Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October morning glory


I love my work, but no kidding, it’s officially “fall break” for me as of 3:45 this afternoon and I’m loving it already.  It’s not that I won’t be working through the whole thing, but more that I won’t have to go to campus for 11 days.  It was my intent to ONLY teach online at some point in this career change thingie that I did.  That hasn’t worked out just yet, but really, I’m grateful for the experience of teaching face-to-face.  I have way more fun with the students when we are all together in class.  I do have fun...hence, why I love my job(s).   

October arrived in glorious splendor.  The weather the past few days has been utterly and completely delightful.  Tuesday evening, I met a friend and we paddled Lake Vesuvius for the first time (my first time, but she had been there once before).  Vesuvius is just across the river in Ohio, even closer than Greenbo, I discovered.  How is it possible that I’ve lived in this area for all these years and never ventured over there (all of 10 miles) to check it out?  It’s in Wayne National Forest and full of cool hiking trails (at least, from what I could see from the water, there are caves and cliffs...cool stuff to explore when hiking).  It was becoming dusk, but I snapped a couple of quick photos. 

Lake Vesuvius, Wayne National Forest, Pedro, Ohio

More Lake Vesuvius


In other exciting news, the hummingbirds have not yet all left for Mexico (or where ever it is they go for the winter).  The ruby-throated ones are gone, but there’s still a green one hanging around my feeder.  I refilled it yesterday morning and saw the little hummer several times.  I LOVE hummingbirds. 

You might remember that I planted sweet peas and morning glories in early summer.  Honestly, I believe it was just too late to plant them.  Nevertheless, the sweet peas vined voraciously, but never bloomed.  Then they withered and died.  Such is my luck ALWAYS with sweet peas.   The morning glories were spindly and finally seemed to want to live and began growing up the poles.  Yesterday, when I stepped out to collect the hummingbird feeder, I noticed a single bloom.  It was so marvelous, that I took a photo.  If it blooms anymore, the deer will discover it and that will be the end of my morning glories.  Tis the season when the deer become bolder about foraging in yards for food. 

Morning glory - heavenly blue


This morning, I was driving to work, and no kidding, I saw an eagle fly over the highway.  At first, I thought it was a big hawk, then an owl, then even a heron, but then it became obvious that I was seeing an eagle in the wild.  What a thrill that was!  Just before my class, I Googled to see if there really are eagles known to be in this part of the state.  Sure enough, eagles nest at Yatesville Lake, and I was only about 6 miles from Yatesville Lake when I saw the eagle.  Lawrence County in Kentucky has all sorts of wildlife – not only eagles.  They have bears, cougars, and wolves.  Of course, all of those have been spotted in my county...but we have more civilization here.   



I have plans for my time “off”.  I need to paint the bathroom ceiling, and the family room.  Oh what fun!  There are closets to clear out, and it’s time to shop seriously for flooring once I decide what to do.  I thought my mind was made up, but now it’s not.  Then...there’s another very important project.  More about that later.   

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Finding magic


Sometimes, a little magic is needed to make things extra special in this life.  As an overly-practical person (honestly, I’m probably part Vulcan), my belief is that magic in not real.  Yet, I know that sometimes things are magical.
 
When Sarah was young, she asked for a real magic wand for Christmas.  Her disappointment that Christmas made me so sad.  If only I could have granted her simple wish.  But really, knowing that magic isn’t really real makes us appreciate magical moments all the more.
   
Last Thursday morning, I set my alarm and rolled out of bed extra early.  The weatherman predicted a fabulous day, and he was completely correct.  We had heavy fog, a good sign for this time of year that the day will be clear, not humid, and divine.  I loaded the kayak, and headed to the nearest lake (Greenbo).  The lake was all mine that morning.  No fishermen, no other kayakers, not even anyone fishing along the shores (that I could hear or see).  AHHHHH...I slid my kayak into the water and paddled way back, all the way back, into a cove.  Thick fog on the glassy water merged into a solid cloud of gray.  The marina behind me disappeared quickly, and no doubt I disappeared just as fast into the fog...nothing but the soft sound of my paddle cutting the water.  THAT was magic. 

Fog lifting on Greenbo


The air was still so that there was little drift when I stopped padding.  The fog made my hair damp and my clothes feel wet.  Fish swam up and circled to see what was this strange green vessel floating on the water.  As the fog began to lift, the world around me came alive.  Hawks shrieked above me, woodpeckers tapped on the trees, birds sang, I heard squirrels cutting nuts with their teeth, walnuts or hickory nuts dropping into the water, fish splashed – lots of fish in that lake, and turkeys everywhere.  Turkeys are noisy...it’s OK.  Turkeys are magic. They travel in flocks along the hills clucking to each other.  They aren’t all that pretty, but they’re big and plentiful around here.  I’m grateful for turkeys and hawks; they are magnificent. 

Late morning in September on Greenbo (after the fog)


Sarah and I did a road trip together this weekend.  We went to Indiana to visit my dad (her grandfather).  I was grateful to have company; I usually make the trip alone, and it’s a little more than five hours of driving each way.  We talked about everything, and even though we disagree on many of the world’s issues, it’s OK.  

On the way home, we stopped at IKEA, the first time either of us had visited one.  IKEA was pretty awesome – such a big (BIG) retail place, but much more awesome than that, was the rainbow that appeared in the sky as we pulled into the parking lot. We were in central Ohio, toward the western side between Dayton and Cincinnati where everything is flat and the rainbows are HUGE.  This rainbow was magical.  People all over the parking lot were standing around looking at it, and some employees stepped out of the store to take a look.  The world seemed to stand still for a few minutes as all marveled at the rainbow.  If God could put enough rainbows in the sky all at once, do you suppose we would have a few moments of world peace? 


         

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

journaling


Old KYLady is not in the mood to work anymore tonight.  She could go to bed, but no.  She will post to the Old KYLady Blog - The Journal of Despair and Woe.  Well, sometimes it is.  Sometimes it’s the Journal of Continuous Mundaneness. Tonight, it is the Journal of What Is.

What is happening these days?  Working and thinking, more thinking, more working.  Pretty much, that is it and all of it.  I’m thinking that I work way too many hours for my paychecks.  Certainly, University #2 seems to be in a downward spiral.  It’s too bad because I love the students there, but the handwriting seems to be on the wall.  My days there are numbered unless they get out and recruit.  So, even though it’s counterintuitive and perhaps even irrational, I applied for a full-time professor job there.  It was like pulling my own teeth to update my CV for this opportunity... a task that I’d been putting off for months, like no exaggeration, at least six months.  If you have not applied for a job online, you would have no appreciation for the frustration of uploading a detailed CV or resume, and then typing all that shit into an online form.  GRRRRRRR.  It’s a wretched bunch of crapola.
 
So now, my CV is up-to-date, and it’s time to hunt for more work.  Perhaps, better-paying work.  The problem for me is that I’ve not published in a peer-reviewed journal, I’ve never presented at a conference, and hell, I’ve never done anything that really matters in the academic world.  As an adjunct, nobody pays for conference fees...except me.  It’s hard to think about forking over $800+ to attend a conference for a few days to even see what goes on at one.  I’m disinclined to volunteer to present at one until I know what these things are like.  Granted, I attended conferences long ago in my Big Oil days, like in the 1980s and 1990s...and these were oil industry conferences, not education industry ones.  They were fun.  I had fun at them.
 
Meanwhile, I’m taking a course (self-paced, online) to learn more about setting up networks for IoT devices, and some basic programming of IoT devices...at least, that’s what I believe the course is about.  I’m only 75% finished with first module, but it’s some interesting stuff so far.  Also in my spare time, I’m making instructional videos about very basic use of Microsoft Word and Excel (for my students).  I suck at making videos, by the way.  I need a faster computer processor...something else I’ve been procrastinating on...buying a new laptop.
 
Has this become a Woe and Despair post again??  Maybe old KYLady needs to make a visit to the liquor store and buy a bottle of cheer.  But for now, the night is late, and there are classes in the morning.        

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 all this will be for 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.