Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Animazement 2012

Savvy and her friends have been going to Animazement over Memorial Day weekend for 8 years now.  Animazement is a convention which celebrates all things anime and manga and anything even remotely connected.  And each year it has grown. It first started out in a hotel and has grown now so that it can take over the convention center downtown.  There were about 8000 people there this year.  I had the ‘fortunate’ experience of being a chaperon in their early years.  Now they are on their own.  This is their big weekend…….enjoying something they all love, getting back together after a year of school, and girl’s weekend out, all combined together.

They also coordinate their costumes.  This year they were “My Little Pony” characters.  Luckily, (knock on wood), we got Savvy’s outfit done at the first of the year and were not rushing at the last minute to get it completed.  And rumor has it they are going to do the same costume again next year. 

P5260187 Savvy is the one in yellow.  She’s “Fluttershy” and is a little shy.

But next year, hopefully, I will be there as more than a photographer.  I want to go!  There were several panels on creating costumes I would have loved to have gone to.  And the people watching!  Boy, can you have a field day just sitting around watching people.  So I have my ‘jar’ collecting change to pay for my ticket…..and my costume.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maki Updates

Maki is keeping me on my toes.  Get rid of all the ‘kids’ out of the house, but still one remains.

P5230001  She is convinced she can get through the tiny opening and check out the ‘moving objects’ in the aquarium.

And speaking of moving objects.  I have a couple of bags with unspun fleece and a couple of balls of good yarn for a shawl on top of my desk.  When she gets tired of trying to get into the aquarium, she will rest on the top shelf.  However, those bags must go…..

P5250005  One down and one more to go.

P5250006 “Who?  What?  Me?”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Update

The weather hasn’t been all that warm.  In the 70’s.  The tomatoes seem to be loving it, but the peppers, not so much.  But this week we are suppose to be in the 80’s, with a chance of rain during the day.  The tomatoes in the raised beds are about 3 feet tall and covered in blooms and little tomatoes.

P5200025  This is a little cluster of Cherokee Purple.  I can’t wait for them to get bigger and ripe.

Another jewel of the garden, at least in my eyes, are these…..

P5200015  earthworms!  Huge, fat, juicy earthworms.  Actually, I go out a couple of times a day and lift up the bag of coffee grounds from Starbucks and pull them from the top of the ground where they have burrowed up and drop them into my raised beds.  I figure at this point I either have a HUGE pile of earthworms in my beds or I am picking up the same ones over and over again.  But there is some ground cloth in the bottom of the raised beds to stop weeds, so I don’t know.  I would like to think I am full of worms.  In this case, it’s a good thing.

My ‘test’ tomatoes, which are dwarf types, are all up about 12 inches and have nice and thick main stems.


P5200018  We won’t talk about the weeds in between.  My goal over the next year is to build 3 long raised beds and not have any yard at all.  I am sure my landlord will be very appreciative.   And the Postal Service not having their discarded bins used for planters.

Besides the tomatoes, my cucumbers are coming along well.  P5200029  A little ‘cuke’ about the size of a large gherkin.  And the other plants are coming along with blooms and little cucumbers. 

Another thrill is my gerber daisies.  P5200020  I planted a couple of these last year in a planter.  I hadn’t really liked them in the past (and I hadn’t grown them), but planted them last year so that I could have some large, instant color.  I figured they would be gone once the heat of summer hit.   They hung in there and this spring I moved them from the planter to the ground, thinking if they survived ok, if not ok.  They survived and are starting to put out flowers.  Ok, Gerber, you have moved up a lot in my estimation.

P5200021  Pineapple sage and peppermint are spreading out nicely, along with the catnip and lavender mint.  Lemon balm, by the raised beds, is going nuts.  I have been cutting it and putting it in the tea while I brew a pitcher.

And inside, the growing is going nicely….

P5110002 My $1.99 African violet is blooming away.  And my avocado is growing along.  One of three I have rooting in fact.

So a lot of growing going on here.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Cat Update….or Why I Can’t Do Puzzles…

P5110007This is not a picture of a trash sack.  This is a picture of the trash sack that took about 10 years off my life.  It had contained some clothes a co-worker was passing onto my daughters.  I had pulled them out of the sack and was putting them up until the girls came back home for a visit.  The bags themselves were still good, so I left them on the floor until I came back into the room and put them under the cabinet to use later for trash.  They laid there for awhile.  And one time as I walked by….


the sack grabbed my ankle!


P5110011Maki was going bag to bag to see what she could find to get into and she was in the trash bag.  But having a trash bag grab your ankle is not what you want while cleaning house….or any time for that matter.  All the horror movies I have ever seen flashed through my mind.

Meanwhile, Carroll has embraced the whole idea of a having a fish tank.  Especially since he has figured out how to open up the sliding tray in the cabinet.  Personally, I told him if he wasn’t so fat he wouldn’t need the shelf open.  He ignored my comments and cried for his food.


And finally, I love jigsaw puzzles.  The bigger, the harder, the more pieces, the more I love them.  So in cleaning out lockers at work, some had put 3 1000 piece puzzles out for taking.  I snagged them.  I haven’t worked a puzzle in ages. I was so excited all afternoon at work.  I envisioned an evening of Pandora playing music in the background while serenely putting puzzle piece after piece in place.  I finished chores, got a fresh glass of iced tea and picked out the puzzle I wanted to do first.  After setting up the card table, getting the frame of the puzzle done and some of the sky picked out, I called it a night.  The next day after work, I came home to find this….

P5140014Yep, we moved from fish tank to puzzle box.   Apparently after trying to work on the puzzle, he became so exhausted he had to lay down.  So the puzzle is back in it’s box.  I need to find something to lay over the puzzle while working on it to protect from cats.  Maki was also ‘helping’ while I was working on the puzzle by standing in the middle of the table and biting the puzzle pieces.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

My New Aquarium

I have been wanting an aquarium for some time now.  I had several in fact during my college days.  But buy the time you buy a decent size tank (20 gallons) and a stand (didn’t have anything to put one on), the dollars start racking up.  I just couldn’t justify the cost versus my pleasure and bills.  So I started checking out Craig’s List to see what might be offered.  I found a couple of tanks, reasonably priced and had inquired about a couple.  One was already gone ($50) that had a stand and about a 17 gallon tank.  One of those long and tall ones.  There was a 20 gallon with some accessories for $30, but that too was gone.  The same person had a 30 gallon they were offering for $40 with some accessories and I almost went to look at it, but once again turned it down.  I would still have to find something to put the tank on.  And it had been used for turtles, so just not sure.

So then yesterday afternoon, I decide to take a gander again.  It was about 1:20pm and at 1:07pm someone had posted a 20 gallon tank, fish, accessories and stand for $20!  That’s right, $20 for the whole thing.  Now that I could justify.  Seems they had bought the setup about 2 months ago and were moving into a new house and didn’t have a ‘place’ for it.  I threw Texter and Gibbs into the car and off we go across town.

So now I have a fish tank.  In fact, a couple of the fish were ones I would have bought myself – gourami's.  We broke that sucker down, transporting water, fish and the whole kit and caboodle back home and reset it up in my living room. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   So here it is.  I love the sound of the water and can watch it for ages.  The light on the tank even has a blue ‘night’ version too.  I did add a couple of other fish to it – my Gold Gourami’s and a Jack Dempsey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Here are “Flame”, one of the Fire Gourami’s and “JD”, the Jack Dempsey staking out territory.  I know it probably wasn’t the wisest to put JD in there as they tend to be a little aggressive, but hopefully he will learn to co-exist.

And also on the money front, I had the nicest gesture at the gas station yesterday.  There was a man and his older son, probably late teens.  The kid had a pair of huge ear phones on and realized he was probably autistic, or at least had some kind of mental disability.  The gentleman pumped the gas while I waited in line.  When he finished and got his son settled in the van, he walks over to me and tells me that there is $2.50 in prepaid gas left on the tank and I was welcome to it.  What a really nice gesture.  However, the gas station kept the money for themselves, but at least the thought was there. 

So manifesting a better financial situation seems to be working.  Now if I can manifest the winning lottery numbers!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Reviewing Some Free Kindle Books

One problem with the free books you can get on Kindle is they should be paying you to read them.  However, every now and then a gem surfaces.  These are some of those I have come across….

GOBBLE GOBBLE by Florin Nicoara 

gobble gobble

Reading this book was like watching a train wreck.  On one hand you know you shouldn't be looking, but it's just too compelling to look away.  An extremely clever premise, although a bit bizarre. It's Thanksgiving, and on this holiday the turkey get his revenge in a big way.  It's enough to not look for the biggest turkey in the grocery store for dinner. But definitely worth a read if you like horror/supernatural stories.  The only down side to the book is that it could have used a bit of editing.  There are some bear/bare and their/there mistakes which can be distracting, but not enough to make you put the book down.

burden of blood  Burden of Blood by Wenona Hulsey

Nicole can hear the bad thoughts people have, which aids her in her job as a police officer.  Unfortunately, she doesn't like her 'gift'.  However, the time has come to either accept her abilities or die trying.  The book kept my attention and the sexual tension between Nicole and Luke was good.  Definitely worth a read.   Being a fan of such paranormal writers as Kenyon and Feehan, this book can hold it’s own.

Casino Shuffle by J. Fields, Jr.

antonio cruz 

Ok, I want a butler now, only if he can be Antonio Cruz.  I am in love.  Antonio Cruz is the butler for a casino in New England and is use to handling the most difficult customers with deft butlering.  This weekend however his abilities to work wonders in a tuxedo is put to the test.  A high profile starlet, a bad-boy rapper, a nerdy high stakes poker player all combine to make this an interesting few days for Antonio and his staff.  I started this book not thinking it was going to be another waste of time and I fell in love with Antonio.  To the point, I can't wait for another Antonio Cruz book to come out.  Well written, interesting story and great characters.  I was transported to the other reality of casino life and didn't want to leave.

the takers  The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles by R. W. Ridley

Oz, a normal 13 year old boy, wakes up in the bottom of his closet, covered in clothes.  The last thing he knew as that he was sick.  As he emerges from the closet, the only thing alive he can find in his house is his dog.  Electricity doesn’t operate.  All the people, with a few exceptions are gone and he has pieced together they have been ‘taken’.  So off he starts from Tennessee to his uncle in Georgia.  Or at least he hopes his uncle is alive.  On the way he gathers a few people around in his journey to fight against “The Takers” and to figure out how to survive.  It may seem strange a 13 year old will be the leader of a group, but it works.  Their experiences are mirrored in a comic book drawn by a boy with Down’s Syndrome that Oz feels he had a part in driving the boy to suicide.   The events Oz experiences has been predicted in this comic book.  A compelling read, enough to make you want to start the next one before you even get finished with this one. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tomato Thursday or The Garden Update

Our weather has been about as weird as you can get.  Last week in the 90’s.  This week the 70’s, with night temperatures getting into the 40’s.  Had about 1.5 inches of rain yesterday.  But the garden seems to be loving it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Here are my two raised beds and the tomatoes are about 18 inches to 2 feet tall already.  Covered in blooms and seem to be doing rather well.  Note the white trash bag.  That has grounds from Starbucks in it.  However, I found out that the earthworms love to come up under it.  So I go out and pluck worms from outside the garden and dump them inside the raised beds.  Big, fat wiggly worms!  Yummy!  So I will pick up a fresh bag from Starbucks in a day or two and dump the old bag on my compost heap and put the new on as my ‘worm catcher’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a cluster of Cherokee Purple blooms.  It is almost like a cherry tomato plant with all the blooms in one grouping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA cluster of my Sunsugar babies.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is my border with flowers and mints and peppers….the hot ones.  The bell peppers in the pots around the raised beds are starting to put on flowers and babies peppers.

And this is the grouping of ‘test’ tomatoes I am growing this year.  After the failure last year I had with them in the ground (don’t have good soil), I am growing them in bins…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were, for the most part, only 3 inches tall on Tuesday when I planted them.  But apparently they love the bins and the rain and the sun, as several are now peeking over the edge of their new home.  They are all suppose to be ‘dwarf’ and grown in containers.  I figure I am the ‘tomato test dummy’.  If I can grow them successfully, then anyone can.

But several basils around the yard in pots.  And some cucumbers, of which I have a couple of Dasher cucumbers with little ones on the vine.  This is my “Circle of Cucumbers”….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a Hyacinth Bean vine at the back of the circle and morning glories in the center.  My goal is a lovely tepee of vines.  We will see if dream matches reality this summer.

I stopped by Farmer’s Market on the way home from work today and picked up some local peaches.  I can’t believe they are here so early.  And the blueberries are coming in.  So when Savvy comes in a couple of weeks, she will be ‘fruited’ to death.  Texter is here and is anticipating a fresh peach cobbler tonight with dinner.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Garden Status May 2

Weather has been sssooooo weird this year.  March was warm, giving hope to early crops.  Then April came along and so did the cool March weather.  However, between the heat of March and the cool of April, I planted tomatoes and peppers and some more herbs. 

But May is heating up, so I have great hopes as the garden looks pretty good.

P5020001  I have Red Brandywine, my Juliette’s, Yellow Pear, a Sungold variety, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Sweet Million….and maybe a couple of other types.  My peppers, right now, are all bell pepper types.

P5020003  Top view.  There is parsley, two types of thyme and rosemary in the corners.  And a couple of blank spots which are seeded with basil and sunflowers.

P5020004  There are blooms and ‘babies’ on some of the plants already.

P5020006  Here I have catnip, lavender mint, mint, yarrow, something unidentified and at the end, some peppers, basil and a tomato.

It should be a good year!