Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting for the Third Shoe...

First, there was the erroneous charge of $151 appearing on my credit card. Then there was the letter from the Colorado Department of Revenue informing me that I owe over five hundred bucks in state income tax. Including over thirty dollars in penalties! When I didn't earn enough in 2016 to pay federal income tax! And I filed a Colorado form! To add to this mouldering heap, the state website is nearly non-navigable! I tried to set up an account so I could file a protest but it demanded information that I would have to go to a previous page to obtain. And if I left the current page, everything I had already entered would be lost. So I opened a second tab in order to access both pages at the same time but the site would not allow me to do that. Is it Monday?

Post-Eclipse Ruminations

It's just killing me that last night I drove through the Wyoming path of eclipse totality and didn't stop for the night so I could experience that very thing today. Viewing at home was predicted at about 94% and I incorrectly thought that would be much more significant than it was. It seems that even 99% doesn't compare with totality. Well, damn. What I did experience was interesting, though. For about 15 minutes there was a weird, twilightish glow outdoors and inside the house the light level was similar to that of near sundown. Crickets chirped, the breeze died down, and there was a definite drop in temperature. Even with the long lead time to the event, I neglected to obtain eclipse glasses so that I could view what was going on up in the sky. I was watching NASA's coverage online and the diamond ring effect was spectacular! I continued to listen to NPR's coverage into the afternoon. Making plans for 2024 now! With seven years of prep time, maybe I'll get it right. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stand Against Racism and Hate

The current administration is inspiring to artists. Magazine covers would be dull indeed were it not for unrest and ignorance and politics. I, for one, could use a little peace and quiet. But these are exceedingly clever. When do we get to look back on this time as a brief nightmare in history?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Challenged Fashionista

Earlier this summer I went on a bit of a rant about a certain type of garment. My fashion challenged self has recently learned that these are called cold shoulders tops/sweaters/dresses. I still think it's a dumb idea. We'll wear anything, won't we?

The Best Thing I've Seen All Day



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Yes, Please

I am tickled pink to tell you that I have found a bathtub. A deep, soaking, pedestal bathtub. Not only will it fit in my tiny bathroom, it will fit through my minuscule twenty-four inch bathroom door! This means that very little destruction will be necessary for next year's bathroom redo. The website won't let me swipe pics, so a link to the pics will have to do. Only one more winter without comforting, steamy baths. This knowledge leaves me deeply happy.


This Week in America


This is free speech, girls and boys. Hateful and vile as it can be, white supremacism is alive and well in this country today. And I don't care if this image is photoshopped. It illustrates so well how people of color have been mistreated here in stark and painful candor. In the background, we see the ugly underbelly of anger and hatred revealed. In the foreground we see the integrity, tolerance, and professional demeanor of a police officer who happens to be black. This is a shameful and revealing moment, captured with succinct bluntness, either by a witness to the event or a photo editor who wanted to make a point. Either way, shame on any American who supports or applauds this sort of behavior.      

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Your Snortlaugh for Today


Don't think too hard about this one.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Senator Mazie Hirono



The Twang is the Thang

I've gotten in trouble for this on social media, but only with people who aren't aware of my personal story. So. I'll admit this freely. I have an inherent mistrust of men with a Southern accent. This distrust has its roots in the fact that my father is from Mississippi. His mellifluous way of speaking is initially disarming, it makes you drop your guard and listen intently. Initially would be the operative word here. After a while, no matter how charming the delivery, when you listen to the words the whole thing falls flat. Because it has become clear that his words and his actions have a serious disconnect. He flat out lies. About anything and everything. According to my dear departed mother, he was in the habit of telling a lie when the truth would serve him better. The thing with my dad is that he confessed to me in a boozy haze when I was nineteen that he was completely aware of the fact that he was a liar. That he could charm people to get whatever he wanted. Charm them. Tell them what they wanted to hear. This seemed to be less an unburdening of the conscience than a boastful description of a magical quality he was blessed with. This information sank into my teenage brain only to surface on pretty much every subsequent occasion when I had a conversation with my father. I recognized that he had given me a valuable gift. I had a filter to pass every word through that he told me from that point on. And like it or not, I recall what he has told me in his Southern accented voice, and I associate that sound with the lies contained within. I am happy to say there are a number of men from the American South that I love and trust. Exceptions to the rule are my dear Papa Larry, President Jimmy Carter, and Vice-President Al Gore. Lately my red flags have been flying like crazy! Every time I hear the current Attorney General speak I narrow my eyes and want to scream. Maybe he's a liar, or maybe he just has a poor memory. Maybe he's just not all that bright. All I know is, Southern accent or not, the content of what he says is laden with enough narrow-minded, discriminatory ideas that if enforced, are capable of setting us all back a century or more. I don't know about you, but this isn't the sort of time travel I'm interested in experiencing.

Monday Doesn't Work For Me



Monday, August 7, 2017

Swabbing, I Mean Scraping, The Deck

In my second afternoon of paint scraping it started to rain. The cooler weather is conducive to the task. The rain, however, is not. Except that it gets in under the paint that's still there and helps loosen it up. But then leaves the wood soft and vulnerable to damage from the scraping tools. Tomorrow is another day. I have chosen colors in the event that I ever get around to the actual painting. A nice creamy beige in a shade to coordinate with the brick on the house for horizontal surfaces accented with white for the vertical components. A similar paint job will be executed on the garden shed. I'm still committed to painting the front door a deep red. Maybe purple? Okay, so I'm not so committed. A pox on anyone who even considers throwing latex paint on top of a stained surface. I have earned a beer.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Portrait of #45 and Steve Bannon


B. Kliban sees over forty years into the future.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Scream, You Scream

Allow me to interrupt your Saturday morning with this fascinating bit of information. You know that debilitating pain you suffer when eating ice cream or drinking an ice-chilled beverage too quickly? It's called ice cream headache by some, brain freeze by others. But the correct, scientific term for this phenomenon is sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia. Trying to pronounce that is enough to make your brain hurt.

Friday, August 4, 2017

WTF, Blogger?

Somebody is toying with the algorithms. That's my not so educated guess. Some days I check my stats much too much. It's a distraction from weeding or cleaning up the mess in the kitchen or scooping cat poop. Gee, I wonder how many page views I have? Or, which post is leading in views? Earlier this week, I woke up to more than four hundred overnight page views! That was pretty exciting. The next couple of days were average numbers-wise, but then yesterday we were stuck at 200 all afternoon. Which made me refresh the page numerous times. Because you never know, clicking on the refresh button might actually do something to nudge the numbers along. Today's grand total was fifteen. Fifteen! Pitiful. Just pitiful. If it's accurate! And two and a half hours into the next day, we are stuck at 2. Two! Good grief, Charlie Brown! Get this sorted so I can be less obsessed. Thank you.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bespectacled Me


Disapproving


Decisive


Awkward Selfie

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Ant-i-Arachnid


Yes, it's plastic. Some sort of arachnid/ant hybrid thingy. Still, it freaked me out plenty when I fed Newton this afternoon. Because I didn't see it until the container was open and my hand was much too close to the ungodly thing. There. Right there. Of  course I slammed the lid back on and latched it as quickly as an old woman having a heart attack is able to. I'm fine now. Really. 

Don't Overlook Clover


Behold! A lawn of dwarf clover! Foot friendly, drought and disease resistant, low maintenance, easy to grow, chokes out weeds! Once considered a noxious weed, dwarf clover is becoming popular as a lawn plant. This is the answer to my dead backyard lawn. All I need to do is hire someone to come in and level out the ground and the rest I will be able to do. Are you weary of caring for a traditional, high-maintenance lawn? Here is where I found information. I'll let you know how this goes, though to be honest, it sounds almost too good to be true.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Late July

As my birthday month wraps up, I have to say that it was a good one. From attending a rodeo to attending a concert at Red Rocks, I have to say I was suitably entertained. I had a lovely party! And Miss Andrea was here for a few days to help me celebrate. I bought a way cool hat. Really, I did. Eventually I'll post a photo. The icing on the cake was Reid becoming gainfully employed once more. I still choke a bit on the number sixty, but with any luck that will become easier. I do have eleven months to practice. On with summer! August, I am ready.

The Red Rocks Experience

So. I saw Lyle Lovett last week at Red Rocks. Excellent concert! Though if I had the ear of Mr. Lovett for just a moment, I'd complain just the teensiest bit about how many songs he gave up on the playlist for other band members and guests to perform.  By my estimate, he could have filled the air with another six or seven songs from his immense backlog of material. Which would have made me happy indeed. After all, I was there to hear him play his songs! And it was a little disappointing that he didn't close the show with his song, Closing Time, if only because the subject matter is so fitting. I think my favorite moments of the show were when various members of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the opening act, and other special guests, joined in for a couple of terrific jams. I have always loved NGDB, so many of their songs are part of my life's soundtrack. Then there was this surreal moment when they were performing their 1983 hit, Dance Little Jean. My mom also loved NGDB, and she would break out in the chorus of that song from time to time in my honor. My middle name is Jean, and she always seemed to connect my middle name with me more than my first name. I welled up with tears while they sang Dance Little Jean, and found that I was unconsciously fingering the bracelet I was wearing on my right arm. A beautiful silver bracelet that had been my mother's. At the song's conclusion, I applauded in appreciation for the sweet memory that it had brought up in me, and felt the bracelet break loose and fall to the ground. It was still light outside and I found it easily just in front of my seat. As I picked it up I noticed the clasp had broken. It was as though Edna was right there with me for a moment, and was letting me know she enjoyed the song, too. I believe that objects can take on the spirit and personality of their owners, something that can linger for years after owner and object have parted ways. Mom had personality to spare, and a little of it must have rubbed off during the numerous times she wore that bracelet. When I wear it, I feel a little like she's along for the ride. i really need to get it fixed.
  

Just When You Think...

You know how it is. You wait a long time for something, years even. And this thing, whatever it might be, takes on proportions in your mind that could maybe be unattainable. No matter how great the thing is once it arrives, it was so long anticipated with delight and fervor, that the experience itself is somehow anticlimactic. Not bad, certainly better than okay, but somehow diminished and surreal. Sort of in the same way that a juicy I told you so! just doesn't provide the satisfaction you thought it might. Maybe looking a little deeper within is where the answer lies. So there! moments seem to be tainted, if even only the tiniest bit, by bitterness and rancor. And that tiny bit of venom takes the shine off even a much anticipated, much longed for event. I just had a grownup moment. At this rate, I might just get there in another thirty years or so.
  

Ladies and Gents, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band


Opening act, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on stage.  


Special guest, mandolin player extraordinaire, Sam Bush.


Mr Lovett and his large band take the stage. Though, honestly, at this level of blur, it could be anyone.


Lyle Lovett, singer, guitar player, and fast dancer. Dances so fast he cannot be captured with a regular camera.



Maybe it's not just me. Even their press photo is a little out of focus. And I'm guessing this photographer was way closer than I was up in the 38th row.

Red Rocks


Yes, that is the Denver downtown skyline in the background.


Red Rocks to my left.


Red Rocks to my further left.


The people behind me may have paid a little less for their tickets, but they had to climb higher and breathe thinner air.


Pirate guy, or rather, a guy wearing a pirate themed tshirt in front of me.


Red rocks to my right.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Based on Your Taste in Music You’re Thirty-two! Share Your Result!


Not only is the age way off, though I'm deeply flattered, but the quiz also thinks I'm a bearded man who has an iPhone. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong on all counts. I must stop wasting two to three minutes per week on these dopey quizzes. Based on the answer for this one, they're totally bogus. Bordering on fake. Seriously, I don't have nearly that many granny hairs poking out of my chin.

A Long Time Ago...


...in another college town, in another state, there was a curious boy who knew just what to do to see an image of a solar eclipse. Sigh. Sometimes I miss this little tow-headed guy. He turned out to be a pretty terrific grownup, though, so I'm glad I had so much time with him when he was growing up.

Move Along, Nothing Happening Here

I have submitted a poetry collection in a contest. There are cash prizes and opportunities for being published. Now all we can do is wait. That is all I will say. Now forget you read this. I already have. 

Not Cool

What kind of HVAC repair guy shows up, cuts wires in the condenser unit while you're not looking, tells you your AC has been vandalized, leaves the service panel off with wires and parts strewn about, and then says two of his guys will be back in a couple of hours to fix it? You guessed it! The shitty kind. My skeptical red flag was flying high. I was thinking, what kind of idiot would sneak up close to my house, in plain view through the patio door, remove the service panel on the inside corner closest to the house, expertly and neatly clip the wires that have the least juice coursing through them, then yank the wires running into the house, replace the service panel, and be on his merry way? An idiot with knowledge of AC systems with a sick sense of humor and more stealth than a ninja, that would be my guess. Oh, and, yes, you're right. The shitty guy's employees never showed up. The shitty guy never called me to apologize. I expect they probably saw the terrific HVAC guy's truck out in front of my house and thought better of stopping to check on the situation. Sue knows all the great service people in the area, and she gave me her HVAC guy's number. He showed up and had the AC back in service in about half an hour. And didn't charge me a dime. The thing is, he knows the shitty guy and the sort of antics he has engaged in. If the shitty guy ever shows up or calls, I'll tell him where to send the payment for fixing my AC. What a jerk.


Happy Plants


Purple Coneflowers



Gerbera Daisy


Begonias in a Pink Flamingo Planter

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Speaking of Hats...

Hats created by Little Millinery Shop on the Prairie. 

Gone are the days when you weren't considered properly dressed to go out in public unless you were wearing a hat. Please meet South Dakota spinsters, Julia and Anna Anderson. They were the sisters of my ex-husband's maternal grandfather. I believe this photo was made sometime in the nineteen-teens. Yes, if you did the math, that is approximately one hundred years ago. I have no idea if the fancy hats and coats were their own garments or if they were provided by the photography studio. All I know is, these are really freaking great hats.  

The Ya-ya Sisterhood of the Northern Plains.

If I am not mistaken, this is a posse of wild, reckless teenage girls on their senior trip in 1949. That is my mother, Edna, on the left. An earlier, more innocent version of Thelma & Louise, they were looking for a little excitement in South Dakota's Black Hills upon graduating from high school in Alamo, North Dakota. Mom is wearing a white hat, so I'm guessing she fell in with a bad crowd of black-hat-sporting wayward girls and fell under their influence. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I'll stop at three movie references. You're welcome.

My New Favorite Word


Also, the outfits. These are some pretty fab metal mesh dresses. And the phallic helmets. I wish we could see the shoes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Smile!

I have been to the dentist. Because I'm a grownup and do grownup things. Also because it's been over two years. And since it's a new practice trying to establish regular patients, I had an exam and cleaning for the bargain price of sixty bucks. They took lots of x-rays and digital pics of my teeth. Even one of those fancy orbital x-rays that I had to remove my glasses and all five earrings for. Everything is fine except I have a tiny cavity. Which means I need to do another grownup thing. Shop for dental insurance. If you ask me, it's much more fun to shop for shoes.

My Fairy Garden

If you will recall, last summer I had just one pot of flowers for the fairies to play in. Well, so many showed up I had to give them a larger space.


In the southeast corner of the backyard, under the cloud tree, which has turned out to be some sort of apple tree, is the location.


The tiny house with a stepping-stone path has returned from last year.


It's important to put up a sign and give them a place to sit and rest so they know they're welcome.


We have a pond. I expect they'll be asking for a boat, now, and possibly tiny fishing rods to catch the fairy fish within it. There will be a strict catch-and-release policy. 


With fairies about, inevitably a witch will show up, so I thought she would need a house, too.


Be careful what you wish for when tossing a coin into the well!


Colorful, light scattering, wind whirlies provide a festive mood. They were given to me by my neighbor, Sarah. She understands the importance of fun.

Oh, The Tomatoes!


My tomato thicket.


Baby heirloom with blossoms.


More baby 'maters.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Glamorous Life

Yes, it's been over a week. Yes, I've been busy. The neverending yard work. Though the yard is looking much better. Plants are where they ought to be. Weeds are still where they oughtn't be, but that's the nature of weeds. Last week, naturally in the middle of a heat wave, the air conditioning went kaput. Then there was getting it fixed. Which shouldn't be an interesting story, but, oddly, is. In between those things, Reid has been busy interviewing for a job and getting hired. Go, Reid! Today was his first day of training. Then I had some goof-off time playing trivia at Syntax and trotting down to Red Rocks for a concert. I have been having issues with my computer shutting down due to heat problems so I was researching cooling platforms. Today I deployed my new Massive V20 Notebook Cooler With Large 200mm LED Fan*. Really. That's the name. It was rated well and glows with a pretty blue light. For fifteen bucks, it seems to be doing the job although I still need the bullet fan aimed at the back to increase air flow. Plus I'm putting together a poetry contest submission which I hope to send off before the end of the month. When August arrives I shall focus on stripping the peeling paint off the deck so it can be sanded and repainted. It's not a very big deck. And it gets a whole month! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. How was your week?

*Did that description remind anyone else of Marvin the Martian's Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator? Bet it does now...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Yo-Ho-Ho And a Bottle!



Of rum, children, in case you hadn't guessed. The bottle of rum to the left, a light, sweet, Brazilian variety that is particularly well-suited for the making of caipirinhas, was given to me by a man who wished to demonstrate his affection for me. Also likely to prove that he had paid attention to things that I mentioned I enjoy and earn brownie points. That was three years ago. I am no longer interested in this man. As far as the friends with benefits arrangement goes, he has proven to be spectacular in the, ahem, benefits part but abysmally lacking as far as the friends component is concerned. Now we move on to the bottle of rum on the right. A spiced variety sporting a deep-sea, pirate-y theme. The Kraken arrived on my birthday. It was presented to me, in a gift bag!, by a man I can't for the world figure out, so I have decided to just go with it. This was a man that I wavered on inviting in the first place, then considered removing him from the invitation because in this newfangled electronic age, I could see that he had not yet perused it, then the next thing I knew he had accepted. We met a year ago and it seems he has been a bit of a hermit over the winter. He flirts mercilessly with me on Facebook and says witty, mildly inappropriate things to me in person. He stuck around for champagne and pound cake with lemon sorbet and strawberries. I have no idea what any of this means. Or how it may turn out. All I know is, a couple of fellows I have been interested in romantically have given me a bottle of rum. The first is out of the picture, the current one baffles me. Do I have to wait for a third guy bearing rum to complete that whole three-times-the-charm thing? I'm not going to give this any more thought. I am, however, in the market for spiced rum drink recipes. If you have a favorite, do share it in the comments. Release the Kraken!