Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A pirate's life for me

I'll probably lose most of my friends now, because I am a thief.

A pilferer.

A pirate.

Yes.  I am.  I stole lemons from a tree down the alley that, year after year, grows a giant bounty of bright yellow lemons which then fall to the ground, rotten and ruined.  This particular tree is growing in the back yard of a rather neglected house with two detached apartments facing the alley.  For a while drug dealers lived there and the neighborhood suffered from round-the-clock unsavory traffic until the landlord got wise and threw the bums out.  Peaceful non-lemon-picking tenants live there now.

Now the criminal element is me.

The house behind mine was vacant until a few years ago.  There are two lemon trees in the yard.  When nobody lived there we helped ourselves to bags of fabulous lemons but now the homeowner gets them, which is fair but sad.

There are lovingly tended lemon trees in several yards nearby, some sporting handmade signs: "please, don't take my lemons", and I would never ever take any of those lemons.

I have my own adolescent  Meyer lemon tree from which, this year,  I harvested one large and two tiny fruit.  We were sad when those were gone.

But those abandoned lemons, going to waste every year, were also sad.  I can see them out my kitchen window.  "Make me into limoncello!"  I can hear them crying, "It will be heavenly!"

So I took some.  Well, Lillian and I did.   Pirate's booty, as it were.

One more sad thing.  Those wretched lemons are as dry as soda crackers.  
Crime, it seems, does not pay.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The beat goes on

Yesterday there was a tremendous thud on my living room window.  I jumped up and ran to look.  The first thing I saw was a wad of feathers stuck to the glass and, looking down, a large bird gasping on the grass outside.  Chase slept through the impact but Lottie, who was was outside, is not above gnawing on anything that looks like a bird and tastes like a bird, alive or dead, so I went outside to shoo her away from his body while I debated what to do next.

She heard the thud too and was right there with a knife and fork, but he was still breathing,  so I grabbed her and put her in the house.  I hoped he'd be one of those silly birds that spank the window, sit down for a few minutes collecting their thoughts and then fly away fit as a fiddle.  Some are too injured to fly and suffer for a while before the angels come.  I hate that, but my skills aren't equal to bird rehabilitation, or even convalescent care.  All I could do was prevent Lottie, who is a little closer to her hunting ancestry than Chase the doddering pacifist, from chewing on Mr Bird while he counted out the minutes.

He died by the time I got back out there.  He was so beautiful:  stunning black-and-white houndstooth vest, tail feathers shiny black on top and burnt orange velvet below, and a soft brown face with a long strong beak.  I moved him a little, just in case, but he was dead as a doornail.  I hoped he didn't have a family of hungry babies waiting in the nest for their dinner of grubs.  Later Google identified him  as a Western Flicker, who behaves like a woodpecker.  He (or one of his teammates) had lived in my neighborhood for several years, making woodpecker noises.

Now he's gone.  I  wrapped him in a plastic bag and put him in the trash can so Lottie, or any other creature, wouldn't ravage his carcass, and I wouldn't have to dispose of him in a week when he had grown significantly less lovely.

Poor birdie.

In other news, Chase heard about a new fad, like Planking or Draping, called Cat Breading,  and he pestered me until I fixed his costume and snapped a picture.  He is especially pleased that he's the same color as Sara Lee Whole Wheat Lite bread.  Perhaps all this talk about dead birds was kind of a downer; or else he already forgot.  Probably the latter.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Don't even think about it

This morning I decided to take a few minutes before I made lunch and run the vacuum around.  My previous vacuum blew up a while ago and I replaced it with a Shark Navigator; a bagless dynamo that I adore.   I thought it was picking up WAY more dirt than the old vacuum had and I soon realized, with intense shame, that all carpet is just basically dirty and now I could SEE that every several days I was sucking up a double handful of hair, dust, crumbs, etc.  Eeeww.  Sometimes at night, instead of peacefully sleeping,  I think of all those years I went a week [or four] [or longer in tight spaces or empty rooms] without vacuuming because the carpet still looked clean.  But it wasn't; it was loaded with disgusting crud, of which I was blithely unaware.  If there is a heaven, I will not be allowed in because I was oblivious to the cruddy carpet.

Where was I?  Oh yes.  I decided to vacuum and then, because I had seen a dust bunny lurking under the edge of the refrigerator, wrapped a rag around the yardstick to chase out the bunny and any of his friends and relations nibbling on the dry cat food that had sneaked under there too.

The rag-wrapped yardstick wouldn't fit.  But my refrigerator has little wheels and is relatively easy to roll out of its parking space, so that's what I did.

My little project began to expand to fill the time slot previously assigned to making and eating lunch.  Because of course when you have ample time to do something and approach it with all the necessary supplies and equipment and are dressed appropriately and have already eaten a satisfying meal, the next thing that happened, doesn't happen.

On top of my refrigerator is a pickle jar filled with kombucha tea mother.  It is Lillie's edible pet and lives there quietly, peacefully growing thick layers of gelatinous mushroomy blobs.  (Sounds delicious, right? She likes it and doesn't serve me any, so I don't care.  Remember when you used to keep a Tupperware bowl of sourdough starter on your counter?  Like that.)  She has another, bigger kombucha mother that lives on the counter that she replenishes and drinks the tea; but the fridge-top pet is, I guess, a spare which we ignore most of the time.  Until today.  When I rolled the refrigerator out it must have startled the jar, which panicked and leaped to its death, shattering on the floor and splattering big slithery kombucha blobs  and broken glass across the layer of dust bunnies and dry cat food.

The whole house instantly smelled like a distillery. Yeasty and vinegary.  Powerful.  Fortunately today is warm so I opened all the windows.

I scraped up the swampy layer of glass shards, bunny wads, cat food and kombucha  flop.  I washed the whole floor and wiped the walls and cabinet doors.  I emptied the trash, which smelled like a salad.

Her priorities will change when she realizes she has slivers of glass in her knees.

Since my fresh-this-morning yoga pants were already wet and dirty, I decided to clean under the stove, washer and dryer, and then I mopped the laundry room and both bathrooms.  Since the floors were clean, I sprayed and wiped down the sinks, counters and toilets, and then gathered up a load of towels and my yoga pants and started the washer.  And the dishwasher, which was full.  (If you give a mouse a mortgage...)

All I originally wanted to do was a quick vacuum.  The most discouraging aspect, aside from being extra hungry, is that everything looks essentially the same as before, but it's two hours later.  Lillie was able to rinse off a few of the grimy kombucha blobs and turn them loose in a new jar.  We've elected to keep this one in a cabinet.

There are no pictures of this adventure because at the time I was not having much fun, or technically any fun at all, and who wants to see pictures of me not having any fun?

I'll be on the lookout for photo opportunities that feature me having a big old time.  Like splash dogs.  Nobody has more fun, ever, than splash dogs.

This splash dog,  Josh,  didn't even place but he didn't care because he was having the Best. Day. Ever.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No more elephants. For now.

On Sundays Chase likes to read the paper.  And take a nap.

He didn't care that my other fabric had arrived from Santa's workshop Amazon.  But Lottie decided it was fabulous, and I agree.  I was surprised at how large-scale the pattern is; in two yards there are only a couple of repeats.  The color is wonderful, kind of golden-yellow on cream and the cotton fabric is nice and heavy.  I washed and dried it and it shrank about six inches each way so there wasn't enough left to make anything except coasters to put under our coffee cups.  It only took a few minutes to hem up a biq square (I hemmed a black sheet round to go underneath it back when I made the table, so I wouldn't need as much fabric for the topper).

And there it is.  I wish all my projects were so easy.