Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pet sitters

While I toil away at the conference, a neighbor has been helping out by doing some pet care in the evenings. I appreciate that, but I really appreciate the photos that sometimes show up in my inbox while I'm at work. I think the animals would prefer that I go away more often, if they're going to get luxurious treatment like this.

This is what Phi looks like after she's been petted into submission. She's fallen into a happy, drunken stupor on the table.
Ada got to take a trip to the doggy park and run around on the doggy jungle gym.

Alas, my good friends (and neighbors) C and S are moving to Ohio this weekend. I'll miss them as both friends and pet sitters. This means I need to start the search again for pet-friendly friends. It would be awesome to find someone who has a dog who would trade dog care, but it's surprisingly rare to find people who want to do that, and I haven't figured out why.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

For Andrew

Today, it's been two years without him. Thanks to all the friends and family who are thinking of him today.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hard Times

Today I begin a 12-day stretch of work, six of which will be 14-hour days at a conference. I've been attending this conference for almost ten years, and I have lots of friends there, but mainly I spend my time in meetings. There's no doubt that the next 12 days will be wearing for little old introverted me. In addition, Saturday is the second anniversary of Andrew's death, so that's an ever present thought in my mind right now. As a result, there will probably be radio silence until August.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A little disconnected

     I have another widow friend who has done without an oven for several years. It broke, and she hasn't gotten around to fixing it. I thought this was a bit crazy, because I couldn't possible live without baking things. Tonight, I realized that I am exactly the same as her, but with technology.
     I have three electronic devices: a latop, a tablet, and a phone. Right now, none of them works properly. Andrew was the one who made sure electronics functioned around here. I've taken on a lot of his jobs, but somehow I've slipped up on this.
     The laptop was his, so it runs on the Linux operating system. I know how great Linux is, because I heard him explain that a million times, but I don't actually know how to do very much with it. In fact, I don't even know how to install software. In the past two years, it's slowly decayed to do less and less, and I squeak by because so many basic functions, like word processing and photo editing, can be accessed through browsers.
     The tablet, also inherited from Andrew, is an iPad 1. I purchased it for him in 2010, which doesn't seem that long ago, but to Apple, that's apparently prehistoric. No new apps can be installed because Apple doesn't support the operating system that was originally installed on it, and Apple doesn't make upgrades for the iPad 1.
     My phone, the one piece of technology I purchased myself, quit connecting to the Wi-Fi last month. This may not seem serious, but I have a hybrid phone designed to automatically switch between Wi-Fi and cellular service, even in the middle of calls (which are also routed through Wi-Fi whenever possible). Tonight, following the instructions the tech support people sent me, I seem to have wiped my phone in a way that I can't even make phone calls.
     Apparently, I'm *this* close to living in the nineteenth century. I guess I'll take my candle and my book and go to bed.

Edited to add: Last month my Kindle broke and I had to spend hours on the phone to correct some Internet provider issues, but I thought if I mentioned those problems I'd sound like a bit of a complainer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July vacation, part 3

Vacation at the Styling with Renee Michelle house are wild and crazy. Along with ice cream parties and lots of dog walks, the oddly shaped carrots from the garden were turned into creations. After B made this, he wasn't hungry for the carrot, so I washed it off and ate it. If I'm the person who planted, weeded, and harvested the vegetable, I find that I really can't bear to have the vegetable wasted.

I have always wanted to try a Sazerac, but when I was in New Orleans, I only had time for one cocktail (it was a work trip, after all), and I opted for a Ramos Gin Fizz. So you can only imagine my excitement when we attended a party hosted by S's cousin, and a tray full of Sazeracs appeared. It was delicious, and now I must get my hands on some absinthe so I can make my own.

After the visit to the beach, I feel like I should write a little love note to the ocean. I grew up in the middle of the country, and all our swimming was done in lakes. When I lived in Maryland last time, Andrew and I took frequent day trips to the beach, but I really came to appreciate the ocean in Miami. I don't go much now, because it's a three-hour drive each way, which is just too far for a single driver.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

July vacation, part 2

If I'm careful, I can spread out the photos from last week's visit and get three blog posts for minimal effort. My niece had done a report last year in school on Arlington National Cemetery, so that was on our can't-miss list. Of course, it's summer in DC, so after about two hours in the heat and humidity we were wilting. Arlington National Cemetery is is weird place for a pacifist to visit. It's like an atheist visiting a cathedral - a chance to learn about a belief system different than my own. At times like this, I'm always happy to have been an exchange student, because that's where I gained the valuable skill of learning about other people's beliefs and cultures without needing to align them with mine.
Remember the ice cream party? A party's not a party without a piñata. We didn't have a good place to hang it, so my brother held it suspended. The problem with this method is that my brother is a stinker, and it is likely he lifted it out of the reach of some people when they were swinging.
My sister-in-law and brother are always the ones behind the camera, so right before they left I asked them to pose for me. I thought this was an awfully nice picture of them. I feel pretty lucky that I not only like my brother, I like the woman he chose to marry. 
After their visit, I reflected on what a tolerant family I have. I have a one-bedroom apartment, and all four of them stayed in my small space. I don't have a lot of extra stuff, so when we went to the beach, we all used bath towels because I only own one beach towel. Then, when we returned home, it took two days for the bath towels to dry (because I don't own a dryer and it won't stop raining). In the meantime, there were only hand towels available. As you can see, my house isn't exactly a four-star resort, and yet there was nary a complaint.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

High summer

     I've been busy enjoying a terrific visit from my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids. More to come on the visit in an upcoming post, but here's a taste of how we spent last week. 
     The kids helped me pose for my monthly garden picture. The watermelon and green beans have found their trellises and are rapidly climbing. The whole garden is growing nicely, but it's been wet, wet, wet. We had 13" in June, which is three times our normal amount, and it's rare that a day goes by without rain. It's great that I don't have to water, but nothing will ripen because of the lack of sun. Except the zucchini, of course - nothing stops zucchini. The kids had great fun harvesting what they could - cherry tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, and the garlic I planted last fall. 
     Some days we we skipped sightseeing and just enjoyed hanging out at home, which gave us opportunities for events like an ice cream party. My niece posted invitations all over the apartment and made a piñata, and I made ice cream and chocolate sauce. I highly recommend ice cream parties in July.