Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Waxing Moon
Partly sunny and cold
Twelfth Night

Tonight is the last night of Christmas, Twelfth Night, Epiphany, etc. Have you been tracking your dreams? Each dream you’ve had on a particular night corresponds with one of the coming months: First night of Christmas = January, Third Night of Christmas = March, etc., etc.

I haven’t remembered many of my dreams in this period, and I should have written down last night’s so I could analyze. Let’s just say I hope it’s allegorical!

I worked in the morning yesterday again while Imp slept in. Caught up on classes, did some writing, caught up on some other business stuff, did some puttering. There are some students who still haven’t posted the first assignment, which is now two days late with the next assignment due tomorrow. Don’t whine at me about time: I’m teaching two classes, keeping up with my own writing, continuing my yoga and meditation practices, turning around a couple of short assignments that arrived unexpectedly, entertaining an out-of-town visitor who’s never been to this area, planning and throwing a party, dealing with continued house-move stuff, and fighting a cold (I’ll let the cold win for a few days next week, after I’m back; right now, there are things I need to do, and I’m keeping it at bay).

We finally got out of the house around noon and ran our errands. Pretty much everything was geared to the party. Picked up a few pieces I needed (and, no, it’s not just because they’re still packed). Stopped at Border’s to use our gift cards and Border’s Bucks — picked up a few things that look interesting, couldn’t find a book I really wanted, but got a new release for my mom by her favorite author. Grocery and liquor shopping — we did very well in both, I must say. We got some more ice melt in because there’s another storm coming, heading to my favorite hardware store in Osterville and catching up with the owner.

Then we went on the Eternal Lawnmower Quest, which is how I’m starting to think about it. Sears has lawn mowers on sale, but not what’s going to really work for me. We had a very nice sales guy helping us, who basically thinks we should wait until March or April when the new shipment of good ones come in, that will only be about $40 more, but be something with which I’ll be more comfortable. They’re trying to get rid of what’s left here, and the dregs of the season aren’t really what’s going to work in this case. Of course, I’m drawn the most to the one with NO engine, but I was convinced that would get real old real fast.

Cooked dinner, caught up on classes, watched HUMAN TARGET. Jackie Earle Haley continues to be wonderful in it — I’m starting to think he can make almost anything work. The scripts are all over the place, very uneven, and the series lost a lot of its internal logic. I understand a new showrunner coming in, wanting to take the show in a completely different direction, etc., but the fact is that the writing this season is very weak, and we need arcs set up last season resolved, not ignored. Even the episode that supposedly resolved a character arc from last year was way off the mark. It feels like it’s got too many cooks in there spoiling the broth during note sessions and meetings. I may not have always agreed with its vision last season — but at least it had one. The female series regulars they added in this year just aren’t strong enough. A lot of it is the writing, but JEH is making some of the weak writing work, so the rest of them need to step up, or they’ll all be going home. There are some really good ideas and action sequences, but the execution is getting weaker and weaker.

Off to catch up on classes, then I have some baking to do for tonight, some food prep, and cleaning. To answer both Lara and Teresa’s questions — yes, I sprinkle dried lavender and dried peppermint on the carpets, leave it for at least 15 minutes, and then vacuum it up. It leaves the scent of mingled lavender and peppermint.

I better get the writing and classes caught up on, because the rest of the day is party prep. The only thing we have to do this afternoon is get ice and flowers.

Devon