Oct 24, 2016

All of These Good Things

Last Thursday the 20th I drove over to the next county and picked up a puppy.  Just when I felt like I was paying all my bills on time and flossing regularly I threw a puppy in the gears of the house and everything when sproinging and springing out of the box. I can't help but be reminded of my old dog, 'Wednesday', whom I received in October of... jeez maybe 1997? She looked just like this pup. Wednesday was a great dog.  I needed a couple of years between her and this one to just be helpless mammal-less. 

Lately though I'd been wishing I had someone to bark when the door bell rings, someone to walk the bike-path with me, someone to chew on my shoes. Then Dad came over and brought a friend's dog with him.  My young son showed that big old lab around our house like he was royalty. "This is the hallway, this is the bathroom, this is my room... and if you ever spend the night you can sleep right here..." he said.  It wound me up in such a way that I knew this boy who's brought a stuffed dog to school with him every day for three years, needed his own dog. My mind was set.

I made myself one promise, I'd not have a house that smelled like dog. So potty training is number one and this pup understood in the first two days where to go and what to do. She's super smart. we taught her stairs, we taught her to go in and out, we taught her how to walk on a leash, tomorrow we're going to teach her to sit. But she's a nipper. She's part border collie and that makes her want to herd things. Including children.  We're working on it.  I bought books. The kids are helping. She's learning, but her teeth itch and she wants to chew things and every cell in her body is saying run and steer.  She can move a soccer ball around the yard like Pelé. My boy says he still loves her even though she chews his pants and his toys. So we're far from having lil' Pelé sleep over in his room, but we'll get there.


It's mid-October, the leaves are falling while the wind rustles the trees in the early afternoon.  That sweet autumn smell is wafting in the open windows.  Dinner is simmering.  Both children are at the dining room table working on their homework, and chatting about funny things. Thomas is making tea. The puppy sleeping on her tuffet, rolls over and her fat little belly is exposed as she yawns. The Cubs are on their way to the world series and Hillary Clinton is up in the polls.  I stand in the middle of the house sipping coffee and quietly soaking in all of these good things.

Oct 19, 2016

Infinite Geometric Progression

If you were trying to explain infinity to a six year old boy, you might say that it's the biggest number that goes on forever.  You might say things like you love him infinity much. You could talk about walking around a circle or explaining how small things can be or how far space goes.  Then you might hear him explain it back to you by expounding that if you farted two butts and those butts farted their own butts and those butts farted their own butts and it just kept going you would have infinity butt farts.

Oct 13, 2016

Hermit Crab

I haven't left the house in two days. It's glorious. I've been painting and illustrating and watching CNN. I'm at the end of the groceries and just stood in the kitchen figuring what I can still make without adding anything.  I have dinner figured out but every day I but a cookie in the lunches of the people that leave the house and I'm out of cookies.  We'll be going to karate class tonight and I'll run next door and buy some cookies and coffee, so briefly, for a bit this evening, I'll have to put on a bra and talk to people. The hard part about working from home though is that I'm never really off work and it's always looming there in the room wanting one more line one more swipe of the brush. Though I can go to work in my pajamas I'm still compelled to work after the day is done for just a few more minutes.

Oct 4, 2016

Hand Powered Mulcher

Why has no one invented a hand powered mulcher.  Seems like it would have gears like crazy so you could really crunch up a good sized branch pretty quick.  It'd fit right over a lawn bag and in really high gear you could have your kid crank the handle while you feed in the leafs and sticks.  I found a few plans for building your own and I've seen a few reviews for "leaf shredders" that say they stink in general as they're always getting clogged up. But it just seems stupid to fill lawn bags with all this plant material and send it away with the truck once a week and then in the spring go out and buy mulch to replace the natural mulch we all just sent away.  I get that it's not convenient to spread because it's not all chopped up into a uniform size... thus the mulcher, but I just want one less gas powered/electrical powered noise machine in the neighborhood.  I'm an old fashioned rotary blade push lawn mower and rake kinda person.  I did find one vintage shredder called a Rotocrop, but have not found a single one for sale in the whole world wide web. It's vexing.

Sep 27, 2016

Stop Pretending

The Bush administration erased millions of emails illegally sent by 22 administration officials through private, RNC-owned accounts, in order to thwart an investigation into the politically motivated firing of eight US attorneys.

 Mitt Romney wiped servers, sold government hard drives to his closest aides and spent $100,000 in taxpayer money to destroy his administration’s emails.

 Colin Powell intentionally bypassed federal record-keeping laws. using his personal computer, hooked up to a private phone line to communicate without it going through the State Department servers, to do business with foreign leaders and senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts.

Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton


Sep 15, 2016

working on the house

I put a new front screen door on with the help of my brother who actually added two inches to both the top and bottom because I have insanely long doors.  It's working out pretty well, but I need to order new screens as I don't care for the shape of the screen border on the one I have for it.  This makes me feel persnickety - but it's not very often I insist on spending extra money so something can be just how I like it.  I'm pretty thrifty and usually if a thing works and sorta fits in I use it.  This is how I ended up with mismatched cabinets in the kitchen all painted white.  I like them, they're all at differing heights and each one has a good use.

I want to remodel the bathroom.  I know I'll have to hire plumbers and electricians and carpenters and tilers.  I want to hire a general contractor and just write a check and come home to a new enlarged bathroom but I'm thrifty and coordinating people is something I'm sorta great at.  So there will be permits and a full gutting and a wall coming down a reinforcement of the floor to hold an iron and enamel vintage claw footed tub filled with water and I know the project is going to be over budget by 30%. I haven't saved up enough and financing it scares me. I have enough for a new car or a bathroom but not both.  In the mean time the current bathroom and the current (paid for) car are just fine, so I'm just in stasis wishing for a washer and dryer in my bathroom.

I still haven't painted a single wall in my house.  They're all white.  I just can't commit and I have so much artwork and chotchkies, that if the wall was any darker you'd feel like you were living in a little hollowed out portion of a hoard of books and art and music and toys and art supplies.That's not really the case... well just before big art show deadline it can be, but I can't stand clutter and so it's opposed to what I'm trying for.  I went to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright - Laurent House here in town last week and got all bummed out about my very full clutter place. In an effort to be uncluttered, I haven't much in my own bedroom, but how this really translates is my room looks like a college student lives here.  A mattress on the floor, a dresser, a pile of books next to the bed and clothes flung in all directions. I should at the least get my own nest in order for good sleepings. Maybe after Fall Art Scene, I'll paint a wall.

Sep 2, 2016

Restless Legs, Exploding Head, Hey Sleep - WTF?!

Last night, smack dab in the middle of a really great, cool crisp September air, fluffy down comforter, whole bed to myself sleep, I was immediately awakened by five sharp and very loud knocks on the door. I laid there for several moments listening to the neighborhood through the open 2nd story window contemplating whether I should get up to investigate or just go back to sleep.  My front porch light is always on and I wondered if someone was looking for help in the middle of the night.  I heard the usual crickets and nothing else.  No wind.  No steps on the wooden front porch.  No more knocks. No voices. I chalked it up to one of those loud noises that I hear in the night sometimes just before I fall asleep and sometimes right before I wake. Like an auditory hallucination along the lines of feeling like you're falling before you sleep.  One time it was someone yelling "HEY!" right in my ear, another time it was an explosion, another sounded like either an earthquake or a truck hitting the house.  All episode are followed by utter silence proving to my sleepy self - nobody else hears it, not the dogs on the block, not the crickets, and certainly nobody else in the house.

This morning I looked out onto the front porch and made sure everything as it was yesterday. It was. I decided I ask the internet and about loud knocks in the night and to my dismay the hoodoo is that it's a "death knock".  I clicked the link and read three loud knocks in the night are a harbinger of death. Nah, I had five knocks and it didn't seems scary when it happened outside of laying wide awake in bed and having a lot to do today.  So I moved on looking for something far more scientific.  There's a thing called "Exploding Head Syndrome" in which folks hear an extremely loud noise just before falling asleep or just before waking.  The causal theories include small frontal lobe seizure and involuntary movements of the inner ear.  I always thought it was an auditory hallucination but either way I was happy to see the phenomenon addressed scientifically. I was excited to read that people who have this happen also complain of their body jerking before falling asleep, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and a feeling of the entire bed vibrating - all of which I have! So hey all the sleep oddities killed with one stone.

The cure? less stress, yoga, meditation, clomipramine (an older class of tricyclic antidepressant used for narcolepsy.) I don't know about you but just knowing it's a thing and not having to read about ghosts and dead relatives and demons makes me less stressed out to begin with. I think I have to get a dog and then if I hear things and the dog isn't barking I can save a few seconds of laying in bed wondering before stop caring and go back to sleep... or this is a thinly veiled attempt at justifying getting a puppy!