Saturday, December 24, 2011

a day off

Now that I'm working two jobs I usually work seven days a week, if not whole days every day. Yesterday I had a Whole Day Off. I spent the morning sitting by the fire drinking coffee (and reading blogs.)

Don't fail to notice the dark green coffee pot keeping warm on top of the stove.

From that chair I have an excellent view of the tree.

In my never-home-for-long existence I haven't bothered to cover up the paint bucket with a sheet (flannel, the better to represent snow) as I usually do, because I'm not going to have time to entertain. I did get the sheet out, though, in case I have any warning if people drop by.

I did some decorating just for my own pleasure. I can't stop putting shiny egg-like objects in the real, gilded, bird's nest.

I put more in my grandmother's cut glass bowl, on the table with the unwritten Christmas cards.

Here's most of the loot from work: my share of all the food our customers brought us that wasn't so perishable we had to eat it right away. I had eaten a little, though, before I took the picture.

Last but not least, I spent the afternoon cooking a turkey. A restful job. It looks quite decorative, doesn't it? I'm not sure whether the slight bow in the edge of the rack is really there or an artifact of the camera, but it was an eighteen pound turkey. I may live alone and have few guests, but I have a freezer. This is the only time of year you can get a fresh turkey at my grocery (the frozen ones have all been injected with a variety of things I'm either allergic to, or don't want in my meat--sugar? are you kidding???), and I obviously don't have time to raise turkeys myself. Maybe someday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

orchids, yes, orchids

I hope you all don't get tired of all these orchid pictures, because I don't think I'm going to.

Trying to grow through the roof....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

more orchids

If you look carefully at the enlargement, you may be able to see Muffet the Yorkie enjoying the atrium in the "outdoor" part of his run.

He's the little yellow-grey blur between leaves almost at the center of the picture.

I am not sure what the woven bird nests hung among the plants are for, because all the birds are kept in cages.

Here's a view from the break room upstairs, rather blurry through its railing and the double-glazing, into the front greenhouse, which is plants only.

Back in the main greenhouse, the future:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

mother of invention

In the forty-eight hours from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon I collected two and a half inches of rain in the rain gauge. (The few pieces of sleet and snow from Tuesday wouldn't have made much difference to the total.)
The building where my second job doing kennel work takes place is, shall we say, unusual. Bits and pieces have been added on over the years seemingly at random. Therefore, there are leaks. Monday evening I was asked to move a set of cat condos because the water running down the wall behind them was getting into them. When I had moved them, we found that catching the drip was a bit difficult,  because it ran down the wall and then dropped to the window sill, where it splashed and splattered. Putting a pan at floor level did nothing to collect the water.
So my co-worker's ingenuity was tested. He collected a bird-cage stand, a food bowl, a flower pot hanger, and an upturned litter box to prop the stand against the wall. I added the towels in case of overflow.

A closer look at the pot:

And three seconds of live action, with local background music:

It made me proud to be human. Rube Goldberg's got nothing on us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

indoor summer

The more time I spend in the two-story greenhouse at Second Job, the more I want one of my own. But I don't want to do the work; I have quite enough work at home outdoors.

I remember Phaelenopsis (however it's spelled!) and Cymbidium for my days as the niece of a florist.

But these guys? I have no idea. They look more like insects than flowers.

The color of the pot is not as much of a match for the dark red of the flowers as it seems through the camera.

Tropical lushness.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving wedding

My grandparents were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1907. I can never remember the date, because they always celebrated their anniversary on Thanksgiving, whenever it fell, except in 1957 when they had a Golden Anniversary party on the date.

My grandmother made her wedding suit herself. The skirt, being silk, had fallen apart when I was still a little girl, but the bodice, also silk but heavily tailored underneath its froth, and the wool jacket are still more or less in one piece.

I'm disappointed with the light in these pictures. It was bright enough, but the late afternoon angle doesn't seem to show detail as well as I expected. There's a lot of fine handwork in there, and I think my grandmother did all of it herself except this beaded piece in the middle of the bodice:

I know she and her sisters all did tatting, although only one great-aunt on the other side was still doing tatting when I was a child. I'm sure she made the crocheted buttons, because she showed me how to do it, only I've forgotten how, since I never did it for real. (Thankful for the internet.)

I know the colors were brighter long ago: the greens, especially, would have been selected to make my grandmother's grey eyes look green.

But the reds were brighter, too.

Looking at the successful combination of so many decorative patterns, all her own choosing, I would like to think I have inherited her eye for design.

I take it out and look at it every few years, and feel the guilt of a librarian towards the Goddess of Archives for not preserving it better, but I've never done so on Thanksgiving before. Very appropriate.

Monday, November 21, 2011

a taste of the tropics

You wouldn't think this picture was taken at my second job, would you? I may have mentioned that I'm working seven days a week now; my second job is also dog-related, being at the boarding kennel of an animal hospital.

I am not, luckily, responsible for the care of the plants in the two-story greenhouse, since I have no gardening experience in the tropics.

I pass through it many times a day, though, on my way from one part of the building to another. This orange tree is on one route to the bathroom.

I'm sure I will enjoy it more and more as the days grow colder. Things are always in bloom.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Evening Exercise Experiment

During my search for ways to improve my post-menopausal interrupted sleep, I keep coming across the advice to avoid exercise near bedtime. Each time, I have thought "What nonsense! It doesn't interfere with my sleep at all." After the fifth or tenth or seventieth time I encountered this, I decided to conduct an experiment.

Hypothesis: Contrary to common wisdom, exercise near bedtime is not detrimental to sleep.

Methodology: For about three weeks, I have spent fifteen minutes on the exercise bike just before letting the dog out one last time and getting into bed. I continued to record my sleep data (time to bed, time fell asleep, number of times waking up, time alarm went off, quality of tiredness) in my journal as usual. I have been too lazy or too busy, pick one, to chart this data and present it in a table.

Conclusion: Bedtime exercise does not increase interruptions to sleep, and may even be preventative. (The one time I missed doing the bike was the time I woke up once every hour all night long, instead of one to three times a night. I wasn't missing exercise per se because I'd been for a long walk earlier in the day.) Of course, the drawback to a study with one subject is the lack of controls. It is convincing enough to make me keep working at squeezing the time for exercise in at the end of the day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you?

I’ve been pondering why the phrase “thank you for your service” to veterans makes me so uncomfortable. I think it would have made my father uncomfortable, too, although I don’t think it became so prevalent before he died. He served in the Coast Guard during WWII, and had three battle stars on his service ribbons, and stayed in the Reserve for thirty years, during the Cold War (he was on one-hour alert during the Cuban missile crisis--I don’t think my parents knew that I knew that), and his service was gladly and freely given. I grew up expecting to spend some years in some branch of the military, like him, and then stay in the reserve, and I probably would have if I’d ever been able to pass the physical on my healthiest day in my twenties. 

I honor those who serve, but thanks from me seem inappropriate in some way. I've failed to pin it down. The portable road sign at the county line flashing "Welcome home, Spc. Gore" seemed entirely and delightfully appropriate. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I seldom discuss politics, and I never discuss who I'm going to vote for, who I have voted for, who I might vote for. This is the fortieth year I've voted, and I've missed two elections in that time. The first primary election after I turned eighteen we didn't get me from high school down to the county clerk's office nearly forty-five minutes away in the hour gap between getting out of school and the office closing before the registration deadline. The second time I didn't vote I was too sick to get out of bed for longer than it took to get to the bathroom by holding onto the walls. So you can guess I approve of representative democracy. I just wish it worked better.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Reindeer Jesus"

Every year at work we all carve pumpkins to display, and the customers vote for their favorite. I never win, but this year, one of our customers looked at my pumpkin and exclaimed "Reindeer Jesus!" I'm still chewing this one over. I've even considered "Reign, dear Jesus."

After we'd had too many pumpkins surreptitiously rot on us, we switched to plastic pumpkins, and I had to use a pattern. I've always done my pumpkin carving freehand, but that just doesn't work with styrofoam. So this year, to commemorate the Jeep's misadventure, I chose a deer pattern.

Thanks to that customer I'll never forget this one.

Friday, October 28, 2011

recycling run

Here's an illustration of how little packaging a frugal single woman consumes:

That bundle of newspapers is one-third (you can see the edges of the other two-thirds) of ten months of my weekly local paper, plus the advertising with front page that the weekly papers of two next door counties distribute. I don't really use as much bleach as that, because I save up bleach bottles and take them in a big batch, so that's probably two years' worth. Under the bleach bottles is the single plastic grocery bag of cans. (Our county recycling doesn't accept glass anymore, or there'd be a lot of pasta sauce jars.) Yes, I do drink that much cider in ten months, and even more, because some of the cider jugs are made of a different plastic and are still sitting in the basement awaiting more companions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fading leaves

There are more leaves hanging on than I expected after the high winds, and some of them are still green, but fall is in full swing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

snake indoors

Look what  I found about three feet from the front door one of the many times I walked from the kitchen to the living room and back during supper. He wasn’t very big; I persuaded him onto a magazine and tossed him out the door. Avoiding hibernation is bad for your health!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

less green

More yellow.

And orange.

And red.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

hints of color

Most of my surroundings are still green, but the colors are beginning to stick their toes in the water.