Friday, July 31, 2009

Random Thursday, Friday Edition

Thursday's edition was delayed because of THIS (I thought life as I knew it was over!):

Nearly 2 inches in diameter!

Thanks to what I have come to learn is a Funnel Web Grass spider (and not the dreaded Brown Recluse spider that I thought), my entire bedroom was turned upside down and vacuumed, dusted and sprayed in order that I might sleep last night. I caught this utterly despicable creature recreating in the door jam of our bedroom sliding glass doors. When I chased it down with a broom handle, it ran for the small space between the mattress and the wall (made smaller by the fact that our mattresses are still sitting on the floor and not on a proper frame). This close proximity to my pillows made the thought of sleeping virtually impossible. I've never been an arachniphobe until I started reading up on Brown Recluses. Then I became a complete nutjob. My husband had never witnessed this side of me before but like the saintly Prince that he is (he loves a good damsel in distress...makes him feel needed, I guess), he quickly went to work in the bedroom. I refused to go in until he delivered proof that this spider had been dispatched. When he returned with the thing caught between two chopsticks, I laughed (but made him put it in the toilet until I could be sure it was dead). He actually sprayed it with ant spray and then removed it with the chopsticks. It wasn't quite like the scene in that movie where the Chinese guy catches a fly with his chopsticks...what was that movie?? We extracted it for a photo shoot and a full internet analysis. Thankfully, it is not a Brown Recluse, but I also learned that even a bite from a Funnel Web Grass spider requires immediate medical care and anti-venom.

Anyway, back to the Random:

1) Julian has developed a fascination with all things electrical (he found this under the sink...clearly we need to up the baby proofing).

No matter how many times I redirect his interest, he returns to this particular electrical outlet with alarming (and increasing) frequency. I finally unplugged the lamp and picture frame and plugged up the holes, like all of the other unused outlets within his reach.

2) Julian reads! This morning, I caught him reading for the first time. I put him in his crib for a nap, walked away while he was playing and went back when things quieted down to what I thought was an actual nap. I peeked into the crib and saw him quietly reading this book, stroking the picture on the page (his normal routine is to use reading time for clapping, repeatedly slamming the book shut with each turn of the page). I was quietly pleased at this little discovery. He really does know that books are to be read, not slammed shut!

3) I spend about 6 hours a day hunting for lost binkies. Julian has only 4 that he will use (not available at Wal-mart or Target) and about 15 that he will not, so we have to protect the 4 with all we have.

4) Julian's mother did not check into rehab on the appointed bed date, a decision that brought immense disappointment to me and her father, but did not surprise us. She needs to do it on her timetable, not ours, and like we told her at the time, we would have been more disappointed if she had checked in and not completed the program than if she decided it wasn't the right time and/or place to check in. We drove her there (about 200 miles round trip) and saw the place, but in the end, we drove her back to her temporary place of residence and went to IHOP.

5) This resulted in a lengthy text exchange, followed by a lengthy letter in which I laid out a perfectly good argument (read this with a hint of sarcasm please) for her to seek God and ask Him to help get her life back on track, because me? I've done all I can do.

6) I received the perfect cookbook for my birthday! I have tried more of the recipes in this book in less than a month than in some of my other books (I have a LOT of cookbooks) in a lifetime! I highly recommend Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics!!

6A) I love pesto and the fact that my basil is growing gangbusters...pesto for the masses!

6B) I love making risotto...the magical transformation from a collection of basic ingredients to creamy divine taste and texture is a culinary thrill.

6C) I love marinating...and I love the combination of garlic and ginger for this purpose. And a bountiful collection of fresh homegrown herbs.

6D) I love being able to cook with ingredients I have on hand instead of having to make a trip to the store for every meal.

7) I am enjoying the summer without having to work, and enjoying much needed time to spend with extended family. My cousin and her husband and two daughters came through town and I was able to spend the entire day with them, on a weekday, and even prepare a meal in my home when I normally would have suggested we go out to eat. Eating at home afforded the opportunity to invite my brother's family over and all of us enjoyed time together that we had really NEVER experienced. My brother hadn't seen our cousin since 1983! Their kids are the same age and yet they had never met each other...I am the one hiding behind all the skinny beautiful people!

8) I also received the perfect devotional for my birthday, but already I am behind a day or two in the reading. I really am going to try and stick to a daily routine this year. REALLY!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Like You Didn't Already Know This

Good grief! I just turned on the 7:00 am news shows (all of them, in rotation, searching for our local weather report for the day) and every. single. one. of them was busy covering the Cambridge Police vs. Professor Gates vs. President Obama story. And not just a little news blip either, but all of them were going on and on for a good 10 minutes (I know this because I continued to flip between them for 10 minutes) of interviews and commentary about racial profiling, and the President's use of the word "stupidly."

The next story, covered in less than one minute and with no detail whatsoever was a dust up of at least 44 people including mayors, rabbis and other public officials arrested for accepting bribes, laundering 10s of millions of dollars and brokering human kidneys (in New Jersey and New York). Now, maybe this isn't news either unless you live in NJ or NY but it sure makes for a more interesting story than the former.

I've found the best "news" coverage is offered over on E! At least, they don't pretend to offer any real news.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Birds and The Bees (Updated)

This is sweet. The other day, this little green finch showed up at our kitchen window, flapping its wings, trying to get inside.

The reason? Because inside, in its cage, was our European Green Finch singing his little heart out. Now, the one outside also appears to be a male, so I don't know why the attraction, but maybe I'm wrong about that. I haven't heard "him" sing. Now, he's returned for the third day in a row! We put Julio (our caged finch) outside to see if the love was real. And it appears to be twoo wuv...

Updated (the real reason for the original post title)...these bumble bees have made the bird house hanging outside our bedroom window a most inhospitable place for the birds, should they decide to marry, to set up housekeeping:


Monday, July 13, 2009

That %#@& Puppy

Okay, okay. Something has to supersede the MJ post. Here we have the destruction caused by a single cute puppy with a death wish (and enough chew toys on the kitchen floor to trip 6 adults at once but apparently not enough to prevent this):

Kitchen chairs

Kitchen Aid Mixer ($300+)

Cuisinart Food Processor ($200+)

Jack LaLane Juicer (Three Easy Payments of ??)

Toaster $27 (untouched)

This dog is getting more expensive by the day. He's currently at the vet's office getting "snipped" and I'm willing to pay the extra $19 per day to keep him there for an extended stay. Hopefully he'll come home a changed man.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rest in Peace, Michael

I don't mind sharing the limelight with Michael Jackson on my birthday. Really, I don't. I never liked being the center of attention anyway. It's funny to hear the various channels announcing the changes in tv coverage resulting from the preemption...things like Days of Our Lives are being moved around so as not to be missed. Never mind that REAL news has been preempted for the last two weeks in order to cover the MJ story. Not that I'm bitter. It's just an observation. And it's not preempting my birthday because I could turn it off any minute and walk out. Really, I could. I could stop watching if I wanted to.

Hi, my name is Gwynne, and I'm a closet Michael Jackson fan.

Actually, as I sit here watching the memorial, I am truly moved for the first time since his death. Maybe it took nearly two weeks of non-stop coverage for the feelings to finally sink in, or maybe it's the moving tributes offered by some at this service, but I have finally been beaten into submission. Okay, I agree, Michael was a pretty good performer. But honestly, I believe that he is in a better place, at long last, at peace. His work here on earth was done. I believe the 50-concert world tour might have killed him and his legacy. In his own words (if we are to believe half of what we hear), he was "done" and "better off dead." I don't say that out of hatred, or anger, or meanness. I truly believe that he is in a better place now. His story is at once magical and tragic. It's been a troubling story to watch play out, but one so fascinating that few could look away.

If I disregard the last quarter of his life, I have to admit that I was drawn in possibly as much as anyone who grew up with him. Well, almost. I remember exactly when and where I purchased my first Michael Jackson album, Off The Wall, and feeling like it gave me a certain "street cred" at the time. It was one of the earliest albums I purchased (just to give an idea of how young I really am...either that, or how late I was to the party). I remember owning several 45s by the Jackson Five in my extensive (roughly 10 records) collection. Who can resist those early performances, fronted by Michael as a young boy with an amazing voice, a cute smile and some pretty amazing dance moves even then.

I like that the memorial does in fact feel like a funeral service (even a "revival" as the media seems want to call it), a celebration of family and faith, and not "just" a Michael Jackson concert (anyone else wonder if the casket would be levitated before this show was over?) although there have been some nice tributes sung by the likes of Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder. But really, after the powerful words of others, we could have done without Brooke Shield's trite narrative of her relationship w/ Michael at the age of 13. Some things are better off left unsaid.

The most poignant words were those spoken by his daughter, Paris, at her first public appearance ever, "Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine and I just want to say I love him so much." I pray for his children, who are the only real victims in this sad story.

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

How I Spent My 4th of July

Some people burned firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers. I burned up 9 years worth of excessive notes and useless paper from my former day job. I finally hauled home the last of the boxes that were in my old office, knowing that when I did so I would have to go through them and purge a bunch. I tried to save valuable practice aids for my own reference and sent any client pertinent notes back to the office. It was a very cathartic experience. The drawers full of overflowing papers had been bugging me for years. Out of 5 boxes, I managed to squeeze the stuff I wanted into one box (not including actual books and educational course materials which are already in the basement storeroom), and the rest went in the wheelbarrow.

As you can see, I had a cute little helper.

Happy Independence Day!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I Doubt

On Sunday, while visiting with our daughter (Julian's mother), we went to the Panda Express drive-thru for dinner on our way back to her place. After we finished eating, she was about to throw the bag away and I said, "Wait! There are fortune cookies in there!!" and I reached in and grabbed them both, carelessly handing one to her (normally, we make a point to carefully pick our cookies, making sure we get the right ones). So we open them up and she reads hers:

"Any doubts you may have will disappear early this month."

To which I say, "Oh, that's good!" And she asks, "Why is that?" And I say, "Well, in case you had any doubts about the whole rehab thing, you know." And she says, "I don't have any doubts!"

So then I read mine:

"You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course."

To which I said, "Well, apparently we got the wrong fortunes then, because I don't have any goals."

And we quickly switched fortunes, before anyone could be the wiser.

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