Thursday, July 31, 2008

new pictures and itchy bites

Some photos showing recent updates: the first three showing areas that were tiled and the last the family room with folding pine shutters at the sliding French doors. I'm enjoying having the house clean and straightened up for awhile--until the next messy project!

I'm working on dragon story edits these days and trying not to be eaten alive by mosquitoes that zoom in the door every time I open it. It seems the people renting the house that backs up to mine across Park Avenue have let the pool go swampy and it is a mosquito breeding ground. Awful!! I am a mosquito magnet.

Poor little Chili had another epileptic seizure today. I had hoped that the medication she's on would prevent the seizures, but no such luck. At least the severity has lessened.


by Nancy Wayman Deutsch

Consider the humble mosquito.

When launched, it’s a deadly torpedo.

With maneuvers quite daring,

and trajectory unerring,

it hones in on targets below.

A bite comes before you can see.

It’s so fast that you really can’t flee.

On your skin throbs an itchy red welt,

that you scratch just as soon as it’s felt.

Show respect to the lowly mosquito!

This insect may cramp your lifestyle,

as it gives you a case of West Nile.

So, before you walk out on the lawn,

get some OFF! and put lots of it on,

and beware of the mighty mosquito.

Ta. Live long and prosper.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nuthin Much except a migraine

Hi Bloggers,
Well, as you can see from the first photo, the tile men are busy tiling. Today is going better than Friday did tile wise anyway! Thank goodness. It looks like we will have to sleep in the family room or library tonight since the dogs can't be loose in the tiled areas, but that's okay. I t will all be done soon enough and I think it is gonna look great.

The second photo shows The Mutley Crew apres dog park on Saturday. Tired hounds they were.

I planned to work on a short story today, but I've had a wretched weather induced headache all day ...thanks no doubt to all those swirly things in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that are generating so much rain and mold as well as air pressure changes. The spray guy came over this afternoon and found...ugh...webworms in the front yard-- which accounts for why the grass isn't coming in. Little bastards are eating it. He put some nasty smelling chemicals on the yard and said it should take care of the worms. Hope so, it isn't exactly helping my headache. Neither is the fact that the tile guys are smoking in the garage. Like a shark detecting blood in the water, I can detect faint wafts of cigarette smoke hovering in the air and it always sets off my allergies. Anyhoo, I didn't get anything productive done in a literary sense. That's the way it goes. Maybe tomorrow.

We saw The Dark Knight yesterday. I thought it was too long and too dark. Heath Ledger gave a exceptionally good performance as The Joker as did the cousin of my cousin, Aaron Eckhart, as Harvey Dent. But, all in all, I liked the last Batman film, Batman Begins better. Whoo! That was a whole lot of alliteration.

That's all folks. Live long and prosper. Stay dry.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some recent small adventures in my little life

Hey there bloggers,
The first picture shows my dining room yesterday. The second shows the same room this morning. The third shows a sample of the tile that will replace the old wood floor. As you have by now surmised, we're travellin' down that old renovation highway again!

What you can't clearly see in the first photo is how badly damaged the wood floor was. As I related in a recent post, I decided after much thought to rip up the wood and go with tile as it wears better with leaky dogs. (Chili). Well, the tile guys were supposed to start on Monday morning. They called last evening and asked to remove the existing floors today. I was reluctant to have them come out today since it was my Annie Russell Theatre Guild 'Just for fun' summer luncheon day and I really wanted to go catch up on the news with my friends.

I told the man from the tile place I didn't really want them out this morning since I had a noon appointment. Man said, "But you don't have to be there while we rip out the old floors."

"Oh yes I do," I replied. "I have three dogs."

"Can't they be locked up in another part of the house?" he grumbled. "I don't care so much if my guys get bitten, but I don't want those dogs getting in my thinset!"

"They will be locked up," I said, wondering if he was joking. " And I care if they bite somebody. I care about them getting in the thinset, too. But, I've had things happen in the past. All it takes is somebody opening the wrong door and they get out. If I'm there I can take care of things. If I'm not, I can't."

I mean, we're not talking about lap dogs here, boys and girls. We're talking about a 70 pound half Rottweiler, a large crazy hound who doesn't trust strangers, and the demon Australian cattle Dog who bites just for the excitement it causes.

"Well, okay," he answered in a gruff tone of voice that hinted at what does that annoying woman have dogs for anyway? "I guess if you have to go by noon, they can come early and finish by then."

"Okay," I agreed, dubiously... but hoping for the best outcome. Should have gone like clockwork, right? Ha, in a perfect world in another dimension or parallel reality.

This is the way it went: two men who spoke 'un poquito' of English knocked at the door at 7:30 this morning just as I was crawling blearily out of bed. I secured the dogs behind the kitchen door and opened the front door for them. They sat out in their truck talking for twenty five minutes. Then they did maybe 15 to twenty minutes of floor demolition and returned to their truck for another twenty minute break. The pattern of work and pauses continued. They went to the truck, fetched the new tile, put the tile in the garage and...guess what...took another long break! By this time I was alternatively looking at my watch wondering if there was any possibility of escape for lunch or if the pattern of minimal work followed by maximum breaks would continue till supper. It was pushing ten already. Dogs and I had missed out on our morning walk. It was too hot by then, and after finding a sweating cola drink on my dining room table sans coaster, I didn't want to leave los hombres alone in my house.

I began to eye their demolition tools with interest. I could rip up the floor myself, I thought, and be done in plenty of time for the luncheon. I fired off a email to my designers in petty complaint, then emotionally satisfied, I went outside. "Es una problema?" I enquired, drawing out the word a little too long. The men assured me they were only taking a "little" break. But, after that they did come in and worked diligently to finish. Maybe I snorted like 'el toro' once or twice. I do have allergies. In any case, they were all cleaned up and gone by eleven.

So, I got ready and left the house exactly on time for my lunch. But, wait, the railroad crossing poles were down on the most direct route to the restaurant.( Oh, nooo, Mr. Bill! ) Determined and undaunted, since--darn it--I was showered, dressed up and actually wearing make up and jewelry--I took another longer route. One that I hoped would bypass the train. No luck. All the roads that led to the place I had to go were bisected by tracks and all the crossings were blocked. A passenger train was stopped and loading at the station in our little downtown. A giant freighter was parked on the adjacent set of tracks and stretched the entire length of Park Avenue into the next town. Seriously. It was stopped for over thirty minutes, too. I parked my car near Rollins College and decided to walk the three blocks or so to the restaurant that was on the other side of the tracks. Surely, there is someplace I can cross on foot, I thought. There wasn't and it was pushing ninety degrees out. Sweating by now in my good clothes, I watched some people crawl under and between train cars. I wasn't hungry enough to risk death. I returned to my car.

I'm not meant to go to this luncheon, I decided. I'm going home and eat with the dogs. So, I retraced my laborious route homeward. Just as I got to the intersection that lead directly to the street I needed in the first place--the one directly across from the entrance to my neighborhood-- I noticed in the distance that the crossing rails were up. The mega train had moved a little down the tracks and parked again. But, it was enough. By then, I was thirty minutes late. Okay, I decided, I'll just stop in for a few minutes to say hi and leave. So, I went back. And guess what? Everybody else was late too. If I'd been on time I'd have been sitting there by myself wondering why I'd been stood up. Probably would have left after fifteen minutes of waiting. As it was, all was well.

But, I don't think trains have any business stopping in a town where 95 % of the main roads are bisected by the tracks for thirty to forty five minutes at a time. Not for nohow. Fie on Amtrack! By the way, there was a train coming when I was on my way home too. But, thankfully it was a short one and moving fast.

On another subject, I hear that AOL and Yahoo may be bought by Microsoft. That can't be good.

But, it is Friday. I have nothing to do: I've paid all the monthly bills, sent off nine stock transfer letters and packets of required notarized and medallion stamped forms to the appropriate places, filed legal records, balanced seven bank accounts (all but two inherited from Mother), done the laundry, taken a load of stuff to storage, made bank deposits, grocery shopped, cleaned the house, and best of all: sent my finished book manuscript to my publisher. I could clean out the garage. Instead, I will lie down and read a book until Danny comes home and we go for our Friday night supper out. Usually we go out for Mexican food. If we do, I sure hope I don't run into los dos hombres from this morning. I think I can wait until Monday to see them again.

Adios, vaya con dios.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Legend of Wayworm

Some of you have wondered why I named my Blog Wayworm. So, read on. The story is true...well...mostly. Give or take a little dialogue. My head isn't really half empty. Just doesn't work right on one side. I fell down a flight of stairs when I was two. Maybe that did it. Or not. I was correct about the importance of math and softball in my life. Okay, that's all the background you need to know. Ta.

The Legend of Wayworm

Once upon a time, long ago, in the green and hilly state of Pennsylvania-- which lies north of the great Mason Dixon Divide-- there lived a little blonde girl who always wanted her name to be Ann with an 'e' but who was stuck with the simple moniker of Nancy. Now, this golden child loved three things: to walk in the dark forest that began just the other side of her bedroom window past the old wild apple tree that great Aunt Bertha claimed was planted by Johnny Appleseed, dogs of all size and varieties, and reading books about princesses and fairies and evil witches and epic deeds done by great heroes in the distant past.

She had learned to read at an early age, having been taught by her learned grandfather, Master Arthur of Mt Lebanon, the burgh just the other side of Nancy's town of Upper St Clair. There was no Lower St Clair. Nancy supposed that maybe since everything in their neck of the woods either slanted upwards or downwards that perhaps Lower St Clair (if it ever existed at all) had slipped down a particularly steep hill into one of the three nearby rivers: the Ohio, the Alllegheny, or the impossible to spell Youghiogheny. She decided that it most likely lay at the muddy bottom of the Youghioheny or perhaps had washed all the way downriver into the mighty Mississippi, where it became the refuge of river pirates and the fierce Indians whose discarded flinty arrow heads she often found in the woods near her little white house.

As you have no doubt surmised by now, Nancy, who would much rather have been named Ann with an 'e', was a very imaginative child. Although she lived happily with her solidly middle class parents, Mr and Mrs William Wayman, in the little white house besides the woods, she imagined herself to be a princess in hiding whose real parents (the King and Queen of something or other) would one day send for her when it was time to grow up and rule all of Pennsylvania and maybe England which was somewhere to the east beyond a great ocean. This never happened. Nancy decided it was okay when she learned two important things about princesses: they often lose their heads in senseless wars and political upheavals and they have to work entirely too hard at ruling countries and making laws. For a golden child, roaming the woods with a dog at her side and reading books about princesses was much to be preferred.

Now, while Nancy loved to read books, walk in the woods, and play with dogs, there were two things she truly hated: spiders and going to school. We shall not talk about spiders here. School was awful enough for the poor Wayman child. She could not make sense of arithmetic no matter how hard she tried for while she was in some ways gifted, she was born with no left brain at all. Fortunately, this did not show under all of her shining hair.

She got into trouble on a regular basis with her teachers for raising her hand and saying,” I don't understand. Why is such and such that way?” The teachers frequently locked Nancy in the supply room closet when they couldn't bear any more questions and interruptions. She did not mind this since there were no spiders in the closet and it released her from math class.

Furthermore, as far as Nancy was concerned, there were entirely too many rules in school. Rules that didn't make sense --any more than the boring old fact that six times twelve is...uh...about seventy two. In any case, princesses do not like rules any more than Tiggers like haycorns! Everyone knows that princesses and heroes make up their own rules as they go along just like Dorothy did on her way to the Emerald City and Robin Hood did when robbing the rich and helping the poor.

Physical education was another nightmare for Nancy. Despite the fact that she was a marvelous skier, could run like the wind itself, swim like a dolphin, and was acknowledged the best tree climber in all of Upper St Clair, she could not climb a bull rope, bowl a ball, hit a home run, or shoot a basket—all of which were important if a girl didn't want an 'Incomplete' in PE.

Early in her school career, Nancy decided that the only good things about school were the vacations from it and the library full of books. Is it any wonder then, that to escape the mysteries of math and jeers of jocks, she retreated as often as possible into the magical worlds and fabled lands found inside of the covers of dusty books? In fact, it would not be inappropriate to call Nancy a book worm, since she burrowed into a book at every opportunity.

Nancy's best friend during these long ago days of childhood was a lively lass named Betty B. This girl lived in a house that might have been found inside of one of Nancy's favorite books: it was two centuries old and nestled into the woods along an ancient roadway. The walls were of stone and as thick as a grown man's arm was long. There was an old barn and a stone spring house behind the main house with holes in the wall where pioneers with Pennsylvania long rifles shot at the Indians whose long discarded arrowheads were still found in the woods.

One June day, soon after another hated school year was over, the girls had just finished frightening the chickens in Betty's father's barn and playing with the new tri-colored Collie puppies.

“Let's go in the spring house to cool off,” suggested Betty. Once inside, after pulling the string to turn on the lone electric light bulb, Betty turned to her friend. “Did you get your report card yet?” she asked.

“Nope,” answered Nancy, settling herself on the cool stone floor next to where the spring ran through the building. “I'm not in any hurry either. I know I got an incomplete in PE again.”

“Do you think you passed math this time?”

“Dunno,” answered Nancy. “I think I got a D on the final.”

“Well, maybe if you did your own homework instead of getting one of the boys to do it for you it might help you learn the stuff.”

“I doubt it,” Nancy snorted, running her hand through the icy spring water. “I do try, but it doesn't make sense. Tutoring doesn't help, either. The tutors get mad when I ask too many questions just like the teachers do” She shrugged. “It's like the stuff I can't do in PE. Doesn't matter how long I work at it, it just doesn't go right. So why try?”

“You need to learn those things.”


“Well...because you have to, that's why. You never know when knowing math and hitting balls will come in handy.”

Nancy frowned. "I happen to know for a fact that math and softball will never be anything I need.”

“Well,” said Betty. “It makes sense to me.”

“That may be 'cause you have a left brain and I don't,” replied Nancy.

“What do you mean? Everybody has a left brain.”

“I don't,” said Nancy, lifting up her hair on the left side of her head. “I'm different."

“You're joking,” Betty said. “Everybody has a left brain.”

Nancy laughed. That's what you think. C'mon here, look in my ear.”

Frowning, Betty crossed the room and leaned down to peer into her friend's ear. “Oh my!” she exclaimed, jumping back. “There's nothing in there at all. There really isn't. Not on the left anyway. I didn't know that was possible.”

Nancy smiled. “The impossible is always possible. I read it someplace.”

Betty took a deep breath. “Let me see in your right ear.”

Obligingly, Nancy lifted her golden hair away from the right ear as her friend peered inside.“Whew, that's a relief,” Betty said. “The right side is absolutely crammed full of brains.”

Nancy nodded. “Right brained people are the poets and the writers n stuff. It's probably why I like to read so much. Since I can't be a princess, I'm going to be a writer. ”

"I thought you were going to be a famous movie star and win an Oscar."

"That was last year."

"Oh, said Betty. “Well, you really are a bookworm. Nobody I know reads as much as you do. And you remember what you read, too.”

Nancy laughed. “Its a good thing, since I don't like to study. I'm not a busy little industrious beetle like you when it comes to school.”

Betty laughed, too. “Its summer anyway. We won't have to worry 'bout school and grades until fall and that's forever away.”

“That's the attitude, my not so industrious little beetle,” chuckled Nancy, flicking droplets of cold spring water at her friend.

“Hey, quit that.”

“You know what,” said Nancy, “that's sorta a good a good nickname for you....Betty ...Beetle.”

“Okay, you...bookworm...uh...wayworm,” retorted Betty. “Let's ride bikes.”

And now you know. That's where Beetle and Wayworm got their names.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My birthday week end.

Hello Bloggers,

I'm worn out today from having fun! I had lunch on Friday with my delightful writing workshop friend Leticia at a local Thai place. After lunch we went across the street to Borders and ended up talking about writing for several hours. Got home in time to feed the dogs and welcome Danny back from a hard day sitting at his computer. We then joined our pal Karen at our favorite Mexican place. Yes, I was a little Miss Piggy that day! Yesterday, after walking doggies, Danny and I went down to Downtown Disney to celebrate my just past birthday at Disney Quest.

For those of you who haven't been, Disney Quest is a five story building containing various interactive computer games and rides. By donning special head gear, you can fly one of Aladdin's carpets to search for gems and rescue the Genie or battle comic book villains with a Star Wars style light saber. You can become a pinball at the Mighty Ducks pinball game or design your own cyber roller coaster ride. You get into a small bumper car and shoot giant rubber balls at other drivers at Buzz Lightyear's ride and paddle down white water rapids at the Jungle Cruise ride pictured above. On the top floor, you get in a machine that looks like an Imperial Walker and blast space aliens as you rescue fleeing colonists on Mars. Perhaps best of all, you get in a pirate ship and blast other pirates , sea beasts, and skeletal beings out of the water at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Of course, there are the usual arcade type games but I prefer the whole body--almost like you're on a Holo deck-- games. Fun!!

We rode the Alien Attack game about five times. I confess, I am much better at gunning down aliens than I am at driving! I lose a colonist now and then, but at least the rescue ship doesn't end up in a burning lava pit with Danny flying. I paddled backwards on the jungle cruise and we got nowhere and had water dumped on us to as well. With Danny sailing the pirate ship, I blasted a heck of alot of pirates and garnered a whole lot of booty. Twice. A pirates life for me, mateys! The first time we played the Mighty Ducks interactive pin ball game, I scored pretty high as most of the other players were paunchy adults.The second time, full of confidence, I played against kids and came in last!! We designed a roller coaster ride full of upside rolls and spins and corkscrew turns. I laughed the whole way but Danny looked like he just wanted it over. The whole Disney Quest evening was so much fun. As I said before, I'm really just an old kid.

After playing at Disney Quest, we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's where we had an excellent dish of Pumpkin and Cheese stuffed ravioli with pine nuts and some sort of brown alcoholic laced sauce, Caesar salad, and a black berry cobbler with cinnamon gelato atop. Divine!! I highly recommend the food.

Apres dinner we roamed the aisles of Virgin Megastore and checked out the Circ de Soliel giftshop. Bought the La Nouba DVD and watched it after walking the doggies. I've seen the surperb live production three times and highly recommend that as well.

A great birthday and un birthday celebration week end!

Ta Ta for now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

The picture above is me at ten.

It's my birthday. I am many decades past ten on the outside, but not on the inside. Read the poem at the end of this blog post and you will understand. I've posted the poem before. It is from my poetry book, soon to be published, Between The Lines.

Its pouring down rain again. Just like yesterday and the day before. I am hunkered down inside with three unhappy dogs waiting for the maids to come and clean the house. My helpful designer friends came over at lunch and I picked out new fabric for the sofa which turned out to be discontinued, but found a cool paint color for the dining room and finally decided on tile for the dining room, hall, and foyer floors. The living room will be refinished wood. Now, its only a matter of scheduling. Except for the sofa, load off my mind. Francie will find a similar look in another fabric book. Not much of a big deal really. Since I got the sofa when Amy was a baby, its 'bout time to recover it!!

I went out last evening for dinner with Laura, her guy, and Danny for a 'Birthday Eve' supper. I had this amazing dish...a Thai beef and cooked noodle 'salad' with peanuts, peaches, mint, soy sauce, avocados, onions, and tomatoes. Sounds like an impossible combination of flavors but it was wonderful! If you have a Houston's near you, try this dish!! Giant piece of key lime pie after was pretty rockin' too.

Danny's working and has web design class tonight so I won't see him until almost ten p m. Sorta a bummer on my birthday, but I enjoyed some funny e cards and am reading a new book by one of my favorite authors, Charles De Lint. It was a gift from Danny. I'm gonna curl up under a blankee and get back to it now.

Happy Birthday to me. Happy Un-birthday to you.


By Nancy Wayman Deutsch

I was ten once, long ago.

Ten on the outside I mean.

Inside I’m still ten

sometimes, ten and a half

which is six moons past July,

or, I’m ten minus a half

which I guess, would be five,

depending on whether I’m right side up or upside down.

I still see things like a girl of ten, or five:

the way dogs smile, and a caterpillar dancing on a twig,

that lizards are really dinosaurs, shrunken down to manageable size.

I’m Alice falling through the rabbit’s hole,

or I’m a princess in a castle built of books

dancing in crystal shoes past twelve on nimble feet,

feet that never hurt at all.

I know spiders hold all the evil in the world in their fat, squishy bellies

and fireflies are really golden fairies.

I know I’ll live forever, somewhere

maybe on the other side of the universe from here

because I am ten and I’ll never be eleven,

not even when they think I’m eight times ten

in the grown up world that other people live in.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Okay, so my sign is Cancer the crab, so what?!

Well, bloggers, today is my final un-birthday of my ...fill in the blanks silently here...year. Tomorrow is, yes, my birthday. Perhaps that's why I've been a little moody today. Or maybe its the gray skies alternating with torrential rain. Whatever. I am very grateful to be alive and, as far as I know, healthy. Aside from allergies and some minor aches and pains, I feel good. I'm blessed by Danny, great grown up kids, Baby Alex, and my canine Mutley Crew. I paid off my mortgage this year, wrote a third book, and I can still afford gasoline for my car. So, what's to complain about? Oh, the numbers, the numbers. They sound so big. If they were a golf score I'd be happy but they are sadly closer to my average bowling score. Ah well, whats an aging boomer to do? Why party and eat cake. And so I shall.

Here's a birthday poem.


Oh, fie on birthdays!

Why must they come so fast?

Old age is breathing down my neck

when youth was s’posed to last.

The print in books is smaller

than I think it used to be.

I have to turn the volume up

when I’m watching my TV.

The numbers on my bathroom scale

have never been so high

To the jeans that used to fit me well

I’ve sadly bid good-bye.

When I gaze into my mirror

lines and wrinkles plainly see.

What happened to the golden girl

that I once used to be?

Perhaps I’ve gained some wisdom

with the passing of the years,

which compensates a little

for a sagging derriere.

I don’t mind growing older.

I’m happy with my state.

I won’t complain that youth is lost.

That’s every mortal’s fate.

I just wish time would slow a bit

present creeping into past

instead of rushing headlong

life’s ending soon forecast.

If I had more time to savor

all the moments that flash by

I think that I might be content

in a hundred years, to die.

by Nancy Wayman Deutsch


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day In The Life

Thought you'd enjoy these pictures of our sleepy dogs. After meeting friends in Mt Dora for an Italian supper, we stayed up last night until 2 a. m. for no good reason other than we weren't tired and then just as we were falling asleep around two- thirty the motion detector floodlight just outside the bedroom window ( the one without the replacement blinds) came on. I had to get up and check that nothing was amiss. Back to bed, back to drifting off and on goes the light again! I decided it must be the marmalade cat from the front yard. Most frustrating to keep having to get up and check, though.

Consequently, today was pretty much a washout as far as accomplishing much was concerned. After reading the paper, walking pooches, and watching Chili swim, we watched The Other Boleyn Girl DVD. (Good acting, great costumes, poor script.) We finally went to look at new glasses for Danny around four in the afternoon only to find the glasses store was closed. Hello, it was Sunday! Not a big business day for glasses sellers. Undaunted, we went on to browse at Pier One and Borders and decided to have a Chinese dinner at PF Changs.

I remembered just as we were filling the car with $69.00 of gasoline (!!##**++!!) after dinner that we'd forgotten to barricade the pantry doors. I expected to be met by the sight of a garbage party upon returning home but the dogs were actually good this time! Maybe 'cause Ginny got stung on the foot by a bee on our morning walk and Chili was actually tired from swimming. Or maybe just because. Poor Ginny of the swollen foot stepped on the unfortunate bee in the grass. She jumped, screamed, hopped on three legs, then rolled over on her side on the ground. She had me worried for a minute until she heard or smelled something interesting like a squirrel or cat and was up and moving again. Drama queen.

Its raining again now (third time so far today) so we can't take our evening walk. Rented 10,000 BC along with the Boleyn saga, so I guess we'll hunker down again in our post week end pig out plumpnesses and watch more DVD. Why not, I'm feeling 'mammoth' and thanks to the wet weather like I want to huddle in a cave!

Word of the day: mouflon: noun-- a wild sheep native to Sardinia or Corsica with large curling horns. This word has nothing to do with my blog but it would be a fun word to work into a conversation with someone you don't care about spending much time with.

Live long and prosper, bloggers and all herders of mouflons. May you have much wool to huddle under on cold nights and chops to fill your platters. Ciao.

Cats, a rant, and why Chinese people shouldn't eat Chili

Hey, all you feline fans out there: these are Laura's new kitties, Gus Gus and Shyla. Gus Gus is a mostly Russian Blue and Shyla is a Bengal. How bout that fluffy tail and big pawsies! Speaking of kitties, we came in tonight after walking two of our dogs, Ginny and Abby, to find a neighbor's big marmalade stripy cat sitting on one of our Bistro chairs out front on the patio enjoying the moonlight and our fountain pond. Of course the dogs wanted to give chase, but I said El Gato was welcome to stay and partake of any ratons about. Especially since our Mutley Crew has only managed to injure one of themselves in the last rat rumble!

I realized today that lately I've been mostly blogging about my daily life with occassional bits of poetry thrown in. No rants, no political commentary, no weird news stories as in past features. Guess I've grown a bit lazy and uncreative...uh...or maybe I'm just practicing the art of energy conservation. Yeah, that sounds better doesn't it?

Well, to be honest, politics isn't arousing any passion in me lately...I don't like the Republicans or the Democrats much. Mostly politics as practiced by the canidates is just plain boring. Obama chants the words change and hope a lot but heck I write words every day and frankly if I'm gonna get excited by single word slogans...well I'm not going to get excited by single word slogans. Could he be a little more specific instead of glittering generalities? Hope for what? Bringing the mortgage industry out of the toilet? Developing alternative energy to get out out from our slave to oil status? How 'bout doing something about foreign nationals owning more of American business than Americans do? What about our falling investments and tanking IRA's and the fact that health care is substandard and unaffordable? Don't prattle 'bout hope. Talk action! Change for change's sake don't mean crap either. And how pray tell can I take somebody seriously who sat and listened to the Reverand Wright for twenty frelling years? This is a Harvard educated professor who can't see through the Reverend Wright? Gee, that gives me so much confidence. Yeah, sure deal with Al Quaida Barry.

I like John McCain a little better. I don't care if he's old. Heck I'm almost old and I like me! Would take me less than five minutes to see past a nutty bigot like Reverend Wright. Somebody who survived what McCain did in Vietnam deserves my respect and admiration too. I just wish he'd act more like the political Maverick of past years. I don't agree with the war in Iraq and have no desire to see it continue, so I don't really agree with McCain's Republican view of that. I don't think he's another George Bush though. And maybe this is shallow, but I find Cindy McCain a better first lady candidate. She doesn't say she's been ashamed of America all her life like the other candidate' wife did. I get no sense of condesention from her. Bet she wouldn't have let no nutcase like Reverend Wright near her kids either.

Okay, that's the best I can do for political rant right now. As far as weird news goes, I haven't read any lately. Been reading too much boring political news I guess. I did see the bit about China taking dog meat off the menus in its restaurants though. Guess they're doing it for the Olympic crowds. As a dog person, I'm glad to see them take that progressive action. Nobody should eat a dog. Not even Chili after she's shredded my pantry doors, chewed or peed on another Oriental rug, picked another fight with Ginny and cased me to spend another night sitting up at the Emergency Vet Clinic, or overturned all the trashcans in the house. Hell, if a Chinese person ate Chili she'd probably burst out of his stomach like the lil Alien thing did in the first Aliens flick.

Finally, here's the word of the night. TRUMPERY: noun meaning trivial or useless articles, things of no value, rubbish, junk worthless nonsense, deception.

With the creation of this Blog, I have successfully demonstrated the use of trumperry. Go do something worthwhile. Why are you still reading this trumpery? Ta. Ta for now.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wall-e is out of this world

Hey there Bloggers,

Go see Wall- e.

I'm not that much into animated movies as compared to other genres of films. Oh yeah, I loved all the Disney flicks as a kid, especially (go figure) Lady and The Tramp. I took my kids to and enjoyed animated films like The Little Mermaid and Toy Story and I'll admit to a fondness for Wallace and Gromit. Generally speaking though, unless there's a kid in tow, I skip going to the theatre for animated films. Once in awhile I rent a classic one like The Polar Express or laugh at the cleverness of Shrek.

I like action films like the Bourne series. Give me lots of plot and make it happen fast. Like in The Gladiator. Or slow if its a terrific period piece with those great British actors like in Gosford Park or Elizabeth the Golden Age. I will watch any movie with Daniel Day Lewis knowing I'm in for an Oscar winning performance. I like 'feel good' overcoming impossible odds films like The Great Debators and Finding Forrester. I like super heroes and good Sci Fi and Harry Potter films and films that take place in ancient Rome or medieval Britian or Colonial America. But usually animated is sorta like cereal for breakfast instead of pancakes and bacon. I know its good but it somehow doesn't taste as good....

But, I kept hearing about how great Wall-e was so I went expecting to be mildly entertained. Surprise. I was totally absorbed by the film. Enchanted. Moved. I laughed. I almost cried. Production values were tip top in true Pixar style. Wonderful saturated colors. Good story. Good moral delivered in a painless way. Good dialogue. Or, sometimes, lack of dialogue. The animated robots acted. Conveyed emotion and communication through body language, chirps and squeaks. Who knew a garbage compactor robot could be as lovable as ET? And who knew that a cockroach could be so darned cute?

In short, I loved this movie!!! I give it four stars. Go see this movie. Wall-e is the best movie of the summer hands....uh...appendages...uh...grasping tools down!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On contractors and vague estimates

Hey Bloggers,

Our re landscaping project is finally finished. Now on to other projects. Got the re finishing estimate for the living room oak floors today and Mark and Francie are scouting out tiles for the rest of the flooring. Hopefully Shawn will have the new glass cabinet doors for the kitchen done soon and the window treatment that had to be reordered will be ready since we have no privacy or light blocking capability over the bed.

We were thinking of creating a laundry room at the end of our kitchen which is pictured above. You can see that there are two closets on the far end. They are divided inside by an unnecessary wall. The small closet on the left contains a water heater and a laundry tub, and has a window to the side yard. The larger closet on the right is either a very large walk in pantry or a possible wine cellar. Both closets have Mexican tiled floors. Together, they would make a very adequate laundry room. As you can also see in the picture, the kitchen features around thirteen feet of storage along the left wall next to the table. The walk in pantry isn't really needed, although I've been able to fill it with stuff and the rats obviously like it.

We thought we'd enlarge the opening to the kitchen, remove the divider wall, move the laundry tub, create new shelving over the newly installed washer and dryer (which are currently in the garage) and install a storage area for cleaning materials, vacuum etc. Put in folding or pocket doors. I got an estimate from a contractor recommended by a professional friend last Thursday for $5500.00 to $6000.00, including repairing damage to the tiles. Sounded pretty reasonable so I said," Go for it." Then he called back and asked if I wanted him to pull a permit for the work. Since my town can be pretty picky (remember my a/c adventure?) I said it was probably a good idea. I asked him how much that would cost and he said he didn't know off hand but would talk to the city on Monday. He said it was a percentage of the job estimate. Yesterday, he called and said the permit would add $1300.00 to the cost of the job. Then, he amended his earlier estimate to total around $8000.00 if there are no further complications. I choked and said, "Let me think about it and I'll call you back tomorrow."

Got my calculator and realized the permit was 15% of the total cost! Highway robbery I thought. Too much for moving a washer and a dryer inside from the garage and removing a wall, as well as moving a little plumbing around a bit. So, I decided it was probably a no go. I called the contractor back this morning and said, "I'm still shocked that the city wants 15% of the cost of a project to give permission to do it." And Mr. Contractor said, "Oh, it isn't the city that wants $1300.00 more. The permit is $300.00. It's to compensate me for the extra work." What extra work you wonder? Getting someone to draw up a plan to show the city for the permit and for gasoline and time driving around to take it to the city and stuff. $1300.00? For that? As a contractor he can't draw plans? Huummmn.

Either the guy isn't as experienced as I'd been told 'cause he should have known the rules and regs and included the cost in the original estimate or he just wanted to wheedle some extra bucks out of someone he may have perceived as an easy mark. Anyway, I said, "No." Ta ta for now and all that.

Actually, my available budget was two thousand more than what he asked in the end, but the way he handled the estimate set off warning bells in my head. I'm glad I listened to the bells. For now, to save 8k, I will brave washing in a garage with spiders lurking about.

Live long and prosper.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Week end update n stuff

Hidey ho bloggers,

How was your Fourth? After a hot buggy day outside hacking our way through the jungly backyard, Danny and I cleaned ourselves up and went to Laura's house where we had a feast: barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, Deviled eggs, apple pie and ice cream, and chocolate peanut butter Rice Krispies treats. After dinner, we played with her new Bengal kitty and tried bowling, boxing, tennis, and baseball....Wii style anyway. Also played Super Mario Kart which I majorly suck at. Fun!!

On the drive home we got to see all sorts of community fireworks lighting up the sky: the Waterford Lakes, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Orlando ones at least...I was hanging out of the car window oohing and ahhing the entire way. It was so cool.

Today I continued hacking my way through the backyard while Danny built the pool cover roller thing. We were supposed to go to Mt Dora to visit friends and eat an Italian dinner. However, by mid day Danny was suffering from a nasty gall bladder flare up (shouldn't probably have done Mexican food on Thursday and had three desserts at Laura's in retrospect) and we had to scrub our evening out. Tomorrow, if he's up to it, we hope to see Baby Gavin (pictured above with parents).

Chili and Ginny continue to break into the pantry nearly every day. I am getting mighty tired of repainting the doors. Anybody out there have any training suggestions? (No, I won't give the dogs away). Chili is pictured above with a Mountain Dew bottle we gave her to play with. I just wish she was as well behaved as she is cute.

Looks like the laundry room project is a go. The renovations least until the money from the sale of my mothers house runs out! I got my monthly investment notice today. Sigh.

It is a tough time all right. Gasoline up enough that you don't want to travel. Or can't. The Real Estate market totally tanked, stocks plummeting, costs of everything it takes to live rising thanks to the cost of fuel. Too many people getting laid off and job hiring frozen. Hello Recession...lets hope by the election we won't already be in a Depression.

God Bless America but please, Senators, Congressmen, et all, wake up to the fact that we need to end our dependence on oil now... before we all wake up one morning and realize that we have sold our independence to the Arab world without firing a single shot. It is almost, but not quite, too late. There's still hope.

Word of the day: fraught, adjective: bearing promise or menace. Our dependence on foreign oil is fraught with disaster while developing alternative forms of energy is fraught with promise for the future.

Live long and prosper. It is my un-birthday for eleven more days.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July


By Nancy Wayman Deutsch

Oh beautiful America, my own, my native land,

let freedom ring forever and tyranny be banned.

Let no man hate another; all in brotherhood unite

so we may bask as equals in liberty’s bright light.

Our founders fought with honor, for precious freedom’s sake.

They never lost their courage, nor before a despot quaked.

They endured at Valley Forge, died at the Alamo,

did not strive for glory, yet earned it even so.

When bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, no time to mourn the loss,

our soldiers rallied to the fray to champion freedom’s cause.

In Korea, in Viet Nam, and in far off desert lands,

vowed to stop injustice and promote the rights of Man.

Let Heaven weigh their sacrifice, their purity of heart.

Let History judge their actions, her wisdom to impart.

As our fathers did before us, we must carry freedom’s light

never bow before the tyrant, stand firm, for what is right.

Oh beautiful America, one nation under God,

in your precious liberty remain forever proud.

As the eagle soaring skyward, fly forever free.

Oh beautiful America, sweet land of liberty.

Nancy Wayman Deutsch


Happy 4th of July

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I've been busy

Hi bloggers,

Sorry not to have written in a week. I've been engrossed in book edits and appointments with plumbers, designers, contractor, etc for tile and wood flooring and laundry room rehab. I got four of my five new window treatments installed yesterday and love them.

This morning, Amy and Baby Alex came over and walked with me and Abby. Afterwards, we watched Chili swim in the pool. Alex, as you can see from the pictures above is a big boy! The dogs were very well behaved with the baby. Ginny was careful and calm. Abby, being half Rottweiler, was very protective on our walk. She paced her stride to the stroller and made sure she was physically between Alex and any strangers. Rotts rock!!

My time is short, so I'll be brief. baby Gavin is a week old today. All is well with him and his Mommy and Daddy.

No crises here. Chili got out of the yard today and fortunately, our intrepid handyman Shawn was on the roof. He saw her strolling down one of the neighbors drives, got off the roof, called her, and put her in the garage. Then he called me on the cell and said," The dingo got out and I put her inside. " Our hero! I think she slipped outside with the maid.

Tonight, were meeting our friend Karen for Mexican food. Tomorrow, a cook out for the Fourth at Laura's. Saturday evening we're off to Mt Dora to see friends and their almost completed new house. Sunday...who knows...adventure may beckon. Or a movie. We'll see.

Have a great week end. Stay safe, too. Ta