fireflies

The fireflies in my park are beautiful this summer.

Normally I’m not in the park that late – Aggie prefers her schedule to change as little as possible. But between the heat (pushes to after 7pm) and my evening class (to after 8pm) I get a wonderful view for at least 2 nights a week.

The combo of the growing moon and the fireflies is just beautiful. I can almost imagine that I can’t hear the roads, even from the middle of town. And I can rekindle my fantasy of a cabin in the woods and hearing no “town” sounds, watching fireflies and wildlife drifting through the fields and listening to owls.

dog discrimination sucks!

I’m in a newer category of the discriminated-against: the dog person.

I’m not going to claim that I have it worse off than a lot of other people that are discriminated against by race or gender characteristics – that’s just not fair or right.

But dog people are definitely discriminated against. We’re restricted in parks, we’re restricted on beaches, we’re restricted in hotels and by any transportation system, we’re restricted in rentals, we’re restricted in neighborhoods.

I’ve met with more bad people in my life than I’ve ever met bad dogs (and to be honest, I’ve met more dogs total than I have people), but people aren’t restricted nearly as much. Which is ironic because we put “bad dogs” down, but let “bad people” go… I don’t get that! As far as I can see, we need to practice spaying and neutering of humans even MORE than we do of dogs (or cats)! And I’m all for spaying and neutering your pets.

I am currently in a new apartment search – oh joy, so much fun! – which is awful enough, in and of itself. And, no, I really don’t want to buy a house. I’ve looked into that before and decided against the hassle. I still dream of moving away some time (soon, I hope!).

Finding an apartment that’s well-maintained, small and efficient, not too big, but with enough storage, that allows 1 dog and 1 cat (both extremely well-behaved), and 1 person (less well-behaved) and not going to gouge my funds is almost impossible.

And if the owners allow dogs, they often put a weight limit of 35 lbs. Which drives me crazy! If you have a dog smaller than 35 lbs, it’s usually a barker – not always, but very often. It’s as if the smaller dogs have to make up for their size deficiencies. And that makes them BAD neighbors – especially in a complex! You’re better off with a larger dog that is quite and mellow, than a tiny dog with a Napoleon complex.

I moved last summer because of MOLD! The most awful thing to deal with, and I’m still dealing with the repercussions, but not the landlord – as far as I know, Lauren’s still renting that moldy hole in the ground. I actually loved that apartment because of the location, but the mold was SOOOO bad it gave me daily, excruciating headaches. I’m still finding contaminated things and getting rid of them as I find them. By the way, running the fan of the HVAC system just SPREADS mold spores. It does NOT help the situation – which is what Lauren tried to tell me. Mold spores are designed to spread on the air. If you don’t have a dehumidifier and fix the foundation, then the mold is just going to get worse!

I moved to a new place that seemed okay – new management wanted to remake the neighborhood, with responsible renters and comfortable living. But I was “personally guaranteed” quite a few things that never happened. In fact I had a window fall in, in my living room, while I was on the west coast!! And this, after being promised “new windows” last summer.

Thank you, Cory Hake for lying to me!

So, 0 for 2 on my landlords. You would think that bad managers would go out of business, but there is no really good way to let unwary renters know what they are getting into. You can only be so suspicious of people, until you get to know them better. If I assumed that all landlords are lying to me, I’ll never find a better place to live.

I’ve had a really good idea for a small apartment complex in any college town, but I have way to implement it. I’m not going to explain it on my blog, but if I had the funds, I’d be very tempted to look into the possibility of converting a complex to see if it would work. I’d have to find someone who knows the business and run it by them, but part of me just wishes I could show the crappy managers of the world that doing a good job is actually possible.

… on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be on site all the time, either. So…

… back to topic… discrimination against dogs and dog-people sucks! Each dog and dog owner is different. There are good and bad, just like other people. But it’s almost guaranteed that we’re the ones paying the dues, fees, restrictions.

I need to move to a town that really and truly loves dogs… it may be a myth, like the Shangri-la.

Would you like tea with your sugar?

I found a leftover gift card for McDonald’s this past weekend, so of course I had to run out and use it.It’s been so long since I’ve been to MickyD’s and fries sounded good.

Now, if you know me, you probably know that I don’t like anything in my tea: no lemon, no sugar, no sugar-substitute.

I was asked to pull forward through the drive thru, because something-or-other wasn’t ready, but they gave me my tea.

One sip, and I nearly spit it out the window. It was soooo sweet, I couldn’t taste anything!!

How do people drink that stuff! There was nothing refreshing, or anything redeeming about it!

It’s awful!

Good thing I hadn’t driven off – I had time for a quick replacement!

diamonds

I went home this weekend to spend time with my friends. And it was a great time with both Peggy and Sonia.

We met a church Friday night and spent a long time afterward talking and catching up, which is always fun.

On Saturday I had a few errands – wrapping gifts and picking up a few things for my mother.

I also had to return a shirt to Kohls, so Peg and I bugged up there quickly before planning to go to see IRON MAN 2 – and that’s where we made our mistake. Because not only was there a huge clearance sale, there was also the Mother’s Day sale going on and discounts were substantial.

I found quite a few new shirts for the summer, which was good, because I do need them and I rarely go shopping for much of anything like that.

I was also looking for a gold cross – I’ve been thinking I wanted one, mostly because my brother and sister-in-law bought me a really nice Sterling and Swarovski crystal one and earrings. I’ve been really trying to wear them because it was so nice of them to think of me.

In the past I’ve been pretty bad about remembering to wear my jewelry. But I needed a gold cross to go with some gold earrings that I have – which of course I rarely wear, but am less likely to wear without a different cross because I can’t wear a silver cross with gold earrings – it bothers my head despite the fact that I’ve never really cared before.

There are many things that I am never aware of when it comes to fashions, however, I have to admit I don’t like to wear dark blue shirts with my dark blue jeans – I just can’t. And apparently I don’t like mixing gold and silver jewelry either.

Lucky for me there was a sale!

So I did, in fact, find my gold cross – a pretty brushed 14 k gold with Black Hills gold accents for about $50. But I also found some new earrings to go with my Sterling cross: Sterling hoops that were on sale, also very inexpensively.

But these had diamond chips. Nothing hugely flashy or spectacular, but still diamond chips.

My first diamonds and I bought them for myself.

I met another friend today at a coffeehouse and she teased me about that, but I find it empowering. I’ll buy my own jewelry, thank you very much!

…but, could someone find me a new jewelry box?

loss of a favored website

I very often hop on one of my favorite websites “fantasticfiction” when I’m looking up a new author or book. I love that it is really just lists of books, arranged by author and date published, within a series (if it was part of a series). I like that they are up-to-date on when new books are coming out.

But last week I was looking up a book I was thinking of borrowing from the library and a evil spyware attached itself to my computer (and then a friend’s computer) through this site. It was awful and very sticky. It took the tech guy from my department two days to unglue the stupid thing; and he just went ahead and wiped my whole computer to do it.

I was very disappointed. There are weeks when I’ve gone to that site once a day – sometimes more – just to check something: like the extensive list of works by George MacDonald. I mean, wikipedia has some bibliographic lists, but I haven’t yet found a replacement site that is just that simple.

Crappy!

Wicked Sunday

Sunday in California was a beautiful day.

We (my cousins, aunt, grandma and I) caught BART into the city and the Orpheum Theater for a 2pm show and then rushed back out to enjoy my uncle’s grilled to “perfection” red snapper for dinner.

We had a great time and the show was wonderful. I admit I had my doubts about the story, but that was because I’d mistakenly thought the timeline was years before “The Wizard of Oz”, explain how the Witch of the West became “Wicked”.

In reality, the story runs just before “Wizard” and into it, showing that everything was misconstrued: the wizard and someone else wanted the “witch” as a pawn and then used her as a scapegoat. It was really interesting.

And well sung, danced and acted – though I much preferred the solos and duets, to the big numbers.

Great idea Aunt Julie, and thanks for the treat grandma!

Saturday on the coast

Okay, I get to California and have to write a paper for class. But at least I got it done.

And Saturday we went up the coast, Andrew planned the whole thing and he did a great job.

We left early and drove to Half Moon Bay, to a dog-friendly beach. It was perfect weather and the beach was beautiful, but Lou and Ella were pretty scared of the surf. And the other dogs. And the people… okay, they were just scared.

Still it was a good time. We drove north, through San Franscisco and over the Golden Gate. We stopped in Sausalito for lunch and the place we saw from the road – a dinner – was closed. So we went next door to an Indian-Mexican “confusion” restaurant that was one of the  best meals I’ve ever had, though I couldn’t tell you what it was I ate: shrimp, blackened fish and lots of vegetables and Indian spices. Andrew had a crab burrito and Risa had chicken curry. It wasn’t cheap, but it was sooo good! If you’re in Sausalito, CA that’s the way to go.

www.enjoyavatars.com

After being stuffed we drove further north to the John Muir Woods, but it was packed! There were cars everywhere, and people. We drove through on Panoramic Highway, which runs in a giant circle, but weaves back and forth through the hills. Risa was reminded of a few months ago, before they realized she was pregnant and Andrew took her on one of those back, windy roads and it made her very, very sick.

Well, this time it was Lou who got sick; right on me and Ella. He just got this look in his eye and… the car still smells like “dog food”.

Andrew kept his calm (of course, he wasn’t the one with dog puke all over his back). He pulled over and cleaned off seat – pulling it out of the Rav4. I held the dogs to let them get some air, and attempted to change my shirt. Risa cleaned off Ella.

I told them that some people get dogs that prepare them to be parents. Lou and Ella are both that type of dog and Andrew and Risa acted like parenting pros. They’re ready for those twin boys to get here.

I, on the other hand, have a dog that is more of a companion and does not require parenting skills – which is good because I’m not doing the kid-thing. See how that works out?

After the puke episode, we drove on through Sonoma and Napa, stopping at a winery (I can’t even remember which one) for a sampler of red wine. Then on to San Ramon, the Perfect household and Grandma H. and a wonderful dinner.

It was a beautiful day.

holy wars

This weekend is the True/False Film Festival in Columbia. I’ve always wanted to go, but still haven’t managed it. Still, I often look at the line-up so that I can try and see the films at another time.

This year a really interesting one is called Holy Wars following an Irish convert, Khalid Kelly, to extremist Islam and Christan fundamentalist Aaron Taylor.

I went looking for Aaron Taylor to see where exactly he stood in the spectrum of conservatives, and I found this blog. At least, he seems to be admitting he was misdirected, if not out-right lied to about the war he originally supported in Iraq.

http://blog.sojo.net/2009/05/22/was-iraq-a-holy-war/

I’d still like to see that documentary by Stephen Marshall. There’s also a book written by Taylor about the experience called Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. I’m considering getting this book or getting the library to buy it. It sounds like a very well-thought, comprehensive argument for Christ-like peace.

kudos to Toyota…

Everyone knows that Toyota is having troubles with a couple of giant re-calls on their products, right now. But last night I saw a new commercial from that company that caught my attention.

It was very impressive because I don’t often hear corporations basically say “we’re sorry”, “we made a mistake”, “we’re working to fix it”,”we’ll try to do better”.

After all, we’ve seen a lot of this recently, from contaminated pet food and childrens’ toys, to peanut butter and tomatoes… even war.

I can respect a mistake apologized for and fixed a lot more than a mistake glossed over, passed on and ignored.

I’ve gotten so sick of of this bluster-through policy that I almost automatically think the worst of those who utilize… and we’ve seen way too much of it in the last decade.

It’s good to see a change, and as for me, I remember things like this when it comes time to spend my money as well as my vote!

Avatar academy award?

Okay, how the heck did Avatar get on the Best Picture nominee list?

This was a fun movie, with awesome special effects that, I’m sure, advanced that technology similar to the way LOTR did. But Best Picture means, it should be all around better than other movies, not just the cool special effects.

But I could identify at least Dune, Pocohantas, and Dances with Wolves easily within the simple storyline. In fact, when I saw it a month ago, I’m sure my list of plots from other movies was longer, I just can’t remember them now. Still these three were the loudest of the bunch.

Besides Avatar could easily been split into two movies which would have allowed more depth to the flimsy characters. You could practically see through them, they were so thin. Despite the fact that I, of course, wanted the Na’vi to win I didn’t feel many tugs on my heart strings because I barely got to know any of the characters. None of them seemed to have any history or intensity.

“Oh, don’t hurt Home Tree. We couldn’t possibly live anywhere else.” “No! Home Tree is destroyed.” “Wait, let’s go to the other tree (I can’t remember that one’s name.) We’ll be safe there if we dance in front of it. The bad guys will never find us!”

I don’t know, it just seemed like the Na’vi should have been smarter than they really were.

But still, really AWESOME special effects. And Cameron should probably get an Oscar for that. (Makes me wonder if it might be possible for a Dragonriders of Pern movie!!!!)

Just not for screen play or Best Picture… come on. Where are the standards?