Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Farm video

I produced this YouTube video using photos I shot on Saturday at the Easter bash my dear friend April threw on the family farm where she raises dairy goats, cattle, poultry and crops.

Her place is absolutely idyllic; rural life is absolutely the best as far as we're concerned and she has one of the most picturesque farms I've ever seen. The photographic opportunities were staggering. I wish I could have used all the shots I took, but these are the ones I chose. Hope you enjoy it!

If the video loads slow or stops on this site - as it does on my computer - you may be able to view it easier here at the YouTube site.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Easter Bunny

Some kids can boast of a visit from the Easter Bunny. Here at our house things are a little different. Here the Easter Bunny doesn't just visit. It moves in.

For the last year a wild rabbit has been dividing its time between our yard and the yard of our neighbor, owing in large part to our neighbor's decision to feed it. I never thought this was a particularly good idea; quite quickly "Peter" lost his natural wariness of humans and will now run over expecting a handout. We've trained the dogs to leave him alone and so Peter just does as he pleases, knowing he's safe with us. His favorite hangouts have been the ditch bank, the tall weeds by our compost bed and underneath our overturned canoe. More than once he's given me a start sprinting out from under it. 

Lately, though, Peter has become a bit more wary and a lot more secretive. Then on Easter morning I found out why when I went to feed the ponies and discovered this in Kipper's stall:

Yes, that is a burrow. I stood watching in amazement as two huge bunny feet kicked sprays of dirt from the opening. Cautiously I opened the stall door. Peter heard me, shot from the burrow and out from under the lower board of the stall. When I went behind the barn, there was the rabbit, staring at me from the ditch bank with a slightly put-out look on his face.
I fretted a bit about disturbing him, but decided that if he wanted to come back he would. I wasn't too worried about leaving the burrow in the stall. Peter has positioned it under the hay rack where Kipper couldn't step in it if he tried. And since Kip rarely goes in his stall anyway, it's not like he'll be that inconvenienced should the burrow become a nursery. 

Last night I put out some hay and rabbit chow in the stall and kept the door locked. This morning some of the hay and all the rabbit chow was gone. But Peter was there. He stood up and looked at me before sprinting back to the ditch bank. I put more food in the stall before I left. Larry said we may need to rename the rabbit "Petra."

I have to say I'm pretty impressed by how Peter - or Petra - has used us humans to his or her advantage. Thanks to the handouts from our neighbor he's too fat for a hawk to carry away. And thanks to us he now has a burrow that is protected from wind, rain and predators.
I'll try to document her activities to the extent that I can without disturbing all this hip-hop drama.  

The appearance of the burrow capped off what was really the perfect Easter weekend for me. We had a great day on Saturday at my friend April's egg hunt and cookout. I took so many fabulous photos at her farm that I'm going to make a video slideshow, which I'll post when it's done.

And then, last night my daughter Jessica called to tell me that Brandon, her boyfriend of several years got down on bended knee and - with ring in hand - proposed marriage to her. I don't often cry from sheer happiness, but I did when she told me the news. It's hard to describe how much I adore Brandon. He is so good to Jessica. 

Jess graduates college in May, and we kind of thought he might pop the question then. This holiday proposal took us all by shock, but it's the kind of shock that makes you all giddy with joy.

I am so happy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Between jobs

That's where I've been this week. I finished a huge project over the weekend which paid well enough to fund a couple of days off. I know it may not seem like writing for and helping to manage porn sites would feel much like work, and most of the time it doesn't. But still, it is nice once in a while to wake up and realize I have nothing to do but indulge myself in some other creative manner.

So this week I decided to do something with those old windows that Larry brought home to use for the cold frame he never built. Several times I mentioned they'd be great for craft projects and the other day when he didn't say "no" I took that as "yes" and created a painting on one of the windows.

Hmmm. I'm no artist but think it turned out kind of nice. Larry liked it, too, and came home with some hooks and a bit of chain to hang it in front of our bedroom window. Voila, a shabby chic suncatcher! It looks really neat at night from the outside with the light behind it. 

On a totally unrelated topic, we scored a fabulous Craigslist find this week - a $500 home gym with cables, weights and attachments for working the legs and upper body - for fifty bucks. The former owner decided he didn't need a workout machine after all and - being ridiculously wealthy -  was willing to blow it out.

It seems he didn't have time to exercise and indulge his other interest - the Corvette he bought for $42,000 on eBay. 

On eBay!!

When he told us that, I instantly revealed myself as the impoverished little rube I am by confessing that the most I'd ever ponied up for an eBay purchase was $100, and doing that caused me to break out in a nervous rash.

$42,000? Who are these people?

Later, Larry and I speculated that the car was just Viagra on wheels. I sure hope the fellow got his money's worth.  If I were a guy I'd have to end up hitting some pretty fantastic ass to justify spending that kind of money on an online auction.  Or maybe it was the risk that excited him.

I dunno. Maybe I just don't understand guys.

But back to the exercise machine. It's really nice, and between that and my elliptical stairclimber I have absolutely no excuse to not be well-toned before Slinky Sundress Season. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Psycho Savant

So I finally got around to watching No Country For Old Men and have to say that Anton Chigurh is quite possibly the most frightening villain I've ever seen.  Forget blood-sucking vampires and cannibalistic serial killers. At least Dr. Lector could develop a fondness for people from time to time.

But this Anton character, well he's something else entirely. There's something terrifying about a brilliant, methodical sociopath who marries his own brand of judgement with a complete lack of empahty for his victims. And no, the weird haircut and deep voice did not help a bit.

The best victims get from Anton - if they're lucky - is a 50/50 chance to live based on the outcome of a coin toss.

I originally wasn't going to watch this movie; so many today are over-hyped and this one was hyper-hyped. But the book got such glowing literary reviews that I couldn't resist, especially when I learned that the directors stayed very close to the story.

 I also was a bit curious over the controversial ending. Critics - including several friends of mine who've seen it - bitched and moaned about how the finale left the story hanging, how it lacked the climactic showdown between Chigurh and the character he was pursuing, Lewellyn Moss.

But they don't get it. The ending was perfect because the story wasn't about Anton or Lewellyn. It was merely a backdrop for the subtle undercurrent that was the real story - a changing society that forces an aging lawman to realize that he's no longer dealing with criminals, but a criminal society that can't be stopped or defeated because it lacks both reason and conscience.

Anton represents a living, breathing embodiment of the wave of senseless violence, circa 1980. Over two decades later, the message of the movie seems almost prophetic when you look at the savagery of this culture.

There's so much random danger out there. We can do the best we can to protect ourselves, but still, daily we face a flip of the coin by just going out the door. Call it...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer's Quagmire...

Is the resemblance here really a shock to anyone? I always thought Family Guy horndog Glenn Quagmire was Elliot Spitzer's alter ego.

But seriously, folks, this latest juicy scandal should serve as a cautionary tale to all the women out there who won't give a little head to hubby. You'd better get on your knees. If you don't blow it, he'll find someone else who will. What's more he might spend the kids' college fund to pay for it.

Of course, there may have been more to the story but we'll have to wait for the call girl's book to come out. Media tidbits have suggested that Spitzer wanted his high-priced paramour to do things she "might not consider safe." Oh God, please let it turn out that he was into bondage or something equally off the beaten path (pun intended). Not only will it make Spitzer even more ridiculous for playing the public role of Rev. Dimsdale while engaging in a bit of expensive hanky-spanky, but it will be a major boost to the erotica industry, thereby enriching those of us who don't even try to hid our Inner Freak.

Giggity, giggity...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gratuitious family shots

We visited my brilliant little sister Carla yesterday. She's so sweet. I just love her. Here we are together in the sunroom of her fabulously beautiful new house near the beach.

Here we are again with my three youngest children - John, Alex and Lucas. It is so hard to get John to smile for pictures. but he was in a good mood yesterday owing to the chocolate cookies and Weather Channel access he enjoyed at his auntie's house. 

Alex shot this picture of me and Larry while we were there. Larry is going to be 49 tomorrow! So an advanced "Happy Birthday" to my favorite Sexy Older Man. ;-) 

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I don't like Paul

I really don't have a good reason. I just don't like him. I don't like anything about him. I don't like the way he walks, I don't like the look of his face, I don't like the sound of his voice. I don't like it when he breathes, especially when he comes in the house. I don't like sharing my oxygen with him. I don't like Paul.

Maybe I should feel bad for not liking Paul since I like most everyone else. My husband likes Paul. They hit it off as soon as they met a year or so ago. Paul had moved down here from somewhere up north with his wife, who I do like. But not enough to like Paul by association.

If I liked Paul, he and his wife and Larry and I would probably couples date or something, which would suit Paul and Larry fine. They call each other every day (gay). I can tell Larry's talking to Paul because of a.) the friendly tone of his voice and b.) the sound of Paul's on the other line. Paul talks loudly, so loudly that I can hear him from across the car. Yap, yap, yap. Oh, and he can't pass Larry on the road without calling to ask what he's doing. (More gay.)

Today Paul came over. I didn't invite him, and Larry didn't even tell me he was coming over until he was already up the walk because Larry knows I don't like Paul and would have started piling furniture against the door if I'd been given a warning.

"I'm going to have him look at the washer," Larry said by way of explanation. Our washer died last week and Larry thought Paul might be able to help us fix it. Paul probably claimed that he could, because he's a know-it-all, and Larry believed him. (Uber gay)

"Can't we just buy a new washer instead?" I asked. Larry rolled his eyes.

When Paul walked in with that stupid shuffling gait (which probably looks like a normal gait to anyone else) I pretended to be doing something at the computer. Paul, sensing that I was ignoring him, did what he always does. He spoke to me.

"You're getting skinny," he said. "You look good. If you ever decide to leave your old man, give me a call."

"Yeah, you'd be the first person I'd call," I said in my Most Sarcastic Tone. What I wanted to say was if he was he last man on earth and I was the last woman and the survival of the human race depended on our procreating, I'd shove a stick of dynamite in my twat and light the fuse before I'd even think about having sex with him. But I didn't get the chance. He and Larry had gone into the garage to check on the washer. I could hear Larry laughing. He thought it was funny that Paul had hit on me, since I've made it clear how much I dislike the guy.

A few minutes later Larry and Paul walked back in. My cat Jingles was on the table. Paul started petting her. "Nice cat," he said. I went over and picked her up. I didn't want Paul touching my cat. I dropped Jingles on the living room couch before opening a window to let in air to replace the oxygen Paul had been breathing.

Paul started talking to me again, so I picked up the phone and pretended to talk to someone else. I don't know if he noticed it hadn't even rung. I didn't care. A few moments later Larry and Paul were talking again and then they were gone. I breathed a sigh of relief, wiped my cat down with a disinfectant wipe and sprayed the house with Lysol to rid it of all the Paul Germs that were flying around.

I was so glad he was gone. I mean, it's not his fault that I think he's creepy but I just do. Larry likes him enough for the both of us, which is fine with me. He can talk to him on the phone or the yard all he wants but I'd prefer the guy not come in the house, hitting on me, breathing my oxygen and petting my cat. I know I shouldn't deliberately be rude, but in his case I really can't help myself. Maybe it's chemical, maybe it's extrasensory. Maybe, like I said, there's no reason at all. Regardless, I don't like Paul.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's been a while...

I figure if anyone is left reading this blog they may think I died or something. But I haven't. Not yet, anyway. I've just been really busy with new things.

The coolest thing is my new computer, a MacBook Pro. It's my first Mac and I am in love. Within half an hour of playing around with the Mac I practically threw my year-old Gateway laptop at Larry and said, "Here. You can have it." My two other PC's are now treated like red-headed stepchildren. I touch them only when I have to and when I do it's with disdain and grumbling. I fantasize of the day I can drown them in the bathtub and replace them with desktop Macs.

I also got a new horse. Well, really another large pony. "Oliver" is a beautiful 9-year-old flashy bay Quarter pony. At 13.2 hands (a hand is 4" for you non-horse folk, and horses are measured up to the top of the shoulder), he's perfect for both me and Alex. I used to hate being small and short. Now I'm thrilled because it means I can still ride ponies without looking ridiculous. Except when I fall. So far that hasn't happened with Oliver. 

Oliver was given to us by Alex's riding instructor, who got him last year from a Prestigious Area Show Farm on trade for a larger horse. This winter has been bad for horse owners, and she didn't have enough hay for all of her horses and ponies so she asked us if we'd like to have him. Of course we said yes.

He needed a tune up after standing around much of the winter, so I've been hacking him out behind the house. He's a bit cheeky, but is coming along nicely. Here we are having a nice turn around the field:

In the back of my mind, the cynical part of me worried that Oliver had some terrible health problem, and that our kindly instructor had just been waiting for the perfect suckers to come along and take him off her hands before he bankrupted her. But yesterday the vet came and announced Oliver was Healthy As A Horse.  The only thing he needed was to have his teeth floated. Again, for you non-horsey people an explanation: horses get sharp points on the back of their teeth that from time to time must be ground down with a mechanical rasp. The horse must be drugged for the procedure, and Oliver was given some good shit because afterwards I had to hold his lead rope to keep him from falling. Or floating away. Alex took this picture of me being all supportive of our poor drugged pony.

Work is going well. As in well, I mean I-could-pinch-myself- well. Last year when the newspaper laid off those of us who were copy-editing part time, I thought, "Well there goes the end of some pretty easy income." But fortunately it was the kick in the pants I needed to get myself organized with my freelance work. Now I've got more stable work than I've had since I can remember, while those who remained at the paper assuming they were safe are finding themselves jobless. It's a scary time to be a writer unless you have a niche. I count myself fortunate that I do. Let's hear it for porn.

The family is well. Jess graduates from college in May. I can hardly believe I'm going to be the mother of a college graduate! Wes is in school still trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up. I told him good luck with that. John graduates this year and will continue on to a program for autistic young adults. Alex continues to astound me with her knack for self-directed learning. She's not flagged once in her studies, despite being consumed with interest in riding. Lucas has somehow managed to sit still long enough to learn to read and Larry is preparing for the upcoming farmer's market season.

Life is good, at least for today. And if something bad happens tomorrow we'll just weather it as we always do - with good humor and optimism.

Hope all of you are doing equally well. If you stop by and read this, show a little love. I'll try to get by your blogs as well.

UPDATE: After posting this it occurred to me that my readers might appreciate a little something slightly controversial from me, given my protracted absence. All I can think of to state is that I've been following the elections closely this year, and is it just me or does Hillary Clinton come off as a total cunt?

UPDATE II: Mike Huckabee just conceded, paving the way for McCain to lose without being bothered by competition in his own party. I wasn't surprised that Quirkabee stayed in the race as long as he did, but was kind of shocked to see that he claimed to be a conservative when he's married to another man.