Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Complete 180

I got an email from Rob yesterday stating that he never wants to see or hear from me again.

How’s that for a nice way to wake up in the morning.

Honestly, it took me by complete surprise. I was not expecting that at all. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that - I should have known; but I was blindsided.

He wouldn’t answer his phone, either. He’d hang up when he knew it was me, and eventually turned his phone off. I did finally get to talk to him about 10 hours later. That’s when he told me that his mind is made up and it’s final. I didn’t have a chance to talk at all, hardly.


I bundled all his stuff together and took it over to his house. I just wanted him to tell me to my face, which he did. So I left him with these words:

“Always remember that I am your friend. And I’m so very sorry.”


Back at home, I was obviously distressed. I decided to distract myself by taking a walk about the neighborhood. That turned out to be not such a good idea. Apparently somebody saw me: I was crying and walking rather like a zombie not paying any attention to my surroundings. They got concerned: they didn’t recognize me as somebody who lives around here, and since I was obviously not happy they actually called the police!!!

By the time the police found me, I was sitting in my driveway leaning up against my garage just watching the traffic go by. I didn’t want to go back inside because then I’d be sitting and staring at the phone. The police parked two cars at my drive way and came up to talk to me.

Now really: the Police? I’m touched that a complete stranger would be so concerned about my welfare and that the police would take time out of their day to deal with such a trivial matter. But really: the Police?

They were very nice. They asked for my name, birth date, and phone number. They asked if this was my house I was leaning against. They made sure I wasn’t locked out, or that “he” wasn’t still in there (thinking I was perhaps afraid to go back in), asked if I had any friends they could call for me, and then left me with the assurance that I could call them if I needed somebody to talk to.

Really? The police?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flower Child

It was such a nice day today! The sun was out, the sky was clear blue, the birds were singing, and all the kids were out on their bikes. I would have been on mine, too, except that something I had for lunch wasn’t agreeing with me so I really didn’t feel up to it. A walk around the neighborhood seemed like the perfect compromise.

While out walking, I came across a little girl riding her bike. She was maybe 6 years old, and just a cute as could be. Her bike was bright purple with pink flowers painted on it everywhere; her training wheels were white with pink stripes; and the clothing she had on were just about every color of the rainbow. Added to the whole ensemble was the fact that she had plastic flowers, of all types and sizes, attached to her bike in just about every imaginable place. She looked like a mobile flower arrangement!

She smiled at me as we passed and said, “Hi.”

So I greeted her back, saying “Hello. I like that bike. That is just beautiful.”

She smiled even bigger, and said “Thank You!” and then turned her bike around and went back to her mother.

Such a cutie…

Give Your Old Paint New Life

Give your old paint new life with PaintCare ( a new non-profit program based out of Oregon established to manage the reuse, recycling and proper disposal of unused paint. Follow PaintCare's 5-point plan and save money, save the environment, and save storage space:

Buy the right amount

Be a wise consumer and buy only what you need. Check with your local paint dealer for instructions on how to determine the correct volume of paint required for your project. When you purchase the right volume of paint, it eliminates the need to store or dispose/recycle paint when the project is finished, and it might even save you a bit of money. When your painting project is complete, take a look in the can. If there is only a small quantity of paint left, use it up. Paint out the last inch-or-two of paint in the bottom of the can.

Store properly

If your project is complete and you still have a fair amount of paint leftover, be sure to correctly store the paint. Proper paint storage will eliminate safety concerns and keep your paint fresh for touch-ups or future projects. For best results, cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap and securely seal the lid. When you are sure the lid is leak-proof, turn the can upside down and store it in a place with a moderate room temperature to avoid freezing. Be sure to choose a safe location that is out of the reach of children and pets.


Now that you have safely stored your leftover paint, don’t forget about it. Leftover paint can be used for touch-ups or for smaller projects. Record the room name on the lid for future touch ups. You can blend and mix smaller quantities of latex paint to use as a base coat on larger jobs. Perhaps, you know a neighbor or relative who could use your leftover paint; now, that’s being environmentally friendly!


If you can’t make use of the paint yourself, donate your useable leftover paint to a worthwhile community association, theatre company, church group or other local organizations that may be in need of good paint. Perhaps, your community offers a paint exchange event or a special paint collection program. Many communities collect paint for reuse, recycling or as a last resort, proper disposal through local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection programs. Check the “Earth 911” website, or 1-800-clean-up, to learn about reuse, recycling and HHW collection programs that may be available in your community.

Dispose Properly

If there is not a leftover paint collection program available in your area, you may need to dispose of leftover latex paint yourself. Air-drying of liquid alkyd or oil based paint is not considered safe. In regions that allow it, let your latex paint air dry in a safe location away from children and pets. A small amount of paint, less than ½ inch, in the bottom of a paint can is easily dried out by leaving the lid off. Once the paint is hard, discard the paint can with the lid off, preferably in a metal recycling program. If metal recycling is not available or the paint container is plastic, dispose of the container in the garbage. Larger volumes of latex paint can be dried in a box with absorbent material such as shredded paper or kitty litter. Recycle the empty can with the lid off and dispose of the dried out latex paint as garbage. If the paint in the can is solidified all the way through, it may be disposed of as garbage with the lid off to prevent the build up of pressure in the can.

It’s Beautiful!

I had a most productive evening last night: one of those that make you feel really satisfied with the work put in to the efforts. I’m quite pleased with myself, even. All that time spent sanding on my garage door has finally paid off.

Rob came over after work and brought his air compressor. We spent maybe 15-20 minutes cleaning all the dust and debris off and then settled in to the staining. We really slopped it on, too: the wood just soaked it all in. Some of us were a bit sloppier than the others, however. On Rob’s side of the garage door there a considerable amount of drips on the concrete below. My side is, of course, much neater and cleaner. Which may actually mean that I didn’t put enough up there – time will tell.

It looks so pretty now! We finished just as the sun began to set (yes, the sun is actually beginning to set again finally: The Darkness is Coming!); the lighting was just perfect so that my door was glowing a deep reddish brown color. Fabulous! Technically, though, it’s supposed to be a Cedar on Cedar semi-transparent stain that enhances the wood grain yet still protects it from weather & sun. The red color was added by the sun – I hope. I’ll find out when I get home tonight.

While we were at it, we went ahead and stained the Front Entry Deck and the boardwalk leading from the drive way to the front door. Both desperately needed it, although we hadn’t stripped the entry deck so just applied the new stain on top of the old stain. It’s now a lovely shade of really dark brown – and is also still quite wet. Perhaps it will lighten up once it’s dried. The boardwalk soaked all the stain up almost immediately – I’m thinking we’ll have to put another coat down on it.

As an added bonus, Rob installed my peephole! We’ll of course take it out before painting the door, but for now I can see who’s knocking at my door finally. We also got the paint picked out for the door: a nice dark red color.

I had thought to paint both sides of my door – both outside and inside. What do you think?

Rob thinks I should only paint the outside. I have to admit, he’s probably right – but there’s something intriguing about having a red door even on the inside. It would really stand out, that’s for sure. All my walls inside are painted white, with lots of oak trim everywhere, and blue carpet.

Next on the list of chores to finish up on is the roof. The forecast is calling for a whole week of sunshine, so we’re tentatively planning on applying the bleach solution on Thursday evening. This will give the moss 4 days to dry out prior to application, and then the whole weekend to die before Rob gets back up there on Sunday (or Monday) to get rid of it all.

Gosh… I just had a disturbing thought. What ever will I do with myself once all these chores are done!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

House Chores

Am I the only person on the planet who never thought to wash her front door? I’ve been complaining about how dingy and dull my door was, to the point where I’d convinced Rob that we need to paint it bright red. Well, in preparing for the new paint – I washed it.

Wow! What a difference that makes. I’m almost tempted to not paint it now, except I really do want a bright red door. Don’t ask me why; I still can’t figure that out.

Now my door is the same color as the walls inside my house, where it used to be … gosh, I don’t know what to call the color it used to be: somewhere between volcanic ash and 12 years of fingerprints and grime. And for some reason, the inside of the door was dirtier than the outside. I really don’t understand that one, except that maybe the rain showers actually did some good out there.

I also managed to finish sanding the garage door finally today. I probably could do some more touch-up work on it, for at least another week or two – but really, I think it’s ready for the new coat of stain. Then it, too, will look so much better! At the same time, we might end up staining the front walkway and entry way while we’re at it.

And can you believe this weather! The sun is actually shining, without a single drop of rain to be felt. Rob told me I wasn’t allowed to go up on the roof myself – he seems to think I’m a klutz and will fall off and break my neck. I’m tempted to go up there anyway, just to spite him. But knowing my luck, I probably would fall and break my neck. He will be back in town on Sunday and can go up there and kill all the moss himself. I’ve got all the supplies on hand – just need to mix them all together and have it ready for him.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Cup of Tea

The tea I drink has different quotes printed out on the tags of each teabag. I thought I’d share some of the ones I thought were worth keeping:

When God made time, He made enough of it.
     Celtic Saying

Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom.
     Hugo De Groot (1583 – 1645)

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
     Moshe Dayan (1915 – 1981)

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.
     Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)

First think, and then act.
     Wise Saying from the Orient

Whatever is produced in haste goes hastily to waste.
     Saadi (1184 – 1291)

A witty saying proves nothing.
     Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
     Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.
     Herbert Henry Asquith (1852 – 1928)

All human actions have one of more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.
     Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)

‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
     Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
     Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915)

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.
     Sir Frances Darwin (1848 – 1925)

Walking with Dinosaurs

My evening started with meeting my friend Heather at the Bear’s Tooth for, as she puts it: “the best selection of vegan burritos in town.” And I have to say, I do agree: they are quite good, even with my lack of appetite. We had a lot to catch up on, so spent a good hour talking about both of our personal roller coaster rides.

We left the restaurant with plenty of time to get to the Sullivan Sports Arena – or so we thought. Little did we know there’s be a line of cars, pilled bumper to bumper for blocks, all waiting to get into the parking lot. Man, I hate traffic. I didn’t even have my book with me. I should know better by now, and should always have it with me.

Finally, however, we made it to our seats. I am not rich so could not afford the “good” seats. Even the “not-so-good” seats were still $30 each, with a $7.50 fee tacked on for whatever reason. We ended up sitting up in the balcony section – but I didn’t mind at all. This gave us a view of the entire show!

And what a show it was! Oh My Gosh: they had flashing lights, moving sets, booming thunder, majestic music – the works. To borrow a quote from the movie Jurassic Park: “We spared no expense.”

The show opened with a paleontologist giving us the history of our planet starting back at the beginning of the Triassic period. One at a time, moving up thru the years, he introduced us to the various time periods and their respective dinosaurs. He talked about digging for bones, Plate Tectonics, volcanoes, mass extinctions, and all sorts of plants and animals. It was quite educational, assuming one actually listened to the talking.

Most people got distracted by the leading characters, however. It’s hard to listen to a boring old lecture when there is a 23 feet tall Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring at the crowd. Let me assure you, those life-size dinosaurs were incredible!

They had 8 dinosaurs recreated at life size:
     1 Plateosaurus (10’ tall),
     1 Stegosaurus (18.5’ tall)
     1 Allosaurus (14.5’ tall)
     1 Brachiosaurus (36’ tall)
     1 Ornithocheirus (with a 38’ wing span)
     1 Ankylosaurus (12’ tall)
     1 Torosaurus (13’ tall)
     1 Tyrannosaurus Rex (23’ tall).

They also had 5 dinosaurs that were “worn” by actors:
     3 Utahraptors (8’ tall)
     1 baby T-Rex (7’ tall)
     1 Liliensternus (7.5’ tall)

To give you an idea of what was involved in the making of this show, I’m going to borrow some information from their website to share with you:

Each large dinosaur contains: (based upon the construction of a Torosaurus)
     433 feet of hydraulic hose
     971 feet of fabric
     433 feet of foam
     53 gallons of paint
     7 kilowatts of power from 12 truck batteries
     1094 yards of cabling in each body
     24 microprocessors control movement along with
          15 hydraulic rams and 6 hydraulic motors each

Each large dinosaur:
     weighs 1.6 tons a piece (standard family car)
     runs on 6 roller blade wheels
To operate one dinosaur, it takes:
     A Team of 3 people:
          1 Driver,
          2 Voodoo Puppeteers -
               one operates head and tail gross motion,
               one in charge of minor movements: mouth, blinking and roars

If you get the chance to see this show, I highly recommend you do so! It’s worth every penny.

Car Troubles Again

I was driving home the other day from meeting with a friend for a cup of tea. Just past International Road, I started to notice that the car was pulling to the left – pretty bad, actually. I had to work at holding it on the road. I rolled my window down but didn’t hear anything, so didn’t think it was all that bad. By the time I neared the intersection of Dimond and Minnesota, however, I started to hear the thump-thump-thump-thump sound that only a seriously flat tire can make.

As luck would have it, Rob lives right near there – so I made my way to his house and pulled in to his driveway. Thankfully he was there, having just gotten home from his daily 2-hour bike ride. He and his roommate Bill came out to assess the damage.

I have to say, I was extremely upset. These are brand new tires I’d bought not three months ago; and I got them specifically so that I wouldn’t get another flat tire. Little good that did me… this tire was definitely flat. And apparently my decision to drive to Rob’s house was a really bad one. What I should have done was pull over immediately after noticing the car was pulling to the left. By driving on, I’d ruined it beyond repair, and there was some considerable doubt as to whether I’d be able to cash in on the warrantee because of that.

Rob and Bill got the tire off in no time and put the temporary spare tire on in its place. Rob could see that I was upset about it all, so he valiantly tried to cheer me up. He can be sweet at times. The tire shop was closed by then, so we made plans to meet after work the next day to take the car in and try to convince them to give me the warrantee.

Unfortunately having that temporary on my car meant that I couldn’t attend the Green Building Council meeting the next day: I felt that I shouldn’t drive the car any more than absolutely necessary, since the tire is a tiny little thing and I’m sure my car isn’t happy about being lop-sided like that.

Eventually the day ended and I headed on home. Rob showed up not 5 minutes later, and we headed down to American Tire, off the Old Seward Highway. The guy helping us at the shop was more than a little bit preachy with me (I had run the tire flat and ruined it, after all) but did finally agree to apply the warrantee – so I got a new tire for only the cost of labor to put it on. I suppose that’s worth having to endure yet another man telling me what I’d done wrong.

And Rob continued to be really nice to me, buying me dinner and hanging out with me to cheer me up. As I said, he can be sweet at times. Thankfully – because I really needed it that day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Night at the Alaska Zoo

Last night we had our first ever Movie Night at the Zoo! It wasn’t very well attended, however, and we got pushed out of the nicer room down to the classroom. But, it was still fun.

I brought my “LIFE” DVD series for us to watch: the same people that made both PLANET EARTH and BLUE PLANET (both of which I also have) made this series, too – and it’s just as wonderful. We watched the first two episodes: The Challenges of Life, and Reptiles and Amphibians.

The classroom has a nice big screen to watch presentations on with surround sound speakers, so even though it wasn’t exactly comfortable sitting on metal chairs at metal desks - and we had a spastic squirrel insanely bouncing off the walls of his cage the entire time - it was still a good evening.

Heather, our volunteer coordinator, had her friend Mindy with her; I had my friend Rob with me; and another volunteer named Desiree joined in with us. We had plenty of popcorn, too – Heather had hoped for a larger turnout. I’ll have to remember to bring something to drink to the next movie night – and maybe some chocolate, too. Can’t watch a movie without chocolate you know!

Next time, we’re hoping to be able to sit upstairs. They have 5 (count them, FIVE) big screen TVs up there, and nice cushy chairs to sit on. Heck, it might even be warmer up there – who knows. Regardless of where we end up though, we still have plenty of movies to watch.

This should keep us entertained throughout the winter months!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My House

There’s been so much going on lately that I haven’t been able to keep up on my blog here. Mostly because it’s be an emotional roller coaster lately, and I don’t want to bore you all with my personal disasters – but there are few things that I can write about without dragging you on the ride with me.

Most importantly, I’ve been working on my house. One of the perks of working for a construction company is that they have tools – and I can borrow them! So, I got their pressure washer and Rob and I set to work on the exterior of my house. We – or rather I should say He, since I mostly just stood there and watched – spent a good 2 or 3 hours getting rid of at least a decade’s worth of grit, grime, and volcanic ash off my house. While he was at it he stripped the stain off the garage door for me, with the intent of fixing the water damage to the lower left-hand corner.

Once he finished the pressure washing, he showed me how to run his sander to smooth out the garage door and prepare it for the new stain. I’ve been working on that about an hour each day after work (weather permitting, of course - rather hard to sand in the pouring rain). At the moment I have about one day’s work left to do before I call Rob back to help me with the next step. Let me assure you, sanding a garage door is not the easiest thing to do, even when most of the old stain has been already stripped off. For one thing, half of the door is way up high to where I have to stand on my tippy toes just to reach it. It’s been fun, though. And I have lots of eight-legged help, too.

The next step is to use the air compressor and blow all the dust off. I’ve already brushed it off as much as I can, but I’m sure the air compressor will do a much better job. We don’t want any dust in the stain, you know! Although Rob keeps reminding me “It’s just a garage door. It’s not a masterpiece, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Once the garage door is finished, we’ll move on to the entry door. I’m going to thoroughly clean it with a Scotch Brite pad and some soap & water, and then we’ll paint it BRIGHT RED! I’m pretty excited about that, actually – although I can’t for the life of me figure out exactly why I want a bright red door. Once the paint is dry, Rob will then install a peep-hole for me. I have needed one of those since I bought the place 12 years ago.

Another job we have in mind is to somehow get rid of all the moss growing on my roof. Rob read on This Old House that you should get up there and spray it all down with a mixture of bleach & water to kill it, and then it can just be swept off with a broom. Of course, the trick is that you have to wait for it to dry out before you spray it with the bleach & water mixture so that it soaks it up. Those of you who live here will know that we are working on – what, 29 consecutive days of rain now? Whatever the number, its set a new record – and the entire world is sopping wet with no chance of drying out anytime soon! But as soon as it does, you’ll find me out on my roof with my spray bottle in hand!

Just pray I don’t slip and fall… that would not be good.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Highly Recommended

I am reading a really good book right now, called Poseidon’s Steed by Helen Scales, PH.D. I highly recommend it to you!

Below is an expert:

“What was so special about that encounter with my first seahorse? Why are seahorses different from so many other creatures I have gazed upon during hours and days underwater? It surely has something to do with their unconventional beauty, their unique combination of features, a demure down-turned snout and tightly curled tail, as sensitive and nimble as an elephant’s trunk. Was it the anticipation of seeing one and the satisfaction, after such a long wait, of finally spying one of these wily masters of disguise that can match themselves so expertly to their surroundings? Sharks are breathtaking in their nonchalant efficiency as they slice through the water like sleek torpedoes. Reef fish are instantly gratifying, colorful and brazen, flitting around like butterflies of the sea. But seahorses hold a secret intimacy, a special reward for the keen-eyed. And perhaps deep down I held on to a childhood suspicion, an irrational part of me that didn’t quite believe seahorses really do inhabit the oceans. Seeing one felt like glimpsing a unicorn trotting through my garden.”

Sunday, August 01, 2010


The place where I work now is right next door to one of the drop sites for Full Circle Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each Thursday, they leave all those boxes full of fresh organic produce for people to pick up. If by Monday there are still boxes there, we have been given permission to take them. Apparently the people at the office have been rotating each week, and last week was MY WEEK! I got to take the box home!

I got lots of really good stuff: a bunch of cherries, three nectarines, three plums, three pluots, two nice sized zucchini, 6 small turnips, a bunch of celery, a bunch of swiss chard, a small bundle of shallots, a small bundle of carrots, three nice sized potatoes, and a small bundle of parsley – and all of it organic! The only thing I had to throw away was the swiss chard – it had gotten to … squishy? Not quite moldy, but certainly not usable.

So, I just made a batch of really good soup! Started with a split-pea base, added a can of corn and a can of organic tomatoes, chopped up some fresh organic zucchini, carrots, shallots, celery, and turnips, threw in a few sprigs of fresh organic parsley, ground some black pepper in there, and added some lemon & orange peel and some allspice. I also added a handful of freeze-dried onions (because I only had 4 small shallots) and two heaping spoonfuls of chopped garlic. As a final touch, I put in a package of basmati rice - because apparently I felt it needed some more fiber. But really, I just like basmati rice.

I have enough soup to feed an army now for a week! Think I'll share with my new roommate, when she gets here.