Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dog Brownies

(Warning: I can tell I'm going to be too lazy to proofread and correct my tenses, so proceed at your own risk.)

Our trees are officially leafless. Our leaves, as planned, all migrated to one corner of our yard but then obstinantly resisted our positive visualization that they would fly into our trashcan or translocate into our least favorite neighbor's yard. Being forced to see them every time I stand at my kitchen sink finally got old.

I woke up earlier this morning than I'd like, so I mulled over the day's possibilities once I decided it was useless to try to go back to sleep. Knowing it's trash day, I decided to press my luck and see what would happen to my hands and wrists if I raked them up. I got up early, pulled on a turtleneck and a jacket, wrapped a muffler around my neck and grabbed one of the boy's old snow hats and headed outside where it turned out to be surprisingly warm. After several icy nights in the 'teens and a night of howling winds, I had expected something chillier when I stepped out the door. The leaves were waiting in their corner.

It didn't take long to fill the small trashcan. It was no fun pulling the large can with the balky wheel--courtesy of the hit-and-run joyriders--into the backyard. What was I thinking when I didn't pursue the little wretches and get a nice new working can? The second can filled too quickly and I began missing my kids. Kids are a lot of trouble for fifty-one weeks for the year, but they come in very handy when you need someone to climb into the garbage can and stomp the leaves. I calculated the likelihood of my neighbor appreciating my ringing her doorbell and borrowing her girls for compactor duty, but decided retaining her friendship was more important. I climbed in the can myself and did a pretty good imitation of a trash compactor. Fill and stomp. Fill and stomp. It's pretty amazing how many leaves you can stuff in a finite space. It's also amazing how leaves will stick to anything you wear. The lawn looked good everywhere except where the deepest leaves kept sunlight from penetrating to the blades of grass. That's okay, I figure the yellow will eventually either green up or be covered by snow.

Raking unearthed more than leaves. I found a couple of tennis balls that Kharma enthusiastically fetched. I found a very old dog toy. I found a scrub jay head. Yeah, just the head. Kharma, a bird fanatic, was more enthusiatic about it than I was. It seemed way too Don Corleone at first, then I realized probably it was a remnant from either the pair of redtails that live in the pasture or the kestrel that trolls for voles and field mice.

Every now and then, I'd step on something hard, but not hard enough. Alas, I had counted on a cold night to freeze the little doggy treats that are an inevitable part of dog ownership so I wouldn't have to feel guilty when I just tossed the frozen, hopefully scentless scat into the leaves. I stepped inside to grab a plastic grocery bag to protect our waste management engineers' delicate nasal passages and immediately wished I hadn't as my first step deposited a smooshy brown mass on the oak floorboards. On the oak floorboard and into the crack between them. Lovely.

Am I bad because I went back outside and did my pooper-scooper routine and dragged the cans out to the curb first? Breed'em and Weep fans know that poo happens, usually when it is least convenient and least wanted and involves animals. Add to that, poo apparently happens when it is hardest to clean up.

Next time the garbage men can fend for their own noses.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Half and Half

I've snuck in a little time here and there when my sweetie isn't using the computer, just to see if everyone out there in Blog Land survived the turkey onslaught, and discovered I'm not the only one posting about Black Friday.

Those of you who set your alarm for 3:45 a.m. (and you know who you are) are insane. Okay, you're not as insane as the completely totally insaner folks who were already lined up well ahead of you. Did they camp out? Get up at midnight? Skip Thanksgiving altogether? File this one under "Mysteries That Need No Answer".

To my alarm, marketing worked on about half of you. You snagged some bargains, no doubt, but I'm still not impressed. I might get up early if I was gonna save, say...over $500. On something I really really really wanted.

On the other hand, after five months of sleep deprivation, my sleep is worth a lot. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on and sleeping in is a luxury that is priceless for me right now.

Thank heavens for the other half who are apparently as resistant to ad campaigns as I am. We enjoyed a calm day with family or friends, reflecting on how many hours it was gonna take us to work off all those calories.

I have to admit that I apparently absorbed some of the hype. My workroom suddenly resembles the one at the North Pole. Greens and reds everywhere. Patterns for Santas, snowmen and crickets. Kits for stockings half-finished. Stashed presents suddenly appearing. Lists upons lists. I guess I'm inspired. I know I was busy enough that I used up an entire spool of thread.

This is what happens when I have two hands with fingers that actually work, am well rested and have four long lovely days off. I turn into Mrs. Claus.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday

Who thought up that name for the shopping maniac's official start to the Christmas rush? It had to be an accountant, right? As in "black ink" and a company being "in the black" as opposed to the dreaded red that precedes bankruptcy.

I guess a little black dress is nice. And Black is Beautiful. And Kharma's BFF, the black lab. Mostly black makes me think of funerals and mold and things that only Stephen King would like.

But Black Friday--it does nothing to get my shopping engine revving. Au contraire, it makes me want to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.

My sympathy to the retail folk who are on the receiving end of the corporate brainstorms that produced 4 a.m. specials this year. That's certainly what I'd want to be doing on the day after my system was flooded with tryptophans, carbs, high-fructose corn syrup, and (possibly)enough liquor to be able to tolerate Great-Uncle Elmer's views on politics. I'd just love to drag myself out of bed, put on my work clothes, drive in pitch black to work and open the doors at 4 a.m. to a mob of crazed shoppers who proceed to celebrate the Prince of Peace by clubbing one another over the last remaining cheap digital camera whose warranty ends as it leaves the store. The only thing that could make that experience better is the thought of my CEO and his entire ad department sleeping in while I toiled.

I'm sorry. I know I should be doing my part to strengthen the dollar and prop up the Dow. If civilization as we know it crashes, you can blame me. I'm content soaking up the sunlight pouring through the bedroom window and wondering what movie we'll rent tonight.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Stitches

There is a hand in there somewhere with three little stitches

I'm looking forward to having them removed tomorrow morning. I will feel like a kid out for summer vacation! What freedom!

Showers and baths! Clipping my fingernails! Slim wrists that fit into all my clothes! The ability to scrub dirty pots! Infinite possibilities...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gram R's Art

grateful for a MIL who sees life with an artist's eyes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keep me in stitches

OK, there are only three stitches,but the second surgery is over with! Can I have my life back now??

Hoping for
  • feeling in both hands
  • closing a button without looking in the mirror
  • putting shoes on without a shoehorn

I'm in my no whining zone. There are lots of people worse off--more pain, longer recoveries, uncertain outcomes. Yeah, I already am chomping to go and do, but I will survive little annoyances like pull on pants and a dressing that is unravelling (on day one) and a wardrobe that consists of the three things that fit over the dressing.

I'm practicing patience and counting the minutes till the day before TurkeyDay when the dressing comes off and the stitches are removed and I can keyboard with two hands. Till then...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You Make The Call

What's not to like? Yes, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs) are "green". And who can argue over saving $148 in energy over the life of these bulbs? And it was a 25% more-for-your-money pack which is even better! Plus I won't have to change the bulb for 8 years. I like saving money, I like saving the environment, no argument here about global warming, and I have better things to do with my life than do laundry in the dark because the bulb burned out again (Confession: my parents never successfully taught me to turn out the light when I leave the room).

But, seriously, check out that packaging! Nothing "green" about it. Looks to me like someone could have
  • put another four bulbs in the space provided
  • or found an packaging material that would biodegrade instead of outliving the cockroach.

Opening the pack is completely impossible. I used a very sharp knife to carefully cut away enough of the bubble to gently life the bulb out. I'm not looking forward to getting the others out.

Regular incandescents nest together in those cute little packs and are sooooo easy to store. My cabinet door is currently ajar because this package is too big to fit in the space allotted. Heaven forbid that they eliminate the photo of the well-lit sofa to trim the package size to something more manageable. (I, for one, have always strictly limited my lightbulb choices to ones that would make my sofa look cozy.)

I see in today's news that our lawmakers are considering banning incandescent bulbs permanently by 2012. Hey, help me with something that really would improve my life. How about banning cars with gas mileage less than 40 mpg? Or find just one government accountant that can prove a link between $3/gas and an oil company's highest ever profit. Not only that but perhaps they need to look at the Pandora's box before they open it--CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. (Don't ask me how, I still need to find out myself.) It's minor that CFLs only look good in lamps where you can't see the bulb. They look especially hideous in bathrooms with downfacing fixtures that mirror the bulb so you can feast on twice the ugliness. That's why folks are installing their fixtures upside down. Like me, they'd rather light their ceiling rather than their face if it means looking at an exposed ugly bulb.

I've used these CFLs for a few years now, mostly in places where I burn bulbs out quickly. But they are touchy. One nearly burned down our garage a year ago. Seriously. It melted the ceramic base and spread a lovely ozone odor. It took time to locate the source of the problem and of course we had the bulb on the whole time so we could see. Turns out, you have to grip the base to screw them in, not the spiral top. Otherwise you could weaken the bulb. And the UL label means nothing--you want them to be Energy Star approved.

I'll learn to handle them with kid gloves. I'll figure out how to properly dispose of them and their mercury (more than likely without the help of our garbage company hasn't been helpful with computer disposal to avoid heavy metal contamination).

Can they just package them better?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Digital World

Here is my first try at Digital Scrapbooking. I have no idea how long it took me, but I have to admit that it was pretty fun. I could not have done it without Shabby Princess dot com. Kudos for the incredible tutorial that pretty much took my hand and guided my steps, as well as the free download that I used as my background paper, photo frames and font.

I'm not throwing out my stash of cardstock, stickers and diecuts because I know I will always enjoy the hands on process. But this is a pretty nice shortcut. I am totally impressed that I even was able to blog my efforts. Hmmm, is this crazyjen's secret to her impressive scrapping output??

I think I'm hooked! I certainly know what I'll be doing this evening...Ctrl O, Ctrl T, drag and layer.