Grads to a New Career

Mortarboards and Tassels Sweets

Ugh… good night but probably drank a little too much. Anyways, on with the show. Our friends are in the process of getting out of their current careers and heading for a brand new direction – starting a gym of all things. The current fields they’re in either isn’t doing well in his case, and in her case she’s just fried, burnt out, and done and needs a change. Nice thing is, if it all works out it won’t be all that far from us – same town! Anyways, to celebrate this occasion of ‘graduating’ to the next challenge, LD themed the house party around graduation themes. There’s more to the reasoning but I’ll just leave it at that.

This is what we drank our spiked punch out of

It was a fun night, learned a lot of new things, and had a lot of laughs. We also made some turkey sliders with home cut potato fries and panko chicken, they brought a salad. Nothing too difficult. I think they had a good time.

Flower Survey June 2019

Just a sampling of some of the flowers growing around the house 🙂 Click on one if you want to see any of them a bit larger. Like I said, just a sampling!

Happy First Day of Summer!

Happy First Day of Summer, All.

We plan on having a nice outing this afternoon to celebrate some friends next stage in their careers and life. More info later, but I will say LD has gone all out on this one with things she’s created, can’t wait to see the reactions of the finished products….It’s gonna be amaze-balls!

From the ‘Where are they Now File?’

The VP guy at my previous employer who had this certain accent so when he said “We need to focus” it sounded just like “We need to fuck us.”

And what happened to another guy named Richie? Not sure if that’s his real name, but it’s what everyone calls him. He always wore what appeared to be a firefighter’s jacket. He can’t be a real firefighter though. For one thing the patch isn’t on straight. I’m pretty sure the fire department uniform department would be up on something like that. He also doesn’t strike me as the courageous type. If he ever saw a fire he’d run like the hills, of that I’m pretty sure. I do miss when he had his scooter. He had this crazy looking helmet, all white with a dark face plate that covered his whole head, like some astronaut in a real bad cheesy sci-fi movie from the 1950s. I know he had a big crush on my sister but… no.

The girl in the old coffee shop, which no longer exists. The counter girl that was so unnerving to me. It wasn’t the one with the rose tattoo on her neck just below her left ear and the cute ass (also what happened to her?), but the little Indian girl, with the stud jewelry in her nose. What got to me was the way she spoke. As people waited in line and the next person up to be called, there it was. “Can I help you?” in some high pitched squeal. “Something to eat? Stretch that out as you say though – Somethiiiiing tooooo eeeeeeeeat???? Arrrgh. “You neeeeeed traaaay?” Also the pitch rose as the sentence came close to it’s climactic ending. It’s was an unnatural feeling to me, like nails against a chalkboard. Probably moved back home for all I know.

There’s the Diddler. So named because he always walks around with his hands in his front pockets loaded with jingling change. He always seemed like a lonely guy to me. We saw him not too long ago at the theater when I won two free tickets to see Jack Nicholson ‘s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He appears to have a friend now. That makes me glad somehow. We all deserve some happiness.

Then there was the old woman I saw a couple of times in an Irish tavern called The Burren. I’m not sure why but I was having breakfast or brunch there one weekend years ago. I can distinctly remember her ordering pancakes and dark Guinness beer. This is at like 9 in the morning! She must have been in her late 80s. Anyways somehow she got to talking and wouldn’t stop saying how Jackie Onassis was one big no good whore. Maybe this woman knew JFK back in the day? Not sure what beef she had with the lady but she was adamant about it. She must be gone by now.

Oh, there are many more I wonder what fate befallen some of these folks. The ‘sheriff’ – some dude who thought he was a cop, except his police badge is something that a 6 year old boy would pick out of the toy section. Maybe he finally got busted for impersonating a police officer? Or ‘Elmer Flood’ – a guy who kind of looks and acts just like Elmer Fudd. Actually, still see him around occasionally walking by. The woman who resembled Lynda Carter who worked at the counter of the old Richdale’s next door to the pizza shop and was secretly(?) screwing the neighbor (who thought he looked like Elvis but I didn’t see it) around the corner in his driveway while his wife was cooking pasta upstairs, and if you happened to pass by and casually look over there you would’ve seen a sight. Elvis has left the building! Connie, the Irish lass who lived behind the pizza joint where she worked, and let us hang out one night. Years later I think she was dating one of my high school buddies but that’s long past. Dottie, with the glass eye, who at a dive called Sligo’s would pop it out and put in a glass with ice to freak everyone out.

What a bunch of characters. The best one though would have to be the guy with the goatee and glasses, just quietly looking around. He seemed like he was a normal, wicked-pissah cool guy, but who knows what he’s thinking.

Proposal Writing

I haven’t had much time to update the blog because I’ve been involved in helping to write a proposal for a project we’d like to win that’s up for a recompete. Meetings and rewrites and trying to reword sentences that don’t sound like you just copied it out of the RFP, all while keeping things within a certain page count and making sure you hit all the points and how you’ll do the task. Thank God I’m not involved in the pricing and all that other stuff – just the technical details for me. I’m finding it rather difficult because I’m discovering that that kind of writing doesn’t appear to be in my wheelhouse. Still it was one of my goals for the year, mostly because I had to put something down that was different from the last few years. It’s good to grow a bit though. More importantly, is that I hope we win this project because it means a lot to me, and would really help me along moving forward. Cross your fingers for me!

Bit by the Garden Bug

The Ladydoc's handiwork on display.

I never really considered myself a gardener. When I was younger I couldn’t have cared less. I can remember my grandmother yelling at me because my basketball (we had a hoop against the garage at the time) would inevitably bounce over and squash something that she had been growing. And I didn’t really seem all that bothered by it.

But then somewhere along the way I decided to try my hand at just growing some basil. Not sure when or how the idea took place, but I actually found myself liking to watch things grow.

Then the green thumb bug hit me. Little by little over time I would try my luck with various easy to grow herbs. I felt accomplished as these things grew and truth be told, I preferred the ones that basically grew themselves with little help from me.

I got to share my gardening with the Ladydoc. Just like me years before, she never really had a chance or a thought to grow anything. Probably felt didn’t have the knack or the time or the space. Come to find out, she discovered that she likes it now too. There’s something zen about working with the soil and communing with nature (does dirt have to be so dirty though?) We might not be the greatest at growing edibles but we’ve had some success. We really seem to hit the mark with flowers these days. We even increased our level of difficulty by trying to grow various species. Not all were successful, but the ones that have lasted have become established and are starting to fill in certain areas of the property. My original vision was just to have something pleasant to look at after coming home from a long day at work. Come to find out, the Ladydoc seems to have a knack for arranging all different species into various pots that give the place a feeling of being alive and all the colors of the rainbow. She really is the Container Gardening Queen. I’ve created a monster as she loves the more plants we get. We have plants in the ground, plants in raised beds, and plants in various pots about the decks.

It’s not perfect. I’m not very good at weeding and admittedly it’s that fact that I find the least enjoyable, as I’m sure most people do. Sometimes I don’t seem to water things enough. There’s the antics of squirrels and chipmunks. We decided not to use harsh chemicals because environmentalism and animals and all that. I think they seem to appreciate it as witnessed by the various creatures that pay us visits daily. Strangely, they don’t seem to go after the edibles in our raised boxes – not sure why, but pleased about that. I guess we came to some sort of agreement, you’ll all get other treats, just as long as you stay away from these – – Garden of Eden anyone?

It’s funny how the little things in life can give so much joy. I do enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get when we see a flower bloom finally after waiting a few months, and I suppose the bees and butterflies appreciate it too, and it’s great to see them flit about playfully. Lately we’re trying to grow pumpkin, along with the usual lettuce, tomatoes, squashes and herbs. The pots are filled with various perennials to last throughout the season. The funny thing is we never grow basil – Ladydoc doesn’t really like it. The herb that got me started in the first place.

I’m not sure where I was going with this entry. I just wanted to share the garden love and maybe be a little proud of our tiny piece of work in the grand scheme. It’s not much, but its ours, and I think it looks nice. I wanted to showcase some of the work that the Ladydoc has done, as the place really looks nicer than anything I could have put together. She’s become better at this than I ever was! And I’m glad I could share that interest of mine with her as well, and that she could run with it, and make it better and better, for ourselves and guests to see and enjoy, and forget our troubles for a little while.

Father’s Day

Those that know me best, know that I come from a one parent home, but that’s not exactly true. It is true that the man that was my biological father was absent for much of my life, but that’s not to say that I did not have a father growing up. That role would fall to my grandfather (on my mom’s side). He helped shape me to become the man that I am today.

I remember the little things he’d do for us growing up, food shopping, always getting a little goody or two for me to snack on during the week, he’d always get the noname stuff, working so hard all your life makes you come to respect that money doesn’t come easily. Listening to 80s Celtics games on the radio, him explaining to me things I’d ask about or did not understand. When I was little I guess I had a knack of bumping my head on the corners of the kitchen table, which were sharp right angles. He sanded them down to rounded edges so I wouldn’t hurt myself on them anymore. The times weren’t always fun and games though – if I needed discipline , he’d give it as well. There would be Friday nights when he’d take me down to the mall and we’d get a pizza. That’s what grandpa’s do.

He helped me with financial aid and times when I needed rides. I can still remember the time he tried to beat the Green E Line subway by gunning the KCar across the subway tracks and scared me half to death. He had a daredevil way about him. Looking back know I laugh at it. I miss that. In many ways he helped get me going and starting out on my own. He never helped me with any homework, but he taught me a lot of other things. And although he never openly showed us love, I knew in my heart of hearts that he did.

One of the saddest days of my life is when I saw him die. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for a few years toward the end. He probably could have prolonged his life further I bet by not being so stubborn and doing what the doctor told him, but that wasn’t his way. I caught him a few times sneaking a cigarette by the side of the house, he had been a smoker since he was a teenager. Of course back then , he told me he took it up because my grandmother at the time had considered it “manly”. My, how the times have changed. His face always lit up when I visited him in the hospital when he saw me, even covered up by all those tubes and oxygen masks.

I can remember telling him “Thank You for everything!” as he looked at me with my tears streaming from my eyes, myself being unable or even unwilling to try to stop them. I can remember him looking up to the ceiling after that, all loaded up with morphene to ease his pain, and it looked like he was seeing something, and then he tensed up, and let out a sigh, kind of, and that was it. He was gone, but I think he didn’t really want to go, but I think he held on just long enough to see that we’d be alright and able to fly on our own now.

Even to this day, I can sense him watching over me, especially in the times when I feel I need him there, by my side, in spirit. That’s what grandpa’s do. That’s what father’s do.

So now today I am who I am thanks to his guiding hand. And I like to think he watches on me from above in all that I’ve accomplished and have yet to.

Job well done, “Dad”.

If Chipmunks Could Smile

We saw a very strange and annoying yet somewhat cute sight this morning while looking out the back yard picture window. We have a strawberry plant that is producing quite nicely but it’s hung up on a planter hanging by a hook type setup.

chipmunk
The culprit , AKA “Chips”, seen in an earlier encounter.

Lo and behold, a chipmunk had somehow gone up the stairs and took a flying leap into the container and was gorging himself on the ripened strawberries thus far – a veritable fruit buffet of such delights that I don’t think a creature could ever be so happy as that chipmunk.

“No doubt to relish in the spoils of its labor”

We purposely did this and placed the setup as so as to make it difficult for this to happen. We tried to get a picture of the crime but the little bugger would hide underneath the canopy of strawberry leaves.

And then, without missing a step, it fell right out of the pot (looked upside down to me) and into the waiting arms of the buffeting hosta leaves, and then was gone, no doubt to relish in the spoils of its labor. It was kinda cute though seeing the head pop out from under the leaves, and did I see a smile on its lips?

The Robin Retrospective

As you can see from the last picture, it looks like the old babies are bigger than the mother now! Thought it might be fun to upload their journey from birth to being on their own, as we were privileged enough to see it from just outside our window.