Garden Bounty

Our office building is getting more people back to work but earlier in the year when there were very few of us, I made friends with one of the security guys.

I was in the mailroom and this door that says “No Admittance” or “Technical Only” or something like that opened and startled me. The security guy came out and let me see inside. He’d carved out a tiny break area around the building innards. One chair, small table, and tiny microwave.

The kind of conversations you would never have in the before times. I think I already wrote how I’ve befriended my bus drivers.

These are my lemon cucumbers I started on the windowsill. How do you think they’re doing? I keep watering them.

Look at my giant tomato!

HAHA. I got that tiny tube of toothpaste last time I was at a hotel and I’ve been saving it to use for scale when I photograph my garden bounty. You’ll be seeing it again.

The other morning these two raccoons came through late. Looks like a mom and young one? Look how the smaller one hangs back, like he’s ready to go to bed, why are we running around in the daylight?

They hung out long enough to get a drink and bath and look cute for the camera.

After this clip there was one more of them wandering into the hedge.

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Complaining About the AC

One afternoon I got on the bus with a driver I’ve never seen before.

The bus AC was weak. Only enough to keep us from roasting but it wasn’t cool on the bus. This is unusual because if it’s more than 60 degrees and the sun is shining the bus is usually freezing with cold air blasting from every corner.

There were three women on the bus and one man. As soon as the man sat down he started grumbling about the AC. He changed seats three times and then complained out loud and then marched to the front of the bus where he berated the bus driver.

The women all sat in our seats and read our books.

Then the man returned to his seat which was the seat behind me and he called customer service and complained some more. He said the bus driver didn’t know what he was doing, that he wasn’t communicating, that he wouldn’t answer his questions about the AC. He also demanded that the bus turn around and take him back to the transit mall.

He may have been onto something in terms of the bus driver not knowing what he was doing because he drove the wrong route and stopped in downtown where Mr. Complainer signaled that he wanted to exit. Then he went to the front of the bus and complained again and said he was getting off the bus to wait for another bus.

So he exited into 98 degree heat to wait for another bus rather than sit on the bus another 10 minutes and get to his stop.

In the last couple of days a squirrel has discovered a rich food source under the bird feeders. Every time I look out there he’s parked under there. There are also some larger birds that can’t fit on the feeder that pick up some snacks there.

I had this brilliant idea that I would set up the trail cam to get some shots of the squirrel and the birds.

I ended up with 8 hours of clips of nothing but waving flowers and a dead battery. (It wasn’t 100 degrees. The camera was in direct sun.)

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We Were the Hottest (Except for The Dalles)

So this was one more ridiculous thing that happened that proves that Mother Earth is mad and wants her planet back.

It was really terrible but also not as terrible as I thought it would be?

We have AC and were able to stay locked in the house. I can’t wait to see the electric bill.

I went outside and stood in the sun so I could tell myself this is what 115 feels like. It feels like a radiating hot oven of terrible. There was a hot breeze. It felt like one stray spark from total disaster.

I went to the office on Monday because we had a conference call that I could not take from home. I left early and I had to wait for the bus for about 15 minutes. There was plenty of shade but it was intense. There was a 30 second period where I thought: I can’t do this.

But I didn’t know what else to do. If I went back to the office, I would have to come back eventually and wait for the bus.

The last day of the extreme heat was the strangest. It was 115 at 6pm and by 9pm it was down in the 80s. By morning it was okay.

The yard did better than expected but my one super productive blueberry bush has lots of shrivels. The rhodies have burned leaves poor babies. The hydrangea is looking fried.

The tomatoes loved it. They grew taller. I should have ripe cherry tomatoes any day now.

Let’s all agree not to do this again.

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This Guy

I don’t leave food out for the raccoons and normally I’m careful about not leaving anything accidentally.

But apparently Mr. Blue Jay did not pick up his evening peanuts.

I set the shallower dish out for animals that might not be able to drink from the bucket and this hilarious guy found the peanuts and then spent some time prepping them for his snack.

He washed them and stirred them around, making sure to get his feet in there to get the flavors right before finally eating them and leaving the shells in the water to ruin it for everyone else.

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Stinky has been living his best life out there.

I think this is the entrance to his lair. The grass is all flattened right there and everywhere else it’s overgrown and needs weed eating.

I’m a little worried about him in the heatwave. It must be terrible under the shed. But maybe he’s dug a hole that’s somehow cool enough for him.

He’s doing great out there, ruling the garden. Waddling around with his giant puffy tail.

I wonder how he ended up here. Like where was he coming from that he wandered into our yard and thought: hey, this looks like a great place to set up.

I suspect he was living somewhere around the place behind us. Before the flippers moved in there were all kinds of plants and shrubs and woodpiles. The lady who lived in the house was elderly and didn’t get out much so no one would have known he was there.

Then the flippers cut down everything and tore down the garage and he found his way to us.

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Little Notebooks

Well, I prepped several posts to make it easier to post in the middle of the week and still I struggle.

This is my little notebook I keep by my bed so if I have any ideas I can jot them down.

I use it for anything I don’t want to forget. Sometimes when something is coming up like a trip, I get anxiety about forgetting something so I write several versions of the same reminder. Whatever it takes to help get to sleep at night.

This little notebook I started almost 6 years ago. As I put my brand new notebook in the drawer I thought, if this one takes 6 years to fill up I will be [gulp] past my 60th birthday and probably close to if not retired by then. Hard to wrap my head around that.

Also — it looks like a fancy photo in my notebook but it’s photoshop to cover up the notes because they were a tiny bit personal. Probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone but I covered it up anyway.

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Time for the Beg-A-Thon but I’m not Beg-A-Thoning

I think I’ve done fundraising for Clarion West every year since my year, except maybe I missed one. Or maybe I planned to miss one and was guilted into it at the last minute.

They have updated their fundraising platform and I dutifully created an account and it was way more complicated than it should have been. I kept looking for the most streamlined way to create my profile (starting all over, the profile I’ve been using is gone) and provide a URL that people could use for donating.

Meanwhile there was new login and a dashboard and I could input everybody’s email so we could spam you all into contributing and goal-setting and farkity-doo-dah. I realized I’d been clicking around for 20 minutes with no progress — for the honor of raising money for someone else.

So I got mad and asked that my account be deleted. (Which involved two people at different organizations.)

So, I am not doing the fundraiser this year.

On the one hand I realize there is a generational divide here and young people are coming in and bringing more modern way of doing things.

On the other hand, I despise the way these technology platforms turn everything into both a giant data mining operation and also an infantile reward system like nothing we do has meaning unless a computer has sent us a virtual pat on the back with lots of exclamation points.

Also the workshop is virtual this year which sounds like the most terrible idea ever. That’s the whole point, that you’re all living together and all you do is hang out and write, talk about writing, or look at things other people wrote. I can see how they wouldn’t want to go another year with no workshop but I wouldn’t want to do it this way.

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Backyard Update

Last weekend we were able to do something we haven’t done in a long time and we had family together. We went to restaurants a couple of times.

It’s funny how appreciative we are of these everyday experiences after the year+ we stayed home.

This is a raccoon clip from last month. I remember we had the windows opened that night and I woke up and heard little chittering and chirping outside.

The camera card has been pretty empty the last ten days or so. One raccoon visit. No sign of bunny.

We have had Stinky and I will put that in a different post.

This is raccoon zipping through without a pause.

Maybe this guy is the reason for less activity? This is his second visit that I captured on camera.

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The Case of the Traveling iPad

I saw a lady online with a fountain and she had all the same animals I have except also birds and snakes. She lives in the desert and has her camera up during the day, too, but still, I was inspired to put the bucket back.

We have hypothesized that another reason we are seeing so much activity is that the house next door has been empty instead of having people partying half the night. And also has a big, mostly abandoned yard. I wish I could set up a cam back there, too.

Won’t be empty for long. It’s in the process of being flipped. Let’s all hope some nice people end up buying it and actually living in it.

A couple of weeks ago Bob came to work with me and he left his iPad on the bus. We knew immediately where it was and the exact bus so we were able to call it in. I have been consistently underwhelmed by CTran customer service and this incident was no different.

Bob called and didn’t get far.

Meanwhile, we could track it on our phones so every morning we’d see iPad zipping up and down the freeway during the commute. Then going to the bus barn for the night. Good illustration for how empty the buses are if no one turned it in or tried to take it after so many trips.

After several days of phone calls, iPad moved to a building and then it needed 24 hours of processing. I don’t know if they train their employees to be worthless or manage to recruit them this way. I had a problem with my bus pass one year and numerous individuals ignored all my requests for help and later blamed me for the problem. (I love most of my drivers and the guy who competently dealt with bus passes but then retired was good.)

iPad is safe at home again. And Apple Find My Stuff is entertaining and probably unsettling if you think about it too much.

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Just a Bunny

Someone on nextdoor posted a photo of a bald eagle snatching a little critter from one of the neighborhood roads. The eagles must be nesting nearby because I have seen an eagle floating around more than once in the past months.

The person posting thought the eagle had a cat. It was a tiny blurry photo so I’m not sure how anyone could identify anything.

Someone else claimed to have seen the snatch happend and said it was just a bunny.

Just a bunny! I know an eagle has got to eat and I know bunnies love to multiply. But still, who says that, just a bunny.

I think I have posted before, I like to have a string of Christmas light in my writing room. We keep them on all the time in winter.

Those lights are only about $5 a string and last barely a year.

The string I just bought was screwed up out of the box so I looked up if there was a way to troubleshoot a messed up string of lights and there is: but it would take way more than $5 worth of my time and patience so I tossed it and bought a new string.

But before that string, I found a string that was powered by batteries. I thought that might be a better solution. I set it up and put the long-lasting batteries in and it was dead in less than a week.

That was the end of that experiment.

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