Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dean's Cute Cousins

Loldog says takin pitchers of me:  yer doin it rong.

The views of certain Beavers are not necessarily the views of this blog or its editorial staff.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Walk in the Exurbs

I'm feeling nostalgic about the days when I could go for a walk without bringing my cell phone to call for help. I assume I will eventually end up in a prone position on a patch of ice with Scotty licking my face, mistakenly assuming that it's the medically approved form of treatment for a broken femur. Annie would be scanning the horizon for a new owner.

Today's pedestrian forecast is slush and snow, with frequent periods of wet ice and broken coccyxes. Cocci.  Coccyi.

Normally, our neighborhood walks have ice-free sidewalks and/or roads, although the neighborhoods display several distinct personalities, from rural to seventies-era ranch house developments to McMansionlands which branch out into their own gated UltraMcManse Estates (so the McMansionland home owners have someone to envy).

The following two scenes occur within a half-mile of each other.  There's the three-car-garage land here:

...go a quarter-mile, take a left turn, walk a few paces and you have a dairy farm with a helpful sign.  Watch out for slow farmers with cows on their heads.

Beyond the pasture is a big drop-off that ends in some wetlands and then the Columbia River. The hills in the background are in Oregon.

This week, I have been limited to the road to the park and back, with my eyes pasted to the road for safety.  But the Big Thaw is in process, so I don't have much longer to wait. 

Oh, and did I mention that the Most Expensive Heat Pump of All is broken again, on account of the snow and ice?  Yeah, it's belly-up again. Yeah, I'm wearing a sweater. Next time, I'm telling everybody the make and the contractor.

That'll put the fear of nothing into 'em.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Miracle Starring Me

We hosted Christmas for my family this year because we live in the direct center of our little family diaspora and we have The Party House, a sort of Suburban Sprawl in house form, built with aircraft carrier-size kitchen counter surfaces and plenty of big rooms, loosely connected by poorly designed arterials.

The dinner was scheduled for four pm, with my folks coming upriver from Longview and my sister's family driving down from the Greater Seattle area.  That's ten people for dinner.  No sweat.  A good ham and some roasted yams, some fresh-baked rolls and some green stuff to make it all slide through.  We had agreed that none of us needed to gorge ourselves Thanksgiving-style.  January and its requisite resolutions are right around the corner.  No need to slip on a bigger coat of fat just to try to sweat it off in a couple of weeks.

After dinner we expected another five more to come up from Corvallis for dessert after stopping in Salem for Christmas dinner.  We were hoping to see them by seven.

We saw them at four.  Their Salem dinner had been canceled due to the weather (we're knee deep in the stuff), so they just came up here.  

No matter.  The ham was ample. The yams were cut in half.  The kids don't like salad. There was just enough veggies and dip.  And we had overbought soft drinks because the more you buy, the cheaper they get. And Mom had spent the last month baking approximately thirty dozen cookies (not an exaggeration).  So everyone ate, everyone was full, the name-drawing, gift-exchanging process went smoothly, all the hipster kids had fun playing board games, and the older generation had fun talking about how getting old sucks.

Loaves and fishes time, bitches.  Loaves and freaking fishes.

I'm hoping for the water-to-wine thing next year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best. Collie Photo. Ever.

or at least the best collie photo in the whole wide room.


OMG, dude, did you see that?

Speaking of Jenny...

I had a dream the other night in which I quit my job to go into business with Jenny.  We opened an art gallery-slash-dog sitting business.

Other aspects of the dream:

  • A new national park outside Vancouver with (fittingly, I suppose) a large mall; and
  • A food court restaurant with do-it-yourself sushi.
Sorry you're missing the Big Snow of 2008.  I guarantee you would get tired of it by day three or four.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some More Pictures of the Icy Snow

This is what things look like with ten inches of snow and then an icing of, you know, ice.

Sisyphus and Me

It's snowing again.  That's more snow over a half-inch of ice over ten inches of snow.

I shoveled it yesterday, but this morning you couldn't tell, and it had that crust of ice that was making the dogs slip, slide and fall into. I, being, um, slightly heavier, did not have a problem stomping through the ice, but the dogs were struggling.  Luckily, we were able to use the ruts in the roads for our walk, as the sidewalks are hard to use - stomp, stomp, stomp - stomping through the ice and then up to the shins in snow.

so to make a trail through our sidewalk, I had to crunch through the ice crust with my boots and shovel first and then shovel the crust and the fluffy filling off the path.

I've never measured the sidewalk length, but being that our lot is oversized by today's standards, and that it is on the inside corner of a cul-de-sac, I'm going to estimate it at a mile, maybe mile and a quarter.

It took me five pictures to photograph it all, which I offer you here (except the part up to the door because it didn't come out very well).

By the looks of things, tomorrow I'll have plenty of new snow to shovel.

So that's what I did this morning.  What did you do?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Boss: Gambled and Lost. Me: Stayed Home and Won.

My boss listened to the weather dudes completely freaking out and canceled work for today. Actually, the day from my window didn't look all that treacherous.

Nevertheless, here I was with an extra day to GET THINGS DONE.  There are so many THINGS that need to be DONE before we host Christmas next week.  Cookies to bake.  Presents to buy. Food to procure and prepare. Surfaces to clean.

So I marched into the kitchen to start on those cookies.  But I couldn't raise my arm to chop the walnuts.  All the chi just drained out of me. It could have been the sleepless night, trying to breathe through my wrecked nose, stuffed to the brain with snot.  No, I have not shaken that cold. Trying to blow it out into tissues and otherwise going about my business has not worked. And getting so frustrated at two in the morning for the twentieth night that I start to cry predictably makes it less than better.

So I took the hint from my dangling useless arms and sat down on the couch with a book.  One book and several web articles (and, um, some YouTube videos) later, I am feeling some chi return.  A little.  And tentatively, like a bunny sneaking back into the dogs' back yard.

I may be persuaded that God brought this snow day to give my immune system a chance to catch up with this evil, evil germ.

But probably not.

Snow Day!

Can't go to work, so I guess I'll watch Flight of the Conchords on YouTube. They're from New Zealand. There's Vikings there, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good Words to Read

Thomas L. Friedman on Detroit.  So true.

All Attempts At Growing Up Have Failed

I still get a kick out of walking around in the snow. 

I can't help smiling.  It seems like after 46 years of seasons going by, it would all be old hat.  But I guess I just keep getting new hats.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Everybody's Saving for Later

It seems to be the thing to do these days - cut down on consumption and stash a little more away for a rainy (or snowy) day.  Even the squirrels are into it these days.  

Our two backyard apple trees have always been more of a deer-and-bunny cafe than a source of pie for us; we just don't have the wherewithal in the midst of winter to trim and spray, spray, spray. 

But this year, we keep finding apples in the oddest places - places that the wind couldn't have sent them.  Then we saw a squirrel tiptoe into the wisteria that runs along the top of the fence, take a bite out of an apple tucked into the bare branches, and go about his business.  Since then, we have found more squirrel banks, such as this one tucked onto the grape vines,

which have been trimmed bare for the season.

The owner of this particular stash came out to complain about our messing about so close to his fridge, but Scotty put a stop to that sort of insolence. 

Arf, arf, arf.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Calendar Edition

For your shopping convenience, here are some calendars available through Powells dot com this December:

I'm holding out for the Fire Captains with Arthritis and Ears Prone to Infection calendar. Check out Mr. September!

Memorandum Addendum

To:  God
Re:  Virus Mix-up Memorandum of Last Week

After further experience with this particular virus and some conversations around the office, it has come to my attention that this virus did not originate with you, but rather has come from Hell.

My deepest apologies for my confusion.  Luckily for me, you're not the type to hold such things against a person!  At least that's what I hear.

P.S.  Tell your son happy birthday!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


To: God
Re: Virus Mix-Up

There seems to be a little misunderstanding regarding the cold virus currently enjoying its life cycle in my upper respiratory system. I believe it was meant for someone else, as it does not seem to fit me. I am currently unable to use my nose for breathing, and must use it solely for the disposal of snot and the subsequent destruction of several boxes of tissues.

I'm sure this was a simple oversight on your part and does not reflect your current policy towards me personally.

Any efforts on your part to remove this surely misdirected virus from my person would be much appreciated.

Yours truly,

piglet (Velma and Howard's daughter)

p.s.: Enjoyed the football game on Saturday. I knew you were on our side!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The View from My Window This Evening

That's Mt. St. Helens peaking out from behind the garage of the house across the street.  That house was built about ten years after this one was built.  The woman who built this house was understandably pissed off when they bought what she thought was an unbuildable lot and promptly built a big ol' honking house on the cliff and stole her view.  She never really got over it.  

Oh, well.  We never knew the house before, so it's all good to us.

Shopping Therapy, Dork Style

Ended up at Bridgeport Village again for another session with the Apple geniuses.  No, I have not joined the Church of Apple yet.  After a couple of weeks with this MacBook, I can understand the appeal of the simplicity of the software, but it's not that different from Windows.  Just different. Okay, and maybe a little more elegant, in the scientific sense.

I was there and all so I tried to do a little Christmas shopping.  And in pure piglet style, I bought stuff for myself.  

Hey, I'm much easier to shop for.  My boss has one of everything, the Captain buys what he wants, and I drew a crabby, video-game-playing ten-year-old in the family gift-a-palooza.

I checked out one of those stores for Ladies of a Certain Flabby Age, looked at all the shiny clothes (color! flowers! gold thread! look here!), and bought four long-sleeved t shirts (one in each of four colors) because they were soft.

I also visited an Origins shop and insisted that the shopgirl sell me products (so sorry to disturb her solitude) to replace all my expensive skin care products of A Certain Brand Often Sold By Friends (that seem to cure wrinkles with the same gentle touch as paint thinner) with less turpentiney, yet more expensive skin care products that I know will not peel off my skin.

Now, if I could just find a cure for this week-long sinus headache.  That would be a successful day shopping.