Sunday, May 27, 2007

Holiday Weekend

I love long weekends. I love waking up on Sunday morning at about 9am and realizing that I get to to it again TOMORROW! How awesome is that. Here is a run down of all of the incredibly interesting things that have happened in my life since last we chatted.

We were going to go camping - but then we realized we didn't have medical records for Gonzo and Brodie that showed they have their vaccinations up to date. We realized it, of course, rather late into the game on Friday. I called the vet to find they were closed and that they were not open on Saturday due to the long weekend, but if we had a medical emergency to call blah blah blah...

So no chance of getting paperwork. Sigh. Instead, we've opted to do nothing but hang out and have fun here. And that is sometimes a really good thing.

idahoI got my last USA license plate picture taken this week.

For those of you who have been reading me for some time, you know that back in July of 2005 I started taking pictures of license plates from different states.

For the better part of the last year, I only needed Nebraska and Idaho to complete the set. Nebraska was found while we were driving home from Florida back in February, and I had high hopes that we'd see an Idaho, but no luck... Idaho is a long way from Eastern MA, so I was relatively sure I was doomed. But on Wednesday, I had to run by the mall for something. And I usually don't ever commute that way home. I picked up what I needed, and started heading to the highway when I noticed a car in the left lane driving relatively slowly... and everyone going around it and zooming up the left lane. I got into the left lane, knowing that I didn't want to get trapped behind this slowpoke... and as I approached I saw the plate. Quickly, I got back behind it and grabbed in my bag for the camera.

Usually in these instances, I find myself without the camera, or with it but dead batteries within. That day, the camera was THERE and the batteries CHARGED and man was I psyched. We hit a stop light and I zoomed in really close and nailed the shot and then sat there giggling. I really wanted the driver to pull into the McDonalds or the Dunkin Donuts, and I was so going to follow them in and ask them to take a picture of me WITH the plate so I could commemorate the moment with a self portrait... but they got on Rte. 1 South and I was heading to 95 North. But... I got it. License Plate Safari -- complete!

Well, complete to an extent... there are some Canadian Provinces I'd like to get, and I don't have a Washington DC plate or Puerto Rico (I've seen a couple) or that Guam plate I saw in Portsmouth NH... and Mexico! Maybe I'll see a Mexican state plate somewhere. We saw a lot of them in 2001 when we were in the South West. So yeah -- maybe I'll see more plates to add to the collection.

But all 50 US states are done. And that makes me smile. If you want to see the set -- it is here. Go ahead and bask in the glory of my awesome achievement. You know you want to.

231/365 towel dayFriday was Towel Day. Many people took their portraits for the Pool in Flickr, and I was among them. One of my favorites was a shot taken by Mikey, but because he's got it set up for only friends to see, you can't see it. Sorry.

But you'll have to believe me that it is a great shot. In the meantime, if you want to see another one of his towel day shots, this is a good one to go look at. It sums up visually all the reasons why I love me some skinny black man.

I didn't tell the girls in the office to remember to bring a towel... so I was the only one. Sigh. We had a picnic at G's house, and it was like 90 degrees out. The towel came in handy for patting my brow from the heat. Douglas Adams was right... towels are very important to have.

On Friday, on the way into work, I passed the Eastman Gelatine plant in Peabody the way I do every day. They were tearing down a structure, and had the road blocked off, and tons of equipment and cops and stuff everywhere. It took forever to get through the area. I hate my commute. But you never know what you're gonna see, so I pulled over and took a couple of pictures.

building destruction -  peabody maI have no clue what the structure was that they were tearing down. It's been there for a bazillion years, and I have been driving past it either as a commuter or as someone just going through the area since 1984.

Suffice to say that it is kind of weird to know that something that my eyes have crossed almost daily for three years will no longer be there. It isn't important to me or my life, and it doesn't change my commute or my point of view by it not being there any longer.

It is just odd to realize that something you see every day won't be there anymore.

While I was taking pictures, I noticed a woman waiting at the bus stop. This woman waits at the bus stop every day. No matter the weather. I tend to come through the area anywhere between 9 and 9:30 depending on how bad the traffic has been, and without fail I see her there during that stretch of time.

I've driven by during really cold weather and have actually thought about stopping to let her sit in the car because it would be so much nicer -- but I have no idea what time her bus will be coming, and I wouldn't want to make her miss it... if they don't stop because they don't see her standing there.

mary in peabodyShe was standing there watching the building get demolished, so I walked over to say hello.

We chatted for a while, and she told me she goes to the senior center every day, and then takes the bus over to the mall to walk. And then she comes home after lunch time. Every day she goes out because "it is pointless to spend your whole day inside looking at the same walls."

I told her I see her every day and I say a prayer for her (I do, honestly) and that I've thought of stopping to let her sit in the car when it is cold because I worry about her. She laughed and told me that is a nice thought, but the senior bus won't stop if they don't see her there. If she missed the bus and then I'd have to drive her.

She laughed... and she said she likes the cold because it makes her "old body feel alive."

I asked if I could take her picture and she told me no -- who would want to have a picture of an old old woman... (in the picture, she's saying "old"). I told her I did, and that I already took it. She told me to print it and burn it...

She said something that I think I've said here a few times, and that my friend Keri has also written about... "when I look in the mirror some mornings, I can't believe how many wrinkles there are, and how old I am. I don't feel the wrinkles when they come. And I don't think I look like that face. So I hate pictures of me, because they don't look like what I think I look like... so throw that picture out. Burn it." And she laughed.

As I walked back to the car, I realized that time is tearing down Mary and each one of us like the equipment ripping down the structure at Eastman Gelatine. Someday, Mary won't be standing there at the bus stop.

...It is just odd to realize that something you see every day won't be there anymore.

I heard the crunch of the machinery eating into the concrete, and looked over my shoulder at Mary placidly watching the work. And I found myself crying as I pulled back into traffic to head to work.

Yesterday Geoff stepped on his guitar and broke it.

I lost my cotton picking mind.

We had a huge argument over how he keeps his room, and he told me that because the room is so small it is impossible to keep clean. Bullshit. I started tearing it apart, cleaning it and throwing things out. Three hours later, it was rearranged, organized, and stuff was put away. He was shocked at how it looked and I told him that every single day he has to spend at least five minutes putting stuff away.

If he spends just that much time, the room will be fine.

Kayla was here visiting for the day and she and Jess helped out a little.

When Kayla heard me say that Geoff's guitar was destroyed she didn't believe me. I told her it was in the garbage, dead, gone, buried.

"Did he break the neck or just the body?"

Just the body. But it is trashed.

"It's not ruined. I can fix it."

Kayla likes to fix things, and thinks (rightly so sometimes) that she knows more than I do. We sparred back and forth and she insisted she could repair it. She wouldn't drop it, and finally I just gave up and told her "do whatever you want but it isn't going to work."

She went downstairs and pulled it out of the trash. She asked Doug for some duct tape and scissors and he didn't even question why one of our daughter's friends wanted duct tape and scissors -- he gave them to her. And she set to work.

She duct taped it all back together, wrote his name on the duct tape with a sharpie to make it look intentionally cool... and brought it to me. It's ugly, but as Kayla put it, "it's all rock and roll now."

"You give up too easily Mrs. Jebbie's Mom," she says to me.

I told her it wasn't so much that I gave up too easily, I so just didn't want to DEAL with how mad it made me that he wrecked something due to his own laziness. Every day I tell him "pick the guitar up, stand it in the corner, put it on the bookcase, put it on your bureau, stand it in your closet... it is going to get damaged or broken. Do it or you'll be sorry." And what I say is going to happen happens, and he blames the size of his room instead of himself. So it pissed me off to no end and I just pitched it.

Because Kayla is a lot like Geoff, she saw an opportunity to help him out. And I think she's sweet for taking it. Part of me wishes she hadn't because now he's not embracing the fact that his actions have really negative consequences.

Now he believes that duct tape fixes everything.

Anyway. His room is now spotless and wonderful and I hope it stays that way. And I also am mad at myself because there is still so much to do and clean and unpack from last year's move, and I feel like it will never be completed.

After cleaning Geoff's room, I went out and planted the plants that Geoff seeded in April. He planted a million morning glories and Mexican sunflowers. Of the million quite a few grew up into viable plants and it was time to get things into the ground. I planted 12 morning glory plants up front on the fence, and eight on the side fence. I disturbed a spider's nest and had eighty million spiders spring up out of the ground and engulf my leg. The fact I didn't run screaming into the street amazes me. I brushed them all off and actually apologized to them for wrecking their house.

Something's wrong with me if I'm saying stuff like that ...

Anyway, then I cut the grass that is all growing up in the giant irises and lilies. Doug did a ton of weedwhacking and the yard looks spectacular. Where in April the ground was bare and dog-tracked and just about completely wrecked, we've got gorgeous grass. He did a tremendous job of keeping the dogs off the areas that needed healed, and the dogs are now lounging comfortably in the deep and happy green sea of yard.

I still have some grass to cut out front of the house in the irises up there, and will get to that as soon as I'm done here.

Now all we have to do is go buy the stone for our patio, and things will be so rocking and rolling. Yay!

Yesterday, I cleaned Geoff's room and did gardening instead of going into Boston to see Guster perform a free concert (with about five other bands going on before them) for the WBOS Earthfest event. I passed on it purposely, because the last free outdoor concert I went to (remember, Tess?!) turned out to be a near disaster. I don't like crowds. I don't like going in and staking out some turf and sitting there for HOURS waiting for my favorite band, only to have shitheads show up right when that band starts and STAND IN FRONT OF ME... and when asked to move they get nasty.

Tess can attest. I will never forget the woman grabbing her flabby ass cheeks and shaking them in my face when I told her that I wanted to see Bruce Cockburn and not her rump.

So I knew that the free live Gusters would bring in a humongous crowd. It was a gorgeous day which meant even MORE people would be there, and I just didn't want to deal.

Although my love for the gus is great... I love my sanity more. I got some phone love from Maryanna (thank you) during Captain, and Ken took video of a few of the songs that came out really good (except when people walked in front of his camera while he was taping). The sound was great, and the band looked awesome... I'm sure that had I gone down early enough and got right up front there, a good time would have been had... but I am glad I stayed home.

If you'd like to see the roundup, Universal Hub actually has a nice collection of info and a link to one of Ken's videos. Go have a look. You know you want to.

Alright -- that grass in the irises isn't going to go away on its own. I'm outta here. Got lots to do today -- we're out of detergent so I need to go get some, and I want buffalo wings but there isn't any buffalo sauce or bleu cheese. So yeah. Lots to accomplish outside of this seat today.

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