot is waaay to much. We are thinking entire replacement of at least the window at this point.

But wait...there's more.
For some years now we have been putting off having our chimney rebuilt. Its the original chimney and its over 70 years old.

Are you wondering the connection? So was I.

My clairvoyant wife explains that it would be our dumb luck to get a crew out here to replace the window and siding and who knows what other structural rot, and that would be the moment when the chimney would actually start dropping bricks...on their heads.

And while I would have thought the odds of this would be astronomical. I have also learned not to mess with her intuition.
So tomorrow they will do a complete tear down and rebuild of the chimney. Then we can have the window and possibly the entire side wall ripped out of the house to be repaired.

We were discussing the logistics of these major repairs last night as I was doing laundry, which is conveniently located off the kitchen which I love so we can chat while I am folding... as we will need to jockey the cars around because the muffler just rotted and fell off Ferris' car, and while he loves the new sound we fear his car filling up with exhaust fumes -- when I noticed that the clothes were cold and damp rather than all fluffy and warm.
Obviously, the correct course of action will be to call a repair man... this way we can pay a couple hundred bucks so the repairman can tell us that its a goner ... and then go shopping for a new appliance. Of course we have a stacked unit so we can't just go buy a dryer.
Luckily, I will be home to manage the situation as we have a tree guy coming over to give us an estimate on taking down a tree that is precariously leaning.
How convenient really.
Interestingly, its raining here today.

Friday, August 11, 2006



Right now - treat for grubs.

Last year our lawn was devastated in seemingly one weeks time.
We went to PTown, had a blast - and came home to a completely dead lawn.
I originally attributed this damage to the drought,
It wasn't until I put some thought into it and realized that while drought can damage grass, its unusual for this amount of damage to happen in one week.
That's when I realized and had to admit... we had grubs.

This year we are fighting back. Earlier in the season I put down the season long grub control. But when I noticed some damage earlier this week I knew I needed to react immediately.

So your tip for today is...if you see any grub damage in your lawn right now - apply a quick acting grub control right away. I am using Bayer 24 hour Grub Control today.

If you see areas in your lawn that look like this:

Take action.
note: grub control needs to be watered in to be effective.

[The life cycle of the grub is like this... beetles that are active in May and June (that's here - the timing will be slightly different in other locales) will lay their eggs in July. These hatch into small and very hungry grubs. It is at this time when the most damage occurs, and is also the best time to eradicate them as they are small. If you do nothing to control them - they will burrow deep during the cold months and will come back to the surface as the ground warms in the spring. This is a more difficult time to control them as they are big and fat and very healthy from eating your entire lawn last fall. These big ugly grubs then become beetles and on it goes again.]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

technology sucks

don't know about you - but i am not having good luck with blogspot today.

every time i click the publi...

aaaa uuuuguggghhhhhh

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The ups and downs of being the only male child of lesbians

On the one hand you have to feel for Ferris. Can you imagine two moms getting you ready for college? Our excitement is way over the top. We have lists all over the house. We can’t wait to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy ‘dorm stuff’. We are making him go with us this week… share the excitement.

But there are perks. Especially when you discover that both your lesbian moms like to wear men’s T’s from upscale stores such as J.Crew and the GAP.
How many 18 year old boys can raid their mom’s clothes (of course they look much better on him).

Friday, August 04, 2006



I came up with this one yesterday, out of my own frustration.

I am replacing the caulk in our tub. We had terrible caulk failure. This caulk was only in for a short time before it started to blacken from mold. I attributed this to either not prepping the surface well enough or lousy caulk.

While I was removing this caulk I found there were areas that were still very soft... not properly cured. It was at that moment that I wished I had saved the original tube so that I could avoid this brand in the future. Heck, I may still have it somewhere in the basement - but I wouldn't know which one it was.

So my tip for today is - when you use a new brand of something, such as caulk, paint, sealer...whatever it may be, write (right on the package) where you used it and the date. Then you will be sure to re-use good products and avoid bad ones.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


They say this heat will ‘break’ soon, possibly tonight.
Whenever I hear that expression – the heat 'breaking'…it conjures up this memory.

It was some years ago – before we had air conditioners in our house. We were having a long drought accompanied by week long heat waves. Without any AC we tried different tactics to keep cool. We would sit quietly so as not to use any energy. We even rigged the hose up on the patio so it would mist us as we sat motionless in the thick air. But the nights were the hardest. There was no cool night air – just motionless hot darkness.

Very late one night – it was hot-- way to hot for the nighttime, the air was still and so thick that breathing was slow and labored.
We lay there not sleeping – it was as if sleep took too much energy.
And then… it happened. At the window the curtain moved. I saw it as I felt it, and I whispered quietly in the dark
“Did you see that?”
“I did”
There was hope in those two little words.
With as little movement as possible we cast our eyes on the curtain and waited. We were rewarded with another burst of air. Then more… then the curtain was billowing with fresh clean cool air.

We sat up – together – and all it took was one look and we were both sprinting down stairs. Without turning on any lights, we opened every window and door on our way.
Fresh cool air began pouring in. The temperature drop was palpable.

We went to the porch to revel in the breeze – lifting our shirts to feel the coolness on our skin.
We giggled like little girls.
The heat wave had broken.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Can you feel the heat?
This is the kind of heat that makes people do crazy things. This is the kind of heat movies are made of (Steeelllaaa). Heat like this gets talked about - long after it breaks.
It’s historical. Records are being broken.
It’s hot.

If you are healthy, I encourage you to experience it. Get up, open the door to your climate controlled environment and go outside.
Don’t just poke your head out there and duck back in – go… feel it.
Go water the flowers, or pull a couple of weeds out of your garden. Go walk to the corner store, or walk to the park.
Let the sweat soak through your shirt; revel in the big dark patches of wetness. Let it run down your temples and off your nose and drip…
Experience the fullness of this heat.

Note: to those of you who are already ‘experiencing’ the heat because you have no A/C – then I urge you to go visit a friend who does. Bring a bottle, a hunk of cheese and a loaf of bread… and talk about the heat.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


It's steamy out there isn't it...
I went out for a walk at lunch time and I could feel the air wrap itself around me. It was so thick I felt as if I could grab a handful of it.

How often is it that the entire country can complain about the same weather experience?

(look at that... 100° right around my house)

Monday, July 31, 2006


The first phase of the CRP SVCP testing project has come to an end.

We are considering this phase a smashing success. Empircal evidence has proven that the location of the RTD did not improve participation in the Relocation Program.

Logically before we can begin Phase 2 we needed to temporarily remove the RTD. This produced immediate and encouraging results.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gone Fishing

Metaphorically of course. While sitting next to a lake knocking back beer in cans doesn't sound all that bad - the whole worms...bait ... fishing line thing is not for me. I also have an irrational fear of fish hooks...

My sultry wife and I take this week off each year to celebrate our anniversary, and PTown is our usual destination... little change-up this year...have I mentioned that we are sending Ferris to university less than 2 months.

We wrote that check yesterday - to kick off our 'week at home' vacation.
This is not a bad thing - while I will miss 'Town', we love our home, and love spending time here.
I will update you with pictures... and yes - with a chipmunk update.

Once again the blogging experience moves me more than I could have expected.
Recently, I read that one my blog friends needed to find a Justice of the Peace here in CT. I was thrilled to be able to help.
Over the weekend - I was honored to witness my wife the JP join this wonderful couple in Civil Union.
A heartfelt congratulations to the happy couple.

Friday, July 21, 2006



It's time for the summer feeding. Though I have always thought of this lawn care step as optional.
The summer fertilizers are often mixed with insect control - which is nice and can help control mosquitoes, ants, ticks and some other nuisance lawn pests (remember grub control is separate – we will talk about that next week). But if the lawn is stressed from drought or high heat, I feel it's better to skip this step.

In the heat of the summer grasses go dormant naturally. If your lawn is browning or yellowing it doesn’t mean that it's in jeopardy. Once the fall rains come and the nights cool off, a healthy lawn with well established roots will bounce back.

Since here in the North East we are enjoying regular rain and only the seldom heat wave, I plan to apply the summer feed this year. This will actually be the first year I have applied this step. My goal is to thicken the lawn due to massive grub and drought damage from last year.

So remember, each lawn and each part of the country are different and so you will need to make an individual choice... to feed or not to feed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who needs chipmunks

While my Italian-wife is busy preparing meatballs for the chipmunks, let's go off on a tangent.

Last year we had a problem with slugs in the garden near our kitchen door.

This year we thought we would be a bit proactive. So we put out cups of beer before we started to see any damage. As you know, slugs just can't resist a frothy cup of brew.

So I go out the other night to set out some really cheap (and nasty) beer.
Slugs are not beer snobs...and evidently neither are some other forms of wildlife in our area.

When we checked the cups the next morning - they were empty. Not only empty but in different locations. Clearly they were not lapped empty, as... say... the FREE dog may have done - something must have picked them up and sipped.
I also noticed the garbage had also been tipped over.

Now - what sort of animal lives in suburbia, tips over garbage, and has the dexterity to knock back a cup of beer?

Somewhere out there, right now, in the back yard - there is a raccoon with a hangover.

I am going to put out more beer tonight. Let's see if he pushes through the pain for a little "hair of the dog".

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Variable 2

It has been brought to our attention that the chipmunks may actually be dining elsewhere...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

CRP update

As discussed, we have created a plan to test the Retrival Process by changing one variable with each CRP Retrival session. The first variable to be addressed was 'Location'.

On Friday, my hardworking wife had the day off from work, and handled the implementation of the CPR Single Variable Change Process - also known as SVCP.
She updated me on CRP SVCP progress throughout the day. She was also working closely with our CRP Assistant.

Here are the updates I received throughout the day:

9:36:23 E.S.T.
"I inspected the RTD. One noteworthy observation... chipmunks may not want to share bait with ants."

10:12:23 E.S.T.
"Earlier this morning, our CRP assistant was stalking an area in the stonewall by the smoke pit.

I moved the RTD to this new location, installed fresh bait, and reset the trapdoor (I think)."

10:32:23 E.S.T.
Let's see if our CRP assistant leaves the bait alone.

...Later that evening - the CRP Assitant spent a good deal of time monitoring the trap.

I suppose its needless to say ... no chipmunks yet.