Classic Bunny Pose. Right Before We Fed Him To Our New Pet, The Snake.

July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am (Animal Deaths, Babies, Big Animals, Day to Day, Heat, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Just kidding. However, we do actually have 2 little baby bunnies that seemed to survive the nest we found a few weeks back. Looked like 4 inside, but we only see 2 every day now. Oh? You don’t want to hear about these bunnies? What happened to the snake? Well, I’ll tell ya.

The snake survived fine, overnight, in the pillowcase, the first night into Sunday. We had discussions with family about who to call, what to do, where the snake should go, blah blah blah. We had some nature preserve ideas, natural habitat locations, and I did more research on the internet to find a decent solution we could all live with. We had a pretty good plan in place, but when we woke up Monday morning, it seemed that nature was going to decide for us. The pillowcase was wet, but only in a certain spot, as if something tried to attack it and either the snake was now dead, or it defended itself and released liquids of some defensive sort. I don’t really know enough so I thought, dead. I got gloves, cause, ewww, and when I picked up the bag to untie the cord the snake was rattling and angry. But alive. So we let it out nice and slow like they say to, and it calmed right down. I was able to hold it and inspect it and it looked OK. But, it definitely could not stay in a pillowcase, inside of a plastic tub, in a backyard, for anymore days or nights. Based on more research and a few phone calls, the best course was to let it go in its closest natural habitat. The snake is one of our Illinois snakes, and it is considered mostly passive as far as wild snakes go. And they move around at night in the summer. So, maybe it just got really lost. We have, well, let me say, we had, a wild, wooded area right at the end of our block-set mere weeks ago. But after several episodes of flooding, the town, or county, or whoever, leveled all the trees, bushes, grass, etc., and created a retention/detention pond-type area. It was quite dense and wild. It had coyotes. We saw them over the winter. At any rate, they’re all gone now. The land is flat and I’m sure the animals that didn’t get killed outright, moved themselves out asap. And maybe our little friend finally worked her way over to our backyard looking for shelter. Or she was just passing through and just wasn’t fast enough. OR. She’s been hanging out in our backyard for god knows how long because of all the wood we had piled around and since we moved some of it in our clean-up attempt she had to move too, but we just never saw her until the other day. Eck. We could have been sitting and standing near her for days. Or weeks. Eeesh. Let’s not think about that though. Let’s think about this instead: The nice thing about living in the suburbs is we live very close to, “the end of the suburbs”, which is basically open land and fields and forest preserves. We picked the best one that had everything: Prairie-like land, woods, marshy swamp area, and water. And not visited or populated by many people. Some areas see lots of traffic, the one we picked has very little, in general and by comparison. We drove over there Monday, nice and early. No people. took a walk deep into the back, a nicely wooded and flat area, where the secondary, smaller pond is, and let her go along the tree line. It’s a good spot. Lots of space for a young snake. (We have been thinking juvenile, totally based on color and patches, via the internet again. I could be completely wrong of course. Male. Old. Dying. Who knows.) Anyway this is her new home:

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We let her out of the pillowcase, onto the ground, behind where we took the picture. Thick woods, away from the roads or parking areas, with that view across. She layed for a minute in the grass and the sun. And slowly slid into the trees. Then she was gone.

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Quick Switch Mushroom Pic With Tree Trunk On The Side

June 28, 2013 at 12:19 am (Day to Day, Heat, Mushrooms, Nature, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Summer Break, The Grass, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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I got down and dirty to get this pic for you. And now I have about 100 more all sprouting up in various parts of the grass. I guess it’s the new, fresh sod, baking under the extreme, sudden heat, showered by bursts of sporadic, torrential downpours and then steaming in the resulting, sweltering humidity, every few hours. The last few days have been severe weather alert central over here in the Midwest/Chicago area. In fact we have another one tonight. I actually have 4 weather advisories on my phone at this moment. More thunderstorms and flash flooding on the way with damaging winds and hail until 3 am now, according to the last alert that I just received twenty seconds ago. Free rain is good. More tree limbs down is bad. However, I was spared these last few times. Well, that’s not true. I did have another branch break off and fall into the yard about one minute after the storm showed up. No. That’s not exactly true either. What actually happened was, that we got the alert at 5:55 pm for 6 pm. At 6 pm the wind started blowing, fast and sudden just like the alert said. Gusts to 70mph is what the alert said. Damaging to trees and roofs. Find shelter in low lying buildings. Blah blah. The sky darkened. The trees swayed ominously. Another fierce wind, a loud crack, BOOM. We were standing in the backyard and watched the tree bend, heard the break, and observed a substantial limb slowly slip from the tree, cartwheel onto the neighbors power line, hang there for one, treacherous, breathless, millisecond, then topple over and onto the neighbors garage roof, where it slid very sloppily off the front, catching the gutter on the way down to the ground, where it landed on the neighbor’s driveway, intact and with a loud thud. The gutter was bent but not broken. As soon as the rain let up enough so that we could see to move, I sent my son out to hoist that limb into our yard and bend the gutter back up straight. And that’s how it ended up where it still currently sits. I am tired, tired, I say, of moving tree limbs all around our backyard. It can sit. This is the limb:

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So naturally, I was complaining, and all geared up to bemoan fate and nature and all that, until I took a little drive out into the world to go get dinner. This is what happened to our neighbors down the street:

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Need a better angle?

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Yep. They win. I won’t complain any more about my backyard being the resting place for dying and destitute, wayward branches. At least I can pick them up. This was at 8pm. By 11pm, it was gone. All of it. Every stick, every branch, every limb. Right down to the base of the trunk. Gone. The earth was back in place and the ground was flat. No damage to the house either as far as I can tell. All hail the master of tree removal. I don’t know who did it for them but I am beyond impressed. Three hours, and you can’t even tell anything happened that night. And speaking of night, it’s getting late. Again. I need to end this. Despite the title, this was not quick. Or even a switch. Some bad weather, a picture of something that grows out of the ground, eh, whataya gonna do? One day something really post worthy is going to happen, and, I don’t know. I guess I’ll post it. Maybe I’ll write a story. Or a poem. I have them scattered around this site, ya know, very unorganized like. It’s a search thing. But until then, you get this. And this needs to find a way to end this. Like a band-aid. Quick and painless. Later.

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Breaking News! ANOTHER Tree Branch Falls In My Yard On A Windy Day!

May 30, 2013 at 11:40 am (Day to Day, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Shocking, right?! Imagine that. Another tree branch cluttering up my yard.  Not to insult nature or anything, but this limb was already dangling. It’s been hanging on, by the skin of its splintery teeth, figuratively speaking, for about 2 weeks now. So it’s not like we needed hurricane winds to knock it down. Just a nice, steady, flow of air, blowing every few minutes through the high up branches, with the occasional bursty gust. We’ve been on fall watch every day. You know: Look up when you go out. Check the wind. Check the rip. Don’t stand under it. Blah blah blah. The way you do when branches are a constant and real threat in your daily life. You would think, by now, no more branches could fall. But, same as me, you would be wrong. Apparently there is always one more branch that needs to make a home on my lawn. It was my own fault, anyway, yet again. I dared to move, and remove, some of the previous limbs and branches from the grass on my day off, Tuesday. I had the nerve to try and “clean” the yard so that the neighbors don’t call the debris police and complain. Those trees were probably standing there thinking, “Psshh. Look at this stupid girl. Dum Dum. She likes to move sticks? Watch this little trick.” And here it is. One more for my collection. Nice try universe. I am not impressed. Only one? Really? Please, tree. I am a professional, serious collector. This limb didn’t even make a loud noise when it hit the ground. I mean, I heard it, but it’s not like I ran to go see what happened. It’s not even worth my time to go out there and move it. So there. Now that I have sufficiently pissed off, and smited, the powers-that-be, and probably just jinxed the rest of my day, I guess, maybe, I will go outside, and move my present from the gods. I mean, I have children to think about; I will offer thanks, and wait for the lightning to strike.

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I Call It: Sitting On Patio With Coffee, Before Work, First Of The Year. Subtitle: Spring In Repose.

April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm (Day to Day, Flowers, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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It’s Monday. It’s 67 degrees. It’s very windy. (Like, very windy. So much so, that I layed the basketball hoop-thing down because it was creaking and swaying quite loudly while I was sipping my coffee.) Also, one of my tree trunk branches seem to be rubbing in the high wind and making that “limb-falling” sound I have grown to know and dread every time I hear it outside of a Forest Preserve or designated woody area allocated to our world for walking and enjoying nature in its most natural of habitats, the places where all the trees can gather and hang together and lean and fall on each other, or the leafy ground, as they wish. NOT my backyard. Please! Can I get one fresh, new spring day without any tree droppings? Can I get an Amen? Hallelujah people. I am willing all the “high-air” objects to stay there today. Amen.

That’s a picture of the sky facing forward from my chair. Obviously you can’t see the fast clouds moving, but they are. And those are my daffodils. Right on time. In case I never said it before, except that I say it EVERY year, daffodils are my favorite flower. The most faithful of flowers. Hope and trust and loyalty. If a person could be a flower, I guess I would be a daffodil. We share the same qualities if you go by the “meanings of things”. Plus, they are so pretty. Or just shy of pretty…huh? Huh? See what I did there? And they sometimes smell good. Just like me. Yes, I said sometimes.

I have to go. Shower and work. The BF gets to be off because he got a flat tire. Lucky!  But if you are reading this (when you really should be outside, though…come on people, it is gorgeous! Go out, then come back in and finish this) and you want to comment or send me your favorite flower with a meaning or just a quick word, I would love to hear it! Something to look at later tonight when I get home. And if you are really fancy and high-tech, you can send a pic. That would be cool! Alright, have a good one out there today. Stay on the ground and don’t let this wind carry you away! Later!

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Happy March 32nd!

April 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm (Birthday Wishes, Day to Day, For Jeff the BF, Holiday, Spring Break, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Just kidding. There is no snow. What a jokester I am. I actually took current, up-to-date, real-time pictures of the backyard and that table, to show you what the outside really looks like right at this moment.  5 pm Central time. Midwest America. It’s not warm today. (We only get the stuttering sixties at this point in the year.) It’s back in the 40’s again and it feels cold. But it’s sunny. Warning! The pictures below are uncut and unedited (for time) and are not very pretty. The yard is a sticks and stumps mess like a graveyard for bark parts or the lost world of tree limbs and branches.  And all that sunshine blazing down is just lighting up the debris like a Christmas tree. Look here! Crap attack! You will NEVER be free of the Park Forest Tree! That may be a little dramatic, but you really have to live here to know why that is so scary. And true. Read back a bit on this site or just click over on the right there to “Tree Trouble” and you can see what I am talking about. I dare say I may have had an above average amount of bad luck in the breaking/cracking/ falling down department of tree instant removal and upheaval. They like to fall in my backyard. And they like to fall slowly. One piece at a time. Every few months or so. We started out with 3 very large 50 year old trees with many many branches limbs sticks and leaves. Now we have 2 tall “trunks”, at best, that still give me a run for the money when the wind blows too hard. They barely have proper branches on them anymore. Maybe a few limbs, that are very high up and thin, but that still sway on a windy day like drunk gymnasts trying to land on the roof of the house if they could only get the right arc. It’s ridiculous and my own private natural ghost story. The Tale of The Malevolent Maple Tree! The Evil Box Elder! The Horror of the Hackberry! The Horror of the Hackberry is right. That’s the tree ID that is presently lounging around all over the backyard in various shapes and sizes, providing a fine winter home for all kinds of bunnies and squirrels and skunks and probably opossums and racoons. I think those last two actually live up in the tree, but I can’t be sure and I do not have time to check. I see I have gone on and on like I always do and this was supposed to be quick and fast and funny. April Fool joke and all that.

Anyway my original point was to mention that I had been looking back at some of my earlier postings (4 years in March!) and I was pretty funny if I do say so myself. Go ahead and read some vintage posts if you have some time. You will not be disappointed. I also noticed that I had written about the BF’s birthday at that time and even posted about wrapping his present in the Jewel Foods sales paper. Which is what I did again this year! I thought I was so clever. Turns out I am clever. And I have been for at least 4 years, maybe more! Ha. I took a new present pic:

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It’s like a birthday/posting/cheap present wrapping flashback. Now, the BF is on his way and we are going to dinner and celebrating the big 4-0 one day early. Presents and cake when we get back. Yes. I made a cake. He doesn’t even know! It’s his fav I think, at least of the cakes that I make. It’s the “Better Than Sex” cake that I also mentioned many years ago. That cake was only presented in a written description posting. This year I have pictures of the process and the results. That cake weighed 10 pounds I think. I will weigh this one before we cut it and let you know. Ok. Better go.

Thank you to all my new friends and followers! I appreciate the time it takes to find or stumble on something new, give it a few minutes to sink in and then actually do the work to “like” and “follow”. I mostly “like” back and “follow” when I get here. Which as you have seen from these last 2 days is like, once every 2 months. So sad. And I like hearing my own voice and seeing my own words. I think that is also pretty obvious if you have spent even one minute of time reading just one of my posts. They get “wordy”.

Ok. Really now. Here’s the real-time pics of today. Enjoy the evening and I’ll be back. I see some long spring days ahead of me, typing deep into the dark warm nights. Later.

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Desolation Row

August 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Motorcycle News, Road Trip, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , )

Another one and a half months goes by…and here we are again.

That pic above is from the BF’s 2 week, cross country, gorgeous scenery, motorcycle trip I had previously written about, oh say, 4 or 5 months ago. (And perfectly illustrates the vast emptiness that can be found here in this rolling, hilly, disaster of a website as well.) He planned it, funded it, took the vacation time, rode it,  and came back home. And I didn’t post a word about it. I had such big plans: tracking him across the country,  mapping out the route on a day by day basis, posting all the cool pics he sent back…but no. I am a bad GF. Besides completely ignoring this site, I barely even went ON the computer, much less the internet for fun. I checked money and paid bills. Thank goodness for a system that allows you to pay anything instantly and at the very last minute. The checks I actually have to mail now,  are always soooo late. I stink at maintaining the high level of entertainment and info all NONE of you expect.  Oh yes. I see my numbers. I see my site visits. ZERO. But that’s cool. Nothing to see here anyway folks.  Let’s just keep moving along.

Maybe another day…maybe in a few more hours…if I stay up really late and use my time to be productive instead of sitting on the couch watching Sex and the City reruns over and over. That’s another picture from the trip that I really like. Lots of loose ends. Raw material. Big sky. It’s solid and unstable at the same time.  Like this site. Like it’s owner. And now I’ve discovered this fab new game called Coin Dozer and Coin Dozer-World Tour that I can play on my smart phone. (See how I added that “smart” thing in there?, to ironically point out that I am participating in the polar opposite of anything that would be considered “smart”.) I am done for. I have sunk so low that I cannot even be bothered to form words (sorry Words with Friends–you are too hard on my few last functioning brain cells) or draw even the simplest of pictures (stick men, bow your heads in shame, Draw Something is also too difficult for my slowly atrophying brain to handle at this time), only you, Coin Dozer, are the thing keeping my mind from total mush. Like a bad melon. Drop coins on tray. Coins push forward. Coins barely move. Coins drop into prize area. Coins drop off side gutter. Get more coins. That’s it. Drop and roll. Nothing to it. I use up all my coins and I quit the game. When I come back in a few hours, I magically have more coins! I drop them all on the tray and quit again. So easy. So effortless. No stress. Takes about 5 minutes. I can switch back and forth between the two games (I hear that’s what some people do) but I prefer to just drop them all in one big load and come back later. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something, but I am not going there. I’ve typed too much today already. Picture moment.

Anyway. This was just a quick hey and how ya doing until I can somehow get back on track with life. Again. It’s not bad, it’s just busy. And if I haven’t said it enough in the last 6 months, the shift I work sucks for social time. My schedule blows but I’m learning to adapt. Slowly. But things have been happening. I got a raise. The difference is literally in change…you know…cents. But it’s more. And I accrued 2 whole days of sick time if I need it! Nice. I never call off, but you never know. Winter is a coming. And I have managed to lose a nonfluctuating, solid, thirty pounds now, with a high/low weight differential of about 33-35 pounds total. And I have somehow managed to keep it all off. Even when I actually have time to eat food. Healthier choices, blah blah blah. I really need to add that exercise thing in again. Then I can really put up some numbers. But that kind of talk is for another time and place. BF vacation insert. Oregon. At the ocean. Just lounging.

Besides me, the kids are gearing up for school again. The boy is already back. Freshman year. Started Monday. Jumped right in. Full day with football practice for 3 hours after that. And then every day this week. And every day next week. And so on until football season is over. Adjustment. But he’s such a cool kid I know he can handle it all.  The girl is on reprieve until next week. I do need to get her up and out of this house though because we need school supplies and some pants. Notebooks and jeans, notebooks and jeans, notebooks and jeans……Yeah! Notebooks and jeans! That’s a Target commercial. In case you were wondering what that was all about. High fives if you totally sang it in your head. Bonus if you sang it out loud!

I really need to finish here.

Since my last post even more crap happened that I have pics of, and words for, but no motivation to put into action.

A second water main break, two weeks after the first one, in my front yard. It’s just dirt now with a patch of grass.

Some fence damage from another, separate, tree limb throwing itself to its death on the same stormy day. It landed in the neighbors driveway. Rude.

Another tree in my back yard decided it had enough of all that “standing” and “staying rooted to the ground” type nonsense, and forced me to take her down professionally before she split herself in two and took out the neighbors garage and house and the main power lines to the block.

Now I have an entire 50 years and 60 feet of tree laying all over my grass.

And I paid $1500 for the privilege of helping out this lazy tree!

Gratuitous product placement. That’s one big chainsaw!

In action.

Debris.

Parameters. At least it all fit in the yard.

We had some real ugly weather around here too. And I posted nothing! Everyone who knows me, knows I love talking about that weather! 100+ degrees! Tornados! Microbursts! Scary ass lightning! I had a car break down. Stevie got trapped in a safety belt. The kids went on vacation. Madison, Wisconsin. Benches. Bugs. Birds. Racoons. Skunks. Opossums. Football. A car museum. The list goes on and on. Without looking at all the pictures I can’t even remember what we did, what I’ve already talked about and what I’ve missed. I will sum up safely with, probably not much. It’s all preview and hints and expectation. No substance. No meat. Speaking of meat, I really really really need to finish this “quick” post, because I also have to go “shopping” shopping too. Down to the last rolls of TP and some spoiled milk. I want to make a nice dinner tonight and possibly drink some wine. Dream big! Besides I think I have more coins I could be dropping. Here are some more pictures. Without comment. They really don’t need anything else.

Thanks for hanging. Now get out there and do anything else besides staring at your computer reading fluff pieces like this. Life is too short! 11 AM! I have got to go! Here is another random pic from the big trip! It’s a monument! Later!

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Just because this starts a whole new year. One week late.

January 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm (Body and Brains!, Books, Day to Day, Exercise, Losing the Fat, Movies, Phone Camera, Pictures, Skeleton Trees, Unemployed Posts, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

And because I get to combine all my favorite things. A chunk update. Another weather update. And pictures from my phone. Of the sky. At sunset. With a lot of skeleton trees. This is what 55 degrees in January at dusk looks like this year. It was warm today too. I don’t generally go for the no jacket thing just because it’s hotter than usual. I’m the first one to yell pneumonia. And we’re all being lured into poor health by good weather. But I’ll admit I was only wearing a zip-up hoodie and I was getting kind of hot outside. The sun was shining down so bright that I was getting crabby and drowsy. The warm sun just makes me want to lay down in it and take a nap. Like a snake I guess. Or a fat middle aged non exercising chunk of fun. Here comes the chunk part! It’s a tough week. I’m more tired than usual. Kind of achy and greasy. And I was particularly sick of feeling sad and depressed. So I spruced up this old carcass a bit with some new hair color (sorry Amanda…I know you are the only one who should be allowed to fix my hair but I swear I cannot drive for two hours, pay for gas and tolls and feel good about myself until I get a job…the box has to be the cure for now…it looks good by the way. The kids didn’t even notice. They thought something was different but couldn’t put their fingers on it until after I told them. My theory on home hair coloring, or anything really that you try to do yourself, is that if no one notices anything different it’s a good job. Only the glaring mistakes or radical change gets any attention) and some good hygiene and hair removal. However I also ate a bunch of crap that I shouldn’t because it was here and I had to get rid of it by next week when the real work on chipping away the fat cells begins. You will all be happy to know that I managed to eat, er, get rid of, all the chips and dip and most of the cheese/sausage/cracker stores. I also disposed of an entire box of Whitman’s Dark Chocolates, with my daughters help, who interestingly enough HATES dark chocolate but was able to power through and help me save our household for the greater good. I also drank the rest of the wine from the other night and am currently working on the final two bags of Ghirardelli chocolates while washing them down with Jack Daniels. I haven’t cooked in a week or worked out. In fact we have been staying up way too late watching the bad movies we love so much. The kids have to go back to school Monday and I should be working by the next week. (That’s very wishful thinking as I am making it my sole purpose in life–well besides eating all the food in the house—to have a job in another week or two.) I will have a full report on the snacks because I took pics of them. Really. For instance, I found this GIANT potato chip in the bag. I mean it was really big. I don’t think I have ever seen one this big. So of course I took it’s picture. With the dip container and the TV remote for scale. I also took pics of the sky and some more trees, big surprise. And I have a movie list if you’re interested! We watch BAD movies. Like B movie bad. With old stars like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in them. Or Lorenzo Lamas. Remember him? And they usually are battling a giant crocodile or a sharktopus, you know a shark-octopus hybrid, or a giant squid against a giant snake. Some are better than others and some are just terrible. This is how we spend family time. As for tonight, I have to try and hurry this along, because the BF is on his way with another sack full of fast food from the local greasy spoon and we have a special night of, All New Releases!, to watch. They have to be back tomorrow so we have to plan our time carefully. I actually feel a little sick right now from the food I ate today. I know this is not something I should even say out loud, but I cannot wait until I get my dang period! (pardon my french). My appetite will disappear, I can get some energy back and hit the gym instead of the Dunkin Donuts, and burn off the winter weight. From about 10 winters but who’s really counting anymore. I only have about 10 pounds to lose (for each winter) so it’s pretty do-able! I’m excited. Oh! I almost forgot! I finished a book! A reading book. Not a school book. It was the Denis Leary one. You might have read about it here two years ago or so. Sadly, that’s how long it has taken me. I finished it last year. Made it just under the mark too. Like December 29th or something. I still recommend it for anyone who likes Denis Leary. It is funny and easy to read. Even my mom’s brain surgeon said, “that guy is something else…” and he chuckled. So there you have it, a brain surgeon endorsement! I’m just not good with the whole concentration thing in sentence and paragraph form without a lot of pictures to break up the words. Except for when I type. I can really string some letters together huh? I put a picture of the book below so I wouldn’t ruin my sunset shot. Oh! And I also found my first street money of the year. One penny and one dime. I will try and keep that up to date now. Just as soon as I tally up last year and post it under its proper heading. There’s just no excuses for letting all you loyal readers down. You want to know these silly mundane things that have no benefit to anyone.  And I cant even keep up. And truthfully I am not doing much else besides sitting around and thinking about doing stuff. I’m lucky we have laundry. Alright, seriously, let me wrap this up. I know the BF will be here any minute and I want to catch up on my Words With Friends (evil evil evil—addiction in smart phone form) and BeJeweled (the other evil in the world of computers and high tech gaming–that was meant to be funny. BeJeweled is hardly high tech. It’s really no-tech. It’s pretty though. Match the gems for one minute. Try to score as many points as possible. Why, oh why, would that ever be addicting??) Ok, I think I hear a car in the driveway and my liquor glass is empty. Using the words from my son’s first book that he really liked…breathe and think…relax and run…om shanti shanti…Until later…

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5 and 6

June 6, 2011 at 11:57 am (Day to Day, Pictures, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , )

After 2 nights of barely breathing I think I’ve recovered. At least good enough to go back to school. Boo. Seriously, whatever my son had, has transferred itself fully to me now. My chest was tight and burning and I was struggling for those deep breaths. I feel like an old lady, propped up on a stack of pillows because I can’t lay flat, trying to sleep. The worst appears to be over now.  I loved having that one-week break of school just to stay home with my son every day and then get sick anyway! And now I have to go back tomorrow. Boo and boo.  I shouldn’t even complain. I need to study. I have been really avoiding any type of school and I need to focus. Only a few more weeks now and then I can rest the brain.

Anyhow, at last post, my daughter and I did go for the walk in the woods. It was lovely, hot and humid. Very still and pressing. But my chest didn’t feel so bad. It’s really more bothersome with the back and forth from heat to cold, like with air conditioning.  But it’s staying on now, even if it’s just to keep the peace. And anyway, we are about to be steamed in a three day, 90+ degree pot of boiling summer fun, so I’ll just keep it on.

Here is a pic of my daughter, on a rock, amid the trees and mosquitos:

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May 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm (Birds, Pictures, Random Images) (, , , , )

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4 hours on a Friday afternoon

August 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm (Day to Day, News, Pictures, Tree Trouble) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(To take down a tree. Four hours on a Tuesday just to write about it. Sheesh.)

Programming note: Sorry it took so long to get this up. I am sure all 15 of you have been waiting and wondering, “where the hell is her tree story??” Well, I’ve kind of been busy with extra things I decided to pile on right at the end of my summer. Like motorcycling, school obsessing, and complete body overhauling. I can sum all that up later. But here’s the gripping tale, in it’s entirety and original text with fabulous pictures. Ready, set, go:

Who needs Yoga X when you can stand outside and sweat from heat and stress. I didn’t do jack shit except be nervous about the tree man, he’s awesome! His name is Ken and me and the neighbors all agree that he’s our hero! He makes it look waaaay too easy.  That’s him in the tree.

Let me re-cap our situation: Tree tipped onto the house.

Cut cut cut, with a handsaw. It’s all we could do last Sunday.

It was about 6 inches off the roof and then resting back on it by Monday morning. We bought a chainsaw and tried to do it ourselves. HA. HA. HA.

The roof is steeper and the branch is higher off the roof than I anticipated so…I was no help. We needed a professional.

That’s from the front. Just thought I’d throw it in there for perspective. The tree is still mostly intact. And here’s just one more picture of the crack that cost me all my money. Damn trees.

And this is Friday. It was about 3 o’clock when he started. About 95° with little breeze and the sun was beating down and the branches were getting thinner and thinner. We were hot on the ground. I was standing, obviously, taking pictures, and Ken was in the tree and his 2 friends were providing the muscle and assistance  to get each piece from the sky to the ground. I really have to say thanks to them too, because without them it would not have been possible to do anything. So this pic is already after he took off the one over the house. He basically hopped onto the roof and chainsawed off a couple of feet that he could reach by hand, then climbed the tree, hung out over the roof, tied it off and chopped it down in bite size chunks. There is NO WAY we would have EVER been able to do even that. The heat must have gotten to us because we were crazy for thinking it. Trees are big and scary tall! After he scaled back up the main trunk he chopped chopped off the bothersome “smaller” limbs. You can see some of them jutting off the one limb he is LAYING on.

That’s my second favorite picture. Yeah. Look close. Do you see a blue line? No? Well it’s there, and it’s the only thing holding him to the tree besides his feet on the branch with the spikey hold in his boots. But you can only reach so far over before you have to basically lay across the limb, stretch it out, grab the chainsaw that hanging off a loop on your pants and start, wield and cut with ONE hand. Zip and done. That’s what it looks like from my perspective. He was like a squirrel just moving from branch to branch and making cuts like he was painting a big picture. I took so many pictures with the camera so I hope he doesn’t mind, but it was pretty exciting. Once you get comfortable with the man in the trees and everyone is kind of gelled and working together, it was really moving along. Ken also brought his truck and chipper rig that was parked in front of the house. I got pics of that too. It’s a scary, dangerous, machine. And like my neighbor said, this tree process draws people to the site like a car accident. But they mostly slow down and keep moving.

Well that’s the top. And this is from the side. Every time he cut one branch going up it looked like 2 more were right behind. One over the driveway, one over the house, one hanging over the yard…OH! there’s another one straight up. They’re all loose looking and flappy. But he just keeps climbing. Climbing and cutting. Dropping them, every single one, perfectly in between our houses. Precision targeting. Not one of the limbs touched the house or the wires or the fence or even the gutters. It’s an art form.

That’s from the front because you can see how high he really is. I thought it was an interesting view that you would like too. The tree is, was, tall. Tapered. Flimsy to me. I’m not crawling up there. Ken is in the middle of the picture. In the tree. Directly above the peak of the house. Here’s another look.

Look at all that blue sky! This is the pan out on my fav shot of the day. The one below these words. Ken finished with all the dangling limbs, all the ones that were kind of sticking out in all directions. Then he’s getting ready to drop the final top piece and prepare to work his way down. He’s just standing up there in the tree. Looking so casual. Literally on one leg, one boot spike technically, with the other one crossed over like he’s just chilling at the bar. You can’t beat this kind of cool. He was actually tying ropes and sweating like crazy, but you would never know it from his relaxed posture. (And, just from an arty viewpoint, I think that the colors of the sky and his clothes and safety gear, boots, not to mention the chainsaw, really bring the whole picture together).

OK, let me speed things up. He’s on the way down now. Shimmy, rope, tie off, ready, cut, hang, drop, untie, repeat.

So, as far as I can tell: Go up. Cut everything in your path. Then once you are at the tippy top, start cutting above you and go back down. Makes sense when you see a professional do it. This might be kind of boring to see I guess, but if you’ve had something like a giant, 50 year old tree taken down piece by heavy piece, it’s overly interesting and strangely satisfying. The worry is pretty much gone for his safety because he obviously knows what he’s doing (been doing it for over 20 years) and he makes tree “walking” look like he’s walking around the yard. Then you forget (not really) that he’s up there and then he’s done. Back on the ground and cutting the last huge piece.

Oooh! You can see some chips flying! That final piece was the size of a love-seat.

This is another picture of the last piece with real chainsaw action, just because. If I could carve wood I would have made it into a sofa seat.  We wouldn’t have been able to move it but that’s besides the point. We could have rolled it. How nice it would be to sit in our tree chair on a warm summer night and look up at our tree trunk. No that’s ok. Cut it up please! Thank you. Our chainsaw cannot handle the diameter, which I measured just for you.  33 inches at it’s widest point. Here’s the pic:

Looks good and smells good too. It has a weird open-guts-tree smell. Fresh like in the rain but woodsy and sandy and barky all at the same time. That description doesn’t exactly sound enticing but it’s not bad. We’re all out there smelling the tree. Intervention!

So now we can really move fast with the cleanup process. This is the pile of logs that were laying around.

These are all the branches. I tried to get a good view with lots of debris so you could get a feel for what four hours of tree cutting can really get you.

I am so grateful that the guys cleaned up almost everything. What we had left was alot. Plus, Ken wanted to use the new chipper. And in my need to help and start moving the big backyard pieces to the tree holding area we have now, I sustained my first real working injury. Crap. I was scared too. Right after I picked up one of the bigger pieces, which I lift stuff all the time so I didn’t even think about it, my right middle finger felt immediately numb and fat. It was black and blue and looked seriously pinched and just injured. It was hot and painful, and looked really bad. I’ll admit I got a bit worried. And of course the BF, who is always warning me not to do stupid shit because I don’t have the best insurance, walks up at that moment. I iced it and hoped for the best. And I stopped doing anything. The nurse next door took a look and said it will prob turn a nice black and blue color, but since my circulation was fine, I should just ice and rest it. Man, this forty year old body is killing me! It’s been some days now and it is ok. KNOCK ON WOOD. It never turned real nasty and it seems to have gone back to mostly normal. It’s a weird browny color but I can use it so I’m not complaining. I was even able to finish my motorcycle class using my bum hand. Right hand throttle ya know! FUN! No hand pictures though…they would have been good right after but I never even thought of it! Anyway, this is the chipper below.

Notice the chips flying out the chute end. Nasty going in. Shreds coming out. Makes that movie Fargo seem extra creepy when you have a wood chipper sitting right in front of your house and you see what it can do to tree limbs that are as big as a human leg. Here’s a few more pics from a different angle.

I like that picture because it kind of shows the effort it takes to heave those branches in. Throw and let go. You do not want to be holding onto the branch when the blades grab it. It sucks it in so fast that even standing there watching it over and over you can’t believe it’s so quick. One more for good luck.

I like this one because you can see inside the truck. It was empty when we started. And it’s not nearly full when we were done. Well, when they were done. I was pretty far away actually. Walking around taking pictures. This was before my finger got a boo boo.

And finally, the finished product! Now I have two trees with one trunk, going straight up, looking like they are doing a booty bump. I was joking around that with my luck there will be a terrible lightning storm that night that will hit the first one and take out the second one in a domino effect. Money well spent.

This is post cleanup. The BF and the boy chainsawed what we had left and stacked it all in the holding pile. I cleaned up the small stuff.

And here we are. Right back to where we started from at the beginning of summer. It’s like gaining weight. All plus more. It is obviously my destiny to be the keeper of the trees. Or at least their parts.

That’s everything nicely stacked. Here’s an individual pic of the big logs just cause I like the way they look. All that used to be in the air. Isn’t that amazing?!? I know. It’s been a long day and the kids want to go out and fish for a little while. They have been very understanding in my need to share with my fans.

If anyone needs any wood?? Camping? Fireplace? Carving? Just to have a piece of the story? It’s always here. And anytime I dare to try and get rid of it all, nature provides me with more! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I was just thinking that even if I had no trees in the yard, cut to the ground, I bet branches from other areas would start showing up, like from the wind. Or tornados would bring them right to me. Well, that’s hopefully too crazy. Incidentally, it’s been dry as a bone around here all last week. Looked like rain. They said it might. Never did. About one hour after Ken was done and cleaned up and everything was in for the night, it stormed. There was thunder. There was lightning. The wind blew. The rain fell. The earth was clean. And it hasn’t rained again since. I’m not trying to say anything in particular. It just seems strange.

This is the last picture. My newly shorn tree posing for the camera. I should make it the first cause it’s so pretty. This is also the end of the story. Thanks for hanging all the way through. Later.

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