Readin’, Writin’, and Recuperatin’

I’m happy to report that The Old Man aka my father came through the operation with flying colors. And I seem to be well, too.

“Seem” being the main verb.

March 2017 will go down in local history as the Month of Pestilence. My colleagues at The Young Human Factory were dropping like flies, succumbing to every virus and bacteria our young humans brought us. When the rascals weren’t incubating more diseases, they were raising pets like lice and Scarcoptes scabiei.

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Dealing with the Budgetary Crisis

No, not Congress. La crisis presupuestaria de la Casa de Tontería. To non-Spanish speakers: Need mo’ money in da House o’ Nonsense, eh? (I added the last word so Canadian and Yooper readers would understand.)

Last week, I got one bid (and another pending) to replace the driveway and the walk. The previous neighbors had trees growing right at the edge of the drive, which heaved the concrete. The husband was reluctant to cut them down until I pointed out that they would undermine his own house’s foundation.

Since they left and the bank sold the house, the decaying roots caused the cement to tip sideways, creating a dam where the downspouts pour out.  The summer has been very dry, but marked by torrential storms that made a shallow pool between our houses. Not only was the tar-like sealant washing away, but air bubbled up when even a child on a bike crossed the drive.

The walkway problem is typical for the builder, known affectionately as Jerkface MacGuyver.  Because the backfill around the foundation wasn’t properly tamped, the soil has compacted and the concrete tipped. Now the sidewalk leading to the front step tilts toward the house. As with the driveway, it pours water toward the foundation.

I had money set aside for the Garage Plan (a three-year project so well-thought out and  thus far so well-executed, government project planners would weep over their relative incompetence. Not that I’m bragging. I’m merely stating the facts with a sneer.).  Since I envisioned a new driveway leading to the garage, I felt comfortable using funds for this masonry project. I still have time to add to the Garage Fund.

Or so I thought. Continue reading

2016 DIY Writer’s Summer Camp

Monday marked the first day of summer, which serendipitously was the first day of summer vacation  (which I spent most of it at work with colleagues moving books & furniture, naturally!) Yesterday was an unwinding day, so today – TODAY! – is the first day of my DIY Writer’s Summer Camp.

For those of you who want to join in, here’s what I’m doing this week:

  • Reading  The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen for help organizing time and space. No, not SPACE the final frontier – my desk and filing spaces will suffice.
  • Working on my boy-meets-robot novel. Happily, I discovered back-up copies of some lost files, including a character I’d excised who solves problems I’ve been having with making the narrator more likeable.
  • Studying Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game for structure; e.g. chapter length and plot points.




Squirrels* don’t like crocus bulbs. I don’t know if they taste bitter – the bulbs, not the squirrels – or if they’re poisonous. All I know is that in the fall, I kept finding bulbs lying in the yard and having to replant them.

However, not all the bulbs were abandoned. Squirrels like to bury acorns, and crocus bulbs are about the same size, so…

There are crocuses in the oddest places.  There’s a beautiful one in the front lawn, all by itself. It has pale lavender petals with dark purple veins. Then there’s two or three yellow ones near each other in the loose dirt where the oak stump was ground down.

A lot of purple ones appear near the fence. I can see them from my bedroom window. I believe those came from the front flowerbed.

But the bright orange-yellow crocus that’s sticking up from the wood chips under the birdfeeder? That’s not one of mine. I suspect a particularly industrious critter carried it there from the neighbor’s behind the fence.

Too bad the squirrels don’t have an instinct for weeding and deadheading!


*M’e the Fashionista dubbed them “demon rats” when we subletted in a house infested with them.

First Day of Spring

I had plans for today: sleep in until 7, be at church by 8, and afterwards head to the Factory for a few extra hours of work.

Instead, the birds woke me about an hour before sunrise. After a quiet winter, the cacophony is atrocious: squawks and chirrups, with only a few warbling notes to add a pleasant sound. The birds grew louder because they flew closer. By the time I crawled out of bed, there were grackles and redwing blackbirds having a party in the backyard. Continue reading