This & That

{august – monday – late afternoon}

√  No, I haven’t lost my mind.  Yet.

On Friday, after I wrote and published my earlier post, I did something really annoying; I accidentally deleted my blog template.  Not the blog contents, mind you– just the template.  So, I had to find myself a new template– right quick, as they say.  And this little banana number is the one that I picked.

It’s kind of cheerful, don’t you think?  And the price is right– as in FREE.

Someday I’ll work on putting together a more appropriate header, but until that magic day arrives I plan on sticking with this bunch of bananas.

√   The Big Dig continues.

The landscape crew is here today planting bushes & shrubs & perennials & who knows what else.  This project has dragged on for so long now, with so many revisions, that I no longer know [or care] what is being planted.  I’m beginning to think of Greg, the land planner guy in charge of this project, as my very own Eldon.

Did Eldon ever finish painting Murphy’s townhouse?  Will Greg ever finish creating a backyard for us?  Stay tuned to find out.

√  I want to paint the hutch that is in our dining room.

(Actually, to be entirely accurate and forthcoming, it isn’t a hutch– it’s a pie safe.  But no one knows what that is, so I’ve taken to calling it a hutch.)

The “hutch” has scratches, gouges and is a dreary dark brown color.  Not pretty at all. But what color should I paint it?  Therein lies the problem.

So I’ve spent much of this afternoon looking online at photos of hutches.  I now can say that my head is swimming with possibilities— none of which seem quite right to me, but all of which are quite lovely to look at in someone else’s home.

I was hoping that after an hour or two of online research, I’d  find the perfect hutch– painted the perfect color– and it’d become my inspiration.  Which would give me the confidence to go forward with this messy, labor-intensive project.

But no such luck.  Yet.

Oh Well. Whatever.

[This is my second attempt to publish this post.  How appropriate that my week should end with me unable to get one simple post to show up on my blog.]

It’s Friday and I’ve not accomplished one thing that I set out to do this week.  Nary a one. There would have been a time when this would have made me very upset with myself. Surly, even.

But not any more.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”  (Bible.  King Jame Version.  Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Good advice.  I figure that as long as I’m accomplishing something positive each day– even if it’s not what I set out to do— I’m doing okay.  I trust the process more now than I used to, and I don’t confuse my self-worth with the results.

Not that I don’t like results.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very fond of accomplishing things. It’s just that I’ve come to understand that I can control only so much of anything, everything– and the best that I can do is to make a go of what’s right in front of me.

“You adapt. You overcome. You improvise.”  (Heartbreak Ridge.  Clint Eastwood as Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway)

So that’s what I’ve done this week.  Spent more time online than I would have liked. Spent more time researching future projects than I wanted to. Spent more time goofing around in the kitchen and in the garden.  All the while not finishing that which I wanted to finish.  That which I’d planned on finishing this week.

Don’t know what it all means.  Don’t know that it matters.  This is just where I find myself on a Friday afternoon.  Nowhere near where I thought I’d be on Monday morning.


Me, Myself & Why Not?

:: Me ::

“How many hours have you wasted trying to think of something suitably witty, funny and original for your status on Facebook or Twitter?” ~ Generatus  I found this site as I was surfing along, so naturally I had to try it.  My status update, in the purple box above, is delightfully accurate.


:: Myself ::

“What’s happening?” ~ Twitter As some of you know already, I was not immediately taken with Twitter.  But instead of giving up I asked for some guidance, and many blogger/tweeters came forward to help me understand the medium.  Thank you.  Now I’m on Twitter just about every day tweeting along with the rest of them.  Learning lots.  Laughing often.  Loving much.  You can find me @spectacledbean.


:: Why Not? ::

“Yikes  Something went wrong! But don’t worry, we’re on it — and we’ll try to get it fixed as soon as we can.” ~ Pinterest  I’m enjoying my Pinterest account when it works.  Have you started one yet?  It’s addictive;  I was warned, but I jumped in any way.  Click here to see what I’ve accumulated so far.


So this is what I’ve been up to lately while online. How about you?  What cool things are you doing? 

Ignored At The Zoo

Yesterday afternoon Z-D and I went to the zoo.  It was hot and humid outside, but there was a light breeze.  I thought that I might be able to get some fun shots of the animals.  I was wrong.

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We were ignored by a little brown wild bird, even though I was standing about 18″ away from him when I took this photo.

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We were ignored by many turtles who ducked under the water the nanosecond before I clicked this photo.

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We were given the cold shoulder by the okapi…  

… who then wandered to the back of her enclosure, just to make sure that we got the message that we weren’t wanted there.

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We were warned off by this less than friendly sign posted by the gorillas.

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And finally we were ignored by this hippopotamus who had better things to do than pose for the camera.

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It’s a good thing that I have a quite a bit of experience with being ignored– and surviving the emotional shock of such indifference.  Heck, I’m a free spirit in suburbia, remember. Still, I have to admit that I thought that at the zoo, at least, something might pay attention to me, and help me achieve my goal.

But no such luck.  *sigh*

A Garden Wall Worthy Of Fred & Wilma

[Sub-titled: So You’re Really Going To Do This, Huh?]

Last week while the stock market was on the roller coaster ride of our lifetimes, we decided to do something a little bit different with our money.  Why not invest in something stable, said we.  How about finally getting the back of our property to look like something resembling a backyard, said we.  So…

We had this concrete wall built.  It’s very Flintstone-esque, don’t you think?





What I Learned About Having A Garden Wall Built

√  Unlike the land excavating guy who said that he’d be at our house at 8:00 a.m. on Monday and arrived at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, when the concrete guy said that he and his crew would there at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, they were.  With lots of battery-powered lights.  Trying to work quietly, not succeeding.

√  It took 5 hours to create the 2.5′ x 4′ footers.  Two of those hours involved the crew sitting around on the ground, listening to music, laughing among themselves, eating snacks– waiting for the footers to become solid enough to continue on with the wall.  We paid for them to do this, of course.

√  It took about 3 hours for 9 men to build this 30′ x 4′ free-form concrete wall.  A truck in front of the house pumped a foamy kind of concrete through a 90′ hose to the backyard. Two men positioned the concrete, which looked like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube, along the wall line by slowly walking back and forth; they stopped when the concrete was 4′ high. Then the rest of the men, each holding a trowel in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, shaped the wall.  It was the darndest thing to watch.

√  After the wall was stable and had air-dried for about an hour, a man stained it to look like naturally formed rock.  He used two different colors of paint in sprayers, a water sprayer, and a paint brush dipped in stain.  It took him maybe 45 minutes to do this.  He told me that he wanted the wall to look like “God had put it there.”

√  It takes about a week for this concrete to cure.  So until that happens, the land excavator guy can’t fill behind our wall with dirt to create our yard.  Meaning… there will be more to this story.


[Please note: This is Phase Two of a three-part project.  Phase One is here.  Phase Three is here.] 

We’re Investing In Dirt

[Sub-titled: The Big Dig Begins]

Two weeks ago while the 112th US Congress was destroying the credit rating of the USA, we were investing in something a little bit different from the usual.  Something that is a known commodity, but generally is just there when you buy a house.  Unless, of course, you have a non-traditional property with a swale in the backyard that needs to be filled in. In which case, you need to buy dirt.  Lots of it.  So…

We bought 110 tons of dirt.  Really.   

In the past I’ve mentioned the sad shape of our lawn.  Our Lawn Has Mange

I’ve talked about my meeting with a land planner.  Talking Dirt

I’ve even told you about my anxiety about our backyard renovation project.  Rambling Thoughts From A Sleepless Night

But it wasn’t until this project finally began that I realized what the heck I’d gotten us into this time.

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Below is a photo of what the swale looked like right before the Bobcat operator began to push the dead wood and half-dead trees out-of-the-way for the dirt.

While the first man in the swale cleared that space, a second man in a different Bobcat moved the dirt from the street in front of our house to the back of our property.  He drove over, and piled it on, what used to be a lovely bed of pachysandra and juniper.

Then the first man, working at a precarious angle on the side of the hill, used the new dirt to fill in the swale.

# # #

[Amazing as it was to watch this phase unfold, the words “liability insurance” kept dancing through my brain. You can tell that I’ve been around lawyers all my life, right?  But I digress…]

Here’s a photo of what the former swale looks like now that we’ve completed Phase One of our project.  Our property is almost flat, open to sunshine, and ready for the next step– which is a poured concrete wall.

[Please note: This is Phase One of a three-part project.  Much more about this later.  Phase Two is here.  Phase Three is here.] 

Retro Blogging: Adding Whimsy To Your Week

::  I crack myself up.  I got this idea from The Bloggess.  Zen-Den thinks that I have a future career as a banana engraver.

::  Anyone else remember back to when bloggers did silly things like this all the time?  I miss those times.

::  Do You Make Other People Happy?  I try, kids.  I try.