Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is me:

First of all, I've been out of Lexapro since last Thursday and am continually on the verge of tears.

Second, we have three guardianships exploding with crazy family members right now.

Third, I'm planning to take Friday off, so there's a lot of frantic cramming going on at work.

Fourth, I do not want to be around people or have anything to do with any other human beings, so I have skipped working out since Saturday because the pool is a very chatty place.

Fifth and finally, Mom actually apologized for me today when I was angry with good reason with the staff at a nursing home.

I'll be in a ball with my spines out for the foreseeable future.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Dad story

I read and reviewed The Passage by Justin Cronin a few weeks ago, then loaned it to Dad. Dad's been very hard to please in regard to books recently, so I just asked him to read the first chapter with an open mind. He started reading the book, and was really enjoying it. It turned out, though, that he only liked the first 250 pages. After that, he finished it hoping for a resolution, but got a cliffhanger ending instead.

Well, I tried. And while I'm sorry he didn't like the whole book, I'm not sorry I gave him something to read for a week or so, and I'm certainly not going to change my review.

Today was definitely a Monday at work, and Mom and I weren't going to answer the phone when it rang at lunchtime until Mom noticed it was from Dad. So she picked up, talked to him, then handed the phone to me. I swallowed a bite of salad and said, "No, I haven't charged the battery on the weed-whacker yet." Dad laughed and said I'd better, but that wasn't why he wanted to talk to me. He wants me to go to Amazon and read all of the 1-star reviews for The Passage. In addition to his earlier caveats, he added "That guy doesn't know shit about electricity." I just said that I didn't either, so whatever errors Dad found in the book (and he has the background to find them) didn't bother me. I also told Dad that I'd bought the book because it has an average 3.86 star rating on Goodreads, and that while he's entitled to his opinion, I'm also entitled to mine.

I'm still not sure why Dad wants me to read negative reviews. Does he want to change my opinion? Reinforce his own? Use other people's reviews to express what he thinks but can't articulate? Okay, the last is not very likely, because Dad is good at expressing himself, but I don't know what he will get from me reading those reviews.

For now, it remains an open question.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Long, long ago,

my mother asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday.

"Excitement. Adventure. Rubies the size of pigeon's eggs." I answered.

My parents got me a lawnmower.

These days, my mom just starts accumulating things on our shopping trips year-round, and wraps them up, either for my birthday or Christmas, and gives them to me on the appropriate day.

I've never stopped wishing for non-practical birthday gifts, but I stopped telling my parents.

This year, Dad was very excited about the early birthday present he picked out and purchased. In fact, he was so excited, he brought it over a full three weeks early.

It's a weed-whacker. With a bonus leaf blower.

Love you, Dad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sadness colors everything

I don't even know where to start to describe the last few days. If I start with the good things, my nephews were up for a visit last week, and Mom and I took them to an Akron Aeros game Friday night. Even though the Aeros lost, the fireworks were even better than last year's, and the boys had a good time. On Sunday, since Mom and Dad had to leave at 10:00 to get the boys back to Columbus, I was at my parents' house at 9:30 to give Dad his Father's Day card and gift, and he seemed to really like the book I got him. Then I headed home, stopping on the way at Temptation Nursery and picking up a peach-flowered verbena for Vegan Lawyer and two black and white dianthus for me. I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, putting away groceries, taking a nap, reading, goofing off on the computer.

I wish I could end there, with just the good things.

But I can't. Because on Friday morning, Mom found out that one of our probate court magistrates, someone I have known since I started working for Mom and someone Mom has known and worked with for twenty years, died utterly unexpectedly at the age of 53.

That loss has colored every day since then. I am sad for the court's loss of someone I thought should be our next probate judge, for community's loss of a woman with an impact above and beyond her job, for her sixteen-year-old daughter's loss. I wish I believed in a heaven, any heaven, and I wish I believed in a god or goddess or whomever would allow Ann to watch over her daughter, but mostly I just wish it hadn't happened.

If you've never had to hear a sixteen-year-old say through tears "I love my mom. I miss my mom." then count your blessings.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


On Thursday I carted two boxes of clothing from our Ward who died from the nursing home to the woman who had cared for him and was going to redistribute the clothing.

On Friday I woke up with teeny-tiny fluid-filled blisters all over both hands and my left arm. I checked WebMD, and in a truly disgusting slideshow about common insect bites, found that scabies bites matched the blisters on my hands. I called my doctor's office, and they squished me into the schedule, and then I had about five hours to worry, fret, and try not to scratch.

After seeing the very nice Dr. H., I was reminded why hypochondriacs should not be allowed to search the internet. Without any hint, she asked if I was a gardener and said I had poison ivy rather than scabies. She wanted to give me some steroids to help my skin heal a little more easily, but since they do such a number on my stomach, we settled on calamine and benadrool.

I spent the rest of the day in a benadrool fog, trying to remember if I'd seen ANY three-leaved plants anywhere in the garden. Yes, I've been weeding the lavender bed like mad, but all I really remembered were nettles and lamium. The lamium can't hurt, and I left the nettles in place until I could get back out with my gloves and long sleeves on.

On Saturday, I was reelling in the hose when I saw several three-leaved plants growing up underneath the hose cart. I'll have to get back out there once I have some more Roundup on hand. I know the traditional method of disposal is to burn the plant, but that's a little too close to the house for me to be lighting fires.

Today, I was hauling all the houseplants off the breezeway and outside, and just barely noticed a three-leaved plant sticking up out of the pot I almost had my face in. Like any good last girl, I screamed and backed away, then sat down and thought. Roundup in my geraniums is NOT an option, fire in my geraniums ditto, but I think if I put on gloves and long sleeves I should be able to dig the whole thing out with a trowel.

But that's a chore for tomorrow. For tonight, I have to shudder and try not to scratch all the imaginary and non-imaginary itches.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Book review

Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters NovelUnnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters Novel by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This would have been 5 stars, except I'm getting a bit tired of Ms. Lackey's overuse of the "Bad guy schemes to take over someone else's body" plotline. Off the top of my head, I can think of three other books, one in this very series, that she's used it in, and I wish she would find some other type of villainy for her villains.

That caveat aside, Ms. Lackey does a good job with the characters and the setting. Clearly, she has done some research into the horrors of World War I, and they are interwoven so skillfully that none of the information comes across as a history lecture. Miracle of miracles, Ms. Lackey even made me care about a character based on Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Whimsey, who I cannot stand.

Overall, this is an engaging summer novel, with enough action to make you pay attention, characters to enjoy, and enough bits that make you think without boring you to death.

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Possum: not just for dinner anymore!

Or at least that was what Little Miss Piggie Pie told me, barking at the top of her lungs and straining at the tie-out chain yesterday morning. There was a possum huddled under the dilapidated stone wall on the east side of my property, and LMPP wanted to catch it and kill it and eat it raw. When I hauled her in like a fish on a line, she sulked until it was time for me to leave for work, at which time she was happy to chase the cookies I'd tossed down into the basement.

Because I had dropped my car off for $350 worth of repairs on Thursday (oil change, air filter, new water pump), I had to wait for Mom to stop at a bank before picking me up. We got to work a little before 10:00, and then left at 11:30 to have lunch with three friends from the legal field (and Mom ducked one opposing counsel she'd just left a counter-offer for). After lunch, we got everything Mom needed for Portage County on Monday morning packed up and agreed that while we'd gotten stuff done throughout the week, there wasn't much of a feeling of accomplishment.

Mom took me to get my car, and I stopped for groceries before coming home. My evening consisted of watering plants, finishing the book I was reading, and wrestling the big Norfolk pine outside before LMPP ate any more of the potting soil out of the planter.

This morning I got up early, showered, dressed and stuffed the dog in the basement, and headed for Mom's. We went to a flea market in Chardon, which is northeast of Mom's house. We had a little contest--we each started with $25, and compared notes on how much we'd gotten at the end of the morning. I got three pretty daylilies, a gourmet dog biscuit and two purses. Mom got two hand mirrors, a set of pretty cloth napkins, a basket of sweet white onions and the most adorable birdhouse. She still had money left over, so she won. :) We had lunch at a local coffee shop, then stopped by the knitting store. They were having a big sale for their anniversary, so the $10 skeins of ribbon yarn were only $3 each! Mom got enough ribbon yarn to make ruffled scarves for me and maybe my picky aunt. Or maybe not--the last three attempts at scarves for Aunt Turkey were rejected for various reasons. *eye roll*

I had practiced purling on the way up, since I'd managed to forget how to purl since Christmas. I'm making coasters, because the ones I have are wood, which is nice but doesn't do much to battle condensation in the humid Ohio summer. I didn't knit on the way home, since we went the pretty way instead of the fast way, and I wanted to see everything. I did almost finish my first coaster, though, in a pattern called purl ridges. I'm still just knitting squares, but at least they're interesting squares!

When we got home, both of us slightly gimpy from all the walking and me slightly sunburned and very itchy, Dad told Mom she'd had an urgent call from a nursing home. She called them back, and found out that one of her wards had died of metastized lung cancer, less than two weeks after his diagnosis. Because Mom has been this man's guardian since 1986, she had no idea who his preneed funeral was with, and she was prepared to go into the office to get it. Fortunately, in 2003, I had copied all of the client files off the hard disks she used to use, so Dad remoted in to Mom's work computer, and opened up the Motion. I was able to tell Mom both the name of the funeral home and when she bought the preneed funeral, so unless they demanded the contract, she shouldn't have had to drive down to Akron.

I came home just as Snoopy was finishing up with the lawn, talked to him for about ten minutes, and then LMPP and I took a nice nap. Tomorrow I need to plant my new daylilies, but tonight is going to be all about relaxing.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Book review

The PassageThe Passage by Justin Cronin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book does a great job of reclaiming vampires as evil, scary, formerly human beings rather than the romantic ravishers they seem to have become. Somehow, Mr. Cronin managed to combine apocalyptic, dystopian, gubmint-conspiracy, questing, horror, sci-fi and a little bit of humor into a book that had me looking away from the page in an effort to stop bad things from happening to characters I like and yet sad when I reached the end and a little bummed that I have to wait another year for the next book.

There are two reasons this got 4 stars instead of 5:

Conroy shouldn't have died. That was just mean.

Mr. Cronin, you're a professional writer. Learn the difference between "retched" and "wretched" before I am forced to beat you with a hardbound copy of Webster's.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


However, both the desktop and the laptop are, so I'm using Dad's spare computer and without any photo-processing software, which means all of the garden pictures that were meant to go on this blog have to stay on the camera, along with all of the nail polish pics for the beauty blog.

I feel cheated that the BIG STORMS the weather guy promised us for last night never showed. When I got up this morning, the sidewalk was barely damp. Even if we didn't get the storm(s), at least the temperature dropped. It was in the upper 80s/lower 90s from Saturday through yesterday, and I damn near killed myself getting one flowerbed weeded and mulched. I need to rig up a chain so Little Miss Piggie Pie can join me in the front yard while I work out there, because she took advantage of my absence to eat a large portion of the potting soil out of the planter holding my Norfolk pine.

Otherwise, work is normal, online life is semi-restricted but normal, and my offline life is just as boring as it ever was.

Oh, and if you don't recognize the title of this post, do yourself a favor and read some Terry Pratchett. :)