Secret Lives of Insects

I took a couple mini vacations and returned to an undisturbed Casa de Tontería.

Or so I thought.

Yesterday I spied a strange sight near the bathroom door: a tiny artsy mobile shivering in the wake of my passing. I put my glasses on and took a closer look.

Gossamer threads sported teeny husks of insects.

Yuck! I tolerate most insects outdoors, but indoors, no. But an exterminator could make them no deader than they are.

It’s been very dry for over a week – just a half day of rain – and various creatures have been seeking water. As they came up through some hairline opening along the bathroom doorframe, a spider awaited.

Plus teeny flies – we call them “sink flies” – came out as the pipes dried. They lived and died while I was away, their bodies lying in the basin until I scrubbed my hands and washed them out.

I imagine them throwing parties, getting drunk, and taking things too far while the landlady was away. I hope they had fun.

And I’m firing up the vacuum in case I find any stragglers.

 

 

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My Year of No Buying… April Fools!

Sorry about that. Also, Happy Easter and Felices Pascuas!**

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Last week my favorite puertorriqueño gave me a couple of suggestions, including that I jump on the “Year of No Spending” bandwagon and give details.

“It is going to be very funny if you do,” he wrote.

After considerable thought, I decline. First, I have a tendency to focus on a task to the exclusion of everything else, including sleep and common sense. Second, I foresee having to spend a bundle on certain home replacements in the future.

Case in point: I awoke one night thinking cats were fighting outside my window. No, it was the fan of my furnace screeching. It has subsided, but it’s only a matter of time…

However, I am intrigued by the idea of tracking my expenses. I did that 2013 in order to create a better budget on a “frozen” salary.

I have done a month of low-spending.

And a few years ago I followed a Canadian blogger who challenged herself to live as cheaply as possible. Each month she posted the results as a spreadsheet as well as a tally by category.  As I recall, she ended one year with less than CA$5,000 in expenses. I admired her experiment and wished she’d left her blog up for future reference. She had some oddball tricks that couldn’t be done by just anyone, such as moving across Ontario one summer to an off-season dorm room and being paid in food to babysit a young relative. But she also had great tips on simple one-bowl meals and entertainment.

So maybe I could track my spending and add it to my monthly updates. (And yes, I know the March update is due. But it’s a holiday!)


** Note to anyone thinking of telling me that “Easter” is derived from a pagan goddess called Esther (the nemesis of a god named Fred Sanford):

Everyone knows the English liked to apply their old words to new things; e.g. the North American orange-breasted robin is a delightfully musical thrush named after a shrill, squeaky flycatcher native to Europe and Africa.  (The photo above is of a North American robin’s nest and its distinctive blue eggs. It’s a free-use WordPress photo because the nearest nest appears to be in the upper reaches of my maple.)

Outside the Anglocentric view, the words for today’s holiday are variations on “Passover”,  such as Pascua in Spanish.  Even in English, the Resurrection of Christ is called “The Paschal Mystery.”

If you feel the need to argue, let us focus on food names. We can ramble at length about squashes known as either courgette, zucchini, calabacita, OR zapallito. But do NOT get me started on turnips, Swedes, and rutabagas!

Diaries, blogs, and bon mots

I spent quite some time over the last 39 days digging through bookshelves, boxes, and cupboards. I kept coming across old diaries, snippets of writing, and the like. Some things are timeless and I immediately thought “This would make a good blog post!”

And then I came across some unfinished cartoons that I meant to use on my first blog. Yes, I used to draw cartoons. In fact, I won an award in high school for the best editorial cartoon (I can’t recall what category).

And yes, I had a blog before this. In fact, this is my third.

Two blogs ago, I was “famous” enough to have real-life repercussions from a former student’s mother. It wasn’t as if I wrote about her child or even about work. It was merely that every small town has a contingent of gossips and a photo of me enjoying wine with friends was “proof” that I’m a drunken lesbian.

“My client pleads guilty to the lesser charge of fun at parties, Your Honor.”

” I see no evidence of that. Case dismissed.”

A blog ago, I paid for a nom de plume and no ads. I ended up with more spammers than readers. I deleted that blog and signed up for a free account. Now, since everyone and their grandfather has a blog (not to mention vlog), mine is nicely obscure.

Posting on a blog is a bit like writing in a diary, except that a diary entry is usually uncensored and doesn’t attempt to polish up the boring or ugly bits.

On the other hand, diaries would be better if they had categories and tags like a blog post.  I can’t tell you how disconcerting it was to read an epiphany I had in 2008 – which I promptly forgot – had again in subsequent years!

That epiphany? Well, over the years I reworded it, but it goes like this:

The worst pains in my life are self-inflicted.

And that, Dear Diary and Reader, is the unvarnished truth.

40 Days, 40 Bags… oh, boy!

There are thirteen days left in Lent (not including today) and I have eighteen bags to go. A certain someone who will be known as Kiko thinks I won’t make it.

Yes. I. Will.

The hardest bags (actually boxes) are filled and gone: books and art supplies. I thought long and hard about how much reading and painting I do versus how much I dream of doing. 

I was reminded of a personal organizer who worked in the Detroit Metro area. She said – and I paraphrase based on memory – that people were haunted by reminders of their old hobbies and felt relieved when they gave those tools and supplies away. I mostly feel sad that those activities have fallen by the wayside on this crazy road of life.

 

Five Quick Links

I like to check out the blogs of people who have followed, liked or commented on mine.  Sometimes I end up following them, too, particularly if their blogs differ in theme or style from mine.

Here are some recent posts that I liked. As you can see, I appreciate photobloggers!

  • Cindy Knoke’s beautiful photos of Patagonia.  She takes beautiful wildlife photos. I asked her if she had photographed any ducks, of which there are a wide variety in Argentina.
  • Tiny House of Steel recently posted an update video of their namesake.
  • Derrick Knight has another photo-filled post, this time about Heath Robinson.
  • The writer and teacher Charles French has been featuring re-blogs of his students’ blog posts which are quite good. However, I began following him for his themed quotes posts, like this one about teaching.
  • Anthony Vicino gave a list of his top books of last year.

Freebies and Fails

I’m putting the Freebies right here for the TL/DR crowd:

  1. The SFFwaudio Podcast. I like SF and I love G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, so I’m enjoying listening to the audio version and looking forward to hearing the podcast discussing it.
  2. Instant Pot Recipes at Allrecipes.com is giving me an overview of my intimidating birthday gift, which I haven’t used yet.

The recent three days of snow have made me grateful (yet again) for kind neighbors and profoundly covetous of their garages. I have to remind myself that I can survive another winter without one, unlike a furnace or a water heater. Continue reading

The Factory is closed but the work continues…

I went to the Young Human Factory yesterday. The custodians and technical staff are making repairs and updates while production is down.  I did a few things, like data entry and uploading a letter of recommendation. But the heating system isn’t working properly – I covet those open-tipped gloves of Bob Cratchet – so I left after a few hours.

Today I’ll drop off some paperwork and bring a few things home. I had a dream once of Separation of Work and Casa, but the dreams of innocent girls whither in the chill of reality.