Friday, July 31, 2009

And so the excitement begins...

Whee. Phone rings. I answer. I hear breathing, but no response to my "hello?" So I hang up. Phone rings again. More breathing, no response to hello, the breathing stops, and they disconnect.

Could it be the neighbour's drunk inlaws? An wrong number? The ex, just to annoy me? (Although I can't see him wasting his quarters, even if he *is* really bored in jail.)

Hellooooooo?

I miss caller ID already.

Since When Do I Live In A Soap Opera?

Today the "sperm donor" called from jail, wanting to talk to my neighbour. When she refused, he tried to argue his case to me.

My response: Perhaps you should have thought of the consequences before you pushed her in the bushes the other day, and then came into the building uninvited (after throwing rocks at her window) and rattled her doorknob so hard that it unlocked. (It will no longer stay locked.) At any rate, I'm just the neighbour, and she said she didn't want to talk to you. Perhaps you should argue your case to the police, or consult a lawyer.

*sigh*

In other exciting news, my phone has decided to have "battery low" issues when the battery is fine. (When my grandma first started having these problems, I loaned her my previous phone while my brother sorted out her phone. She decided she liked my phone better, so we swapped. I wonder if I still have my brother's e-mails where we discussed the phone and how to fix it... I really don't want to buy a new phone right now! I have a backup, but it's corded.)

Hmmm... in addition to being corded, my backup phone also doesn't have call display, thus foiling my plan of not answering if my neighbour's ex or inlaws call. (From jail, he shows up as "MTS Payphone", and the inlaws show up as "Private Number.")

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Song Lyrics

The following lyrics by Tania Davis are stuck in my head today:
art, art i want you
art you make it pretty hard not too
and my heart is trying hard here to follow you
but i can't always tell if i ought to
If you'd like them stuck in your head too, you can get this song on her webpage.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cleaning

The two main rules of cleaning:
1. No matter how much you clean, there will always be more that needs cleaning.
2. By the time you clean everything (should you ever manage that), something that you started with has gotten dirty again. (See Rule #1.)

Recent (re)observations:
1. A sink scrubbed with Comet and a scrubby pad is a lovely sight.
2. I should not be allowed near cleaning products that contain bleach. (Luckily the spots on my favourite tank top and good shorts aren't *too* noticeable.)

Cleaning accomplished this weekend:
1. The aforementioned sink.
2. Most of the dishes.
3. Two thirds of the livingroom floor plus baseboards (furniture-moving sweeping and moping) as well as the kitchen floor and baseboards (swept and swiffer mopped, I still need to try the various things I plan to try to rejuvenate the crappy tile). The kitchen baseboards could use some scrubbing, but as it was already past my bedtime on Sunday night, I didn't.
4. Laundry. (Happens every weekend.)

Well, I think I'll go play with my new hula hoop for a few minutes before continuing with cleaning.

Drama

Phew, off the hook with the gardening:
Hi A,

This was the longest email I think I have ever received, but I like your ideas. You're right, J may become upset if you remove the tree from in front of his window but you do raise some very good points. I will print out your email and pass it over to J, this way he will be able to read it over and over and get a good idea of what you are doing or plan to do. I'm all in favor of beautifying the area, so go for it but let me talk to J first before removing the trees.

Thanks,
M

In other news, I have a couple of neighbours I'd like to kick in the shins and be done with. (*sigh*)

First off, Mr Party-of-One was being a nuisance Saturday night... there was no problem when I went to bed, but I woke up to not-cigarette smoke smell in my apartment in the middle of the night. (I checked outside, and there was no one "smoking" outside that I could see.) I can't remember if it was then or later (or earlier?) that the music first started... it wasn't too loud, but it was still annoying. A few hours later I hear a noise, and looking outside, I see a pizza delivery person. Hmmm... someone get some 4 am munchies from "not-cigarette" smoking? A while later, I awaken to the sound of retching. Still no sign of someone outside, so once again I suspect my downstairs neighbour with open windows. (In addition to smoking in a building that switched to non-smoking before he moved in, he also has a cat... and the landlord and/or caretaker didn't want pets either.)

I can't remember if it was Saturday or Sunday, but I saw a group of people from the building next door smoking in a way that suggested pot as well. (They were well away from my windows, so thankfully I didn't have to smell it, but I suspect they were where they were so they'd be less visible.)

Finally, Single Mom and Sperm Donor are both trying to get me on their side. Frankly? If I were one of them, I never would have had a relationship with the other. I am on the kids' side. Given what I've seen from the two of them, I'd pick the mom over the dad, even though she's not perfect either. Plus, I have to live next to the mom. However, at the moment I wouldn't mind giving them both a kick in the shins and tell them to smarten up. Frankly, I know I don't know the whole story, but I also know that I don't really want to. I would like the kids to grow up in a healthy environment, but I know that I'm not the one that can provide it. Maybe, if they're lucky, they'll get some benefit from the time they spend with me. I hope they do. *sigh*

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lee Valley

Ooooo... Lee Valley has a lawn edger! I wonder if this sucker would stand up to Red River gumbo? (If it didn't, it would be a pretty expensive experiment...)

Drama in Gardening

Copy of an e-mail I sent my landlord, edited slightly (M is my landlord, J is the caretaker):
Hi M!

Looks like there may have been some miscommunication between you, J, and me. A while back I asked if it was okay if I weeded and edged around the existing plantings, and you said yes. When I saw J, he asked if I was going to plant flowers, I said that wasn't my plan. He said he'd like it if I planted flowers. Then quite a bit of time passed before I had time to do any gardening here... I was busy with other things, and gardening at my mom's, dad's, and elderly neighbour's. Recently I had the opportunity to get some perennials for here, so I started planting them here. Today when I was planting a few more, J saw me, and asked me if I had your permission. I was confused, because I thought he had asked me to plant flowers. He said he thought I was going to plant them in the back, but he liked what I had done.

So I guess I'm now belatedly asking permission to plant flowers. I'm sorry I hadn't asked before, but I was under the impression that J had asked me to plant flowers, and planting flowers (properly) requires digging flower beds.

Here's what I've done so far, to the left of the front door:
IMG_2233.JPG

My intention was to dig a bed along the front that starts out the depth of the concrete slab, and then narrows to the depth that you see there on the left. Where there are shrubs, I planned to curve out to include them, so that they don't have grass and weeds growing up in them. Since digging is hard work, and garbage men will refuse to take the trash if too much is put out at once, I planned to dig the bed as I acquired plants and/or had time. (Since it's best to dig the bed before acquiring plants, and I know several people who will give me perennials if I show up with a wheelbarrow and tools.) Finally, since I don't know exactly what all I'll be getting, I figured I'd put them in willy-nilly, and then do a final transplanting arrangement in the fall or spring when I knew what I had. (Digging the bed a second time will be good for it, and I'll add compost from my parent's compost bin then.)

If the above plan is okay, please let me know.

If this is something you do not want me to do, would you like me to leave that one bed of flowers as it is, or should I remove them and spread grass seed? (The flowers currently there are day lilies, campanula, two scraggly flowers that Mrs C planted but didn't water, one columbine, and some bachelor buttons that may or may not survive... the person who gave them to me asked me to knock the dirt off the roots, and so they're in shock. I can put something else in their place if they don't survive.)

In other gardening news, I started weeding things that are growing up in the shrubbery. I decided to start with the self-seeded elms and manitoba maples for two reasons: I was tired of digging for the day, and also I broke the lawn edger I was borrowing from my parents. (Cheap lawn edgers have trouble dealing with Red River gumbo. Aside: If you felt like supplying a lawn edger for the building, that would be really nice.)

The two trees I weeded out of the shrubs on the east side of the front were small enough that their lack isn't very noticeable, but there's a substantial manitoba maple taking over the decorative bush on the west side of the front. (I suspect that it snuck in there, and has been gradually choking out the decorative bush for quite a number of years now.) I cut out part of it, and have left the rest to deal with later for several reasons:
1. I didn't want to put so much in the trash that the trash men would refuse to take everything away.
2. The bush is right in front of J's bathroom window... I suspect he'd like the privacy there
3. I don't want J to flip out when he sees what I did.
This is what the bush looks like now:
IMG_2235.JPG
It had been half covering that window to the left (livingroom window?), and was right down to the flowering bush. I took out the left side as well as the bit right above the flowering bush. When the flowering bush grows up to meet the tree again, I'll cut down the rest. (Unless you object.) The flowering bush should recover fine in time, now that I've opened it up in there.

You might want to warn J that I did this, so that he's not surprised by it.

If you (and J) would like me to take down the rest of the manitoba maple without waiting for the shrub to grow, just let me know.

Speaking of self-seeded trees, I wanted mention the two trees in the back:
IMG_2239.JPG
Those are elm trees, and they're growing right next to the foundation. I have no idea if they were planted there on purpose, or if they seeded themselves and escaped notice until they were so large that the person taking care of the grounds at the time felt they didn't have the authority to remove them. I'm mentioning them for several reasons:
1. Having trees planted so close to a building's foundation is really not a good idea.
2. Elm trees don't make attractive shrubbery, but are too close to the building to be allowed to grow into real trees.
3. The one on the left has a rather proportion of dead twigs. (I suspect they don't like being pruned as shrubbery.)
You might want to consider having them removed.

Finally, the only other gardening I've been doing is pulling some dandelions from the front lawn. (So far I've pulled a grocery bag full, but that's hardly made a dent in them.) I assume you have no objection to me pulling dandelions?

Cheers,
A
Hopefully my gardening efforts get the all-clear. (I can't wait until I'm in my own house!!!)

If you're curious, here's the dead lawn edger:
IMG_2236.JPG
I tried bending it back, but the metal ripped enough that it doesn't have the strength to be pushed into the ground. (Stoopid modern cheaply-made tools.)

In other news, some eedjit tagged the front door. The caretaker did a pretty good job at getting it off, although if you look for it, you can still see where it was.

Also, the latest casualty of my apartment's cross-breezes:
IMG_2232.JPG
My cookbook suffered the most, although it's plastic covered prevented the damage from being even worse, thankfully!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do you see what I see?

I see, you see, we all see a MONKEY!
IMG_2222.JPG

Pickles and Gertrude hit it off instantly:
IMG_2226.JPG

Pickles really doesn't want to leave. I thought it might be easier if I showed Pickles the Ravelry thread:
IMG_2230.JPG
Pickles still doesn't want to go, but we're trying to be very Zen about it.
IMG_2221.JPG

(Pickles respectfully declined a tattoo.)

Monkey Business

What does a monkey have to do to get a hand around here?
IMG_2217.JPG

Thanks!
IMG_2219.JPG

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
IMG_2220.JPG

Okay, that's enough monkeying around for one night! Now for the straight socks:
IMG_2218.JPG

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I've fallen, and I can't get up!


Sock Monkey WIP

I haven't seen one of those commercials in ages...

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to feel delightfully silly

Knit a monkey's bum:
IMG_2209.JPG
and say to yourself "I'm knitting a monkey's bum."
IMG_2210.JPG
Really. How can you feel anything but silly? It's a fun way to feel silly. Try it for yourself, if you don't believe me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lovely Lilies

Lovely lilies from J:
IMG_2202.JPG IMG_2205.JPG
IMG_2206.JPG IMG_2204.JPG
(She had borrowed the phone overnight too, so that she could make a call in the morning before I got up, and then forgot to give me the phone back before she went out. She felt bad about that. Frankly, I hadn't needed it, and told her not to worry about it, should it happen again.) Aren't they beautiful? :)

The Drama of Gardening

It's amazing how much drama is involved in gardening.

To begin at the beginning, the caretaker takes reasonably good care of the building and grounds, although he doesn't have/use a weed-whacker to trim up the edges of things, and he pretty much ignores "gardening"... so there are plenty of dandelions in the grass, and there's grass and weeds growing up where the flowers are. Back in the spring I asked the landlord if he thought the caretaker would mind if I pulled the grass out of the flowers, and edged around them. (The caretaker is a bit odd, and I didn't want him to feel that I was stepping on his toes, or criticizing his work.) I got permission to do what I asked.

A little while later, I ran into the caretaker outside, and he asked if I was going to plant flowers. Still thinking he might be upset at me doing stuff, I said no, that I was just going to weed. He said he'd really like it if I planted flowers. So I started talking to neighbours with perennials that sometimes need splitting... but didn't get around to starting gardening here, because my gardening efforts started off at my mom's, dad's, and neighbour's (she's in her 80's, and lives right beside my mom, so the tools are right there).

Summer arrived, I ran into the caretaker again, and he mentioned that I hadn't found time to plant flowers, and sounded disappointed. I told him I was still planning on gardening here.

Earlier last week I was talking to a neighbour again, and she mentioned that she had two perennials that she wanted to split/dig out, and did I want them. We arranged that I would come fetch them on Friday.

Due to the rain, I didn't have time to prepare the bed in advance, so I ended up with quite a bit of heavy digging on Friday. (Stupid modern tools aren't designed for hard work... I bent the shovel, and had to bend it back.)

This is what the front of the building looked like before I started digging:
IMG_2187.JPG IMG_2188.JPG
Attractive, no?

Since I don't know what all I'm getting from different people, I decided to just dig enough space for what I have, get it in the ground so that it doesn't die, and then arrange things in the fall when I have all the plants I'm going to end up with. hence, I ended up with this oh-so-attractive placement:
IMG_2192.JPG
That's a bunch of day lilies, several bachelor buttons, and two half-dead plants that another tenant stuck in the garden... one in it's original spot right in the corner, and another one that I moved so that it was easier to dig the bed. Here's how it looks from a distance:
IMG_2195.JPG

So, now for the drama. I was talking to my neighbour across the hall (I'll call her J) on Thursday, and invited her and her kids to join me in the gardening attempt. She was quite excited about the prospect. When I went to fetch the tools from my mom's, there was no answer at her door. (Apparently she wasn't sure she heard a knock, and then she saw me walking away from the building. I didn't knock again when I came back with the tools and the plants, but I'm guessing that she had gone to her in-laws by then anyway.) Half-way through digging the bed, I saw her, her kids, and the kids' father (I'll call him "sperm donor") coming down the street. From a distance, their behaviour looked a bit odd, but I didn't realize anything was wrong. I continued digging, and then I hear the kids crying. I look up, and they're over near some bushes, and I thought that perhaps the kids had a spat (they're generally pretty good kids, though). I see sperm donor grab one of the kids, and drag him towards the door. Then a guy driving past stops, and starts yelling at sperm donor, how he can behave that way, especially in front of the kids. I ask him what happened, he sort of brushes it off, and the kids says daddy pushed mommy into the bushes. Just then J comes up with her other kid, who is bawling, and J is crying, cut and bruised too.

I ask J if she wants to borrow the phone, but she declines. I tell sperm donor that I think it's time for him to leave. He says he needs his work clothes from J's apartment. I'm trying to figure out what to do, because I don't really want to leave my mom's tools on the front yard for anyone (especially a pissed off sperm donor) to wander off with, but I want to help my friend. Shortly she goes up with the kids, then brings down his clothes. He complains that she brought stuff he didn't need, and didn't bring his work boots. Then he storms off.

I look at the half-done garden, the tools, and wonder if I should go up to see if J needs help. I decided to finish the garden... I didn't want the plants to die, and I had to finish before going to a potluck that night.

After getting everything planted and cleaned up, I knocked on J's door, and loaned her my phone. I told her that I didn't want to leave her without a phone because I was going out that night. She told me some of what had gone on. I'm not going to type that up, but one stupid thing that sperm donor said to J, because he's jealous/suspicious of her spending time with people other than him, is that "she's upset because she's missing her play-date" with me. Sheesh.

*Anyway*, turns out there was *more* gardening drama while I was out. Another tenant (I'll call her Mrs C) was startled to see my gardening attempt, and asked who had done it. J said I had. Mrs C then said, "She thinks she can do better than me, does she?" I'm not sure if J said it out loud or not (I suspect not), but J's response was, "She does garden better than you!"

Here is a sample of Mrs C's gardening:
IMG_2193.JPG IMG_2194.JPG
I saw Mrs C putting these plants in the ground. They didn't look like they had come from a garden centre. A couple of years ago, a neighbour of mine mentioned that she had caught "an old lady" pulling up flowers she had planted along her fence by the back lane. I have no proof, but I highly suspect Mrs C's plants came from my friend's garden, and probably without permission. (I'm not sure I want to know.) At any rate, Mrs C only cleared tiny spots for them, and then didn't water them so now they're half-dead. (The green thing in the first photo is a cosmos that grew from seed... I think it self-seeded.) My intent was not to show her up, but it would be pretty hard not to, unless I didn't do any gardening at all. *sigh*

To take the bad taste away, here's the lovely hollyhocks at the back of the building:
IMG_2196.JPG
(Those two shrubby things are heavily pruned elm trees. I'm not sure if they're intentional, or self-seeded and never removed. Elm trees should not be that close to the building, and they look ugly pruned like that.) Hollyhocks close up:
IMG_2199.JPG IMG_2200.JPG

Bus Photos

I was sitting on the bus after a lovely day spent gardening, and then at a potluck with friends. I was feeling rather snoozy, and saw this through my half-slit eyes, and thought it looked pretty and striking.
View from my seat on the bus

The Paddlwheel Queen looked lovely on the river at dusk, but it took me a moment to get my camera (back) out, and didn't have time to turn the flash off before the bus was over the bridge.
Paddlewheel Queen
You'll just have to trust me that it looked magical. (It looked better from the other angle too, but the bus was zippy, and I wasn't.)

What a lovely end to a (mostly) lovely summer day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grumpy

Harumph. For some reason I'm grumpy. The day started off lovely, but in the last couple of hours my mood went south. I'm grumping at a student, which is not good. (I'm not actually grumping at him, but I think perhaps I'm also not putting the same effort into gaining his understanding that I otherwise might.) *sigh* An hour and a half to go, and then I won't have to worry about whether I'm grumpy until Monday afternoon. Not that I'll stay grumpy that long, but that I won't have to worry about my ability to explain while grumpy.

Yay! I apparently managed to successfully explain something, even while grumpy. :) (Whether or not I managed to explain it in a way that will be memorable in the exam, I don't know. I normally want to *teach* for understanding, rather than just get past the current program bug.)

*sigh* He keeps saying "okay", but I don't think he really understands.

Knitpicks sent out another pretty e-mail. I went over, and added a whole bunch of things to my cart... which brought it up around $170. Then I clicked "save for later" until it got down to around $100. Then I was good, and put the rest in "save for later" and closed the window.

I want to watch some short YouTube videos, but I'm allowing a student to work in my office between questions... and sound would probably disturb him. (I don't want to use headphones.) I'm not in a lab, this is my "office", and he's here because I let him be here... and yet I don't want to disturb him with my goofing off. (There's nothing wrong with a bit of goofing off between when I'm needed, and I stop the instant someone has another question.)

Grump. I wonder if it's the gloomy weather, or the fact that I'm not getting true understanding from my student? *sigh*

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miscellany, With Pictures

It's a bit slow in the help centre today, so I'm typing this up between helping students. My computer is slow as molasses again, so I'll be catching up on "Found on Flickr" posts fairly soon too. (When, exactly, depends on when I get the time.)

Funny... I write that the help centre is slow, and two more people arrive. However, everyone is working along until they get another question, so I can type until then. (I seem to be able to get two sentences between questions.)

I googled the grey ladybug:
Grey Ladybug
It's an ashy gray ladybird beetle. Their range is mostly in the USA, but they peek across the border a bit. (So I guess we'll see more as global warming gets worse. Except that so far, global warming seems to have resulted in unseasonably cool weather in Winnipeg.)

Last night I managed to be all grown up, and managed to have a balanced meal with protein, starch, and vegetable all ready at the same time:
Success!
Mmmmm! I had a chocolate chip banana muffin for dessert. (I had made and frozen the muffins myself, but the perogies are courtesy my grandma.)

I started attacking the dandelions in the front lawn. Here it is, as seen from my kitchen window (through the screen), before I started:
Dandelions in lawn #1
and here's another shot taken the day after I pulled a shopping bag full of dandelions:
Dandelions in lawn #2
Don't hurt yourself looking for the difference... there's so many dandelions, it'll be a long time before I make a dent. (The weeding wasn't all in the same place either... I kept getting up to stretch my legs.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mystery Solved!


Bartholomew and The Dog

Thanks to a Flickr member, I have now confirmed my dog is a Hagen-Renaker miniature early boxer. (Click here... there's photos half-way down the page. Mine has slightly different paint, but apparently all the different potteries had different painting styles.) Fun! :)

Fiddly-Twitchy

Gah, I am all fiddly-twitchy today, and have been since last night. I think it started last night when I had some fish and then orange juice not long before bed. (I had a craving for some protein, and then a craving for orange juice.) The fish was heavenly-blissful. (My eating habits have been crap lately, so, beyond the fact that I have a great recipe for fish, I think my body was really grateful to have decent nourishment. Part of my problem is laziness (cooking, cleaning dishes, and shopping for ingredients), the other part is lack of ideas... I've been eating the same stuff for long enough that it's time to introduce some new variety, but I haven't yet figured out what the new stuff should be.)

The orange juice could be the culprit, because sugar in the evening can make me jittery... but that would have worn off by now. It could also be accumulated lack of exercise... I guess weeding a bag of dandelions out of the front lawn last night doesn't count as exercise.

The fact that I got my joint-aches last night doesn't help. I blame the cool weather for them, although it wasn't all *that* cool.

I was going to do some gardening and/or house-chores this afternoon, but I guess I should finally get on the bike, and see if that makes a difference. This jittery feeling is really annoying... not only is it in my muscles, but it's making my head and ear pressure feel funky too. It's like I can feel my heartbeat all over.

Anyway, should you wish to make it, here's my recipe for heavenly-blissful fish (originally from the back of a package of on-sale white fish of some variety I had never heard of before... nor can I remember what it was called. I do remember that it was fished off of South Africa, though. What a long way my cheap fish comes from.):

Over medium heat, heat a bit of olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed) in a cast iron frying pan. When the oil is hot, add two pathetically thin fillets of whatever frozen white fish is cheapest (this probably works with thicker fillets too, but the cheap fish in my grocery store is wafer thin... I think I currently have sole), then add a liberal squeeze of fresh lemon juice from a lemon that has been getting scary looking in the fridge. (I don't get around to cooking fish as often as I intend. As long as it hasn't gone brown inside, it's fine.) *After* the lemon has been added (the "after" is important, as the juice will wash off everything else if it isn't added first), sprinkle on some salt, pepper, parsley, and whatever else in the spice cabinet floats your boat. (Last night it was savory. I've also had success with poultry seasoning (hey, it's a white meat too), and Montreal Steak Spice... but I wouldn't recommend both at the same time.) After the fish has browned, flip it over, and apply lemon juice and seasonings to the other side too. Finally, once the fish is brown on the second side and has cooked all the way through (with the thin fillets, the cooking all the way through probably happened when the first side got brown), transfer the fish to a plate, and squeeze on some more lemon juice if there's any left in the lemon. (With a particularly juicy lemon, sometimes there's even some left after this third application. So as not to waste it, I squeeze it into a little tupperware container I keep in the freezer... I suspect it'll taste as good as fresh should I crave fish when I have no real lemons left.) Eat. Swoon. Consider cooking a vegetable for an afterthought side-dish. (I've never really gotten the hang of cooking so that multiple things ready at the same time, and overcooked vegetables are dreadful.)

Although that recipe typed up long, it's really quite simple if you ignore all the commentary. ;)

Oh... two unrelated items: The first is that "I Capture the Castle" had a quite unexpected ending, but I won't say what it was in case you want to read it. It's not quite how the fairy tale romantic hidden inside me would have liked it to end, but it was a good ending... and open enough that my fairy tale romantic self could choose to add a bit on after where the actual text stops. The second is that I did indeed forget something in my last long post... the bottom of one of my window panes has come off again, but I think I know how the caretaker fixes them now, so I'll try dealing with it myself. (I'd want to deal with the remaining unpacked boxes in my office, and then my not-quite-finished desk in the hall, before I asked the caretaker in. They make the window rather hard to get to.)

Well, the bread is done and cooling, so now I should cut my hair then have my shower so that I can go out and hopefully burn off the twitchies riding my bike.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Miscellany, With Pictures

Peony season is almost over now.
Peony Peonies
For a period, when I was young, I didn't like peonies. I thought they were too showy and old fashioned, plus they always had ants on them. Now I love them for being showy and old fashioned, and just put up with the ants. Funny how preferences change over time, isn't it? I think it was a house with a border of peonies all around the yard that changed my mind... I happened to see it when the peonies were at their best, and have loved them ever since. Recently I've been enjoying the lovely scent that peonies have. I've noticed it more with the ones along the busy street where I walk to catch the bus, than with the ones in my mom's and neighbour's yard. The above peonies are in the neighbour's yard, where it border's my mom's yard. (They're the ones I edged earlier this year.)

This peony is in my mom's yard:
Peony
I bought it out in BC, and managed to get it back to Winnipeg alive. The centre petals were supposed to be yellow. My mom's yard also has old fashioned peonies, in addition to this fancy-pants hybrid I planted for her.

Mom grows amazing oriental poppies:
Poppies
I think it has to do with the sun and compost. I tried to grow a poppy once, back when we were living in a townhouse... it was scraggly, leggy, and managed to have it's one bloom through a knothole in a tall fence between our house and the neighbour. I gave up on poppies after that. I think I'd like to try my hand again... I love the Icelandic poppies I saw in various gardens elsewhere. Perhaps I'll have better luck this time.

Green Mosquito
Have you ever seen a green mosquito? I killed this sucker (well, not a sucker... he was male) in my apartment last week. I found the colour so bizarre that I took a photo (several, actually, and all bad).

How about a grey ladybug?
Grey Ladybug
This is the second one I've seen now.

Snapdragons
I love snapdragons. I once showed my grandpa why snapdragons had that name. That was a fun time I had with him. :) (He's long since passed away.)

I love dictionaries... especially if they're big and illustrated.
Dictionary
Its even better if they're old. :)

My latest pair of crochet socks:
Crochet Socks
These are for Bob. I thought there'd be enough in the ball, since it claimed 410 meters, but I was short and had to buy something to lengthen the legs. I felt buying another 100 gm ball was silly, and so tried for a coordinating yarn. The coordinating yarn photographs rather differently than it looks in real life. It's one of those mysterious yarns that look quite a bit different depending on the light. Isn't it strange how some yarns do that, and others don't?

This is the odd shop across the street from my apartment:
Odd Shop
When I was a kid, it was a candy store. (Okay, it was probably a convenience store, but I was only interested in the candy.) This store and another one closed a long time ago. The other one was converted into a residential apartment, but this one has remained commercial... and now sells satellite dishes and similar things. It's run by an old Chinese gentleman. I find it entertaining watching him from my window as he tries out different sidewalk displays to attract customers. The night before I took this photo, we had crazy rainstorms. The cardboard part of his display didn't survive... I found the melting boxes funny, which is why I took the photo. I have no explanation for the plastic snowman with the umbrella.

Recently our local post office closed, and now we need to go a couple miles to get our packages. (Actually, the real post office in the beautiful old building closed many years ago, in favour of a tacky postal outlet in a 7-11. The reason was supposedly so we'd get longer hours. This spring the hours in the 7-11 post office cut back it's hours, and now it's gone altogether.)
Mail
Although it's nice not to have to travel long distances to get my mail, I rather wish my postman would be a bit more discriminating as to what and how he crams things in my mailbox.

In other news, I apparently now have benefits with my job. (That's what arrived in the big, battered envelope.) I need to go through the package more carefully to see what sort of pay-cut these benefits result in. The pension appears to be optional this year, but mandatory next year.

One thing that didn't arrive in my mailbox was the DVD that an online survey person asked me to watch on Sunday. (I try to be nice to online survey people. From the sounds of things, it was a new sitcom being considered. I was supposed to watch it Sunday, and then answer some questions about it Monday.) I wonder if they decided not to send it, or if Canada Post decided to sit on it for a while longer?

I miss USPS.

I found a friend for Bartholomew today.
Bartholomew and The Dog
I think the dog might be a Hagen-Renaker figurine. (Those are the ones that come glued to the paper squares... I remember loving them as a kid, and saved up my dollars to buy one once. I had forgotten the name, and had to google for a bit to find it.) I saw him when I popped in to Sally Ann to see if they had anything interesting. They're having a 60% off sale for red tag items... the dog had a blue tag, but was only $1.50, and I have a bit of spending money again now that I'm back to tutoring. I picked up some pretty buttons too. I haven't named the dog yet, but he's very fond of Bartholomew already. (Bartholomew seems to like him in return, even though he's very focussed on his sock.)

Wednesday I also splurged on a new pair of gardening gloves (pig skin!) and a dandelion weeding tool. The gloves are lovely and soft... although I discovered after I got home that they were miss-sewed, and so have a rather large hole in them. It happens to be on the back of the left hand, though, so it's not a big deal. (Home Depot is a pain to get to by bus, and they were by far the softest pair there for some reason, so I don't plan on taking them back.)

Recently I've been reading "I Captured The Castle" by Dodie Smith. I was really enjoying it until the main character sunk into depression... and since I tend to be strongly affected by how the main character feels, I was rather distraught. However, she (and I) are coming out of it now. :) I'm getting close to the end... I sure hope it ends well!

While at the library, I also borrowed "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons, as well as the sequel, "Conference at Cold Comfort Farm".

Harper's making an ass of himself again, this time on the international stage. *sigh* Can't he stop picking fights with his rivals long enough to accomplish something useful? I hope we get someone better before he completely tramples Canada's good name.

My... this post has taken me two hours to write! I'm sure I forgot something I was planning on writing, but it's time for bed. Good night!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Adorable!

So cute! Have you seen the Spud and Chloƫ hoot hat?

What Would Miss Manners Do?


Miss Manners

For the past several months, I keep having to clean footprints off the toilet seat before I use it. Now, they aren't really muddy footprints... but I can see them, and how do I know where those shoes have been? I suspect it's someone who is from a different culture, where toilets are designed differently. ("How to use a western toilet" is not usually covered in guidebooks or orientation sessions.) What is the best way to deal with the situation? Do I post this note, or not? Is there a better way? Should I just keep cleaning the seat before I use it? Help!

(No, I don't know who it is.)

Sunset


Sunset

There was a spectacular sunset tonight. The view was really beautiful as I came over the bridge, but I didn't have time to grab my camera... I thought about getting off and walking back, but sunsets change so quickly, I figured it wouldn't be worth it. This was looking down the street as I walked home.