Sunday, February 25, 2007

That Patch of Green

Evenings are slowly becoming lighter but the air still breathes a chill. Spring is biding her time, gaining strength. Warm chinooks have already begun to blow and seemingly overnight the snow shrank away and ran like a river to the sea. The yard is a sodden mess, the snow having laid upon it so long it is like a seeping sponge. What a thrill to see green grass again. Alas, the excitement was short lived, as the ground was soon covered in snow again. The wild winds of March have begun blustering. Soon, days of unrelenting hurricaine gale force winds will drive out the lingering brown, dead, winter air and suck the excess moisture from the earth. I've had enough winter. Had enough cold. Had enough ice. In desperation, (and inspiration for this blog) I snapped photos of anything green or spring like to make me feel better. Like my clump of fiber optic grass I've been wintering in the house. AKA bird's nest grass. It can't take the cold, so I've had a bit of beach in the house with me all winter. I do have two little miniature African violets triumphantly thumbing their noses, err..leaves at Old Man Winter.

Valentines Day has come and gone, and my lovely dozen of red roses has gone to compost, but my gift from Mike looks at me with a rather pucker faced expression from the glass fronted cupboard constantly. I got a fishbowl. A bowl that is a fish. Get it? Funny. Came from the Great Indoors. Too cute.

Concentrating all my efforts on making my house green. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Kermit the frog was wrong. Being green is easier than you think.

"Sea green," or "see green" depending on how you look at it...

Ordered up additional bins for recycling. Was pleasantly surprised to discover Hefty one zip bags are recyclable, as are most plastic boats my meat comes in. The Little Cesar dog food and Yoplait yogurt cups are as well. Pledge duster handles can be recycled. Cool. Was very disappointed to discover several "organic" products came in packaging completely devoid of that earth friendly triangle. Since I had to empty the kitchen sink cupboard for the faucet repair, I went through all my products and even got rid of some. Trying to use cloth instead of paper towels for cleaning. Now that's hard. Is so much more preferable to wipe down the toilet and imagine all those nasty things being tossed away in the trash rather than having to handle it in the laundry. Blech. Caldrea products are on my counter now and they work far better than their grocery story equivalents. Have become devoted user of Lush products. Both are all natural, vegetarian, vegan and in no way ever used on animals. My skin has never looked better. At the age of 47 I have finally found something to shrink my pores. (if you desire more info on either of these product lines LMK)

I have always been an obsessive light turner outer, but now have added shutting down all computers and other electronic devices when not in use. TV, DVD player, stereo, etc. to save additional pounds of carbon dioxide from escaping into the air. One tree can absorb one ton of CO2 over its lifetime. If all mine survive the winter, and we added six, that's six tons of CO2 removed from the air over the next several years. My contribution to the earth may be small, but if everyone does their best, the quantity of good would be significant. AND, thank you to everyone who responded to my email and sent postcards to Washington for the upcoming hearings on global warming.

Feel the green. Celebrate spring and St. Patrick's day. Drink green koolaide and eat fish and chips. Fish and chips are way better than corn beef and cabbage, and anyway, no one in Ireland really eats that stuff. Yuk. Go rent The Quiet Man, Far and Away, The Devils Own, The Matchmaker or Father Ted. Add a lilt to your voice and a shamrock to your button hole. This is the melting pot, America. Everyone has a bit of the green in them somewhere. My mother said the Scottish and Irish she had in her was what made her interesting. Well, it certainly made her a firecracker. It may have been diluted to a weak Irish tea by the time I got it, but I cling to it nonetheless.

Just returned from seeing Mike off at the sky ride for the airport. He is off to Alabama for a hazardous materials course. Will be exposed to several toxic substances. Am trying not to think he could be at any kind of real risk. Suppose he could come back as some kind of radioactive super hero with a spandex suit and start glowing in the dark, but rather doubt it. The girls and I are on our own, and right out of the box my car is dead as a doornail. Must call a tow truck to haul its carcass to the mechanic in the morning. I think the car is getting back at me for thinking about shopping for a hybrid.

Days continue to be eaten by the house monster. Gobble gobble and still the scrapbook pile gathers dust and the sewing remains undone. Did get a handyman to come in and get several jobs done. Shade has been hung over the kitchen sink just in time, as the morning sun is growing stronger each day. Will no longer need to wear sunglasses and grope blindly for the coffeemaker each morning. The kitchen faucet having gone completely wonky, traveling at will around the sink is once again grounded. How nice to have a husband for hire! Simply hand over "honey do" list and credit card.

Watched the Oscars. Dresses were lovely, event boring, but Inconvenient Truth one best documentary and song. And Happy Feet best animated film. Excellent! Brings global warming to even more people's attention. Can't help wondering how much Bush must be seething over all this...bad Julie, it is wrong to wish bad juju on others, karma will come back and smack you on the side of the head. Oh hell, it already did, with a $800 + car bill! Barely survived the week driving Mike's Ford Focus. Shifting, shifting, tippy toe trying to get clutch in. If someone offered me a car free, I would refuse it if it was a stick. Darling PT Cruiser was finally back in the bosom of family on Thursday.

Submerged myself in the office and completed a scrapbook page for the pet book. Had to wear a face mask because of the accumulated dust. This is quite a breakthrough after months of staring at the piles and wondering what would topple first. Rather momentous event as it was becoming dangerous in there. This will be Dusty's entry. Sobbed my way through writing his bio. How will I ever get through this album? Have decided I must set aside time to scrap each day like I set aside time to knit.

And, speaking of knitting, Beth and I are
embarking on the great Icelandic sweater knit-a-long.
Ok, there are only three of us on the trip,
the guide and two trekkers, but we've ordered our Lopi yarn, and are hoping for something resembling this when we finish.

For those friends who have followed the Loincloth Butler story, the movie 300 opens at last this Friday, March 9th. Have bought my tickets in advance for the IMAX screening. If I'm going to see the Loincloth Butler nude, I want it to be on the big screen. Have never managed to sit through any IMAX film without getting nauseous from motion sickness. Since this film doesn't involve planes flying through canyons or stampeding herds of wildebeasts on the African plains, maybe I'll be ok. Here's hoping all those six pack toting Spartans keep my brain distracted and I can keep my popcorn down. -Tigerlily

Thursday, February 01, 2007

In The Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

The days are long, cold and dark. At this dullest and brownest and bleakest time of year there is little to perk interest. Not work inducing weather. Find myself more desirious of sitting swathed in blankets clutching a cup of something hot than doing anything constructive. Knitting is always appropriate while storms rage. Have made a great start on the Wing of Moth shawl and am also cabling my heart out on Teampal Breachain hat. Got a ball winder and umbrella swift for Christmas and find winding hanks into balls great fun.

Here is the Moth laying in my Boston fern, trying to look moth-like. Below is a closeup of the fir cone design of the first shawl segment.

Movement equals warmth, so I began the new year with cleaning out closets and cupboards. Clothing, books, cd's, etc. were boxed and sent off to Goodwill. Next, I set myself the task of washing all the plantation shutters. Washing the shutters involved getting out the ladder, which in turn led to vacuuming up insect corpses and wiping up the windowsills, and after all that I figured I might as well go for broke and wash the windows too. Limited myself to one room or 3 windows or so a day. Sounds rather pathetic until one takes in the 10 foot ceilings and the size and number of windows. After three days the main floor is finished. Had thought that by keeping things bite size I wouldn't send the fibromyalgia screaming and would still have part of each day to do something easy like scrapbook. Failed right away. Daily duties became herculean. Kept dinners simple and hobbled to couch to sit and atrophy in pain each evening. I feel very old and rather crisp. Something always goes crunch when I move. Next week: upstairs.

Five weeks of Friday snowstorms. Temperatures dropped to zero and below, and hung about in the single digits for a week. Then things warmed up to the twenties, a virtual heatwave. Was able to shed two layers of clothing and actually wear only one shirt at a time. Douglas County took advantage of every clear day to work on streets and sidewalks. A very large plow broke its blade on the ice lake in front of our house. Didn't feel one pang of guilt as it was Shea's fault for creating the blockage by pushing all the model home snow up against the fence on the opppsite side. With nowhere to go, water from melting snow all the way up the hill backed up at our house. Two days later Shea Homes was out clearing the sidewalk. When yelling at the HOA and Shea Homes sales office does not bring results try and have a large and very expensive piece of county equipment break in front of your house. It works wonders.

This week Mother Nature decided to change things up a bit and send the storm on Saturday. Poor Mike was out in the cold again all day Sunday. He snowblowed past the empty lot to the mailboxes in hope of keeping the walk open now that Shea finally plowed the 4 feet of old frozen snow off of it

Mike flew to Portland, Oregon for a three day seminar, and while he was there he rented a car and drove down the coast to Astoria, just for all us Gooney's. This film marked Elisabeth and Sarah's childhood memories. Mine as well. Who hasn't wanted to find pirate treasure? For the fans among you, it is all there. Mikey's house and Data's, right next door. Cannon Beach, the three rocks, Astoria Museum...everything just as you remember. Please visit Beth's blog to read her entry and see the pictures.

Just in case you haven't had enough pictures of the bleakness and cold, here is one more.