Tuesday, April 26, 2011

advice if you want it

If you ever see a pair of sunglasses that have green lenses, don't think twice about buying them. Just do it.

You will be amazed by the intensity and clarity of the world in which you live.

I'm just sayin'.

Course, you may need to make those green, prescription lenses. But either way, whatever works, just get the green lenses.

Monday, April 25, 2011

here and there


and there:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

one down, three to go

Finished up my first semester at UVU. Feeling pretty good about it all. Do not understand the point of tests that nobody can possibly score more than 70% on, including the professor. If I got the highest score on the first four tests in that class, is it worth the effort to go back on Monday (at 7:00 a.m., read: rise before the birds, drive 45 minutes, retake the test, then drive 45 minutes plus another 90 minutes to work)? Nah. 70% is okay.

Spent the remainder of the day with Jack at the rental house. With an electrician we hired to complete the wiring before Jack or Jr or both lose a thumb or worse. I wish I'd taken my camera so I could produce photographic evidence of the progress we're making, but of course, in my rush to hurry off to take my last two finals, I forgot the camera. Let's just say that we have safe wiring throughout the house and only another day's worth of paid electrician's time and the lights and switches and outlets will all be working perfectly. Also, the steps are firmly in place, almost all of the holes in the walls are patched, and we are preparing to texture, prime, and paint. Still need to retile the basement shower and need to repair and paint the walls in the downstairs bedrooms--oh and paint the storage/laundry room. But it's looking better every time we go there.

The other reason I wish I'd taken my camera is to document the beautiful bulbs that are growing alongside the driveway, but since I didn't, I took these of more bulbs in my gardens that I totally do not remember planting last fall. I vaguely remember planting orange tulips, or at least, I think I planted orange? Haven't seen them yet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

if money were no object

What would you do if you didn't have to earn money at a job? If you could do whatever you wanted to do with your days, what would it be?

Besides the obvious of spending time with family or eating or resting, what would you do?

Lately, for the past few years really, I've thought that if I didn't have to work and I had a pile of money available to me, I'd spend every bit of it to try to teach girls that their bodies belong to themselves, to help them understand that they can decide how and what to do to and with their own bodies.

I would teach girls and boys to respect themselves and to expect others to do the same.

I don't know how I'd accomplish this task. But I'd sure like to try.

Monday, April 18, 2011

it's spring

You know it's spring, right, because it's raining more and snowing less, and the crocuses are up and gone replaced by the daffodils, and there's that one other thing that happens every spring.

Baby cows. Yep, the calves are back. I've been watching them during my recent drives up north and I'm developing a theory.

I know, you can hardly wait to hear this one.

But see, it's like this. I watch those baby cows running and kicking up their little cow heels and sprinting about the hills and through the sagebrush. And I see their mamas plodding along with the babies running circles, literally, around them.

I'm starting to think that those mama cows aren't really mama cows at all. They're gramma cows. Or at least it makes sense to me. They're content to walk slowly along while those little babies run circles around them. It feels very familiar to me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

but then there's skype

some melancholy

Today while driving to Orem for my last of the 7:00 am class, I had a brilliant bit of insight--hey, you can go see Jessie and the girls after class-----

And then, just as quickly, the realization that while I definitely can go see their house, which I did with Jack and Jr, I just as definitely cannot just go see them. Boohoo for me.

However. I soldiered on to class and then met up with Jack and Jr at the house.

Progress Report:

Jack and Jr pulled more wire and stuff.

Jack dragged around stair stringers and only cussed a little under his breath at some broken or missing part and stuff.

I scraped off more old falling plaster in the stairwell and replaced it with loads of new spackle and stuff. And I made a plan, which upon hearing from me, Jack gave his highest approval: Go take care of it.

The plan is that I'm done with the spackling. Next step is to wash down the walls with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate--the ultimate wall cleaning and preparing for paint chemical), rinse well (and during the washing and rinsing, smooth out the bumps--major bumps that is), and then prime and paint the stairwell.

I considered trying to apply the same heavy texture that the former remodelers added to the walls throughout the rest of the house. And I thought about just sheetrocking over the whole thing. And I even paused long enough to weigh the pros and cons of trying to get mostly smooth walls before priming and painting.

But really. The house is almost 100 years old. The walls are not smooth. And they're walls in a stairwell. A back door stairwell.

I'm thinking the remaining bumps and dimples and such should be viewed as character. Bits of character in the stairwell. So there it is. I may be done painting by the start of next week and wouldn't that be some progress.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

please explain this to me

Jack and Jr and I went to IHOP tonight for dinner. I looked at the couple who were sitting on the other side of the glass and they were playing Scrabble. Seriously playing Scrabble. They had clipboards and were keeping track of letter usage.

I just want to know what word could have been formed with these letters: d-i-s-_-r-e-a-d. And also, is there really a word that is spelled: r-e?

Can we get a word check over here?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

finally i get it

Sometimes it's difficult to deal with something if you don't have clear understanding of it.

For example. Several years ago, Jessie gave me a delightful gift--a makeup bag full of bottles of nail polish. While it's been years, maybe even decades, since I polished my fingernails, I adore polished toenails. So I was excited to try all of the colors. She didn't go with only the usual reds and pinks and clears--oh no, not my girl. She bought me those and more--silver with glitter, navy blue with glitter, purples, oranges, pinks, reds--perhaps more than a dozen shades and tints and joyously fun little bottles of happiness. One color though, was a bit of a puzzlement to me. It was a shade of green, not just any shade, but a neonish green, and honestly, the thought of wearing it was almost nauseating to me, even on my toes. But eventually, I gave it a try. I'd grown weary of the reds, pinks, oranges, purples, and even the glittery options. Admittedly, it was difficult. But I painted each of my ten toenails with not one, not two, but three coats of that gagging green. And then I looked at each of those toes, and in a stroke of genius, I realized that color wasn't gaggy, it wasn't nauseating, it was the color of Mountain Dew! And who, who, who doesn't love the color of Mountain Dew?


Last night, Jack went out back to play fetch with JoJo. Since we got Gus, the game of fetch has changed drastically. Once in a while, Gus actually goes after the ball. But almost always, nearly 99% of the time, we throw the ball, JoJo bounds after it, and Gus sprints after her, all leaping and gnashing of teeth, trying to attach himself to her neck, and often succeeding at being dragged about the yard while she snatches up and returns the tennis ball, ready to begin the process again.

Last night, Jack headed out back with JoJo and I cajoled and pleaded and eventually succeeded in getting Gus to come back in the house with me so Jo and Jack could have a decent game of fetch. Gus went nuts. More nuts than usual. He began racing from the entryway through the laundry room, into the kitchen, under and around the dining room table and then repeated that route, over and over. I pulled a chair to the counter near the sink where I was rinsing dishes and filling the dishwasher so he could stand up and look out the window and observe the game of fetch, thinking he might enjoy watching the game. That did not pacify him. He leaped from the chair and began running his circuit again only this time, he added another feature to the laps--he started leaping into the air during his sprints, so that he could cover the space of three normal paces in one leap...it was run, run, run, leeeeeap, run, run, run, leeeeeap, as if he thought he was a deer or a puma or some graceful wild animal--and that's when it hit me.

Gus is a circus dog.

Imagine those run, run, run, leeeeeaps with ten other little dogs, rocketing around the three-rings at Barnum and Bailey--add in his tendency to leap from the ground, uninvited and unannounced into your arms--throw in the occasional leap from the ground, into a somersault or flip, landed perfectly scoring a 10 in the doggie acrobatic olympics, and I think you will agree.

Gus left the circus and has come to live with us here in the gardens.

It all makes so much more sense to me now.

Finally, I can stop viewing him as that crazy little dog with no brain and no object permanence.

That dog is amazing. He learns what the other dogs teach him, and in addition to his circus tricks, he's learned from watching Jo that the proper way to rise in the morning is to snuggle next to the owner for as long as possible, ignore her when she rises and asks if you're ready to go out, lazily stretch into a long, slinky dog when you finally decide to get up, and then hesitate when the door is opened.

Now I get it. Is he adorable or what?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

in case you wondered

This is the daily routine in my world:

5:45--wake up, fall out of bed, shower, brush, dress, blow dry, stumble to the car.
6:45--on the road
7:30--arrive at work where I will stay for 10-11 hours
5:45--stumble back to the car and drive in semi-conscious state to either a) home or b) school
6:30--arrive at either school or home where I will pick several of the following to entertain me for the evening a) laundry, b) dinner, c) dishes, or d) all of the above and more
10:00--stumble back to bed.

(Of course, Fridays are different because I get up earlier so I can make it to my 7:00 class with the extra 45 minute drive each way before I go to work. Never again will I take a 7:00 a.m. class. Remind me of this if I even think about it.)

The other options are Saturdays and Sundays when I rise just as early and either go to school (which involves driving and varying levels of irritation depending on whether my Business Law instructor begins his lecture by merely discussing the political/economic events of the week as he sees them through his fox news lens or instead, as he did yesterday, opens his internet browser on the screen so we can all read along to items he finds of interest on the drudge report--yep, it's been nearly 36 hours since that happened yesterday and I'm still fuming. First time I've ever just gotten up and walked out of class.)

Okay. Where was I? Oh yeh, either go to school on Saturday or go to the rental house to continue the remodel.

And speaking of the remodel. Jack and Jr have spent numerous hours there and have made progress. The rewiring is, in my opinion, about 3/4 complete. They also moved enough pipes and such yesterday that they were able to sheetrock over the hole in the wall at the bottom of the stairs and soon will be able to re-install the bottom six steps. They pulled or pushed down the floor/wall/ceiling addition that the people we bought the house from had installed in the stairwell. Maybe I hadn't mentioned that addition--it's the place where they nailed in some wood so there could be a washer and dryer both upstairs and downstairs. Sounds like a great idea for a rental, right? Except for two things--a) it wasn't installed all that soundly so it was just a matter of time before the addition fell to the basement (one too many out of balance wash cycles), and b) it was installed soundly enough that it hurt like hell anytime anyone taller than me went down the stairs and forgot to duck and hit his head on the bottom of that addition.

Today, I planned to tape and mud the sheetrock Jack and Jr installed yesterday in the stairwell. I used a pair of pliers to pull open the bucket of mud (think about opening a gallon jug of milk but the size of a five-gallon bucket--that plastic strip you pull off that winds around the lid is hard to pull, so I grabbed it with pliers, because, well, I'm just so smart about construction, right?) But, of course, after I peeled off the plastic strip, I still couldn't get the lid off. Jack saw me struggling with it and came over to snap back each of the eight or so sections around the bucket so the lid would come off. As he snapped the last section, I looked at him and said, "Everything about this house is so hard." And he agreed.

For fun, I'm posting a few of the pictures Jr took of the attic. See, he's the only one who's willing to go up there to pull wires. I'm telling you, this kid is gold.

This is old wiring. Old, bare wires attached higglety-pigglety.

This is the little teeny opening to the attic. The kid is gold.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

see it's like this

Almost twenty-five years ago, I met this wonderful woman. She was probably old enough to be my mom, but was so kind and smart and thoughtful and caring that we became friends. I like to think we were good friends. I suspect that everyone who knew her felt like she was a good friend. She was just that kind of person.

She was one of those good people. A truly honest, good person who tried to be the best and tried to help everyone around her be the best they could be.

I suppose the best word to describe her would be love. Charitable, selfless love.

Last Christmas we got a card and letter from her and her dear partner. It told of their now-grown children and their adored grandchildren, and it also talked about her illness, a progressively worsening illness. I wept as I read it aloud to Jack because I sensed then that her time in this place was short. I grieved even then the loss of such a good soul in this world.

Earlier this week, thoughts of her came into my mind. I thought I should visit or call. But I didn't. I haven't seen her for several years, probably not since we moved away and they moved away. But still, I thought of her and told myself I needed to see her, visit with her, chat, check up on her. But I didn't.

Jessie called me today to tell me she'd seen a post on Facebook that indicated my friend passed away, surrounded by family, holding the hand of her sweetheart. My heart aches for her, for her family, her sweet husband. I feel a large gaping hole ripped into my world tonight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

i might just be in a mood

Spent easily four hours trying to get turbotax to efile my return, but it wouldn't because I had problems with line 10 on my form 4562. Seems that you have to insert the amount from line 13 of last year's return...something to do with depreciation on the rental house...except that I never filled out a form 4562 this year or last year. Oh wait, turbotax filled one out for me last year, but line 13 had a zero, which I tried unsuccessfully to insert onto line 10 of this year's form. I say unsuccessfully because it wouldn't accept the zero.

But see, I showed em. I just deleted all references to the rental and re-entered it all. Only dropped my refund by one thousand dollars. Yes, that's right. One thousand dollars.

But I felt a certain urgency to file in hopes of receiving my refund before the government shuts down.

Skybird, if you're out there, what the heck is a form 4562?

Monday, April 4, 2011

an admission or two

I am getting old. Apparently.

Two recent events have forced me to recognize this fact.

1. This:

I was totally surprised to see these beauties poking through the mulch this year. I do not remember planting them. At all. My memory is going, going, gone. I'm just hoping that the majority of future surprises are this type of delightful.

2. Unfortunately, I know that will not be the case. This one I'm embarrassed to even admit. I may not be able to even admit it. But let me start by apologizing again to Stu, Shi, and Jr. I can't even explain how it happened. But my friends all tell me it's a part of aging. Even still, so embarrassed. I will try to avoid future repeat performances. See, guys can do this all the time and get away with it. I grew up with a dad who regularly said, "Pull my finger" and even now, I have to make myself say, "No, dad, I won't pull your finger." There. Enough said. How embarrassing. Sorry, kids.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

so fast it's a blur

Jack and I went to California for a few days to celebrate Breanne's birthday. Yesterday, we all drove to Santa Cruz, a nice sandy beach with an amusement park nearby. The girls seemed to enjoy it all and Jack took lots of pictures of them on the rides--

Most of the pics show Breanne, smiling, waving, clearly understanding the concept of a parade wave...

Janey, on the other hand, was a bit timid about all of the noise and movement and hubbub...

and they both seemed a bit bored by the little boats...

Before you know it, we're back home.

Align Center

Saturday, April 2, 2011