Wednesday, January 30, 2008

O Happy Day!

The last of our Christmas presents arrived today, a new couch from SodaBoy's parents. This is a very exciting development, as the most seating we've ever had in our living room was a loveseat and an armchair, room for exactly three bodies. Since two of us live here, that means there has only been room for one guest at a time. Luckily we don't entertain much, but we do host small family gatherings around the holidays. Several of us typically end up sitting on the floor on such occasions. No more!

Plus, as you can see in the photo, our loveseat is quite modest in dimensions. SodaBoy is on the tall side, and we've never had a piece of furniture that allowed him to stretch out. No more! He is currently reclined with a blanket and a cat, lolling in maximum comfort. I don't want to revel too much in consumerism, but this couch thing is really great. And since we got the loveseat and armchair in 1999, and they are still going strong, I see no reason why the couch won't last a good many years, too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grammy's Desk

My late grandmother always loved music. She was one of those community members who attended school musicals and recitals not just to see a relative perform, but routinely, for the sheer enjoyment. She sang in choirs in her younger days, and just plain sang in her older days. SodaBoy plays the guitar, and she would ask to him to play whenever we hosted family gatherings. She would nod and sway as he played, until unable to contain her joy, she would burst again into song. SodaBoy doesn't play sing-a-longs; he writes his own songs, primarily instrumental pieces. But Grammy never let that stop her. She would just vocalize a warbly hum to accompany the melody.

It was a year ago that Grammy died. The family convened in April for a memorial service, and to clean out her house. I ended up with a carload of items to store for a far-flung relation, from whom I have heard nothing in the interim. At the one year anniversary of her death, SodaBoy and I went into the basement and brought Grammy's desk upstairs. When the flip top is closed, the desk looks more like a dresser; the upper door is hinged and it folds open to create the writing surface. For as long as I can recall, it sat in her living room near the front door, holding letters and postage and money for the paperboy, carefully counted out in advance.

Now it sits in our back room, right next to the little piano I inherited from my great aunt, a very dear friend of my grandmother's. It makes me happy to reunite the two friends symbolically. It makes me happy to incorporate into our living space this personal item that once belonged to my grandmother, to see it every day and know that she saw it every day, too. And I think it would make Grammy happy, as well. The best part is that we are using the desk for storing various musical paraphernalia: the Pod, the mixer, the drum machine. Now I just have to hope Aunt FarAway continues forgetting that I am storing the desk for her.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

4 Things Meme

I was tagged for this meme last week by Mary over at No Polar Coordinates. I haven't done a meme in a while, so I might as well try this one. At least it's nice and listy.

Four Jobs I've Had
  • Keyboard Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Gas Chromatography Analyst
  • Dendrology Assistant

  • Four Places I Have Lived
  • Oscoda, MI
  • Blackduck, MN
  • Mashpee, MA
  • Current Hometown

  • Four Places I Have Vacationed
  • Acadia National Park
  • Northern California
  • Maho Bay, St. John
  • The Adirondacks

  • Four of My Favorite Foods
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pho
  • Egg Noodles

  • Four Things I Like to Do
  • Hike/Walk
  • Take Photos
  • Read Books
  • Canoe/Kayak

  • OK, this took longer than I thought, so I am not going to tag anyone. Except Electronic Goose, that is, because I recently learned she has never done a meme.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    A Very Blustery Day, Indeed

    As I was driving to work this morning, the local NPR station host admonished listeners to stay tuned for school announcements. Initially I thought it must be a mistake, a canned winter time blurb, but I was wrong. Most of the districts in the area were delayed an hour or two, because of high winds. What? Who ever heard of such a thing? I swear that never happened when I was a student. I was making all sorts of pathetic little jokes in my head about kindergartners blowing away. Given that it was 50 degrees and sunny, it seemed a little silly.

    I arrived downtown and got the last spot on the 5th floor of the parking garage. After descending the dizzying staircase, I emerged onto the street to a breathtaking rainbow. How I wished I had my camera with me! It wasn't until I'd crossed the street that I realized I did have the camera, tucked into my backpack to be downloaded, along with my field vest and and other assorted gear left over from a local endangered species habitat assessment yesterday afternoon.

    I tossed my clipboard and lunch on the sidewalk, dug the camera out of my backpack, and started firing away, collecting some damn convincing evidence that one should always have a camera on their person. My hair blew into a rat's nest, and my hearty lunch of homemade macaroni & cheese, a can of soda, and sugar snap peas practically blew away, but I started the work day in fine spirits. Happy Windsday to all!

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    The Morose Bookseller

    Last week, the receptionist at my office sent around an email announcing that her brother is closing up his shop, and is unloading all books for $1. I felt pretty bad receiving the email, as I didn't even know his bookstore was there. I like reading, and the store is an easy walk from my office. Ergo, it must be my fault that Brother Bookseller is going out of business.

    Despite my love of the outdoors, fresh air, and all that good stuff, I don't regularly go for walks at lunchtime (probably why I didn't know about the bookstore). I have too hard a time with the temperature fluctuations: when it's hot outside, it's cool inside, and vice verse. I don't like getting all sweatified in my office lady clothes. Not that my clothes are what most people would consider fancy, but to me, if it's not denim, I feel black tie.

    With this freakish warm spell, though, I couldn't resist. I headed out at a rapid clip, walking a big loop around the downtown area so that I would pass the closing bookstore on my back to the office. When I first entered, it was desolate: very few books, and no shopkeeper in sight. I persisted with my sweaty browsing, and predictably found a couple of books worth buying.

    It wasn't until Brother Bookseller came downstairs to accept my money that I realized there was a whole second story I'd missed. Needing to get back to work, I made some inane comment, I'll have to come back tomorrow. The response of Brother Bookseller was crushing. In the most despondent fashion imaginable, barely able to raise his head, he muttered, if I am still open. I understand that closing the shop is probably the hardest thing this man has done; he is giving up on a dream, a passion, a life. It can't be easy. But regardless of my easy feelings of guilt, the failing business is not really my fault, and now I feel even worse.

    Will I return as promised? We'll see. I don't know if I can face that despair again so soon.

    Sunday, January 06, 2008

    679 Empties

    During the summer months, we always move our house plants out onto the screened back porch, where despite the paucity of direct sunlight, they seem to thrive. Bringing them back inside this fall was more challenging a task than in past years. These wretched cats seem to be on a mission of total destruction, and plants are a very attractive nuisance. The Christmas cactus had been broken sheer in half before I finally found a relatively safe spot on top of the curio cabinet.

    In the midst of all the shuffling of that one particular plant, I decided I should buckle down and re-pot it. The pot in which the roots are growing is tiny, and that pot is currently resting inside a much larger receptacle. I knew we had potting soil in the garage, so it seemed a simple and timely task, a way to compensate for the destructive forces that had so recently torn the little plant in two.

    However, when I went in the garage to find the potting soil, I quickly threw up my hands in defeat and retreated back into the house, tail between my legs. There would be no tender ministrations, for the potting soil was buried in a virtual avalanche of soda containers.

    As his name might imply, SodaBoy drinks a lot of soda. [There is really no way to say that without it being a huge understatement.] And since my job involves longer hours than his, he does the majority of our grocery shopping. Problem is, he doesn't like returning the empties. We have curbside recycling, and could simply place the cans and bottles in the blue bin, and leave it to the city to attend to the details. But we live in a deposit state, where every container returned to store nets a nickle, and I am far too cheap to let that money slip away.

    So I decided this afternoon to take advantage of the warm weather, and load up the car for a bottle run. Load it up I did: hatch, back seat, shotgun. When I unloaded the sticky bags into shopping carts in the supermarket parking lot, it took two full size carts, piled high, with even the bottom racks stuffed. After an hour of feeding cans into the machines and lining bottles up on the counter, I walked away with receipts worth $33.95 to put towards the grocery bill.

    And the best news? I made a good-sized dent in the container drift in the garage, unearthing the potting mix. There might even be room for a car in there now.

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Go Team!

    I have been going to a lot of college basketball games this year, more so than ever before. Tickets are expensive, and my new found attendance is wholly because of the set of season tickets I was gifted to share with my sister, who alas, has been unable to attend most games, leaving the tickets for SodaBoy and I to enjoy. Rooting for the Hometown University men's basketball team has been an off again, on again hobby for me throughout the years, an odd character trait in one who is utterly indifferent to all other sporting events.

    Attending all these games instead of just watching on tv drives home the point of exactly how many there are. There were two already this week, one earlier this afternoon, and another evening game to rush to after work earlier in the week. If I am this exhausted just from showing up, think how tired the players must be. They have to run up and down the court for 40 minutes, not to mention the daily practices, the travel, the college classes. I guess that's why I am not an elite athlete. Or one reason, anyway. There is also my complete lack of coordination. Minor detail, right?

    The HU team has been blighted by a series of injuries and defections this year, and our bench is shallow. The coach has resorted to starting three freshman and two sophomores. The team has a lot of raw talent, and lots of room for improvement. It has been a fun season so far. They managed to win the first two conference games, and it will be fun to see how they hold up to stiffer competition. At least the next two games are on the road. I can watch from my couch, and with the new laptop, maybe even keep up with the blogging. Fancy that.