Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lily Lake

I got talking with a guy (Curtis) at the office the other day, and we discovered that he hunts north of our property, and he’s familiar with our area. Curtis is a duck hunter (Kev is not), and he mentioned that he had run into some old geezer that told him to try Lily Lake. Curtis asked me if I had ever heard of it, and I hadn’t. So... I asked my Dad.

Dad told me the first time he ever saw Lily Lake was when he was around 10 years old, so about 1940. By then, the State had put in a lot of drains, and the one that runs through our property is called Carroll Creek Drain. When we first moved out here, I thought it was just a creek... but when you see an aerial view of it, you can clearly tell it is man-made. It runs straight. Carroll Creek Drain runs near Lily Lake. Dad said that the drain had eventually managed to drain much of Lily Lake, and that if it was still out there, it was likely to be a fraction of its size. Dad said when he saw it, Lily Lake was huge; it had a beaver dam at one end and several lodges all over.

Dad also told me that the Carroll Creek Drain had also helped to drain out a real low spot right near us. Back when FDR took office and with his New Deal, one of the PWA projects was building up our road. Our road was a main thoroughfare at that time, linking this area with another settlement (both due to logging camps)... this was back in early 1930’s, and way before then, too, I suppose. The PWA project had men working to build up this road. During those days, the area around our road wasn’t wooded like it is now, but rather, mostly pasture and farm land. (The drain helped accomplish that, too, so the low lands could be farmed and run cattle on.) So the men would use teams of horses and wagons and load up the wagons with sand from along the roadway, haul it up to the road and manually shovel it out. What a helluva lot of work that must have been.

The one particular low spot near us, in fact, not too far across the road from our driveway, was still quite wet then. It was known as a sinkhole. Dad said he was too little to have seen it, but he knows of people who saw a team of horses and a wagon get stuck in it during the PWA project. The men got out, but they couldn’t get the team and wagon out, and they slowly disappeared in the quicksand. Dad said to me, “Just think, a short ways off your driveway, under the earth are the carcasses of those horses and that old wagon.” Gee, thanks, Dad.

I had heard that story when I was little, but I didn’t know it happened so close to us. I know the spot. It’s still marshy, and not any place you’d want to try and walk through. Especially not now.

Anyway, our road is a dirt road and just a ways north of our driveway turns into a 2-tracker, then is pretty much impassable... as one of my previous posts mentions. Strange to think our old dirt road was once a main thoroughfare of this area.

So, Friday afternoon at work, following Dad’s description of its location, I tried to find Lily Lake via some aerial photos on the Internet, but couldn’t. I mentioned this to Kev, and he said he knew just where Dad was talking about, but he didn’t know it was locally known as Lily Lake. We made a plan to go there. So this morning, while the kids still slept, we filled up some thermoses with coffee and headed out on the 4-wheelers. I took my camera with me. These were some fiddleheads along the roadside where we began to enter the trail out to Lily Lake. I just liked this photo.

We hit a lot of mud holes. I’ve realized the photos are very different from being there. This one freaked me out... we were so far out in the woods, and to get stuck would be a mess. (I was clenching my teeth so much while Kev was trying to get out, that I ended up breaking off that damn chip the dentist fixed again already! Jeez.)

Some of them, I would drive through, but some I just got off and demanded Kev drive my 4-wheeler through for me.

It is springtime, so mud and water are expected... there was just so much of it.

Then finally, after a few miles, we came upon Lily Lake. This was my first view of it.

We scared off a passle of Canada geese, but 2 remained.

They chewed us out over and over for most of our time there. Further on up, we came to the end of the lake. It is much smaller than Dad’s description. We saw only 2 beaver lodges. They both look actively inhabited, and we saw scat, too.

The lake is covered in water lilies. Lily Lake is aptly named. It is beautiful.

While there, we constantly heard running water. There were small pools of water and small waterfalls all over the edge. The water is brown, brown, brown.

This is one of the lily pads with a perfect pearl of brown water on it. There were so many buds on the lake... I can’t wait to go back and see all those lilies blooming.

I’m pretty sure the 2 pair of geese must be nesting on this lake, and I think I saw where. They did settle down a bit, but then 2 more geese came in and landed on the lake.

This caused a ruckus. We enjoyed our coffee while listening to them talk. They were either arguing or really bitching about us. Loudly.

The birdlife was amazing. I saw so many different kinds of birds, some I didn’t recognize. I really got excited to see so many Eastern Bluebirds. We had one that kept flying at us at one point, so maybe we got too close to its nest.

I took so many photos of the bluebirds. This one of a take off from the tree limb turned out pretty cool.

This shot of a goldfinch is cute... doesn’t he look like the neighborhood guy that thinks he knows everything... puffed up on his own importance.

We had a wonderful time there. We headed home, and then I noticed the tires. On the way in, I was so awed by the lake, I hadn’t noticed them. They were everywhere.

I am always amazed that people who would take the trouble to get that far out into the woods would litter. Along the trails we drove today, we saw so much litter. We also saw a whole lot more mud and water... we took a different trail home, and that’s one trail I won’t be going on again any time soon.

Some of the holes were super tricky. At this one, my camera battery pooped out on me. I thought this hole was bad... some we hit after it practically made me pee my pants. Kev got a little tired of driving me through them, and he shamed me into trying them myself. I finally told him, hey, I never said I was so strong, I just said strong... get over here and drive this thing.

It was such a fine day. Funny living here in this area for most of my 46 years and never having heard of Lily Lake before... can’t wait to go back.

More morsels...

I have finally discovered the type of bird that has been waking me in the mornings with a jarring EEEHHH EEHH EEH. I got a picture of one of them.

This is the Eastern Phoebe with whom I have a love/hate relationship. I hate his song. He is loud and screeching, and he drowns out all the other morning birdsong. He is also a very early riser. But I love it that he eats tons of insects, including mosquitos. Hopefully, he will mate soon and quit the “come find me” screeching, and do the phoe-bee song he's known for...

Last night, we went to our high school’s production of The Sound of Music. It was absolutely awesome. What a great bunch of talented young people. My nephew, Mike, was part of the orchestra, and I snapped this shot (with my cell phone) of him hamming it for me in the pit.

Joycie’s had a few soccer games this season, and I took these photos one evening last week. I love her expressions… and her high kicks. She can kick that ball way more than half way down the field.

Yesterday afternoon, I took this photo of N.C. snoozing in the sun. Awww…

Awww… dammit, now I know why that shrub is looking like crap on one side.

Between N.C. laying on it and Barney pissing on it… there’s not much hope for it.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Conversation earlier this morning here at work:
Me: Mornin' Bonnie
Bonnie: Ahhh, good morning **sigh**
Me: (in my best George Jones imitation) It's Finally Friday!
Bonnie: Yeah, and it took a year to get here!

I agree. Long week.

Bumper sticker on the back window (wait, wouldn't that be a window sticker???) of a big, tough lookin' black pickup with one of those big aluminum toolboxes across the back, and with huge tires... a truck you can tell is for workin' & not for show:

Best song to describe some events this week:
J. Geils Band, "Love Stinks"

Best movie quote to describe some events this week:
"Worse than the total agony of being in love?" from Sam in "Love Actually".

Actually, love isn't right... more like crush, or very interested.

My niece, a college freshman, started a blog, and she got a comment on one her blog posts from someone in Italy. Cool.

We have exactly 20 more days of school. Holy cow. This will be the last school year of our involvement with our elementary school, because Sammy moves on to the middle school next year. Joycie started Kindergarten there in 1994 (in the same classroom where I attended Kindergarten in 1965). It will be odd. We went to the book fair yesterday evening, after Michael's tennis match, and we bought a book for each one of Sammy's teachers he's had through the years (except for 1, who is no longer at our school). (The PTO has the teachers fill out "book wish" cards, and then their students can purchase a book for their classroom. It's really neat, and they put a sticker in the book of who it's from.) Usually we only buy a book for his current teacher, but since this is his last year there, we chose one for each teacher. I love buying books, so that was fun, but it was really sad... Then as I looked at the board with the teachers' book wishes, I realized that all of the teachers that Joycie had were no longer there. One moved to Louisiana mid-way through 4th grade, 2 have since retired, 2 are teaching at others schools in our district and 1 is now in a position in our district administration.

I just finished my breakfast, a roasted almond crunchy granola bar... and those things are great.

Now... back to work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Morning sky

This was my view on my drive into work this morning. I took this photo with my cell phone, which doesn't do the sky or the sun rays justice... but you get the idea.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Prom night

Last night was the high school prom. Joycie not only fit into her prom dress perfectly, she looked amazing. We decided to do her hair here at home this time instead of paying $60+ at a salon, which was a very brave decision. I have a reputation of having no talent in the hair-do department. We started early, in case she would have to wash her hair and put out an emergency call to Aunt Janet or Aunt Kathy or someone... It took 2 hours, but it turned out just right. Joycie and I had drawn some sketches of what we wanted, and her hair-do totally resembled the sketches. (Whew!) She looked so beautiful. I think she was surprised at how well I did her hair. I know I was. We took some photos at home, and then we went over to her Grampa & Gramma's, where her aunts and uncles met us, too. It was fun, and all the adoring attention was great for my girl. Her cheeks were pink, and I'm sure it was with happiness with a small side dose of embarrassment... & with mounting excitement. It was great. Sammy took this photo of me & my beautiful girl:

Joycie and 6 of her friends met at a formal gardens for photos. (Only 2 of the 6 girls had prom dates, which is typical at Joycie's high school. There are more girls in her social circle than there are boys.) All day it had been raining on and off, even thunderstorming... it was still raining a little bit when we went out into the gardens, but the girls looked so cute with their umbrellas...

But it stopped raining and the sun came out. Everything was still wet, but I think that made the gardens even more beautiful. This is Joycie and Allison, the prettiest flowers:

This is Kara, Amanda, Joycie & Allison, and one lucky Sammy:

We stayed at the gardens for close to an hour, and it was a fun time. I took about 125 photos total, and nearly all of them turned out. The girls were all in very happy moods, and alternating between glamorous and goofiness for the cameras.

Joyce called after midnight, and she, Amanda and Kara were heading to Allison's to stay overnight there. Joycie stopped by to take off her prom dress and change into comfy clothes. Amanda was with her, and they were both giddy with happiness. (I think I probably told Joycie a kazillion times to drive carefully, especially carefully since she was feeling so happy, and that's when you get distracted, don't be distracted by your good mood, drive carefully...
Hey, that's who I am, a worrywort + a mom = Major Worrywort.)

She called me on her way home, and she told me that she & Amanda had stopped off at a local Meijer store to pick up some pop & stuff for Allison's, around midnight. Joyce said nearly everyone in there was a guy buying beer, except for one guy who was buying Coke. I heard Amanda pipe up that he had a bottle of rum in his other hand. I am sure they got a lot of attention at Meijer in their beautiful prom dresses. The rum and Coke guy was behind them in the checkout line, and he told them they looked very dressed up for grocery shopping. No, duh.

Joyce called a little bit ago, and she'll be home soon. I'm looking forward to hearing all the details of her night. While we do laundry... lots and lots of laundry!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fence, net, whatever

My nephew, Michael, a sophomore at our local high school (same one Joycie attends), plays Varsity tennis, and he made second singles this year. Mike is tall, over six foot, and plays a heck of a tennis game. He's got such a long reach, I just love to watch him play. I don't know too much about tennis... I've always liked watching tennis, e.g., Wimbledon on TV, but I've never played tennis myself. I've hit a tennis ball before, but the nearest thing to tennis I've played is probably racquetball, or maybe ping pong... lame, I know.

I have never really figured out scoring, either, though Kev explained it to me a few times. Mike gave me the short explanation recently, which helped me understand it better. Again, lame, I know, sadly lame. I suppose the big difference is that I now care more about learning the scoring & rules.

Anyway... I got to see Michael play a match this past Tuesday evening. He didn't win, but he played well. His opponent just seemed to be able to return everything, though Mike had him beat hands down on placing the ball. And here is probably where my ignorance of the game terminology will shine. Mike would put the ball where he wanted it to go, making it difficult for the other guy to get to it to return it. I mean, Mike would have that ball go here, then there, then there again, etc. High, low, hard, soft, drop early. It was cool. You could see he was thinking ahead. So many of Mike's shots surprised the guy, but he was able to return so many, surprise or not. I think it kind of freaked Mike out a little bit, I know it did me. Well, maybe not freaked, but unnerved a bit. It was great to watch Mike play. I took some pictures when he was warming up. I liked this shot because Mike looks so determined. And that was just a warm-up.

But after the game started, my sister (Mike's mom) told me not to stand at the fence and take photos because it was too distracting for Michael. (I was putting my camera lens through the holes in the fence.) I should have thought of that myself. So I settled for taking some photos, unobtrusively, behind the fence. When it comes to getting those balls way high up in the air, Mike definitely has an advantage.

Some of Mike's serves or return shots were like bullets, and even after hitting the court, they'd bang into the fence in front of us. I found myself ducking anyway sometimes. You know, one of those jerky flinches then a quick look to see if anyone noticed... Though this shot proves Mike, with all his power, cannot actually get the ball through the fence. Whew.

I know I'm a novice, but in my defense, I was pretty tired Tuesday evening. I had trouble getting the right words out... I kept calling the net a fence. As in, did it go over the fence? Did the ball hit the fence? You mean net? Yeah, whatever. Once I couldn't think of the word racquet, so I went with mallet. Joycie's laugh at that one was not really very kind laughter.

Can't wait to watch Mike play again. I've always enjoyed watching tennis, as I've said, but watching someone you care about play is way more fun.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Retail therapy

Because my Dad is still in the hospital, I’ve been taking Sammy to school in the mornings. Sammy usually gets on the bus at my folks’ at about 8:10am. I drop him off there on my way into work around 7am. My Dad gets up early and usually makes Sam’s breakfast, and then when it’s time for the bus, Dad usually takes Sam down to the end of their long driveway in the golf cart. Mom could handle this while Dad’s in the hospital, but getting up that early is pretty difficult for Mom, and she’s got enough to handle. Anyway, I enjoy it. I get to sleep a little later and so does Sammy, and then we have the morning together. He likes to be driven to school.

It does mean I get into work about an hour and a half late, though. My work day starts at 7:30am, so when I take Sammy to school, I don’t get there until close to 9am, taking that time on vacation or making it up.

Lately, though, there is a bigger problem with getting to work late. Because of some construction going on around our company’s campus, there have been many parking areas eradicated. This has caused a serious shortage of parking spots. This morning when I got there at 8:50am, I drove around for about 20 minutes, going to several different parking lots, and eventually with about 3 or 4 other cars, looking for an open space. Even a “no parking” area open space, anything. There were 2 handicap spots free, but that was it. I was contemplating driving over a curb and parking on the lawn, but then I said to myself, fuck this. I drove to Kroger and bought myself a small bunch of tulips, bought some mixed nuts for my Daddy, stopped at the Rite-Aid next door and bought some stuff, looked around, killed some time. Driving back to work, I decided that if there were no free parking spots by now, I was just going to head on home.

I found one right up front. Darn it.

I met a friend for lunch. Her name is Ann, and she discovered not too long ago that she has breast cancer. It was caught early and she had surgery, then radiation treatment. She’s doing well, and she looked great. It was nice to see her.

And after lunch, I actually found a free parking spot. One of about 4 left. Whew. But after I got to my desk, I was just so not in the mood to be there. Just too much drama this week, I guess. I left for the day, and am taking tomorrow on vacation. I was planning to go in late, after taking Sammy to school, and then leave early to go back out and get Sam, bring him into town for his dental appointment early tomorrow afternoon… instead, I’m just taking the whole dang day off. Screw it.

So I left today and hit the dollar store. Our town has 3 of them. My favorite one is on my way home, so I turned in. I saw Gwen and her mom in there, which really surprised me. We had a nice visit. She said Cody had a good day yesterday, and that Sammy was really nice to him. I was glad to hear that, because it confirmed what Sam had said.

And then I bought myself 2 vases, which I totally do not need. It used to be everything was a dollar, but now they have some more “high end” stuff on occasion… so I had to fork out five bucks for each of these vases. I like them both. I put my tulips in this one.

And I think it’ll look great with daffodils, too. This is the other one.

I think they’re both pretty, and it cheered me up! Retail therapy isn’t something that usually appeals to me, but it helped today.

I also bought a new shower curtain and rugs for our bathroom this week. Those purchases I can justify. We’ve had the same curtain and rugs for quite a few years now… probably at least 10. I bought them from the National Wildlife gift catalog, and they were kinda pricey (for me, anyway). I’d say we’ve got our use out of them. It’s funny, I’m not really tired of them yet… even after 10 years. So I’m definitely saving them. Here’s the “before” photo:

But I had in a mind a totally different look, and lo & behold, I found exactly what I was thinking of for the shower curtain at Wal-Mart. Then I found the exact rugs I wanted at K-Mart. Hey, if the store has a hyphen in its name, count me in. Here is my “after” photo:

I also spent about an hour and half scrubbing in there… gave the bathroom one of those ol’ deep cleaning sessions. I usually go with a swipe and promise… it’s not that I hate doing housework, I’d enjoy it if I had more time.

Anyway, I like my “new” bathroom, and I like my new vases. All that and a glass of Reisling has much improved my mood tonight.


Joycie was informed yesterday that she's now a member of the National Honor Society. There will be a formal induction ceremony soon. Like Joycie, there were a few other members of the junior class that made it in. I'm so proud of her!

Back when I was a junior in high school (at the same high school Joycie's at), oh... back in 1977, I also made the NHS in my junior year. But back then, it was like basically if you had a high g.p.a., then you were in. Nowadays, at our high school, you get invited to fill out a resume, which is then reviewed by an appointed Faculty Council. They look at more than just your g.p.a. (which must be at least 3.5), and they really look at your volunteer hours. And now that Joycie is in the NHS, she has to log in 20 required volunteer hours (approved -- you can't just say, oh I helped my aunt clean out her attic... it has to be a whole lot more official than that). I think it's great. Good experience. Joycie hasn't volunteered much so far during her high school years, but then, she has always played 3 sports, was in band, took guitar lessons and had the odd babysitting jobs. All that plus homework, social stuff & chores at home... well, she's been pretty busy.

Next year, in her senior year, she's not planning to play any sport except Spring soccer (though she'll probably play rec soccer, indoor winter). She's looking at volunteer opportunities now. There was one in our local paper about helping out at a horse ranch with disabled children. She wants to check on that, not because she's very good at knowing how to help disabled kids, but she'd like to try, and of course, because she loves horses.

She'll still be busy in her senior year because she's planning to have something similar to a co-op position, in that she'll be assisting a 4th grade teacher in our district for either the morning or afternoon, at least for the 1st semester, then she's hoping to assist a 3rd grade teacher. The difference between what Joycie's planning to do and a typical co-op job is that Joyce won't get paid. It will be well worth the experience for her, though. The two teachers were both Sammy's, and they would give her excellent examples to follow... both of them are wonderful teachers.

I still have trouble with the realization that my baby girl will be a senior next year. She likes to remind me that she'll be 18 years old this November, just to watch me flinch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Day 2 of the terrarium that Sammy & I made, and it's looking much more perky.

We don't know what half of the plants are, just saw them growing in the woods and dug them up. I know one plant is a wintergreen berry. We also went out to my herb garden and dug up a small woolly lamb's ear and what we believe is a johnny jump up (artemisia and viola, respectively). I think another plant we dug up in the woods, along the side of a trail, is a wild strawberry. One we dug up was small, but when I pulled it up, a larger plant just like it came up with it, and it smelled like a carrot. It'll be interesting to see how big the plants grow.

Hard hoeing

My Dad had his knee replacement surgery yesterday morning. The surgeon told my Mom that the surgery went well, and since Dad had no cartilage left & all was arthritis, it was darn good he finally had this surgery done. Dad was in a great deal of pain as soon as he came out from under the anesthesia, & so they put him on a morphine drip. None of us remembered how sick Dad gets with morphine, until my sister came to the hospital that afternoon and witnessed the projectile vomiting. Dad just kept getting more and more sick as the afternoon progressed. Poor Daddy. It was awful. They switched him to Demerol, and he improved a great deal. I went into work this morning for a short time, and then stopped by to see Dad at about 11am. He looked so much better, so close to normal. Yesterday, he was one ill puppy. He's still in pain, but it was the morphine that was making him so sick. Dad had to get up and move this morning, and that was pretty bad, I guess. But when I got there he was sitting in the recliner instead of laying in the bed, and just seeing him out of that bed lifted my spirits. I tell ya, my Dad is pretty darn tough. Especially for a 76-year-old.

The surgeon stopped by his room not too long after the PT guy was there. I guess the physical therapy session was really bad. When the doc walked in, Dad looked at him and said, "You butcher!" The doc didn't quite know how to handle it, but then finally got a fix on my Dad's sense of humor, and busted out laughing. Wish I had been there. And not only because Dad's surgeon is one darn good-lookin' man with incredible biceps. I told Mom I was so taken with his biceps, I forgot to check out his buns, and Mom told me she didn't and his buns were pretty great.

Yesterday in the hospital, I ran into one of Sammy's friend's moms, who I just adore. I haven't seen her or talked with her in ages. Which is awful of me, especially after all I learned yesterday. Her name is Gwen and she is the mom of the beautiful little girl who died of cancer last year. Her son, Cody, and my Sam were best friends since they met each other in 1st grade. Except for this year. Actually, they started growing apart last year because Sam's passions are sports, reading and computer/electronics, and Cody's are hunting, fishing, karate & dirt bikes/dune buggies. Sam would be very hurt if I actually wrote the details here on my blog, so I won't do so. Suffice to say, it was a stressful afternoon and evening, but I believe my son has learned better the importance of being a nice person and a good friend.

As a parent, you truly don't wish to learn that your child is less than perfect. Especially in my situation, where I have close relationships with both my kids, and I have so very many reasons to be proud of my kids. Sammy and Joycie are both great kids. Good students, well liked. Smart, creative. Wonderful people. But that doesn't mean they always make the right decisions or always make good choices. It is difficult to face that shame and deal with it in a way that provides a good learning experience and a positive outcome. It is not fun to take the responsibility as the parent, either. I suppose that's why some parents don't and just let their kids get away with crap, and then turn into nasty teenagers and then assholes as adults. Making sure your children grow into nice people and responsible adults is not all flowers and butterflies and sunshine, sometimes it's a hard row to hoe. But my God, they're worth it. They're worth everything.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Forsythia, forsythia...

You're so yellow & beautiful...

Easter Sunday

This was the first Easter morning since the kids were little that they didn't wake up to an Easter basket. Seems kind of strange, but it was also nice sleeping in until 9am. Kev left for work before 7am, and he's not home yet... when he gets home, I do have a little something to give Joycie & Sam in their Easter baskets.

This year, in lieu of a bunch of candy, Sam got new rollerblades and Joycie got yet another Sims game. Sammy wanted me to hide his blades, like they were an Easter basket. So I made a bunch of clues, 16 in all, and sent him all over the house, all 3 levels, outside, and out to the pole barn. He spent a good hour trying to discover where I hid his blades. I think the funniest one was the clue "the O of H2O + what RedWings play = where your next clue is"... Sammy even tried to get Joycie's help and then called his Dad at work to get his help. He finally figured it out.

The 3 of us went over to Sam's school, and Joycie and Sam rollerbladed around the school on the walking track. I walked, and I talked to my friend, Sandy, on the cell. It was windy when we got there, and just seemed to get more and more windy. Got to the point where it was too windy to talk on the cell. Sam went around the track 6 times, which is equivalent to 3 miles. He had fun, and he likes his new blades.

When we got back home, Sammy and I took a walk a little ways into the woods and gathered some stuff to make a terrarium. We couldn't find a glass cover or plate that would fit the top of the bowl, so we ended up putting Saran wrap on it for now. It turned out quite pretty, and it's already fogging up inside.

My niece, Michelle, stopped by on her way back to college while we were making the terrarium. We had a nice visit. I took 3 photos of her, and they all turned out blurry. I have trouble taking photos wearing my glasses, but then sometimes the photos I take don't turn out well. Wish I could wear contacts.

Kev will be home in about a half hour or so. I've promised the kids I'll make Belgian waffles, so I'd better go heat up the waffle iron...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mission Organization: Success

We finally finished the library, and it looks nice.

As with almost all our cleaning/organizing projects, we ended up with a bunch of stuff that had to be hauled down to the basement. Like the old end table and lamp that was in Sam's room before we got him his big comfy chair and rearranged his room, and the old puppet show stage and puppets we made a long time ago, a plastic bin organizer that came out of Joycie's room about 2 years ago and was stuck in the corner of the library collecting odds and ends for no reason... Our basement is semi-finished and isn't meant to be one big storage facility, but I'm such a packrat that I can't seem to toss perfectly good stuff (that no one else would want).

We boxed up 23 boxes of books out of the bookshelves to make room for all those that we put in there. I was going to take those boxes down into the basement (well, have the kids take them anyway), but then I had a great idea... in the bathroom upstairs, which is right next to the library, there is a lot of unused space. It's a long, narrow bathroom. It is as wide as the tub is long, and the tub & shower surround is at the very end of the room. There's nothing along the left wall, and the toilet, sink and cupboards are all in row along the right wall, with the toilet right next to the tub. The door opens in and to the right. Behind the door is empty space. We fit all 23 boxes there, with room for more. I'm going to pick up a tension rod and a curtain to hang in front of the boxes to hide them nicely. I thought this was a stroke of genius. Hauling those heavy boxes down 2 flights of stairs was not an enjoyable prospect. Then trying to fit them somewhere in the basement would be more than a challenge. And then, at some point in the hopefully not too distant future, when my additional book shelves are finished, having to haul those 23 boxes, plus the many, many books and boxes of books I already have down in the basement, back up 2 flights of stairs... well, it's nice to avoid all that.

Anyway, the library once again looks like someplace I would want to sit down and relax with a good book.

At some point, I am really, truly going to have to tackle the basement, including my craft room, which I've been "planning" to organize since, oh, something like a year ago. My to do list is long (and dusty).

I wish I could be more like Kevin... his to do list is constantly changing, because he keeps getting stuff done. He's a worker, that man. Yesterday when I was posting about the septic tank, Sammy got to come inside and rest while Kev was busy with the septic guys. Kevin had been outside working all day, and he had Sammy out there with him. They raked out some gardens and lawn areas, picked up branches and sticks, other jobs involving dirt and grime. Kev let Sammy have plenty of breaks throughout the day (while Kev has to be hollered at sometimes to break for lunch). Sam was so dirty, he knew he couldn't put his butt on the furniture, so he decided to lay on the floor and read. I took this shot of him without him knowing, and then he said why do you want a picture of my dirty feet??? I don't know... but he's cute, ain't he. His poor legs... some of those spots & marks are truly dirt, but some are bruises, and then he has a bunch of mosquito bites from baseball practice the other night.

Mom called me earlier this morning to let me know our Easter Sunday church service and potluck plans are nixed. Quite a few of the folks there are ill, one guy is in the hospital with pneumonia or a bad sinus infection or something (he's old), and anyway, the church has cancelled the potluck due to so many of the congregation being ill. Service is still going on, but Mom and Dad don't want to go and risk getting sick. Dad's having knee replacement surgery on Monday morning, and either one of them getting sick would really suck right now. Especially Dad, since he's having the surgery, but Mom needs to be well to take care of Dad and not give it to him while he's recuperating. Mama has enough trouble with colds & 'flu and allergies, spending time in a small building with a bunch of sick people is not worth the risk. I'm disappointed, because I was looking forward to seeing inside of this old church, and I know Mom is disappointed, too, because she was looking forward to having 2 of her grandchildren and her heathen daughter attend Easter services with her & Dad. Maybe Christmas services...

Sunshine & coffee

It is another beautiful morning outside. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. The forsythia is blooming. The star magnolia, which was all buds Thursday evening, is blooming also. Gorgeous. I can see them both while I sit here typing.

Kev had to get up and go into work today; it's his day-12s weekend. His alarm went off at 6am, and I should have gotten up... but instead I fell back asleep. Woke up with a start at nearly 9:30am. Ugh. My back is hurting from laying in bed too long. Whatever it is about the alarm going off that makes me fall asleep, I wish I'd outgrow it. I've missed most of this morning. I'm finishing my last cup of coffee, the last drop out of a pot that Sammy made for me... coffee always tastes better to me when it's made by someone else for me and delivered to me... ahhh.

Joycie is already vacuuming upstairs, and we're going to finish up working in the library this morning. We have a "great room" floor plan, where the living room, kitchen and dining room are one large open room. Our stairs to the upstairs separate the living room from the kitchen, but the stairs are open & you can walk underneath them. The living room has a cathedral ceiling, and the loft area is what we have designated as "the library" because my bookshelves are in there on one wall. Kevin made the bookshelves for me when we still lived in the pole barn, and the plan has always been (since we built the house 13 years ago) to build more shelves on the East wall... so far, it's still on the to do list.

We've been acquiring more books for years, and so the book shelves have become a chaotic mess. Not very peaceful to sit up there and read when I feel like the chaos is going to come down and smother me. Yesterday, we started boxing up books we no longer use. Nearly made me cry to box up all the little kids books. But, it cleared out a lot of room (7 boxes of kiddie books!). I did keep some out, just couldn't bring myself to hide them away in a box. We've gotten a lot of paperbacks, which I always thought didn't warrant space on a bookshelf. Like they were second-class citizens. The trailor trash of the book world. But I've changed my tune. They look great on the shelves, very organized and colorful. Makes me want to grab one & read. And I guess that's the whole idea, eh.

Now I've gotten myself anxious to get up there and finish the job pronto...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday, Fresh Friday

The flowers that Sandy sent to me for my birthday came from a place like a direct from growers, & she ordered them on-line. She said if they weren't perfect to call the place, and since the yellow alstroemeria arrived with many of the tops broken off (they were quite beat up looking, so I tossed them), I called the flower people. They were super nice and sent me a brand new bouquet this past Tuesday, and included a clear glass vase, too. This time, the roses were a pale orange. They are definitely not salmon, not a pinky-orange. They are a light orange, even though this photo doesn't show that color truly as it is.

Aren't they pretty? I took this photo earlier today. I tried several photos, but just can't get one the exact shade of orange that the roses are...

The roses have opened wide, and are so big. They smell so good, too. A lot of times, roses from florists don't really smell like roses, but these do. The deep pink ones in the first bouquet smelled good, also. Also the alstroemeria are holding up very well. Those are usually the first to bite the dust from local florists... the petals start falling within a day or two. Not these. Very fresh flowers.

And speaking of fresh... we are having our septic tank pumped out today.

We haven't had this done in about 5 years, and really should do it every 3 years. The guy we always hired in the past quit doing it. His truck was yellow and was named "Honey Dipper", painted it on the sides of the tank. My mom found this guy and had their tank emptied this past week, along with 2 of my sisters'. My other sister didn't need it because they had problems with their drain field last year, so I think they handled their septic tank back then.

Kev had to do a little bit of digging to find the opening to our tank, and he hates that part... though last time was worse. This time he found it pretty quickly so the hole wasn't quite so big. But then the guy that came out told Kev he really wanted the other opening, so Kev had to dig some more.

There were 2 guys with their big blue tank truck, and they were here about an hour and a half. It cost $150, which isn't bad. After this October, due to some changes in regulations on how to handle the tank contents, costs will likely more than double. I guess the septic tank pumping businesses would usually dump the waste onto fields for fertilizer, but now they have to dump at a waste treatment plant and pay those fees. I'm ok with the cost increase... every time I think of Michigan farmers growing produce in a field fertilized with human shit, well... yuk. How that's so terribly different in my mind from spreading cattle & horse manure, I don't know. It just is.

It is a beautiful sunny, warm day outside, about 75 degrees with a nice breeze, and I'm sitting inside with all of the windows now closed and 11 scented candles burning throughout the house. Not thinking about it, we had almost all of our windows open... downwind from where our septic tank is located. My heck, did that stink. The guys left about 10 minutes ago, but I'm not prepared to open all the windows up just yet.

When they first opened our septic tank, Sammy was real interested in looking into it. And then describing it to me. Which made me curious, so of course, I had to look into it, too. Sammy said something like why is it kind of purple and why doesn't it look like poop? I just said it looks like shit to me, got a whiff and took off for the house and realized I had to close all the windows quick. You couldn't pay me $150 to do that. Those 2 men have my appreciation and admiration. Kev said they were very professional about it, and did a great job. They even rinsed the tank out and pumped that out before they left. The Honey Dipper guy never did that. Also the Honey Dipper truck was really old and dirty, these guys are clearly proud of their truck -- it was clean. Definitely seem to take pride in their work. I think they were a father & son team.

When you think about it, they have a pretty good thing going. My family will be calling them every 3 years at least, and once they have a big client base, it's a steady business. They may pump shit for a living, but I take a lot of shit for a living... like most people do. So, maybe, yeah, you could pay me $150 to do that. Have my own business, call my own shots, get a nice tan, have a great CD collection in my truck. Hmmm...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Misty morning pond

I took this photo about 15 minutes ago. The mist is so pretty, but I've learned that it means the water level in our pond is dropping. We'll have misty mornings for a while now. I love it when the pond is so nice and full... someday we are just going to have to find the moola to get a water source (and an aerator) for the pond. Someday.

Kev had to go to an endodontist this morning to see about a hurting tooth... he's probably looking at a root canal. His first. And he's not happy about it. This morning, they are just going to test it to see what the problem is. I've had to do that twice, so Kevin asked me what will happen. I told him they will put this heat source on it, like a little branding iron. He asked how that worked, and I told him, well, if you come out of the chair screaming with pain, then they know that tooth needs a root canal. I'm so mean. He was not very happy with my sense of humor.

So now I'm home this morning instead of at work because I'm taking Sammy to school, which Kev had planned to do. But it worked out because I turned my alarm off and got up real late. I had a grand jury session to attend yesterday, and I don't sleep well after those days.

The session wasn't so bad, but they are all disturbing to me. Though I cannot tell anyone the details of the sessions, like what the cases are about, who was there, etc., I did describe the actions of one witness yesterday to Kev & the kiddos. It was interesting, like a made-for-TV movie. The witness brought in a 3x5" notecard that had writing on both sides. To answer almost all of the questions put to this witness by the AUSA (Assistant U.S. Attorney), this person read from one side of the card or the other, something like:

"I'd like to answer your question, however, under the advice of my counsel, I cannot" or,

"I respectfully decline to answer your question and am excerising my 5th Amendment rights as guaranteed me by the Consitution of the United States of America."

Everyone knows about "taking the 5th" and I'm sure lots of people have seen it done in real life, even on live court TV, but that was my first time seeing it for real (that I recall). I think the AUSA did some things to try and rattle this person, as any good attorney would do, but this person never swayed. It was, in a way, quite impressive. Very interesting. But after hearing one or the other of those 2 sentences many, many, many times... it got kind of boring. That's what those sessions are like for me... disturbing, but boring. My term ends August 1st, and since the new grand jury is seated, we (the old grand jury) probably will have to meet only once per month at most, so that's just possibly 3 more sessions. I am so looking forward to this being over.

I don't do well with real awful things happening to real people... I don't like the TV movies that are based on actual events (events that are awful, that is). I will not be seeing the movie coming out about the flight from 9/11. I don't like books or movies about awful true events that happened to children. I will read/watch those things on occasion; sometimes I just get sucked in... but I regret it. I wasn't like this before I gave birth to Joycie. Something about my becoming a mom made me feel more strongly the sadness of those stories. Though, I can enjoy movies based on real events where crappy shit happens to rotten, mean, evil people. Hang 'em high, dude.

And now, I'd better get my boy to school and my butt into work!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Favorite things of mine

I left work early today (ok, that's one favorite thing to do), and I went and got my hair cut. I've been going to the same person for years and years. Quite some time ago she opened her own salon; her name is Niki & she has an Aveda salon. It's a wonderful place. When I arrive, Niki puts a cape on me and takes me back for a shampoo. First though, she lets me smell of 3 different essential oils. I chose the Blue Oil, and she put some on my head and massaged it in. Heaven. Then she rinsed my hair and used a Rosemary Mint shampoo, and that felt so good. Then she rinsed again and used the Rosemary Mint conditioner. Then she wrapped my head in a very warm damp towel. While I sat there, feeling wonderful, she took some Aveda hand cream and rubbed it into my forearms and hands, one at a time and giving me a hand massage. If you have never had a hand massage, you are truly missing out. Then she removed the towel and rinsed the conditioner out. The mint was wonderfully tingly cool on my head. Ahhh... I love getting my hair cut at Niki's salon. It's definitely one of my favorite things.

And since Joycie left to go into town to get a sprayed-on tan, return pop cans for cash and go to her violin lesson, and since Kevin and Sammy are gone to Sam's baseball practice, I'm home alone. Being home alone is yet another favorite thing. The windows are wide open and it smells so good in here. I love having the windows open, especially on days like this... one of the first days to throw the windows wide open after the cold days of winter. Another favorite.

I spent some time on the porch with a pair of binoculars and my birdsongs player, trying to call in some Mourning Doves. I heard one answer me. I've always loved the song of Mourning Doves.

Then I came inside & I've been unloading pictures off my camera and enjoying slide shows, and listening to my recent playlist of favorites.

And as I type, every once in a while, I get a whiff of my hair and it smells really good!

So anyway, now I'm 46...

My birthday was this past Sunday, and I had a great birthday. It started out with my son making coffee for me. Can't get a better start to a day than that!

Kev took 4 hours of vacation, so he didn't have to go into work until 11:30pm, so we got to spend the evening together. Went and had some crab legs for dinner, then to a Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. OMG, that place is heaven.

Joyce went shopping with her Aunt Janet mid-day, Kev slept and Sammy & I went over to my folks' and had a golf cart ride. It was beautiful outside. We drove down by the river, which is super high. Sammy did the first thing every kid does... he threw sticks into the river.

My Mom and Dad gave me a study bible for my birthday. It's very interesting. There are maps and explanations in today's language, easy to understand and to relate to. Like this page about Mary, sister of Lazarus.

It says that Mary would rather talk than cook (for example, basically she was more of a social butterfly than a worker), and that she had to learn that action is often appropriate and necessary. Hmmm.... I know people like that!

And then, flipping through it, (should one "flip" through a bible?? oh, sure!) I came to this page:

And to take this photo, I just flipped through it again and bingo! right to this page. Maybe it's a message... since I'm the queen of worryworts, I got a chuckle out of this.

Kev, Joycie and Sammy got me some super nice gifts, and this one is awesome:

You put the card into it and push the corresponding button, and it plays the bird's song. They got it for me at a Wildbirds Unltd. shop, and the woman said she has a friend that uses the "Birds of the Night" card to call in owls while she sits on her porch. Cool!

My family was very generous to me on my birthday!

They know me well. Did I have a happy birthday?? Oh, yeah, baby!