Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween 2007


Well its happening everywhere. Night before Halloween vandalism. I won't even dignify the practice by using its nomenclature. If these criminals didn't hit other homes in the neighborhood, we would have considered the possibility that it was a "hate crime" given the graffiti. We moved here seven and a half years ago, partly because of crap like this in the "borderline" neighborhood we used to live in. The camper is at the bottom of our driveway, pretty much out of sight from the house.

Here are some photos of the mess they made.




















Thing is, in 7 years we've never had a Trick-or-Treater come to our door. The first Halloween, we had five bags of Hershey bars and Kit-Kats and Reeses Cups, you know, quality treats, all ready for an onslaught. Granted there are not a lot of homes in the neighborhood; I figured on having a few leftovers for us. Not one little devil, or witch, or scarecrow or ghost.

The second year we only bought two bags. Still not a monster. But I still buy at least two bags of good stuff, cuz you never know.




















So, getting back to the vandalism -

Two local cops banged on the door at 7:30 this morning as Leon was getting out of the shower, running around naked, to inform him of the damage. I'd already left.

They suggested he clean it up right away. To minimize the impact and satisfaction the thugs might enjoy. Leon cleaned it up nicely, though it was a tough job and made him late getting to his first customer.

I'm tempted to go down to the camper tonight, turn on the heat and see who knocks. I have candy. Armed with Treats, I'll hold the Almond Joys and Reeses as bribes while I interrogate each kid who comes by, "What do you know about the nefarious neighborhood Spray-Painters? Have you heard of that rap group whose name was painted on the side of this camper? How much do you like chocolate? Talk or NO Treat!"

But its not worth it. There'll be no goblins tonight. But next year, the night before Halloween, we'll be waiting for them. I'll weave a giant spider's web, and they'll be sorry.



















May all the gay Saints bless you this Halloween evening.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

First Frost


The thing about living in the Northeast is that summers are excellent but way too short. In April and May we drag all kinds of things outdoors including house plants. In October we drag them in before the first frost. The cacti and tropicals that need to be brought in are not typical sized house plants




















The cactus garden in the backyard has potted cacti as well as in-ground specimens. The native Prickly Pear - Opuntia - stays in the ground all winter and flowers around Gay Pride Day - at the end of June and into early July.. They are indigenous to Martha's Vineyard, and I've seen them growing wild along the Jersey Shore. Mine have been propagated over the years from cuttings or pieces that drop off, which root easily.




















The other cacti have to be wintered indoors. They used to take over the sunroom until I tried storing some of the larger ones in the basement.




















Like the Dinner Plate Opuntia which I'm guessing weighs 30 pounds or more - it gets dug up in the fall, hoisted up with ropes, hosed off, and lowered into a large trash barrel, bare root, and wheeled into the basement. It takes two of us to do this. Each year, I swear I'm not going to do it anymore.




















The other monster is the Strelitizia nicolai, if I've got it right, a large Bird of Paradise type tropical. It's got to weigh 80 pounds. When we brought it out last spring, I promised it would never see another summer. But I just don't have it in me to let the thing die. So, here they all are, in for the winter, before the first frost.





















The thing about summers is, we have only a finite number of them.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Photos of the Car Club Meeting Last Saturday

Having some insomnia again, so feeling kinda wiped today. So here are some more pics of the Lambda Car Club Guys:
Peter V. ~ Jerry M. ~ Kurt R. ~ Dave B. ~ Dave & Leon Installing driving lights on the Mini ~














Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Apple A Day

That was about it. Well, two days, tops. Returned the iPhones today and re-did our ATT accounts again; it's still not simple. Back to ordinary cell phones that have voice recognition. And our retirement funds are SO much better off.

Today is also Leon's birthday, though we had more of a celebration on Saturday. Happy Birthday, Honey. I love you.

Today also marks one year at the job. I never thought I'd make it through the first week. When I took this job - writing grant proposals for a homeless shelter - it was out of desperation. And that desperation was exacerbated by the sense that I am on the shorter end of the life-line and that the time for dreams has past. I was still hoping that I would finally find my passion and a job that matched it.

I've always marveled at (envied) the 97 year old violinist (concert pianist, jazz musician) showcased regularly on Sunday Morning or 60 Minutes, who has been playing the violin (piano, saxophone) since the age of 5, and still can't wait to make music each day. (Why do they always seem to be musicians?) Their work is what they most enjoy doing.

By accepting this job I was admitting that I've run out of chips, that there is no chance left for luck, that the real possibilities of life have all evaporated. Another job. On Monday, waiting for Friday; at 8:30 AM, waiting for 4:30PM. To say the least, my heart isn't in it. So here it is, a year later, no closer to retirement, no richer, and still looking. The drawbacks of being a reluctant rebel.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nothing's Perfect


Well its cell phone time again. Leon's been having trouble with his cell phone... and mine's an old clunker - but it works... no camera, low tech as cell phones go.

Well, after checking out a few models, we went to the Apple Store.

The iPhone is quite the gadget (and, no you don't get a link from me on this one). After playing with them for a while and asking LOTS of questions, including about voice activation tags for calling people in your phonebook, we were ecstatic. The iPhone practically sells itself because it is SO AMAZING.

Went right down to ATT to switch to the family plan and bought 2 iPhones from Apple. This major purchase was justified - in lieu of my buying a new digital camera, and Leon buying an iPod and a new phone, and my having a separate phone account. Simplify. Right.

The iPhone has it all. EXCEPT - can you believe it!? - VOICE ACTIVATION!

And here we are, living in a state that has a "hands free only while driving" cell phone law. The iPhone is definitely a two-handed phone. Even without the Law, it would be insane to try to make a simple call with the iPhone while driving! (I think I may be insane.) For $400 it ought to have voice activated software, not to mention a longer battery life. Yeah, ATT has a cumbersome, dysfunctional voice command system for an ADDITIONAL $5 each per month, but that doesn't cut it.

For $400, Apple should at least cover the lousy ATT voice feature on their plan, as a half-assed good will measure. What a disappointment! It actually made me feel ill, knowing I had spent good money on something so COOL, yet so DEFICIENT in such a major way. (Not to mention that registering 2 iPhones and 2 AppleCare Plans was almost impossible as the registration site kept defaulting to the previous registrant.)

Well, the purchase was not an easy one, as that is a CONSIDERABLE sum for us, and was a stretch on the budget, to say the least. I won't deny that the iPhone is a fascinating piece of electronics. But it looks like we're going to return them. We were led to believe that the phone had the voice activation feature, so the Apple Store'd be wise to waive the "restocking fee". Nothing's perfect.

The thing that disturbs me more than anything is that, as much as we try to simplify our lives, we get sucked into complicating them. Yeah, its that feeling of being sucked in, cajoled, duped, persuaded, that makes me cringe. Buying things we really don't need. Having things that require registrations, accounts, warranties, passwords, updates, batteries, chargers, docks, connections, accessories, etc. etc. Things that take more time and leave you with less time. Things purported to make life easier, but in fact end up consuming life. My fear is that it is becoming impossible to simplify or to keep it simple.

I fear that all the complexities of life in the 2thousands are so insidious that they infect us without our full awareness and we find ourselves possessed before we know it.

It takes vigilance, fortitude, determination and a good dose of rebelliousness to keep it simple.

I remember when there were no cell phones. Imagine. Somehow we survived.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

LAMBDA CAR CLUB and HUBBY'S BIRTHDAY

My hubby is president of the Nutmeg Chapter of Lambda Car Club and I'm the reluctant first lady. Cars are practical machines; sure some vintage cars are works of art, but, well give me flowers.
Garden flowers are scarce in the Northeast in late October, but I try to make do with what nature has available. Every so often my flower arranging gene take over. Yeah, I believe there's some genetic connection between this urge to arrange vegetation and the attraction to other males...especially when I'm hosting the Car Club guys.



We held this month's meeting at our place today and I got to cater the event. We expected 25 to 30 but there were only about 14 of us. Some of the guys hiked up back, to the junkyard to look at old cars. Now can there be a genetic connection between the urge to look at junk cars and an attraction to other males?...The weather's been warm for October, so we sat outside.



I made baked shells with ricotta and sausage. And the hot legs were a hit.



It's hubby's birthday on Tuesday, so for dessert I made him a Birthday Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This thing has every food group in it and can be considered a completely balanced meal! One pound of carrots, eggs, orange juice, walnuts, raisins, flour, crisco, hazelnut oil, cream cheese, and of course sugar to make it delectable. I don't have a gay cake decorator gene, so candy corn had to do.

Leon is about to blow...I didn't have 46 candles, thankgod. Carrot cake is his favorite. The guys liked the cake so, my day of catering was a success. And the "car-talk" didn't dominate the conversation...so I actually had a good time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

RELUCTANT BLOGGER


Choosing a name for this new blog was worse than the grocery store dilemma of "paper or plastic"

Reluctant – feeling or showing no willingness or enthusiasm to do something, unwilling, unenthusiastic, disinclined, hesitant…lots of negatives, describes me too well; the definition should be no enthusiasm to do anything…I think I was born kicking and screaming and I’ll probably die that way. When I was exploring career possibilities, which I’ve been doing for 37 years, I used the process of elimination: I eliminated everything. Still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I really am enthusiastic about doing something – I just haven’t figured out what it is.

Rebel – somebody who rejects the codes and conventions of society…who defiantly protests against authority, radical, dissenter…at first glance “rebel” and “reluctant” seem contradictory. But they’re really not that dissimilar. Except for the fact that to be a rebel requires at least some enthusiasm or willingness to behave defiantly. Is a reluctant rebel merely passive aggressive? I marched. I protested. I carried signs. I purposely avoided getting arrested on purpose. I was chicken.

I can find lots to rebel against, but ah, one worries about having health insurance coverage. Maybe I’m a just a gutless tool.

Hey, I had to choose a name for this blog, and that one was available. Something with the word “Troll” in it was a contender, but I’m reluctant to take on the cause of rebellious trolls.

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