Thursday, April 22, 2010

Never A Dull Moment

Last Sunday we let our cat outside. Because he only has 2.5 legs, we only let him out when we can supervise him, or watch him from the front window. I didn't see him when I looked out so I went outside to round him up. I found him sitting under one of the massive bushes we have in our front yard. The bush is so big that he was literally under it and in it. Usually you can just scold him and he comes running out, but no amount of scolding was moving him this time. I reached in and tried to prod him out with my hand, but he wasn't budging.

Just as I was figuring that I'd have to climb in after him, a portion of something large, black, shiny, and about an inch and a half in diameter slithered past my face. To be exact, about three inches from my face. I jumped back and made a strange sort of yelping sound. I didn't know that such a sound could come out of me. The cat was snake hunting in that bush.

I ran inside and alerted the troops. Jerry and Tom got shovels and tried to coax the snake out. Well, first we used a stick and kept poking at the poor cat until he got so mad that he ran out of the bush, but he wasn't happy about having had his prey intercepted. Jerry finally "scooped" the snake out of the bush but he slithered out of the shovel and dropped to the sidewalk, where Tom then trapped him under his shovel.

I didn't want them to kill the snake - we were pretty sure it was a harmless black snake and, well, I would prefer a black snake in my yard than mice in my pantry. So we decided to put him in a trashcan and release him in the woods in the back yard. Here are pictures of our Sunday visitor.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Price of Beauty

Last week I treated myself to a for-really, honest-to-goodness, no-foolin' hair do. And not just a hair do. Color, cut, style, conditioning treatment - the works. When I left the house that morning I told the boys that I didn't know when I'd be back - the lady at the salon had her work cut out for her. The boys responded that she would see me coming across the parking lot and hide. They likened me to Hagrid from Harry Potter. And they weren't wrong.

So, after many hours, and fumes that about knocked me out, I emerged with a new 'do. And it was straight. You heard me - straight. Not that I don't have the option of it being curly - all I have to to do is get out of the shower and not do anything with it. But - BUT - if I want it straight, all I have to do is plug in this glorious tool that is a super mega size, super mega hot curling iron, and I can straighten my hair.

But I will need practice with this super mega size, super mega hot curling iron. On my first attempt at home, I succeeded in burning my forehead and right ear lobe. We're not talking about a mild burn, either. We're talking the kind of burn that leaves a mark, then a scab. Yeah, that kind of burn. This super mega size, super mega hot curling iron goes to 450 degrees. Which, the salon lady tactfully pointed out, was the temperature I would need if I even hoped to straighten this Hagrid-hair of mine.

Let me put that in perspective for you. Imagine turning your oven on, putting a pan inside, and setting it to 450 degrees. Now, after 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and apply it directly to your forehead or right ear lobe. Ouch. Did you know that skin that isn't even wet can sizzle with that kind of heat? I know that - now.

Well, here is a pic of my straightened hair - because I know that anyone who knows me won't believe me.

No, wait. That's a cheesecake I made last week.

Ah, here we are. And this is me - with straight hair. The picture isn't great, but you try taking a picture of yourself in a mirror with a camera. It ain't easy.

By the way, the cheesecake recipe can be found here, along with other great recipes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Sitting on our deck, you see this rhododendron bush. Look closer, and you see this in the rhododendron bush. I'm glad she decided to nest so close to our deck. We have front row seats!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Potatoes In A Can

We are growing potatoes. In a trashcan. And so far it's working. I read about this somewhere in cyberspace and thought it looked like fun, so the boys and I are trying it. Oh, and we planted them on St. Patrick's Day. That's the traditional day for planting potatoes.

The boys drilled holes in the sides and bottom of an old trashcan. Then we put some dirt in the bottom of it. Then we cut up two potatoes that had started sprouting eyes. We cut about an inch square of potato around the eye. Then we placed those squares of potato with the eyes in the trashcan and covered them with dirt. Then we walked away and promptly forgot that we had planted potatoes.

Not really. We checked on those things constantly, and after two weeks, just as we had decided that our spuds had either rotted or had been genetically modified to not reproduce, we saw sprouts. Glorious sprouts.

Now those sprouts are growing like crazy. We need to keep a careful eye on them though, because we need to keep dumping dirt on top of the plants whenever they get too tall. Let me explain.

Potatoes grow from sideways shoots that grow out from the main stalk of the plant. So, if we just let the first potato squares grow, the stalks would get tall, but only the shoots that the stalk sent out under the dirt would grow potatoes.

So, you wait until the stalks get about 6 inches above the dirt, then you cover everything up with dirt again. Then the stalks will grow up again through the dirt, but in the meantime you've added more space for the stalks to send out more shoots under the dirt. So, you keep doing this until the trashcan is filled to the top with dirt. After that you wait until the tops turn brown and fall over. Then you dump out your trashcan and harvest your spuds.

Here are pictures after twice being covered with dirt, and I covered them again last week but didn't take pictures yet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pure Gold

I came across this entry that I had written in 2005. Gold. Pure gold, I tell ya. And why aren't publishers beating down my door asking me to write?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goodbye, Circus!

Welcome to my new layout. I still may tweak it a bit, but I got tired of not writing because I just couldn't stand looking at my own layout! Between the tabs and the music, it had just become too much; too busy. And what's worse, I started feeling pressure to write, and that is never good.

I write because I enjoy it; not because I have to. A couple of years ago I was offered a job writing for a magazine, but I turned it down because I don't want the pressure of deadlines to have to come up with something creative. I have had a book idea rolling around in my head for a long time now, and the boys keep telling me I need to write it, but that's different. I can write that in my spare time (what's that?!) before any publishers need to know about it. I don't want to solicit a book contract based on the first two chapters only, and then have a deadline to finish the rest of the book. Too much pressure! Yes, an advance would be nice, but I wouldn't want that hanging over my head. Anyway, that's a thought for another day. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my less circus-y blog. I think I'm going to like it here........


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