Monday, April 30, 2007

It's that time of the year when you should park on the right-most side of the Stop and Shop parking lot so you can hear the enormous chorus of peepers in the wetlands there.

I called a meeting (which happened Sunday) about the semi-abandoned community garden space in my little village, and people showed up! It was very exciting. We'll see if there's follow-through, but it looks like we'll be able to get a reliable water source (i.e. people are donating hoses to link together to reach the nearest house) and a tiller (someone lent theirs to the people who take care of the common areas), for free. Teamwork, people.

I also went for a walk in the conservation area that's adjacent to the village. I picked a path at random. Parts of the path were very faint, but I could still hear the highway, and I knew that if I got lost I could always navigate back by keeping the sound on my left. My path entered a small pine forest, where the path melted away, but I caught another one on the other side. The paths became a little bit wider and I think they're used by ATVs or something, though I heard none. All of the pathways seemed to lead to houses and lawns, so I kept turning back and trying different forks. And then I got tired and decided to go home, so I never really found a good loop. Once I got home, I found a tick on my arm. Gross, and weird, since I had been careful not to brush against anything. I took a shower and found another tick in the drain catcher. Shudder. I figured those were the only two that had made it onto me, but I found two more in the next hour. Disgusting little fuckers.

So, though I found the magical fairy land of the pine forest, I'll be scared to go back without spraying myself and my clothing with protective chemicals. Stupid wildlife.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring came this past weekend like an explosion of warmth and sunlight, forcing all of the trees to immediately bud and the forsythia to bloom (or almost bloom). I opened up the doors to my two porches and suddenly my house is huge. What I did this weekend:
Washed many windows and put in a few screens
Swept both porches
Hung hammock in second-story porch
Raked up dead leaves and branches
Purchased two "steppable" plants and a bag of Moo Dirt
Had a prickly bush (with many children) in my front garden identified as an invasive species. Dug and pried and yanked out bushes using leather gloves, leaving my forearms to get nicely scratched
Patched up the sod over the septic tank access hatch, which had been dug up for inspection in January and very poorly re-covered. The largest, densest chunk of sod seemed to be made of a clump of hosta, so I divided some out and replanted it in the back. The rest I tried to replant atop the septic tank as best I could
Hauled all prickly bastard plants and leaves over to the woody mulch pile using an old sheet
Toured community garden and picked out a plot; discussed buying 200 feet of hose to improve water access to garden, and hiring a tiller guy to turn the weedy, neglected soil
Bought a compact bicycle tire pump, inflated my tires, and biked to the Fitzgerald Lake conservation area, where I was serenaded by peepers and redwing blackbirds

Besides all of this activity, I managed to get thoroughly bored watching TV on Saturday night. Bored because I was too tired to leave the house or work on anything crafty, but not tired enough to simply go to bed. I was disturbed by the television's lack of power to lull and entertain me, but then last night I watched a couple of hours of the Planet Earth marathon and was completely enthralled. TV, you have redeemed yourself.

Also: I saw Grindhouse Friday night and loved it. The first movie is definitely the better one. I went with a girl friend and for the next 24 hours afterwards we felt like kicking everyone's asses.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The end times are (once again) upon us: High-waisted jeans are coming back. My prediction for what's coming next: enormous bat-wing sweaters that fall below the butt. The resurgence of 80s fashion reminds me of this cool concept store, Units*, that was in my local mall. I still have some long leg tubes from them (like thigh-high sock but with no feet) but I haven't figured out how to wear them without looking like a ho.

Anyway. My dreams last night were star-studded. First, I was chosen to act in the new Pirates movie. Keira and I would be the two kick-ass female pirates, and go on pirating adventures with Johnny Depp and a rotating cast of sidekicks. I was allowed to choose my character name, so I went with "Robyn." Our costumes were awesome. After running through some action sequences (climbing! swordplay! evasion!) we met up with Johnny's new sidekick, played by Robyn Hitchcock. Robyn wanted to keep his real name, putting me in a difficult position. He was wearing a very un-piratey fluffy white feathered hat (to go along with his bird-like name). I couldn't wait to tell H and L about it.

Later, in a separate dream, I rode in a station wagon with Larry David and helped set up his book-signing table at a charity event.

*I googled the crap out of Units but only came up with a couple of blurbs. This one is from
UNITS: A one-size-fits-all clothing store featuring knit skirts, shirts, belts and leggings in coordinating colors. The clothes were sold in UNITS boutiques located in malls throughout the United States. You could buy six different pieces of UNITS clothing and create an entire wardrobe from them. It goes without saying that UNITS did not make it out of the 80s.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The good folks at Bubbilicious sent the office a briefcase-sized box full of gum today. It's open and on display in a well-trafficked area, and every time I walk past a pink sugary cloud seeps into my head. It's kind of delicious and intoxicating and nauseating, all at the same time.

Yesterday I became a woman: I defrosted my fridge. I had googled some good tips (put a pan of boiling water inside and close the door, and the frost will fall off in sheets; use a plastic knife to pry off the rest) and so I knew what I was getting into. My fridge seems much happier now, and seems to be turning on a lot less.

I also took a long walk. I figured out a simple loop starting and ending at my door. I doubt I'll repeat it. For one thing, only about a third of it has interesting scenery and buildings; the other two-thirds might as well have been in New Jersey. For another, there are no sidewalks, which is fine in the country-ish part of the loop, not so fine during the nearly-a-mile part I'm walking along Rt. 5. It was so windy when I was walking on Rt. 5 that I couldn't catch my breath. I did discover, however, that I can easily walk to an open-24-hours gas station mini-mart, the Danish furniture store, the RV place, and (slightly further) a soft-serve ice cream store and (furthest of all) Holy Smokes, a bbq joint inside an old church. Because this was Easter Sunday, I saw two groups of children searching for eggs, and a third group playing ball on the lawn in their Easter dresses. I do not do anything for Easter except buy half-off candy the day afterwards. Actually, I sort of celebrated by not using my car all day. Christ died for your gasoline!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I've gotten a couple of big "I really need to do this" kind of things out of the way. One: my taxes. Two: My car inspection (March: I wasn't even late!). Three: I am seasoning a wok. This is a wok I got as a gift years ago, an authentic spun-steel one that came coated in motor oil so it wouldn't rust. When I first got it, I scrubbed the hell out of it, used it a few times (notably to make hot and sour soup, which was delicious but took three hours to make) and then hid it away to let it slowly corrode. Through the magic of SOS scouring pads, I got almost all of the rusty parts off. Now I'm in the middle of numerous cycles of seasoning: Heat the damn thing to very very hot, smear oil (vegetable, corn, or peanut) inside, let it smoke like a demon (while still rubbing in the oil; you don't want beading), and once it finishes smoking, do it all over again. I read six different sets of instructions and some had me cooling the wok down between coats, but some didn't, so I did a few coats a couple of days ago and a few coats today. The bottom of the inside of the wok is now pleasingly black, like it's supposed to be, but the sides are just normal dark metal color, even though I turned the wok to heat it evenly.. I know, it's boring, but I really want to be able to make a perfect stir-fry. I'm gonna test it out later this week.

Four: I got a haircut. A real one, at a fancy salon (fancy: not the $10 haircut place). My hair is short. Like shoulder-length short. And it bounces and moves around. It feels great! I only feel bad I didn't do this earlier (say, 20 years ago) but I guess the stars had to be aligned just so. I occasionally worry I look a little bit like the star of this
(when she has the shorter hair, obviously), but then I just start singing the song, and I forget all about it. I mean, who can stay pessimistic when singing that?