Sunday, April 27, 2014

Catching up

     I was sick this week. I was lucky that I only suffered from a cold, and even better, I just needed to sleep a great deal to recover. One day off work, and three nights of 10-14 hours of sleep and I'm feeling pretty terrific again. I think my cat would like it if I stayed home sick every day. At age 15, all she's looking for in life is a warm lap she can sleep on all day.


     I've been meaning to post the following pictures for a while. Last year, my niece K drew a terrific picture of me, which I framed and hung on my living room wall. She got the details just right, so I recreated the outfit I was wearing so you all could see how good she was. Blue headscarf with white ellipses, check. Round glasses, check. Blue jeans and turquoise sweater, check. In the drawing, I'm enjoying the coffee and strawberry pancakes we had for breakfast that morning. I especially appreciated the wine glass decorating the bottom corner; apparently Aunt Renee Michelle is strongly associated with wine. This kid knows me.

Monday, April 21, 2014


     My friend N and I have been working on a big woodworking project (which is not yet ready to be revealed). When I suggested it, I didn't realize that I was proposing a large project, but it's going to take months. In fact, I'll be at N & S's house for three weekends in a row as we try to make some progress.
     I haven't done any woodworking since I was a kid, but I inherited a lot of great tools from Andrew, and it makes me happy to learn how to put them to use. This Saturday I learned how to plane wood. It's very satisfying to turn a rough piece of wood into a rather polished-looking post.

There's a second reason that progress has been slow - we needed to spend the first part of the day repairing a leak in the roof. Although N did the hard work up on the second story, I hauled up tools using a pulley and bucket (physics in action!) and kept the ladder steady. We decided to make things safer by tying N to the roof using a safety harness. Unfortunately, there aren't that many place to tie a rope up on a roof, so we chose to tie it around the chimney. To do this, N hurled the rope completely over the house, and then I went to the other side of the house to toss the rope back around the chimney. We had tied the rope to a stick to make it easier to throw, but it turns out that I'm not that good at throwing a thick rope over a two-story house. The broken storm window below is evidence of that.

So, during the next project day, I get to learn how to replace a broken storm window.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Little successes

I've slowly been catching up with things since my long block of travel. Last weekend I eked out some time, in between all my social engagements, to plant in the garden. It's exciting to be planting a spring garden this year; last year I couldn't start planting until mid-May because we were unpacking the house. This year, I've planted arugula, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and broccolini. If even half of it comes up, I'll be well-provisioned for green vegetables. And I don't need any red/orange vegetables, because I'm still eating sweet potatoes and tomatoes from last year.

Along with garden time, I've enjoyed a few other treats. The daffodils are blooming in the garden, and I made a big plate of donuts over the weekend.

On Saturday I went to see the famous cherry blossoms downtown. I've viewed them for many springs, but this year was the first time I watched the parade. I don't think I'll try that again, because parade + Japanese culture festival + people viewing the blossoms = far too many people. I knew that using the Metro would let me bypass the horrendous traffic, but I didn't anticipate that they would close stations because of sheer overcrowding. When I tried to go home, I was met with, "Sorry, this station is now exit only; walk to the next one." I could see why they did that - the stream of people flowing out of the station was continuous.

Lastly, remember these slippers I made last year? They were nice, but I realized I could improve the design. They were far too big because I didn't understand how to size my feet properly, and the soles required a lot of darning as holes appeared. The new, improved slippers fit perfectly and boast a sturdy vinyl sole, as well as stylish infinity-symbol decorations.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Back home

My joy at finally getting back home is matched only by my pets' joy at my return. They have been following me around whenever I'm home, looking for just a few more cuddles. As usual, the cat sits on my lap, but she now also follows me around the house meowing when I get up for a moment. Usually such behavior is reserved only for empty food bows, not attention.

My work trips were productive, and worth the time invested, but seven cities in three weeks was a bit too much. My final stop was Savannah, Georgia, for five days. I have a soft spot for Savannah, because I lived there when I was a child. It's a much easier place to visit in April, then, say July. The memories of sweltering summers have stuck with me through the decades. Since this was a spring visit, though, I could simply enjoy the azaleas and Spanish moss and take comfort that it wasn't summer.

One good result of all the travel was that my companion, Flat Stanley, toured a lot of the country. This was for my niece's school project, explained here and here. Frequently as I stopped to take a picture, a complete stranger would recognize Flat Stanley. I felt like I had been admitted into a special club. Luckily my niece likes to read, because I filled almost an entire notebook with pictures and journal entries about our adventures.