Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
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
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
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
We like lists.
gravel gravel gravel
...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
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
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
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
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, things get wet. And when things that should not be wet, get wet and stay wet - what happens? Anyone. Anyone.
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:
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
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
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
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?”
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
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.
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
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)