I Can’t Find My Pants

I’ve only had time to do a couple of Photoshop tutorials this week. Learning composite images.

In the lessons the photos are always easy like replacing a photo of just sky and clouds into a photo that’s plain sky and a yellow flower. I was trying to do some funny ones but they were too complex so we only have these two sad ones. Although I think the cat is pretty funny.

This morning my spouse was stomping around the house. “Did you lose something?” I asked. “My pants,” he said.

He was wearing pants at the time so I wasn’t completely clear what the problem was at first although I guessed he couldn’t find his pants from the night before and needed his wallet and keys that were in the pockets. This was correct.

I was waiting in the car because we we were running errands and he finally joined me.

Turns out last night he couldn’t find his tote bag with his iPad because it was in the back seat instead of the trunk. But then he finally found it in the back seat and apparently put down the pants he was carrying in order to bring his iPad in the house.

I can’t wait until we get really old and dotty.

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The Miracle of Professional Landscaping

You know this funny hedge thing that I do every year and show before and after? Well since I so royally tweaked my shoulder working on the hedge last spring, I decided maybe it was time to pay someone to work on the hedge. I’m talking about the big hedge, photos below. But I also asked if they could do this little hedge.

Look how amazing it looks. I was all impressed and raving and the landscaper was like, aw shucks. We have lots of practice.

This is what it looked like last time I did it. I told him how terrible it looked when I do it and how I can’t reach the top and he said they used a ladder so they could make the top look right. He and his crew are my new heroes. I wished I had baked some cookies to give them.

Here’s the side. When the landscaper looked at it he went: WOW.

Here’s a close up of how out of control it was.

He suggested we whack it back more regularly. Like maybe annually. He told me if we do it more regularly they can make it look better.

And after: amazing!

This is what I look out at from my window. I have so much more light now. There is still some major growth on the neighbor’s side of the fence.

And here’s the backyard. Before. I considered asking them to take out that giant yellow thing. But I don’t want to deal right now. Maybe next year.

And after. Beautiful.

He seemed apologetic about how much he had to charge us. I thought it was completely reasonable. And there was a crew so it didn’t take too long. My yard has never looked better on this side.


We had a big wind storm and my compost bin blew over so I ran out to take a photo. The wind tore my glasses off. I looked around but it was blowing so hard the wind was groaning. I realized I could turn into one of those sad public service announcement stories about how not to wander around outside in a major wind storm so I went back inside.

The next day I found a piece of someone’s roof in our backyard and all the leaves were gone but no glasses. I’ll probably find them this summer. Or maybe my neighbor will.

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The One Where I Can’t Get Organized

I did this last night in a big hurry. This morning when I looked at it I realized I forgot the stem when I worked on this photo so it looks like the flower is randomly floating in space. Enjoy!

I’ve been doing lots of things but I couldn’t tell you what they are. Well, I could but, who cares?

Today it wasn’t raining so I did some more clean up in the backyard. I scooped up a large bag of animal poop. A lot of it was good sized so it’s a dog or something bigger.

That last bit is a joke because what would be bigger in my yard? There is one corner where I think the poop is raccoon but today’s poop was mostly dog. Where is this dog (dogs?) coming from? It’s a mystery I’d love to solve but I can’t bear to waste any time on it.

Good news: Lufthansa paid up. Or rather, refunded my money. Meanwhile, I found out that Verizon was still charging us for the global data plan we added for Montreal. When they insisted over and over that it only would be for one month. I should have looked at the bill more closely. They refunded me $14 for 3 months worth of screwage. We’re going to call it good. How much is my time an energy worth.

When I sat down I had something worthwhile to talk about but it’s gone from my mind and I have chores to do.

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How Many Groceries is a Car Load?

As I explained, I dug up what was left of the garden last week. Since then I’ve seen a squirrel (squirrels? They all look the same) wearing a panicked expression bouncing from one side of the dirt pile to the other and frantically digging. If squirrels have expressions. I’m sure they’ll survive.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I bought a giant car load of groceries hoping we could make it two weeks without going back to the store. We’re almost there but getting thin in a few spots. Bob is going to take his Mom to buy groceries today so he’s going to pick up a few extra things for us.

We still have about 15 containers each with a tiny serving of leftovers. I was considering scraping them all into one dish and grating some cheese on top, sprinkling some bread crumbs and throwing in the over for an hour. Bob would love it.

But instead I’m making Turkey Tetrazzini for him tonight. He loves it and it makes a ton so we’ll have it for a couple of days and for lunches.

I don’t think I explained that this year I only made a turkey and a pie. We got the rest of the meal from a store. While this was a big success in terms of me not being bummed out about cooking a giant meal all by myself, all the food I make is a million times better. So next year I am going to suck-up and do all the cooking again. Lesson learned.

And that completes 30 days of posts. I want to work on more advanced Photoshop next month so possibly more photo oriented stuff in December.

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Crime Scene Investigation

Frog killed in road by car.

I’ve had an idea for a CSI post forever but I always wanted to wait until I had time to do it right. Forget it. I’m just going to do it really half-assed like everything else around here.

You get what you pay for.

The first time I ever watched an episode of Crime Scene Investigation was in 2005 when Quentin Tarantino directed an episode. This was a Las Vegas one. It has never been one of my regular shows but every season I watch at least a couple of episodes. I’ve seen a few of the New York ones and I watched one Miami one time and thought it was comically wretched. The Internet says Miami was on for 10 seasons so apparently a lot of people disagreed with me.

The thing that fascinates me about this show is I don’t think it’s very good, but it’s very satisfying. A problem is introduced at the beginning and by the end it is solved, generally without a lot of surprise or drama. The character emotions remain flat. They rarely run into major obstacles. Problems are solved often by tedious procedure, which doesn’t bother us because we just see the time elapse. Or else a miraculous piece of technology fills in the critical data. Or else some person comes forward with the exact piece of information they need.

I would love to watch this show with a real police detective sometime because I know nothing about police work but it’s hard to believe some of this stuff isn’t far-fetched. It’s a giant team of people who are rigorously competent and cooperative. There is nothing they can’t figure out. Like they find a teeny tiny carpet fiber and they put it into a machine that tells them where and when it was manufactured which will somehow lead to a list of people in possession of the carpet fiber.

Or there will be an anonymous phone call but a machine will be able to enhance the background sounds and via some other amazingly unearthed tidbit they can triangulate the location where the phone call was made and then police cars can zoom across town in minutes (no traffic in crime shows!) to rescue the orphans who were minutes from death. I guess I’m veering away from just CSI to any crime shows. I will admit to watching other crime shows.

Another one of my favorites was when a character was exposed to some terrible virus but another person on the team was able to contact a government agency to get one of the only 3 doses of medication in the country speed delivered to CSI that same day.

Have you ever even gotten a government official on the phone, much less to do anything, that fast?

I also love that due to the nature of the show they have to say all sorts of ridiculous things. Like a supporting character will have to go to the lead, who is the detective and explain that they ran the partial license plate that turned up three trucks that match the description of the getaway vehicle. Then the detective says: Good work, go track those down.

It would be like if I went to colleague and said: I found a Supreme Court case that is totally relevant to the work we’re doing. And he said: Read it and tell me what it says.

Or on CSI they explain the fancy process: “We’re painting the parachute with an porko-phenbolical solution,” Then some supporting detective will do ah-ha face and say, “Which when draped on the transpectrometer will show the pattern of the poison used on our victim!” Then they will smile and high-five at their cleverness.

I’m making fun of these shows but going back to what I said at the beginning, they are a nice escape because by the end the problem is solved. And you can jump in any time because while there is a tiny bit of ongoing story involving the main characters, you don’t need to keep up with it.

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Don’t Rock the Boat

I’m going to break my rule about embedding Youtube clips because I have a terrible earworm and I want to share it with you:

This song was on the radio alarm clock one morning last week. I remember when it was a hit on the radio. I don’t dislike the song but I don’t want it playing my head all the time.

It looks like our next door neighbor moved out. I’ve written about the rental house next door a number of times. (e.g. 2013, 2011 and 2009).

My big takeaway is that it’s a pain in the butt to own a rental because I think only one tenant has lasted longer than 2 years.

We’re always nervous when this happens since you never know what you’re going to get. We didn’t get to know these tenants very well but when we saw them they were nice enough and they didn’t do anything terrible like crank death metal at 3am. We’ll see what happens.

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The Potatoes Will Take Over in the End

Subway station in Montreal. I think it’s Station Prefontaine

I felt great when I woke up but I just exercised and had my hot chocolate and now I’m ready to go back to bed. Tempting.

Yesterday I worked a half day and when I got home I made the pie.

The other thing I normally do in the fall that I didn’t get around to because of my trip was the full meal deal garden burial. I had torn everything out and put the cages away but that’s it. All the debris was just piled in the middle of the garden plus I never emptied the compost bin into the soil.

Since the weather was not terrible I thought maybe I could get some yard work done. But that’s not the real motivation.

Remember back in the spring when I tweaked my shoulder trying to do the hedge myself? It took about 5 months to feel even close to normal so I am afraid to try hedge whacking by myself again. It’s taken this much time to find a referral and then finally set-up a time to get an estimate and that is happening this weekend.

So really I cleaned up the yard because I want hedgeman to think we’re at least trying out there. I cleaned out a bunch of dead stuff along the hedge and cleaned up the garden properly and mixed the compost in.

You’ll never guess but I am still finding potatoes. I wasn’t even trying. I was raking soil around and next thing I know there are potatoes rolling through the dirt. I probably harvested another 3 pounds which is terrific because I think we were down to only 7 pounds or so and I used a bunch for dinner last night. These aren’t great mashing potatoes so won’t be part of dinner today.

Enjoy your turkey or non-turkey alternative!

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Twice a year I flip my closet meaning I either bring the winter stuff forward and bury the summer stuff or the other way around.

Normally I take some time to do it and even write notes like: need new black pants. Take bags to Goodwill.

But because of the trip this year I ended up doing it really half ass and in a hurry. Then we had that early cold snap.

So I’m still finding clothes that I consider winter wear that I forgot about. And random lighter wear that is still mixed in. I still haven’t fixed the hem on the pants of doom. Maybe this weekend.

Today I made our pumpkin pie, from pumpkins I grew myself. Spatchcock turkey tomorrow. That reminds me, I better check on the thawing turkey’s progress.

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Baby Aspirin

These were the lockers at the Museum of Fine Arts in Gent, Belgium

Can the wind play ding dong ditch? I heard the front door make that whump sound when it’s opened and then the doorbell went off a few times. When I opened the door there was no one there, no delivery left on the porch. No one walking away from the house. It’s windy and raining sideways so it seems a stretch that some kids were fooling around.

It’s a mystery.

When I was at the mall I stocked up on See’s candy. The free sample was some sort of orange wafer drizzled with chocolate. I took one bite and almost threw it away. It tasted like baby aspirin dipped in chocolate. Keep in mind that I LOVE See’s candy.

I brought it home and gave it to Bob who thought it was great. Later I realized: THAT WAS LEFT OVER FROM HALLOWEEN. My free sample was just stuff they were trying to get rid of.

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Vanity, Insecurity

When I was a teenager I chipped one of my front teeth gnawing on a pull top from an aluminum can. I have no idea why I had it in my mouth. Why do we do anything when we’re teenagers? It got it fixed and at least one other time the chip re-chipped and I had to get it fixed.

Just recently I chipped my front teeth again. Not the precise same chip but part of it. I was a little snaggle-toothed. I don’t think it was really noticeable but I wanted to get it fixed so I asked the dentist and for once asked what it was going to cost before I did anything. And it wasn’t expensive so I had it fixed last week.

The end result is lovely. My smooth, pretty front teeth.

But the procedure was incredibly awful. Imagine a sand-grinder against your two front teeth and then sandpaper floss between your teeth. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. Luckily it didn’t take too long.

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