Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This And That

I have a whole lot about nothing to say. I guess when you think about it, this is nothing new for me.

Let's start with our newest guest. To the right is a picture of a praying mantis and she was huge!

I do have a fascination about bugs, when they are outside. Sorry people, but if they are inside my house, there will be a war; a war that Ron must win. But outside, I am like a little kid as I can watch a trail of ants marching all day long.

This is the second praying mantis we've had at our house. They are just amazing bugs. They are so huge, how can I go for years and not even SEE one. It's kind of hard to hide a good four inches of bug.

Ron and I were outside this afternoon enjoying the day on the front porch. Ron went to reach down to the can where he puts his cigarette butts and there was the mantis. Of course, I had to run and get a camera. Eventually, this bug took the tour of our front porch. He went from by the butt can to on the back of the glider. Luckily, I was not sitting there at the time.

From the glider he went to the ceiling and kept creeping until he was right outside our door. I kept waiting for a knock!

Ron ended up cooking out on our little grill on the porch. The praying mantis crawled across the ceiling to get a good look at what Ron was cooking.

Speaking of dinner we did go all out tonight with some surf and turf and of course, some Fenik's corn. All I did was the corn and Ron handled the hard part. This was one fine dinner! And, before anyone asks, the two of us pigs left nothing on our plates so no doggie bags for anyone.

Lastly, something I've wanted to blog about but it just didn't seem to merit an entire blog entry.

Our closest neighbors are in their 90s. They are truly wonderful people and we enjoy their company immensely. So, when we're working around the house, we try to do for them as we do our own. Ron cuts our grass then cuts theirs. Our trees or bushes need trimmed, theirs gets trimmed too. Plus, he thinks my home made bread with extra raisins is just out of this world. I'll do just about anything for compliments like that. But, I digress.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Ron to trim a few branches from the neighbor's chestnut tree as they were hanging over our driveway. Here is a picture of the chestnuts on the tree; full of spines.

Ron went and grabbed the industrial pruners and I stayed there to point out which branches I wanted trimmed. Obviously my brain went on vacation without me because as soon as he cut the branch, my instinct was to reach out and grab it. Yeah, not one of the smartest things I've ever done. I ended up grabbing one of the chestnuts and now I have a hand full of spines.

This has to be two weeks ago and I'm still picking the spines out of my right hand. Being my right hand, it makes it doubly tough to try to pick them out left handed. And, these spines are almost invisible. I need to wait until the entry point of the spine gets infected, thus causing the spine to darken a little so that I can find it and dig it out. Trust me, this has not been fun. I've taken three out of my little finger so far and one out of the side of my palm. I think one or two more and I should be done with it. Yeah, see why I waited to tack this on to another blog?

There you go. Everyone updated on this and that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dang, I AM Old

Emmys, Oscars, VMAs, none of them matter too much to me. However, the next day I do like to surf the internet and check out who won what and more importantly, what were they wearing!

Granted I have no fashion sense of my own but I do consider myself the top judge on Project Runway as well as America's Next Top Model. I know, I know, I have issues. But, I digress.

I was looking around today to see what I could see on the 'net about last night's Video Music Awards. Granted, my taste in music runs the gamut from the 50s to the 80s with very little else thrown in there, so I really don't know too much about today's music.

I read about Taylor Swift (I have NO idea who she is) getting upstaged by Kanye West (whom I've at least HEARD about) and I think it was awful what he did to her. In case you missed what happened, here it is. You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr. West.

Other than that, I was looking through the who's who and what were they wearing. C'mon now, some of this stuff has to just be made up! Am I really this old and out of touch?

Katy Perry - I've heard of her; I have no idea what she does or why she's famous.

Here are some I've NEVER heard of - Actress Leighton Meester, TV personality Kristin Cavallari (she's not on MY tv), Allesandra Ambrosio, Andy Samberg, Ashley Green, Chase Crawford, singer Adrienne Bailon (what does she sing???), singer Cassie (obviously no middle or last name needed here), FeFe Dobson (I can't make this stuff up!) and the list goes on and on. For real, has anyone ever heard of these people???

On the flip side of the coin are the people that were there that maybe shouldn't have been. Keep in mind, somehow these VMA awards are sponsored by MTV. You know, the channel that used to play music videos non stop. Anyway, two of the people that were there were Actress Faye Dunaway (Network, the original Thomas Crown Affair, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown just to name a few) and Astronaut Buzz Aldrin who was on the crew during the first lunar landing; the second person to step foot on the moon. Why are these two people at the VMAs???

I am out of touch. I used to know all about this kind of stuff! I am old.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse

From the "it could have been worse" files, here is one from my sister.

My sister Cathie lives in Ojai California. She lives in an out of the way spot that really is gorgeous. To show you just how gorgeous, the picture to the right is from the last time I went to visit her a couple of Christmases ago. This was the view out of my bedroom window!

From the main road that goes by her house, you take a private road that just goes to her house and I think one more behind her. Along this private road and down her driveway she has many pomegranate trees. I know this because at harvesting time, if the idiots by her don't strip the trees bare, she sends me a care package of pomegranates! (This isn't easy since she has to get them inspected by and approved by the Department of Agriculture to ship them! Thanks, Sissy!)

Anyway, she came home from work the other day and this is what she saw:

The entire tree was snapped right off from its roots and laying there. WTF??

First reaction is to swear and complain and wonder about some people. Especially on a private road, how could someone hit a tree in the middle of the day?

Cathie gets to her front door and believe it or not, someone left a note. Anthony took the back of an envelope and on it apologized profusely for knocking down the tree. He even left his name and phone number.

Of course, the naysayer in me said it was a bogus number. Cathie had more faith. The following day when she had a break, she called Anthony. Come to find out, he was driving down the road and had to swerve abruptly to avoid hitting what he thought was a coyote. I guess he figured out that the tree was better to hit than the animal.

So, Cathie made sure he was ok, (he was sore but ok) and Anthony again apologized profusely. I gotta give props to this guy. Most people would have driven off without a word, or if he left a note it was only because someone was watching and would leave bogus information to make it look good.

Anthony took it like a man, owned up to what was his responsibility and was willing to make right. Cathie thought no harm, no foul. The tree has been there for umpteen years, it's one of many, so as long as he's ok, she was ok to just move on from here.

I'm sorry that Cathie had a tree knocked out, and I'm sorry that Anthony is probably facing some fantastic car repair bills, but by leaving that note, it does start to renew my faith in human kind. After something bad happening, some people are actually out there that still do the right thing for no other reason that it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Too late. The sons of bitches already broke in.

I went to go out today and what did I discover? Someone broke our garage door and had a field day inside the garage.

My garage door looks kind of like this, except that the second panel down is windows. The SOBs peeled back the weather stripping on the side and took apart a hinge enough to pop the panels from the hinges. That gave them enough room to fit an arm through and push the button to open the dang door. Of course, this was after they unscrewed the flood lights of the motion detector that is on the outside of the garage and put a wicker basket over the sensor itself.

The garage is a detached from the house and while it used to be a two car garage, one of the bays does not have a bay door. So my car is parked in one bay, the other bay is full of "stuff". To get most of it in or out, my car must be backed out of the garage.

What's in the other bay? Ron's motorcycle, the riding lawn mower, the hand mower, a big charcoal grill, tool boxes, etc etc etc. What is no longer in there? A snow blower we JUST bought last winter, an air compressor and a power washer. AARGH. I feel violated for sure, but overpowering that, I am just PISSED.

On the positive side, I could see that someone tried to get in my car. The doors were locked so at least a window wasn't broken to get in to steal my $10 umbrella in the back seat. Although they were nice enough to scratch my brand new bumper on my car getting something out.

This wasn't some kids going up and down the neighborhood looking for trouble. This was someone who picked US out and meant to do us harm. About a week ago, we saw that the flood lights had been unscrewed. The lights weren't taken out of the socket, just unscrewed enough to break the circuit.

Grr. Now what is the used value of these items? Enough to file a claim after my $500 deductible and watch my rates go up? Maybe this is the worst of it; knowing we're just screwed.

So now I just have to get over it. I hate this town; I hate this neighborhood. I will finish up this pity party with all of the outside lights turned on and then start anew tomorrow.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Can You Say EWW?

I warned you that this was going to be an "eww" blog! We all know how I'm fascinated with bugs! Fascinated about outside bugs - inside bugs I'm fanatic about. But, I digress.

Last night, Ron went to go out on the front porch to have a cigarette. As an ex-smoker, I like to go outside with him and live vicariously through him. Plus, I love being the busy body of the neighborhood.

I think it was about 8:30 last night. It was getting dark and we were out there maybe 15 minutes or so. The light was on in the living room, so we were standing in the dark of the porch looking into the light of the room. I can spot an ugly bug a mile away!

I was doing a mini freak out and Ron didn't even see it! For real? It was right there on the screen door. After I pointed it out to him he realized that I wasn't going through that door for love or money. He decided to run around to the side of the house, go in the side door and come to the front and turn the light on so we could see it. As if I'd stay out there by myself. I ran around the house with him into the safety of the house.

We turned the lights on and what did we see? A katydid! As you can see against my finger, she was huge. Ron was brave enough to go outside and look. I stayed safe in the living room content to look out.

So, we grabbed a couple of pictures, turned out the lights and Ron came in to leave our katydid in peace.

I quit then and there living vicariously though Ron. I stayed inside where it was a little safer from the neighborhood killer bugs.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Belly Dancing Included

As you can tell, I've had a bit of a blogger's block. Too much of same stuff, different day. Then, this weekend happened, and now I have a lot to blog about!

My friends, David and Edna, now live in San Diego. They came back to Cleveland and Ron and I joined them for a weekend of celebrating. We started with a get together at Edna's parents' house on Friday. Edna's family is of Middle Eastern descent, so we were introduced to an entirely new way to party! And let me tell you, this family can party!

Dinner was catered by a local Middle Eastern restaurant. I don't know the name of it but the food was as delicious as it was different. I was very out of my box and tried everything that came in the door. First, I made sure that no fish heads or cow brains were used in the making of this food. I am NOT as adventurous as some in my family! Once I was assured that nothing out of the ordinary was in the food, I chowed down. I had an explanation of everything that was on the table, but now I couldn't tell you what anything was! Let it suffice to say, it was all good!

After dinner, entertainment was provided. Did I mention that this family knows how to party? The entertainment was not a rousing game of pinochle or even bocce in the backyard. The entertainment was a belly dancer! True story!

The music is fantastic and I dare you to listen to it without dancing in your seat or at least tapping your toes. The girl worked the crowd and as you can see, David was more than happy to dance with her as well. Don't think he was the only one, as most of the people there took their turns dancing with the belly dancer.

One of my favorite pictures, here is a picture of Edna, taking a picture of me, taking a picture of her! Kodak moment, huh?

Saturday, I was the numb skull that didn't take my camera with me. Saturday, we went to the St. Elias Church festival. We started with dinner under the tent. Since again, we don't know one food from another, Ron and I each chose a sampler plate. We were treated to stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage rolls (not like our Slovak ones!), hommus, these meat or spinach pies and assorted other things that I had no idea what they were.

Edna's Dad was nice enough to give us instructions on the proper way to eat some of this food. For example, some things are to be eaten while being held in your hand, and not cut up with a knife and a fork. Also, the little chips that were on my plate were supposed to be put in this salad type thing I had and not just used to scoop up the hommus! Who knew? We took our instructions and chowed down with the best of them. All I can tell you is that both of our plates were empty when all was said and done.

Again, after dinner was entertainment. A band was there, playing Middle Eastern music. I can't tell you how they had the crowd going. There weren't many people in the chairs as most people were up on the dance floor either belly dancing or doing this dance where everyone was holding hands and snaking around the floor. I obviously can't describe it, but it was beautiful and very contagious. What started with three women by the end had maybe 40 people from the ages of 7 to 90!

What a great weekend. I got to learn so much about a culture that is so rich in customs and proud of their heritage. And, thanks to David and Edna for inviting us along to play their reindeer games this weekend! You guys definitely need to come to town more often!