[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Red Buds | Centerville, OH ]
I think that I burned out on this week sometime before lunch yesterday. The last couple of weeks have been very heavy as far as workload goes... lots of meetings, lots of me making presentations, lots of long involved calls on the phone... all of which generates work that I have to get done. Work that I can't always get done during the normal working hours because of the aforementioned meetings, presentations, and long-drawn-out phone discussions... all I am saying is that this trip that is being planned for the timeslot immeadietly following the upcoming shindig...? Man, I am REALLY earning that time off of work. (I am pretty sure that when I finally return from the trip, the amount of work that will have built up in the meanwhile may make me cry. But I am trying not to dwell on that and instead picture in my head fruity drinks with umbrellas, white beaches, and clear blue water...)
John and I have been doing a lot of yardwork lately. Not just normal weeding and lawnmowing and general maintenance, but actual work. Two weekends ago we tore up the smallest of the front yard flower beds... gut rid of the scraggly looking ornamental grasses and replaced them with pretty, flowering ground cover and some clematis. We also edge the flowebed with bricks to try and halt the encrochment of grass from the lawn.
Last weekend we rented a rototiller from Home Depot and completely demolished a 7X10 foot portion of the back lawn next to the patio so that we could put in an herb and vegetable garden ... tomatoes, green and red peppers, eggplant, sage, rosemary, thyme... It was very impressive just how quickly and efficiently the rototiller turned neat sod into a turned over pile of dirt.
Further yardwork plans include redoing (edging, replanting, putting down additional topsoil, etc...) the rest of the back flower beds and replanting the sad little lilac bush (which has been slowly dying ever since we planted it) into a more appropriate location and replacing it with a tree (we looked at some weeping pussytails) that can handle the slightly swampy location that the lilac is having difficulties with. It is supposed to rain all weekend, this coming weekend... so those plans may need to be put off another week or so.
Still. We are not without our grand ambitions.
My hair was starting to get a bit long and lose the shape of the style, so I went to the hairdresser Monday for a tune-up. I really like my hairdresser, and I will admit that one of the reasons I like her so much is because the salon that she works at has an online booking system, so that I can make an appointment to get my hair cut without ever having to pick up the phone and talk to the person on the other end. John will attest to this… I have a great aversion to talking on the phone to people that I do not know (even calling to make a restaurant reservation can be nerve-wracking for me) and will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid doing so.
Anyway, after the cut, my hairstylist asked how I would like to have it styled, and since I have wavy/curly hair and had a vague curiosity about what my hair would look like stick straight, I requested straight. If I had known ahead of time that the straight option would involve a straightening iron (shades of the 60s and my Mom recounting to me about how she and her sisters used to iron their hair with actual irons in order to get it stylishly straight…) then I probably would not have gone for it. But since I usually just lean back (or forward, depending on how the hairdresser wants to position my head) and close my eyes during haircuts, I didn’t realize what was happening until there was no option other then to finish the straight style.
I didn’t like it. It was straight all right, but it was also very limp and flat and weird, and I don’t think that it looked very good on me.
I do like the general cut a lot, though. Next time I think that I might try going even shorter. Hair grows, after all.
Swine Flu. I have to mention it because it is everywhere in the news, the latest hot maybe-pandemic, and predictably everyone is having a big freak-out over it. (Even my work sent out a memo to all employees about not making non-essential trips to Mexico.) Personally I think that the whole thing is very overblown and will end up being a big flame-out, just like the bird flu and SARS. Swine Flu is not the next Spanish Influenza. Calm down Chicken Little, the sky is not falling.
It had better not still be rainingt tomorrow afternoon... because I want to go to the arboretum after work...
[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Spring | Centerville, OH ]
Tax Day today. The very last day that all of the slackers can send in their forms and not be penalized by the IRS.
I get to feel a touch superior here since I did my taxes months ago in January, (if I don’t do them right away I start to lose forms) got my return, and have already spent it (memory foam mattress, assorted wedding stuff…) and am just marveling that there are actually people who put all of this off until the very last minute.
It has been raining here almost non-stop for almost a week now. Good for the flowerbeds, bad for me feeling like doing anything when I get home from work other then just flopping down on the couch with a book. I took a quick tour of the flowerbeds this afternoon when I got home... if the rain breaks long enough this weekend for me to do some yardwork, I will have some serious weeding to do (rain that is good for flowers is unfortunately also good for weeds) though I was pleased to see that most of my tulips are coming up and getting ready to bloom. I am especially pleased about this because I have neglected my tulips quite shockingly... apparently you are supposed to dig the bulbs up every fall, store them through the winter in a 'cool and dry place' and then replant them in early March. Um, no. As much as I enjoy a bit of gardening and my flowerbeds, that is still a bit more effort then I am willing to go to. The tulip (and all of the daffodill, hyacinth, crocus, and all other) bulbs just stayed where they were in the beds all winter. Some of them did die... I haven't seen any of the crocuses or hyacinths at all yet... but at least I have tulips.
[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Orchard | Centerville, OH ]
Growing up, Easter with my family has generally been about the Polish, Slovak, and other assorted Eastern European foods and traditions. Kielbasa. Nut roll (I forget the Slovak name). This amazing cheese bread (I forget the name of that too). Eggs (of course). Butter in the shape of a lamb. Making up baskets of food to take to church on Good Friday to have them blessed by the priest.
And, of course, candy. We kids always got semi-customized Easter Baskets from the bunny on Easter. My parents (I mean, the Easter Rabbit) always hid the baskets and we would search the house for them as soon as we got up on Easter morning. Each basket was labeled so we would know which basket was meant for which kid. Of course, when we looked for them, the goal was always to find all of the baskets, and not just your own. I suppose that this could have lead to baskets being moved and re-hidden, but I don't recall that it ever did... There was always a bonus for being the first up and the first to find the baskets... you could (carefully) glean bits of candy that you really liked from other baskets, and make sure that it made its way into your own.... and if you did do something like this, it was considered courteous to A) not swipe the big, easily missed pieces of candy (like the chocolate bunnies and the really huge chocolate eggs) and to B) replace the jelly beans that you might have appropriated with something of equal value from your own basket. Not that this happened a lot, the whole point of the semi-customized baskets was so that we were assured that we would have our very favorite candy in our own basket. My favorites were always the jelly belly jelly beans... i particularly liked the buttered-popcorn ones. And the black ones. I loved (and still love) anything black licorice...
Mom and Grandma always put out displays of all of the amazing pysanky that they have for Easter.
I remember one Easter when I was little - maybe I was about 7 - that Aunt Gina tried to give my brothers and me a live rabbit. A big, soft, grey, floppy-eared bunny. We all (kids) wanted to keep it. Mom (and her allergies to fur) said absoutely no way. We did get to enjoy some quality time playing with the rabbit at Granny's house, and there is a picture of all of us kids piled into an armchair all in our Easter best and holding the rabbit on our laps. Aunt Gina took the rabbit home and kept him for a while as a pet. I say a while because it apparently developed the dangerous habit of chewing on electrical cords when it wasn't being watched closely enough, and one day chomped down on a live wire, and that was pretty much that.
Now that I am an adult and capable of getting my own candy, I tend to like to wait until the day before Easter, or Easter itself to go out and get Easter candy, because by then it is (generally) half-price, and you just can't go wrong with half-price Cadbury Eggs. Unfortunately, the Meijer by my house where I do most of my grocery shopping tends to be rather uncooperative there... they are the most proactive store that I have ever seen with regard to changing out holiday displays. They often don't even wait until the actual holiday is over before getting rid of all of the holiday-themed stuff on the racks at the front of the store. This morning when I went to the Meijer to get some dinner items (and candy) I found that they had already completely purged the store of everything Easter. By 11am on Easter Sunday. I will have to get my half-price candy elsewhere...
[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Apple Blossoms | Centerville, OH ]
Now that I have gotten used to the idea of wearing glasses again, I have gotten kind of casual about handling them, and the fact that I don’t need to wear them all of the time just makes this worse.
I have a habit of absent-mindedly putting stuff down, and then almost instantly forgetting about it. (John refers to this as “sometimers”) Because of this, there are occasionally scenes where, for example, I am running around in the morning trying to get out the door and not being able to because I cannot find my keys… or my ID card… or my wallet… or whatever. And sometimes as well I will get to work and reach into my purse to get my wallet out so that I can enjoy a morning cranberry bagel (toasted, lots of butter) from the cafeteria only to realize that my wallet is, in fact, on the kitchen counter. Or maybe it is on my dresser. Or it could be on the bookshelf near the cellphone chargers.
Anyway, this casual forgetfulness has now spread to my glasses. I have opened my glasses case (at work, at the movie theater) only to be confronted with a startling lack of glasses, and been left to wonder where exactly I left them. I am sure that it is only a matter of time at this point until I either lose them for good, or break them accidentally.
Sunglasses (as an example similar to perscription glasses) tend to have a short lifespan in my possession. I generally end up breaking them by either stepping on or sitting on them. There was an incident two summers ago where I was taking photos in the arboretum, took off my sunglasses, put them on a flat rock on the ground near where I was shooting, said out loud what I was doing and that I needed to remember about and be careful of them ... and then stepped on and broke them less then 2 minutes later.
John thinks that I need to get my prescription from the eye doctor, so I can take it to the “buy one pair, get another free” eyeglasses place by the mall and have some spare pairs made up. I think that this is probably a good idea.
I will add it to the to-do list…
[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Apple Blossoms | Centerville, OH ]
Grand Tournament of the Unicorn was this past weekend, and the weather came through with a beautiful day... 60s, sunny, cloudless, light breeze... I got a noticeable amount of sun, and my nose and cheeks are slightly flaky today. Poor John got even more sun, as he does not have the minor protection that I get from my slightly olive-toned skin. Aloe vera gel was purchased yesterday, which seemed to help a bit, but he is still peeling terribly.
I ran my first tournament (2-list bear pit with wounds retained, 1 point for victory, no points for double kills since dead is dead) and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so hooray.
Today of course we have a weather 180, from the sunny and wonderful weekend to the dank freezing rain that is coming down right now. I am glad that John advised me against getting anything from the Home Depot Garden Center yesterday... anything that I planted would have been dead by now, for sure.
Gotta love early spring in SW Ohio.
I have been overloaded with work lately, which has led to me doing work at home in the evenings. I don’t care much for the doing-work-at-home thing beyond the designated 8-5 normal workday, but sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.
When I do work from home, I prefer to do it from the couch (and coffee table) in the living room, so that I can listed to, and occasionally rest my eyes by watching, shows like “Worlds Most Violent Police Chases 5”. Because everyone knows that drunken and belligerent rednecks are funny. And because when you are working an additional 2-3 hours beyond the normal 8, you need background noise like that.
[ Taken April 1, 2009 | Apple Blossoms | Centerville, OH ]
We have turned the corner and it is finally starting to look like spring here... sunshine and early flowers instead of overcast skies, wind, and cold rain. About time.... though it is rather stifling having to spend the day hunched over a computer in an office when you would rather be running around outside.
I don’t know if I have ever talked about it before, but I consider that the laser pointer is one of the greatest cat toys ever. Forget the usefulness of the laser pointer in pointing out (ha) details of slides during powerpoint presentations... entertaining cats trumps that.
Merlin will chase the red dot around for a minute or so before getting bored and wandering off. (The fact that she is old and slowing down may have something to do with this.) She has never made the connection between the red dotand the actual laser pointer. I love her, but she is rather a dim bulb.
Percival, however… Percival is a smart cat. All I have to do is pick up the laser pointer and he crouches down in his “stalking” posture and his pupils get really really huge. He has also been known to go to the coffee table (where we usually leave the laser pointer) and paw at it to indicate that he is ready to play. Very cute.