Thursday, June 30, 2011

Outdoor Friends

Long before we adopted McKinley into our family, our dog, Zak, had a penchant for barking/crying at cats he would see outside our house.

Since the weather has warmed up, we've noticed McKinley looking out the windows and screen doors as if searching for something. Matt figured out that he had a friend in the neighborhood, which was confirmed by seeing a gray and white kitty hanging around our front stoop.

This morning, both McKinley and Zak were huddled around the screen door to nowhere in our breezeway. McKinley was meowing loudly while Zak barked a kind of high pitched yelp. I went over to investigate and there was McKinley's gray and white friend sitting on the pavement below.

I got a snap of the friend as he/she wandered away, apparently put off by all the attention.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh Desktop, How You Scorn Me!

When I came back from my NKOTBSB travels, I was welcomed by my desktop computer not wanting to get past the initial start-up window. I had considered shutting the unit down for the one whole day I'd be gone but forgot in my last minute travel plans. Of course, this means there was a power outage which probably created a surge that did something to the computer. God knows. I'm hoping that Matt will take it to one of our friends this week to see how much damage was done and am currently crossing my fingers that I won't lose anything. At least we did do a full back-up this winter, so the most I'd lose is some stuff from eMusic, last few months of WRFA scripts, and probably some pictures. Not that I wouldn't still be fuming to myself, but that's technology.

In the meantime, I've been using the non-portable laptop. I'm convinced this thing is giving me back aches since I can't seem to get it so it's at an appropriate viewing and typing height. The sucker also outputs a lot of heat which is just dandy when the temperature goes up. Whine, whine. If money were no object, I'm at the point where I'd love to get a high memory/capacity laptop with a big screen so I could clear up my desk at home somewhat. Unfortunately, when you're a homeowner there tends to be other ticket items that get priority, like new gutters.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life Snippets

NKOTBSB

Nearly two weeks ago, I went to see super-boy-group, New Kids On The Block-Backstreet Boys, in Pittsburgh with Preppy Girl. She wrote an awesome account that I can't top. On the non-concert side, it was so much fun to hang out with PGirl and help her bust her IKEA and H&M virginity.

Movie Watching

We broke down and finally got the 1-DVD at a time option from Netflix to enhance our Netflix streaming. I'm really glad we did as I finally got to see (500) Days of Summer and The Social Network. Next is Up In The Air, followed by Thank You For Smoking, and then the Twilight movies. You can guess that Matt was a bit late at getting in his picks.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

I've continued working on the back garden and have some visible plants growing courtesy of my mom. One is a hosta and the two others I'm not sure about but one has a yellow flower and the other has a kind of greenish-yellow bud. I'm pretty excited that the gladiolas I planted are starting to send shoots up. Those will probably be the most dramatic flowers I've grown based on height alone. The front hill is shameful but I haven't had the time or money to rip everything up, plant new ground cover, and try to get it growing with something other than whatever weeds are there now. The next thing I'll have to tackle is the south side of the garage. There are some foundation issues over there (I know, it's never ending) that we'll need to take care of this Fall, but I want to get a swath of ferns out of the way so things can be assessed.

Radio Free

I've had a few people ask me how adjusting to life with out the news is going. I think I've gotten used to it aside from that occasional feeling like I should be doing something. The first week or so was hard because my brain was still hard-wired to be on the look-out for news stories I might need. I may have even cried a little. These days, I've found I like having that stretch of evening free. I've definitely tried to be more conscientious about getting stuff done around the house. I've read two books. As mentioned above, I've watched a few movies. I've also gone to bed early, sometimes just after 9pm depending on the day. There is still the feeling that something is missing.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

10 Years of In Java

I was having a drink with a friend I hadn't seen in months last night when the topic of blogs came up.

"I've had a blog for 10 years now," I offered, sipping a sweet summer drink.

"What is it about?" asked the companion with my friend.

"Hard to say. Some personal stuff. I never gave it a specific direction," I replied with a shrug.

I went on to talk about how I used to post more than once a day in the beginning and reflected on how that's dwindled to once or a couple times a month lately. I thought about the blogs that influenced me and whether their authors still publish posts (Yes and Yes). I talked about how blogging has changed but how there are some out there that seem make it work even as the media world has changed (Design*Sponge).

I thought about how blogging brought me closer to some people in around Jamestown (Preppy Girl, Galoot, Mr. Social), how it connected me with those who are farther away (Princess Slea, Maurice, Pamela), and how it made me more aware of everything (Buffalo Pundit, kottke.org, The Big Picture).

There was a time period where I considered ending this blog, leaving without a goodbye and letting the last post to hang without explanation other than the increasing time between the present and that post being the proof that something had been left to die quietly. But I've always been a journalist, whether it was in private notebooks or in my more frequently updated news feed for Facebook. I've learned to make no promises when it comes to writing, unless it's for someone else or has a deadline. I still like this blog and that it exists as a document of the person I was and have become over a decade.

Onwards we go..

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Two More Hours & We Have A Garden Again

After two more hours working on the earth on the back of the house Monday night, which involved uncovering more and more stones of ever increasing size, we have some semblance of a garden again.



My regret is that only one small rose bush seems to have survived the whole digging up/planting in a planter situation that I employed in an effort to keep plants from dying during the foundation reconstruction last summer. I'm not quite sure what to do with the empty space next to the steps now other than weeding the area.

In total, I hauled out about 4 dry-wall buckets full of rock, concrete pieces, and stones from the back of the house. Those are now deposited underneath our mudroom entry way. After several years of decomposition, I was able to dig out our compost to mix in some nutrient rich soil with the dry, rocky soil in hopes that one day it'll be a more hospitable environment for plants. Do you think that stopped me from planting some free flower bulbs I got at a bridal shower? We'll see if they grow.

The last thing I did on the back of the house was spread mulch. I didn't end up digging out the entire section because I could tell it was getting late, plus the soil was more stone than dirt. I figured I'd still lay down some mulch over what I hadn't finished anyway.
Next steps will be the clear out the vegetation and rocks on the sides of the garage. We have a feeling more masonry work will need to be done on the garage along with putting in new gutters.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Circle of Women

A few months ago I read the article,
"In Which We Teach You How To Be A Woman In Any Boy's Club" by Molly Lambert about how women can be their own worst enemies when it comes to the work place. The writer reflected on how in a mostly male work space, the scant handful of women sometimes either cave to acting like one of the guys and joining in on their misogynistic comments and attitudes or they steer clear but quietly work against each other in order to hold some esteem in the eyes of male co-workers who do not deserve that kind of power.

This past week I read this article, Design Online: A response to the ny times article on online magazines, on Design*Sponge. It included dialogue on how working against each other to "be on top," which the writer says is a business model used heavily in the print publishing world, doesn't hold true for online magazines or blogs.

Both these articles made me think about how I interact with other women as friends.

Admittedly, I've tended to have more guy friends than female friends. There have been a few instances in my life where girls I've trusted have turned their back on me, betrayed me, and hurt me. Sometimes I knew the reason and maybe could have done or said something differently, but other times left so many questions, confusion, and tears. I have less than a handful of female friends that I keep in regular touch with whom I knew before moving to Jamestown.

The last couple years, I've met another handful of incredible women. While I still have my guy friends, whom I cherish, there's definitely something about having a woman to lean on. There are basic things that she gets that no matter how versed a guy friend may be in the ways of women will ever understand. To not understand that until now seems like some gross lack of education on my part, but I guess it gives insight to how much I distanced myself from having a close relationship with any woman. I was that girl who sat with the guys and shook her head along with them when the topic of women came up. I was a "me too" chimer when they would pronounce how much they didn't get women. I didn't because I wouldn't let myself. That's terribly unfortunate and I'm glad I've allowed myself to try to get over that.

I'm incredibly blessed and lucky. I hope I don't ever take any of my friends, male or female, for granted. I'd hope that if I did, they'd call me on my bullshit. Then again, the friends who matter to me probably already know that they're in my heart and will stay there.

It's Been One Week..

It's been one week since I stopped doing the news.

I'm feeling a little lost.

It's silly in a way.

So what have I been up to?

I gardened last Sunday. I cleaned up some of the house on Monday and had a Memorial Day hot dog dinner with Matt. I watched I Capture The Castle and New Waterford Girl.

Tuesday I finally saw Labyrinth for the first time since it was available on Netflix streaming.

Wednesday I had just one violin student and then I went to watch Matt play floor hockey. We went out with the team after to Applebee's for dinner and some drinks. It was the first time in awhile that I recall having a drink in the middle of the week with dinner, or before 10pm.

Thursday I attended the dress rehearsal for the Infinity group, Collective Groove, that I would be performing with on Friday. After dinner, Matt and I went to see Bridesmaids. I cried on the way home because the movie reminded me of how much I miss one of my friends who moved away.

Friday we ate dinner quick before attending the Infinity Performing & Visual Arts Showcase at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. I had my worst case of nerves in years complete with icy hands and dry throat. We dropped into Forte after for a glass of wine and slice of grand marnier cheesecake before going home.

Saturday we had a funeral in the morning for the father of our friends. He was a good man. After a quick trip to Wegmans, I took my mother in law to a bridal shower for her granddaughter/my niece. Matt had a hockey team party that night, so I sat down in the recliner and read all of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Today I chatted online with my friend, Candy, who has had a marvelous weekend, before getting ready and meeting my friend, Heather, at Wegmans for coffee and grocery shopping.

There was a lot that went on this week. I did some things I might not have if I knew later on at night I would have to do the news. I felt like I should be a lot more simply because I didn't have that one thing hanging over my head.

I feel like I failed in a way.

Heather said she got some advice not that long ago that makes sense. That she just needs to be rather than worrying about setting goals. I think I just need to be for awhile. I need to figure this out. It's been a long time since I've had this kind of additional time back. It seems so very over dramatic to be going on like this, but the truth is that I just don't feel like myself. I've even had a hard time remembering what I used to do with myself in the days before I did the news. I also know I'm a much different person from then.

Matt says I don't deal well with change. I know I don't. I just don't like to hear it out loud because I tend to advocate pretty loudly if I see something that should be changed for others. Admittedly, even when it's a good change, it's still hard. The good thing is that I still make myself do it. I couldn't grow otherwise.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...