Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bookstore Block and Almost Forgetting My Anniversary

Don't you hate it when you have a mental list of books that you want, until the minute you set foot into a bookstore and then you draw a complete blank? I happened to me again this week. My stack of unread books had dwindled to zero. I had about twenty minutes to kill before my haircut appointment yesterday, so I stopped into the Book Nook, a used bookstore near my workplace. I walk in, say "howdy" to the guys at the register, and stride purposefully to the science fiction section... and then instantly lose my focus. Can't think of anything that I want. *sigh* Why does that happen?

I ended up simply going with some old classics, mostly. Nothing newer than 1987, and some stuff dating back to the 50s. You can't really go wrong with Asimov and Bradbury. I also picked up a Haldeman, somebody else I had never heard of, and I loosened enough mental cobwebs to remember to get Seventh Son, which I wanted because PDM has the whole Alvin Maker series except that first one and I like to begin at the beginning. I probably would have fared better if I had not had a deadline. I can spend hours in a bookstore - used or new. Next time...

My absent-mindedness is growing to epic proportions. I do hope it is a temporary side effect of the "all work no play" (and no wine) regime. Last weekend PDM asked me where I wanted to go for dinner on Thursday night. I gave him a puzzled look and shrugged. Thursday night? WTF? We don't usually plan that far ahead. He laughed and told me to "quit being such a guy." And then it hit me -- our anniversary! It wasn't even on my radar. I'm glad he said something. Between work (with a big software upgrade looming for this weekend) and studying for the board exam, I hadn't even thought of this. There's no guarantee I would have remembered on my own. Yeesh!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Close Encounters of the Fowl Kind

feeding the babies

There's been a lot of fowl play around my place this weekend. This bird house is on the side of the carport. There is another one hanging from a branch in the back yard. Both have been taken over by wrens. This is a vast improvement over their choice last year of raising a family in my hanging flower basket. Mama bird would fly out abruptly and scare the crap out of me every time I watered the plant (very carefully avoiding the nest), even though I was expecting it (except for the first time, when I wasn't).

I haven't seen the babies, but I'd say they're getting bigger and hungrier. They sure do make a ruckus when mama bird flies in with some vittles. And I'm not the only one who has noticed the cheeping of the chicks. Zima has taken to hanging out on top of PDM's truck, parked in the carport adjacent to the birdhouse. I give it about 50-50 odds that one day she takes a flying leap for it. The odds would be higher if she wasn't 14 years old. She'll probably just sleep on the truck cab and dream about catching the birdies. If we were letting Moxy outside, she would be all over it. Moxy used to climb the tree and literally go out on a limb to mess with the other bird house earlier in the spring.

The neighborhood hawk attempted to land on a tree branch across the street this morning, but he broke it. For some reason, this made me laugh. Maybe he needs some avian Slim Fast. He quickly flew over to the power lines in front of my house. I got one photo of him before he flew away, but it didn't have enough magnification to see much of anything. Darn it!

Our hummingbirds have grown fiesty. For a while, they would visit the feeders one at a time. Very calm, no fighting, no competition. Now there are at least two going at it. It is much more entertaining. Aerial acrobatics galore, and twice the sighting potential. Now that they have goaded each other into being all territorial, they've grown much bolder about the non-bird "challengers", such as humans and cats, and even yellow jackets. I cracked up yesterday when Moxy and one of the hummers were having a "face off" through the kitchen window. Moxy was chittering and pawing the window and that little bird was holding his ground and getting all up in Moxy's face. Today the bird did the same thing to PDM through the window, mirroring his every move. I hope he doesn't get attacked by the killer hummingbird while he is outside grilling our steaks tonight.

And now the gang's all here! I just erased the bit I wrote about the barred owls being the only regulars who didn't show up for all the bird action this weekend. It is half an hour before sunset, and the owls just started calling to each other. I can't see them, but they sound like they're pretty close.

BAT UPDATE: PDM called around, and it turns out that bats are protected here until August 15, in order to let them complete their nesting season unmolested. So we can't do anything about them until then. We've decided to mount a bat box on the house close to the vents that they are currently using to get into the attic. That spot is ideal for bats, which is probably why we have them in the attic to begin with. They'll be able to continue ridding our yard of skeeters and we'll get our attic back.

Friday, July 25, 2008


dreamy moxy

Things have calmed down over the last twenty four hours, and I feel as mellow as Moxy looks here. Two cups of chamomile and citrus tea will do that for you. The headache is finally gone and that makes a huge difference in my attitude. It is difficult to avoid being bitchy when you are in pain for several days straight! It feels so good to be rid of a migraine. My good mood today bordered on silliness, and it seemed to be catching on with others around me.

More training is scheduled at work tomorrow, and it continues into next week. I'll take it one session at a time, and try to save a little room in my schedule for surreptitiously goofing off. One advantage to having a dual monitor setup on the work computer is that you can have work up on the more visible one and slip in some extracurricular activities on the other. Besides, I need something to do while I'm waiting on the computer to finish a long calculation.

Have yourselves a swell weekend. It won't be hard for you to top mine (unless you are moving or getting a root canal) - I will have my head in the books again for two days of marathon study sessions. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It was inevitable.

Yesterday - home sick with migraine (a rare event, me taking a sick day).

Today - worked in spite of dull headache. New equipment training session sprung on me. Was miserable.

Bailed out as soon as I could, and went home to crash. High winds and a power outage woke me up abruptly. A thunderstorm soon followed. The power outage is widespread. I'm irritated because it is hot in the house, and dark. I had planned to have some down time this evening, but sitting around in a hot, dark house is not what I had in mind.

So now I'm at the pub (but not drinking - I cut way back because of studying). Had a hot meal and a club soda and feel marginally better. There is air conditioning, computer access, good eats, trivia and TVs, and a few of our friends are here. But I just sit here huddled over my laptop, not feeling very social. PDM keeps trying to make me feel better, and I keep disappointing him by being non-responsive. I'm stressed and crabby and tired. There is a huge weight on my shoulders and this is not going to change until after my test. I just want to be left alone. (And fed. I like it when he cooks me a nice dinner.) It doesn't help that we keep getting new stuff at work - a major software upgrade next week, plus lots of new hardware. I have to learn all that stuff during the day, then go home and study all of the test material. Some days it is too much.

And if I haven't driven all of my readers away with my pity party post, I promise to post about something other than my stupid test next time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Four more weeks, err, make that five

The cats study physics with me.
Counting down to my board exam. Second of three. I've got cabin fever, but I feel guilty if I am not studying, working, eating or sleeping. Argh!! As usual, the cats are always willing to offer feline assistance, whether you want it or not.

OK, break's over. Back to work!

UPDATED 7/22 because I am stupid and cannot count. It was five weeks from last weekend. Duh.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Caption Contest!

moxy, mid leap

Thank God It's Friday... Again.

Caption contest -- give it your best shot. The real story is that we were hanging a picture in the kitchen. Moxy thought that the wall anchors looked like bugs, and went after them. Again and again. What can we say? The cats like chasing bugs. Real or imaginary. Doesn't much matter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not Feelin' the Love

It's not even August and I am already irritated by our local newspaper's coverage of college football. Last week the online poll asked who would win more games, UGA or Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons combined. Hmm, maybe they should ask which team will have more members arrested. UGA is number 7 on the latest Fulmer Cup list. Go team.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bat Country includes my attic. While I appreciate the fact that the bats spend their time eating mosquitos, I'm not exactly thrilled at the prospect of my attic filling up with bat guano. And I am wondering if they are the reason the attic fan isn't working very well.

Any ideas how to encourage them to find another place to roost? Should I get a bat house?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who's afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?

How 'bout a Big Bad Wolf Omelet for Sunday morning breakfast? PDM makes beautiful omelets. (When I try to make omelets, everything gets mangled and I end end up making "scrambled eggs with stuff in it".) Today's treat hardened my arteries just looking at it. But who cares about that when it is this delicious? And now I'm nearly comatose. Time for a nap...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Happy 43rd, PDM!

It wouldn't be a birthday around here without the gift of geeky T-shirts. Here was today's haul:

* A.I.Y.C.F.O.W.T.A.M.Y.M.B.A.G.O.S.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kinda Sorta Catblogging

fun with wine

OK, I do not usually buy wine* because of the label, but this one caught my eye (and I needed a white wine for a shrimp recipe). I'm not super particular about white wines, preferring reds, and I do not really have a white wine favorite. Add to that the feeling that what I do at work some days feels an awful lot like herding cats, and you have made a sale. Used a few tablespoons for cooking and we drank the rest (which was not bad). Then I had a little fun with Photoshop Elements.

Happy Friday, everyone.

*This was a 2007 Herding Cats Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay blend from South Africa. I had low expectations (having purchased it on a whim, because of the label), and was pleasantly surprised. My caveat - I am a red drinker. I probably wouldn't know a great white if it popped out of the bottle and did a genie dance.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Strix varia

barred owl on a branch

We had a visitor this evening just before a thunderstorm rolled in. I still hear the barred owls once in a while, but I haven't seen any of them in weeks. They are tough to spot in the dense summer vegetation unless they perch in a very conspicuous spot, as this one did tonight. This branch is a familiar hunting spot for both the owls and a hawk that comes around now and then. Lucky for us it is directly in front of the back porch, and the birds don't seem to mind us quietly watching them.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


The blog turns two today.

Once again, I will thank all of you who read and comment here. You are the reason that this is fun. I have enjoyed the friendships that have developed over the past two years (and much earlier for those of you from FMD and SSD).

Two years ago, I was in the summer doldrums and going a little bit crazy trying to study for Part 1 of my board exams. Back then I was posting about stuff like Dilberty things at work, laughably annoying and incompetent people I used with work with, how it never rains here (the big drought was just getting started then, and I had no idea I'd still be bitching about it two years later), and of course books, TV, and movies. Catblogging started very early on, as did LL complaining about the cat pictures. But wait! There's more! Top ten lists, bizarre "research" into odd subjects, and shameless YouTube filler posts. There was also a generous helping of the habits, hazards, and just plain goofiness of ordinary living.

Two years on, I'm in the doldrums of summer, studying for Part 2 of my board exam, still not getting enough rain, and posting about the same old crap as in 2006. You would think that doing something for two years would involve getting better at it, but sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case here. Maybe the third year's the charm?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day


Happy 4th, y'all!

Oh, and just for LL: red white and blue

Well, it IS Friday, you know. And Zima looks good in red, white and blue!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


We were up in north Georgia this past weekend for PDM's 25th year high school reunion. It was a casual affair - BYOB - so we stopped by the local liquor store first. Got carded. The clerk was visibly shocked when he looked at my license, and said so. Twas very flattering...

And strange when we got there, how varied a group of nearly-the-same-age folks could look. PDM still looks young for his age. Some of his classmates were not so lucky. It makes me wonder how much is luck or genetics, and how much is lifestyle. Neither of us smokes or gets much sun exposure, particularly on our faces. It seems to make a big difference.