Sunday, June 27, 2010


We were driving on the road that borders our house (we live on a corner) and this guy was just sauntering across the road and into the ravine behind our house. He's huge! His feather colors don't show up as colorfully here as they were on him -- if it's a him, I guess it could be a her. Here's another shot, cropped more closely.
Isn't he (or she) cool? 

We often hear them in the morning gobbling in the ravine but don't often see them, especially this close up. Our car was probably 50 feet from him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here it comes

The school year is just about over and John's days of school bus driving are virtually done until September. That's a great thing and he deserves a summer of relaxation and not getting up at 5 frickin o'clock in the morning every day. He has some great kids on his bus runs but the truth is he gets pretty tired of their constant noise, obnoxious behavior and hassles by this time of the year. A few weeks off is a welcome relief for him. And for me too.

But what John's summer schedule does do is shake up my routine completely. I'm used to the school year structure and having Johnnie home suddenly takes some getting used to. He wants to sleep later (as do I) but I don't like sleeping too late, especially if I have paying work to do or granddaughters and daughter on my schedule.

John and I share the office space with our two computers roughly 10 feet apart. Most of the year my office mates -- a 13 year old black Lab mix who snores and a 2 year old chocolate Lab -- are pretty quiet and sleep most of the day between potty breaks and bugging me about treats and dinner. It's usually quiet up here all day long.

John, on the other hand, tends to be fairly noisy and disruptive in the office, completely unwittingly. He comments on things he sees on his computer or says "huh," close to a million times a day, inviting a "what's huh?" response and interrupting my concentration. He rolls his chair vigorously across the rug, making a loud rumbling sound. He somehow slaps his wrist on the desk surface, about five times a minute it seems, which makes me jump, especially if I'm focused on writing.Or he'll think of a song he wants and then sample several versions on iTunes until he gets the right one. Without headphones.

Needless to say, these are all really petty things but it's a dramatic change from my school year schedule when my days are my own from 6:30 am to 4:45 pm. And quiet.

Apparently I need structure in my days so I'll find ways to get things done and work around his few and well-deserved weeks of vacation. I typically set an alarm and get up around 7 or so if I have work to do so that I can get most of it done before he wakes up. I have a set of noise canceling headphones and my beloved orange ear plugs and I'm not afraid to use them both at the same time when we're in the office together.

But I can see it coming after next week and I need to get ready.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I have succumbed

While I'm feminine in my own way, I'm not a frilly, girly girl kind of ... um girl. Most of my clothes are relatively tailored and in lots of solid colors rather than prints and ruffles*. I typically have one purse, black or brown, that's an all-purpose sort of thing. Leather, big flap over the top, pocket to stuff things in in the back, nice. When I wear one out, I go find another and begin to beat that one up too. Year round.

Erin was infected by the Vera Bradley bug a couple years ago when her friend Courtney introduced her to Vera Bradley purses and catchalls. I've tried to like Vera Bradley bags and the patterns are definitely fun but they just have never been me.

Until now. I have succumbed.

Erin and I were shopping a few weeks ago, splitting a gift certificate I had received to a local store that carries all kinds of whimsical girly things including Vera Bradley bags. She bought a new Vera purse and I sensibly (?) decided on a new decorative flag for the backyard. As I was waiting for her to decide which purse she liked best, I saw the cutest purse and promptly fell in love. It was a Vera Bradley Cha Cha bag in Make Me Blush.
Since we're drastically cutting back on unnecessary expenditures, I went home and began plotting on how to afford the bag. I washed the dog (saved $35). I collected cans and coins when Bridget and I go walking ($ who knows but not much). We're eating out far less often. I started watching auctions on eBay and discovered that these purses are out there.

Within a day I had Johnnie saying, "Just buy the dang purse." Who knew it would be so easy?

So I bid on an eBay auction last week. In fact, I bid on two auctions last week, one for the purse above and another for my second choice Cha Cha bag in Loves Me.

I even asked Erin for guidance on how to bid so that I would do it correctly, having never participated in a hotly contested auction and definitely wanting to win the purse this time around. She counseled me. I put my maximum bid in on both bags, just to hedge my bet. You can guess what happened. I won both bags. What a dummy. The good news: I didn't pay retail ($58) for either one of them. So in a very true sense, I won anyway. Even though I have one too many bags.

They arrived today. My plan is to quickly sell my also-ran bag on eBay. And maybe recoup what I paid for being a novice eBay buyer. Sigh.

*I do love polka dots because they inexplicably make me happy. Even when I'm not thinking about them, I'll be drawn to a fabric or item with polka dots on it. Just make me happy for some reason. Dunno.

Anybody want a purse?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A black fly

in my Chardonnay. Alanis Morissette pegged this one. Ew.

We were relaxing in the shadowy, dimly-lit family room, watching a movie last night after dinner. We had noticed a fly buzzing around the room as we ate dinner and I made a mental note to get our tennis racket fly swatters* afterwards so we could get rid of him.

We poured a glass of Chardonnay and sat back to relax. I got our tennis racket fly swatters from the garage and we settled down. At one point, I saw the fly land on the coaster next to my wine glass but I couldn't get the racket near enough without it flying away. I kept my racket in hand, ever vigilant or so I thought.

A couple more sips of wine. Then, as I swallowed another sip, I happened to glance down into my glass. And there it was: the fly, floating in my wine. I made some kind of strangling noise and thrust the glass at Johnnie. He took it, emptied it and washed it out, bringing me a fresh glass of wine.

But uck, I swallowed wine that the fly was floating in. I don't think the fly touched my lip but I'm not really sure. In any event it's just gross.

What diseases do flies carry anyway? I checked with Dr. Google and it isn't savory at all. I hope that the combination of alcohol and stomach acid eradicates whatever that fly may have been carrying.

*These fly swatters are the greatest and relatively inexpensive. Such a satisfying zing when you zap a bug. If you decide to get them, buy two since the target bug always seems to be near the person without the fly swatter and you're attempting to trade it back and forth to attack the flying thing and probably missing it in the meantime.