Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's Hot

I used to live in Texas. I loved many things about it. But the heat wasn't one of them....Yesterday felt like Texas.

Michael put a thermometer on the front porch because he did not believe the official "the Weather Channel" report that it was 101 degrees in Anaheim, California, in our zip code. (Nor was he buying the announcement that with humidity, it felt like 106.)

The first reading was about 104. I took another picture later trying to get rid of the glare of the flash....and it was hotter by then. (Not counting the humidity!)

(The thermometer was only on the floor by that ray of sunlight 14 seconds before I took the picture....) Yep, it was 106 on my shaded front porch, all afternoon. It was muggy and heavy and hot. We took the thermometer inside after that, because sun on the front porch was going to give a false reading and cause the inmates, er... I mean my housemates, to make a run on the ice cream in the freezer.

But we are fortunate. There are thousands in Queens, New York right now, with no electricity for over a week, and temperatures just like these. I have NO room to gripe and whine. On the bright side, its supposed to be in the low 80's next weekend!! :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Uh oh....Mom's trying to FIX something!!

Today's post will be of limited interest to anyone except my Dad, from whom I get my natural inclination to try to "fix things"......

Sometimes, that's the extent of the similarity between our efforts to fix things: its natural for both of us to try. He regularly succeeds. I regularly have sore stomach muscles from wheezing with laughter as I attempt to act like I know what I'm doing.

Two days ago, the vacuum was being used by the 26-year-old, who was industriously cleaning her room. There was the normal irritating screaming of the vacuum which was suddenly punctuated by a sound resembling a jackhammer on concrete, and then deafening silence broken only by an undeleted expletive. Doors opened everywhere and family members converged on the scene. "What happened?" was the idiotic chorus that rose as we surveyed Karen through the swirling clouds of settling dust.

"I dunno," was the enlightening reply. Possible culprits were located on the floor as vision became more of a possibility.....a random screw, the knob to adjust the heighth of the vacuum, clods of dirt......nothing very telling.

"Yay" Laurie said, as she disappeared....."now I don't have to vacuum my room!" (She's got that "get over it and move on!" thing nailed.....I could take lessons from her. Instead, I vow to fix it.)

I took poor Mr. Blue Vacuum downstairs and he sat in the holding area (the den) awaiting diagnosis. The holding area is where all the "happening" events in this house take place. Why, Sadie gave birth to her second hair bunny in the holding area yesterday. After I finished typing today, I decided to operate. I gathered my tools (screwdriver, scalpel razor blade, scissors, light, fan - I may as well be comfortable...) and I entered the holding area to prep the patient.
I removed the drape, and proceeded with a bimanual examination........yep, any first year resident could see we had a possible strangulation of a vital organ.....the beater bar was encased in a huge amount of foreign objects and debris.........

I removed the cover and dissected away the foreign bodies and other crud....I was feeling pretty smug when I got all this out.....I have no idea what some of this is.....I wasn't even sure when I got it off the beater bar and could take a better look....

But as I say, I was feeling pretty smug. I put the bottom plate back on, sat Mr. Blue Vacuum upright and turned on the power. Jackhammer noise! The Pure Bred Big Yellow Dog nearly wet himself, Le Tigre (the Pitbull) buried her nose in my left elbow, and I turned it off, waited for the air to clear, and contemplated my next brilliant move......

I decided to take off the top cover of the vacuum and see what there was to see.

Okay, that would be a wad of dog hair and crud, right over a seemingly important perforated little vent like area.....Perhaps removing that major obstruction will shed some light on things.....

Why look....speaking of light....hidden with in the disgusting stuff is the light for the front of the vacuum which has mysteriously not worked for months.....I'm sure I have a diagnosis: the light is shaking inside and making the death rattle noise. Voila! Yep, I started feeling smug again! I placed the light bulb in the appropriate location.

Hesitantly, after warning the Pure Bred Big Yellow Dog, I turned Mr. Vacuum back on. Without the benefit of the cover, the death rattle was deafening. All four dogs joined the fray in protest. I turned it off, and then I did the smartest thing I've done all day.

I solomnly intoned "Time of Death 17:55."

Mr. Blue Vacuum is now in the morgue garage awaiting trash day. Sorry, I called it the morgue by accident you see, because Little Bunny FooFoo, the Cat Who Used Up Her Nine Lives, and Spike the Bearded Dragon lie in state in the freezer in the garage, awaiting a proper burial. Don't ask. Really. Don't.

Now I'll turn my attention to trying to improve the performance of the dishwasher. (Max just ran upstairs to hide!) And Mr. B is picking up a new vacuum on the way home. (Note to Laurie: Honey, you can vacuum your room now!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dog hair, spinning.....

Still seems weird but it is an idea with some merit!! Talk about recycling!! Apparently people are either grossed out by the idea or love it. I think I'm sort of in the middle - curious and intrigued, but I would not want to wear it myself.

Now a sweater from a cute alpaca or a sheep that I raised and got sheared each problem! Go figure!

Not again....

Furball Sadie gave birth to another hair bunny today......Sheesh. If I could spin this stuff, it would make the softest warmest sweater......but it would smell like a dog.....oh well, at least she will be cooler!!

In an aside that will probably be "cute" to dog lovers....I was transcribing a few days ago and saw Sadie run past my office door with the Pure Bred Big Yellow Wuss Dog, and my fleeting thought as I glanced at her was "she looks like a flying aviator......goggles and all....."

Goggles? Wait just a dog-gone (pun intended) minute! That was my bra she had clamped in her mouth, cups flopping merrily as she tore past me.....(past tense also intended) wasn't a bra by the time I got to her. It was a mere suggestion of one, well-chewed, frayed, with holes in some fairly strategic places. Seems that someone helpfully put my clothes (which I forgot to take out of the dryer) into a laundry basket on the floor.......which is just the perfect height for her to run by and snag something!!

Not to worry! Mervyn's was having a great sale in "women's foundations" this weekend!!! ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New nickname for Sadie.....Furball?

Its that time of year.....she needs to shed, but for some reason, it doesn't fall off of her....she looked kind of lumpy today, so I got the doggie hairbrush and gave her a new chew bone, which renders her into a cooperative state.....

I was able to basically flip her from side to side and could have tied her tail in knots, and she wouldn't have cared, as long as she had that big new bone to chomp on...... She has this inexhaustable supply of soft grey/white undercoat....

The results of 30 minutes of brushing, emptying the brush and brushing some more.....

Look at the hair collection right beside the brush! Unfortunately, I think Butthead , Furball Sadie has a lot more where that came from, but I figured 30 minutes was enough....don't want her to decide she doesn't like the brush.

Sigh. Back to work.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pirates, dogs and floors....?

Yes, its Jack Sparrow, from Pirates of the Carribean......

(with one of Karen's friends so sweetly pointed out!)

The new Pirates of the Carribean movie is out and wildly successful. I got a email from Patti (I work with her) stating that she loved the new one, because she knew Karen loved the first one. I sent a few pictures of Karen to her, showing her Karen's Jack Sparrow costume from the heyday of the first Pirates of the Carribean movie.....In one picture we immortalized her boot covers she scored at a costume shop which covered her normal shoes and lent a certain authenticity to the outfit.

Patti wrote back to complement Karen's costume and my wood (laminate) floors.....Reminded me yet again of how much I love my floors in the downstairs (Wilsonart brand)....I can honestly say those floors have saved a few dogs lives......I would have killed them otherwise....

Remember that idiotic commercial a few years ago with a woman who sits there, serene and peaceful amid her child's birthday party which is taking place like a Mardi Gras all around her....and you hear "Mom, Peter spilled grape juice on the carpet!"

And her response, as if she were fresh from her yoga class and had not a care, or a tense muscle in the world, was "that's okay!" with a smile.

And the scenario continues, with crashing sounds and splashing sounds, and with each announcement of catastrophe, even one from an obviously older male character, announcing something along the line of "Honey, I spilled the entire bucket of used, dirty oil from the Mustang on the carpet!", her response was.....still with the vacant, zen-like glazed eyes and ear-to-ear grin......."that's okay!"

Well, I strive for such perfection in my life, you see......and when I hear crashing noises "Mom, Sadi knocked over my soda!"..... "MOM, Le Tigre knocked my spaghetti (with red sauce of course) right out of my hands!" and "MOM, MAX THREW UP!"

I serenely leap to my feet, ever helpful, and assist with the clean up, all the while chanting (as the commercial taught me) my mantra: "that's okay, that's okay, that's okay" interwined with "thank heavens for my wood floors, thank heavens for my wood floors, thank heavens for my wood floors...." and the occasional "thank heavens and Dr. What's-his-name for my hysterectomy!"

Yep, its been about five years - you would think the floors were installed yesterday as far as the appearance......except in my office where my industriousness has worn the gloss just a bit under my was the best money I've ever spent in my life. The upstairs will be gutted and replaced with the same floors, as soon as the last child adult offspring moves out......We figure saving a minimal amount each month will enable us to pay cash for that flooring purchase, since the last of our descendants probably won't be sandblasted out of their room until sometime in 2014.

End of commercial for Wilsonart Laminate floors.... :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Inchworms and UFOs

I love plants and flowers. I crave a beautiful, well maintained, flowering yard, with lots of birds and butterflies......

However, I haven't got a green thumb anywhere. Sigh. (Or the money for a gardner with knowledge!)

Not only that, but nature conspires against me. Last time I tried to grow tomatoes, I got a bumper crop of half eaten tomatoes and a family of funky looking humongus worms that entertained us. It was better than TV. The tomato plant grew so well it plastered itself against the kitchen window....we could wash dishes and watch the destruction of the tomatoes all at the same time....

Tonight I decided to repot two sage plants I bought. I received some rosemary from my friend Deborah before she moved and I've enjoyed it so much I thought I'd expand my horizons a bit.....I bought some German oregano which is growing well, and I just got the sage a week ago. I grabbed the two little plants (which I thought in passing this morning looked a bit sad).....and headed out to the back porch....

I was horrified to find that some of the leaves had little teensy holes in them.....and I soon found two culprits..... the teensy holes were made by two teensy inchworms....

I have to say, he's cute......but he's evil in disguise, I'm sure!
Here's another shot of him......

That's him, right beside that nickle....and the well-chomped sage leaf!! One of about 15 leaves I had to cut off, because they were full of holes.....

UFO (unfinished object) #15 Progress Report:

It is now 13 inches long.......this is a simple shawl, will be 60-65 inches long when done.....just for throwing over shoulders when its nippy and easy to shrug out of when driving......I'm currently suffering from the delusion that it will actually get cold enough here to use this. Someday, I would like to have enough time to make these regularly, for donation to battered women's shelters. You can read about this project here:

I thought I would practice by making one for myself first, and see if it was doable. A suggested pattern may be found here:

There are lots of possibilities.....I wonder, however, if I wouldn't be able to make/accomplish more by making my quilted "love blankies" in smaller form.....for the moms to snuggle with their kids in their safe places, once they make it to a shelter for women, etc.

Enough random thoughts for today. Work calls.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Project Garage 2006

The situation in the garage reached critical mass a long time ago. I have reached the end of my patience with it.....Grrrrr! I bought shelves, with the assistance of one of my trusty cohorts in adventure, Karen. Patrick had the misfortune good sense to go away for the weekend, thereby missing this particular adventure with Joy.....

Karen and I bought heavy duty (will hold 4000 pounds, evenly distributed) industrial shelving at Home Depot. We are women, hear us roar! We were not even deterred by the view that greeted us at the beginning of Project Garage 2006.....

That's the single car side above.....Here's the double car side below.....Yeah, three car garage......funny thing is, I don't see any cars.....

Shelves were built, with the aid of determination, creative cursing, laughter and luck! We now have all of Karen's treasures binned and shelved.....Laurie's are almost craft supplies (quilting, knitting, tole painting, etc) will be organized soon.....we have not touched Mr. B's stuff.....he's working up to it..... Sigh.

I will take new pix tomorrow......we've been at it for two days, and right now, I'm too tired to hold the camera. I'm doing well just to hold my glass of wine.....and I'm eyeing the bed......

Tomorrow promises to be a light day for my transcription business.....More progress will be made......(crosses fingers!) And the next day is the Fourth of July! More progress is possible.....and a reward: sewing time with Karene!

Ultimate goal: VW van housed in garage, and torture devices treadmill and stationary bike located in garage.....not the middle of the living room! (crosses a few toes for extra benefit!)