Friday, November 30, 2012


Various shots over the past week, first of my 2 rather interesting efforts at doing a fishtail braid.  It's complicated and I am not really good at that kind of thing.

 Second, Kat has been a different kitty lately.  She's recently turned 11 and she's started playing with toys, demanding cat treats, shoving her arms underneath doors and doing things like sleeping on her face.  Also, she chases her tail every single time she sees it.


 I made a big batch of salt dough, thinking the kids would like to make ornaments, but they just played with it for hours.  We had cake for Ben's birthday (which is tomorrow), it was a nice afternoon with too much food and lots of chatter.

About 2 weeks ago, we ran into various friends at the library, quite spontaneously.

And that's all the recent photos I have snapped, I am hoping this weekend I will feel inspired to get out and get some more shots, I have only changed batteries once since our big trip in October...just not feeling trigger happy and we have not really done much of anything. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wednesday, The Whole Day

For 2 weeks, I have set aside today for a certain project I have in mind and now that today is here, I have found 900 other things to do instead.  I am not usually so lax, so I have to assume my subconscious knows something I don't.

We started the day by laying in bed, all of us, reading.  Jake is going through the Soul Eater manga, Ben is on the 3rd book of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and Chan likely read through 3 books this morning.  I downloaded more free ebooks onto the Nook and perused those a while, deleting what did not strike my fancy.

I got one set in Alabama and did not realize until I was reading through it that it was mild erotica.  Involving a ghost and a human.  *yawn*  That whole genre has been done to death.  The human/other thing, I imagine erotica still has some life left in it-too bad half the characters don't!  (ba-dum-dum, ting)  Though...well, okay.  I DO wonder how Edward got Bella pregnant.  With no pulse or need to breathe, I just don't understand the dynamics.  And this is not a sparkle-centric complaint of mine.  Angel and Buffy and Buffy and Spike and I will say no more. 

I will instead, talk about my Nook.  I love it.  Matt's mom has shown me a couple of different e-readers over the years and I was 'meh' about it.  Keep in mind, Matt had to practically beg me to get a computer and I finally relented when he said I could keep recipes on it.  I had no concept of 'online' or e-mail or internet or any of it.  I thought it would be a big waste of money for what I saw as basically a gaming system/file storage unit.  Last week, we bought our 12th computer since that first one so many years ago.  We still don't have a TV hooked up to the outside though, neither of us can see the use in one.

Anyway, back to Nookie (see, life in the genre!).  It's a Nook Color and I bought it from Newegg as a refurb for $109.  I did not even look at other ereaders, but I bought this one because-it's easy to root.  So far, I have not done anything to it, my needs, it appears, are very simple.  I want to click on a book and read it.  It goes online and I can check e-mail and it has games, a music player, I can listen to audiobooks, it holds photos and I can watch Netflix and there's a app to download right from the library site to the Nook, so I can get a new book as soon as I finish the first one.  It's practically brainless to use, VERY simple.  The most trouble I have had was when my laptop was set to Eastern time and it was set on Central and they did not want to communicate.  My major complaint is that it's very B&N-centric and Amazon and other places have free apps that B&N want you to pay for.  And, a calculator app costs .99.  That is INSANE.  But, that's why you root it-gets rid of that proprietary brouhaha.

Matt came home at lunch, which further weakened my project-attacking resolve and has left me having to decide instead if I want to go for a walk first or get groceries.

We walked THEN got food.  4 miles and $72.  I swear, the money dribbles out, it's hardly ever chunks, just chips.  Matt made matteroni and cheese to take tomorrow.  Note I am not talking about tomorrow, only today.  And tonight, because we are going to watch disc 2 of Grimm and eat pomegranate seeds.  And that is my whole day.  Project status: undone.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


 After our trip to meet the dogs yesterday, we decided to stop at Wheeler and have a walk in the woods.  The water was WAY down and we got a good look at the mud-and what had recently passed through.  Above we are pretty sure is a turtle track and below is probably those little snail guys.

This little guy hopped right out in front of us, I feel bad for him, I don't think he'll last long in this weather.

 This is a seriously over-exposed shot of sandhill cranes coming in to land.  But I liked the whole alien feel of the shot and decided to keep it anyway.

I love to watch the ducks feed, duck butt is SO cute, especially when they do it in groups.  Like being mooned by professionals.

There's still quite a bit of fall color here and there, though most of the leaves still out are a dull brown.

That's no panda!

Woodpecker on a cypress

The sunset from our heavily-wooded area.  It was NOT EVEN 5 IN THE AFTERNOON.  I really dislike Daylight Saving Time.  It's so bad, I might vote republican if the platform was about doing away with it.  Or...move to Arizona where they DON'T OBSERVE.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dog Days of Autumn

We had planned to split up today, Matt working on the roof with Jake helping and me off to socialize with the camera ladies in Huntsville, but yesterday, Nettlevan started making some noise when braking.  I don't mess around with noises, I popped her in the shop ASAP yesterday afternoon and it was not until this morning that Jerry was able to give her a look-see.

It's that rotor AGAIN.  It has a hot spot, so it was not turned completely flat and it's rubbing the brake pad at very low speeds.  He did not charge me anything, but he also did not call until 10:15 and I had to be in town at 11, so I made my excuses and am planning to join them next time.

With the day ahead of us-Matt apparently made his excuses as well-we cleaned up a little around the house and Matt worked on finishing up some recent repairs to Jake's computer system.  I had spent a good bit of time looking at a certain Small Dog on a rescue website yesterday and finally told Matt this afternoon that I really wanted to go meet him.

I know, after the Charlie fiasco, we should have our heads examined, but I miss Zeppie and that's nothing to do with finding a friend for Kuma.  We have Jessie on a new regime and she's losing weight and feeling MUCH better, I think she has years in her yet.  We have decided not to 'replace' her until she's actually gone, and then with an older dog.  Kuma is not a people dog, he needs a dog friend.  Every time we have tried to bring in a "3rd dog", it has failed.  They are a 2 dog pack, I need to just let that go.

I have been Small Dog looking for a couple of months, we have been to see a couple of dogs, I have spoken with rescue people and animal control people about other dogs I have seen and been curious about and ultimately opted out of getting any of them due to a variety of issues.  I don't want a barker or cat chaser, I don't want a baby dog or an older dog that has just been locked up for years. 

Sometimes I wonder if no kill shelters are better or not-dogs are not meant to be kept in kennels 24-7 for months on end.   It makes them so hard to train when they are used to peeing right where they sleep.  And they go nuts when they get outside and don't respond normally to people because people have never done more than hose out their cage and feed them every morning, and not always the same people.  There are so many more dogs than families, humanely putting them to sleep after a certain period of time seems more logical than letting them stay in cages until their hearts break and their minds are addled.  I never would have said that before Charlie came along, but he was damaged somewhere along the way.

If people would just take care of their pets, this would not be an issue.  Spay, neuter, get vaccinations, care for them.  UGH, it's not rocket science.

Anyway, I wanted to see this little boy and I finally got up the nerve to tell Matt and he went in and grabbed a bite to eat and changed clothes and we were on our way in 20 minutes. 

When we got to the pound, I said I wanted to see Rugby, so we had to give them all kinds of info and then go wait in a little room.  A volunteer came in with a scruffy black dog who shook like a leaf when she handed him to me.  I knew right away, this was Pele and not Rugby!  I have been looking at dogs for a while, in case I did not mention that...

She left Pele with us and went to get Rugby and we patted on him and tried to get him to not be so scared.  As soon as she walked in with Rugby, Pele relaxed all over and was very happy.  They pranced around together and sprinkled on the chairs and played and they were both so sweet and cute and came right to us when we patted our laps.  The volunteer stayed with us the whole time, talking about the process and about small dogs.  She listened to us talk about Zeppie and was very understanding.  We talked to each other about the cost of such a small dog-we HAVE to get the fence done before we get another little dog.  Zep could go right through and that was ever an issue, even if it was not what did her in.  They are 4 pounds smaller than she was.

We filled out the paperwork but with the understanding that we would call Monday and tell them what we ultimately decide.  And, I can't decide.  Not about which to get, we would get them both.  Not having a friend was hard for Zep and I am sorry we never made more of an effort.  These two get along perfectly, no guesswork about reactions and temperaments, no getting one trained and then bringing in a new one to start all over.  They are both over 2 years old and have only been at the pound a couple of days.  No worries about the mental issues a long-incarcerated dog could have.

Could these be more of the rare mop-headed Jack-weasels that we love so much?

We have talked about it a LONG time.  Lists of Pros and Cons, occasional name suggestions ranging from tolerable to horrible.  Mostly just talking about Zephyr.  Jake never wants to talk about her, he leaves when I bring her up.  Today he listened while I told about the time she rode in the van and barked at her eyeball monster that had fallen on the floor.  It was rolling as the van moved and when the eye would look up, she'd yelp.  We laughed and then had to wipe at tears. I miss that dog, it never stops aching when I think of her.  I know new small dogs won't replace her, but they would fill a gulf she left, and we have lots of love just waiting around.

We will talk more tonight, more tomorrow, hopefully reach the right decision.  I know if we don't take them, they will be adopted PDQ, they are so cute and small, they won't be there long, so 'saving them' is not a factor, which is good, I want to make a decision not based on life or death.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Note to self

Dear Me,

You don't like short hair, so stop cutting it off.  I know you see your short-hair photos and think you like it, but it sticks up 90% of the time and requires more time to deal with than just washing the long hair and combing it out does. 

Also, you have fall allergies.  I can't remember if we had them last year, but we do this year.  So next year, don't spend the first week drinking soup, convinced you are fighting off a cold.  Just, take the allergy meds and get on with things.

Eggnog has 400 calories in an 8 ounce cup.  Quit being surprised by this EVERY year AFTER you drink a cup and blow your calories for the day in one 60-second taste fest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Birthday, Yes Update and More

Today Jake is 17.  I can't even go into my usual ramblings about the day he was born and how I felt and how awesome he is.  I just want to curl up and squall a while.  One more year and he will be an adult-in age if not in experience and mindset.  While I am proud of the person he is, I also...just...feel...old.  *sigh*

In hindsight, I am totally counting our trip to the drive-in last Thursday as a Yes.  I would not have agreed to go in the cold if I had not been in the mindset to be more agreeable.  And, I had a great time.  It was so creepy being there alone and with just 2 of us, we parked facing the screen and bundled up and occasionally cranked the engine to warm us up.  We both got so worked up that we could not use the bathroom at the drive-in and had to go all the way to McDonald's where there were people and lights.  hahaha

My next Yes is this Saturday when I join a group of photographers for the first time.  I am excited, I think it will be a good move for me, I need to push myself.

The challenge for today from The Hairy Edge is to change up my pattern and I think I am going to do it.  I don't have much of a routine, but I have certain things I want a certain way.  I am not going to change everything, but a few things might get me in a different mindset.  Just this past weekend I took the heavy cover off the window above my bed to wash it and now there is more light, which has been good, I have been up before 7 all week and being busy with getting the house in order and such.  I am not going to plan what to do when I get up tomorrow, I will just see what comes along.  I'd like to say I will get up and do my crunches and then walk on the treadmill first thing instead of putting it off as long as possible, but...I guess I will see.

For today, I am off to get goodies from the grocery store so Jake and his 2 best buddies can stay up most of the night snacking and gaming.  He asked for pizza AND stroganoff and of course, I said yes.  ; )

Last update, I heard back about Charlie today and they are trying to place him in a special needs home.  For now he is not up for adoption and he's staying in an indoor kennel with another dog he has bonded with.  So that's very good news!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Swann Creek

 Alice P
Daughter or George and Edna Evans
Born July 17, 1844
Died June 7, 1854
 In love she lived
In peace she died
Her life was craved
But God denied

 First, we worked on the roof all day Saturday and Matt bashed his thumb pretty hard and after finishing up to a certain point, we left off working on it Sunday to give him time to recover.  He will lose the nail for sure, we are hoping there's not more damage than that.

So Sunday we decided to go for a long walk, we have been so busy with the house while he's off that we have not gotten much more than a few miles in at the local track.  We headed to Athens to do the north end of the Richard Martin Trail and ended up stopping instead to explore the Swann Creek Greenway.


He followed virtue
As his truest guide
Lived as a Christian
As a Christian died

George H
Son of
George and Edna
Born July 10, 1946
Died April 7, 1858

A little time on
earth he spent
(Till God for him his angel sent)

Wife of George Evans
Born Feb 22, 1809
Died June 21, 1856

Levenaior is one I have not heard before.
Chan and I think it's leven-yer, but in a search for some insight, it only references itself-as in, the only other place I can find it online is from where other people are talking about the same cemetery.
I thought maybe the I was supposed to be a T, but Levenator makes even less sense.
I'd love some insight, if anyone has any.

This is likely one of the worst pictures I have ever taken, but I loved the name, so I am posting it anyway, crooked as it is.

A baby who died the day he was born.  I liked the trees surrounding the grave.
 We parked at the south end, just across the creek from Chick-fil-a and walked north.  The greenway ends after 1.2 miles at Athens High, but you can walk the track around the park/school and add on another mile.  If you loop to the left, you go out along the main road and curve back around passing a workout station and near the baseball field, the track joins up with a second greenway that is just under a mile long that goes to another park with a pool and a series of play fields.  You can loop that for another mile+ and see the little cemetery I have shots of above.  Backtracking on that greenway, you pick up the school track again and it's not far back to the Swann Creek Greenway, the whole trail with the loops is almost exactly 7 miles.  Or 17,000 steps.  : )

 We did not know how far the greenway went, so we left our daypacks and water, thinking it was around 2.5 miles.  So we ended up walking across to a gas station near this section of park and getting some drinks!

 The Swann Creek Greenway goes right by...Swann Creek.  It's pretty, a 'Tennessee' creek instead of an 'Alabama' creek, by our own definitions.  Most creeks in Tennessee are rock-slab bottomed, Alabama tends to have creeks that are washes and are dirt-bottomed and prone to erode during floods.

Matt took a picture of me and so I decided to take one of me, too.  hahaha!  We spent the day taking the same photos, so why stop?

Thursday, November 8, 2012


What a week...we got so much done on the house last weekend and are gearing up for an even more productive run this weekend.  Jake is having a few friends over tomorrow for the afternoon, we had planned a outing and that fell through, so they are going to have to be content with just hanging out.  Oh dear!

Yesterday, I took Charlie back to the pound.  His behavior had worsened to a level of frantic destruction that I have never encountered before.  I spoke at length with the vet, the director of the pound and a trainer and they all agreed surrendering him was the best thing for him.  They are keeping him under observation for a week and are going to see if there is anything that can be done for him, I am keeping in touch to see if I can help in any way.  I hope they can place him with a rescue and rehab group that can get him some help.
(update: they are placing him with a special needs rescue)

Other than the two main events this week with the house and the dog, there have been some minor things going on.  Chandler started her new art class and that seems like it will be a good thing for her.  We are setting aside that day to be Girl's Day, though I told her if she can't manage to appreciate a cute guy now and then, I was going to start bringing Britney with us.  I felt like a weirdo oogling the cashier boy and realizing, I was all alone in my admiration.  hahaha!

The van is acting up...yesterday it would not crank until I tried several times and then the low pressure light was on, so I went and got the oil changed and got the tires checked and they were fine and the light stayed on and today I had them checked again and it is still on, even though the pressure is 35 pounds in each tire as usual.  That's so annoying.  It probably means something secondary and likely just horrific when the pressure is fine and the alert is still on.

Tonight Jake and I are going out to a movie.  He asks about 10 times a week to go out to a movie, that's all he wants to do on vacation as well when we ask if anyone has an idea for something to do where we are.  With Netflix and a video store and a dollar theater that shows movies about 8 weeks after they open, I rarely indulge in paying full price for a new movie.

And that's the news!  I have not had any other things to come up to say yes to (other than the movie, which is not really a new event!) so no news on that front.  Maybe the weekend will hold a few good surprises.  Speaking of which, Matt said he got me a goodie at work today.  !!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ten Yeses

Last month I did a 100 mile challenge and several friends joined in!  3 families actually sent me confirmation they had finished walking all 100 miles, so hurrah!

This month, I wanted to work on my own goal for the year, which was taking more chances to learn or do something new.  So I decided I should say yes whenever I could all month long, even if it was something I was not immediately comfortable with.  I figured something would come up a couple times a week.  Since there are 5 Fridays this month, I went with 10 chances.  No, I am not sure of my logic.

So far, I have accepted a couple invitations, both from photography clubs.  One is a large group and they have their own website where they critique each others work.  This has always caused me anxiety-I was chicken to have total strangers look at my work solely to pick it apart-it's one thing to post a pic on my own site, it's quite another to hold it up to the light of professional evaluation.  One of the reasons I stopped entering contests was because I had started looking at my work from a 'what do they want to see' angle and not a 'I love this' angle.  I want to try to blend the two-what I love with photos that are truly good.  The best way to do that is to have someone who knows the technical side to evaluate your work.

The second is from a new group of just women who want to get together each month and take photo walks.  I have tried to get one of these groups going at least 4 times now.  I get responses, but never participation.  I have yet to go on a photo walk with any of my actual friends.  So, I am joining a group of strangers and hoping that I will get to get better with lots of ideas bouncing around and people trying for different angles and shots. 

So, that's 2 yeses so far and it's only the 4th!  

Round the House

Happy to say, we are knocking some stuff off the list!  I got the carpets cleaned, got Chan in an art class, signed myself up for a few things as well.  I have Jake's birthday mapped out if not exactly planned and Friday Matt got under the house and added the support columns under the living room floor.  It feels SO different in there!   Yesterday we cut and painted the wood to replace the overhang over the porch.  Today we-meaning Matt-pulled out half the rotten wood on half of the roof and got about 2/3 of it replaced.  I am hoping for dry weather until next weekend!

We had three major things to fix on the house-the roof, the living room floor and the bathroom floor.  So that's one finished another well underway and the bathroom floor will not take very long.  Suzette said everything takes five times longer than you plan, so I am planning it to take an hour.  I think that was her mistake on the house they are building.  She did not plan it to take a couple weeks, she was thinking long-term to begin with.

We also burned loads of downed limbs and clippings from the various bushes around the house, Jake chopped privet-ever an ongoing issue here-and we had a fire going most of Friday afternoon and all of Saturday and Sunday.

I wanted to get a few pictures of Charlie, but he's not a sit and smile kinda guy.  So I had to run ahead and snap him coming to catch up.  He has energy and then some...

I hope he will work out, it's iffy for him at the moment, I don't know if he's settling in and showing his 'true' self or what, but he is INSANE.  If he were human, I would take him in to a drug detox center-I'd be that sure he was tweaking, he's on 10 ALL THE TIME.

 Jessie is not happy with the new doggie.  She will play with him at times and let's him eat-which is a huge thing-but she is ready for him to go away already.  I can't blame her...

I am still your favorite, right Daddy?

Kuma just watches the whole thing from across the yard.
Don't worry boy, you are not going anywhere!

 I took several shots of the heart-shaped hole in the trunk as it burned then could not figure which I liked the very best.  So here they all are.  haha

 Once we have the house 'fixed', meaning our list checked off, we want to build a patio and an outdoor kitchen and I want the chimenea to look like this trunk!

I am taking before shots, I will post the progress as we go!

Don't hold your breath for an invitation to the patio warming, I am guessing it will be another year before we are done with the house.  Oh, wait, the Suzette Prophecy.  I mean, it will be barely 2 months before the house is done.  Yes.