Monday, August 20, 2018

buzzzzzzz


I came to my blog today, determined to write something.  ANYTHING.  I like to write, so why is it that writing rarely happens anymore?  In fact, the title of my last post – Status Quo – pretty much has become a mantra for all aspects of my life.  The truth is that it’s hard to be inspired to write when nothing happens.  Surely something has happened lately...but it has not.

My life
 
It’s completely my own fault (that there is nothing new to write about).  The summer is waning and I’ve not even once taken my kayak out.  Someone and I have not been on a long hiking adventure in forever.  We have been playing golf a few times a week...that must be it – golf has replaced all the other things.  Don’t get me wrong, golf is fun – sometimes lots of fun.  The issue is that it’s not like I’m an LPGA hopeful or anything.  My game is average at best, so at the end of the round, there’s not a lot to commit to memory (a few holes, perhaps an excellent putt or drive here and there). 

Truly, it is time for change.  Someone has a commitment for this coming weekend so weather permitting, KYLady is getting her ass in gear and taking the kayak out.  If the weather sucks, it’s time to go shopping for new flooring and furniture.  YES.  This house needs some renovation...again.  Paint, floor, drapes, and furniture.  It makes me cringe to think of the amount of work that will be or me, but it needs to be done.  Somehow...in all my free time.
 
But for now, it’s time to work again.  I need to create some lecture videos.  This teaching thing has become an awful lot of work. I like the work, but it’s taking a lot of time...for so little pay. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

status quo


Vacation has come and gone.  Someone and I did the usual Myrtle Beach vacation with Someone’s family – same vacation in all senses of the word same for as long as we’ve been married...soon to be 24 years, I think.  Someone loves Myrtle Beach so much that he wants to move there.  Perhaps some day we will sell our house so that Someone can move to Myrtle and old KYLady can get a small cottage in the country somewhere in Kentucky.  We will visit each other when one misses the other. 

I’m just not a beach person.  The landscape is bare – too desolate.  Sand, water, and sky.  Blah.  I go out on the beach with a good book and sit and read for a bit.  Then what?  It’s hot and the sand gets all over everything.  I don’t like intense sun for long.  I went for walks and read my book on the beach in the early mornings and walked on the beach at night.  The rest of the time, I worked or played golf.  We did play golf five days, so that was fun.  The course we played is nice, but expensive.

walking over the sand dune at Myrtle Beach

While we were gone, our garden fell mostly to ruin.  Nearly all the cucumbers and peppers died.  The lettuce bolted.  The bugs destroyed the cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  My flowers on the back porch withered away.  I think we should vacation in the winter or spring and stay home to tend our garden in the heat of summer, but Someone won’t hear of it - Blasphemy!  One cannot bake in the Myrtle Beach sun in the winter or spring!!  Someone and his family like suntans. 

In my world of work, tonight at 11:59 PM the summer term closes for my 41 students at University #1.  The final exam is online and has been open for four days.  Professor KyLady realizes that students have busy lives outside of school-life and tries to keep things flexible.  The exam becomes unavailable in less that 20 minutes and I can see that six students are taking it just now, and another five have not started it.  Why do they wait?  It blows my mind.  My policy was clearly stated at the beginning of the course and four times over the past week in course announcements, emails, and news videos.  There is no make-up for the final exam, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Still, they delay.  No doubt there will be emails through the night and tomorrow from students asking that I reopen the exam for them because they got called into work, they had to run an uncle to the hospital, their dog got hit by a car, their Internet died, their kid broke his leg, they got stuck in traffic, they overslept, and a host of other creative reasons.  Sometimes they will pair misfortunes to influence me (i.e., my dad had a heart attack and I wrecked my car while rushing my sister’s dog to the vet).  Yes, it’s all sad but NO EXCEPTIONS means just that.  It’s why they get so many days.  I hate to say no, but I do (except in a few very rare cases for students who have sincerely worked hard and being late is not a chronic habit).

As for me personally...things are...not happening.  No resume, STILL.  No CV.  What the hell?  I’m worse than my students.  I’m failing Life 101.  Something needs to happen.  Something...drastic?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

rain


Rain.  And more rain.  We planned a camping trip over the weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Emily had scheduled herself off work, but a co-worker had a car wreck and Emily was tapped to fill in.  Then, we had a multi-day monsoon.  It rained hard this morning as well.  Someone and I were going to play golf, but now we’re thinking the course will be a muddy mess.  The course where we usually play does not have good drainage, and the creek along side it often floods.  We are members there because it’s not far to drive and it’s affordable. 

Sarah’s grandmother (on Sarah’s father’s side) let us have her cabin at Park Lake in Fleming County Friday night.  It was delightful!  Sarah’s father and I spent many days and nights out there when we were young.  I have many memories of the place, but it’s odd to be there after so many years.  The cabin has been modernized and is MUCH nicer than it was in those days.  The whole place seems nicer (more civilized) than it was in those days (30 years ago).  WOW – I’m old.  I should write about some of those memories, but maybe I already have. 

Anyway, I have new memories at Park Lake.  Sarah, Erin, and I went swimming in the lake, just 20 minutes or so before the thunder started and it began to rain again.  Getting in and getting out of the lake was the most fun.  Sarah and Erin had rafts to slide into the water on, but me (being old school) just dove in because getting wet quickly is the most merciful way to enter the water.  Getting out was a challenge.  The dock had steps that hadn’t been used in a while.  They were slimy and covered with mussels.  We managed.  I wanted to cook hamburgers on the grill for dinner, outside, but it got dark and there was just too much rain.  We made them in a skillet on the stove which is not as much fun, but it was fine.  Dinner on the screened porch serenaded by a choir of frogs was elegant.  As the night grew darker, a three-quarter moon peaked out through the clouds and lit the lake – beautiful Park Lake.  I took no pictures that evening because there is no cell service there, so I didn’t have my phone close at hand.

We have another camping trip planned for Tuesday.  It might be possible to get Sarah, Erin, and Emily together for one night.  I am hopeful.  This trip will be at Cave Run Lake, another favorite place. 

KyLady’s garden is growing.  The lettuce is superior.  The buttercrunch is my newest favorite variety.  The Green Ice just didn’t grow well this year.  It was marvelous last year, so I don’t know what changed.  In this picture, you can see my raised bed makes a U.  In the foreground (right) is buttercrunch lettuce.  In the foreground left is Brussel’s sprouts.  On the far side are carrots (should be ready in another week or so). In the far corner are radishes...I need to plant more radishes behind the ones that are up.  All the rest is Green Ice lettuce – missing in action except for three plants.

Raised bed - Creeping Charlie is invading
 
Buttercruch lettuce - ready to eat

Out in the big garden, the cabbage is coming along.  The egg plants have dropped their purple blooms and have formed little...eggs?  The cukes have blooms and we have some green tomatoes.  We planted corn and beans late because Someone likes them not to bear until August.  It rarely works out that way.  We always have a ton of beans just before we leave for the beach. 

And now, something I’m very excited about, sweet peas and morning glories.  No rustic trellis unfortunately.  What I really want to do is going to take more work and planning.  The planters will do for now.  I am hopeful that the blooms will come and be spectacular.  

The "big" garden

Sweet peas
Morning glories are alive and well

This morning, after the rain stopped, I planted some petunias and hung them up.  These were cheapo end-of-season discounted petunias.  Fifty-cents per three pack, so I bought two.  With any luck, these will be lovely in a few weeks...assuming the Japanese beetles don’t eat them up.  The beetles are feasting on my other petunias.  I hate Japanese beetles. 

$1.00 petunias...anticipation 

You would see pale yellow petunias in this photo but the Japanese beetles ate them. 

My newest project in mind – fire pit.  That needs to happen this summer.    

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Head games


I’ve played golf for a while...since I was maybe in my mid-twenties.  I had no interest in the game until I went to work for Big Oil, and actually not until I began working with the pipeline folks who took golf very seriously.  Pipeline was mostly a men’s work group.  Working in IT, of course, even that was probably 80% men in those days.  But once assigned and dedicated to work on pipeline applications, I can only think of a hand-full of women who worked in that group.  As such, because nearly every group-wide meeting involved an afternoon of golf with beer followed by a day-long meeting, I learned to play golf.

Once I became reasonably skilled with the game, I LOVED to play golf.  In fact, I was a golf addict once upon a time.  I played every opportunity and even played competitively on an amateur level.  During a several-year period in my life, I hung with a group of women – like eight of us, who played several times a week together for years.  Those were good times.  We had a blast because we played strictly for fun and socializing.  Men might “pretend” to play that way, but men are just too competitive to play like that.  Like, you rarely see a woman get mad and throw a golf club on the course, but men do it all the time.  (That’s not to insinuate that we women don’t say our fair share of cuss words). 

It never rains here (and other myths)

One thing I know is that golf is a head game.  If you’re mind isn’t on the game, you won’t be able to play worth a shit.  If you start thinking negatively (like about a bad shot you just made), it’s going to screw up your next shot.  If you’re thinking about anything other than where you want the ball to go when you strike it, chances are good that the ball will find itself somewhere difficult or unfortunate.  One of the fun things about golf is pure luck.  For example, when you hit a ball that hits a tree squarely – well that’s unfortunate because obviously you’re trying to avoid obstacles.  More often than not, the ball hits the tree and goes somewhere awful.  But sometimes, good fortune smiles on you – you hit a tree and the ball ricochets off the branches and lands two feet from the pin, or somewhere near the green at least.  That’s what makes the game fun. 

Someone and I were playing golf this evening.  It was getting late, nearly 7:45 PM so the sun was almost below the hills.  We were on the 17th tee and could see something unusual in the fairway.  It was obviously an animal – we realized it was a skunk.  The fairway is fairly narrow and the skunk seemed to be meandering around in the area where we normally hit what either one of us would consider to be a decent drive.  We had nobody behind us so we waited several minutes to see if the skunk would move on...it didn’t.  Finally, Someone hit his drive and it landed a good 50 yards beyond the skunk in the middle of the fairway.  He was pleased and told me that if I hit into the skunk, I should take the cart and he would wait by the cart path.  I busted a marvelous drive, one of my best of the day, that rolled well beyond Someone’s ball (beyond Mr. Skunk) and stopped about 30 yards from the green.   The skunk ran off when it heard us coming – I will say it looked healthy with a beautiful coat – not like the scraggly ones we see in town.  Based on our drives on that hole, the skunk brought us extraordinary luck, or perhaps it just gave us incentive and reason to focus on our game.        

Thursday, May 31, 2018

randomly rambling


This is a photo of my lunch today.  The lettuce and radish were fresh from my garden, picked no more than 15 minutes before consumption.  The carrots were from the grocery store, because my carrots need about another 40 days in the ground.  It’s OK, they are coming along nicely.  My salad was delicious, by the way.



On Facebook, people post all sorts of food porn.  Not only food that they’ve ordered in a restaurant, but also recipes that show delectable (decadent?)  deserts.  I don’t often take pictures of food I’m going to eat, but sometimes I take photos of something I’ve just baked that turned out well.  It never looks as good in the photo as it does in real life.  I suppose that’s true with most things...although with picture editing, we can enhance the appearance of some things (better than real life).  I don’t edit photos, but perhaps it would be a useful skill.

I planted flowers in pots yesterday.  I enjoy doing that.  In my imagination, the little plants are thanking me for freeing them from the tight plastic tubs they are trapped in when they are sold at the nursery.  Their roots will have space to grow, and their leaves will have room to spread out and breathe.  In my imagination it’s all good, but there’s a nagging worry in my mind that they might not be pleased with their new environment.  Like, maybe they know they need more sun and space for optimum health than what I’ve provided or planned for.  They’re thinking, what the hell?  Do you expect me to bloom here?  We will see...perhaps they are more grateful than I’ve given them credit for. Perhaps humans are much more critical than plants (and other animals). 

Emily moved out of her college apartment and has added all sorts of new clutter for me to deal with.  Most of it is now stacked in the basement...as if the basement needed more crap.  She will be taking it when she moves out again, in two or three years.  We will manage.  It is hard to deal with because Someone tends to be a hoarder.  My tendency is to be a minimalist.  Like, I don’t like lots of knick-knacks and stuff collecting dust.  I detest junk mail and magazines laying around.  My preference is to keep important papers filed. I hate small kitchen appliances that set around on the counter tops.  Also, I hate to have more supplies on hand than we can use in a three-month period. 

Someone stockpiles (aka - hoards).  I’m pretty sure we will never have to buy another light bulb in my lifetime.  When LED bulbs first came out, they were expensive.  We only had a few, but as soon as the price dropped, Someone went nuts.  I had to remind him SEVERAL TIMES to please not buy any more lightbulbs.  We have an entire shelf in the closet devoted to lightbulbs.  We also currently have a paper towel collection, air freshener collection, laundry soap collection, and a peanut butter collection.  We probably will not need to buy any of these for at least 18 months.  It’s nice to not run out, but it’s a lot of stuff in the house.  Someone likes to shop, especially when he can find a good deal. 

So, the real reason this blog post is happening tonight is that there is something important that needs doing, but I don’t want to do it.  Don’t misunderstand; I want it done in the worst way.  I’ve been putting it off for MONTHS now.  MONTHS!  And look at the time.  I will post this and go straight to bed so that I can get an early start on this important thing tomorrow.    

Friday, May 25, 2018

welcome summer


I’ve been way too busy lately for somebody who considers herself to be semi-retired.  I’m pretty sure I logged 50 hours last week (in three days) – I was trying to catch up with my classes and get ahead before Someone and I took a mini-vacation (Thursday through Sunday).  Then when we arrived back home Sunday afternoon, I dug deep into the rut to catch up work that came in while I was gone, plus opened a new session for University #2. 

Much has happened since my last blog post.  Erin and Emily graduated.  I’m a proud mama as you might guess.  Both graduated with honors and both will start graduate schools in August.  Someone and Someone’s parents attended Emily’s graduation in Morehead, and Sarah and I attended Erin’s in Louisville.  I hated that I couldn’t attend both, but on the drive home from Louisville, we stopped for lunch (still well over an hour away from Morehead) and watched the live cast of Emily’s graduation on Sarah’s phone (which has a bigger screen than my phone).  We got to hear Emily’s name called and see her walk across stage for a brief second or so.  It was better than nothing, but it made me sad that I couldn’t be there. 

Evening after graduation - Emily and Erin let me take photos of them
And then they got all goofie
   
Silly girls

I don’t think a girls’ vacation is in the plans for this summer...it’s on my mind to take one but corralling three girls for a few days in one place is nearly impossible.  I might wait until fall and rent a cabin at Natural Bridge State Park, inviting any girls who can make it.  It’s a place I’ve been wanting to see, and it should be beautiful when the leaves change.        

I don’t have seasonal allergies, which is a blessing because many people in the Ohio Valley suffer horribly with allergies.  A few days ago, I took Gracie out for her usual walk.  It looked like rain but I thought we had plenty of time to get a walk in.  Well no...we got about a mile from the car and all hell broke loose.  The sky blackened, thunder rumbled, and then the wind came.  So much wind!  Wind carrying more pollen than you can imagine.  As a contact lens wearer, my eyes felt like rocks had blown into my eyes.  My nose felt liked I snorted cotton balls, and so then I began breathing through my mouth which made things even worse.  I started coughing and sneezing and wheezing.  Gracie did too.  We were both miserable and grateful to get back inside the car.  Gracie and I are still coughing.  It kind of feels like a summer cold now...hopefully it will pass quickly.  

Someone and I visited Williamsburg, Virginia last weekend.  It’s a long story about how we happened to go there, but it was supposed to be a 3-day golfing vacation.  I booked it several years ago.  Our travel dates were flexible; however, I waited until the vacation deal would expire (at the end of May), so it became a use it or lose it situation.  As luck would have it, it poured rain the whole time we were there.  Fortunately, it was showers during the day and thunderstorms at night, so we were able to walk around and see things with our umbrellas.  What I liked most of all were all the flower and vegetable gardens.  Most houses there in historic Williamsburg section have gardens in the front or side yards where people can admire them.  

What a good sport!  He posed in the rain so I could take this photo  :)
  
A marvelous vegetable garden
A beautiful border of foxgloves
Beautiful poppies
Governor's Palace - we toured the inside.  Long rows of catalpa trees (blooming) on both sides of the green
In the garden behind the palace
A magical place

Yesterday, I visited two greenhouses and purchased what I thought would be enough flowers and vegetables (now I know it was not enough).  Today, I set out tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and egg plants in the big garden (we already have cabbage and broccoli growing).  Someone still needs to plant corn and beans...when he’s damn good and ready.  He likes to wait so that nothing is ready to pick until August.  God forbid that I should plant the sacred seeds before he wants them planted.  Fine – he can do it.  My raised bed has radishes that are ready to pick now, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.  My sweet peas are just starting to sprout.  I can’t wait until they start twining up the trellis and put out spectacular, sweetly-scented BLOOMS (I am hopeful). Sometime this weekend, I’ll plant flowers in pots, and zinnias and snapdragons in the big garden for cutting – weather permitting, of course.

I love planting and gardening.  It’s a wonderfully mindless thing to do.  When I was a kid, I hated working in the garden.  It was boring and nothing but a dreary chore to me.  Now that I’m an old woman with one foot in the grave, I love it.  (Honestly, I’m not quite old-age yet...and I don’t think the grave is in the same county...or maybe that’s just denial on my part).    

It feels like summer.  AT LAST!!  Once I’ve taken the kayak out, it will be official.  Next week?  Next week!   

Friday, May 4, 2018

off the rails

KyLady has gone a bit off the rails lately.  If you remember that dress in a prior post (the one that I was going to wear to Sarah’s wedding), I didn’t wear it.  In fact, it’s still hanging in my closet with tags on it.  I like it, so maybe I’ll wear it to Someone’s niece’s wedding in late May rather than returning it.  

Then, there’s this “rustic trellis” project I started and was so excited about in my last post.  Nope!  Not happening.  I bought a large planter and then decided the trellis was too damn big for it.  Even cut down to size, it’s still too big and heavy.  I think the best bet is to just use a small trellis that I already have and that’ll be my sweet pea attempt for 2018.  And by the way, KyLady has still not started the seeds yet.

KyLady is usually as reliable as the tides, or clockwork, or death and taxes, or some such very reliable thing.  But lately, not so much. 

On a happier note, the raised bed is planted with two kinds of lettuce, carrots, radishes, and Brussels sprouts.  In the big garden, we have cabbage and broccoli planted.  Next week, I’ll visit the greenhouse and buy some flowers (annuals) to put in pots and in the garden for cutting flowers.  I have favorites, so it seems like that’s all I ever plant and nothing else...maybe that’s not a bad thing.  It’s also time to get my hummingbird feeder out.  I love spring!  It’s finally here. 

University #1 had their graduation ceremony tonight.  This year, I didn’t go.  I wanted to, but they didn’t announce the keynote speaker and that’s the main reason I go.  I watched the ceremony on the live stream and was glad I didn’t go.  What a total disappointment!  There was no keynote speaker.  It’s really not fair for the graduates to have such a crappy ceremony.  As the camera panned over the faculty and honored guests section, there were MANY empty chairs.  There have been lots of lay-offs at University #1 (and across all the state universities in Kentucky)...I suppose morale is really bad and nobody wanted to attend. 

Erin and Emily will graduate a week from tomorrow (Saturday).  I am excited for both of them, and proud (of course).  What a lucky mother I am to have such brilliant, talented daughters (all of them).  Emily’s robe has been hanging in my doorway for several weeks now...to remind me to press it for her.  Erin will not even get hers until late next week.  I can’t wait to see it!  Emily’s school colors are blue and gold (at Morehead State); whereas Erin’s are red and black (at University of Louisville).  They will look very different.  Someone and his parents are attending Emily’s graduation.  Sarah and I are attending Erin’s.  I HATE that I can’t be at both of them.  Both girls have been accepted into graduate programs.  Emily will go to Marshall University and be...a buffalo?...they are the Thundering Herd.  Erin will stay at Louisville and remain a cardinal.

Emily's regalia

I scrubbed the winter filth off the screened porch on Thursday and carried all the plants out of my kitchen.  The plants are delighted to be outside where they have fresh air and space to spread their leaves freely.  All will be fertilized with the next watering and they will surely take off.  I am delighted to have my kitchen back to livable condition.  With all those plants in there, it's a bit suffocating, like a jungle...we only have a narrow path to walk through the kitchen, and space for only two people to sit at the table.  The kitchen looks so bare now...I think it’s given me a bit of postpartum depression.  But not for long; I’m already adjusting to the extra space. 

Some of my lovelies
SPACE!!!