Friday, September 26, 2008



The fingerprints on my shiny cell phone were making me nuts.

So I took a piece of masking tape to cover the little view window, and got myself some steel wool...

and scruffed it up.

Couldn't be happier.

Thanks Guy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


As it is with many folks, things are a little fiscally tight here this year. With the upcoming heating season predicted to be so costly I have been spending some time coming up with a spreadsheet to help me budget. I love excel and my spreadsheet has all kinds of neat features and sparky colors. I even tossed in some ‘conditional formatting’ for kicks.
My hope is that by watching our (particularly 'my') spending very carefully we’ll be able to skate through the winter… well, keep the house above freezing anyway.

Of course then my newsworthy wife tells me over coffee this morning that because we are spending… oh I dunno… a billion dollars a day on this ‘war’ thing that the country is like a trillion dollars in debt. And that ‘we’ (meaning us... meaning y'all and me) are gonna have to pay for this.

O just great… how am I gonna work that into my spreadsheet?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Got wood?

Seems that everyone is gathering wood these days.

So as not to be left out in the cold, we'll join in the fun too.

Tho... we seriously don't have nearly as much as these gals.

A couple years ago I built us a little wood shed with tarp curtains on the front for easy access. I have a wheeled wood cart that I can roll right up to it, load up and then roll it up onto our covered porch.
It's all stuffed and ready to go.

Then we have a little wood rack next to that - this is wood that we limb off trees in the yard. Its very satisfying to burn wood that you have cut and seasoned, even on a small scale.

Oh...well then there's this pile. This wood will need to season a bit.

Of course then we have this taller pile, which is tarped as its burnable now.

Hmm, right - then we'll need to find a spot to stack this as well...

Bring it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

True Love

When my free spirited wife saw a Bleeding Heart sprouting between the asphalt driveway and the curbing she was enchanted.
She marveled at how beauty can spring forth from anywhere.

And for just this reason ... its still there.

Friday, September 19, 2008



Fall is here. It was damned chilly last night.

Are you ready?

This weekend would be a good time to organize your thoughts and make lists on things that need to get done before the seasons change.

Take a little time out, grab a cocktail and a pencil - and list away.
Remember that the more organized you are as you enter the short, cold days of winter the better you will feel emotionally and physcially. Clear up clutter and toss out any un-needed or un-used stuff. This will open up crowded spaces and allow more light and air to flow more freely. You will be suprised at your energy boost.

For those of you in those still steamy southern states - I guess just grab a beer and sit on the patio...

of course you're also gonna miss the foliage --

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

líricas instrumentales

I don't generally listen to music unless I am home and my melodious wife puts it on. She often does this, and I enjoy it immensely. I like her selections, and the way she strings certain songs together. Now, of course, there are certain songs that whenever I hear them I think of her.

But when I am on my own, I am pretty content with quiet. I rarely listen to music at work, and even more rarely in my car. Some folks say they like to listen to music while cleaning the house. I prefer silence. The act of cleaning is like meditation to me. And so I enjoy the gradual lessening of the chatter in my head as I go about the rote and caring tasks of housecleaning.

I have recently discovered however, that I can enjoy music here at the office - if it's instrumental. Lyrics tend to distract me from what I am doing, while music alone actually seems to help me to focus.

Not only that, but I have found that listening to music in other languages is just as good. Even better at times. I can truly enjoy the vocal performance... as an instrument, rather than get all caught up in some sappy story.

Y tan aquí me siento en mi escritorio en mi cubículo caliente, oscuro escuchando las canciones en Español, Italiano y Francés y gozando de ellos inmenso.


Monday, September 15, 2008


Just mention squirrels this year and it seems every one concurs that they are going crazy around here.
The gathering and foraging is at an all time high – but then so is the mortality rate.
There are squished squirrels around every turn.
At first I attributed all the accidental deaths to the crazed preparation for the impending cold. I have read that when squirrels forage this early and fervently that it means we’ll have a hard winter. I assume there is alot of competition for those tasty, long lasting winter nuts and with that comes high anxiety. So I suppose a few casualties seems unavoidable.

That was until I witnessed the squirrelacide.

I was on my way into work one morning when I noticed the car up ahead brake as a squirrel ran across the road in front of it.
Whew, I thought – close call.

That’s when he turned around and ran right back across the road in front of my car.
I looked in my rearview mirror and saw him sitting on the side of the road.
I imagine he was waiting for the next car to come along.

Is it the pressure of finding enough food that’s driving them to take their lives?
Perhaps the anxiety of the long hibernation makes it too hard to go on.
I suppose it could also be sport – tho they don’t seem too accomplished.

Ah, but the threat of a long hard winter can cause anxiety… even madness.
We have been stocking up on firewood since August; we’ve got piles and piles of it with another cord on the way.
But if you see me start to run across traffic for sticks – could you give my patient wife a call and ask her to up my meds?

Friday, September 12, 2008



How about a couple of hurricane tips for the gals down in Houston today?

First, and this I got directly from EB who is busily prepping for Ike.
Forget the bottled water - look...all the stores are already sold out.
Just fill the tub, and get to the liquor store.

Then, from my culinary wife - cook what's in the freezer. If you're gonna lose power, not only will the frozen food thaw, but your oven won't work either. So cook it up now and pick on it over candle light.

And from me - regarding the plywood for the windows. If you live in a hurricane prone area, there should be no need to worry about running out for plywood the day before a storm (they just love to show that homedepot parking lot on the news before a hurricane).
Think ahead. Get the plywood in advance, perhaps a nice sunny Saturday.
Cut it to size and drill holes for your screws or nails or whatever hardware best suits your exterior window trim (might I suggest a metal washer as well, to preserve the drilled hole for many uses). Put your hardware for each window in a little Ziploc bag. I like to attach hardware right to the item it's intended for - you can simply use a twist tie through one of the drilled holes or staple it right to the plywood.
Be sure to label each piece of plywood, especially if you have several close in size. If you are the creative type you can even go all artsy.

Now stack them neatly in the garage, and you are ready at a moments notice for inclement weather.

Once the storm is over, take them down and let them dry thoroughly. Then stack them right back in the garage with their hardware.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am not a gamblin' woman

But that's what I feel like trying to secure an oil price this season.

I have been on the phone for a week, comparing prices and companies and additional costs, it's alot of leg work.
Then, of course, we need to actually make a decision.

If I lock in now, will the price go down?
If I take the capped price will the prices flat line?
If I lock in with a new company will the service be the same?

Auuughhhh... the pressure.

What's your oil price?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

my politics

It's everywhere, it's ubiquitous, it's larger than life...
it's the political opinion.

Every website, newspaper, magazine and commentary and commercials and billboards -- it's all political opinion. Opinion. You're blogging about. You have an opinion. Your opinion is right.

I stayed in tune with it for a short time. I began to watch the conventions, I got caught up in The Times, I was reading what you had to say on your blogs -- until I noticed...
I stopped, I became still, I became aware.
All of this political bombardment was actually causing physiological changes within me. These translated into something akin to anxiety. It didn't seem to matter whether I agreed with the opinion or not.

It didn't feel good.

Then I remembered ...choice.
I can choose my candidate, and leave you to choose yours.
I can also choose to avoid the deluge.
I can choose to feel good.

And so I choose to abstain.

So dear, dear friends - if your talking around the water cooler, I may quietly slip out of the room. If you are blogging about your politics, for which you are right and have every right to do, I won't be reading or commenting.

It doesn't mean I don't love you. It doesn't mean I won't drink water at work or that I won't check blogs to read about your latest home improvement fiasco, or how your dog has the sniffles.

I simply choose to find calm.

peace good friends

Friday, September 05, 2008



All the signs are pointing to a hard winter up here. The Farmers Almanac is saying 'numbingly cold'. Egad.

Even here I have noticed a ridiculous number of squirrels (unfortunately many of them flattened in the road). Their gathering is starting very early this year. Our big maple has gone to seed early, and there are some trees turning as of last week.
Do you know how I know this? Well... we keep a gardening journal from year to year.

My patient wife notes when her flowers are blooming, when we fertilize things, when trees turn or the vegetables ripen. We note things like... 'wet spring' or 'cold nights'. We jot down what insects are problematic each year and how we solve it (or don't :) )

The layout of the diary is important. Set it up so you have several years of the same day or week on the same page. That makes it easy to compare from year to year and you can readily see if things are late or early.

We have found that its not only been a valuable reference tool - but is fun just to look back and remember.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

just being

Last night we sat in the backyard applauding the lighting. It was a grand show.
The hail got a standing O.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Yet another way to make weese insane

Remember that joke from the 80's;
How do you make a programmer insane?
Have them follow the directions on a shampoo bottle*

Why o why would they make a cell phone shiny. Its bad enough cars are shiny.

But a phone? What's the point?
You have to touch the phone...
all the time...
its never going to be shiny.


* in case you don't have a shampoo bottle handy
lather, rinse, repeat