The very local news

It’s a little more focused than random bullets.

Politics: Basement Cat and Reina generally observe their détente, except when mealtimes are approaching and Basement Cat would like to eat his feelings only there is nothing to eat yet because the hoo-man servants have fallen down on the job. Then he stalks Reina and she growls at him and this gets the attention of the neglectful hoo-mans.

Crime, indoors: minor vandalism from Basement Cat, mainly chewing on things the hoo-mans would prefer him not to chew.

Crime, outdoors: some weeks ago, I found the corpse of a rabbit on the side steps to the deck. Since it was less than intact but not dismembered, I theorized that either a coyote had been interrupted or a bird of prey had managed to kill it but could not carry it away. I dug a grave and buried the rabbit. Today I found that the grave had been exhumed. This time, I definitely blame coyotes.

Economy: tax documents dropped off at the accountant. Income normal. Unusual expenses: new roof, new washer and dryer. Contemplated expenses: power lawnmower, re-surfacing of driveway, paint for two or three rooms.

Agriculture: bought a selection of Swiss chard, collards, pak choi, and herbs yesterday, to be planted in the vegetable plot.

World of work: Although a few student papers came in early, I have been ignoring them and taking the weekend off. Grading will resume tomorrow. It feels very strange not to have huge amounts of class prep to do.

Lifestyle, decorating: studying paint chips for bathroom, guest room, my study. I keep thinking light turquoise or pale green might be nice in my study, but looking at samples on the wall, I feel that it would be like trying to work inside a tube of toothpaste. There’s a super pale blue that I like, now, but it might seem too cold in winter. I also like a “chalky purple” that to me looks like a super pale mauve: could I live with it long term, or would it wear on me as the pink bedroom I chose at 10 wore on my 13-year-old self? I’d love a pale, glossy lemon yellow, but yellows are so hard to get right.

Lifestyle, cooking: instead of just grating carrots on top of greens and adding herbs, mayo, and dressing, I grated four carrots in the food processor and added chopped fresh dill, lime juice, mayo, dressing, and salt, and let it marinate for a few hours. Sir John and a visiting friend had seconds, and there was still enough for me the next day. I think I should mix up a batch of the stuff once or twice a week, and save the daily effort.

Society: a friend I met at a wedding some years back (on the trip that inspired these reflections about tea and coffee) came to visit from a couple of states over, celebrating the fullness of our vaccinations. She and I walked around the neighborhood, critiquing the architecture, then we had dinner à trois and talked about architecture, books, and pets.

Weather: clear, sunny, cool, with warmer temps predicted for the next couple of days. A good time to get my veg planted, if my ribs permit digging.

Health, human: I am fully vaccinated. Sir John has had one shot. I pulled some muscles around my ribs a few weeks ago, and have been resting them ever since. Improvement is noticeable. Some of my other aches and pains have also cleared up, including my wonky hip, which only started hurting again when I carried books home from the library about half a mile away. I think I might need less yoga and more strength work.

Health, feline: Glendower has had a lot of hairballs recently, despite brushing and Laxatone. He has a re-check for his IBD coming up this week, so we’ll see what the vet suggests.

Sports: Reina demands that I wave the fevver toy every night before I go to bed, so she can chase it. Sir John is cycling regularly. I am cautiously walking a mile or two per day and hoping my ribs and hip won’t object.

Books: my visiting friend reminded me of the Agatha Raisin series, and I found I was about four books behind, so I went and got the most recent ones from the local library. They are even lighter-weight than most of the “light fiction by British women writing between the wars” that makes up a lot of my leisure reading, but that’s fine for end-of-term brain candy.

Things I did today

Drank black tea as well as green.

Reviewed and commented on a graduate student’s outline.

Looked over an undergraduate paper draft that changed very little since the last version.

Grappled with late classical Latin.

Struggled with ugly medieval Latin.

Read about 20 pages of a Middle English text.

E-mailed with a colleague about an awards ceremony.

E-mailed with a friend about our honors students.

Met briefly with my (currently non-)writing group to talk about summer plans.

Climbed a ladder to inspect our new roof.

Cooked rice and fish.

Walked around the block.

Unpacked the stereo plus the cushions and old sheets that lined the boxes.

Agreed to write a recommendation letter.


I’ve finished grading . . . for last semester.

Yes, the students who took incompletes actually finished them. Yay for them!

I still have several sets of grading to do before I’m done with this term.

Basement Cat at it again

It’s been a long time since Basement Cat’s evil youth. These days, he seems to have left his life of crime behind him. But I fear he’s starting up again.

This morning I’ve had both texts and e-mail from Angie’s List suggesting that I get Black Cat Remodeling to bid my project. Given our housemates, I am highly suspicious that Angie’s List has been hacked.

The bid I expect: “We’ll have Basement Cat chew through that, and then we’ll claw here till we break through. Then there will be a big hole we can hide in. Make sure the cupboards have doors we can open, and that the window latches are cat-operable. Finish? What do you mean, finish? There’ll be a nice thick layer of cat hair over the top, that’s the finish. In black, of course. We don’t do color options here at Black Cat remodeling. We shed in any color so long as it’s black.”

Strange discovery

Recently I saw a real-estate ad for a house in my home town, and went online to check it out. Lovely pictures. Only . . . where was it? I should have walked by it dozens of times, but couldn’t recall seeing it. Google street view showed me the house that I remembered for that address, but the pictures didn’t match that house. Finally drilling down in Google maps showed the lots on that hillside, and I realized that the house for sale was on a flag lot (which term, coincidentally, I learned last week from a post at a garden blog). I have been past the corner, dozens of times, but it never occurred to me to wander down a stranger’s driveway to see if there was a second house back there.

It was like those dreams in which you discover an extra room in your house. Only there really is a house I didn’t know about. What else don’t I know about my old neighborhood?

Six on Saturday: better every day

I’m cheating a bit, and giving you four pictures of magnolias as my #1. I took a picture every day this week, but the ones on cloudy days didn’t turn out as well as these. The first is from Sunday, the last from yesterday:

Okay, 2 is the current state of the clump of sedums that has been a regular feature. I’ve cleared off some of the dead foliage, but haven’t got round to removing it from the bed, so you can see a bit of it at the edge:

3, two sets of grape hyacinths. The first is under the bird bath (note the fallen magnolia petal); the second lets you see quite a bit of the shade garden, in the front of the house, including one of the columbines returning:

4 is the lilac bush, very leafy now:

5 is tulips, not sure what color yet. There are two big clumps in the side yard, under a pine tree and screened by day lilies and whatnot; I’ve been wondering if squirrels moved them there, because it seems like an odd place for them. There are a couple of other areas in the garden where I see tulip leaves, but just a leaf or three, no buds.

6, the iris are coming up. Again, I look forward to finding out what color they will be.

Someday I may get around to posting something that isn’t Six on Saturday. In the meantime, at least this keeps me showing up once a week! The host is Jon at The Propagator. His post for this week reminds me that I should go see if the clematis is sprouting. The peonies have sent up shoots, which may feature next week. See above re: finding out about colors! I don’t want to plant anything new till I know what colors are already here.

Six on Saturday: triple the flowers

One, daffodils are in full bloom:

Two, more daffodils:

Three, periwinkles (to my surprise: I saw a bit of lavender and expected crocuses, but no):

Four-sythia, which I am delighted to discover I now have:

Five, one of the columbines I planted late last summer is coming back:

Six, so is the big clump of sedum that I think was last seen as a lump under snow cover (no, it was when emerging from that state):

Rats, I forgot to take a picture of the lilac leaves. They are larger than last week, but still not what you’d call leafed-out. If I were in better shape, I’d go back outside and add a bonus picture, or bunch the daffodils as a single topic. Unfortunately, I have pulled a muscle along my rib cage and am very sore, so for the last few days I have done as little moving as I can get away with, almost no actual work, and definitely no vigorous gardening. Since it’s warming up, I hope to spend awhile this afternoon sitting on the deck, as a change from the couch. But for the moment I’m staying put. Wandering around the garden was a pleasant expedition for the morning, and (bonus) I got to tell a distributor of political flyers not to leave any with us. I’ll be glad when Tuesday’s local election is over with.

Six on Saturday is hosted by the Propagator—if you like garden pictures, head on over. He has some glorious double-ruffled daffs this week.