Monday, July 25, 2005

They say it's your birthday

Just getting on here to wish my grandmother a happy birthday. She's 80 years old and still one of the sharpest, funniest, strongest and kindest people I know. I only hope I turn out half as well. Happy birthday, Grams -- I love you!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hey, Torquemada, what do you say?

Today I had another session of root planing and scaling. For those not in the know, this is like a dental cleaning performed by a ruthless sadist in a black mask and spiked collar, except that in this case the sadist is actually my otherwise pleasant dentist. When I had the right side of my mouth done, I went into the bathroom afterward and nearly fainted at the sight of bloodstains all over my face. This time it wasn't quite so brutal, but my jaw is just as sore. I have to go back again at the end of the month to get a filling and possibly two crowns. I swear, you don't go to the dentist for two or three years and your teeth just run wild in there!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Perhaps I spoke too soon

Not four hours after I complained about the picky birds, I looked out the window again and saw a sparrow sitting on the edge of the feeder, eating seed. I ran to get G, and we stood there watching him till he'd finished and flapped away. That's right, bird. You'd better eat if you know what's good for you. ;-)

G and I had a busy day. In addition to the library trip, we bought a new lawn chair to replace the one I had to throw out, some butterflies on a stick to brighten up the back yard, and a Scooby-Doo checker game. Against my better judgment, we also bought seed packets. We've had limited success with growing seeds in pots, but the earth in our back yard is like the Gobi Desert: anything we plant there is fated either to struggle vainly for a while and then keel over, or never come up at all (or get weed-whacked and pruned to death by the landlord's gardening service). It wasn't like that when we moved in. Believe it or not, at the time the yard, with its deep, lush grass and vegetable beds, was the main thing that convinced me to rent this place. Within six months, the grass had died, the vegetables had succumbed to some sort of mysterious leaf rot, and there was nothing out back but my potted geraniums and one sickly rosebush. Ever since then, I've been trying to restore the yard to its original splendor, or at least to get it to stop being an eyesore. I'm a little bit hopeful about the morning-glory seeds we bought today -- morning-glory vines grow wild in the gravel side yard despite a complete lack of water and the gardeners' dogged efforts to root them out, so you'd think they'd be happy to grow in the nice, recently fertilized bed where the vegetables used to live.

After the shopping, G and I watered the front lawn with both hose and sprinklers, which gave her a chance to run around barefoot and get soaked. Hey, that's what summer's all about, isn't it? We all had an early dinner, and then G and I picked up some ice cream from Baskin-Robbins. (I'm in love with their Nutty Coconut flavor. In fact, you should stop reading this right now and go get yourself a scoop or two!) She took a long bath afterward and is still watching TV while she waits for her hair to dry. It's so thick that drying is a two-hour affair, and even the hair dryer takes a good 45 minutes.

For the birds

G and I put a bird feeder in our backyard a couple of weeks ago. So far, we have not seen one bird visit it. Well, I just looked out the kitchen window, and the yard was full of birds sitting on the wall, fluttering back and forth from tree to tree, hopping around on the patch of bare dirt where no grass dares show its face ... and completely ignoring our feeder. Argh! I was ready to open the back door and yell "Eat, you ungrateful little buggers! EAT!" I guess they don't like the seed mix we're offering, and are therefore turning their beaks up at it. What do they think this is, a restaurant?

Friday, July 01, 2005


Today was one of my favorite days of the year. No, not Christmas: it was the annual large-item trash pickup day in our neighborhood. Large-item day is like the reverse of Christmas -- instead of a bunch of new crap coming into the house, a bunch of old crap goes out. Barbecue that we used once before it rusted in last year's rains? Gone. Broken lawn chair that sags alarmingly whenever someone sits in it? Gone. G's old sand table? Gone. It's good for the soul.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get rid of emotional junk that easily? I'd love to be able to drag all my grudges and disappointments and failures out to the curb once a year and have someone come by with a truck and take them away. Ah well, I can dream.

So this is the beginning of the long weekend. Tomorrow, G and I have to find and return her overdue library book before the library police come and haul us off in the paddy wagon. I think they're a little overzealous: the book is a couple of weeks overdue, and they've already sent us a letter threatening to report us to a collection agency. Of course, this is the same library that made me pay a $7 overdue fine for a book I checked out in 1983 when I applied for an adult card in 1995. Busted! I actually think we've returned this book already, so it'll just be a matter of going to the shelf and finding it.

Other than the library, and a trip to the science center on Sunday, we really don't have any plans for the next few days. I'm sure there'll be some sort of family event on Monday for the fourth, and we'll see fireworks -- G and I discovered last year that we can stand out on the sidewalk that runs in front of our lawn and watch a huge display a few miles away for free. Also, "safe and sane" fireworks are still legal in our city, and believe me, the neighbors take full advantage of them. I'm not sure how safe and sane the fireworks are when you're launching them from a nine-foot aluminum ladder in the middle of the street, but they are pretty to look at. :-)