Friday, June 27, 2008

There's a new boy in town

Danny is a Pop Pop. More pictures of little Gavin Riley's arrival are on my Flickr page. He is pictured above with Danny, me and new Dad Stephen Scott and Uncle Brett Scott.

Little boy Gavin Riley made his appearance around nine fifteen last evening, weighing in at seven pounds, six ounces and twenty inches long with strawberry blond hair and baby blues. Mother father and baby are doing fine.

Danny and I went to fetch Brett from the bus station (after he'd endured a sixteen hour ride from Nashville) after Danny got off work and hurried up to the hospital to join a dozen or so family, extended family, and friends to await the arrival. Casey (mom to be) had been in labor for about 24 hours before the docs decided to do a Cesarean delivery. Once that decision was made, baby arrived about twenty minutes later.

While we were at the hospital, our dogs broke into the pantry and had a party. They ate a bag of Werther's Originals hard candies, wrappers and all, a box of Triskets, a box of Wheat Thins, half a box of graham crackers, cereal, and a bag of garlic flavored croutons. They also ripped up my freshly painted pantry door. Nobody got sick though they had some, ahem, gas.

Nuthin happening on renovation front till next week. Its okay, I need a nap break.

Its storming again. We're holed up inside, about to watch some of the John Adams miniseries.

Live long and prosper.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Well the front is just about finished. Only some electrical work yet to do and the driveway staining. Yard looks great. Do you remember what it looked like when we began? I can hardly remember myself!

I was feeling pretty punk all day (slightly dizzy and weak), so I didn't accomplish much. A few loads of laundry, some appointment calls made, dog walking, floor cleaning, and...oh yes...I began the process of getting my poetry book to the publisher. Got bogged down on the back cover blurb and quit, but now I have to finish the whole process. I should be hearing from the editor in a couple days. No more putting off the completed book in search of the illusive last 'perfect' unwritten poem. Writing the sales pitch blurb for the cover is the hardest part for me. Danny said I should just say, "Buy the damn book or put it down!" I wish I could. All I could think of were puns and word plays like, "This poetry collection never gets ode. So a musing. It has the mark of greatness sonnet." Sigh. Oh well, writing the blurb should take my frustration focus away from home improvement lags for a few days anyway. Still waiting for laundry room estimates and flooring phone numbers and the handyman to schedule the new cabinet fronts in the kitchen. New window treatments should be in on Thursday though.

All for now. Ta.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

dog parkin again

A dog park morning. First picture: a meet n greet. Picture number two: Abby watching other dogs play n Chili about to sniff butt. Picture number three: "Let's all head out to the woodland trail!" Notice Abby way in the lead doing her rocking horse run. Ginny was uncharacteristically lagging behind since she had just jumped up a tree after a squirrel, missed landing on a targeted limb, and fallen about six and a half feet onto the ground on her side. She squealed and knocked the wind out of herself but was otherwise uninjured. Today all three dogs realized the impossibility of successfully chasing down a fresh greyhound. Hot but fun!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Latest photos. We're almost done with the front. Two more bushes (eugenias) to line the walk at the curb, the bouganvilla over the pergola, and the driveway staining to go. We love the pond with the rock waterfall. The dogs are confused by the pond which didn't exist last week, except for Chili, who wants to dive right in.

Word of the day: Terpsichore, noun, meaning the Greek muse of dancing and choral song. I chose the word because last evening we went to a production of an English group called Terpsichore, that combined modern dance with advanced Yoga positions. Cool production, although the ultra jazzy music accompaniment wasn't my kind of thing. I hate modern jazz. The tones are too dischordant and sharp for me. The choreography was excellent though.

Perhaps inspired by the production, we did yoga this morning after walking the dogs. My left hip hurt as usual. Now that I've turned a chronological decade that nobody wants to turn, its like somebody suddenly flipped a switch from super excellent health to aches and pains and potential problems. My eye thing, the achy hip, digestive sensitivity etc...I'm feeling the aging process for the first time. And its a real bummer. Especially for somebody like me who abjectly hates going to doctors and who can't take all the good pain medications...oh, well nuthin' do but carry on...more slowly.

Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Poem and a word to ponder

Hey Bloggers,

Above, two pictures of our pond in progress. The entire front job should be completed by Saturday according to Ed...which probably means Monday or even Tuesday, but that's cool. We're close and its looking great. I'm happy.

Danny came home today from work at 9:30 a m and went straight to bed with an intestinal bug. No, we have not eaten any killer tomatoes. He's on the chicken soup and Gator Ade diet though for a couple days.

Word of the day: acoucheur/ noun, obstetrician As in the sentence, Casey will no doubt be spending some time with her acoucheur in the very near future. That's true. Danny's boy Stephen is gonna be a daddy real soon. Maybe even tomorrow!

This poem is for Danny.


Today I place before me

the humble Jell-O mold.

No favorite of the epicure,

if all the truth be told.

Yet when digestion’s faulty,

such simple fare’s just right.

It helps in calming hunger

all through the day and night.

It shimmers in the sunlight,

translucent, cool, and soft.

Gazing on its beauty,

I hold my spoon aloft.

I mourn the foods I used to love.

My stomach now rejects them.

I took them once for granted,

but now I must forget them.

It’s moot to yearn for Szechwan,

ground pepper on a steak.

I long for Eggplant Parmesan,

some Chili would taste great.

Another bowl of chicken soup

would surely make me cry.

Praise fate that sparkling gelatin

is here before my eyes.

It comes in many flavors,

rainbow colors too, you know

and after I have swallowed it,

all’s quiet down below.

So, hail the lowly Jell-O.

It’s the savior of the sick.

Maybe it’s not nutritious,

for me it does the trick!

By Nancy Wayman Deutsch

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Questions, quotes, and a useful word

Tonight's photos: "almost there" front entry, Alex at five months (Look, Ma, I can sit on my own...for awhile...well...I can hold my head and shoulders up anyway!), Alex and Amy with short hair.

Things I wonder about:

What are dogs dreaming about when their paws move back and forth, when their noses twitch, and their tongues seem to be lapping water? What are they barking at when they woof in their sleep?

Do the daily weather caused disasters around the world mean that global warming has indeed occurred and that "The Day After Tomorrow" is coming sooner rather than later?

Is Barak Obama really sincere about anything or is he just feeding the masses the meal they crave?

Do I really see Stephen King around town occasionally or am I just feeling guilty about not writing more stories?

Will the price of gasoline ever go back to reasonable limits?

Which is better, ice cream or chocolate? Can I eat both and zip my jeans if I exercise more?

Should all lobbyists and health care and oil company CEOs be exiled to a hastily built penal colony on the moon?

If rats had furry tails would they be as cute and likable as squirrels?

Quote of the day:

"When politicians give up on liberty, it falls to poets to preserve it. Or to write its epitaph." (Stephen Saylor in The Triumph of Caesar.)

Arbitrary Word of the Day:

galimatias noun, confused and meaningless talk, gibberish;
as in No matter how they begin a speech, politicians eventually descend into galimatias.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Untitled for lack of a better one

Two pictures of todays landscaping efforts. We have most of the plants. We have the patio and the walkways and the pavers lining the driveway. Next I guess, they will build the pond and finish planting the jasmine and a couple more bigger plants. Lay the new sod. Whoo hoo, almost there.

We went to Sea World yesterday. It was brutally hot and rained a little but we really enjoyed the afternoon. Saw the Pets Ahoy show again which was slightly different than before but just as wonderful and visited the penguins and the Shark Encounter. At the aquarium we saw the creature pictured above. It is a type of sea horse called a Sea Dragon. Fabtastic! We saw the sea lion and walrus show, also pictured above, and finished at the Mystique show which is a sort of Sea world version of Circ. Shorter and less complicated but easy to understand and all in all, it was pretty good. It was Father's Day, so I took Danny to Bahama Breeze for an ahi tuna steak (his favorite).

Unfortunately, I got dehydrated in the heat yesterday and got sick this morning while walking Abby. I was confused, lethargic, sick to my stomach, and had chills. Could barely walk home. Spent the first half of the day drinking endless cups of water and took a nap. Felt better. You'd think I'd know better than to go over the border of dehydration after all my years in Florida and all my years of intense exercise, but...I forget.

Tomorrow I go for a 2 week eye check. Thursday, the kitchen and bath designer lady who did our bathrooms is coming out to see if she can help me create a laundry room out of the utility closet and the the 'rat' pantry closet. She knows where to call for my tile flooring in the living room, dining room, and foyer, too. Looks like the major summer projects are in full swing.

Live loong and prosper. Check my flickr photostream for some new pictures.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day in the life and a dog possessed

Some pictures of today's landscaping efforts. We've got more jasmine coming, some eugenias, more crotons, sod, bougainvillea for the pergola and I dunno...stuff. We're doing a small pond thing with rocks and fountain, too. The paver walkways are mostly finished. Sprinkler system needs work n so do ground lights, but we'll get there.

A day in the life:

Spent the morning walking dogs and peeking out the windows at the landscaping in progress. During lunch the landscaper rang the doorbell. While we were outside talking to him, Chili dug into the chicken sandwiches we'd thoughtfully left for her on the kitchen table. At least she didn't eat the chicken enchilada soup. Its our favorite.

Since we were almost out of Ligonberry jam (God forbid), we decided that we just had to make an Ikea run this afternoon. Not so surprisingly, the shopping bug bit. We bought all sorts of useful and cool and inexpensive Swedish stuff made in China and ate meatballs in the Ikea cafeteria. At Petco, we bought a second couch style dog bed since Abby and Ginny constantly race each other to the bedroom at bedtime to see who gets the couch bed first and who is reduced to sleeping on the ordinary faux sheepskin mat. We ventured into the nearby very tony Millennia Mall to get a iLife progam for my Mac laptop at the always crowded Apple Store. Then returned home to find that the dogs had had a garbage party while we were gone. I cleaned up the kitchen and family room and fed the dogs some actual meant for dogs food, then let them out to potty. Chili jumped into the overclorinated pool without permission. Danny rinsed her with the hose but it didn't help. When I took her for her evening walk she smelled like one of those big chlorine cakes the pool guys put in the pool filter.

After walking Chili extra long to use up some of her naughty energy (or so I hoped), Danny and I walked the other dogs. We returned home to find that Chili had: 1. Jumped up on the counter and eaten half a loaf of new whole wheat bread 2. barfed bread dough balls on the dining room floor 3. peed on the family room rug 4. pooped on the home office floor. You bet I yelled at her. You can also bet she didn't give a rat's ass. And she looks so cute and innocent too, doesn't she? Not!!

If you get a cattle dog, be afraid. Be very afraid. You will love the little Tasmanian devil...but you will no longer be in control of your life. Oh, Cesar Milan,where are you? Please hear my prayer. Save us, oh exalted dog whisperer.


Friday, June 13, 2008

lots of pictures and a rat report

Some recent pix:
1. Alex (five months) in frog inner tube in Amy and Elias's pool.
2,3,4, and 5. landscaping project in progress. Some more plants in, the patio and walkways defined by white sand, and the pavers are here!
6. Laura's very mellow Pit bulls at rest.

Hey there my little bloggers. The rats are back. I noticed Ginny drooling out on the porch next to the gas grill. I opened the top and sure enough, mama rat has built another nest inside and she was curled up in there taking an afternoon siesta. She merely looked up at me like, "Excuse me, I'm napping here, please to close the lid." Not one bit afraid. I had to poke her with the broom to make her run away. TWICE. As for Ginny, she might have been wondering how to turn the grill on for rat steak.

Speaking of you know whats, I cleaned out my huge closet next to the kitchen yesterday. Took three hours and worst of all, there were rat droppings in there. Big yuck!! I threw out everything I could and scrubbed everything down that was scrubbable with strong cleaner. That was the closet where we had a rat a year ago. Obviously, I have to adopt a new firmer policy towards rats. No more Mrs Nice Gal. Rats, be gone.

Its Friday! That means dinner out at our favorito Mexican or Italiano place. Ole and Ciao.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't harshen my mellow, landcapers

Namaste, my little bloggers,

No, the girl in the photo is not me and the dog isn't mine either. But, the photo is what always happens when I try to do yoga. Dog wants to be a part of it all. Dog has short attention span though. Dog gets bored after a cat stretch or a downward dog and an upward dog and vamooses. Unless I lock dog out of room from the get go. Then, dog sits behind closed door and barks, cries, and whines through the entire yoga session. That can harshen a mellow quick. Specially when its one or two, sometimes three dogs.

I'm trying not to let my mellow get harshened by the fact that no landscaper folk have worked on my property all week. Still no patio or paver walkways. Only 'bout 1/3 of the plants are in. Thanks to the rains every evening this week, the grass is mighty green...but the muddy dirt walkway to the house is literally the pits! Now, I knew the project wouldn't be done in the two weeks promised at the start. But, the project manager assured me he'd be here working on the pavers today...and he wasn't. Actually, he did stop by for a minute and a half very early this morning. Just long enough to throw his two wheelbarrows and some shovels into his truck but not long enough for me to get dressed and go out to talk to him. I find myself wondering if he's gone with the wind... or not. Danny says not. I hope Danny's right. Ah well, a few more yoga breaths my help!

Actually, I've been exercising a whole lot lately. Not just doing Hatha Yoga. As the saying goes, I'm seriously deconditioned. Slothful, lazy, pudgy, bulgy....however you want to say it, I'm soft and spreading. But, my dears, I have swum 50 double laps twice, worked out three times with weights, treadmilled, bicycled, done yoga twice, and walked each dog once or twice each day for the past week. I feel much better, have more energy, am sleeping well and am not craving as much sugar. I did notice today that my skirt felt tighter than last week at this time. That generally happens at first when I start back in serious exercise mode.

As Danny explains the phenomena: people like me who have exercised alot most of their lives and who had a lot of muscle prior to becoming deconditioned will regain muscle mass fast when they reenter an exercise regime. There's been no time to lose fat. Not in one week. So, I'm not worried. Mellow not harshened. Not by that at least.

Here's hoping the landscapers show tomorrow. Namaste.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

week end update

Hey there bloggers,

Above note photos of our Australian cattle Dog, Chili, doin' one of the two things she likes best: jumping into the pool, and a shot of three Catahoulas (not mine) doin' what they do best, working stock. The other photos are of our ongoing landscape project. We've got some plants again. Ed promises me we will have the paver walkways, patio, rest of the plants, bouganvilla vines on the pergola, and 'water feature' by Wednesday...but we'll see. Next week end maybe.

At least we have air conditioning again. Sweet blissful cool air. It was up and running by Wednesday evening but I decided, since it had probably never been done, to have the vents cleaned. That was an all day Thursday job which required the a/c to be off. Back to a balmy 85 degrees inside the house again! I holed back up in the home office with my window a/c humming merrily and edited my book. All was well until I let Chili swim in the pool for two long and she swallowed too much water and had to pee urgently. She was locked in the office. I wasn't in the office at that moment to let her outside so she did what I suppose seemed to her to be a logical thing. She peed on the a/c guys drop cloth in front of the door to the family room. Well, the pee soaked through to the wood floor beneath and flowed like a river under and behind eight feet of filled to brimming bookcases. How many ways can I say, well, never mind, you can imagine what I said. I had to empty the bookcases, remove the shelves, move the cases, clean the floor, replace the cases, and worst of all replace and re-alphabetize the books. It was hours of work.

Today we're hanging around the house, swimming n stuff. Danny's putting together a wood file cabinet for me and an exercise bike and then he'll probably nap while I make cookies. Love week ends!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Picture: almost completed pergola.

Hello bloggers,

Its some kind of cosmic rule, or maybe cosmic joke, that your a/c breaks down just when the weather turns beastly hot (or the heat goes out at the first sign of a wintry blast). You develop some sort of potentially alarming eye condition when you can't get to a doctor because you must stay in your 85 degree house while the a/c people install a new system that's much more expensive than you anticipated it would be. As someone once said to Job as he was perched on his dunghill, ah, I know you're suffering, but there's possibly a book there! In my case, a short story maybe.

I called the eye doctor this morning. The eye doctor is not happy with me. His nurse insisted that it was critically important that I come in right away as my condition may be a detached retina. If so, I could go blind without immediate surgery. Now, I didn't tell them that the problem actually started last Thursday in the late afternoon. I called Friday, but they were closed. I should have called yesterday, but I was too miserable in the heat to do anything. Today, with a second window a/c humming merrily, its not so bad in the part of the house I'm holed up in. So, I could think clearly and I called. But, I'm already 5 days past onset, so my delay has potentially already been too long.

I don't ordinarily ignore eye troubles like I ignore other physical ailments since I had a serious injury as a toddler that required surgery-- and I do not take vision for granted. But, the summer before last I had exactly the same symptoms in the other eye and it turned out not be be a detached retina so I'm not totally freaking out about this. Still, I am a little bit worried. So, cross your fingers.

The a/c guys say they may have the system up and running by this afternoon. The landscaping project is moving slower than last week, at least as far as I can tell. Not concerned am I my little padawans. It will get done when it gets done. Being so hot that I felt sick all day yesterday put my priorities in order fast!

Live long and prosper.


11:30 a m: I hear a pounding on the garage door. Opening it, I behold a large scowling male brandishing a form like the Sword of Damocles. "I'm Joe Meanie from the city," he growls. "Your contractor didn't pull a permit for this job and I'm shutting it down as of right now!"

Thinking he means the landscapers,who are nowhere in sight I reply, "They told me they had a permit."

"Well," I don't have one on my desk, so they didn't," he sneers.

"Well," I say, trying to peer around his bulk, "I'm sure they will take care of it."

"Nothing will happen until I have a permit on my desk," he repeats, brandishing his form. "And I'm sending the workmen away. "

"Okay," I say, thinking, but they're already gone. "We'll take care of it ."

"I'm leaving the violation form with you," growls the Knight of Code Enforcement, striding away.

As soon as he disappears, I glance at the younger a/c repairman who is leaning against the washer."Wait a minute," I say, realization breaking through my mid morning allergy headache fog. "Is he talking about you guys or the landscapers?"

"Us," says the a/c guy ruefully. "We have a call in to the office. Apparently, somebody forgot to pull a permit."

"He didn't have to be so rude, did he?" I ask." He acted like we were all criminals."

"I'm sorry," the older installer says. "Usually those guys don't mess with us, but I guess we will have to stop working."

"I didn't know you had to have a city permit to replace an air handler," I say in amazement.

"Well, usually you don't," he says. "But sometimes Winter Park likes to collect extra fees."

"Ah," I nod, thinking, Winter Park, land of McMansions and high taxes. Extra fees alway needed. Makes sense. "Well, he sure was rude. Makes me wish I'd opened the door with one of the dogs. But then, I'd probably get fined for that."

The younger a/c guy nods. "He was, ah, somewhat condescending."

"Don't worry,"says the older man. "If the salesman doesn't take care of it, I'll go to the city and pull a permit myself if I have to. But, we'll have to go now. We'll be back."

It is two hours later. I now have the permit taped prominently to my window. The a/c guys are coming back and I'm going to leave the side garage door unlocked for them. They can do what they need to do today without coming into the house. I'm going to see my eye doctor. Life doesn't have to be as complicated as people make it sometimes, although the anal sort of people who make a living in the code enforcement departments seem to prefer to make things uncomfortable for the rest of us. As Laura used to say in her toddler years, "Lax, deese tings happen." It turned out to be an honest mistake from a company that's been doing business here since 1945.

I wonder if code enforcement people are the same sort of people who apply for jobs in Homeland Security and Immigration? Huummm...anyway, luckily for me and Mr Grumpy today, I was more concerned with my eye and problem solving than reacting to unnecessary male rudeness and the dominance gambit. Generally speaking, German/Scottish women aren't the most patient sorts and don't take kindly to aggressive males. Specially Celtic women with half Rottweilers and Daddy's who teach them boxing moves. Whatever.

Ta for now.

Postscript 2: The a/c guys came back. They swear they will be finished with the installation tomorrow. The doc says my eye thing is the same as before. Not a detached retina. Could develop into one but isn't yet. The spider shaped and feathery and half moon floaters will eventually break off from the eyeball and drift to the bottom of my eye like flakes in a snow globe. The blurry spot will go away. Eventually. Unless the light flashes intensify and I notice significant vision changes I should be okay. No diving into the pool or riding jerky theme park rides or running. Avoid excessive reading or blows to the head (?). So, I guess I'll skip Sheikra, all math textbooks, jogging, and falling brass lamps. Ta for real.