Oct 31 2009

Slumber Party!

Our first annual sleepover!

Our first annual sleepover!

While Roger was in the woods, I was having a sleep over with all of my sisters and mom.  Ed took care of all of us with plenty of food and special treats.  We watched The Proposal, which is an excellent chick flick.  Matching pajamas–even Adrienne agreed to wear them.  Need I say more? (P.S.  Barbara and I spent the night comparing our new iPhones.  This is my first photo with the camera.  A little blurry.  I’m going to have to work on that.)

Oct 31 2009

Hunting On Halloween


I had to drag myself out of bed this morning, but I’m glad I did. These are the autumn woods, the woods I love best. The color is mostly gone; leaves are raining down with the passing breezes. There is an urgency in the air, in anticipation of the coming frosts. Earlier, a little buck ran by, chasing a little doe, both oblivious to everything around them. The rut is coming on with the full moon.

Oct 29 2009

Second College Application Complete!



Good news!  C.J. has completed his second college application.  If you are a parent with a teen who needs to get organized, try registering for “My Organizer” at the CollegeBoard.com.  Once the student enters his/her information, all of the colleges can be saved on one page with deadlines, cost comparison, acceptance rates, and much more.  Better yet, there’s a reminder section with “To Do’s” that pop up.  Takes a lot of parent elbow grease out of the process.MARYLAND_WALLMARX_LOGO

Oct 23 2009

Septic Woes


Garrison Keillor chose today’s poem with Roger and me in mind!  It makes light of all of our water and waste troubles.  It fits well with the septic soliloquies I’ve delivered thus far.


by Louis Jenkins

It turns out that the drain pipe from the sink is attached to
nothing and water just runs right onto the ground in the
crawl space underneath the house and then trickles out
into the stream that passes through the backyard. It turns
out that the house is not really attached to the ground but
sits atop a few loose concrete blocks all held in place by
gravity, which, as I understand it, means “seriousness.” Well,
this is serious enough. If you look into it further you will
discover that the water is not attached to anything either
and that perhaps the rocks and the trees are not all that
firmly in place. The world is a stage. But don’t try to move
anything. You might hurt yourself, besides that’s a job for
the stagehands and union rules are strict. You are merely a
player about to deliver a soliloquy on the septic system to a
couple dozen popple trees and a patch of pale blue sky.

“Gravity” by Louis Jenkins from Just Above Water. ©

Oct 22 2009

Doe Urine


Made a pilgrimmage to Bass Pro last night to buy Doe Estrus in preparation for our weekend in Pennsylvania.  Roger is partial to Tink’s 69, but that didn’t preclude about 15 minutes in the scent aisle comparing wafers, bombs, dragging lures, gels, liquids and different brands. 

Roger seriously debated the virtues of gel and liquid with another hunter in the same aisle.  We settled for some of each.  Then, on to the arrow aisle where we were looking for some sort of powder for drying the feathers.  I’m fairly certain that after this season, I could work in the hunting section of the store.tinks_69_and_scent_bomb

Oct 18 2009

Tagging Monarch Butterflies


Cleaning in Uniontown today.  The leaves and fall decorations, new carpet and flooring, all conspired to make us want to stay forever.  Sorted through boxes of books and packed up nick nacks. Visited Uniontown neighbors Roland and Barbara Childs.  Barbara is a master gardener and Roger’s long-time friend.  We discussed fishing, hunting, gardening and tagging Monarch Butterflies.  Never heard of that–but I want to learn!

A little research later, learned that Carroll County hosts a Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in the last weekend of September.  I missed an opportunity to learn all about the Monarch’s flight to Mexico and to learn how to tag them.  Next year, I will be there!

Ate four delicious figs and returned home to make a cake for Emily’s brithday.

Oct 10 2009

Hunting In October


Back up in a tree in Patapsco. It’s been two weeks. Already, the woods have started to open up. The ground vegetation has started to die back. The trees are still mostly green, but there’s a good deal of yellow and a few splashes of red. The canopy, up here at 20-25′, is definitely thinning. I love being in these changes. I noticed this week, the deer have lost their golden/red coats, and put on their dull winter brown. It’s breezy here today, and this tree is gently rocking. Hope it doesn’t keep the deer away. A cool front is coming in. Maybe that will make them move.
Posted from my iPhone.

Oct 5 2009

24 Hours In Syracuse


We did the whirlwind tour to go see Nicole this weekend — left Sykesville a little before 6am, got to Syracuse around 12:30pm.  Lunch, haircut for Nicole, errands, out to see Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, then picked up N’s roomate and went downtown for a great Thai dinner. Sunday morning was incredible waffles at Funk ‘N Waffles, then the sad goodbye.

You could as easily have strangled my heart with barbed wire and it wouldn’t have felt any worse to leave my baby. I wonder will it get easier?  At least she is adapting well to college and seems happy.

I had a hankering to get some fresh local apples, but we didn’t know where to go. Natalie was driving the first leg (she can only drive first, because she falls asleep), and I saw a sign for an apple festival for next weekend. We took the exit anyway, and without much poking around, we found a great orchard. We didn’t take the time to pick, but got some amazing already picked apples, and even more amazing, some fresh-fried apple fritters. Can’t wait for Natalie to make those at home! We wandered the back way to get back to the highway, and at one point passed a farm with 26 acres for sale by owner. Natalie wanted to turn around and check it out, but I thought that was a bad idea. We probably would have bought it.

It was really weird that, when we were driving up Saturday, the leaves were nice and getting some color, but coming back Sunday, the colors were totally striking. Can that happen in one night? Well, I suppose a lot can happen in one night. That’s all it took for Natalie and I to fall in love.

Oct 5 2009

Starbucks Via Taste Test



On our way to Syracuse and on the return, Roger and I marked the passing miles with stops at Starbucks.  We’ve got the 6-hour drive divided into our favorite Starbucks rest stops.  As Starbucks recently rolled out their instant coffee, they are challenging customers to a taste test.  Could we tell the difference between their regular brewed Pike’s Peak and their new Via?  Roger got it right two out of three times http://ocw.upc.edu/webs/42254/Bloc1/Audio/s/adobe-illustrator-cs6.html.  I  identified Via only one out of three tries.   Our overall conclusion–not too bad.  We can see how Via would be great for backpacking and camping trips.  The coupons for a tall coffee and for Via packages were nice, too.

Oct 1 2009

Finally, Texting While Driving Is Illegal In Maryland. Yay!


Kudos to our Maryland lawmakers who got this one right.  As of today, it is illegal to text behind the wheel.  Now, if they would just outlaw ALL cell phone use while driving.

As an added bonus, teenagers now have to be 18 before they can get their full license.  Still too young IMHO, but a step in the right direction.

If you’re wondering just how dangerous distracted driving is, here’s an excellent, if long, article from the New York Times:

Driven to Distraction, from the New York Times

And if you really want to get serious about the safety of your loved ones, have them make this pledge and sign it.  Everyone in our household has.

Safe Driving Pledge

Oct 1 2009

The Trouble With Obama


Yes, we’re disappointed.  Instead of true and significant change, we are getting cold and compromising pragmatism.  But we (I) can be patient with that.  We have, after all, been pulled back from the brink of economic annihilation.  And we’re struggling to recover from eight years of disastrous foreign policy premised on lies and arrogance.

But real health care reform should be achievable.  We should be able to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies, the insurance companies, and the GOP.  We should be able to have a public option (though it is a poor substitute for single-payer universal care, the best option).  We should be able to decouple insurance from employment — what sense is it to have an individual mandate with workplace-delivered coverage?  Health insurance is too important to be dependent on something as tenuous as employment.  We need real caps on premiums, which is scarcely mentioned, other than ridiculous proposals (13%?) that don’t even constitute cost control.

But I digress.  That’s not the reason I’m writing.  I’m writing about the trouble with Obama.

I think I’ve finally put my finger on it.  He hasn’t asked us to do anything.  Us, the citizens.  We, who elected him.  No exhortations to shoulder our burden, no calls to selfless action or sacrifice, no asking what we can do for our country.  We’re relegated to spectator roles.  Sure, we can be self-starters and do things on our own.  But that’s just individual action.  Isn’t a leader supposed to lead?  Isn’t a leader supposed to unite our efforts so we can achieve great things?  How else can we do them?

Please.  Lead, Mr. President.  Ask us to do something, damn it!  Something real.  Not phone calls and coffee clutches.  Tell us what it is we need to do, what you would have us do, to turn this country around.  Please, before it is way too late.