Monday, July 30, 2012

Naked Ladies are jumping the fences!

It's that time of year again. Time for the Naked Ladies in our yard. For four years they have popped up dutifully in the heat of the summer, naked as jay birds in our back bed. Flower bed, that is. This year they had a surprise for us. They are now strutting their stuff in our front bed too. Again, we are talking flower beds. Yes, for the whole world to see, we have Naked Ladies in our front yard. Was it the squirrels? The birds? A neighbor with a thing for pink? They're not talking - a real lady does not reveal her secrets.

Monday, July 23, 2012

When adults go to the fair

The Zipper

Going on thirty years ago, this ride - The Zipper - could very well have changed my life. I was young and head-over-heels with a certain young guy. A group of us went to the California State Fair. It was "arranged" that I would ride The Zipper with the Guy. It did not go well. No, I didn't throw up my corn dog, but I pretty much came out of it looking like a big paranoid freak that no one would want to spend the rest of their life with, let alone the few agonizing minutes of cage time this ride provides.

They may have named a cage after me

"I HATE this!!"
"I'm going to DIE!"
"My purse, my purse is flying around!"
"Why won't it stop? Please stop!"
"Get me off!"

Yippee for the Zipper, because years later along came this guy!

21st Anniversary at the California State Fair!

Things you don't bring to the Fair when you're young.
Really comfortable, kind of dorky shoes

Floss for after the roasted corn

Oh, if only I had used this when I was young

For what the floss missed

Even comfy shoes can turn on you

Reading glasses, healthy snacks and water

For the contacts I never used to need

Other people's kids

Something you can't have at the Fair when you're young:

A glass from the World's Largest Margarita - and they did not skimp on the Tequila!

Greetings from the California State Fair. If you go there to kindle a romance, I strongly suggest staying away from The Zipper and sticking to a nice Ferris Wheel ride.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Iron Man versus the Mollinator

There was a knock on the door. We have one of those clunky old safety screen doors that allows me to see who is there without the person seeing in (or coming in) so I opened it up right away. There at the door was a crazy man, dressed in a red costume, making strange poses and noises. Was I scared? Nope, it was just our neighbor Jason, dressed as Iron Man. The red costume and hand gestures made me think he was Spider Man spinning a web, but alas I am so behind the times I didn't identify the correct super hero. (Later I kept referring to him as Lead Man. Now that would be a useful character, one made of lead.) Here on the porch, the character who is our neighbor and friend was at it again. I began laughing so hard I could hardly open the door.

He came to show off his costume to Ernst, but Molly our dog took the whole thing way too seriously and was just freaking out. She normally loves Jason. I am so content to know that if a bad guy ever comes to do bad things while dressed as a super hero or a skunk, Molly will have none of it. She turns into the Mollinator and she needs no Super Pup costume.

I could not locate the photo of Jason in a Princess Leia costume, but it did happen.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shed Happens

Quick! Think of a four letter word that starts with an S.
If you thought of shed you are so good and so correct.

We have needed a shed for a long time coming. The garden equipment SLASH junk area of our yard was getting super gross and out-of-hand. We were tired of apologizing even to the sewer workers who have to traipse through our gate to get to the neighborhood SLASH entire world's catch drain.

I had in mind something like this:

My dream shed.

OK, back to reality. Maybe we could just pick one up at Costco. Costco has stuff nice and cheap, right?
$1,700. Gulp. Bigger than the bedroom in my first apartment.

Craigslist was next. Good ol' Craig Buddy will have something for us. Then again, maybe Craig is all out of practically free garden sheds that come pre-planted with climbing roses.

What to do? What to do? We did what we always do. Sit and wait until a garden shed just falls from the sky. Free. From the sky. Garden shed - that is what we waited for it to rain.

And a honking big shelf to go in the shed would be great too, while this Shed Storm is raging.

Be very careful what you wait for. We were visiting our friends Jeff and Myra one night, getting the grand tour of their newly purchased home. They showed us around a bit and then offered us alcohol. That was our first mistake and, we are now sure, part of the Great Evil Shed Giveaway Plan of 2012. Ernst had a beer and I had a glass of wine. Then J and M offered to show us the little upstairs office they have above their garage. It was dark outside. We had alcohol coursing through our veins. Someone said, "Hey do you want a shed? See there? In the dark? Below us, that shed? Do you want it?" YES, why of course we answered. Or was it the libations talking?

Word to the wise:

Don't ever agree you want a shed while under the influence.
Don't ever agree to a free shed in the dark.
Don't ever say yes to a shed you have looked at only from above.
Don't ever take a shed off someone's hands in the heat of the moment, or in the heat of the summer.
Don't ever assume that sheds are normal sized. Some are of the Shedus Gigantagous variety.

Thank you Jeff and Myra for our new shed! Although it took the loan of Marlene's truck, two days to disassemble, and several weeks of sitting in our backyard looking like something out of the movie Twister, we now have a garden shed. Or shall I say a 1/4 Garden Shed Lean-to Thing That Hides Stuff. I am so happy. Now I just need to encourage some gorgeous climbing roses to grow up and encase it in fragrant and colorful blossoms. I think I'll just sit back and wait for them to fall from the sky.

Hiding oodles of stuff.

Covered with flowers already.

So, do you want 3/4 of a shed? Meet us at our back gate area. By OUR shed. In the dark. But first we'll have some drinks.

In serious need of climbing roses.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Do dogs get brain freeze?

What to do when your Pupsicle needs to be outside in the heat? In a wave of heat inspired brilliancy it came to me. RICE CUBES! I put some veggie broth and rice in a Tupperware-like container. It is freezing into an icy block of savory dog delight right now. I'll give it to the pooch when I have to leave her outside in this hideous heat we are having. I am now free to go about my life. But maybe the dog has the right idea. What could possibly make me go out in this heat when I can stay home and have rice cubes for dinner with Molly?

Trying desperately to blend into the floor.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sacramento's very own one-room schoolhouse

My impression of what a one-room schoolhouse was like is from Little House on the Prairie. You have the teacher at the blackboard with the cute little kids up front who are her favorites. The students get progressively older and less appealing as you look further back in the room. The last row is reserved for the cloddy teenage boys who are probably never going to quite master their reading, 'riting and 'rithmitic before they join their Pa in the fields. Busting out of their overalls and smelling like donkeys, they try the patience of even-tempered Miss Beadle.

Sacramento has a one-room schoolhouse and we attend when we can on Saturday mornings. We are not the cute little kids up front. The back row is reserved for us. Why do we go when we could be doing regular Saturday morning stuff like plowing the fields? This is a Romanian one-room schoolhouse and we are diligently (or so we say) attempting to read, write and speak in this new language. (Unless they are keeping some horrible secret, I'm pretty sure the language of mathematics is universal, so we got the 'rithmitic part down.)

ORA, the Organization of Romanian Americans kindly allows us two grownups to attend their kid language classes. Our teacher's name is Oana and she seems to get a kick out of the two Americans that come on Saturday mornings. Just because she gets a kick out of us doesn't mean she cuts us any slack. We are challenged to the point that I usually want to run out in tears because I am just not getting this language. And then the real frustration comes when we once again realize that Oana is getting our lesson from THIRD GRADE SCHOOL BOOKS. Man they expect a lot from third graders in Romania. The last class involved a story about the historical figure Stefan the Great as a child, who played in the forests of Moldova pretending to fight off the Tatars with all types of ancient weapons. I don't know how useful the word for poisonous dart will be for me in everyday Romanian conversations, but Oana makes sure we are prepared for battle.

The little kids who attend are adorable. They sit up front and get some extra help in learning the special Romanian characters. As I struggled over my lesson about the Tatars being strung up on massive oak trees, I was glancing longingly at the easy Romanian words on the board. Ooh! Ooh! I know how to spell Mama, call on me! But just like Miss Beadle from Little House, our Romanian teacher was spreading herself around and spending time with the little squirts in the first row.

Our teacher Oana

ORA used to be located within walking distance of our house, but they have recently relocated to a bigger building on Gibbons Road near Fair Oaks in Carmichael. This gives them much more room to display their wonderful collection of Romanian folk clothes. We appreciate them allowing us "late to the language" students the chance to learn with the cute little kids. We promise to stay in the back row and behave ourselves.

The back row is for the Tatar Tots.

A few of the native Romanian clothing outfits on display at ORA

Friday, July 6, 2012

When smelly things happen to good dogs

It was 1:30 in the morning. My husband was knocking on the kitchen window. He was half-dressed, wearing surgical gloves, holding a bowl of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and vanilla extract. He said: "Quack quacks, give me some quack quacks."

Why was it 1:30 in the morning? It just was.
Why was he half-dressed? It was 1:30 in the morning and we weren't expecting guests.
The gloves? So he would be allowed back inside the house.
The mixture? From a quick search on the Internet.
The duck impersonation? Our dog treats are called Quack Quacks and he needed some for bribery purposes.

At least I didn't have to witness the death of the poor creature, but the Big E saw it all. He is strangely proud of the Mollinator. I am not. All I can think about are the adorable little black and white fuzzy babies back at the nest crying "Mama, where is my Mama?" 

First came the barking. And more barking. Then the Big E went to investigate, because night time things involving creatures in the backyard are part of the unsaid marriage vows. As he came out the door, he saw Molly in kill-stance near the apple tree. Faster than you can say Pepe Le Pew, the poor skunk was in three pieces. The piece that does its skunk thing got off a good shot before it died. The dog got hit bad. She was rolling in the grass trying to escape the consequences of her actions as Ernst got a shovel to dispose of the three pieces of black and white cuteness.

Banned from the house but having no regrets.
The girl dog and the husband are unaccountably satisfied with themselves this morning. The whole place smells really bad. Can a house be dipped in baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and vanilla extract?