Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mission accomplished!

Liza's resolution for 2011 was to finally lose a tooth, and she managed it just in the nick of time!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best Christmas Vignette ever

Yes, that's the Wright Brothers airplane attacking a beribboned dinosaur that's eating a miniature Yosemite Sam. On my Christmas tree. This is why I can't leave the room when Liza and Jason are near the tree ...

Christmas shopping

"These would be perfect for Grandma!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Like icing on the neighborhood

Friday we had enough snow to make everything look pretty, which conveniently melted off by 10 am. My kind of snow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rocky River Reservation

It looks like any river ...

Until you take a look around and realize that it took tens of thousands of years to erode down this far ...

The wet spring (and summer ... and fall) have rearranged the topography (and trees):

The maple trees were looking pretty good in the brief dry spell we had today.

There were lots of nice new rocks (and tumbled glass, and pottery shards) to skip across the water (and bring home in pockets):

Is it any wonder I'm landscaping my backyard to look like this park?  All I need now is a sycamore tree ... because I love sycamores:

Don't you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You know you have too many fossils when ...

The highway department uses these to make the steps down to a fishing spot next to the highway:

Ah, Brookville Lake - you're just filthy with fossils.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's comin' right at me!

In Metamora, IN, long after the last train of the day.


I'll steer, you drive.
Around here, if you want to be a ninja for Halloween, you'd better step up to the sewing machine and help out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Our little patient

I can't believe how well-behaved she is during her subcutaneous fluid treatments, which involve being stuck with a large needle between her shoulder blades and having a baseball-sized pocket of cold fluid pumped into her body over the course of 5-10 minutes.  She hasn't once hidden and tried to avoid the trip to the vet, or attempted to get away during treatment, or done anything other than try to snuggle continuously with me for the rest of the day after the treatment is done.  She squawks a bit when the fluid starts to flow, then just sits there and takes it without any restraint or coercion.  She really is a best-case scenario for the temperament of a cat I'm going to have to treat at home from now on.

Wish me luck with doing this on my own tomorrow morning!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A list

Fun and exciting things I was supposed to be doing tomorrow instead of taking my cat Bella to the vet to start treating her chronic renal failure:

  1. Calling contractors to get bids to waterproof my basement
  2. Installing another dozen bags of topsoil to improve the drainage away from our foundation
  3. Fighting with the postal service web site to print postage for some eBay sales
  4. Sweeping up cat litter and mopping up cat pee in our basement
  5. Scheduling a carpet cleaning for the whole house (which we've needed since, um, 2008)
Oh, fuck the list.  My favorite cat is sick.  I feel bad because I put off taking her to the vet so long that he described her as "a few days away from 'emaciated,'" (and even I admit that four and a half pounds is a bit of a scary weight for a whole cat) and I'm scared that the treatment for her condition either won't work or will be such a pain to keep up that we'll prove our selfishness and get rid of her because she's become massively inconvenient.  

Let's just look at pics of how awesome she is, and try not to think about how much subcutaneous hydration and phosphorus binders and special diets are going to cost. 

Look!  It's the World's Most Patient Cat!

She lets loud strangers stack things on her!

She wears baby headbands with dignity!

She can sleep anywhere!

But she prefers to do so on my chest if I'm anywhere near horizontal for more than 1.3 seconds!

Get better, Bella-chan.  We love you, and we don't want you to be such a Teeny Zucchini anymore.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Harvest day!

Below you'll see the last of the carrots we grew in a deep flower pot on our front sidewalk, some of the tomatoes I'm growing next to the black-eyed Susans and daylilies in our front yard, and the first of our potato crop.

Yes, I said "potato crop."

We tried out the "potato condo" approach with a couple eyes cut from a grocery store potato, and I can't wait until Liza gets home from school so we can find out how many more potatoes are hiding in the little container we used.

On the first day of school, my daughter gave to me ...

... time to take a long shower, vacuum all the carpets, wash the kitchen floor, finish canning barbecue sauce, clean up the kitchen, clean up the house, harvest a bunch of vegetables, and go out to fancy lunch with a friend.

But enough about me - the first day of school is about the kid, right?

Liza was sort of nervous about going in to school today, despite the fact that she's in the same school building, has met her teacher multiple times and thinks he's really cool, had a chance to set up her desk, and met (and held) Murray the classroom pet lizard.  Heck, on open house day we even found out her desk is right NEXT to Murray - and the unnamed hermit crabs - which is the coolest thing ever if you're in first grade (and aren't squicked out by lizards), according to Liza.


And yet still with the anxiety and the not sleeping and the waking me up five times last night and the not wanting to get out of bed this morning.  Hooray for acting like a normal kid on the night before a big event!  No tears, and she walked down to the bus stop and got on the bus like a trooper.

She'll be home in about an hour, and I can't wait to hear how it went.  She might not get around to talking about it until 8pm, but it'll come out eventually :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's a good day when you can quote Zoolander

Billy Zane: Hey, Derek, back on top, man.
Derek Zoolander: Thanks, Billy. You rock.
Billy Zane: No, you rock. When you gonna drop Magnum on us, buddy?
Derek Zoolander: Not yet. You gotta tame the beast before you let it out of its cage. 

Liza took care of Magnum on our trip to Cedar Point last week.
It's one of the two roller coasters she was tall enough to ride but was scared to try.  Can't imagine why ...

We did Millennium Force, too, thus completing all the coasters she's tall enough to ride.

Having completed Magnum and Millennium, we decided to work on our own version of Blue Steel.

I think we pulled if off pretty well, don't you?

(yes, we both got our hair cut short, yes, we picked matching purple shirts on purpose, and no, she's not really that tall, she's standing on a stool so we could get the shot without me being all hunched over and weirder looking than normal)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why you should go to Mackinac Island on vacation, even if you don't stay in the Grand Hotel

The hotel may have geraniums, but the rest of the island has hollyhocks (and lilacs in the spring) and gorgeous gardens planted in front yards and tucked away next to stables.

They've got a giant rock with a hole in it.

They've got lots of rocks, as a matter of fact.  So many that tourists have taken to leaving behind cairns just about everywhere, on land and off shore.

Bring some water shoes (the shore's mostly smooth stones, but they still hurt to walk on barefoot) so you can wade around in the absurdly clear water.  You probably don't want to swim, though - the lake never gets that warm.

You don't have to fight your way through crowds to get to the water, either, like you do in traditional beach towns.

They don't allow motorized vehicles on the island, so even the delivery trucks are pretty quiet.

Two butterfly houses.  'Nuff said.

Hiking up to the fort is good exercise, and they stuck a nice restaurant up there to give the non-history-fans something to look forward to.

There's another fort that hardly anybody visits that doesn't have a restaurant, but it's cool anyway.

It's almost always windy somewhere on the island, so it's always Kite Time.

Did I mention the cairns?

No cars = lots of bikes available to rent, even tandem ones set up for a little stoker.

The clouds make it all scenic and stuff.

Did I mention it's a bit windy?

It's an island and there's no bridge, so you have to take a ferry (or a small private plane) to get to there.

Well, there is a bridge, but it doesn't go to the island, it goes to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  But it's all scenic and stuff, too.

So basically, you go to Mackinac Island to enjoy a slower pace of life with scenic vistas, cool breezy weather, and places of historic interest.  And rocks.  And fudge.  And letterboxing, but that's a post in itself.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I am now one step closer to dying happy

So here it is: the hotel I've been waiting to stay in since 1970-something.

This is the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI.

It's all old and fancy and stuff, with eccentricities and a dress code.

It's so fancy, even your luggage gets to ride in a carriage from the dock to the hotel.

Even the retired ashtrays are fancy.

There's plenty to do - you can kick back on the world's longest porch.

Or splash around in a pool that was once used by Esther Williams.

You can engage in civilized sports, like croquet and bocce.

If you have lots of time, you can try to count how many geraniums are planted at the hotel.

You can play "spot-the-geraniums" everywhere you go, since they're on everything - posters, napkins, hand soap, even the furniture.

Not pictured: Eating a ridiculously expensive breakfast while practicing our best manners and being called "Princess" and "Milady."  Being carded - seriously - to prove we're guests and don't have to pay $10 to enter the hotel.  Listening to the harpist in the lobby while playing Oven Break on the iPod.  Taking the stairs rather than the elevator because we though it looked more elegant.  Trying to refrain from taking ALL of the geranium-scented bath products in our room to send to my mother.  Watching the hotel photographer taking shots each night on the porch, and being glad we raised our own photographer and brought her with us.

Jason was stuck in a conference room all day, but ironically he probably enjoyed more of the hotel amenities (especially breakfast and lunch) than Liza and I did.  We girls spent most of our time out and about, not learning about "lean innovation" and networking over lunch at the Jockey Club.  But everything we did do at the hotel more than lived up to my hopes and expectations. It was fancy, and sorta stuffy, and hilarious, and awesome.  I'd go back again in a heartbeat ... especially if Jason has another conference there someday!