Last week was my birthday. I learned a long time ago that I don’t want to wait around to have friends/family bring celebration to me; if I want a particular celebration, then I just make it happen. I came to this revelation after wasband #1 and I split up. It was Valentine’s Day and I was feeling sorry for myself so I went out and bought myself a small bouquet of flowers, some heart-shaped balloons and a couple of pink frosted donuts with sprinkles (one for me, one for the dog). I had also scored a big box from the new tv of the neighbors (Katy Scarlett loved to sit in big boxes and then eventually destroy them) which I decorated with red and pink markers for her. Turned out to be a great day and a great lesson for myself.
This is not to say that I don’t love what friends/family do for me – I think when folks think of me it means MORE to me because I am self-sufficient in the “celebrate me” arena. This year I had an especially nice surprise. While I was out walking the dog that morning, the little girls next door (Margot and Matilda) came over and did chalk decorations all over my sidewalk. I’m sure they had help from their parents, but the rainbows and butterflies were clearly Margot’s inspiration. It was so touching – it’s still there a week later although getting a little faded from folks walking on it and the couple of rain sprinkles. It was the best birthday wish I got this year!
Do you have a favorite neighbor? Or a not-favorite one?
Guinevere and I have been expanded our walking routes, going a little farther and trying out new streets to walk down. Last week we went down a street in Tangletown that we hadn’t tried before, heading down the hill toward the creek. As we were walking I looked up and was startled to see a pair of women’s underwear hung on the tree close to the sidewalk. On closer inspection, I discovered about ten different garments (all women’s undergarments) hanging from the tree.
As we continued on our way, I thought about tee-peeing, which was a popular prank when I was a kid. I never took part in tee-peeing, but my house was the target of this prank once. Nobody I knew ever fessed up, so I always wondered if it had been meant for Sam’s house; he was my next-door neighbor and a much more social kid than I was. I wondered what kind of prank resulted in women’s underwear in a tree in a front yard. Was this what kids do these days? Where do they get the underwear? Thrift shops? Their mother’s dresser? Or was it more nefarious – one spouse getting even with the other, hopefully not with a divorce looming on the horizon.
Then I was surprised yesterday to walk that route again and found the underwear still hanging in the tree. At first I thought maybe the family was not at home the last few days, but there were golf clubs in a bag sitting on the front porch; surely no one would leave town with their clubs sitting out in the open. The mystery deepened when I got home and mentioned it to YA. She confirmed that the underwear has been in the tree for at least 3 weeks. Now I’m really wondering what the story is.
What do you think?
I got a letter from the city last month that prior to the re-surfacing project in Tangletown, they will be re-doing some of the curbs. (I am technically part of the Tangletown neighborhood, but my street is actually a county road, so I am not affected by this.) Every morning Guinevere and I have been seeing signs of the project; they dug up all the affected curbs first and then are going back to add the new concrete.
When we came around a corner yesterday, we were surprised by a group of ELEVEN construction workers, all in their neon yellow vests, standing around one of the holds where a curb had been. While we watched, the concrete mixer started to whirr and soon there was concrete glopping into the hole. Two of the eleven worked to control where the concrete was pouring and the other nine started smoothing out the mixture. I’m not sure if they really needed nine guys to do this, but I’m sure it made the job go quickly.
As Guinevere and I continued on our walk, I said to her “well, now you’ve been to a concrete workers’ convention”. She was more interested in the smells along the sidewalk than the convention. I kept thinking about it and realized that except for two Stampin’Up annual conventions about 20 years ago, I haven’t been to any other conventions. Trade shows yes, conventions no. Full disclosure — I did drive a friend downtown to a Star Trek convention once and drove around the block several times while he ran in to buy a couple of t-shirts. But I didn’t actually go inside so I’m not counting that!
Have you ever been to a convention? Any good stories?
With 4th of July events cancelled all over the country and the current political unrest and unhappiness, it seems hard to celebrate Independence Day with enthusiasm.
For many years, Child and I took part in two parades every 4th – the Tangletown Parade and the Richfield Parade. The Tangletown is a homegrown parade in which kids dress up their bikes and dogs sport their best red, white and blue bandannas in order to follow a firetruck through the neighborhood, followed by a big party at Fuller Park with games, music, face painting and a big picnic. The last few years I’ve gone up to the high school parking lot where the parade starts to see everybody in their finery and then I head home. Then later, YA and I go down to Richfield to watch their more traditional, candy-throwing parade. I got hooked on this parade when YA was in gymnastics and her team was part of the parade line-up.
No parades this year. Richfield unilaterally cancelled all the 4th of July stuff and Tangletown cancelled the parade and party, but is doing a decoration contest and neighborhood scavenger hunt. I hadn’t though about decorating (besides putting out all my flags) because I didn’t really want to put any money into it but then something I saw yesterday changed my mind. In walking Guinevere, we found a house up on the water tower hill that had outdone themselves with their chalk decorations. Their entire driveway was filled with a huge chalked American flag and then the sidewalk all long their property was covered in fireworks. Such a low-cost and low-tech way to decorate – I think I’ll get my chalks out in the morning (before it gets too hot). And I might even have enough Independence Day spirit left over to do the scavenger hunt with Guinevere on our morning walk!
How have you traditionally celebrated the 4th? What’s different this year?
Well, the dog may be happy and the garden is really thriving and my kitchen floor is spectacularly clean, but I can’t say that my lower legs are particularly flourishing with furlough and shelter-in-place.
Two weeks ago I dropped my bow saw putting it away and it scrapped my leg below the knee, so I have seven ½” long wounds, nicely healing but still a bit pink. I have a bruise just below my left knee – I really have no idea how I got that one. I have a nice gash from a rock that whipped its way out of the lawn mower and at least five various pokes from crawling around on mulch while weeding.
The spot that’s bothering me is the bug bite that I got on Thursday – it actually looks like two bites right next to each other, so it probably happened when I kneeled on something, but it itches like the devil and is still red after a few days. Lots of Benadryl gel helps some. Neosporin and a bandaid felt good this morning but I figure I’ve got a couple more days until it’s healed up.
I’m not sure if I should just give up my lucrative leg modeling contract or start wearing long pants while I garden.
Any unintended consequences lately in your life?
Since Monday I have received more than a dozen phone calls and at least twice as many texts from Daughter detailing her observations of her cats’ behaviors and interactions. She is a really good observer of minute interactions, and she tells me about them in great detail. She has applied interventions for improving the acceptance of the kitten by the older cat based on her observations. Our son is equally good at this. Husband and I do it for a living. I think this is really weird.
There must be some genetic thing going on here. Two psychologists, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and Social Worker in one family? I wish I knew what gene it was. The “Keen Observer” gene? The “I Can’t Abide Family Discord” gene? The “Human Behavior is Fascinating ” gene? The “I’m Just Nosy” gene?
How are you similar and dissimilar to your family members? What runs in your family?
Daughter got an 8 week old kitten last night to keep her very needy 3 year old tabby company and, well, because he is adorable. You can see him in the header photo. His name is Percy.
The older cat was not too happy, as you can imagine. She hissed and hid. Daughter is keeping them separated, bonding with Percy while Pippin is locked up, and then lavishing Pippin with love and treats while Percy is locked up. She plans to gradually introduce them this weekend. Pippin is already showing some benign interest in the little one as the day has progressed. The little one is playful and cuddly and wants to climb everything.
We successfully integrated cats and terriers into our home. Our only failure was trying to bring a young Fox Terrier into our home with an elderly Welsh Terrier. The Fox Terrier turned out to be an anxiety biter who attacked the Welshie at every opportunity and who nearly killed the older dog one night. The vet recommended putting the Fox Terrier down, and we did. The whole situation still makes me sad.
What have been your experiences integrating creatures (even two legged ones) into your home?
Guinevere is enjoying her walk every morning. We range through Tangletown, along the Minnehaha Creek Parkway, up and down the streets near our house. Now that we’ve had some rain and warm weather, we have walking by LOTS of greenery. Hostas, wild grape vine, irises, ferns, trillium, lilies, peonies, even creeping charley. But what does Guinevere like? Tall grass. Not short grass, not even a long lawn, but tall grass that occasionally shows up in an untended garden, or in a spot that no one seems to be claiming (like the corner of an alleyway). Whenever we come across tall grass, she always wants to take a chomp. And she never mistakes any of the other abundant greenery for her favorite snack. How does she do this? Is it just the visual cue or does tall grass smell differently? I can’t figure it out.
What item on a buffet can’t YOU resist?
I saw a news story about a high-speed chase in the Seattle yesterday. The owner of the car struck two vehicles before he headed onto the interstate, where he hit speeds as high as 109 mph. At one point he drove on a popular pedestrian trail (luckily nobody was on the trail right then). The police ended up throwing down spikes to end the chase.
During the chase, one officer thought he saw a dog in the driver’s seat and this was confirmed when they finally got the car stopped. A “sweet” pit bull was in the driver’s seat and the car owner was steering from the passenger seat. The news story didn’t say who was controlling the gas pedal. The owner of the car said he was “trying to teach the dog to drive.” The charges filed against him include DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run and felony eluding.
Personally I would rather teach my dog something a little more useful – like changing the sheets on my bed every Saturday or how to mop the kitchen floor.
What would you like your pets to do for YOU?
Last month I informed YA that she couldn’t go with me to Cub if she didn’t wear a mask. At that point I had been making due with bandanas and hair binders, but that apparently offended her sense of style. She eventually decided that my Hawaiian-designed bandana would be OK.
After we got home from the store she informed me that she was going to MAKE her own mask. When she came into my studio to get the sewing machine, I was a little surprised, since I knew full well that she didn’t know how to use it. As she got the machine onto her desk, I realized exactly how much she didn’t know when she called me to show her how to turn it on. I was expecting to spend the next hour explaining everything to her, but she preferred YouTube to my homeschooling. There were only a couple of times that she needed me to fix the bobbins and then the tension. She used an old t-shirt for the mask material and then scavenged the elastic from a pair of old gym shorts. Here is the result (which she did actually wear once):
But it turns out that she likes knowing how to use the sewing machine. Since then she has repaired a pair of pants and she made a “doughnut” for Nimue so the kitty wouldn’t have to have a stiff plastic cone after the surgery. Although the doughnut looks good, Nimue figured out how to get her head loose in about 15 seconds. Now there is talk about other sewing projects this summer!
Have you ever sewn anything for yourself?