Monday, June 17, 2013

Liebe Schwester

My sister Eve died on Saturday after a year of living with increasingly debilitating illness from stomach cancer. She was 42 years old. My parents were with her. Words cannot express my sadness at her life being cut short like this. Thanks to the kindness of my cousin & Matt's coworkers, who all donated airmiles, we are able to fly at short notice to be there for the funeral, and to support my parents.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Flopsy, or Peter?

This is a pretty common scene when I get home from work these days. After the months-long excavation and repair of the sprinkler system Matt got all the leaks patched, I figured out the timing system, and we got the grass seed in place in early January. It has taken off fairly well, there's a lot of clover in there too, but regular mowing is allowing the grass to take hold more. The rabbits seem to enjoy munching on lawn clippings right after we mow. Not shown: a trail of bare spots from gopher burrowing.  The gophers are also very cute, but destructive. Our plans for a vegetable bed include laying fine mesh chicken wire underneath a fenced-in  raised bed to keep out vegetable-thieves of both the overground and underground variety.

Same rabbit, this time on our path. A moment after I took this a black phoebe alighted on one of the solar lamps but flew off again immediately as I tried to get a snap. I planted the french lavender about a year ago and it has been doing well so far. I am under the impression that rabbits are not fond of eating lavender. I hope that's true.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Plotting improvements

A long weekend is on the way, and the past two weekends have been busy with socializing and activities so I am plotting household improvements. There may be rain, so Matt might not be able to make further progress on exposing the sprinkler system to inspect the pipes for leaks. I think its time for more painting. So far only the kitchen, entryway and one small accent wall in the living room have been repainted. The rest of the house interior is a depressingly yellow-red shade of beige.

I have to be careful not to bite off more than I can chew. Besides painting we want to replace all the loose-fitting electrical sockets (plugs just...fall out of them) and install skirting boards to replace the 2" flat molding that barely covers the transition between wall and floor.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


A happy result for the election last night! Plus record-breaking numbers of women in senate.

On a lighter note, I got buzzed by a hummingbird this morning as I left for work. I heard a familiar bzzzzzzzzt of little wings as it zoomed over from our neighbor's tree to investigate a hummingbird-attractant plant I added to our front patio over the weekend, but stopped and hovered a little behind the plant and stared at me for  a moment before zooming back to it's perch in the tree. After I walked by it came back and thoroughly checked out every flower on the plant. I guess it really does attract hummingbirds, that's the first I've seen since we moved. I shall have to get a couple more of these plants and put them near windows the cats sit in so they can be entertained by the birdie action.

I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the plant, but the flowers look like pink broom, and it's a low shrubby type thing suitable for full sun and arid climate and must not be fed/fertilized. Perfect for some of our rockier patches of ground.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage

This very well-done parody/tribute to a Lady Gaga song and video is one of the reasons I make sure to vote whenever I can. I learned about the women's suffrage movement in school, at an all girls school that was founded four years before British women were granted limited voting rights (married women only, and only local elections). Full voting rights for women in the UK did not come until 1928. Less than 100 years ago!

In the USA, right now, there is another battle being pitched. Bodily autonomy and equal pay are still political footballs to be kicked back and forth instead of the fundamental protected rights they should be.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Resorting to the prompts

It only took me 4 days to run out of things to say. NaBloPoMo prompts to the rescue!

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States? 

My thoughts on tomorrow's election are that I really bloody well hope that Barack Obama is re-elected. The current Republican stances on many things frankly terrify me. Especially as a woman of childbearing age. They would have me die of eclampsia rather than have a late-term termination. How nice of them.

My views on elections in general are that I like them. I have voted since I turned 18, first in the UK then here in California. I'm still getting familiar with the system here and I end up leaving no vote for local things like education board supervisor positions because I have no clue who the candidatesa re and what policies they advocate. It's hard to find concrete information because all of the candidates say "I will improve things!" but I want to know what that improved school system or local city council will look like after said improvement. What if said improvements are actually thing I consider worse than the status quo? How will these improvements be brought about?

My favourite part of elections is sitting with Matt and looking up the California propositions. It takes a few hours of homework to prepare for a general election!

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Saturday morning I participated in the Color Run San Diego, a 5k event where volunteers bombard the runners (and walkers) with brightly coloured cornstarch at every 1km marker. Simple, a little odd, but very fun. We started off looking like this:

And an hour later (we were strolling the route pretty slowly). We looked like this:

A the blue station, Matt and I both grabbed some colour and went for the braveheart look. His was much more effective as he started with a clean face, I had already acquired some smears on my face so my attempt at a blue woad effect looked a but more muddy.

Photos courtesy of Rachel, who is the one who started out with bright red hair even pre-powdering.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Search terms that bring you to my door

Given that this is "all time" search terms it's clear that not many people arrive here through Google searches. Moving into our house seems to have boosted my Google traffic as three of the top ten searches relate to the theme of "ranch style house". Perhaps I should turn this into a home-renovation blog. Considering current budget and time constraints it would be a very slow and seldom-updated home renovation blog. I doubt anybody wants to hear about how it's taking us nearly 2 months  of Saturday mornings to uncover and repair our sprinkler pipes in preparation for re-seeding the lawn.

"An embarrassment of bacon" will take curious searchers to this post about my surprise 30th birthday party where I received a pound of bacon.

I hope I have not contributed to fear of rodent-flu with my facetious posting years ago about our lab full of mouse researchers all coming down with flu. For the record: there is no such thing as mouse flu. Rodents can carry hanta virus though, so it is still recommended to get rid of any infestations promptly.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day of the Dead

Yesterday ended with a panic attack. Frozen in my seat, weeping, eventually finding the breath to ask Mr Riveter to help me find the anti-anxiety medicine I'm to take (ideally) before it gets to that point. Sometimes it sneaks up. There is a lot of pressure in parts of my life. We bought a house in February that is needing more work than we expected, my parents and sister are all living together in Berlin while Schwestie undergoes chemotherapy for stomach cancer, I'm still settling into my job, and we've been trying to short sale our old condo since we moved out of it in February.

We have been inching closer and closer to closing the deal on selling the condo, and yesterday I found out that it might fall through after all. We're still figuring out what the financial implications of that might be. The worst case scenario relates to certain tax exemptions not being renewed for 2013 and us possibly ending up with a Very Large Tax Bill™. We'll see.

This evening we are going to see the Dia de los Meurtos procession in Old Town, then to visit the most famous haunted house in San Diego, the Whaley House. Hopefully nothing there will be panic-inducing.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


On Halloween night I got home last night after dark. My husband had lit a wood fire in the fireplace, the porch light was on to attract trick-or-treaters, a basket of fun-sized sweeties was set by the door and we shared a meal of tomato soup and cheese on toast while waiting for the hoards of adorable children in costumes to arrive and demand their sugary tribute.

The first callers were the four young teenagers from next door, in very well done costumes. Some people frown on teens trick or treating, but I say it's fair enough if you make the effort to dress up. The boys were a teenage mutant ninja turtle and a skeleton, the girls were a princess and a fairy. They had their chihuahua dog with them, in it's own little super hero costume. Half an hour later a father and his son of 3 or 4 strolled up. The boy was in a ninja costume and seemed much more interested in seeing a cat and admiring our solar garden lights than in bagging some candy. Then a solo pre-teen dressed as a mafioso came by and that was it! No more visitors for us, and our ridiculous stash of candy was barely touched.

This morning I filled my lunch bag with the surplus and added to the heap of sweets on the sideboard at work. Leaving all the favourites at home for us of course.