Thursday, May 29, 2008


I wanted to let you know what I had for dinner the other night. This is what I was expecting:

MMMMMMM. Yes, I know, where are the veggies? I had veggies for lunch. Anyway, this is what came out of the microwave:

It was watery and salty. There is room for some green beans or broccoli, but sadly, this extra room was instead used for a wayward macaroni noodle. It was a really cheap meal, though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Drab-colored Bird, The Deck Box, and Remembering a Major Disappointment from My Childhood

Here's the drab bird that comes by all the time (left and center birds in the photo; not right, which is the house finch again). According to, it's a house sparrow. Also according to, if there were one more house sparrow on the feeder, it would be called a "blight", a "humiliation", or a "subdivision" of house sparrows. What is it with bird people and their weird names for groups of a species? It's a little contrived.

A correction on my previous entry: I had referred to the bird that throws all the seed on the ground as a "damn American tree sparrow", but I think it's actually a female house finch; the male does it as well. What's a group of house finches? Let me check... a "development" of finches. Fabulous. Give me a frickin' break.

We added an accessory to the deck: In just a few hours over a couple of days, Stanley made this awesome deck box using leftover wood from the deck. I helped a little, mostly by nagging since I have negligible upper body strength and I'm afraid of sharp objects. We finished it yesterday. It's approx. 4' X 2' X 2' and weighs about 4300 pounds. We had some trouble getting it from the garage to the deck. I couldn't lift my end so we put it on little wheeled plant pallets but the wheels broke off. We thought about using the wheelbarrow but I sensed that could be disastrous. We ended up rolling it end-over-end and that worked great. It's right next to the back door. We will put wood in it for the winter so it will be a snap to grab some wood on a cold day, then just refill it from the main pile every week or two. During the summer it can hold garden tools, etc. Perhaps most importantly, it's a place to set stuff down while I'm fumbling for my keys. It's almost too tall to sit on, but not quite. It looks more practical than pretty and has some rough edges so I'm going to add decorative wood molding and appliques here and there.

Check it out, we have honeysuckle. Pink, no less. I didn't know it could be pink; I've only seen it in white.

Honeysuckle was my very first catalogue purchase, and my first major disappointment. I was maybe 8 years old...not too sure. Mom let me pick out what I wanted from the Avon catalogue. I liked the honeysuckle bush in the side yard because it smelled so heavenly and I thought it was cool that you could drink the nectar. So when I saw the honeysuckle perfumed powder, I had to pick it. An eternity later, my order arrived: some other perfumed powder. Not honeysuckle. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. I learned a valuable lesson that day: Don't trust the Avon lady; she'll get it wrong. If I remember rightly, when the honeysuckle powder finally arrived, it didn't smell like honeysuckle. It smelled like perfume.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Birds (First Edition)

I put birdfeeders in the front and back yards. I really like watching the birds. I've seen at least 8 different species, probably more. Here are a few of my favorites: a northern cardinal, a house finch, and an American robin (who is too fat for the feeder and doesn't seem to go after the seeds; he's more into worms). By coincidence, all three pictured birds have red coloring. So I might do four editions of bird blog entries, as I get photos of the yellows, blue (jay), and neutrals. I'm into birds with colors. They please me. I don't mind a drab one now and then. But I don't run and grab the camera when I see one. Hence, no drab bird photos yet.

I didn't know this second one was a house finch until I looked it up on this bird identifier site. It's actually a pretty cool site, when it works. The more info you give it, the shorter the list of birds you have to pick from, but the more likely you have eliminated the correct one from the list. Also, it took me a few tries to figure out all the functionality.

Time to refill the feeder in front. it takes about a week for it to empty; it would take longer except the damn American tree sparrows throw 20 seeds on the ground for every one they eat. Wasteful.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Tulips

Little sprouts poked out of the ground in the front yard just as the last of the snow melted a few weeks ago. They got taller each day, and when Janis and Grover visited, Janis suggested they might be tulips. I can't remember if they started to bloom that weekend or not. I absolutely love them.

One weekend I was sitting on the sofa, looking out the window. To my great dismay, a boy around 8 or 10 yrs old walked up and started picking tulips. I ran out and caught him in the act; he started to run but then inexplicably stopped right in front of me, holding the tulips, as if hoping that maybe this was a better choice than running away. All it did was give me a chance to say in a really strange voice, "Don't pick people's flowers." I sounded like Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala, or maybe Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings. "One ring to rule them all." I then tightened my lips into an angry half-smile. The little boy said "Okay." I felt so scary and mean. But mostly I was angry and hurt that my gorgeous tulips could have all disappeared if I hadn't happened to be looking out the window at that moment.

But it doesn't matter what happens to them now, because I have photos, and apparently they are going to come back year after year and there is nothing I have to do to make it happen.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Deck

We built a deck in the back yard. Here is a before picture:

About six weeks ago Stanley and Jorge took a sledgehammer to the back steps, and then 3 weeks ago Stanley and his dad finished the destruction with a jackhammer.

The day after the jackhammer, we used a very large hand tool and a bunch of scientists to dig 48" post holes. We decided "Ph.D." stands for "post-hole digger".

Posts in the ground:

Cement poured and headers in place (the front and back headers would eventually be lowered but were placed higher to facilitate the posts setting properly in the cement):

Headers positioned and joists installed:

Steps built and most of the decking boards attached:

All done!

Just needs some furniture, barriers, plants on and around it, etc. I love it! Tell me you love it too! It's so nice to walk up the steps and open the door without having to worry about falling back down the steps or trying negotiate the stair rail. I can't wait to get it all set up and looking livable. I think it ended up being just the right size for the house, yard, and for what we plan to put on it.

About this post: Let me know if the layout or image size or whatever needs to be improved. Upon checking it, I think the photos could be bigger and scrolling through all those photos and text is a bit awkward. Also I know some photos are centered and some are left-justified. I'm too lazy to fix it.

Good night!

Let's Try This Again

I tried this "blogger" format last year and I can't remember why I didn't stick with it. Oh I think it was because I missed the avatar and I felt loyal to Yahoo. I don't feel that way anymore. I'm so fickle. Maybe this new format won't work for whatever reason; if so, I'll go back to Yahoo. Meanwhile, I would be happy to get your feedback, particularly about whether you run into problems with the site.

I have to eat dinner and then I'll catch you up on my life for the past month.