Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Idle Speed


I had my kayak out today, for the first time in 2019, sadly.  The spring has been very wet and unpredictable.  What with me working full time until the end of May, the weather, and my procrastination about getting a new battery for my minivan (only vehicle for hauling my beloved kayak), today was really the first opportunity.
 
Put-in time was around 9 AM.  We had a splendid morning – cool, slightly breezy, and mostly sunny.  With all the rain we’ve had lately, the trees and bushes are lush and all the leaves are shiny.  One could not ask for a more perfect morning for doing anything outside.  I paddled all the way to the back of the lake, to the backwaters of the dam.  It was there that I found the peace and quiet I was hoping for.  Nine o’clock is too late because there were already many people fishing, kayakers, and canoers all over the lake (on a Wednesday morning – don’t these people work)??  To make matters even worse, three pontoon boats loaded with little boys sped past me – definitely NOT idle speed as directed by signs posted around the lake.  They were whooping and shouting at each other across the water *sigh*, but I will not be one to put a damper on their fun.  Most likely they were a Cub Scout troop, but perhaps they were a Boys Club or a similar organization that takes under-privileged children out for a good time (so as to take their weary little minds off their unfortunate situations).  We have way too many children like that in this part of Kentucky, but our economy is improving over the past two to three years...and if we can just get a handle on the heroin crisis that would help.   I’ve digressed.

The kayak adventure was marvelous.  In my quiet place at the far back of the lake, the only sounds were wind in the trees and water running over the spillway.  At some point, a hawk was shrieking from somewhere high in the sky, but I couldn’t spot it.  It must have been over the hill tops somewhere.  The horizon is very limited when you are surrounded by hills.

Greenbo Lake

Someone and I played golf yesterday afternoon – my first round of golf in 2019 and only Someone’s second.  Someone has a job where he can take afternoons off when he wants to (most of the time).  Usually by now, I’ve at least gone to the driving range a few times and played a few rounds of golf.  Not this year.  In fact, the driving range we usually go to didn’t open this season, so now the closest one is about 25 minutes’ drive.  I expected to play dreadfully, but it really wasn’t too bad.  I managed a birdie and five pars...and the rest doesn’t matter.  Someone had good holes and bad holes as well...such is golf. 

This afternoon, I will spray down with Deet, put on my straw hat, and go work in the garden.  We have a few more plants to set out, and then it should be all done but for the routine weeding, pest control, and harvesting.  These few extra plants were after-thoughts; Someone noticed that we had leftover space (only because he made the corn rows shorter, I pointed out to him).  So now we have some extra pepper, tomato, and cucumber plants.  We spray Deet on ourselves because it seems to work best to repel the nasty biting mites in our garden.  Without Deet, you can’t stand in the garden for long without feeling them biting you.  You can’t see them, but they’re there.
 
I cut flowers earlier this week (between cloudbursts).  I love cut flowers, but I hate cutting my flowers – it’s a conundrum.  It’s important to cut them early in the summer so that they develop multiple stems and produce more blooms.  I thinned the lettuce, another job I hate.  Who am I to play God and decide which little plants get to live and which must die? 

Flowers from my garden

My new little rose bush is thriving and has sent out a new branch and a bud.  It’s exciting (as you might imagine if you’re a plant lover).  I’ve been spraying it with Seven every time I spray the cabbage and Brussel Sprouts growing only a few feet away from it.  Bugs are eating the hell out of them – I can only hope they don’t discover my rose.  

La Park rose - new bud
  

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Las Vegas


We are recently back from a week-long vacay to Las Vegas.  Good Lord, seven days was way too long in that place.  It’s not that there wasn’t more than enough to do – believe me! – a person could spend months there and never run out of new things to see and do.  If you can image a Disney World for adults, that is Las Vegas. 

Fremont Street area
Entrance to Fremont Street

People who obviously have way too much money go there.  We spent too much money there (in my opinion), but we had a great time seeing shows and doing things.  The cost of living is much higher there than in our part of the country.  Someone loves to play slot machines – I have zero interest in playing slots.  I’m not a big risk taker so after losing a little money, I’m ready to do something different.  Someone can play slots all night and finish up plus or minus $20 from where he started and be as happy as a clam.  I suppose it’s whatever floats your boat.  Gambling is not for me. 

Emily and Erin came with us.  It was nice to have them along, and fun for them to experience for the first time something in the western USA.  The landscape in Nevada is nothing like here – when we landed back on Terra Firma Sunday (at the Cincinnati airport), we were all grateful to see green trees again.  Perhaps the biggest shock for all of us was seeing woman (and some men) so scantily dressed in public in Las Vegas (primarily on the strip where there are so many people).  It was not at all unusual to see women walking around in fish net tights and no panties at all, or just a thong.  Sometimes there was nothing on top but for pasties – I mean, absolutely nothing left for the imagination.  We saw women (usually in pairs) walking around like that, and wouldn’t you know, oftentimes men would wait until the women walked past them, then turn around and snap a photo of their butts.   Yep, that’s pretty nasty.  We also saw men wearing nothing but thongs and flip flops...gross.  I didn't see any woman snapping photos of their butts.

Some lights on the strip
We loved watching the fountain shows in front of the Bellagio (so does everyone else)
Sharing vacation with these two made it especially nice.

This view captured from near the top of the High Roller - a big ferris wheel

The lights on the casinos and in the casinos were, of course, excessive.  When you walk down the strip, most people have drinks in hand.  Recreational marijuana is legal there, but (unfortunately), I never saw a place to buy it.  You could smell it and see people smoking it.  It must not be sold anywhere near the strip because we did a lot of walking on and around the strip and I never saw a shop. 

We saw a Cirque du Soleil show (O, at the Bellogio) which was the favorite vacation thing for all of us.  Someone got us fantastic tickets - center, near the front - so we could even see the performers’ faces up close.  The entire show was a total treat – amazing stunts and so much happening on the stage at any one time that it was hard to take everything in.  That show was worth the money, for sure!

We spent a day in the Valley of Fire State Park, near Las Vegas.  That was inexpensive and fun – we climbed around in the rocks and sand.  We also took a day to visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.  At the Grand Canyon, we walked out on the Sky Bridge which was a waste of money, but part of a package deal we purchased, so I did the bridge walk.  It’s not really that much of a thrill.  In a place like that, looking down is not nearly as impressive as looking out. 

Typical scenery - Valley of Fire
Climbing up - because they can
Hiking?

The weather was unseasonably cool the whole time we were there.  In fact, Someone got so cold at the Grand Canyon that he bought a sweater (because they were on sale and much cheaper than sweatshirts).  The temperature was in the 50s, it was raining off and on, and it was very windy.  None of us had clothes that were warm enough.  At times, we were downright miserable.  In Vegas, the temp was in the upper 60s to low 70s.  Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised, but had I checked the weather before we left Kentucky, I would have packed more pants and fewer shorts.  We had a washer and dryer in our villa, so it turned out OK.

Grand Canyon
More Grand Canyon
Overlooking Lake Meade from above Hoover Dam

Our flights were surprisingly timely.  Perhaps things are getting better these days (I had not flown for nearly three years).  All went well except that Delta lost Someone’s bag on the way home.  Fortunately, it turned up and was delivered to us within 48 hours. 

So that was our big vacation for 2019.  Someone and I, now that our kids are grown and we are nearing retirement (and debilitating old age is just around the corner most likely), have made up our minds to travel more.  Our next big trip (just Someone and me) will be to Hawaii.  The thought of sitting on a plane for all those hours is a total turn off, but it’s someplace that Someone wants to go.  We will go...in 2020.  As for me, I want to visit Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  Perhaps that vacation will happen in 2021.    

Friday, May 3, 2019

onboard


It’s been months.  How did so much time slide by without me having written even a single paragraph?  I wrote plenty of paragraphs, but nothing for my blog, sadly.  Life as a full-time AND part-time professor has kept me very busy.  I decided not to give up the adjunct work because that university is all-online, and my ultimate goal is to teach full time completely online.  The house has fallen to ruin again, but soon, very soon (within the next five days or so), I’ll have more time to work on it.  Today was the last day of the semester, next week is final exams. 

I like the work.  It’s a very different experience to get up early and go to work when you actually like what you do.  The hours are very short compared to working for Big Oil, and I have lots of freedom to do my job.  It’s great. 

So, old KYLady is now at a crossroads and must decide soon what to do.  I mean OLD in every sense of the word.  People my age are retiring or planning retirement.  Well, I did that already, and now I’m back to work doing work that is fun.  The university asked me if I was interested in teaching economics because they are desperate at the moment for an economics instructor.  In fact, the entire state-wide system is desperate for economics instructors.  I don’t have enough graduate hours to teach it, so it was suggested that if I return to college for some classes...there would be plenty of work for me. 

To make the long story shorter, I hunted around for cheap classes and found the perfect program for me – a graduate certification program (fewer hours than a master degree) in applied economics for somebody who wants to teach economics at university level in an accredited program.  That’s me.  I called about it, and they waived the application fee.  I requested that they waive the requirement for a GRE score...they did.  Today, they notified me that I am in and will receive my class schedule for fall semester.  I am expected to sign a commitment contract to get the cheapest tuition.  I believe they will have me take two classes for three semesters – 18 credit hours.  I only need 15, but if the classes aren’t too nasty, I’d most likely do all 18.  Lord, I have not had any economics since 1984 or so...that’s how old OLD KYLADY is.  Old KyLady is a bit worried that she may not be able to hack it.  It’s hard to remember stuff when you get old like me. 

So anyway, I have to decide whether or not I really want to go for it.  The go-get side of me says YES, but the lazy side of me (which is definitely the bigger side) says HELL NO.  Should I start without complete commitment?  Thinking back to when I started the doctorate, I was not committed at the beginning.  In fact, with every big decision I’ve ever intentionally made, I was not fully committed.  Maybe that’s just how all things are with me.  I don’t like to take risks.

On a more positive note, spring is here, and it’s glorious!  I’ve been picking violets in the yard.  I worked a tree give away event to celebrate Arbor Day, and brought home two redbud trees to plant.  I will plant these in the backyard as soon as the ground dries out a bit – we’ve had lots of rain lately.  I did get some cabbage and Brussels sprouts planted in the garden.  I have seeds and rose bushes on order.  It’s time to scrub down the back porch and set my houseplants out for fresh air – they will be so happy to get outside.  I will be happy for them...they crowd our kitchen terribly.

My beloved violets
Coming soon to my backyard - redbud trees

Graduation is soon at my college.  Tomorrow, I’ll dig out my graduation regalia from the back of the closet and see if the moths ate it...or if it needs to be cleaned.  I haven't had it on since my own graduation day...in 2013?  It will be exciting to put it on again.   

Sunday, January 20, 2019

change is good


It’s a bitter-cold winter night.  Winter has come to stay.  As much as winter gets old, especially toward the end of January, I love some things about it.  This morning, despite the roads being slick, the dusting of white snow on the landscape (overtop the ice) was beautiful.  The woods behind our house look like a magic fairyland.  I filled the birdfeeders and watched the squirrels and birds empty them as I worked at my desk this morning. 

The semester started at University #1 where I am now classified as temporary full-time.  Assuming the budget isn’t cut, the position will become permanent and it will be advertised.  I have to apply for it, but other professors there told me that advertising the position is a mere formality. 

It’s been kind of weird going back to work full time.  Weird how?  (You might ask).  For one thing, I used to work around the clock, but now that I am on campus and sitting at a desk – almost like being chained to a desk some of the time – so when I come home, I don’t want to even log onto my computer...but I do because I still have stuff going on with University #2.  I think it’s just the sheer numbers that make the work different.  I have eight sections of students (compared to three or four sections, typically), more than 200 students, and three of the classes are classes I’ve never taught before.  It’s pretty overwhelming, actually.  At the same time, it’s really good to be there.  The people are nice and I’m making new friends.  The pay sucks, but the benefits are fabulous.  It’s a state job.  Someone also has a state job (although he is with a different state). 

I’m still puttering around with my drum set.  I learned a drum fill to go along with the drum beat I’ve been working on.  I’ve attached a short recording of it.  I’m also working to learn a triplet beat, and paradiddles.  I think it’s time to invest in a metronome, and lessons.  Well, lessons will probably wait until later in the spring or summer.  Lord knows I have little spare time now. 



While Erin was home over Christmas, I potted a start off my Monstera for her.  While I was at it, I repotted my asparagus fern.  It had become root-bound and was looking all sickly, like it wanted to give up.  I noticed today that it has put out a bunch of new arms (or whatever you call those sprouty things that will get leaves – stems?).  That reminds me, Emily also wants a Monstera.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll cut one and get it rooting. 

 
Asparagus fern is reviving
 
   

Emily moved out into an apartment.  I miss her, but I think she is happier being out on her own so that she can seem more like an adult.  Like me, Erin and Emily are heavy into their classes now.  I think they are happy with their lives.  That is my primary wish and prayer for all my girls. 

Love these girls


Friday, December 28, 2018

Speeding


Old KyLady has been screwing around since Christmas.  It’s been kind of good in a way, but it’s time to get down to business soon...but not tomorrow, and probably not Saturday.  Sunday – business starts on Sunday. 
  
Christmas was pretty marvelous (for me, anyway).  I now have a new hobby thanks to a gift given to me by my thoughtful and generous daughters – a drum set.  It was a HUGE surprise.  Playing drums is something I always thought would be fun, but not something I ever expected to actually do.  We all went together to see Elton John’s farewell tour a few months ago.  I remarked that my favorite part of the whole concert was watching the two drummers.  Perhaps that inspired the gift idea.  The girls also gave me a DVD that taught me how to basically play drums and a few beginner beats.  I’m working on it.  It’s kind of frustrating, but really lots of fun.  I may have to actually engage an instructor if I’m ever going to get good at it...it’s a goal.  This is me after about 3 hours of playing around on my drums.



I’m starting to get serious about buying a newer vehicle.  I’m driving a 2002 Camry every day and have a 2004 minivan for my kayak (and hauling stuff).  The van comes in handy, but it seems wasteful to have it only for occasional use given the cost of insurance and property taxes on it.  I could sell both of them and buy a RAV4 – with a roof rack for hauling my kayak.  Too many cars...what a terrible first-world problem to have.

It’s 4:33 in the morning.  I caught a nasty cold on Christmas Eve and took cold medicine last night thinking that sleeping would be easier if my nose wasn’t running all night.  Silly me.  My nose isn’t running, but sleep is out of the question.  I’d go play my drums but Someone is asleep and has to get up for work in a few hours.  I will wait.  Perhaps now would be a good time to do some real work...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Tis the season


Tis the season.  I love Christmas despite all the extra work that goes with this time of year.  For some odd reason, I’m ahead of schedule.  It is only December 10, and already the outside lights are up, the stockings are hung, wreaths affixed to doors, some presents ordered and delivered (not wrapped), and the Christmas tree is well under way.  Only a few more boxes of shit to hang on the tree, and then we’re done with decorating.  No, really there’s no “shit” on the tree, but I was asking myself this morning (as I was hanging box after box of ornaments), is all this shit really necessary?  It all comes down in just a few weeks.  It seems like a tremendous waste of time and energy...but it’s what we always do.  I do it only because it’s what we always do.

My favorite part of decorating is setting out the nativity set.  It’s not that I’m a very religious person – I am most definitely not.  But the nativity represents the reason for the season, and this nativity set is marvelous (in my opinion, at least...and that’s the only one I care about).  It’s got everything, except for I wish there were more animals.  For some reason, that just sparked an idea...a nativity where all the figures are cats.  That would sell.

Gloria - our little nativity
  
One would think we could invite friends and family over soon, but we have a mess in the family room, which is our primary living space.  I bought a new couch and love seat three months ago.  It was delivered a month ago.  For the past month, we have two couches and two love seats in our family room because NOBODY in this part of the world can be hired to haul away a load of unwanted shit.  The room is FULL of furniture because it’s a small room – none of the rooms in this house are large.  I have tried HomeAdvisor, checked Craig’s List and Facebook MarketPlace, solicited Facebook friends who have sons, advertised at the community college and two high schools, called three numbers in the local paper for people who claim they will do manual labor and odd jobs, and nobody wants the job of hauling two pieces of furniture to the dump – name your price.  Evidently, our economy is booming and nobody needs money.

It’s OK.  I have a plan and a minivan.  I will cut off the fabric to expose the furniture skeletons, then dismember them into manageable pieces.  This will happen right in the family room since Someone is unwilling to help me move these monstrosities.  Someone likes to brag about carrying two 40-pound buckets of rocks up the side of a mountain in his Spartan races the past two summers, but ask him to do some practical heavy lifting, and he’s worried about hurting his back.  When it’s all said and done, hopefully there will only be sawdust and perhaps some splinters to clean up (if a saw will not suffice, we have an axe). 

Perhaps I will start this endeavor tonight during Someone’s favorite activity – watching Monday night football on the big screen (in our little family room).  Does that sound a bit passive-aggressive?  It might be that if I cut the pieces small enough and bundle them well, the garbage men may haul it all away bit-by-bit.  I could set out a bundle (or two) every week, and put all the cushions and stuffing in large black garbage bags. No trip to the dump!  I’ll just store all the debris on Someone’s side of the garage until it’s all gone.  I’m sure he won’t mind.

Monday, November 12, 2018

opportunity knocked


Things are fixing to change dramatically for KYLady come January.  She was offered a full-time position, and she accepted.  Heck, why not?  Classified as full time she will earn a mucho larger paycheck (like really, no comparison), and she will not be working very many more hours at all...at least that is her expectation...we will see.  In the background, KYLady has been mulling over whether or not this is really a good idea given that her dream-job scenario was to work full time fully online so that she would not be tied to a specific workplace and worktime.   She has decided to move that goal to the back-burner for now. 
Life is...
With all the mental background angst floating around about this favorable opportunity and decision to grab it up, I conjured a nightmare in my sleep last night.  I dreamed I was back working at Big Oil in our little cubicles (before the last remodel while I was there).  The big room where the cubes were set up was much dimmer and dirtier than it had been in reality.  The cubicle walls had spray-painted graffiti on them.  Boxes were stacked up everywhere inside and outside the cubicles, there was trash and pop cans laying all around on the floor, and I had to step over a sea of keyboards to get to my cubicle.  I walked into the room and heard my phone ringing (don’t ask me how I knew it was my phone, I just knew).  As I was rushing to get to my cube, Steve (a former co-worker) barked at me to be careful not to step on his keyboards.  Fortunately, I woke up before I could see inside my cubicle...I didn’t want to see it. 

I don’t know what PTSD is like for somebody who has it, but it’s very unpleasant for me to think about going back to that time and place.  It was very stressful work environment in the cubes.  Before our company was taken over by the “Other Company”, we had offices in that space with floor-to-ceiling walls, and doors that could be shut.  The “Other Company” supervisors came down for a visit and declared that our work environments (offices) were not appropriate.  Our space was being leased, so they instructed the building managers to move us to another floor and remodel our area to be more like the spaces at the “Other Company’” headquarters – Cubicle City.  “Other Company” even moved used  cubicle walls and office furniture to our place so that we could be EXACTLY like them...only worse because we got their old stuff left over from their last remodel.  The cubicle walls and chairs reeked of cigarette smoke.

As if that weren’t bad enough, they set up the cubicles in the center of the giant room, far away from the windows which were marvelous floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a lake and woods.  They were also placed with very-narrow aisles between the cubicles...tight and cozy.  If you talked while standing up, your voice echoed in this big area.  The noise level from phones ringing, conference calls, and people talking was insufferable...it puts a knot in my stomach to just write about it!



After corporate managers visited and blessed our new workspace, we moved the cubicles over toward the window so that some of us could have a view, and we put more space between the aisles.  It was still very noisy, but a bit more tolerable.  About two years before I retired, an engineering group wanted to move in with us.  They completely remodeled the entire floor, giving us offices again.  Thank the Lord!   

I am looking forward to a better paycheck.  It’s not that I’m hurting for money since retiring, but more that it’s been a self-imposed austerity program for me since summer of 2016 (until I start collecting Social Security and my pensions).  As soon as I was offered the job, I began thinking of things to buy – a new phone, a new laptop, and a new used-car. (The dealers always refer to those as pre-owned).  I see no reason to buy a brand-new car ever again...it’s kind of a waste of money considering how quickly they depreciate, not the mention the insurance and property tax on them.      

University #1 is winding down for the semester...just a few weeks to go.  University #2 is currently suffering from low enrollment.  The work I’m doing for them just now is negligible.  At some point, I may have to decide to cut the cord with them (so to speak).  For now, I’ll linger and see what happens.