Friday, May 15, 2020

KYLady is a material girl?

Madonna says that we are living in a material world.  We need only to log into Amazon to see just how material we are, but there are some things you can’t buy on Amazon (and recently, I learned that some things are available on Amazon now that aren’t available directly from the seller...apparently they are currently only in stock in an Amazon warehouse).

Me and Amazon have been spending a lot of time together lately.  It’s not typical for me to go on a spending spree.  My brother told me once that I’m as tight with money as the bark on a tree.  As much as I hate his accusation (perhaps maybe a shaggy bark hickory or sycamore), I do have a very hard time spending money.  Even when there is something needed and the money is readily available, it’s hard for me to decide to spend.  Whether it’s $1, or $100 or $1,000, it’s the same angst.  It’s just how I am.

Anyway, my last kayak trip resulted in two lost kayak parts: plug, and toggle handle.  The handle is a convenience, but the plug is important.  I was unable to get replacements from the manufacturer, so I scoured Amazon and found parts that hopefully will work (they will be delivered I won’t be waiting much longer).  The handle will be fine; the plug is iffy. 

So, while out on Amazon, I found a flour sifter too, and a garden hose, and a sprayer nozzle thingie...and some other stuff.  Then I reordered some things because it was such a good deal and I can use them again.  I suppose it’s no different than walking through WalMart and just picking stuff up and adding it to the cart.  And then I bought two birdfeeders and a bag of dried meal worms.  And then I bought a solar-powered fountain for a birdbath...which is yet to be purchased. 

All that stuff is on it’s way...and it makes me giddy to think we’ll have Christmas in May.  But that’s not all.  Today, I shopped for and purchased a new laptop.  Actually, I’ve been shopping for a new laptop since at least last November.  Mine is approaching six years old.  The paint is worn off E, S, and D.  There are things I can’t do with this laptop (mostly when making instructional videos) because the processor speed is too slow and the video card is too old.  Not only that, this old laptop is 5.5 pounds.  The new one will be less than 4.  That’s not much difference, but when you’re lugging a laptop around for long, it’s a huge difference.  The new machine has an SSD – it will be lightning in comparison to my SATA sloth hard drive.

As if that were not enough thrill for one day, I went to two greenhouses and bought four flats of plants and two pots of columbine.  I can spend an entire day strolling through a greenhouse. Someone declined to come with, thank the good Lord.  He would have been bored to death.  I came home with green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash (something new to try), snapdragons, impatiens, begonias, alyssum, verbena, and zinnias.  I have morning glory, lettuce, and radish seeds to plant, and also, we grow beans and corn from seeds.  I will plant the morning glories this weekend, and start setting out flowers. Someone always wants to wait until June to plant the vegetable seeds – we have to do Myrtle Beach in July every year.  We can’t agree on things in the big mostly it’s his garden because of that.  I did finally convince him last year that watering in the evening causes fungus to grow and ruins everything. 

Beautiful columbine growing wild along the Michael Tygart trail, Greenbo Lake State Park
When the governor opens the state more, Sarah and I are going shopping for my birdbath, and a peony, and perhaps some perennials.  I bought columbine today – these are perennials.  The two I set out last fall (deep discounted because it was end of season) did not survive the winter.  Alas, we will try again. 

The hummingbirds are back and there seems to be many more visiting the feeder this year.  The woodpeckers love sugar water as much as the hummers do.  This year, we are seeing lots of bluebirds in our backyard.  This inspired me to order mealworms and a feeder designed for serving up mealworms.  The birdbath with fountain is for the hummers, but other birds will likely use it.  My son-in-law gifted me with a birdhouse for Christmas – he made it himself.  I hung it early this week which may be too late for this year, but it’s available now for any creature who wants shelter.  I have another birdhouse made out of a gourd.  There might be something nesting in it, but it’s pretty much hidden from view and I haven’t checked it this spring. 

New birdhouse built by my son-in-law
One of the things I love about working from home is filling the bird feeders in the morning and watching the birds and squirrels while working.  That, and spending days with Gracie and Molly makes the best possible work environment.  I’m living the dream, but unfortunately, it's because of the pandemic. 

Miss Molly loves watching birds and squirrels out my window too

Saturday, May 9, 2020

and that's a wrap

Spring 2020 semester for University #1 is done (for me, anyway).  Final grades are calculated and posted, retention forms completed and submitted, and courses closed to student access.  This really was a very successful semester in terms of my students, not that I did anything different this time.  Nobody withdrew from any of my classes – that’s never happened before, and probably never will again!  So, it’s 100% retention and this reflects well on me, though I’ve never felt like I have much control over retention.  Shit happens.  Shit especially seems to happen to people attending University #1.  I am flexible when students come to me with their myriad of unfortunate events and situations, but ultimately, it’s up to them whether or not they deal with stuff and get back on track, or just give up.

Sadly, there are no graduation ceremonies this spring. I hope University #1 will plan a ceremony later in the year, but right now, nothing is planned.  High schools have already commenced in virtual ceremonies.     

Someone and I went on a grand adventure last Saturday.  It was a fabulous spring day – cloudless, 70 degrees – just magnificent!  We met up with some of Someone’s YMCA basketball buddies and their wives for kayaking on Tygart Creek.  I have never been to this creek, but had heard it can be dangerous at times.  Someone assured me it would not be dangerous and his buddies were very familiar with paddling this creek every spring.  I trusted.

Long story short, we parked in a grassy area in the median of the Interstate – between two bridges that cross above Tygart Creek very near the Olive Hill exit.  This, of course, is not good practice...actually, it’s illegal.  We unloaded kayaks and some took their empty trucks to the take-out spot farther downstream, and then one guy brought everyone back.  We tossed kayaks over a security fence – they tumbled roughly to the creek far below.  I must add that it did not please me to have to treat me dear kayak so brutally, but there was really no other way with this location.  Then we climbed over and carefully picked our way down the muddy, rocky, slippery slope to the tall weeds at the edge of the creek.

We put in off the rocks right into white water – this was a virgin experience for me with my kayak in water this rough (about Class 1 rapid...or perhaps something less than Class 2).   I went first and the guys assured me that things got calm around the bend of the creek and I could wait there.  It was exhilarating to say the least, but I made it without issue through the rapids.  When the water calmed, I turned around to watch others come through.  Twenty minutes went by and still nobody came, and then finally, two came through successfully, and then here came Someone paddling hard, too hard, and he flipped over.  His kayak came on downstream and I snagged it.  Someone fought his way over to shore with his paddle.  Two guys worked hard to paddle back up against the current and to take his kayak back to him.  Long story short, Someone had already flipped over several times before I ever saw him.  The water was not deep, fortunately.  To be fair, three others flipped over in those rapids.

Tygart creek is beautiful, but there were trees down across the creek that we had to negotiate, and places where the water was too shallow to paddle.  There are beautiful cliffs in places, waterfalls, and wildlife.  It was great fun, but I didn’t take many photos because mostly I was working to stay upright in white water or watching the creek bed in front of me to avoid getting stuck on trees and rocks.  This was not a leisurely trip, but great fun nonetheless.  Someone had fun despite being wet the whole day.  He borrowed a kayak for this trip.  I think he’ll be wanting to buy one this summer.

Someone ahead of me (in red) on Tygart Creek

We stopped for a break on Tygart Creek (my beauty is lime green)

The pandemic gave me reason to blow the dust off my sewing machine for the purpose to make masks.  The governor of our fair state has ordered/requested all people to wear masks in public staring May 11.  Indeed, the college president has requested that we wear masks starting May 11 if we are coming to campus.  This will be the new norm, it seems.  I made masks for me and Someone, and also for my brother, Erin, and Emily.  Sarah has been making masks for months...she is an expert at making masks by now. 

KyLady in green mask (of course, green)

Miss Erin approves

Also, rather than doing things that desperately need doing (like cleaning house or decluttering), I’ve been baking: cookies, lemon meringue pie from scratch, cinnamon rolls from scratch, and white bread.  None of this is good for us to be eating, but Someone eats the lion’s share (and sometimes the lioness’s share as well).  Someone is an exercise bulimic so it’s OK that he eats so much; he just runs extra miles. 

white bread (recipe makes two loaves)

Lemon meringue pie

Pie after Someone cut himself ONE piece

Cinnamon rolls after Someone had ONE (serving) for breakfast 

Ever since being able to climb stairs after my hip replacement, I’ve been sleeping in a spare bedroom.  It’s really nice having my own space...I’m not sure that I’ll ever rejoin Someone in the master bedroom.  For one reason, I sleep better alone, despite sharing my little bed with Gracie and Molly.  Someone likes to watch TV late into the night.  If he gets up early to run, he flips on lights and rattles around like a bear foraging through garbage cans.  The spare room was Emily’s room at one time.  She selected the paint color, the most God-awful Pepto-Bismol pink that you can imagine.  I changed out the ruffled curtains yesterday, and the next task will be to paint the tiny room something reasonable.  Later this year, I hope to have the entire upstairs refloored.  No more carpet!

Miss Molly Flufftail purrs loudly at night

Gracie does not share the bed well.

No more ruffled curtains in KyLady's house - little girls grew up

It’s time to be scrubbing the porch and setting my houseplants outside, and getting the garden planted.  So much to do, so little time!!  But today is another fabulous, cool spring day.  Someone and I are taking Gracie for a long hike near Grayson Lake today. Play today, work tomorrow.