16 days ago on a Saturday morning, I tucked into seriously painting the house. Gallons of paint later, I'm seeing results but far from finished. Sunday night marked three weekends in a row very productively spent.
I'm a little bit attention-deficit-disorder when it comes to working on projects. I work best in a piecemeal and staggered fashion-- I can get bored with prolonged, tedious tasks. To that end, I've painted a bit in several rooms and haven't finished an entire room yet. I did, however, get new handles for the bathroom cabinet and put the freshly-painted doors back on same. It may seem like a little thing, but it felt like a Big Deal™ to me to be able to say that one thing in this house is finished. This is a typical mid-century house, but I thought the old-styled molded glass handles look pretty in a simple and homey way. I like this look. :)
One challenging thing has been that the summer was so hot until this weekend and I felt enervated by the oppressive heat. A couple weeks back, though, the heat wasn't bothering me so much and I got to work. It's kind of ironic, then, that everything turned so agreeable on Friday since I'd gotten used to the furnace when I'd open to screen doors and window screens to let the paint air out of the house. Saturday's high was about 90, which seems cool compared to the 113 degree temperature of a week before. Stepping out the front door here during windy times often has felt like stepping into a hairdryer.
To my delight, the walls are actually in really great condition here, just in need of a good layer of Kilz and then some fresh paint. Oh, and the ceilings, too. Some new switchplates and a new fixture here and there and this'll be like a whole other animal. It feels good to see progress. More to follow.
Coworker had a birthday, and all the cool kids were going. Met in nearby city at a chain eatery for a nosh and I indulged in a couple Modelo Especials. The great thing there was the company-- we yukked it up, and it was good to get a break from the painting and things I've been doing in the house. I also got to see a more relaxed side of co-workers who are generally more strait-laced. This was a lot of fun.
We went to the birthday girl's house and drank pom-tinis, then made for a nearby club. Driving my own car alone, I stopped at a record store to pick up the new Imogen Heap cd. Gas was low so I filled up rather than having to stop later. Then I made for the club where I was to join up with the progressive party.
I generally have remarkably good parking mojo, so on the rare occasions I don't magically get a whizz-bang parking space, I am truly surprised. Well, I pulled into this unfamiliar parking lot, and what do you know if there wasn't a sweet little parking space just for me and right in front of the club door? It was right next to the handi-capable parking spot, but I figured mebbe they wouldn't ding my door. *shrug*
I went in the door and had to pay a $5 cover charge in exchange for a coupon for 2 50 cent domestic beers. Um, okay. I convened with my gang and went over to the bar. I waited my turn and asked the bartender what type beer they had and he looked peeved. Gosh, I'm sorry for asking you to do your job, dude. If you had a menu up or even a blasted row of bottles of the available libations, I wouldn't trouble you. I quickly said *name of domestic beer I won't name here because prolly someone I know and respect likes it and, well, I don't.* and he gave me both my .50 beers at once. I took my beers to the table and said -- no one blunders quite like I do-- "I can't believe I'm drinking this shit" as I sat my two beers on the table amongst the beer bottles of all my friends, all of whom were drinking the same beer I'd just put on the table. Fortunately, the only two people who heard me over the blaring music thought it was hilarious, rather than insulting. Gee whiz.
Then I saw it, the mystic mirror cowskull spinning above the dance floor against the backdrop of a cowboys game on the large screen tv. This was well worth the trip and price of admission, bad beer and all. I giggled over it with the other girls, we snapped pics on our cell phones, and I said my goodnight to my friends, leaving my second beer to the custody of someone who wanted it.
I started my car and carefully backed out of my space, again marveling at my good parking fortune this night. That was when I saw the yellow diagonal lines of the no-parking area next to the handicapped parking.
*Whoopsie!* You can dress me up, but you can't take me anywhere.
I go dutifully to my cubicle each day. I can deal with vealdom-- truly I can.
I've not nestled in so much as others. Feeling as I do that I'll be marched to the front door by security any day now, I've not burdened myself with the torment of having to pull personal photos and ephemera off the walls of my little space.
I can deal with the occasional yelling customer-- I don't blame them and I have a goal of trying to help every one of them. I can deal with the stressed-out co-workers wringing their hands and wondering -- as I do-- how soon we'll be shown the door because we is n00bs and expendable. *shrug*
I can deal with my schedule changing every two weeks. I can deal with lunches and breaks which are magically rearranged between the time of clocking in and time for the first break. *gasp* I can even deal with the fact that we worker bees have no record of our clock-in times coming- and going- wise, but if we should venture from our cube for a personal break - even under two minutes-- we will get a memo with that detail high-lighted the following week.
May I go to the bathroom? Mother may I? Yeah, I can deal with it.
I can't, however, deal with much more of the eye-watering depth-charge flatus from the guy in the next cube.
Srsly. It's like a brown fog rolling over the cube wall, and there's absolutely no bloody circulation and especially no escaping it when I'm in the middle of a phone call, gagging. I'm going to get one of those odor neutralizing cans and set it up on the corner of the cube the next time he lets fly.
I suppose this must have been an episode of The Office, right? Is there some proscribed method for dealing with a rude gasbag? He doesn't seem intentionally rude, otherwise, but I really don't know how to broach the topic. I don't want to work next to him much longer, though. Ew.
...I've barreled through about a gallon and a half of Kilz2 and an interior paint in the past week and I have a fresh 2 gallon bucket of Kilz2 I've already put a healthy dent in. I've kicked working on the house into high gear. It's still hot as all git-out, but I'm a little more acclimated to it than I was earlier in the spring.
If Holly Golightly were a house, she wouldn't be this one, but this might be her cousin from 'burbs.
I wanted to tell you about a couple gadgets that are making things nicer at chez phlegm. I noticed not long after moving to Elsewhere that my hair was getting to be more and more of a mess - dull and frizzy. I decided maybe the minerals in the water in Elsewhere were having a negative effect on my Medusa gear. Last weekend I picked up a GE shower water filter at home despot. The difference was instantaneous, and my hair is looking glossier and more its normal self-- wild, but normal for me. There are some negative reviews here on this particular product, but I didn't have massive expectations for $22, and I've seen a difference, so there. I'm just saying if there's a problem with your water, at least it's good to know there's a relatively cheap and simple fix for it.
The other thing is these incredible pour spouts by Allway. I've been getting them for a couple bucks each at home despot. You snap it tight on the rim of your 1 gallon paint can, and then you can easily seal and un-seal the lid a la Tupperware. It beats having to mallet the lid on every time if you're going to be tucking into the same can for several days in a row. The little rim for paint brushes has a couple teeny magnets to hold the paint brushes up above the paint. Neato! Plus you can use the same one again and again. It's also much easier to be tidy with the pouring and not slop a lot of the paint product down the side of the can.
It's amazing what a stark contrast just a little bit of paint can make on a place. I'm looking forward to having some photos to show off. It's a neat house with some lovely qualities, and I'm looking forward to letting it shine. :)
I don't know what you call this phase of cactus growth, but I think it's lovely, even though they may require amputation. All the new buds which popped out this spring have turned a lovely claret color and seem on the verge of doing something fabulous. I could be wrong, though.
Today I'll try to scrub most of the Kiz2 off my arms before I go back to work. I got a lot of scrubbing and painting done this weekend. I would have loved to laze about all weekend instead, but there's so much left to be done, and I'm looking forward to having things, clean, freshly painted and in order. It's a nice feeling, making progress.
Saturday I went to nearby city on the errand of picking up a gift for a pre-teen birthday girl. I went into the store and asked the clerk if they have in stock the DVD of the Jonas Brothers' concert. He said he'd check with a vacant expression. I hurriedly added "it's not for me" and he said "they all say that." *harumph!
Chuy was such an adorable baby. He's equally adorable now, but he was the most fetching puppy. Then again, the most adorable puppy you've ever seen is always the most recent one you've seen, right? This was almost exactly a year ago. Everyone melted when they saw him - I was even taken aback by how he tugged at my heartstrings. Then again-- I'm his mama.
Yesterday, Tole's dad made the mistake of telling a gathering that he saw someone in town selling rat terrier puppies. One in the crowd who knows me just a skosh riveted his gaze on mine and said "No" in firm, resounding tones. Why did he think I was thinking "ooh, rat terrier puppies. need new puppy. must. Have.....???" *blink* *blink* I was thinking nothing of the kind. Srsly.
Here's Chuy with my baby sis in her office. She's a bosslady now, and she's good at it! Now that I look at this, I realize I gave her all that jewelry she's wearing-- what was I thinking? That opal ring is particularly dazzling. Love the spiny oyster bracelet and then there's that caribbean blue turquoise from Durango Trading. Hey Sis - can I borrow that stuff sometime? :P
A couple years ago, Atavist had a video linked on his blog which I've remembered frequently in recent times. The link was to a video of Nathaniel Branden speaking. I can't find the video now, but at the time-- nearly two years ago-- I was recovering from pneumonia and thinking of how to move forward in my life. Anyway, it made an impression.
One thing that's always bugged me about contemporary American life is this idea that you as you are now are simply not enough, not good enough. I hate the mindset that you must constantly strive to make yourself over. I think what is within you is uniquely your own and should be the thing you are bringing to the party, rather than making yourself over in the image of someone else's ideal. While it's good not to be overly self-indulgent, I think it's a good thing to feel that your own soulful spark is innately good and something to be treasured rather than reviled.
Anyway, the Branden video seemed profound, and I still think so. He said "what if you brought 5% more presence to everything you do?" or words to that effect. What if you are 5% more attentive, try 5% harder, bring that much more energy to your tasks in life?
I have a lot to do on my house. I think pretty much anyone does, at any given time, have a lot they need to accomplish to maintain the place they are living. My problem is my busy life has given me plenty excuses to dawdle in my task. I've been justified in moving at a glacial pace. It's hot, I've reasoned. I'm tired and working a lot, I've told myself. I need more time to goof off, it turned out. Well, all these are good reasons and I don't regret how I've spent my time, but I've stepped the home maintenance into high gear.
I've been painting and reorganizing and slowly unpacking more things from the storage unit. I don't want to make the house over into any particular thing. I just want it nice and clean, and to have more of my things around me again.
I'm getting there. I'll have a goal of working 5% harder on it, but this week, it's been more like 95%. Let's see how long that lasts! I already know I'll creak out of bed Friday morning, having painted part of the hall ceiling Thursday night. I expect I'll be whimpering, but it feels good to see the results of the painting. Pictures to follow.
These pictures of Julia Ormond were linked in an email I received in some months back which fairly shrieked of the horrors of a woman who won't do the right thing and have a surgeon tidy this mess up. Can the author be for real?
Why is this so terrible? She looks like a woman. She looks like herself, and frankly, I think she's never been lovelier.
Coco Chanel said you have the face you were given when you are 20, but you earn the face you have at 50.
I think Julia has had a life. Good for her, pretty lady.
You can see for miles out here. I snapped this sunset with my phone at the end of a lovely Sunday drive. This picture does not remotely do the scene justice, but it's a teeny approximation of what was a symphony of fiery pinks and cooling blues. I'd been driving for a while among fields of crops and grazing cattle. Beaulah the cow was standing by the road outside the fence where her mates were all grazing. I hollered at her and she began to trot in the other direction.
Work is going nicely other than the general scare of the layoff thingie. I've decided to get on with it, to be in a good mood and do my best anyway. We'll see what happens. Something good happens to me every day, and I've decided to focus on that. Even if there were nothing else, every day I'd remember to be thankful I have my healthy, happy pups. Then there are the walks after dark under a sky traversed by the dust of the Milky Way. Every night's a good night to not miss light pollution. Yes, I have a commute. The sparkling sight of the Dippers and Cassiopaeia is worth the drive, though.
Hatch chiles from New Mexico are in the stores now, and I'm thinking of roasting some in my chimenea in a little roaster basket soon-- have any of you roasted anything in a chimenea before? Last weekend I had the pleasure of sampling Mexican manicotti, which is the creation of one of the charming local bachelors out here. Good stuff.
The house came with an impressive collection of rocks, fossilized and more recent shells, mineral specimen, arrowheads and the like. I think they are so pretty, and I've always been one to pick up rocks here and there myself so I appreciate the collection and like having it around. I'd been wondering how to display them in a way which won't gather dust but where they are shown to best advantage.
In Dallas a couple weeks ago, I found this jar at Ross, about 18" tall including lid, and knew there must be something I needed it for. Waddayaknow if I didn't have a brainwave Sunday morning, and I sprang out of bed before 8am to get started.
Here's the result. I think it's lovely. It's a little hard to tell, but the yellowish thing up top is a warthog tooth, the bearer of which was dispatched from earthly realms by the former owner of the home.
Now to find the right display vessel for all the shells/cartridges/bullets around the place... hmmm.
Sunday, Puppy Sunday: The smell of puppies in the morning...
Last Saturday I had a steak at the Ponder Steakhouse with Bayou Renaissance Man, Matt G, Holly, JPG and LawDog. Was a lovely occasion!
I had a t-bone steak, and I asked the waitress if they had extra steak bones to send home for my puppehs. She gave me a little bagful, and Chuy and Praline feasted the next morning on steak bones, some with lots of extra meat on! I saved a few bones and they chomped on them for about an hour this morning. Here's Praline mid-chomp.
Om nom nom!
Chuy was done with his bone by this time and looking into the morning sun. No doubt he was thinking deep thoughts. Note the fine lines of his sweet little light-bulb head. See the wrinkles between his ears? Those get me every time. One astute soul observed that Chuy has only to wrinkle at me and I'm putty in his paws. The truth is Chuy loves me deeply and is steadfastly devoted to me, and I happen to like giving him whatever he wants. He's such a little gentleman-- I always imagine him in spats with a bowler hat on his way to his accounting job at a bank in Victorian London. All very proper, of course.
The weather has been shockingly cool this week, only in the high 90s. At times when it gets in the hundred-and-teens during the day, it'll still read 95 degrees on the light board sign by the local bank when I'm walking at 9 in the evening. This week it's been in the low 70s or even the 60s when I let the pups out in the morning.
Here's a couple snaps from the drive to work recently. Blankety tufts of clouds were hanging low and I could imagine the crispness of fall which must be around the corner, right?
I've been looking forward to cooler weather to get a lot more done around the house. I'm for housework, now. Have a great weekend!
Two years ago tonight I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I'd felt for a long time I needed to make changes in my life, and the circumstances surrounding my illness and its treatment really motivated me to go through with those changes.
My parents came in to see me and I felt sad, seeing the worry in their faces, and knowing they were right to worry. Pneumonia is bad business. I hope I never have that stuff again, and I hope none of my dear ones do, either. Mom and dad brought me beautiful flowers, and I still carry in a pocket of my purse the little card mom wrote with the flowers.
I was at a low point personally, and I knew I was, in fact, deathly ill because I realized I might die and I was kind of okay with that. I felt weak and only halfway there as if part of me had already slipped away. They ran a pic line into my heart so the meds would jump right in the hopper at ground zero, and after 3 days of IV meds, I awakened about 1 in the morning on that Thursday, and I realized I was getting better because I was suddenly despairing of my personal plight. I realized with the recovery time from the illness (it took many months), it would now take me even longer to change my circumstances. I was right. I knew I was getting better because there in the hospital, I cried for hours. I cried until I felt my eyelids would turn inside out. I cried until my eyes were dry. Oh, and I'm generally not a cryer.
That's been on my mind a lot this week. I'm generally not a maudlin person, but in an odd way, the memory of that time has been a welcome bit of perspective when all the folks at work were herded into a large room to be told they are beginning layoffs. Amazingly, I was not let go Wednesday, but I'm not holding my breath, either. I hate uncertainty. I know everyone does, but it's unnerving when you start to feel that pretty much everything people hang their hats on is illusory anyway.
Jobs. Security. Insurance. What is it all, really?
Sometimes, though, stepping off a ledge can be the most freeing thing. Wednesday morning I woke up at 4:30 and went out to see the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Whatever happens, there will always be beauty in the world, if you just look for it.
I was 20 and working at the Bulk Mail Center for the US Postal Service. I was working over at PSM 1 (one of the two main parcel sorting machines) keying mail onto carousels as it came down enormous slides after being unloaded from trucks. Rows of parcel sorting machines ran at obliques from the slide, short series of conveyor belts moving the parcels onto the trays of the carousel where they'd be tripped to drop the parcel into the appropriate slide for further sorting or onto a belt going to the appropriate dock to be loaded directly onto outbound trucks.
Of course, the mail came steadily all day and all night, but in that ever-so-slightly OCD way I have, I liked to knock as much of the work out as possible prior to dispatch times. I had this odd idea that the mail should be some bastion of integrity. I didn't get the memo that I was the only one who felt that way-- that would come as I reflected bitterly in the latter days of my employ at that filthy armpit of a workplace, but I digress.
So, I was about 20, young, perky and in a generally good mood. I've always been on the gullible side, but even I could tell when I was being snowed.
Gus was an older latin male who worked as a clerk also. He would turn away from his sorter, leaving it running so there would be the appearance of activity on his station, and he'd come over and face me as I worked. Yeah, I was young, usually in a tank top, sweating and working. I found it annoying that I was now doing his work as well as mine-- and that overtime would likely be called. Compulsory, at that. Ugh.
Gus was a wizened, haggard old thing and I was a young little tomato, wasn't I? He was so windy even I couldn't pretend he wasn't full of crap. For some reason, Gus felt it vital that he let me know his romantic pedigree. I can't imagine what he thought that would accomplish, but at some point, he crossed over from tedious and boorish into downright insulting and cringe-inducing.
The story unfolded that Gus had been in the army stationed in Germany, and on weekends he'd go to Amsterdam to visit the "ladies." He said after his initial visits, he no longer had to pay for their company, but would simply give them a pack of cigarettes. They soon were begging him to stay the weekend, the women erupting into full-on brawls over who would win Gus' favors for the weekend. After weeks of these stories and me offering up a stony silence, I finally had had enough.
One night, the tale reached its zenith with Gus saying "I tell you, they loved me so much that in the end, they were paying me. Rita, I have been with some of the most beautiful women in the world."
I looked Gus in the eye and said "So have I."
Gus' mouth snapped pursed, he turned back to his sorter and he never spoke to me again. I never missed his company.
Don't hate me because I've had such glamourous careers, m'kay?
At Medicine Park last weekend I met these two fetching little English Bulldog pups. The brown spotty one is Grant, who broke his leg falling off the sofa. The comely little lass is Lee. I asked their mistress if I could pet Lee, she said okay, and Lee promptly flopped onto her back for a nice rub of that pink baby belly. What a pair of corkers, but Lee's the charmer of the lot. Made me remember Praline's sweet baby puppy days which now seem long ago. They grow up so fast. :)
Life is sweet when you've dogs in your life. Bless 'em!
Here's a heartwarming story from back around the time of the holidays. The couple that fights together, goes to jail together. He woke up and noticed some of his hair was missing-- she'd obliged him with a partial haircut. Too bad she didn't finish the job-- the short bit looks better. Then a fight broke out, the po-po showed, and they both were arrested on domestic violence charges. I'm sorta marveling over the look of this guy, though. If you photoshopped hair, eye and skin tone, he could be any color, any race. But he'd always be trashy!
While I'm thinking of it, RE: the comments on the Putin post a couple days back-- I have to say he looks intense, capable and made of ass-kickery. He's miles sexier than B.O. Putin looks like he hasn't just sent his henchmen out to break kneecaps-- he wrote the SOP for knee-cap bustin'. He seems perhaps too eager to get his kit off, but why not? You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see a real live celebrity death match between him and Our Dear Leader. Put it on Pay Per View, $1000 bucks a pop, available worldwide. Even split on the take between Russia and the USA. Putin would mop the floor with our guy, and we'd pay off the deficit and get to go back to the polls and start again. I'm calling that a win/win/win.
This weekend I finally had a chance to get out of town on a trip that was purely for pleasure. Destination of choice was Medicine Park, Oklahoma in the Wichita Mountains. Some other good friends were coming along with us, but at the last minute had to cancel, so we arrived as a party of two and set to exploring the beauties of the region.
In the wildlife refuge, longhorn cattle and buffalo are free-ranging. There's also at least one decent prairie dog town. The prairie dogs will chitter and chirp at you, but they'll watch you long enough to decide what you're up to. One very bold coyote came walking across the prairie dog town to much hue and cry- they have a definite code for signaling one another who is in the area, friend, foe or silly two-legged-thing-that-may-bring-edibles alert.
One feature of the local landscape is that bowling-ball shaped and sized rocks abound, and so when the community was founded, they clad their homes in these cobbles. You can see they are embedded in mortar in fence rails and they are a delightful feature of many of the area structures. The picture of the waterfalls shows Mount Scott in the background.
Atop Mount Scott, one very coy and famously camera-shy dog offered up a pose for the blog, so here 'tis. The lake in the background is said to be a small-mouth bass lake, and I hope I'll be fishing there with my dad in his boat sometime soon.
At an eatery overlooking the water of Medicine Park Creek, enormous carp fairly boiled from the water when offered goodies from the table or from passersby with bags of cornflakes and such. You could scoop up the bluegill from the water there, they were so profuse.
More photos to come from this trip. Some will be of elk, some of prairie dogs and coyotes as well as baby bull dogs. All in all, it was a lovely and restorative weekend.
Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Crazy, but that's how it goes...
Miss Praline has finally found (or not found) something to supplant her obsessive relationship with the orange ball.
She's being driven 'round the bend by the idea that there's something just under the roof edge at the back of the house. You can see the rows of brown pawprints on the house boards, and the exposed older white paint where she's knocked the current paint off. Delightments!
Here, Praline is doing her Spidey routine on the wall while Chuy is Schultzie and he knows nothing! Didn't see a thing. No sirree, bub!