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Category: garden

05/04/06 01:04 - 66ºF - ID#21990

planting

Guh! I was feeling clever for having updated my journal music, but I just managed to accidentally post a blank blog, so, eh, I guess I'm not all that smart.

Music is called "Love Farewell"; it's a track off an out-of-print LP entitled "Songs and Music of the Redcoats" (Argo records, 1971) that my dad often listened to when I was a child. My parents are history fiends, and met via the flurry of historical re-enactments around the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, so... This song I haven't been able to date precisely, but most of the tracks on that album are from either the late 18th or late 19th centuries (a lot of them are Napoleonic era). It's short, so even if you don't like it...

Anyhow. On to the purpose of the journal.

Waiting for the promised thunderstorm. We're supposed to finally get rain today, so I have been busy all morning.
I got up at 8 and finished preparing the soil, did one last-minute garden bed expansion, and planted the tomatoes, beans, some more peas, and one of the pepper plants before I decided to wait on planting the rest of them. I'd scheduled them for two weeks from now anyway! But an early start can't hurt, if there's no frost... The tomatoes are a bit of a gamble.

I'm excited about the garden, officially now.

I'm so far behind on the flowerbeds, though. There's so much work to do on them, and I just can't... summon... the energy...
I'm proud of myself for managing what I did, given how much my back hurt yesterday at work. I filled out an accident report, which seems to have done the usual voodoo trick: If I say it's nothing and don't fill out the form, then there are always complications and I'm in pain later. (Witness: my hand, which I bruised in January and which now hurts me every time it rains or I type too much.) If I do fill out the form, then it's always better the next day. (Witness: the three times I've slipped and fallen and bruised my knees, which never hurt later.) My back hurts now, but I rather think that's because of the heavy digging...

On that note, I am fiercely hungry. Later!
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Permalink: planting.html
Words: 378
Location: Buffalo, NY


05/02/06 09:20 - 53ºF - ID#21989

er, duh, peep sighting

Duh. The whole purpose of coming here was that I was going to blog that I'd met (e:jenks) at the airport bar! I was at the Landmark on Sunday, by coincidence-- I was scheduled for All-Stars and someone called in-- and was running around like an idiot because of all these damn Chicago delays-- what is up with Chicago lately? Uh-- and Chicago delays are the worst because the United gate that's mostly flights there is DIRECTLY across from the bar so the very moment a delay is announced the entire contents of the plane just turn around and come straight into the bar, en masse, with no possibility of thinking of heading to another bar or maybe stopping for a coffee or magazine on the way.
But I digress.
So the place was a war zone when I got there because Whipple can't do a dish and also everyone and their mother wants margaritas because some clever idiot put up a poster of one, and as all bartenders know the humble margarita is just about the #1 Ass-Pain Drink (salt, two liquors, a cordial, a mixer, ice, blended maybe, ugh, gag me).
So the place is covered in lime and sour mix and we have no fresh limes left and there's no salt and there's no glasses and Whipple's running into me and life is pain and I'm having awful cramps and mostly, I wish I were dead.

Several hours of this pass and I'm starting to catch up and feel human, and there's this girl sitting at the corner of the bar-- the corner around which I have to fling myself every time I go from my drink-making-station to the floor where all my tables are. Finally I pause, and notice her looking at me.

"Do you... have a journal online?" she asks.

One of those questions that can fill you with dread. I've had that Livejournal for three years now and while I never quite regret writing things I do, I occasionally wish I had said them differently. (*cough*Jackdaw*cough*) So there's a long pause as I think: "Fuck. Fuck. Did I post any nude pictures of myself?"
Finally I answer: "...Yes?"
"Are you Dragonlady?"
"Yes." A pause. "Elmwoodstrip?" I'm trying to decide if the girl is familiar.
"Elmwoodstrip. I'm (e:jenks)."
"Ahh!" It clicks. Yes, she resembles her picture. Although, she's much less, well, people are usually more three-dimensional than their photos, so, well, sometimes... I'm astonished she recognized me. Her photo is a way better photo of her than mine is of me, and yet, I had no inkling. But then, I'm bad wth faces.
I admit I don't know enough people on here yet that I can totally keep up with everyone's blogs, but for some reason I read hers a lot, so I really do know who she is.
She's delayed enroute to Chicago, and I can only add to the misery, I'm afraid-- most of my customers are trying to get to Chicago and they're all telling me dire, dire things about the planes. But at least, you know, um, we all have the shared consolation of overpriced beer?

Ah Buffalo.

Another funny chance sighting, unrelated to (e:peeps), of course, but funny:
Last night I was at Landmark again, the late server, and I was cleaning up and getting ready to leave the bartender to deal with the place on her own-- it being late. A blond Canadian girl was sitting at the bar waiting for her ride to arrive from Toronto. She was funny, and charming, the kind of girl who can talk about anything to anyone, and the bartender was complimenting her on her great coat, a striking black knee-length thing with white piping. I stayed and talked a few moments-- this girl could have charmed a wooden post, and was all smiles.
I couldn't remember but I was pretty sure I'd had her for a customer before-- but then, I do see a lot of people. And an amazing number of them are at their most outgoing-- they're among strangers, and drinking, and will most likely never be in this place with these people again. Some of them will say anything.

I got home, tired, and (e:zobar) had no plans for dinner, and I couldn't think of anything. "Let's go out." So we went to someplace that would be open at 9:30 on a Monday night: Kosta's.
While sitting eating our gyros and drinking our red wine (ok, so, yes, I have odd food combo craving choices), a girl came into the diner. "Can I use your bathroom?"
She was wearing a striking black knee-length coat with white piping.
I had just finished telling Z about the girl at the bar who could talk to anybody, like, that moment.
She came back out of the bathroom and strode purposefully past us, out the door. Blond curly hair, black leather purse with silver fittings: the very same girl. But no smiles, no charm, no talking-to-a-post-- all purpose, all tiredness, all accumulated stress.
There was a car waiting outside for her. She got in and they drove off to Toronto. Obviously her ride had showed up eventually. I have to remember to tell the bartender.
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Permalink: er_duh_peep_sighting.html
Words: 876
Location: Buffalo, NY


05/02/06 09:00 - 53ºF - ID#21988

random

This is beautiful: a photographer fills a black pool with pretty naked ladies and takes a series of underwater photographs. Tasteful nudes but maybe not work-safe.

Yes, as (e:zobar) wrote, the lady next door really did call the health inspector on us because we didn't move our compost heap after she 1) lied and said it was illegal, 2) verbally abused me, 3) attempted to verbally abuse Z except he wasn't paying attention.

Now, I was going to put the thing into a nice plastic enclosure, the kind you can buy at Target, and probably move it to a different part of the yard-- it was just behind our garage because the rest of the yard is under constructoin. But after the woman's reprehensible behavior, I believe I will be leaving it where it is. Except now, see, to conform to health code, it has to be elevated twelve inches off the ground-- Rats don't like to climb, so they won't burrow in elevated compost heaps.

So I'll leave it where it is, behind my garage and against her fence, and will, in order to comply with the health inspector she called on me, have to make it larger and uglier.

Sweet, sweet irony.


In other news, I am going to take a big risk and plant most of my tomatoes today. Perhaps the peppers too. The guaranteed frost-free date isn't until May 17th, but the long-term forecasts show no temperatures below 40, and I am impatient, and also the tomato plants are growing rather too large. If anyone wants one, I still have one or two more than I strictly have room for.

(e:kara), I remember you saying something about trading some plants, and I meant to reply and now can't remember where you said that, but my zinneas didn't actually do all that well and I'll be starting most of them from seed outdoors I think, so...

Oh shoot, I have to cut a bunch more sod today to make room for the foxgloves, I forgot.

Happy May Day (yesterday), by the way-- I am going to put up pictures of my garden, I swear, one of these, um, years.
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Permalink: random.html
Words: 367
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/25/06 02:08 - ID#21987

obsessions

I have been suffering from obsessions lately, the kind of thing where I start reading and can't stop until it's done. This was always a problem of mine in print-- I was dead to the world until every book in the stack from the library was done, all in one long binge-- but the Internet has made this possibly fatal. I just clicked through every single photo put up on The Daily Oliver -- Oliver being a gorgeous, sleek Wiemariner living in the South of France with his brother Hugo and some dude with a camera. Oh my GOD this dog is cool.

It made me sort of want a dog. That and the fact that my older sister, the mommy of Scout ,just adopted a second Springer-- I think it is Scout's full-blood sister, previously owned by Katy's sister-in-law. Lizzie and Scout are nearly identical, although their markings are different, and OH GOD THE CUTE.

But I digress. I keep getting obsessed by things and sucked into them, and then I forget what I was doing, and I keep doing things like teraing myself away from the computer to make breakfast, and then coming back twenty minutes later to see that I sliced one bagel, set it in the toaster, and then abandoned the other bagel on the cutting board, and never turned the toaster on. Right! Right.

Work is a problem: they are changing all our schedules around. I've been part-time for the last five months because I wanted to take a break and finish a novel, and yet they've been shortstaffed so I've been working full-time, and now I am confronted with a choice: keep up this sham of part-time, or just give up and go back to full? Or quit entirely? I will never finish this novel.

Especially because I cannot keep a thought in my head. See, I opened this window to assure (e:zobar) that the coolest car ever, contrary to what he says in his post which I don't know how to link to except by just going ,would be a VW campervan converted to run on vegetable oil. He likes tiny cars. I like cars you can live in. We already have a foreign subcompact, thanks, and we also have a ridiculously tiny two-wheeled vehicle. If I am going to get a vehicle, it's going to be one I can get laid in.


And oh yes, will be at Century ca. 7 pm for barbecue wings and also AIDS fighting, and if only Doppelcracker is bartending (I hope he will be), I will be drinking something ridiculous, probably Sidecars or Mai Tais. Provided it's not busy. In busy bars I just have a beer.

Oh I should figure out how to post a photo of Scout and Lizzie.
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Permalink: obsessions.html
Words: 487
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/18/06 10:09 - 48ºF - ID#21986

great

Oh wow awesome!
This page just spontaneously refreshed itself and I lost my entire post.

Sweet.
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Permalink: great.html
Words: 16
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/17/06 08:55 - 38ºF - ID#21985

dyngus day

The several real actual Polish, non-Buffalo people of my acquaintance all laugh when I mention that Dyngus Day is a big deal in Buffalo. Also, none of them have ever encountered anything involving pussy willows. Therefore, I think this-all is just kind of a Buffalo thing. But still, it sounds fun. Every ethnicity in Buffalo has its own drinking holiday-- how great is that? This is a great city.
Not that I can ever participate in any of them, but the idea is great nonetheless.

I like my job, sort of, for the most part, but for two things: I am on a "part-time" schedule that has me working six days this week, and I never have holidays off and in fact have especially long days on holidays because all the senior people do have them off.
Also I can never get a Saturday or Sunday off, which means that (e:zobar) and I see one another in spans never longer than a couple of hours. Which, you know, some late-shift workers have it much worse, but, still, others being worse-off doesn't actually alleviate my pain at all. You know?


All right, i changed the colors here and have determined it's not the colors that make me inarticulate. I'm just inarticulate.
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Permalink: dyngus_day.html
Words: 211
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/16/06 09:46 - 45ºF - ID#21984

eeeeeeeeeeesssssttttteeeeerrrrrrrr

The Easter bunny came! With a big white bag from Parkside Candy! And (e:zobar) and I have both just stuffed ourselves with chocolate! And washed it down with coffee! And I just chased him slowly around the house trying to tickle him. I thought it'd be a great idea to see which of us could make the other barf first.

I have to go to work in a little bit. I am going to stuff myself with chocolate and show up so fucking high on sugar, and see if that gets me through the day.

Man! Z is fun when he's fucked-up.

And this is legal. Is this a great country or what?

I have media to blog with, later, when I am not so lazy (photos, of Z's family doing traditional Latvian egg-dyeing, with onion skins and pocket knives and pantyhose). Meanwhile, I link to this instead:
Eddy from Z's work goes to the Broadway Market, eats the horseradish, manages to get in not one but three phallic jokes, all to a polka soundtrack.

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Permalink: eeeeeeeeeeesssssttttteeeeerrrrrrrr.html
Words: 183
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: garden

04/13/06 07:39 - 54ºF - ID#21983

lovely evening

Yikes, I just absentmindedly tabbed to the next field and wound up not in this one, but in one of the search fields. I still don't know this place very well!

I was going to talk more about gardens. Not much has happened, in that I haven't done much-- every day I water the seedlings in the front window and under the gro-light. I rotate them too so they grow straight. Nothing exciting, though.
None of the seeds I planted outdoors have come up. Depressing. This is the worst part of gardening, when you think, "Great, i screwed it all up."

I did count up my seedlings. I have fifteen tomato seedlings, eight sweet peppers, eight ancho peppers, five anaheim peppers, and then there are ten peppers I forgot to label. I planted cucumbers and zinneas under the grow-lights, and so I have ten zinnea seedlings and six cucumber seedlings. The peppers are ready to be set outside, though, which is a problem because it's not time yet.

Of the bulbs I planted last fall, I've got a bunch of hyacinths blooming now, which is really nice because they smell good. Daffodils are blooming too. Crocuses are just about done, which is sad-- I love them.

Just went for a walk around the neighborhood, which was nice. (e:zobar) and I both really like to look into people's yards just to see their stuff and how they've got it laid out and how they use their space, which is, I suppose, kinda creepy-- I love looking in windows, too, but I have a policy of not peering overtly, and I won't leave the sidewalk or even deviate from my place in the sidewalk, because that's wrong. But if you can see in, I mean, why not glance in as you go by? People have neat stuff.

But then, I'm a nutjob, so...

Mailed my mom a bunch of easter eggs from the Broadway Market, so she's happy, but I didn't get myself any. Oh well: People who work every Sunday don't get to celebrate Easter, see, so what's the point of getting excited? There is none.

I don't ever have anything really clever to post here. I assure you, I am not this boring. Maybe it's something about the orange and green color scheme... I can't possibly compete with its colorfulness... This is why my livejournal is plain white.
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Permalink: lovely_evening.html
Words: 399
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/11/06 12:26 - ID#21982

blogs are for whining

Bad day. One shouldn't have such a bad day when it is so nice outside.
I have two computers. Both are malfunctioning.
I have a novel that is 136,631 words long. (I just hit the wordcount button in Word, and it's a palindrome! hey neat. [for the curious, that's 236 pages, single-spaced. Printed in paperback-novel form it would approach 500 pages.]) I am nearly done with the first draft. I am tired and want it to be finished. But it is not finished. (I am in the middle of writing a sex scene for the novel, and could not be less in the mood. Which is too bad, as the point-of-view character could not be more in the mood, and I feel I'm letting him down, but I'm sorry, I really just can't make it any hotter. Poor fellow. He thinks I'm about to kill him, too, and the only reason I'm not is because I am also not in the mood for the irony and tragedy that would entail. Not that I don't love him, because I do, but from a writer's standpoint that makes his survival even more tenuous.)

I wish I had some dark chocolate in the house. I was so mad at my computers that I mopped the floors, and then I went for a jog while the floors dried, and now I want to sit and stuff my mouth with something really dark, a little bitter, a little decadent, but all I've got in the house are semi-sweet chocolate chips and some Cadbury Eggs. Neither of which is suiting my mood.

My monitor is flickering. I do not dare go out and do some gardening in the yard because my next-door neighbor is Completely Batty and if she comes over to yell at me about one more thing I'm-a deck her.

Z is taking offense to everything I say lately and I am wondering whether it is the stress of his job, or if I am somehow transforming into a bad person. I feel like I have not done anything fun in a long time and perhaps I am stagnating. I know I have been reduced to less than a half-dozen topics of conversation lately and I"m just not very interesting.

So there you have it: it is a winter of discontent, and yet, it is spring. Surely I should feel better about all of these things?

My first daffodil is blooming, in the front yard. I don't feel better.
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Permalink: blogs_are_for_whining.html
Words: 413
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/06/06 11:30 - 42ºF - ID#21981

A Review Of A Book I Read

I posted a review of this book already on my livejournal and it was mostly squeeing and babbling. As I am soon to be embarking upon a new bit of career as a columnist (I'll spill the beans once there's beans to be spilled), I thought I should try my hand at a serious review.

So, instead of spamming my friendslist there with what amounts to a duplicate post, I thought I'd put it here. It's a bit long-- 920 words-- and I'd cut it down, but I've already spent too long on it and need to go do some Real Work.

Don't Look Down, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. St. Martin's Press, hardback, MSRP $24.95

Jennifer Crusie, bestselling author of original, witty, post-Chick-Lit fiction, was stuck. Stuck in the middle of an uncooperative manuscript, stuck in the middle of a successful but unmoving career, stuck in the depths of an undiagnosed bout of depression.

Bob Mayer, despite having over two million books in print, producing some of the most tightly-written and authentic military thrillers on the market, was making his living teaching other writers how to get published.

One morning in Maui, Crusie sat next to this grim, taciturn fellow conferencegoer, and he said, "We should collaborate." She thought he was kidding.

But lurking beneath the witty romantic comedies was a neglected PhD thesis on gender difference in fiction, and when Crusie's daughter pointed out that the grim, taciturn fellow might have been serious, Crusie went back to him and said, "You know, we really should."

Two years and endless bickering later, the fruits of their labor have finally seen the light of day. It's high-concept, easy-reading, entertainment-heavy post-Chick-Lit. She wrote the heroine's point of view and all the Yucky Emotional Crap, as Mayer dubbed it, while he wrote the hero's point of view and all the guns and violence. It's a Romantic Adventure, and under the glossy cartoonish Chick Lit-style dustjacket, the hardback has a camoflage cover.

Another thing the pair did right was to start a collaborative blog (www.crusiemayer.com/blog). Previously each had maintained a blog: Crusie wrote about shoes and life and and trying to diet and trying to write, while Mayer wrote one-line deadpan blurbs updating fans on the publication dates of his books. But, combined, they exploded into a dense, wordy cornucopia of serious reflections, whimsical tales, frazzled panics and wry observations all interwoven with inside jokes and heavily tinged with an unfakeable genuine depth of emotion and spirit. This blog has attracted a loyal following of readers and commenters, who have become more than fans: they are supporters. Dubbed "Cherry Bombs" after the crusiemayer logo (a cherry, Crusie's longtime logo, with a fuse instead of a stem, connected to one of those plunge-handle detonators), these supporters have taken it upon themselves to help the pair promote the book.

Ah, the book. Is the book any good?

Fascinatingly enough, the book shares the strengths of the blog: two strong characters and writing that sparkles with wit. Crusie and Mayer have very similar writing voices: apparently he hit upon the idea of the collaboration after noticing that her speech patterns were very similar to his. So there is no jarring contrast between the parts one wrote and the parts the other wrote. But the characters: the characters are strong and distinct, and in a Romance Adventure, that's pretty important.

Crusie wrote the scenes from the heroine's point of view. The heroine is a film director named Lucy Armstrong, who starts off the book on a movie set she's just agreed to take over, realizing that the situation is much more complicated than the quick, easy money she'd thought it to be. Into the mess flies a black helicopter containing the hero, one Captain J.T. Wilder, a Green Beret whose point of view is written by Mayer. Wilder takes even fewer words than Lucy to realize that this situation is far, far more complicated than the quick easy money he'd signed up for as the star's stunt double: he's got it pinned in the first three syllables.

Then the CIA gets involved, and the Russian mob, and a sniper, and a one-eyed alligator, and a five-year-old who is more of a heroine than the heroine herself. So you take a military suspense thriller about the Special Forces, lay it over a Romance plot, shake well, and see what settles out. It's a hectic ride, on a compressed timeline: the romance plot has to move at the pace dictated by the adventure plot, which means that the heroine's Yucky Emotional Crap has to move on fast-forward, and her family issues need to be revealed and resolved in the time allotted before the bullets start flying. And the romance? Well, let's just say it's not a deep and subtle, slow-moving courtship.

It worked a little unevenly for me. Wilder was excellent, consistent and believable and, most importantly, hot. He was Manly and Strong, and also Sarcastic, and yet his more vulnerable, emotional moments came through nicely without being girlified. The only problem I found with his characterization was that he came across as younger and somewhat more innocent than he was meant to.

Lucy was more difficult: she was meant to be a Strong Woman, but had so much emotion piled onto her in such a compressed timeline that it was tough to find any room to let her be stoic.

The secondary characters were skillfully drawn, including a well-written child of five who managed to be a princess without being either annoying or unbelievable. There were a few slightly gimmicky things about the plot, repetitions and hooks and themes, that I am not used to-- but having read the blog, I knew about them already, and it gave me an added sense of being In The Fandom. Any Cherry Bomb worth her Blogger ID will know instantly about the Lasso of Truth, Moot, coin checks, or "taking one for the team", and to read them in the book and finally have them in context-- well, it adds a dimension to the book that would not otherwise be there.

Likewise the sound of Velcro offscreen in the sex scene: if you've read the blog, you know what that's about. It is never explained onscreen. But it is hilarious.

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Permalink: A_Review_Of_A_Book_I_Read.html
Words: 1060
Location: Buffalo, NY


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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...