Saturday, July 31, 2010

The floors

Just for fun, I dragged the camera along the floor today so you can get a better feel for the waviness we have going on. One (mean) thing we've been doing is standing on a buckle or bow, and waiting for a cat to come stand by us. Then we hop off the buckle and the cat gets hoisted abruptly into the air. Mean, yes, but also slightly amusing.

And you can see how dusty our floors are too. It's hard to sweep them well when they are so wavy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

In praise of praise

I’ve only run a couple of 5k races, mostly because I am so dang competitive and I lack the physical ability to match my mental competitiveness. But when people cheered me on or hollered that I was looking good or running well, I got a huge boost from that and ran better and felt better.

This happened even during my normal runs in Kansas City. I’d see some of the same people every time I ran and a couple of them would give me a holler or cheer me on—what was really nice was hearing that sort of thing toward the end of a run. I’d have enough energy to finish strong instead of faltering at the end.

This morning I passed a fairly large running group on the first half of my run. Some had on T-shirts which mentioned a marathon and others were pretty clearly trainers or staff support for this running group. When I encountered them again on the second half of my run, they’d divided into three or four groups with a few stragglers in between. You could tell by then who was used to running, who weren’t runners but were still in decent shape and those who probably didn’t work out at all. I should say that I especially admire the folks who aren’t in the best of shape and still get out there and try—it’s not easy to start something like that and that’s doubly true when you’re with folks who are very fit.

So I cheered them on, especially the stragglers. I told them they were looking good, that they could do it, and I loved seeing them pick up their heads a bit more when they heard me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Manners matter

When my boys were in early elementary school, one of the stories on tape we listened to was from Patch the Pirate—I just Googled him today and he’s still around, although I don’t remember the CD name any more. I do remember one of the songs was about table manners and part of the lyrics were “remember your manners and be polite as you are able, remember your manners and be polite as you can be.”

Apparently manners don’t mean the same thing in Boston. Twice in the last week we’ve had someone open our private gate to our patio and just walk right in. Um hello? And what in the world are you thinking? Would you be OK with me just walking into your home? Because that’s what you are doing.

I ended up getting out-of-proportion angry about last night’s trespass which is when I realized I’ve hit my limit regarding floods, ruined floors, law suits, joblessness, etc. So if you would, post something good that’s happened to you. I want to live vicariously through you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


She isn't often featured here, she doesn't have a larger-than-life personality, she doesn't do crazy things or break stuff just to watch what happens. She's just a normal, sweet cat who has a thing about sleeping on a stuffed bear.

We didn't buy that bear. We have a former sister-in-law who bought each of us a bear one year for Christmas, a pink one for me that didn't survive the flood, and the tan one you see in the picture. That summer when the boys were about four months old, they found the bears. They had a lot of fun dragging the brown bear around by the nose and throwing it up into the air in vain attempts to kill it. They would have nothing to do with the pink bear.

Even in a story about Chloe, the boys intrude.

Photo by Kent Johnson.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oops I did it again

With apologies to Britney--I changed the blog lay out one more time. I'm especially pleased because I took the picture at the top. That's Fat Eddie snoozing away on our bed, and when I see that picture I always get tired.

No more changes for a bit, hope you like the new look.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So what do you think?

I posted the poll over on the right but I think it's got a conflict with this new template since I can only see my vote and I know Kent voted too. Would you let me know what you think by commenting here? I'd appreciate it a lot.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wavy floors

I mentioned we got more water damage a couple of weeks ago. This video lets you see a bit of the waviness of our floors. I should get a video of Kent stepping on one of the big buckles because in addition to seeing practically the entire floor move, you can hear the air whistle out from underneath when he squishes it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A rant

Some New Hampshire cars have bumper stickers that say Massholes go home. I like to think I’m not one, I just live there. But this rant is aimed at them:

Please for the love of God, when you pass me on the interstate and we are both going at least 70 MPH, do not cut back in my lane within a foot of my bumper and then stomp your brakes because you’ve just noticed the state police speed trap. I’m likely to crawl up your bumper with a great deal of force.

Also, Masshole drivers, try using your CRUISE CONTROL when driving on the interstate. You pass me and slow down and then get cranky when I go past you again. Come ON, your car isn’t old nor is it a stripped down version so use the cruise.

And let's not forget pedestrians in Boston. I’ve mentioned before that Boston truly is the walking city and unlike other East Coast cities, pedestrians rule. So if a pedestrian steps into a pedestrian walkway that’s not controlled by a traffic light, cars must stop. And I do. Every. Single. Time. But not if I have the light and the pedestrians do not. And I certainly don't stop if someone decides the middle of the freaking street is the best place to cross.

So dear, dear pedestrians, please do not yell at me when you choose to cross the street 10 yards away from your very own crosswalk OR when you try to cross and I have the light.

Specifically, stupid cow people who amble across Exeter Street at both Boylston and Newbury when you don’t have the light, I will not cry when some other driver ends up hitting your oblivious self. I’ll ruin my own brakes trying not to hit you and I’ll use my horn, but you may encounter a MASShole drive at some point who will do neither.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random thoughts from this morning's run

First, I don’t really run. I’m more of a trotter because I’m not at all fast. It’s a shame, really, I am very competitive but alas my body won’t cooperate. If winning only took the mental discipline, well I’d be world class at sports. As things stand, I get passed by almost everyone when I run. Oh well.

The sun sets earlier now which makes me sad. Boston is further east in the time zone and I can tell in the evenings. Plus we are pretty far north—42.36°N. That’s still further south than Bad Kreuznach, Germany (49.51°N) where I lived for three years, but further north than Kansas City was (39.11°N).. The sun isn’t quite so high in the mornings when I run, which is good because baby it’s been hot.

I see a lot of people walking their dogs when I’m running. I like dogs a lot but I’d hate to have to walk one several times a day, rain or snow, heat or cold. No thanks.

I realize many will disagree with my next sentence but it’s still true: I love WalMart. Specifically I love the cheap prices. I’m so very glad there’s one near work because the closest one to us in Boston? Is in Providence, RI.

Kent gets back today from helping his mother move. She’s having an estate sale today and I hope she’s able to sell everything and then do something nice with the money. She’s a neat lady and deserves good things.

Speaking of good things, my mother is also a neat lady—plus she had her knee replaced last week. So now she’s both neat and bionic.

Yes, my brain wanders in strange ways when I run.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fat Eddie

I realize that sound pejorative, but that’s what we call Eddie. He is our largest cat and not by a small amount. At last year’s vet visit, each of the other two kitties weighed in at 10 pounds apiece—Eddie topped the scales at 15 pounds. We haven’t yet taken them in for shots et cetera this year but I’m pretty confident he weighs even more.

Eddie isn’t lithe or graceful the way his brother, Wally, is. But he is strong and pretty agile despite his girth. Yesterday a large fly managed to get inside with us and both the boys gave chase—up and down the hallway, over our desks and anything on them and into the small glass block window by Kent’s desk.

I thought for sure that Wally would catch the fly. I was wrong. Eddie trapped it in that small glass block window and managed to smack it with his big paws, stunning it. I think it fell to the floor or maybe it tried to fly and couldn’t but either way it ended up on the floor by the back door. Eddie got down there in a flash and ate it. Wally was watching and I sort of think Eddie ate the fly so fast to keep his brother from getting it.

PS Edited to add that Wally cried and cried after the fly was dead. We think he was bereft that he couldn't have one too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm only happy when it rains

Do you ever have those days where you know your mood is rotten and you’d be doing all humanity a favor if you just crawled in a cave for a long time?
That’s me today. Truthfully that’s how I've been all week long.


I have some valid reasons for the crankiness (water damage, can’t put the place on the market for a couple of reasons, and of course my hateful commute—the last six miles that is). But they don’t add up to the sum of my bad mood.

In the interest of public safely, I really should just go back to bed.

PS I don't really want it to rain, obviously. But the Garbage song fits perfectly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lessons learned

First, it turns out Boston got between two to four inches of rain in that 30 minute monsoon. You can see pictures of water elsewhere in the city here. I don’t know that we got four inches but I’d bet it was more than two just based on how fast the lower level of the patio filled up. I didn’t take a picture of it (I was a little busy), but the gnome we use to keep the gate open was almost entirely covered.

After we flooded last October, I’d told Kent that the pet carriers had to be stored in a specific spot in the closet under the front sidewalk. That closet doesn’t have a door and the spot I wanted to put the carriers is easy to access even if it’s dark and things are crazy/confused. So Saturday it was very easy to get the carriers out, grab the cats (who were already huddled in our bedroom—they know the drill) and shove them in.

I also didn’t waste any time speculating that we wouldn’t take on water. We were both still in slippers and I told Kent he better get some shoes on ASAP. And as I ran around getting cats where they belonged, I also picked up laptop bags and moved them to higher ground. I knew right where my passport was, plus my check book and immediately put those sorts of things in my bag.

I did cry a bit while I was moving things and shoving furniture further away from the water, but I didn’t freak out at all and I kept working.

Now we need to solve the problem. As part of that, Kent’s looking at ways we can re-grade the parking lot behind us. While we don’t own a spot there, others in our building do and right now it’s graded to slope down toward us. Obviously that just creates more run off which is why we ended up with water on Saturday. The drain by our back door does work but we’d have needed about five of those to handle that much rain. Unfortunately we may need to pay for this since (a) our condo association already needs to pay to have the building tuck-pointed as a result of the nor’easter we had in March and (b) there’s not enough money to pay for that. I’m not thrilled about shelling out OUR money for condo repairs but I sure as hell do not want any more water in our apartment.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A rainbow for Alison

Jen posted a video on her blog of Alison standing out on the porch in her raincoat and umbrella, patiently waiting for a rainbow. That same day, I saw one from my hotel balcony in Hawaii and I took the picture on the left, and this video. The video doesn't really show how vivid the rainbow was but you do get a nice panorama of the view. Even in the rain, it's really pretty.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Odds and ends

I did finish reading the blog I mentioned Sunday—at least until the point where Kent broke up with her. I realized that (a) she’s not the best writer, which sounds far snobbier than I want it to; and (b) from what I can tell of her personality on her blog, she and I wouldn’t be the kind of women to develop a friendship at all. That’s not true for the other blogs I read. I find those authors (both men and women) to be intriguing people in their own rights and I’d absolutely hang out with any of them any time.

Hawaii has been very busy work-wise which leaves no time to check out the sights. Our hotel is on Hilo Bay and I have an ocean view (see the picture on the left), which I love. My sisters are all about the mountains but I’m not—give me the ocean any time. I’m sure that’s because I grew up going to the shore every summer while they went to the Rockies.

I have gone running a couple of times and this morning’s run was particularly lovely because I ran along a road that is parallel to the bay. Plus I saw probably half a dozen feral cats. They are much smaller than cats on the mainland, and their heads are dinky. I’m sure that has a lot to do with a much smaller food supply, but it makes them all look like perpetual kittens. Seeing them made me smile and miss my own home, husband and cats all the more. Hawaii is nice but it’s not home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How bizarre

My friend Laura used to tell me she wanted to make a screen play of my loser dating life (obviously this was pre-Kent). And she had a point, I dated a lot of not so good matches: among them, Belt Buckle Man whose belt buckle was bigger than his face, Drooling Man (to be fair I think his braces made him drool but still—ew), and Mullet Man who most inappropriately brought his five year old daughter to our first date.

But I’ve never been tempted to blog about those guys. Apparently other people do. Someone in Kent’s pre-Elizabeth life has been blogging about men she dated before she met and married her husband. Kent ran across this because he’d friended her on Facebook thinking she was someone from high school (her name is very similar to someone he knew then); he only realized who she was after she linked a blog post this past week bemoaning her 39th birthday. Obviously if she had been his high school friend, she'd have been well into her 40s. Apparently on Tuesdays she’s been writing what she calls True Confession Tuesdays where she recounts her dating history. Next Tuesday she’ll be to the point where Kent broke up with her.

I read the post where she first mentioned him and I felt a little odd doing so. After all this isn’t my history and could be a little awkward. However I was very curious to see the way she viewed Kent and if it differed greatly from my own impressions of him from that time—she called him geeky which is accurate and also normal which is true. So I’ll be reading her next installment on Tuesday with some interest.

Don’t expect me to follow suit, though. I’ve got no interest in reliving those days.